The Bible

Genesis 1

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 2 →

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 2 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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

Exodus 20:11

Deuteronomy 4:19, 32:4

2 Kings 19:15

2 Chronicles 2:11

Nehemiah 9:6

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

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

Proverbs 8:29

Ecclesiastes 3:11

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

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

Jonah 1:9

Zechariah 12:1

Matthew 19:4

Mark 4:28, 10:6

Luke 3:38

Acts of the Apostles 4:24, 17:29

1 Corinthians 11:7, 15:38

2 Corinthians 4:6, 6:14

Colossians 3:10

1 Timothy 4:4

Hebrews 6:8, 11:3

James 3:9

2 Peter 5, 6

Revelation 4:11

Word/Phrase Explanations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

female
Female signifies good.

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

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

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

Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #9408

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

Study this Passage

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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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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10268

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 25


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 270, 701, 717


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

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Explained #717

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

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717. And upon his heads seven diadems.- That this signifies Divine truths in the ultimate of order, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, here those truths adulterated and profaned, is evident from the signification of the heads of the dragon, as denoting the truths scientific (vera scientifica) of the Word, which are adulterated and profaned (that they signify insanity in spiritual things, but still craftiness in deceiving and leading astray, may be seen above, n. 714); from the signification of diadems or precious stones, as denoting Divine truths in the ultimate of order, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, of which we shall speak presently; and from the signification of seven, as denoting all things, and as being used in reference to holy things, and, in the opposite sense, in reference to profane things (concerning which see above, n. 715), here it is said of profane things, because of the truths of the Word adulterated, and thus, profaned. It is therefore plain that the seven diadems upon the heads of the dragon signify Divine truths in the ultimate of order, here those truths adulterated and profaned.

(References: Revelation 12:3; The Apocalypse Explained 714, 715)


[2] Precious stones, which are diadems, signify Divine truths in the ultimate of order, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, because a stone signifies truth, therefore precious stones signify Divine truths. They mean Divine truths in the ultimate of order, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, because those truths are translucent; for there is in them a spiritual sense, and in that sense there is the light of heaven, from which all things of the sense of the letter of the Word are full of light, and are also variegated, according to the connection of things in the spiritual sense, from which arise modifications of heavenly light, that produce colours such as appear in the heavens, and thence in precious stones of various kinds.

[3] Diadems were seen upon the seven heads of the dragon, because the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word beam with light (lucent) wherever they are, both with the evil and with the good, for the spiritual light in them is not extinguished because they happen to be with the evil, for heaven still flows into those truths. But since the evil adulterate them, and consequently see in them nothing of the light of heaven, and yet believe them to be holy, for the reason that they use them to confirm the falsities of their religion, therefore, because they believe in their holiness, those truths still shine with light before them; and since this is the case, and since they secure communication with the heavens through those truths, they are at length deprived of them, and left to their own falsities in which there is no light, and this takes place when they are sent down into hell.

[4] That the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word appear as diadems is evident from the diadems in spiritual world. In the palaces of the angels in heaven there are many things that are refulgent with precious stones; and precious stones are also sometimes sent down into the lower parts, and are presented as a gift to those who have done some good thing; in fact, they are also sold there as in the world, especially by the Jews, who trade in them there. It is granted and allowed to the Jews in the spiritual world, as in the natural world, to trade in precious stones, because they look upon the sense of the letter of the Word as holy. For this reason also noble women below the heavens also adorn themselves with diadems just as is done in the world. And when it is asked where those diadems in heaven, and thus in the lower parts, are from, it is replied that they are from the Lord, and from the spiritual light which is from Him, and that they are the ultimates of that light which are called effects; also, it is said that they are forms representative of affections for truth from good, thus that they are Divine truths in the ultimate of order, such as are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word. Because precious stones are thence, therefore there are also some in the world of spirits who are allowed to make diadems by putting together certain truths from the sense of the letter of the Word, but these diadems are not genuine and not hard like crystal, because they are artificial.

[5] From these things the signification of diadems or precious stones is now evident in the following passages.

In Isaiah:

"O afflicted, and tossed with tempests and not comforted! behold, I lay thy stones with stibium, and thy foundations in sapphires, and I will make thy suns a carbuncle, and thy gates into fiery stones (lapides pyropi), and all thy border into stones of desire, and all thy sons shall be taught of Jehovah" (liv. 11-13).

