The Bible

 

Genesis 1

King James Version         

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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.

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   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

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgement 20

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


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

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

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



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

Exodus 20:11

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2 Kings 19:15

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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

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Jonah 1:9

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Mark 4:28, 10:6

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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

Bible Word Meanings

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
When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

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

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

earth
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...

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...

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" represents a state where truth is lacking. Here's a cogent passage...

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 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.

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
In the Word, “light” in the highest sense represents Divine Truth: knowledge, ideas, understanding that come to us from the Lord. In lesser degrees...

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 proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

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...

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...

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
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

seas
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,...

grass
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...

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
We tend to think of "fruit" in two ways in natural language. One is as food that grows on trees and vines, sweet and delicious,...

tree
'Trees,' in general, signify the perceptions when discussing the celestial self, but when related to the spiritual church, they signify knowledges. A person in the...

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...

third
'Three' denotes fullness, and 'a third,' not full.

lights
'The two luminaries' denote love and faith in the internal self.

signs
'A token,' as in Genesis 9:12, 13, 17, signifies causing it to be.

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...

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.

great
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

greater
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

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...

fourth
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

life
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

fowl
Fowl signify spiritual truth; a bird, natural truth; and a winged thing, sensual truth. Fowl signify intellectual things. Fowl signify thoughts, and all that creeps...

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.

whales
'A whale,' as in Jeremiah 51:34, signifies people who possess the universal aspects of the knowledges of faith, as known, and apply them to evil...

living
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

winged
'Wings' signify spiritual truths. 'Wings,' when related to the Lord, signify the divine spiritual. In the opposite sense, 'wings' relate to falsities and rationalizations from...

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...

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
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

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

sea
'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

air
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

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...

male
Because of their understanding of spiritual marriage, the people of the Most Ancient church perceived 'male and female' as two faculties in the spiritual self:...

male and female
Because of their understanding of spiritual marriage, the people of the Most Ancient church perceived 'male and female' as two faculties in the spiritual self:...

female
Female signifies good.

given
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...

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...

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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

 Qualities of the Lord
Look at colored pictures of stories from the Word. Using a word bank, identify the quality of the Lord shown in each picture.
Project | Ages 9 - 14

 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 #9408

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9408. 'And it was like the substance of the sky for clearness' means the translucence of the angelic heaven. This is clear from the meaning of 'the sky (or heaven)' as the angelic heaven, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'clearness' or purity of substance, when said of the sky, as translucence. What the translucence of the angelic heaven is when the Word is the subject must be stated briefly. The angelic heaven is said to be translucent when God's truth shines through; for the whole of heaven is nothing other than a receptacle of God's truth. Each angel is an individual recipient of it, so that all the angels or heaven as a whole is a general recipient. This explains why heaven is called 'God's dwelling-place' and also 'God's throne'. For 'dwelling-place' means God's truth emanating from the Lord and received in the inmost heaven, which in comparison is good, 8269, 8309; and 'throne' means God's truth emanating from the Lord and received in the middle heaven, 5313, 6397, 8625, 9039. Since that which shines through, out of the sense of the letter of the Word, is God's truth as it exists in the heavens, it is the angelic heaven that shines through. For the Word is Divine Truth adjusted to all the heavens, and as a consequence of this it joins the heavens to the world, that is, angels to men, 2143, 7153, 7381, 8920, 9094 (end), 9212 (end), 9216 (end), 9357, 9396. From all this it is evident what the words 'the translucence of the angelic heaven' are used to mean.

[2] The reasons why in the internal sense 'the sky (or heaven)' means the angelic heaven lie with correspondence and also with the appearance. So it is that where the words 'heavens' and 'heavens of heavens' occur in the Word the angelic heavens are meant in the internal sense. For the ancients had no other idea of the visible sky than this, that the inhabitants of heaven lived there and that the stars were their dwelling-places. At the present day too, simple people - especially young children - have the same idea. So it is also that people look upwards to the sky or heaven when they worship God. This action too arises from correspondence; for a sky with stars appears in the next life, but this is not the sky seen by people in the world. Instead it is a sky that takes on an appearance which accords with the spirits and angels' state of intelligence and wisdom. The stars in it are cognitions or knowledge of goodness and truth, and the clouds which are sometimes seen in the sky vary in meaning according to their colours, translucence, and movements, the blue of the sky being truth transparent with good. All this goes to prove that by 'heavens' the angelic heavens are meant. But by the angelic heavens God's truths are meant, because angels are recipients of God's truth emanating from the Lord.

