The Bible

Genesis 1

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 2 →

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Genesis 2 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, ...

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 246, 300, 476, 478, 480, 670, 709, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

True Christian Religion 20, 34, 46, 48, 364, 490


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 229, 294, 401, 513, 526, 527, 555, ...

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 23, 25, 28

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 2:3, 7, 16, 19, 5:1, 2, 6:1, 21, 8:17, 9:1, 2, 3, 6, 11:7

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

Job 12:7, 9, 26:8, 38:8

Psalms 8:4, 7, 19:2, 24:2, 33:6, 7, 9, 74:16, 95:5, 104:6, 14, 19, 25, 115:15, 16, 121:2, 136:5, 7, 9, 148:4, 7

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Isaiah 40:26, 45:7, 61:11

Jeremiah 4:23, 10:12, 31:35

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

Beginning
In the Word, "beginning" doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a spiritual...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

created
The creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis means the new creation of the celestial church called 'Man'.

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

Earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

form
A person who has yet to be regenerated is called 'a void and an empty earth', and also 'ground where no good or truth has...

Void
A 'void', or 'Vacuity' denotes a person's state before regeneration. From Arcana Coelestia 7: "The first state is the state which precedes, both the state...

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" is a state where truth is lacking.

Face of the deep
The face of the deep (Gen. 1:2) signifies the lust of the unregenerate man, and the falsities thence originating.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

spirit
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

Spirit of God
'The spirit of God,' as in Genesis 1:2, signifies the divine mercy of the Lord. 'The spirit of God' is His emanation. 'The spirit of...

Face of the waters
The face of the water (Gen. 1:2) signifies the knowledges of good and truth.

waters
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

light
Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

evening
Since the light and warmth of the sun represent the Lord’s wisdom and love, it makes sense that evening, a time when the light and...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

Firmament
The firmament, as in Genesis 1, signifies the internal man. The firmament of heaven is mutual love.

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

Gathered together
'The waters were gathered together' signifies falsities collected.

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

Herb
Every herb in the Word signifies some species of scientifics. 'Herb bearing seed,' as mentioned in Genesis 1:29, signifies every truth which regards use. 'Green...

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

fruit
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

tree
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

after
According to Swedenborg, time and space don’t exist in spiritual reality; they are purely natural things that exist only on the physical plane. This means...

third
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

Third day
'The third day' signifies the end of a state of preparation for reception, and so an end of purification, as in Exodus 19:16. 'The third...

signs
The Bible often speaks of signs and miracles as things that convinced people of the Lord's leading. Swedenborg divides the two, identifying "signs" as things...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Great lights
Great lights, as in luminaries, signify love and faith, and are called in Genesis 1:14-17, the sun, moon, and stars.

stars
'The learned,' or 'wise,' who 'shall shine as the stars,' are people who are in good.

over
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

fourth
'The fourth watch' signifies the first state of the church at break of day, when good begins to act by truth.

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

fowl
"Birds" mean rational concepts in the external man and intellectual concepts in the internal man.

Fly
To fly, when spoken of the Lord, signifies to foresee and to provide. To fly, when predicated of the Lord, also signifies omnipresence. To fly...

Open
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

Fruitful
To be fruitful is predicated of goodnesses, and to be multiplied, of truths.

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

fill
There are two ways something can be filled: It can be filled with something bad against the wishes of its owner, or it can be...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

cattle
Animals in the Bible generally refer to spiritual activity, the things we actually do on a spiritual level. "Cattle," as typically used in the Bible,...

beast
"Beasts" represent the affection for doing good things, a true desire to do them from the heart. In the negative sense, "beasts" stand for the...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

Image
'An image' signifies falsities from self-derived intelligence.

Fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

sea
Water generally represents what Swedenborg calls “natural truth,” or true concepts about day-to-day matters and physical things. Since all water ultimately flows into the seas,...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

female
Female signifies good.

