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 #9212

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9212. 'If you ever take your companion's clothing as a pledge' means if factual knowledge of truths is dispersed by illusions that are a product of sensory impressions. This is clear from the meaning of 'taking as a pledge' as receiving a token for goods that are supplied, for 'a pledge' is a token for goods that are being lent. When spiritual things are understood instead of these, supplying goods means giving instruction in truths, and the token or pledge in this instance means truth on the level of the senses. For 'the clothing' here which is given as a pledge means the lowest level of the natural, which is that of the senses. Since illusions abound on this level and illusions wipe out truths, 'taking your companion's clothing as a pledge' means the dispersing of truths by illusions that are a product of sensory impressions. The fact that these things are meant is clear from the whole train of thought in the internal sense.

[2] In general 'clothing' means everything that clothes another, and so whatever is relatively more external. Consequently the external or natural man is called the clothing in relation to the internal or spiritual man. In a similar way truth is called the clothing in relation to good, because truth clothes good; likewise factual knowledge of truth in relation to the truth of faith which belongs to the internal man. Sensory perception, which constitutes the lowest level of life with a person, is the clothing in relation to factual knowledge of truth.

'Clothes' are lower things that cover higher ones, or what amounts to the same thing, exterior things that cover interior ones, see 2576, 5248. In general they are truths, 4545, 4763, 5319, 5954, 6914, 6917, 9093, factual knowledge of truths, 6918, or truths on the level of the senses, 9158. Sensory perception constitutes the lowest level of life with a person, 4009, 5077, 5125, 5128, 5767, 5774, 6201, 6313, 7442, 7693, and sensory perception is subject to illusions, 5084, 5089, 6201, 6948, 6949, 7442.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6948-6949)


[3] The meaning of 'clothes' as truths owes its origin to representatives in the next life. There angels and spirits appear dressed in clothes in keeping with the state of faith or truth that is theirs, and their clothes are varied in keeping with the changes which that state undergoes. Those governed by authentic truth appear dressed in white garments, and those governed by truths springing from good in shining ones. But those governed purely by good, as angels of the inmost heaven are, called celestial angels, appear naked. So it is then that clothes are truths, and that truths are meant in the Word by 'clothes', as may be seen from places referred to above. To these places let the following in the Gospels be added:

[4] In Matthew,

When Jesus was transfigured His face shone like the sun, and His garments became [white] as the light. Matthew 17:2.

'Face' in the Word means the interiors, in particular the affections, 358, 1999, 2434, 3527, 3573, 4066, 4796, 4797, 5102, 5695, 6604, 6848, 6849, and 'God's face' Goodness itself, 222, 223, 5585. 'The sun' means God's love, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4321 (end), 4696, 7083, 8644. From this it is evident what the meaning is when it says that the Lord's face shone like the Sun, namely that His interiors were the Good of Divine Love. 'His garments became [white] as the light' means Divine Truth radiating from Him, which also appears in heaven as the light, 1521, 1619-1632, 3195, 3222, 3485, 3636, 3643, 4415, 5400, 8644.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 222-223, Arcana Coelestia 4796-4797, 6848-6849)


[5] In the same gospel,

When Jesus drew near to Jerusalem they brought the she-ass and the colt and laid their garments on them and set Him on them. But a very great crowd spread their garments on the road, while others were breaking off branches from trees and spreading them on the road. Matthew 21:1, 7-8.

Riding on a she-ass and her colt was a representative sign of the Supreme Judge and King, see 2781, as also is evident from what comes before in verse 5,

Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King is coming to you, meek, seated on a she-ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.

It is also evident in Mark 11:1-12; in Luke 19:28-41; in John 12:12-16; and in Zechariah 9:9-10, where it says of the Lord that He would ride on an ass, and on a young ass, a son of she-asses. There He is called a King, and in addition it says that His dominion will be from sea even to sea, and from the River even to the ends of the earth. The fact that the supreme judge rode on a she-ass, and his sons on young asses, see Judges 5:9-10; 10:3-4; 12:14; and that the king rode on a she-mule, and the king's sons on mules, 1 Kings 1:33, 38, 44-45; 2 Samuel 13:29.

