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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Isaiah 51:6

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6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Isaiah 51      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 46

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

1. HEARKEN unto Me, you that pursue justice, you that seek Jehovah: look unto the rock whence you were hewn, and to the excavation of the pit, whence you were digged.

VERSE 1. By the "rock." is understood the Lord as to Divine Truth; and by the "pit" is here signified the Word, as also in other places. To be "hewn out of the rock, and digged out of the pit", signifies to be regenerated from divine Truths and divine Goods, thus by Truths from Good from the Lord; for "stones" which are cut out of a rock signify Truths from the Lord, and "ground" which is dug out of the pit signifies Good from the Lord, wherefore it is called "the excavation [effossio] out of the pit." Apocalypse Explained 411.

Verses 1-3. Look unto the rock whence you were hewn, and to the excavation of the pit whence you were digged; etc. - These things are said concerning the Lord, and concerning the New Church from Him. The Lord as to Divine Truth, and as to the doctrine of Truth, is understood by "the rock whence you were hewn", and by "the pit whence you were digged", see above, n.411; but the Lord as to the Divine, from which comes reformation, is understood by "Abraham, to whom they should look", and by "Sarah, who bare them;'' for by "Abraham", "Isaac", and "Jacob", in the Word, are not understood those persons, but the Lord as to His Divine Itself, and the Divine Human, as may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia 1893, 2833, 3245. But the heavenly marriage, which is of Divine Good and Divine Truth, from which comes all reformation, and. thence the church, is signified by "Abraham" and, "Sarah, who bare them."

Inasmuch as the Lord is understood by "Abraham", therefore it is said, "I called, him alone [or when he was but one], and, I blessed him, and I multiplied him"; and afterwards that "Jehovah will comfort Zion, and all her waste places"; "Zion" signifying the New Church, "waste places" Truths destroyed, and "comfort" or "consolation" the restoration of the church. That they who will be of that church will acknowledge the Lord, and receive love to Him, and thence wisdom, is signified by "He shall make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah"; "Eden" denoting love to the Lord, and the "garden of Jehovah" wisdom thence derived. Apocalypse Explained 721.

That the Lord, and the Divine Truth, as well as a true faith, is signified by a "Rock", see Chapter 16:1, : Exposition;

2. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah who bare you: for I called him alone, and I blessed him, and I multiplied him.

Verse 2. The Lord, as to Divine Truth, is called a "rock" and a "pit", and as to Divine Good, "Abraham the father"; and because the marriage of Goodness and Truth is represented by "Abraham and Sarah", as may be seen Arcana Coelestia 1468, 1901, Abraham is called "father", and of Sarah it is said; "she bare you.'" That "Abraham", as father, signifies the Lord as to Divine Good, may be seen in John 8:38, 39; Matthew 3:9, 10; Luke 16:19-31. Arcana Coelestia 3703 Arcana Coelestia 3703[1-23].

3. For Jehovah will comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of singing.

Verse 3. Speaking of the advent of the Lord, and of the establishment of the church, which at that time was devastated or destroyed. By "Zion" is signified the church where the Lord is to be worshipped; by her "waste places" are signified the defect of Truth and Good from a want of knowledge.

By "making her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah", is signified that they shall have Truth and Good in abundance; "wilderness" is predicated of the want of Good, and "desert" of the want of Truth :

"Eden" signifies Good in abundance, and the "garden of Jehovah" Truth in abundance. Inasmuch as a "song" and "singing" signify thanksgiving [confession] from joy of heart, therefore it is said, "Joy and gladuess shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of singing"; the "voice of singing"; denoting the same as a "song." Apocalypse Explained 326.

As to "thanksgiving" (or confession), see Chapter 12:1, the Exposition.

He shall make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah, etc. - The spiritual meaning of a "garden" is grounded in the nature of representations in the spiritual world, in which world gardens and paradises appear where dwell the angels who excel in intelligence and wisdom. The intelligence and wisdom which they receive from the Lord form themselves into such representations around them, and this takes place from correspondence; all things that exist in the spiritual world being correspondences. True Christian Religion 467.

