The Bible

 

Genesis 1

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

Genesis 1: The Creation and Development of our Spiritual Life      

By Rev. William Woofenden

The first book of the Bible is "Genesis", which means "creation". It's a very, very ancient story - one of the oldest stories of humankind, and it's full of symbolic meaning that - still - gets to the core of what it is to be truly human.

The first three days of creation describe the development of the natural degree of man's life. They come first as a preparation for the opening of the spiritual degree of our minds. The creation of the grass, herbs, and trees took place on the third day, and constitutes the third step in regeneration. The creation of the fowl and fish was on the fifth day. Between these on the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created.

From the beginning man had light, for all light is from the Lord, but it was not direct light. He was not at first in the clear light of the sun, moon, and stars, which are set in the firmament. The firmament is the internal man. There is a preparation that has to be made before the internal man is opened. At first we think we see the truth and do good from ourselves. Hence only inanimate things are produced. All truth and good are from the Lord who alone is truth and goodness, and only when we come to acknowledge this can we have true love from him, true faith in Him, and true knowledge of spiritual things. These are not seen from the external or natural degree of life.

Again we should note a change of language. It was said, "Let the earth bring forth" the grass, herb, and fruit trees. Now and through the remaining days it is said that "God created." Man has a part to play in his regeneration. There must be in his mind forms into which the warmth of love and the light of faith and of spiritual truths can flow.

When the mind is so prepared, influx from the Lord can be received, with greater power. "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." It should be noted that it is the waters that are commanded to bring forth the moving creature that hath life, and that it is not the seas but the waters which are to produce the living creatures. The seas represent the gathering together of knowledges, but by the "waters" are meant the spiritual truths in the mind. So in the Lord's words to the woman of Samaria, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (John 4:14). In Ezekiel it is the "waters" issuing from the sanctuary that give life (Ezekiel 47:1). The Psalmist writes, "Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters" (Psalm 104:3). It is not in natural waters that the Lord lays the beams of His chambers. His chambers are the interior principles of His church; the beams give them support and strength. These are said to be laid in the waters because they rest and have their foundation in the genuine truths of the Word. So in Revelation the Word itself is described as a pure river of water of life.

The will faculty in man embraces all his affections and is the internal man. When the sun, moon, and stars—love, faith, and knowledges of spiritual truth—are set in this heaven and begin to impart their warmth and light to the external man, enabling him to think and act from these higher and purer principles, then the external man is gifted with a new life. There may be no apparent change in his outward conduct—he may already be living a moral life—but the motives that direct his acts will be wholly different. And it is the motive that gives character to the act as well as to the actor. He no longer thinks of the truths that he has learned, either natural or spiritual, as the product of his own mind nor of the good, that he does as the result of his own efforts, but thinks of them as wholly from the Lord, who alone is the source of all true light and life.

Before one recognizes clearly that all good and truth come from the Lord, he can bring forth only inanimate things, the grass, herb, and fruit tree, however good and useful these may be. But when he is enlightened by genuine love and faith, his knowledges become the basis for the development of spiritual life and God can create in him the living creatures that have life. First the fishes are created; then the fowl of the air. There is a difference between fishes and birds. The fishes, living in water, represent our affections for natural truths. The great whales, the largest of living creatures, are affections for the great general principles that control the mind. The principle may be either true or false. Of Pharaoh or Egypt it is written, "Thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou earnest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouled at their rivers" (Ezekiel 32:2) Here is pictured a ruling false principle from the natural degree of the mind — Egypt. That is, when the ruling principle is false, it will be a monster making the truths in the mind obscure like filthy or muddy waters.

Another example of the meaning of the whale in a bad sense is in the story of Jonah. When the principle is false it swallows up for a time all the truths that are in the mind. This is the whale swallowing Jonah the prophet. But Divine truth cannot be used by a false principle so as to become a part of its organic structure. Nor can the Divine truth perish. So the whale could not digest Jonah, nor could the prophet perish, but the whale vomited him up.

Spiritually there are whales trying to swallow prophets today, evil principles that try to use Divine truths to attain their ends. In the creation story, however, the whales are affections for the principles of natural truth for the sake of uses to the spiritual man. There is one source of genuine love. The creatures of the fifth day are living because they are animated by this love. Birds fly in the air above the earth. They have the power of flight and enjoy broader views. They represent affections for truth that rise above the natural. They are the thoughts that look at life from the heights of spiritual perception, ideas about the Lord, heaven, and spiritual things. Isaiah writes, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles" (Isaiah 40:31). Birds represent spiritual intelligence, the power to lift us up to understand spiritual truth in heavenly light, through which truth the Lord can impart to us something of the Divine intelligence. So at the baptism of the Lord "The heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him" (Matthew 3:16). So a new knowledge of heavenly life is given, a new perception of our possibilities, and in this higher intelligence a basis for further development is laid. This further development is pictured in the creation of the living creatures upon the earth. These are symbols of the affections. Here, too, it is said, "Let the earth bring forth" and also "And God made the beast of the earth." The creation of living animals on the earth and of man in the image and likeness of God marks the completion of the six days of creation—the six stages in regeneration. Man has first to learn what is to be believed and done and then to do it.

