The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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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

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

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




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.

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

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
'Waters,' 'rivers,' and 'depths,' as in Psalm 78:15-16, signify truths from the Lord.

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...

second
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...

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

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...

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
'Stars' signify the knowledge of truth and good. 'Stars' are frequently mentioned in the Word, and always signify goods and truths, but in an opposite...

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
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.

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,...

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

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

female
Female signifies good.

meat
'Provision' or 'meat,' as in Genesis 42:25 and Psalm 78:25, signifies support from truth and good.

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)      

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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.

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Arcana Coelestia #5313

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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5313. 'Only in the throne will I be great, more than you' means that the natural will be seen as sovereign, because the celestial of the spiritual acts through the natural. This is clear from the meaning of 'being great, more than another' as being greater, in this case so far as what is seen or appears to be so; and from the meaning of 'the throne' at this point as the natural. The natural is meant by 'the throne' when the celestial of the spiritual is meant by the one who is seated on it; for the natural is like a throne for the spiritual or in this case the celestial of the spiritual. Generally what is lower is like a throne for what is higher; for the higher exists and acts within the lower, indeed acts through the lower. What is done by it seems to be the work of the lower because, as stated, it acts through the lower. This is the meaning of what Pharaoh said to Joseph - Only in the throne will I be great, more than you.

[2] 'Throne' is used frequently in the Word when reference is made to Divine Truth and judgement based on this. In these places 'throne' means in the internal sense that which is the essence of Divine kingship, and 'the one seated on it' is the Lord Himself acting as King or Judge. But the exact meaning of 'the throne', as with the meaning of quite a number of other things, is determined by the context. When the Lord's essential Divine Being and His Divine Human are meant by 'the one seated on the throne', Divine Truth going forth from Him is meant by 'the throne'. When however Divine Truth going forth from the Lord is meant by 'the one seated on the throne', the whole of heaven, which Divine Truth suffuses, is meant by 'the throne'. And when the Lord present with Divine Truth in the higher heavens is meant by 'the one seated on the throne', Divine Truth as this exists in the lowest heaven, and also as it exists in the Church, is meant by 'the throne'. Thus the context decides whatever specific meaning 'the throne' may have. The reason 'the throne' means that which belongs to Divine Truth is that in the Word 'king' means truth, and so too does 'kingdom'. For the meaning of 'king', see 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068; and for that of 'kingdom', 1672, 2547, 4691.

(References: Revelation 21:2)


[3] The specific meaning that 'throne' has at any point in the Word is evident from the train of thought in which it occurs, as in Matthew,

I say to you, You shall not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Matthew 5:34-35.

And elsewhere in the same gospel,

He who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by Him who sits on it. Matthew 23:22.

Here it is explicitly stated that heaven is 'God's throne'. 'The earth', which is called 'a footstool', means that which is beneath heaven, and so means the Church - the Church being meant by 'the earth', see 566, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535. A similar usage is seen in Isaiah,

Thus said Jehovah, The heavens are My throne and the earth My footstool. Isaiah 66:1.

And in David,

Jehovah has established His throne in the heavens. Psalms 103:19.

In Matthew,

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Matthew 25:31.

This refers to a last judgement, 'the one seated on the throne' being called 'the King', in verses 34, 40 In the internal sense here 'the throne of glory' is the Divine Truth that flows from Divine Good in heaven, 'the one seated on the throne' being the Lord, who - inasmuch as He is a judge by virtue of Divine Truth - is called 'the King'.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1068, Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118; Matthew 25:34, 25:40)


[4] In Luke,

He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord will give Him the throne of David His father. Luke 1:32.

These words were spoken by the angel to Mary. It is clear to anyone that here 'the throne of David' is not the kingdom which David possessed; for it is not a kingdom on earth but one in heaven. Nor therefore is David meant by 'David' but the Lord's Divine kingship, while 'the throne' means Divine Truth that goes forth and constitutes His kingdom. In John,

I was in the spirit, and behold, a throne set in heaven, and one seated upon the throne. And the one seated was in appearance like a jasper stone and a sardis. There was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting. From the throne were coming forth lightnings and thunders and voices, and likewise seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. In addition, before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. Then in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind. Whenever the four living creatures gave glory and honour and thanks to the one seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders would fall down before the one seated on the throne and would worship the one who lives for ever and ever, and would cast their crowns before the throne. Revelation 4:2-end.