Hence it is that man is so often compared to a "tree", and the church to a "garden", as in Isaiah 51:3; 58:11; Jeremiah 31:12. Coronis 27.

4. Attend unto Me, O My people; and give ear unto Me, O My nation: for the law shall proceed from Me, and My judgment will I cause to break forth for a light to the peoples.

5. My justice is near; My salvation is gone forth; and Mine arms shall judge the peoples: the islands shall hope in Me, and on Mine arm shall they trust.

Verses 4, 5. These things are also said concerning the Lord. "Attend unto Me, O My people, and give ear unto Me, O My nation", signifies all of the church who are in Truths and Goods; "people" those who are In Truths, and "nation" those who are in Goods; it is said "attend you" and "give ear" in the plural number, because all are understood. "The law shall proceed from Me, and My judgment will I cause to break forth for a light to the peoples, "signifies that from Him is Divine Good and Divine Truth, from which is illustration; "law" signifies the Divine Good of the Word, and "judgment" the Divine Truth of the Word; and "for a light to the peoples" denotes illustration. "My justice is near, My salvation is gone forth", signifies judgment, when they are saved who are in the Good of love, and who are in Truths thence derived; "justice" is predicated of the salvation of those who are in Good at the day of judgment, and "salvation" of the salvation of those who are in Truths. "Mine arms shall judge the peoples", signifies judgment upon those of the church who are in falsities; "peoples" here being taken in an opposite sense. "The islands shall hope in Me, and on Mine arm shall they trust" signifies the access of those to the church who are remote from the Truths of the church, and their trust in the Lord; "islands" denoting those who are remote from the Truths of the church, because they are in natural light, and not yet in spiritual light from the Word; and to "trust in His arm" signifying confidence in the Lord, who has all power, - "arm", when predicated of the Lord, denoting Omnipotence. Apocalypse Explained 406. See also Arcana Coelestia 9857.

6. Lift up unto the heavens your eyes, and look unto the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke; and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and its inhabitants shall die in like manner: but My salvation shall be for ever, and My justice shall not be broken.

Verse 6. The heavens shall vanish away like smoke, etc. - By "the heavens which shall vanish away, and the earth which shall wax old like a garment", is understood the church, which successively falls away, and at length is desolated, but not the visible heaven and the habitable earth; wherefore it is said, "and its inhabitants shall die in like manner", - to "die" signifying spiritually to die. Apocalypse Explained 304.

By "smoke" is signified what is false, by which those in the former heaven would perish; and by "a garment waxing old" is signified Truth destroyed by the falsities of evil. A comparison is made between "smoke vanishing away" and "a garment waxing old", because comparisons in the Word are also correspondences, and equally signify. Apocalypse Explained 539.

7. Hearken unto Me, you that know justice; the people in whose heart is My law: fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you dismayed by their revilings.

8. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them up like wool: but My justice shall be for ever, and My salvation from generation to generation.

Verses 7, 8. Fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you dismayed by their revilings; for the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them up like wool, etc. - The "moth" stands for falsities in the extremes of man, and the "worm" for evils therein; for "a garment which the moth eats" signifies inferior or exterior Truths, which are of the sensual man; (see Arcana Coelestia 2576, 5248) and "the wool which the worm eats" signifies inferior or exterior Goods, which are of the sensual man, as is evident from many passages, and also from the signification of a "sheep", from which wool is derived, and which signifies the Good of charity, n. 4169. Arcana Coelestia 9331.

9. Awake, awake, clothe yourself with strength, O arm of Jehovah! awake, as in the days of antiquity, in the generations of old. Art you not the same that smote Rahab, that wounded the dragon?

Verses 9, 10. The "arm of Jehovah "is the Lord as to the Divine Human. The "days of antiquity" [or of eternity] signify the state of the most ancient church; "eternity" is predicated of that church, because it was in the Good of love to the Lord, of which Good, because immediately from the Lord, "eternity" is predicated; the "generations of old" [or eternities] signify Goods in the ancient church hence derived. "The waters of the great deep and the depths of the sea" is the hell, where those are who are in faith separate from charity, and in a life of evil; "the waters of the sea", under which they are, signify falsities; for falsities, in the other life, appear as dense and dark clouds, and as inundations of waters; "the redeemed, who pass over", are those who are liberated by the Lord. Arcana Coelestia 8099. See also 6239, 9789.