This is said of the barren who did not bear who should have many sons; the barren signify the nations, who had no Divine truths, because they had not the Word, therefore it is said, "O afflicted, and tossed with tempests and not comforted!" to be afflicted and tossed with tempests being said of falsities, by which such are infested and carried hither and thither. That when the Lord should come He would reveal to them Divine truths, and instruct them, is signified by, He will lay her stones with stibium, and her foundations in sapphires, and [will make thy] suns a carbuncle, and her gates into fiery stones, and her borders into stones of desire. That the precious stones here mentioned mean Divine truths in the ultimate of order, like those of the sense of the letter of the Word, in which internal truths are contained, such as those in the spiritual sense of the Word, is clear. For the foundations, gates, and borders which he will lay with those precious stones, signify ultimates; it therefore follows that, in the above passage, stones in general, and sapphires, carbuncles, and fiery stones (lapides pyropi) signify such truths as are in the sense of the letter of the Word, which are ultimate truths, because they are for the natural and sensual man. Because the instruction of the nations in Divine truths is meant by those words it is added, "And all thy sons shall be taught of Jehovah." But the specific signification of sapphire, carbuncle, and fiery stone does not require to be explained here, it being necessary merely to say, that precious stones in general signify ultimate truths.

(References: Isaiah 54:11-13)


[6] Since the city of the New Jerusalem signifies the doctrine of the New Church, the foundations of its wall ultimate Divine truths, and the gates introductory Divine truths, therefore the foundations are described by twelve precious stones, and the gates by pearls, in the Apocalypse:

"The foundations of the wall of the city" of the New Jerusalem "were adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprasus, the eleventh hyacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate was [one] pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass" (xxi. 19-21).

These twelve precious stones, forming the foundations, and the twelve pearls, forming the gates, signify ultimate Divine truths, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, upon which the doctrine of that church is founded, and through which man is introduced as by gates. The foundations are said to be of precious stones, and the gates of pearls, because the sense of the letter of the Word contains in itself the spiritual sense, thus the light of heaven, from which the sense of the letter of the Word is transparent, as those stones are from light and from fire. But more will be said upon this subject when the details are explained.

(References: Revelation 21:18-21, Revelation 21:19-21)


[7] Similar things are signified by the precious stones which formed the breast-plate of judgment called Urim and Thummim, which was upon the ephod of Aaron, and also by those that were set upon the shoulders of the ephod, in Moses:

"They shall make the ephod of gold, purple, crimson, scarlet double-dyed, and fine twined linen, the work of the cunning workman. Thou shalt take two schoham stones, and shalt engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, the work of the engraver of stone, with the engravings of a seal thou shalt engrave the two stones above the names of the sons of Israel; thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold; and thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod. And thou shalt make the breast-plate of judgment with the work of a cunning workman, like the work of the ephod shalt thou make it, and thou shalt fill it with filling of stones; there shall be four rows of stones. The first row a ruby, a topaz, a carbuncle; the second row a chrysoprasus, a sapphire, and a diamond; the third row a cyanus, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, a schoham, and a jasper. The stones shall be above the names of the sons of Israel, twelve upon their names, the engravings of a seal for every one above his name, they shall be for the twelve tribes." This was the breast-plate of judgment, Urim and Thummim. (Exod. xxviii. 6-30).

What these things involve no one can know, unless it is known what Aaron represented, and thus what his garments signified, and the ephod in particular, for it was because his garments were significative that they were called the garments of holiness; also what the breast-plate upon the ephod, which was called "the breast-plate of judgment, Urim and Thummim," signified; also what the twelve tribes of Israel, and what the twelve stones above their names, signified. As to Aaron himself, he represented the Lord as to the priesthood, which is His celestial kingdom; but his garments in general represented the spiritual kingdom; for this in the heavens invests the celestial kingdom. For there are two kingdoms into which the heavens are divided, the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom. That is called the celestial kingdom where the Divine Good proceeding from the Lord is received, and that is called the spiritual kingdom where Divine Truth is received; therefore Divine Truth is signified by the garments of Aaron in general, and Divine Truth in ultimates by the ephod, since this was the ultimate clothing. That garments in general signify truths, and that the Lord's garments, which appeared bright as the light, when He was transfigured before the disciples, signified Divine Truth proceeding from Him, and similarly the garments divided by the soldiers, may be seen above (n. 64, 65, 196, 271, 395, 475, 476, 637). It is therefore evident that the twelve stones in the breast-plate of the ephod signified Divine truths in ultimates, the same as the twelve sons of Israel, and the twelve tribes; that both these signify in the Word the truths of the church in their whole extent, may be seen above (n. 431, 657).