(References: Revelation 4:2-11, 4:2-10)


[5] This description of the throne of the Lord's glory is used to depict Divine Truth which goes forth from Him. Representatives are used, but if someone has no knowledge of what is meant by these he will hardly be able to know anything at all about what the details of this prophecy hold within them and will suppose that all such details are devoid of any deeper Divine content. The person who knows no better cannot do other than conceive of the heavenly kingdom as one that is similar to a kingdom in the world. But in fact 'a throne set in heaven' means Divine Truth there, and so heaven as regards Divine Truth. 'One seated upon a throne' is used to mean the Lord; and the reason why in appearance He looked like 'a jasper stone and a sardis' is that those stones, like all precious stones in the Word, mean Divine Truth, 114, 3858, 3862, while stones in general mean the truths of faith, 643, 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798.

[6] 'A rainbow around the throne' means truths made translucent by good, for in the next life colours are products of the light of heaven, and the light of heaven is Divine Truth. Regarding rainbows in the next life. see 1042, 1043, 1053, 1623-1625; and regarding colours there, 1053, 1624, 3993, 4530, 4922, 4677, 4741, 4742. By 'the thrones of the twenty-four elders around the throne' are meant all aspects of truth in their entirety, like the things meant by 'twelve'; for 'twelve' means all aspects of truth in their entirety, see 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913. 'The lightnings, thunders, and voices which were coming forth from the throne' means the feelings of terror which Divine Truth produces in those who are not governed by good. 'The seven lamps of fire burning' are affections for truth which is rooted in good, which likewise usher in harmful consequences for those who are not governed by good and which are therefore called 'the seven spirits of God', who, as is evident from what comes later on, 1 did usher in harmful consequences.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1042-1043, Arcana Coelestia 2129-2130, Arcana Coelestia 4741-4742)


[7] 'The sea of glass before the throne' is every truth within the natural, thus the cognitions and the factual knowledge present there; for these are meant by 'the sea', see 28, 2850.'The four living creatures which were in the midst of the throne and around the throne, and which were full of eyes in front and behind' are ideas in the understanding which are received from the Divine in heaven. 'Four' means the joining of those ideas to desires present in the will; for truths belong to the understanding part and forms of good to the will part of the human mind. This explains why it is said that 'they were full of eyes in front and behind', for 'the eyes' means ideas in the understanding and therefore in a higher sense matters of belief, 2701, 3820, 4403-4421, 4523-4534. 'Four' means a joining together, as likewise does 'two', 1686, 3519, 5194. The holiness of Divine Truth going forth from the Lord is described in what follows at this point [in the Book of Revelation].

[8] Because 'the twenty-four thrones' and 'the twenty-four elders' mean all aspects of truth, or all aspects of faith, in their entirety, and 'twelve' has a similar meaning, as has just been stated, one may consequently see what 'the twelve thrones on which the twelve apostles were seated' is used to mean in the internal sense, namely all aspects of truth, the grounds upon which, and the standard by which judgement takes place. Their thrones are referred to in Matthew as follows,

Jesus said to the disciples, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in this generation, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28.

And in Luke,

I bestow on you, just as My Father bestowed on Me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22:29-30.

'The twelve apostles' means all aspects of truth, see 2129, 2553, 3354, 3488, 3858, as do 'the twelve sons of Jacob' and therefore 'the twelve tribes of Israel', 3858, 3921, 3926, 3939, 4060, 4603. The apostles have no power to judge anyone at all, 2129, 2557.

[9] Similarly in John,

I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgement was given to them. Revelation 20:4.

Here also 'thrones' means all aspects of truth, which are the grounds upon which, and the standard by which judgement takes place. Much the same is also meant by 'the angels' with whom the Lord will come to the judgement, in Matthew 25:31. When 'angels' are mentioned in the Word some attribute of the Lord is meant, see 1705, 1925, 2320, 2821, 3039, 4085, in this case truths received from the Divine, which truths are called 'judgements' in the Word, 2235.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2319)


[10] There are very many more places in which Jehovah or the Lord has a throne attributed to Him because thrones embody within themselves that which is representative of the kingdom. When in a higher heaven they are talking about Divine Truth and judgement, a throne is seen in the lowest heaven. This is the reason why a throne is, as has been stated, representative and therefore why a throne is mentioned so many times in the prophetical part of the Word. It is also the reason why in most ancient times a throne became the sign to distinguish the king and why as such a sign it now denotes the office of a monarch. Further examples of the attribution of a throne to the Lord occur in the following places: In Moses,

Moses built an altar, and called its name Jehovah Nissi. Moreover he said, Because the hand is upon the throne of Jah, Jehovah will have war against Amalek from generation to generation. Exodus 17:15-16.

No one can know what is meant by 'the hand upon the throne of Jah' or by 'Jehovah having war against Amalek from generation to generation except from the internal sense, and so unless he knows what is meant by 'the throne' and by 'Amalek'. In the Word 'Amalek' means falsities which assail truths, 1679, and 'the throne' the Divine Truth that is assailed.