Verse 9. Art you not the same that smote Rahab, etc. - See above, as to "Rahab", Chapter 30:7, note; and as to the "dragon", see Chapter 27:1, the Exposition.

10. Art you not the same that dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep? that made the depths of the sea a path for the redeemed to pass over?

Verses 10, 15. By "the sons of Israel, before whom the Red Sea [Suph] was dried up, so that they passed through safe", are understood all who are in Truths from Good, whom the Lord, defends, lest the falsities of evil which ascend continually from the hells should injure them. This is what is understood by "drying up the sea, the waters of the great deep", and by "making the depths thereof into a path for the redeemed to pass over"; likewise by "leading them through the abysses or depths"; for the falsities exhaled from the hells continually cling to man, consequently the hells; for, whether we speak of falsities from the hells, or of the hells themselves, it is the same thing; but the Lord continually dissipates them with those who are in Truths originating in Good from Himself. This, then, is what is signified by "drying up the sea, and leading them through the abysses." They who are in Truths grounded in Good from the Lord; are understood by the "redeemed." Apocalypse Explained 538.

11. Thus shall the ransomed of Jehovah return, and come to Zion with singing; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: joy and gladness shall they obtain, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Verse 11. Joy and gladness shall they obtain, etc. - It is said "joy and gladness" on account of the marriage of what is Good and True; for "joy" is predicated of what is Good, because from love, as it is properly of the heart and of the will; and "gladness" is predicated of Truth, because of the love thereof, for it is properly of the mind [animi] and of its thoughts; wherefore it is said, "joy of heart and gladness of mind." There are everywhere in the Word two expressions, of which one relates to what is Good and the other to what is True and this because the conjunction of what is Good and True makes heaven and the church; hence both heaven and the church are compared to a "marriage", and the Lord is said to be "the Bridegroom and the Husband", and heaven and the church "the bride and wife"; Wherefore every one who is not in that marriage is not an angel of heaven or a man of the church. The reason is, because no Good can be given with anyone except it is formed by Truths, nor can Truth be given with anyone except it live from Good; for all Truth is the form of Good, and all Good is the esse of Truth; and because one cannot be given without the other, it follows that the marriage of what is Good and True must necessarily exist with the man of the church as with an angel of heaven. All intelligence and wisdom come from this marriage, for from it there constantly spring forth Goods and Truths from which the intellect and the will are formed. Apocalypse Explained 660.

12. I, even I, am He that comforts you: who art you, that you should fear man that shall die, and the son of man that shall become as the grass?

Verse 12. By these words is signified that all things are from the Lord, and nothing from self-derived intelligence and wisdom. "Man" signifies man as to wisdom, and the "son of man" the same as to intelligence; that this latter is only science is understood by "becoming as grass." Apocalypse Explained 507.

13. And forgets Jehovah your Maker, who stretched out the heavens, and founded the earth; and fears continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? but where is the fury of the oppressor?

Verse 13. Here by the "heavens" and the "earth" is signified the church as to its internal or spiritual things, and as to its external or natural things; and by "stretching out" and "laying at the foundation thereof", is signified to establish them. Apocalypse Explained 1057.

14. He that leads out shall hasten to open; and [the captive] shall not die in the pit, and his bread shall not fail.

Verse 14. Treating concerning the Lord. His advent is understood by "He that leads out shall hasten." Liberation from the falsities of ignorance is signified by "not dying in the pit"; wherefore the same is here understood by "pit", as by the "'pit" mentioned above, (Chapter 24:22) in which were the bound, Supply of spiritual instruction and nourishment is signified by "his bread not failing"; for by "bread", is understood all spiritual food, and by spiritual "food" is meant instruction in Truths and Goods, whence come intelligence and wisdom. Apocalypse Explained 537.