[3] Similar things are meant by 'heavens' in David,

Praise Jehovah, heavens of heavens, and waters that are above the heavens! Psalms 148:4.

In the same author,

Make melody to the Lord who rides above the heaven of the heaven of old. Psalms 68:33.

In the same author,

By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the spirit 1 of His mouth. Psalms 33:6.

In the same prophet,

The heavens recount His glory, and the firmament declares the works of His hands. Psalms 19:1.

In the Book of Judges,

O Jehovah, when You went forth from Seir, the earth trembled, the heavens also dropped, the clouds indeed dropped water. Judges 5:4.

In Daniel,

The horn of the he-goat grew right on towards the host of the heavens, and cast down to the earth some of the host, and of the stars, and trampled on them. Daniel 8:10.

In Amos,

The Lord Jehovih, who builds His steps in the heavens ... Amos 9:6.

In Malachi,

If there is food in My house I will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing for you. Malachi 3:10.

In Isaiah,

Look out from the heavens, and see from the dwelling-place of Your holiness and of Your glory. Isaiah 63:15.

In Moses,

Blessed by Jehovah is the land of Joseph, in regard to the precious things of heaven, to the dew. Deuteronomy 33:13.

In Matthew,

Jesus said, You shall not swear by heaven, for it is God's throne. He who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by Him who sits on it. Matthew 5:32; 23:22.

(References: Matthew 5:34; Psalms 68:32-33)


[4] In these and very many other places 'heavens' means the angelic heavens. And since the Lord's heaven on earth is the Church, the Church too is meant by 'heaven', as in the following places: In John,

I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away. Revelation 21:1.

In Isaiah,

Behold, I am creating new heavens and a new earth; therefore the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. 2 Isaiah 65:17.

In the same prophet,

The heavens will vanish away like smoke, and the earth will grow old like a garment. Isaiah 51:6.

In the same prophet,

I clothe heaven with darkness, and I make sackcloth its covering. Isaiah 50:3.

In Ezekiel,

I will cover the heavens, and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. And all the bright lights in heaven I will make dark, and I will put darkness over the land. Ezekiel 32:7-8.

In Matthew,

After the affliction of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Matthew 24:29.

What the meaning is of 'sun', 'moon', 'stars', and 'in the heavens', see 4056-4060.

In Isaiah,

O Jehovah God of Israel, You are God alone over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Isaiah 37:16.

In the same prophet,

[I am] Jehovah who makes all things, who spreads out the heavens Alone, who stretches out the earth by Myself. Isaiah 44:24.

In the same prophet,

Jehovah who created the heavens, who formed the earth, and made it, and prepared it, did not create it an emptiness. Isaiah 45:18.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4056)


[5] In the internal sense 'heaven and earth' in these and other places means the Church, the internal Church being meant by 'heaven' and the external Church by 'earth', see 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 3355 (end), 4535. From all this it is evident that by creation in the earliest chapters of Genesis, where it says, In the beginning God created heaven and earth, Genesis 1:1, And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them, Genesis 2:1, a new Church is meant. For creation there describes regeneration, which is also called the new creation, as has been shown and may be seen in the explanations of those chapters.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118; Exodus 24:10)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10268

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 25


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 270, 701, 717


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The Bible

 

Isaiah 50:3

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3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Isaiah 50      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of ISAIAH 50

(Note: Rev. Smithson's translation of the Isaiah text is appended below the explanation.)

1. THUS says Jehovah, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or who is he among My creditors to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have you been sold; and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

VERSE 1. That the church is called a "mother", appears from the following passages:

"Jehovah said, Contend with your mother; she is not My wife , and I am not her Husband", etc. (Hosea 2:2, 5)

Again :

"You art your mother's daughter, that loaths her Husband." (Ezekiel 16:40)

Again,

"Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away?" etc. (Isaiah 50:1)

Again,

"Your mother was as a vine planted near waters, bearing fruit"; [Ezekiel 19:10) speaking of the Jewish church.