(References: Exodus 28:6-21, 28:6-30, Exodus 28:30, The Apocalypse Explained 64-65, 195, 271, 395, 431, 475-476, The Apocalypse Explained 637, 657)


[8] The reason why that breast-plate was composed of precious stones, under which were the names of the twelve sons of Israel, was, that by means of it answers might be received from heaven, these being shown in the breast-plate, and from it, by variegations of the colours beaming forth from those stones according to representations of Divine truths in the heavens; for the Divine truths that flow down from the Lord through the heavens towards the lower parts are shown there by variegations of colours. This makes it evident that those precious stones also signify Divine truths in ultimates. But these things are more fully explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 9856-9099); concerning the two schoham stones which were upon the shoulders of the ephod, n. 9831-9855; that the ephod signified the external of the spiritual kingdom, which is Divine Truth in ultimates, n. 9824. But what is specifically signified by the ruby, the topaz, and the carbuncle is shown in n. 9865; what by the chrysoprasus, the sapphire, and the diamond in n. 9868; what by the cyanus, the agate, and the amethyst in n. 9870; and what by the beryl, the schoham, and the jasper in n. 9872.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9824, 9831-9855, 9856, 9865, 9868, 9870, 9872)


[9] The precious stones by which the knowledge of the cognitions (scientia cognitionum) of truth and good, and thus the intelligence of the king of Tyre are described, have a similar signification in Ezekiel:

King of Tyre, "thou full of wisdom and perfect in beauty; thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the sardonyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, chrysoprasus, and the emerald, and gold. Thou wast the cherub, the spreading out of the covering, and I have set thee; thou hast been in the mountain of the holiness of God, thou hast walked in the midst of the stones of fire" (xxviii. 12-14).

Since the king of Tyre signifies the cognitions of the truth of the church from the Word, and indeed from its literal sense, it is therefore said that he was in Eden the garden of God, Eden the Garden of God signifying intelligence from the Lord through the Word; for Eden, like the East, denotes the Lord, and the garden of God intelligence from Him. And because true intelligence can be acquired, that is to say, is possible, only through cognitions of truth and good from the Word understood according to their genuine sense, it is therefore said every precious stone was thy covering, every precious stone signifying the cognitions of truth and good, and covering the external of the Word, which covers its internal; the external of the Word is the sense of its letter covering the internal, which is the spiritual sense. Because man has wisdom and intelligence from this, it is therefore said, "King of Tyre, thou full of wisdom and perfect in beauty," beauty signifying intelligence, for all beauty in the heavens is according to intelligence. The sense of the letter of the Word is also meant by "the cherub, the spreading out of the covering," for cherubim signify protection lest the Lord should be approached except through the good of love; and the sense of the letter of the Word, is what protects, since it covers its interiors. The mountain of holiness signifies the church as to the doctrine of love and charity; and the stones of fire, in the midst of which he walked, signify truths from the good of love, with which the life is in agreement. That precious stones here signify truths transparent from the light of heaven, which is Divine Truth, is clearly evident from this, that Tyre, in the Word, signifies the knowledges of truth and good, and these knowledges are ultimate truths, such as those of the sense of the letter of the Word. That Tyre signifies the knowledges of truth and good may be seen above (n. 514).

(References: Ezekiel 28:12-14; The Apocalypse Explained 514)


[10] In the same:

"Syria was thy trader by reason of the multitude of thy works, with chrysoprasus they gave crimson, and needle-work, and fine linen, and coral, and fiery-stone (pyropus), in thy tradings; the traders of Sheba and Raamah, these were thy traders by the chief of every spice, and by every precious stone, and gold" (xxvii. 16, 22).

This also is said of Tyre, which signifies the knowledges of the truth and good of the church from the Word, as above. Because Syria and Sheba and Raamah also signify the knowledges of truth and good, and tradings signify the acquisitions of these, it is therefore said that those nations gave precious stones in their tradings. Knowledges of truth and good are truths in ultimates, such as those of the sense of the letter and of the literal Word.