15. For I am Jehovah your God, who rebukes the sea, when the waves thereof roar: Jehovah of Hosts is His name,

Verse 15. Who rebukes the sea, etc. - To "rebuke the sea" is to dissipate falsities; the "waves roaring" are noisy ratiocinations from falsities against the Truths of the Word. Apocalypse Explained 304.

16. I have put My words in your mouth: and with the shadow of My hand have I covered you: to plant the heavens, and to found the earth; and to say unto Zion, You art My people.

Verses 16, 17. Here by "planting the heavens, and founding the earth", is manifestly meant to establish the church; for this is said unto the prophet" that "the Word should be put into his mouth, and that he should be covered with the shadow of the hand, to plant the heavens, and to found or to lay the foundation of the earth", whereas the foundation of the earth cannot be laid by a prophet, but that of the church may; wherefore also it is added, "to say unto Zion, You art My people"; likewise, "Awake, awake; arise, O Jerusalem" for by "Zion" and by "Jerusalem", in the Word, is understood the church. Apocalypse Explained 1057.

17. Arouse yourself, arouse yourself; arise, O Jerusalem! who have drunk from the hand of Jehovah the cup of His fury: the dregs of the cup of trembling have you drunk, you have sucked them out.

18. There is none to lead her, of all the sons she has brought forth; neither is there any to take her by the hand, of all the sons she has brought up.

Verses 17, 18. The restoration of the church which was fallen into mere falsities of evil, is signified by "Arouse, or stir up yourself; arise, O Jerusalem I who have drunk from the hand of Jehovah the cup of His fury: the dregs of the cup of trembling have you drunk, you have sucked them out." "Jerusalem" denotes the church as to doctrine; to "awake or stir up" and to "arise" denotes the restoration thereof; to "drink the cup of fury" denotes the false, and "the dregs of the cup" mere falsities, from which are evils; and to attract them is signified by "drinking and sucking them out." "There is none to lead her, of all the sons she has brought forth; neither is there any to take her by the hand, of all the sons she has brought up", signifies that no Truths of the Word which she has learned and imbibed withdraw her from falsities; "sons" here denoting Truths. Apocalypse Explained 724.

19. These two things have befallen you; who shall bemoan you? desolation, and destruction; the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort you ?

Verse 19. By "famine" is here understood the deprivation of the knowledges of Good, even until Good is no more; and by the "sword", the deprivation of the knowledges of Truth, until Truth is no more; therefore mention is also made of "devastation" and "breaking up" [confractio], the former having relation to Good being no more, and the latter to Truth being no more. Apocalypse Explained 386. See also A. O. 2799.

20. Your sons have fainted; they lie at the head of all the streets, like a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of Jehovah, the rebuke of your God.

Verse 20. Speaking of "Jerusalem", that is, of the church, devastated as to doctrine. By "sons" are meant those who are in Truths of doctrine; to "faint" and to "lie at the head of all the streets", signifies to be deprived of all Truth; the "head" or beginning of the streets denoting the entrance to Truth, consequently. all Truth.Apocalypse Explained 652.

As to "streets", etc., see Chapter 24:10-12; 35:8, the Exposition.

Your sons have fainted, etc. - These words signify that Truths are dissipated by falsities of every kind. Inasmuch as "sons" denote Truths, by "fainting" is signified to be dissipated; and by" lying at the head of all the streets", is signified by falsities of every kind; for the "streets" of a city signify doctrinal Truths, but here doctrinal falsities. Apocalypse Explained 724.

Like a wild bull in a net. - [The antelope or some wild animal is meant, which, being caught in a net, struggles to emancipate itself, but is not able; in like manner Truths in bondage to the natural man struggle, as it were, to come forth and to make him spiritual and free, but, in the perverse state of the church and of the unregenerate mind here depicted, are not able. Swedenborg has quoted the sentence in Apocalypse Explained 652, but has not. explained it.]

21. Wherefore hear now this, O you afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:

22. Thus says your Lord, Jehovah, and your God, who pleads for His people, Behold, I will take from your hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of My fury; you shalt drink of it no more:

23. But I will put it into the hand of them that afflicted you; who have said to your soul, Bow down, that we may pass over: and you didst lay down your back, as the ground; and as the street, to them that passed over.