Again,

"Jesus stretching out His hand to the disciples, said, My mother and My brethren are they who hear the Word of God, and do it"; (Matthew 12:48, 49; Mark 3:33-35; Luke 8:21) by the Lord's "disciples" is meant the church. Again: There was standing by the cross of Jesus His mother; and Jesus seeing the mother and the disciple standing by whom He loved, says to His mother, Woman, behold your son! and He says to the disciple, Behold your mother! Wherefore from that hour the disciple took her into his own." (John 19:25-27)

By these words is implied that the Lord did not acknowledge Mary as a mother, but the church, wherefore He calls her "woman", and the "mother" of the disciple. The reason why the Lord called her the "mother." of this disciple, or of John, was, because "John" represented the church as to the Goods of charity, which Goods are the church in real effect; therefore it is said that "he took her into his own." That "Peter" represented Truth and Faith, "James" Charity, and "John" the works of Charity, may be seen in the Apocalypse Revealed 5, 6, 790, 798, 879; and that the "twelve disciples" together represented the church as to all its [principles], may be seen, Apocalypse Revealed 233, 790, 903, 915. Conjugial Love 119.

That the Jewish nation had not any conjugial principle, whether understood in a spiritual or in a natural sense, is very manifest from this consideration, that they were permitted to marry several wives; for where there is a conjugial principle, understood in a spiritual sense, that is, where the Good and the Truth of the church are, consequently where the church is, this is in no wise permitted; for a genuine conjugial principle is in no case given except with those with whom the church or kingdom of the Lord is, and with these only between two, Arcana Coelestia 1907, 2740.

Marriage between two who are in genuine conjugial love, corresponds to the heavenly marriage, that is, to the conjunction of Good and Truth, the "husband" corresponding to Good, and the "wife" to the Truth of that Good; also, when they are in genuine conjugial love, they are in that marriage. Therefore, where the church is, there it is never permitted to marry more wives than one; but whereas there was no church amongst the posterity of Jacob, but only the representative or type of a church, or the external of the church without its internal, Arcana Coelestia 4307, 4500, therefore with that posterity it was permitted.

And, moreover, the marriage of one husband with several wives would present in heaven the idea, or image, as if one Good might be conjoined with several Truths which are not in accord. with each other, and thus that Good was none; for Good becomes none in consequence of Truths not agreeing together, since Good derives its quality from Truths, and their agreement with each other. It would also present an image as if the church was not one, but several, and, these distinct among themselves, according to the Truths of faith, or according to doctrinals, when yet it is one where Good is its essential, and this essential is qualified, and, as it were, modified by Truths.

The church is an image of heaven, for it is the Lord's kingdom on earth; heaven is distinguished into many general societies, and into lesser ones subordinate to the general ones, but still they are one by virtue of Good, the Truths of faith being there according to Good congruously; for they regard Good, and are derived from it. If heaven was distinct according to the Truths of faith, and not according to Good, there would be no heaven, since there would be nothing of unanimity, for one principle of life, or one soul, could not be in its inhabitants from the Lord; this is only given in the principle of Good" that is, in love to the Lord; and in love towards the neighbour; for love conjoins all, and when the love of what is Good and True is in each, then there is a common principle which is from the Lord, thus the Lord, who conjoins all. The love of what is Good and True is what is called "love towards the neiqhbour", for the "neighbour" is one who is principled in Good and the Truth thence derived, and; in the abstract sense, Good itself and its Truth. From these considerations it may be manifest why marriage within the church must be between one husband and one wife; and why it was permitted to the posterity of Jacob to marry several wives; and that the reason of this was, because there was no church among them, and consequently the representative of a church could not be instituted by marriaqes, because they were in principles contrary to conjugial love. Arcana Coelestia 4837.

The bill of divorcement. - "But the Jews said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away; and Jesus answering, said unto them, For the hardness of your heart, he wrote you this precept." (Matthew 19:7, 8)

It appears from this passage, and especially from the divine command to Moses, to "hew him out two tables like unto the former", (Exodus 34:1) that the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, was accommodated to the Jewish nation, and would therefore have been different if that nation had been of a different quality. For the sake of that nation, therefore, it was permitted to marry several wives, which was a thing altogether unknown in ancient times; and also to put away their wives for various causes; hence laws were enacted concerning such marriages and divorces which otherwise would not have entered the external of the Word. Therefore this external is called by the Lord [the external] of Moses, and is said to be granted on account of "the hardness of their heart." Arcana Coelestia 10603 Arcana Coelestia 10603[1-6].