Meat
'Meat,' as in Genesis 40:17, signifies celestial good, because 'the meat of the angels' are nothing but the goods of love and charity, which not...

green
The color green is almost exclusively used in connection with plants in the Bible (the exceptions include two stomach-turning references to moldy plagues in Leviticus),...

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Animals and Plants in Heaven
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Celebrating the Seven Days of Creation
Offers a wide array of ideas for play time, art projects, field trips, and more.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Correspondences of Light
Illustrations of three stories in the Word that talk about light. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Creation Chain
Make a paper chain with the names (or pictures) of the people in your family and other things that the Lord has made. Or make a paper chain that illustrates several things in creation that depend on one another. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Diorama
A great family project to build and display in your home.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Mobile
Assemble this lovely mobile to remind you of all the Lord's precious gifts to us.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Creation Poem with Hand Motions
A lovely poem about creation with hand motions.
Activity | Ages up to 10

 Creation | Seas to Trees Pop-up
Color cut-and-fold pop-up project showing dry land rising out of the water and then growing a tree illustrating Genesis 1:9-13. Sample activity from Creation: reflection of God, Level C, ages 11-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Creation Sequencing Cards
Children can color and cut out these cards, then practice putting them in order from day 1-7.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Creation Story (circle book project)
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Creation | The First Day - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness game and song, separate light and darkness collage, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level A, ages 3-6.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 6

 Creation | The First Day - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: light and darkness experiment with accompanying video, let there be light folding paper project, scripted story discussion, coloring page, and a memory verse. Sample lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level B, ages 7-10.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Creation | The First Day - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: living in the dark--group blindfold games, video and discussion on the bible, creation and a can of peaches, scripted story discussion, and an illustrated quotation card. Sample Lesson from Creation: reflection of God, Level C.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Family Worship: The Story of Creation
Ideas for reading and discussing the story of creation in Genesis 1. Includes suggestions for extending the experience such as going for a nature walk.
Religion Lesson | Ages 3 - 15

 God Said What? The Creation Story
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Memory Verse: Giving Thanks for Creation
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Life Is Eternal
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Overview of Creation Reflection of God Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14
Overview of Creation: reflection of God, Levels A, B, C for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Giving Thanks for Creation
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Summary of Creation and Thankfulness
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Sun and the Fruit of Creation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Thankfulness
A Thanksgiving "wreath" to color and display.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Thanking the Lord for Creation
How can your words and actions show the Lord that you appreciate His creation?
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Creation: A General View
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The Fifth and Sixth Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Creation: The First Four Days
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Days of Creation Collage Book or Mural
Ideas from an art teacher for making a creation book or mural.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fifth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The First Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The First Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Fourth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fourth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Meaning of the Tree of Life
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Purpose of Creation
Birth brings a person into the natural world, but God's ultimate purpose is that a person be born again into heavenly life, the life of the spirit.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Second Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Second Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Seven Days of Creation
An illustrated story of the seven days of creation.
Story | Ages 3 - 7

 The Sixth Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sixth Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Story of Creation
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Story of Creation: Family Worship Ideas
Detailed notes on the seven days of creation.
Article | Ages over 18

 The Third Day of Creation
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Third Day of Creation
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Word Made Flesh
Like Genesis, the Gospel of John begins with creation. While Genesis describes the creation of natural light, John describes a second creation into spiritual light.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Using the Lord’s Creation
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Where Did Everything Come From?
Grandpa explains to Annika and Peter where everything came from.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 Why Are We Here?
Lesson and activities to explore why we were created - what God intends for us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #9340