Verse 21. By "the drunken, but not with wine", are here understood those who are in falsities from ignorance of Truth. Apocalypse Explained 376 Apocalypse Explained 376[1-40].

---
Isaiah Chapter 51.

1. HEARKEN unto Me, you that pursue justice, you that seek Jehovah: look unto the rock whence you were hewn, and to the excavation of the pit, whence you were digged.

2. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah who bare you: for I called him alone, and I blessed him, and I multiplied him.

3. For Jehovah will comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Jehovah; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of singing.

4. Attend unto Me, O My people; and give ear unto Me, O My nation: for the law shall proceed from Me, and My judgment will I cause to break forth for a light to the peoples.

5. My justice is near; My salvation is gone forth; and Mine arms shall judge the peoples: the islands shall hope in Me, and on Mine arm shall they trust.

6. Lift up unto the heavens your eyes, and look unto the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke; and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and its inhabitants shall die in like manner: but My salvation shall be for ever, and My justice shall not be broken.

7. Hearken unto Me, you that know justice; the people in whose heart is My law: fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you dismayed by their revilings.

8. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them up like wool: but My justice shall be for ever, and My salvation from generation to generation.

9. Awake, awake, clothe yourself with strength, O arm of Jehovah! awake, as in the days of antiquity, in the generations of old. Art you not the same that smote Rahab, that wounded the dragon?

10. Art you not the same that dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep? that made the depths of the sea a path for the redeemed to pass over?

11. Thus shall the ransomed of Jehovah return, and come to Zion with singing; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: joy and gladness shall they obtain, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

12. I, even I, am He that comforts you: who art you, that you should fear man that shall die, and the son of man that shall become as the grass?

13. And forgets Jehovah your Maker, who stretched out the heavens, and founded the earth; and fears continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? but where is the fury of the oppressor?

14. He that leads out shall hasten to open; and [the captive] shall not die in the pit, and his bread shall not fail.

15. For I am Jehovah your God, who rebukes the sea, when the waves thereof roar: Jehovah of Hosts is His name,

16. I have put My words in your mouth: and with the shadow of My hand have I covered you: to plant the heavens, and to found the earth; and to say unto Zion, You art My people.

17. Arouse yourself, arouse yourself; arise, O Jerusalem! who have drunk from the hand of Jehovah the cup of His fury: the dregs of the cup of trembling have you drunk, you have sucked them out.

18. There is none to lead her, of all the sons she has brought forth; neither is there any to take her by the hand, of all the sons she has brought up.

19. These two things have befallen you; who shall bemoan you? desolation, and destruction; the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort you ?

20. Your sons have fainted; they lie at the head of all the streets, like a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of Jehovah, the rebuke of your God.

21. Wherefore hear now this, O you afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:

22. Thus says your Lord, Jehovah, and your God, who pleads for His people, Behold, I will take from your hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of My fury; you shalt drink of it no more:

23. But I will put it into the hand of them that afflicted you; who have said to your soul, Bow down, that we may pass over: and you didst lay down your back, as the ground; and as the street, to them that passed over.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 51


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 1158, 9408, 10248

The Last Judgement 2


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 304, 468, 539

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 44

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Related Books  (see all)


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Bible Word Meanings

lift
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

eyes
'Pairs of hands, eyes, etc.' relate to the will and understanding, or to good and truth. The right side to the will or good, and...

To
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

heavens
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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...

beneath
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...

smoke
'Smoke' signifies divine truth in extremes, because 'fire' which gives off smoke, signifies love. 'Smoke' also signifies the same thing as 'cloud' in many places....

garment
It is said, in Deuteronomy 22:11, "Thou shalt not wear a garment of diverse sorts; as of woolen and linen together…”. This means that the...

dwell
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

die
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

salvation
'Salvation, to the Lord our God,' as in Revelation 19:1, signifies an acknowledgment and confession that salvation is from the Lord.

ever
In many cases, the use of “eternity” in the Bible is pretty literal, simple meaning forever. This is especially true when the text is referring...

righteousness
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...


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