Behold, for your iniquities have you been sold; and for your transgressions is your mother put away. - "Mother" is the church; to "sell" is to alienate. That to "sell", in the internal sense, is [when mentioned in a bad sense] to alienate those things which are of faith and charity, consequently those things which make the man of the internal church, is evident from this circumstance, that in the spiritual world there is no buying and selling such as there is upon earth; but it is the appropriation of what is Good and True which is understood by "buying", and the alienation [or removal] of them by "selling."

By "selling" is also signified the communication of the knowledges of what is Good and True, because by " merchandising" is signified the procuring and the communication of those knowledges, but then it is said, "selling, but not by silver." Arcana Coelestia 5886. See also Apocalypse Explained 840.

As to "merchandising", when mentioned in the Word, see above Chapter 23:18, the Exposition.

Your iniquities; - your transgressions. - In the Word evils are sometimes called "sins", sometimes "iniquities", and sometimes "transgressions"; but what is understood in particular by the one and by the other is only evident from the internal sense. "Transgressions" are evils against the Truths of faith; "iniquities", against the Goods of faith; and "sins" are evils against the Goods of charity and love; - the two former proceed from a perverse understanding, but the latter from a depraved will. The "mother" is the church, which is said to be "put away" when she recedes from faith. Arcana Coelestia 9156.

2. Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? and when I called, none answered? Is My hand so greatly shortened, that it cannot redeem? and is there no power in Me to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea; I make the rivers a desert; so that their fish putrefy, because there is no water; and they die for thirst.

Verse 2. See above, Chapter 41:28, the Exposition.

None answered. - That "not to answer" signifies not to receive and not to reciprocate, Arcana Coelestia 2941. See also the Exposition of Isaiah 36:21.

Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea, etc. - To "dry up the sea" signifies a plenary defect of the common [or general] knowledges of Truth; to "make the rivers a desert", signifies the deprivation of all Truth, and thence of intelligence; "their fish will putrefy", denotes that the scientifics of the natural man shall be without any spiritual life, which is when they are applied to confirm falsities against the Truths of the church; "because there is no water", signifies because there is not any Truth; and to "die of thirst", means the extinction of Truth. That "rivers" signify such things as appertain to intelligence, may be seen in Chapter 30:25, 26; 33:20, 21; 41:17, 18, the Exposition; that "desert" signifies where there is no Good, because there is no Truth, see Chapter 35:4-6; 43:19, 20, the Exposition; that "fish" signifies the scientific [principle] which is of the natural man, see Chapter 19:8, the Exposition; that "water" denotes Truth, has been frequently shown above. To "die of thirst" signifies the deprivation of spiritual life from defect of Truth. Apocalypse Explained 270.

By "rebuke" is signified the desolation of all Truth; by the "sea" is denoted where Truth is in its ultimates; by "water" is meant Truth from a spiritual origin; by "dying of thirst" is signified desolation for the want of that Truth; by the "fishes of the sea becoming putrid" are understood those who are in the ultimates of Truth in whom there is not any life from a spiritual origin. Apocalypse Explained 342.

By the "rebuke of Jehovah" is understood the destruction of the church, which is when there is not any knowledge of Truth and of Good, or when there is not any living knowledge, because no perception; by "drying up the sea" is signified to deprive the natural man of true scientifics, and hence of natural life derived from spiritual; by "making the rivers a desert" is meant to deprive the rational man in like manner, whence he has no longer any intelligence; by "their fish putrifying because there is no water, and they die for thirst", signifies that there IS no longer any living scientific, because there is no Truth. "Fish" is the scientific; "water" is Truth' to "putrefy" is to die as to the spiritual life. Apocalypse Explained 513.

3. I clothe the heavens with blackness; and sackcloth I make their covering.

Verse 3. "Blackness" is the false of evil. Infernals who are in falsities from evil appear black in the light of heaven. Apocalypse Explained 412.

[The heavens in the spiritual world, as seen by those who are in the falsities of evil, appear black, or as covered with blackness.]

Sackcloth I make their covering. - In respect to "sackcloth" and its signification, see Chapter 15:3, the Exposition.