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

Study this Passage

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9340. 'And I will set your boundary from the Sea Suph even to the Sea of the Philistines' means the full range of truths from factual ones to interior truths of faith. This is clear from the meaning of 'setting the boundary from one place to another', when it refers to spiritual truths, as the full range; from the meaning of 'the Sea Suph' as truths on the levels of the senses and of factual knowledge, which are the lowest levels of the human mind (the Sea Suph was the final boundary of the land of Egypt, and 'Egypt' means factual knowledge in both senses, that is, true factual knowledge and false, 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 2588, 4749, 4964, 4966, 5700, 6004, 6015, 6125, 6651, 6679, 6683, 6692, 6750, 7779 (end), 7926, 8146, 8148; in this instance true factual knowledge is meant since the subject is the full range of spiritual matters of faith among the children of Israel, who represented the spiritual Church, 4286, 4598, 6426, 6637, 6862, 6868, 7035, 7062, 7198, 7201, 7215, 7223, 8805); and from the meaning of 'the Sea of the Philistines' as interior truths of faith. The reason why these truths are meant by 'the Sea of the Philistines' is that the sea where Tyre and Sidon lay was the boundary of the land of Philistia, and 'Tyre and Sidon' means cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 1201, while 'the land of Philistia' means the knowledge of interior matters of faith, 1197, 2504, 2726, 3463.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165)


[2] Since 'the land of Canaan' represented the Lord's kingdom, which is heaven and the Church, all places in the land therefore meant such things as form part of the Lord's kingdom, or heaven and the Church, which things are called celestial and spiritual, and are connected with the good of love to the Lord and the truths of faith in Him. For this reason the seas and rivers which were boundaries meant the final limits there, and therefore 'from sea to sea' or 'from river to river' meant the full range of those things, as may be seen in 1585, 1866, 4116, 4240, 6516. From all this it becomes clear that 'the boundary from the Sea Suph even to the Sea of the Philistines' means the range of spiritual things, which are matters of truth, from external ones to internal, thus truths ranging from factual ones to interior truths of faith. But the range of celestial things, which are aspects of the good of love, is described next by the words 'from the wilderness even to the River'. The fact that places belonging to the land of Canaan, including seas and rivers, mean such things in the Word, has been shown in explanations everywhere.

[3] What the full range of truths from factual ones to interior truths of faith is must be stated briefly. Truths which exist in the external man are called factual ones, but truths which exist in the internal man are called interior truths of faith. Factual truths reside in a person's memory, and when they are brought out from there they pass into the person's immediate awareness. But interior truths of faith are truths of life itself which are inscribed on the internal man, but few of which show up in the memory. These however are matters which will in the Lord's Divine mercy be spoken of more fully elsewhere. Factual truths and interior truths of faith were meant in Genesis 1:6-7 by the waters under the expanse and the waters above the expanse, 24; for the first chapter of Genesis deals in the internal sense with the new creation or the regeneration of a member of the celestial Church.

(References: Genesis 1:1)


[4] The reason why 'Philistia', which also bordered on the land of Canaan as far as Tyre and Sidon, meant the interior truths of faith was that there also the representative Ancient Church had existed, as is evident from the remnants of Divine worship among them which are alluded to in historical sections and prophetical parts of the Word in which the Philistines and the land of Philistia are the subject, such as - in the prophetical parts - Jeremiah 25:20; Jeremiah 47:1-end; Jeremiah 47:Ezekiel 16:27, 57; 25:15-16; Amos 1:8; Zephaniah 2:5; Zechariah 9:6; Psalms 56:1; 1 60:8; 83:7; 108:9. The situation with the Philistines was the same as it was with all the nations in the land of Canaan, in that they represented the Church's forms of good and its truths, and also evils and falsities. When the representative Ancient Church existed among them they represented celestial things which were aspects of good and spiritual things which were matters of truth. But when they fell away from true representative worship they began to represent devilish things which were aspects of evil and hellish things which were matters of falsity. This is the reason why 'Philistia', like all the other nations belonging to the land of Canaan in the Word, means either forms of good and truths, or else evils and falsities.

[5] The fact that interior truths of faith are meant by 'the Philistines' is clear in David,

Glorious things are to be spoken in you, O city of God. I will mention Rahab and Babel among those who know Me; also Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia. The latter was born here. 2 Psalms 87:3-4.