(References: Ezekiel 27:16, 27:22)


[11] In Job:

"The stones thereof are the place of sapphire, and it hath dust of gold. Where is wisdom found, and what is the place of intelligence? gold is not given in comparison with it, neither is silver weighed for the price of it; it cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, the precious onyx and the sapphire; the gold and the diamond cannot vie with it, the coral and crystal shall not be mentioned with it, and the choice of wisdom is above pearls; the topaz of Ethiopia shall not vie with it. Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to depart from evil is intelligence" (xxviii. 6, 12, 13, 15-19, 28).

Since all wisdom and intelligence comes from ultimate Divine truths spiritually understood, and those truths are signified by the precious stones here named, as the onyx, the sapphire, the diamond, the topaz, and pearls, and because these stones are formed of earthly materials, and are accounted precious in the world, but are of no account in regard to intelligence and wisdom, it is therefore said that those stones are not to be compared with intelligence and wisdom, neither are gold and silver. Comparisons are made with such things, because they are significative, otherwise they are comparatively of no account.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 28:6, 28:12, 28:15-19, 28:28; Job 28:6, Job 28:12-13, Job 28:16-19, 28:28)


[12] In David:

"Thou, Jehovah, shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion, because thy servants desire the stones thereof" (Psalm cii. 13, 14).

The stones of Zion which the servants of Jehovah desire mean Divine truths, for Zion, upon which Jehovah will have mercy, means the church which is in celestial love.

(References: Psalms 102:13-14)


[13] In Zechariah:

"Behold, the stone which I have set before Joshua" the high priest, "upon one stone seven eyes; behold, I engrave the engraving of it. In that day ye shall cry out every man to his companion, under the vine and under the fig-tree" (iii. 9, 10).

This is said of the Lord's coming, and the stone set before Joshua the priest signifies Divine Truth, which is the Word; seven eyes in one stone signify Divine Wisdom and Intelligence, which pertain to Divine truth, thus to the Word, seven being used in reference to the holy things of heaven and the church, while eyes denote intelligence and wisdom. To engrave an engraving, signifies the representative and significative thereof; the vine and the fig-tree under which they shall come, signify the church and doctrine from internal and external truths; internal truths are those that are called spiritual, and external truths are those that are called natural, and the former are signified by the vine, and the latter by the fig-tree.

(References: Zechariah 3:9-10)


[14] In Moses:

"They saw the God of Israel, and under his feet as it were a work of sapphire stone, as the substance of heaven for purity" (Exod. xxiv. 10). The God of Israel means the Lord, the work of a sapphire stone under His feet means Divine Truth in ultimates, such as the Word is in the letter; for the sole of the foot signifies the ultimate, which was all that the Jewish nation could see, since they were in the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, and not in internals. A sapphire stone signifies transparency from internal truths; as the substance of heaven, for purity, signifies the transparency of the angelic heaven. But these things are explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 9406-9408). Since a precious stone signifies Divine Truth in ultimates transparent from interior truths, therefore the luminary* of the city New Jerusalem is described in the Apocalypse as "Like unto a precious stone, as it were a jasper stone shining like crystal" (xxi. 11).

And because by the white horse in the same book is signified the understanding of the Word, and by Him that sat upon the horse the Lord as to the Word, therefore

"Upon the head of him who sat upon the white horse were seen many diadems, and his name was called the Word of God" (Apoc. xix. 12, 13).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9406-9408; Exodus 24:10; Revelation 19:12-13, 21:11)


[15] So far concerning precious stones with those who are in Divine Truths; something shall now be said about precious stones with those who are in infernal falsities. These have precious stones also while they live in the world, because they too have knowledges of truth and good from the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of the letter; therefore precious stones or diadems are ascribed equally to them, as in the present case to the dragon, upon whose heads were seen seven diadems. The reason is, that the Word is still the Word, and its truths are still truths in themselves, whether possessed by the evil or by the good; for the perversion and falsification of them by the evil does not change their essence. This is the reason why, in the following parts of the Apocalypse, similar things were seen upon the woman sitting on the scarlet coloured beast, by whom Babylon is described. It is said that the woman sitting upon the scarlet coloured beast was full of names of blasphemy,

"and had seven heads and ten horns; she was clothed in crimson (purpura) and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone, and pearls, and upon her forehead a name written, Babylon the great" (Apoc. xvii. 3-5).