4. The Lord Jehovih has given me the tongue of the learned, that I might know how to speak in season a word to the weary: He wakens, morning by morning, He wakens mine ear, to hearken as the learned.

5. The Lord Jehovih has opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious; neither did I turn away backward.

6. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: my face I hid not from calumnies and spitting.

7. For the Lord Jehovih will help me; therefore I am not ashamed: therefore have I set my face as a flint; and I know that I shall not be confounded.

8. He that justifies me is near: who will contend with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.

9. Behold, the Lord Jehovih will help me: who is he that shall condemn me? Lo! all of them shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall devour them,

Verse 4. [The tongue of the learned signifies those who are instructed in divine Truths.]

To speak in season a word to the weary. - To be "weary" denotes a state of temptation-combat. Arcana Coelestia 3318. See also 3321.

He wakens, morning by morning, He wakens. mine ear etc. - Inasmuch as "morning" signifies the Lord, His coming, likewise His kingdom and church, as also the Good of love which is from Him hence it may appear what is understood by "morning" in the above passage. Apocalypse Explained 179.

Verses 4, 5, 7, 9. The Lord Jehovih. - The Lord is called "Lord [Adonai] Jehovih" especially, when the help of His Omnipotence is sought for, and supplicated. Arcana Coelestia 2921. See also Arcana Coelestia 1793; and above, Chapter 3:15, note and Exposition.

10. Who is there among you that fears Jehovah, that hearkens unto the voice of His Servant; that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and stay himself upon his God.

Verse 10. To "fear Jehovah" is to worship Him from love; to "hearken unto the voice of His Servant" is to worship Him from faith; - when one is of the other then there is the celestial marriage. (Arcana Coelestia 2826 Arcana Coelestia 2826[1-14])

His "Servant" is the Divine Human. See above, Chapter 42:19, the Exposition.

As to the "fear of Jehovah", and as to "fear" as an element of worship, see Chapter 11:3, the Exposition.

Who is there among you that fears Jehovah, - that walks in darkness, and has no light! etc. - From this passage it may appear that by walking, in a spiritual sense, is signified to live, and because it signifies to live, therefore, when predicated of the Lord, Life itself is understood; for the Lord is Life itself, and all others are recipients of life from Him, as may be seen above, Apocalypse Explained 82, 84. Apocalypse Explained 97.

11. Behold, all you who kindle a fire; who encompass yourselves with sparks: walk you in the light of your fire, and in the sparks which you have kindled. This you shall have at My hand; you shall lie down in sorrow.

Verse 11. All you who kindle a fire, etc. - In respect to "fire" in a bad sense, as signifying the evil of lusts and cupidities arising from the love of self and of the world, see Chapter 9:17-19, 33:11, 12, 14, the Exposition.

---
Isaiah Chapter 50.

1. THUS says Jehovah, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or who is he among My creditors to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have you been sold; and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

2. Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? and when I called, none answered? Is My hand so greatly shortened, that it cannot redeem? and is there no power in Me to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea; I make the rivers a desert; so that their fish putrefy, because there is no water; and they die for thirst.

3. I clothe the heavens with blackness; and sackcloth I make their covering.

4. The Lord Jehovih has given me the tongue of the learned, that I might know how to speak in season a word to the weary: He wakens, morning by morning, He wakens mine ear, to hearken as the learned.

5. The Lord Jehovih has opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious; neither did I turn away backward.

6. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: my face I hid not from calumnies and spitting.

7. For the Lord Jehovih will help me; therefore I am not ashamed: therefore have I set my face as a flint; and I know that I shall not be confounded.

8. He that justifies me is near: who will contend with me? let us stand up together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.

9. Behold, the Lord Jehovih will help me: who is he that shall condemn me? Lo! all of them shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall devour them,

10. Who is there among you that fears Jehovah, that hearkens unto the voice of His Servant; that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and stay himself upon his God.

11. Behold, all you who kindle a fire; who encompass yourselves with sparks: walk you in the light of your fire, and in the sparks which you have kindled. This you shall have at My hand; you shall lie down in sorrow.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 50


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 40, 2708, 9408

Apocalypse Revealed 290, 492


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 342, 637

Scriptural Confirmations 19, 97

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sackcloth
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