'The city of God' means teachings presenting the truth of faith that are drawn from the Word, 402, 2268, 2449, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493, 5297; 'Tyre' means cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 1201, and so does 'Ethiopia', 116, 117. From this it is evident that 'Philistia' means knowledge of the truths of faith.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493)


[6] In Amos,

Are you not like the children of the Ethiopians to Me, O children of Israel? Did I not cause Israel to come up from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? Amos 9:7.

This refers to the corruption and destruction of the Church after it had been established. 'The children of the Ethiopians' here are those in possession of cognitions of goodness and truth, which they use to substantiate evils and falsities, 1163, 1164. 'The children of Israel from the land of Egypt' are those who had been brought to spiritual truths and forms of good by means of factual truths, 'the children of Israel' being people in possession of spiritual truths and forms of good, thus in the abstract sense spiritual truths and forms of good, see 5414, 5801, 5803, 5806, 5812, 5817, 5819, 5826, 5833, 5879, 5951, 7957, 8234, and 'the land of Egypt' being factual truth, as shown above. The same is meant by 'the Philistines from Caphtor' and by 'the Syrians from Kir', to whom they are therefore likened. 'The Philistines from Caphtor' are people who had been brought to interior truths by means of exterior ones, but who perverted them and used them to substantiate falsities and evils, 1197, 1198, 3412, 3413, 3762, 8093, 8096, 8099, 8313, whereas 'the Syrians from Kir' are those who were in possession of cognitions of goodness and truth, which they likewise perverted, 1232, 1234, 3051, 3249, 3664, 3680, 4112.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1163-1164, Arcana Coelestia 1197-1198, 3412-3413)


[7] In Jeremiah,

... because of the day that is coming to lay waste all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper that is left, for Jehovah is laying waste the Philistines, the remnants of the island of Caphtor. Jeremiah 47:4.

The subject in Jeremiah 47 is the laying waste of the Church's truths of faith, interior truths of faith being meant by 'the Philistines' and exterior truths by 'the remnants of the island of Caphtor'.

[8] In Joel,

What have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the borders of Philistia? Swiftly I will return your recompense upon your own head, inasmuch as you have taken My silver and My gold, and My good and desirable treasures you have carried into your temples. Joel 3:4-5.

'All the borders of Philistia' stands for all the interior and the exterior truths of faith; 'carrying silver and gold, and good and desirable treasures into their temples' stands for perverting truths and forms of good, and profaning them by putting them together with evils and falsities. For the meaning of 'silver and gold' as truths and forms of good, see 1551, 2954, 5658, 6112, 6914, 6917, 8932.

(References: Joel 3:4, 3:6)


[9] In Obadiah,

At that time those in the south will be the heirs of the mountain of Esau, and of the plain of the Philistines, and they will become the heirs of the field of Ephraim; but Benjamin [will be the heir] of Gilead. Obad. verse 19.

This refers to the establishment of the Church; but spiritual things are implied by the names. 'Those in the south' are people who dwell in the light of truth, 1458, 3195, 3708, 5672, 5962; 'the mountain of Esau' is the good of love, 3300, 3322, 3494, 3504, 3576; 'the plain of the Philistines' is the truth of faith, 'the plain' being also that which constitutes matters of doctrine about faith, 2418; 'Ephraim' is the Church's power of understanding, 3969, 5354, 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267; 'Benjamin' is the Church's spiritual-celestial truth, 3969, 4592, 5686, 5689, 6440; and 'Gilead' is the corresponding exterior good, 4117, 4124, 4747.

(References: Obadiah 1:19)


[10] In Isaiah,

He will gather the outcasts of Israel, and will assemble the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. They will fly down onto the shoulder of the Philistines towards the sea, together they will plunder the sons of the east. Isaiah 11:12, 14.