(References: John 12:12-15; Luke 19:28-40; Mark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:5; Zechariah 9:9)


[6] When the disciples laid their garments on the she-ass and her colt, it represented the recognition that truths in their entirety were the foundation on which the Lord as supreme Judge and King rested; for the disciples represented the Lord's Church in respect of truths and forms of good, see 2129, 3488, 3858 (end), 6397, and their garments truths themselves, 4545, 4763, 5319, 5954, 6914, 6917, 9093. This same recognition was likewise represented when the crowd spread their garments, also the branches of trees, on the road. Another reason why they spread them on the road was that 'the road' means the truth by means of which a member of the Church is led, see 627, 2333, 3477. And the reason why they also spread the branches of trees was that 'trees' meant perceptions and also cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 2682, 2722, 2972, 4552, 7692, so that their branches are the truths themselves. Those actions were also performed then because it was customary for the chief persons among the people to lay their garments on supreme judges and kings' she-asses and mules when they rode in pomp on them, and for the people themselves to spread their garments on the road, or the branches of trees instead. For in heaven judgeship consists in Divine Truth derived from Good, and kingship in Divine Truth, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148.

[7] In Luke,

No one adds a piece of a new garment onto an old garment; in doing so he splits the new, and the binding from the new is unsuitable for the old.

Luke 5:36.

The Lord used this comparison to describe the truth of the new Church and the truth of the old Church; for 'garment' means truth. Sewing on one or binding it to the other means destroying both; for the truth of the new Church is interior truth, thus truth for the internal man, whereas the truth of the old Church is exterior truth, thus truth for the external man. The latter kind of truth prevailed in the Jewish Church, for by means of external things this Church represented internal ones, whereas the Church of today has knowledge of the internal truths that were represented then, because the Lord has revealed them. The fact that these truths are not suited to external ones in such a way that they can exist together is what the words used by the Lord serve to mean. From all this also it is evident that 'garment' means the Church's truth.

[8] In John,

Jesus said to Peter, Truly, truly I say to you, When you were a boy you girded your loins and walked where you wished. But when you are old you will stretch out your hands, [and] another will gird your loins and lead you where you do not wish. John 21:18.

No one without knowledge of the internal sense can see what these words imply; plainly, they contain arcana. In the internal sense 'Peter' means the Church's faith, see the Prefaces to Genesis 18, 22, and 3750, 6000, 6073 (end), 6344 (end). Consequently Peter when he was a boy means the nature of the Church's faith as it is initially, and Peter when he would be old means the nature of the Church's faith as it is finally. From this it is evident what 'when you were a boy you girded your loins and walked where you wished' means, namely that the Church's faith as it is initially is faith composed of truth derived from good, thus faith composed of charity towards the neighbour and of love to the Lord. And at this time a member of the Church in doing what is good acts freely, because his actions spring from the Lord. For aspects of the good of love are meant by 'the loins', 3021, 3294, 4280, 4575, 5050-5062, so that 'girding the loins' means clothing good with truths; and living is meant by 'walking', 519, 1794, 8417, 8420, so that 'walking where one wishes' means leading a life that is free. Those people lead a life that is free, or act freely, whose faith springs from love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour; for they are led by the Lord, 892, 905, 2870-2893, 6325, 9096. 'When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird your loins and lead you where you do not wish' means that the Church's faith as it is finally will be none at all, at which time falsities that arise from evil springing from self-love and love of the world will take the place of faith and enslave it. This is the arcanum which these words spoken by Lord contain and which can be seen only from their internal sense. All this shows once again the kind of way in which the Lord spoke, namely in such a way that an inner meaning might be present within every detail, to the end that heaven might be joined to the world by means of the Word. For without the Word, that is, without Divine Truth that has been revealed, they are not joined together; and if they are not so joined the human race perishes.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135, 2760, 2870, Arcana Coelestia 9593; Exodus 22:26)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9213, 9214, 9216, 9276, 9331, 9357, 9360, 9372, 9382, 9391, 9396, 9400, 9408, 9477, 9595, 9688, 9726, 9806, 9814, 9822, 9952, 9960, 9996, 10028, 10107, 10227, 10252, 10258, 10375, 10536

Apocalypse Revealed 424

The White Horse 1

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 50, 259


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 31, 38, 64, 140, 240, 271, 355, 543, 946

Other New Christian Commentary

Pledge 1

Road 1

Garments 1

Easter – Who Are You Listening To? 1

Palm Sunday, from John's viewpoint – If I Only Knew Then... 1

Palm Sunday in the Gospel of Mark 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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 Palm Sunday: Mark
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