But more shall be said of this in what follows. Similarly elsewhere in the Apocalypse:

"The merchants of the earth shall weep and wail over Babylon the great, because no one buyeth her merchandize any more, the merchandize of gold and silver, and precious stone, and pearl and fine linen, and crimson (purpura), and silk and scarlet. And the merchants shall say, Woe, woe! the great city which was clothed in fine linen, and crimson, and scarlet, decked with gold, precious stone, and pearls" (xviii. 11, 12, 15, 16).

(References: Revelation 17:3-5, 18:11-12, 18:16)


[16] Because precious stones, crimson (purpura) and fine linen, signify the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, it is therefore said of "the rich man at whose gate lay Lazarus, that he was clothed with crimson and fine linen" (Luke xvi. 19, 20). The rich man means the Jewish nation, which, because it had the Word in which are Divine truths, is said to be clothed in crimson and fine linen; and Lazarus the poor man means the nations who had not the Word, and consequently no truths. It is thence evident why the rich man although he was evil, and was afterwards cast into hell, had garments of crimson (purpura) and fine linen.

(References: Luke 16:19-20)


[17] Similar things are also said in Daniel; concerning the king of the north, who made war against the king of the south.

"The king of the north shall honour as a god the fortresses upon his station, a god which his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, silver, and precious stone, and desirable things; he shall make strongholds of fortresses with a strange god; whosoever shall acknowledge shall be greatly honoured" (xi. 38, 39).

This chapter treats of the war of the king of the north with the king of the south; and the king of the north means those who have knowledge from the Word, but do not live it, thus also those who are in faith alone so called, and yet not in charity, for they reject the latter as not conducing to salvation. But the king of the south means those who are in intelligence from the Word, because they are in charity; such are the king of the south, or pertain to king of the south; for the south signifies light, and light signifies intelligence. Those who are in charity, which is the life of faith, have the light of intelligence from the Word. But the king of the north, or those who pertain to the king of the north, are such as are described above, because the north signifies night, and also a cold light, like the light of winter, which does not cause fructification because devoid of heat; for spiritual heat is charity, and all germination takes place from heat by means of light. The war between those kings is described because the last time of the church is treated of, when everything of salvation is placed in knowledge (scientia) from the Word, and nothing in the life. The Jewish nation placed everything in the traditions by which they falsified the Word; and the truths of the Word become traditions when there is no life of charity; similarly the truths of the Word become falsities when faith is separated from charity. From this it is evident that the king of the north means those who are in faith alone, that is, in faith without charity.

(References: Daniel 11:38-39)


[18] The same are also meant in Daniel by the he-goat which fought with the ram; and also by the dragon in this chapter, with this difference, that the dragon properly means the learned who have confirmed themselves by doctrine and life in faith separated from charity, for these have poison, like dragons, which destroys charity. For this reason the angel Michael is also mentioned in Daniel (xii. 1). That those pervert and falsify the truths of the Word who make everything of the church rest on a knowledge of cognitions (scientia cognitionum) from the Word and nothing upon life, is meant by the king of the north honouring a strange god which their fathers knew not, and by honouring him with gold, silver, precious stone, and pearls. His god means the truths of the Word falsified, since "God" when used in the Word means the Divine Truth, thus also the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, and when "Jehovah" is used, the Lord as to Divine Good is meant, thus also the Divine Good proceeding from the Lord. Therefore a strange god whom his fathers knew not, means the truths of the Word falsified, which in themselves are falsities, and are not acknowledged by those who were previously of the church. Those truths and goods of the Word themselves, although falsified, are signified by precious stones and by desirable things, as well as by silver and gold, for the truths of the Word do not change their essence when possessed by the evil. Fortresses upon the station, and strongholds of fortresses, signify such things as belong to [man's] own intelligence, confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word, which is such, that, when not interiorly understood, it may be so construed as to confirm any heresies whatever. From these things the signification of the seven diadems upon the heads of the dragon is now evident.

* Luminare; Greek, ho phosteir [in Greek].

(References: Daniel 12:1; Exodus 28:6-21, Exodus 28:30; Job 28:12, Job 28:15-19; Revelation 12:3, Revelation 21:18-21)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 712, 777, 954, 1032, 1038, 1043, 1142

Other New Christian Commentary

Stone 1

Needy 1

Strong holds 1


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