Here 'Israel' and 'Judah' are not used to mean Israel and Judah; rather, 'Israel' means those who are governed by the good of faith, and 'Judah' those who are governed by the good of love. 'Flying down onto the shoulder of the Philistines' stands for receiving and taking into possession interior truths of faith; and 'plundering the sons of the east' stands for receiving and taking into possession interior forms of the good of faith, for 'the sons of the east' are people who are governed by forms of the good of faith and with whom cognitions or knowledge of good exists, 3249. 3762. For the meaning of 'plundering' as receiving and taking into possession, see what has been shown in 6914, 6917, regarding the plundering of the Egyptians by the children of Israel.

[11] Since 'the land of Philistia' meant knowledge of the interior truths of faith, and since Abraham and Isaac represented the Lord, and the sojourning of these two in places meant instruction received by the Lord in the truths and forms of the good of faith and love, which belong to God's wisdom, therefore - to provide a figurative representation of this - Abraham was commanded to sojourn in Philistia, Genesis 20:1-end, and so too was Isaac, Genesis 26:1-24. Therefore also Abimelech king of the Philistines made a covenant with Abraham, Genesis 21:22-end, and also with Isaac, Genesis 26:26-end. Regarding all this, see the explanations to those chapters.

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Footnotes:

1. i.e. in the superscription or heading of this Psalm

2. i.e. in the city of God, see 1164:7.

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(References: Exodus 23:31; Genesis 20, 21:22-24, 21:22-34, 26:26-35)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9341, 9346, 9348, 9384, 9390, 9404, 9458, 9525, 9755, 9779, 9789, 9808, 9818, 9842, 10038, 10095, 10144, 10148, 10153, 10156, 10212, 10216, 10229, 10231, 10248, 10280, 10283, 10284, 10355, 10370, 10372, 10400, 10416, 10442, 10732

The White Horse 8


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 140, 195, 235, 240, 278, 340, 386, 388, 573, 946

Other New Christian Commentary

Kaphtor 1

Kir 1


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #9348

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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9348. 'For it will be a snare to you' means owing to evils that are enticing and deceptive. This is clear from the meaning of 'a snare', when it has reference to evils, as enticement and deception. The reason why evils are enticing and deceptive is that all evils spring from self-love and love of the world, 9335, and self-love and love of the world are born together within a person. These are the source of what the person feels as the delight of his life right from when he is first born; indeed the life that is his comes from them. Those loves therefore, like the hidden currents in a river, are constantly drawing the person's thought and will away from the Lord to self, and away from heaven to the world, thus away from the truths and forms of the good of faith to falsities and evils. At this time reasonings based on the illusions of the senses are especially predominant, and also the literal sense of the Word wrongly explained and used.

[2] These two things are what 'snares', 'traps', 'pits', 'nets', 'ropes', 'fetters', and also 'pretences' and 'deceits' are used to mean in the spiritual sense of the Word, as in Isaiah,

Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. Consequently it will happen, that he who is fleeing from the sound of terror will fall into the pit, and he who is climbing out of the pit will be caught in the snare, for the floodgates from on high have been opened, and the foundations of the earth have been shaken. Isaiah 24:17-19.

And in Jeremiah,

Fear, the pit, and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of Moab. He who flees from the fear will fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare. Jeremiah 48:43-44.

'Terror' and 'fear' are the disturbance and commotion in the mind when it is held fast between evils and forms of good, and consequently between falsities and truths. 'The pit' is falsity created by reasonings based on the illusions of the senses to lend support to delights that are attributable to self-love and love of the world; 'the snare' is the enticement and deception of evil that results from it.

(References: Isaiah 24:17-18)


[3] In Isaiah,

They will go and stumble 1 backwards, and be broken, and snared, and caught. Isaiah 28:13.

'Falling backwards' stands for turning oneself away from goodness and truth; 'being broken' stands for dispensing with truths and forms of good; 'being snared' stands for being enticed by the evils of self-love and love of the world; and 'being caught' stands for being carried away by them.