[11] In David,

O Jehovah, You have maintained my judgement and my cause; You sat upon the throne, a Judge of righteousness. Jehovah will remain there for ever; He has prepared His throne for judgement. Psalms 9:4, 7.

In the same author,

Your throne, O God, will be for ever and ever (in saeculum et aeternum); a sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of Your kingdom. Psalms 45:6.

In the same author,

Cloud and thick darkness are round Him, righteousness and judgement are the foundation of His throne. Psalms 97:2.

In Jeremiah,

At that time they will call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah, and all the nations will be gathered to it. Jeremiah 3:17.

[12] 'Jerusalem" stands for the Lord's spiritual kingdom. This kingdom is again meant by the new Jerusalem in Ezekiel, and also by 'the holy Jerusalem coming down from heaven' in the Book of Revelation. The Lord's spiritual kingdom exists where that which is pre-eminent is Divine Truth holding Divine Good within it, whereas the Lord's celestial kingdom exists where that which is pre-eminent is Divine Good from which Divine Truth flows. From this one may see why Jerusalem is called 'the throne of Jehovah'. And in David,

In Jerusalem they sit - the thrones for judgement. Psalms 122:5.

But Zion is called 'the throne of Jehovah's glory' in Jeremiah,

Have you utterly rejected Judah, has your soul loathed Zion? Do not spurn [us], for Your name's sake; do not dishonour the throne of your glory. Jeremiah 14:19, 21.

'Zion' is used to mean the Lord's celestial kingdom.

(References: Ezekiel 1:1; Revelation 21:1, Revelation 22:1)


[13] The way in which the Lord when executing judgement is represented in heaven, where visual scenes like those described in various places in the Prophets come before people's eyes, may be seen in Daniel,

I saw, until thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days was seated. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was a flame of fire, its wheels burning fire. A river of fire issued and came forth before Him, a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The judgement sat down, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10.

Sights like this occur constantly in heaven; all are representatives. They have their origin in what angels are discussing in the higher heavens, which discussion comes down from there and manifests itself in visual scenes. The angelic spirits to whom the Lord imparts perception know what is meant by such scenes. They know what is meant by 'the Ancient of Days', 'clothing white as snow', 'hair of the head like pure wool', 'a throne like a flame of fire', 'wheels that are a burning fire', and 'a river of fire going forth from Him'. 'A flame of fire' and 'a river of fire' in this case represent the Good of Divine Love, 974, 4906, 5071, 5215.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 934, Arcana Coelestia 1906)


[14] It is similar with what is said in Ezekiel,

Above the expanse that was above the heads of the cherubim, in appearance like a sapphire stone, there was the likeness of a throne, and above the likeness of a throne there was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it. Ezekiel 1:26; 10:1.

Likewise with what is said in the first Book of Kings,

I saw - the prophet Micah said - Jehovah sitting on His throne, and the entire host of heaven standing beside Him, on His right hand and on His left. 1 Kings 22:19.

Anyone who does not know what these particular descriptions represent, or what their consequent spiritual meanings are, cannot help supposing that the Lord has a throne in the way kings on earth do, and that things actually do exist as they are described by the prophets. But no such phenomena occur in the [higher] heavens; rather they are sights presented to those in the lowest heaven, within which - as within images - they see Divine arcana.

[15] The Lord's kingship, by which one means the Divine Truth that goes forth from Him, was also represented by the throne that Solomon built, described in the first Book of Kings as follows,

Solomon made a large throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. There were six steps to the throne, and a rounded top to the throne at the back of it; there were armrests 2 on either side at the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the armrests, 2 and twelve lions standing there, above the six steps on either side. 1 Kings 10:18-20.

It was a throne of glory that was represented by all this. 'Lions' are Divine Truths engaged in conflict and overcoming, 'twelve lions' being all those Truths in their entirety.

(References: 1 Kings 10:18-21)


[16] Since almost everything in the Word has a contrary meaning, 'a throne' has such too. Its contrary meaning is a kingdom of falsity, as in John,

To the angel of the Church which is in Pergamum, I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Revelation 1:12-13.

In the same book,

The dragon gave the beast coming up out of the sea his power, and his throne, and great authority. Revelation 13:2.

In the same book,

The fifth angel poured out his bowl onto the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened. Revelation 16:10.

In Isaiah,

You said in your heart, I will go up into the heavens, above the stars of God I will raise my throne. Isaiah 14:13.

This refers to Babel.

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Footnotes:

1. i.e. in Chapter 8 of the Book of Revelation

2. literally, hands

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(References: Revelation 2:12-13, 2:13, 4:2-10)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 5321, 5322, 5417, 6524, 6832, 7779, 8625, 9166, 9407, 9408, 9714, 9741, 9857, 9917, 9930, 10360

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 25, 31, 134, 205, 448


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


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