[4] In Ezekiel,

The mother of the princes of Israel is a lioness. One of her cubs learned to seize prey; he devoured men (homo). The nations heard about him; he was caught in their pit, and they led him away with hooks to the land of Egypt. Later on he ravished widows 2 and devastated cities; the land and its fullness was desolated by the sound of his roaring. Therefore the nations from the provinces round about lay in ambush against him, and spread their net over him; he was caught in their pit. They put him in a cage with hooks, and led him to the king of Babel; [they led him away] in nets, that his voice should no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel. Ezekiel 19:2-4, 7-9.

This describes the profanation of truth in successive stages by the enticements of falsities arising from evils. 'The mother of the princes of Israel' is the Church where primary truths are, 'the mother' being the Church, see 289, 2691, 2717, 4257, 5581, 8897, and 'the princes of Israel' primary truths, 1482, 2089, 5044. 'A lioness' is falsity that arises from evil and that perverts the Church's truths; 'a lion's cub' is evil in its power, 6367. 'Seizing prey' and 'devouring men' mean destroying truths and forms of good, for 'man' is the Church's good, 4287, 7424, 7523. 'The nations' are evils, 1259, 1260, 1849, 2588 (end), 4444, 6306. 'A pit', in which the nations caught him, is falsity arising from evil, 4728, 4744, 5038, 9086. 'The land of Egypt', to which he was led away with hooks, is factual knowledge through which falsity comes, 9340. 'Ravishing widows' means perverting forms of good which have the desire for truth, for 'ravishing' means perverting, 2466, 2729, 4865, 8904, and 'widows' forms of good that have the desire for truth, 9198, 9200. 'Devastating cities' means destroying the Church's teachings that present the truth, 402, 2268, 2449, 2943, 3216, 4478, 4492, 4493. 'Desolating the land and its fullness' means destroying all things of the Church, 9325. 'The sound of the lion's roaring' is falsity. 'Spreading a net over him' means enticing by means of delights belonging to earthly kinds of love and by means of reasonings attributable to them. 'Leading away to the king of Babel' is the profaning of truth, 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1322, 1326.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 298, 1259-1260, 1307-1308, 1321-1322, 4492-4493; Ezekiel 19:1-4)


[5] The fact that such things do not happen when a person does not love self and the world above all things is described in the following manner in Amos,

Will a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth if there is no trap for it? Will a snare spring up from the earth if it has certainly not caught [anything]? Amos 3:4-5.

(References: Amos 3:4, 3:6)


[6] It is evident to anyone that 'a snare' in the spiritual sense means enticement and deception effected by means of the delights of self-love and love of the world, thus the enticement and deception of evils, which operate through reasonings that are based on the illusions of the senses and lend support to those delights. For the ensnarement and capturing of people is brought about by nothing else. When the devil's crew makes its attack on a person it concentrates on his loves, which they charm in every way until they have captivated him; and when he has been captivated that person reasons from falsities against truths, and from evils against forms of good. Yet he does not remain content to do that; he also takes delight in snaring others and enticing them towards falsities and evils. The reason why he also takes delight in doing this is that he too is now one of the devil's crew.

[7] Since 'a snare', 'a trap', and 'a net' mean such things they also mean the destruction and so annihilation of spiritual life; for the delights belonging to those loves are what destroy it and annihilate it, since those loves, as stated above, are the source from which all evils spring. From self-love springs disdain for others in comparison with self, then mockery and denigration of them, followed by enmity if they disagree with oneself, and finally by the delight that goes with hatred, vengeance, and so with inhumanity, indeed barbarity. This love in the next life rises to such a height that unless the Lord shows such people favour and grants them dominion over others, they are not only disdainful of Him but also mock the Word which speaks of Him. At length they are stirred by hatred and vengeance to act against Him; and insofar as they are unable to do so they carry out their hatred and vengeance with inhumanity and barbarity against everyone who confesses Him. All this shows where the essential nature of the devil's crew springs from, namely from self-love. Therefore since 'a snare' means the delight of selfish and worldly love, it means the destruction and annihilation of spiritual life; for the whole of love and faith to the Lord, and the whole of love towards the neighbour are destroyed by the delight of selfish and worldly love where it reigns supreme; see the places referred to in 9335.

[8] The fact that those loves are the origins of all evils, that hell arises from them and lies within them, and that those loves are the fires of hell is not known in the world at the present day. Yet people could have known this from the consideration that those loves are the opposites of love towards the neighbour and love to God, and the opposites of humility of heart, and from the consideration that from those loves alone spring all disdain, all hatred, all vengeance, and all inhumanity and barbarity, as anyone may realize who gives any thought to the matter.

[9] The fact that 'a snare' therefore means the destruction and annihilation of spiritual life is evident from the following places: In David,

Jehovah will rain on the wicked, snares, fire and brimstone. Psalms 11:6.

'Fire and brimstone' are the evils of selfish and worldly love. For this meaning of 'fire', see 1297, 1861, 5071, 5215, 6314, 6832, 7324, 7575, 9144, and for 'brimstone', 2446, from which it is evident what 'snares' mean. In Luke,

... lest that day comes on you suddenly, 3 for it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Luke 21:34-35.

This refers to the last phase of the Church, when there is no faith because there is no charity, since self-love and love of the world will reign. This is followed by annihilation, which is meant by 'a snare'. In Jeremiah,

Among My people are found wicked ones. They keep watch, like fowlers laying [snares]; they set a gin to catch human beings. Jeremiah 5:26.

In David,

Those seeking my life 4 lay snares, and those seeking my hurt speak of ways to annihilate, and contemplate deceits all the day. Psalms 38:12.

In the same author,

Keep me from the hands of the trap they have set for me, and from the snares of the workers of iniquity. Let them fall into their own nets, 5 the wicked together, until I pass by. Psalms 141:9-10.

In Isaiah,

He will be as a sanctuary, though He will be as a stone to strike against and as a rock to stumble over, 6 for both houses of Israel; He will be as a snare and as a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Many among them will trip, and fall, and be broken to pieces, and be snared and caught. Isaiah 8:14-15.

This refers to the Lord. 'A stone to strike against' and 'a rock to stumble over' stand for stumbling blocks that are laid; and 'a snare' and 'a trap' for the annihilation accomplished by those who attack and try to destroy truths and forms of the good of faith in the Lord by means of falsities that lend support to self-love and love of the world. For to all proud people the very fact that the Divine appeared in a human form, and that He did so not in royal majesty but in a guise that was despised, is not only a stumbling block but also a snare.

From all this it is now evident that 'it will be a snare' means the enticement and deception of evils, and consequent annihilation, as in other places in Moses,

... lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land onto which you will come, lest it becomes a snare in your midst. Exodus 34:12.

In the same author,

You shall not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you. Deuteronomy 7:16.

In the same author,

Beware lest perhaps you are ensnared to follow 7 the nations, and lest perhaps you inquire after their gods. Deuteronomy 12:30.

'The nations' are evils and the falsities arising from them.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, trip

2. The Hebrew text here, which means literally And he knows his widows, is thought to be corrupt. As a consequence English versions of the Scriptures are based on textual emendations and therefore read somewhat differently.

3. literally, lest that sudden day stands upon you

4. literally, soul

5. literally, into his nets. The singular is used possibly to imply each one of the wicked. Sebastian Schmidt, in his Latin version of the Bible which Swedenborg draws on here, regarded them as God's nets.

6. literally, as a stone of striking and as a rock of stumbling

7. literally, ensnared after

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(References: Deuteronomy 12:16; Exodus 23:33)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10641

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 81, 170


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 946

Other New Christian Commentary

Break 1

Gins 1


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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