It is the office of the understanding to hear the Word and of the will to do it. In this way the truths are made our own, and the will and understanding make one mind. And when one begins to act from love as well as from faith, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an image of God, and is given dominion over all things. Thus all things natural and spiritual come to be a delight to him and serviceable to him. To be an image and likeness of God one must act from impulses similar to those of God. This he cannot do until he comes into the final state of regeneration. Then he will not act from selfish motives, as does the natural man, nor from mere obedience to truth, but from love to the Lord and the neighbor. When these loves are developed and rule, to them is given the dominion over all subordinate affections and the fruits of all the growths of intelligence. These are what make man to be a man and cause him to be in the image and likeness of his Maker. Each step in the formation of a truly human character the Lord saw and pronounced good, but of the work of the sixth day it is said, "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

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

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgement 20

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


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



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

Bible Word Meanings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

called
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

female
Female signifies good.

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

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

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here: swedenborg.com.


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The Biblical creation story is about the re-creation of our minds. Learn how the first signs of life on the third day symbolize heavenly ideas taking root in our lives.


Swedenborg 101: The Basic Nature of Everything - Swedenborg and Life

In this episode, host Curtis Childs and featured guests explore what eighteenth-century Christian mystic and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg learned during his mystical explorations of the spiritual world. They delve into his life, spiritual awakening, and resulting philosophies about the relationship between this life and the afterlife.


What the 7 Days of Creation Mean - Swedenborg and Life

Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Was everything we see around us really created in seven days? Could that story in Genesis actually have something to say to each of us, right now? Join us as we discuss Swedenborg's accounts of his spiritual experiences and what he learned through them.


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Is there a religious call to exploit nature? Here, Swedenborg tackles a bit of text that has led some people to believe just that.

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

 Men and Women Are Different
Studies confirm that differences between men and women extend beyond the physical body, affecting engagement on all levels of life.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Fourth Day of Creation
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Arcana Coelestia #9596

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9596. 'From fine twined linen and violet and purple and twice-dyed scarlet' means the spiritual and celestial realities from which those truths are derived. This is clear from the meaning of 'fine twined linen' as truth from a celestial origin, dealt with in 9469; from the meaning of 'violet' as the celestial love of truth, dealt with in 9466; from the meaning of 'purple' as the celestial love of good, dealt with in 9467; and from the meaning of 'twice-dyed scarlet' as spiritual good or the good of truth, dealt with in 9468. Such is the order in which the spiritual and celestial realities, or the truths and forms of good, present with a person or an angel who is in the middle or second heaven follow one another. For truth from a celestial origin, meant by 'fine twined linen' comes first; then the love of or affection for truth, meant by 'violet'; after that the resulting love of or affection for good, meant by 'purple'; and finally spiritual good, meant by 'twice-dyed scarlet'.

[2] Because this is the order in which the spiritual and celestial realities follow one another 'fine twined linen' is here mentioned first; but in the case of the veil that hung between the dwelling-place and the ark, or between the holy place and the holy of holies, dealt with in verse 31 of the present chapter, it is mentioned last. The reason why 'fine twined linen' is mentioned last in the case of the veil is that 'the veil' means the intermediary uniting the inmost heaven to the middle heaven, and therefore within this intermediary it must come last, in order that - to link the two heavens - it may then be first in the second of them.

[3] But properly 'fine twined linen' means the understanding part of the mind as it exists with the spiritual man or with an angel in the Lord's spiritual heaven. The reason why the understanding part is meant by 'fine twined linen' is that with the spiritual man a new will part is implanted by the Lord within the understanding part of his mind, see 863, 875, 895, 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 1555, 2256, 4328, 4493, 5113; and since the understanding part in the spiritual man is meant by 'fine twined linen', so too is spiritual truth meant. This is because all truth belongs to the understanding part, and all good to the will part, 3623, 9300; for the understanding part is the receiver (subjectum) or container and the truth is what belongs to it, and these two make one. From these considerations also it may be seen that the actual understanding part of the mind with those who belong to the Lord's spiritual kingdom is in the strict sense 'the dwelling-place', 9296, 9297, and that the spreading out of the curtains serves to describe it.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1043-1044, Arcana Coelestia 9296-9297)


[4] From all this what 'spreading and stretching out the heavens' means in the following places may be recognized, such as in Isaiah,

Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens, spreads out the earth, gives breath 1 to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it. Isaiah 42:5.

In the same prophet,

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

In the same prophet,

It was I that made the earth and created man on it. It was I - My hands - that stretched out the heavens. Isaiah 45:12.

In Jeremiah,

... He who makes the earth by His power, prepares the world by His wisdom, and stretches out the heavens by His intelligence. Jeremiah 51:15.

In Zechariah,

Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens, and founds the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Zechariah 12:1.

(References: Jeremiah 10:20-21)


[5] 'Stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' is plainly similar in meaning to stretching and spreading out a dwelling-place by the use of curtains. And by this is meant regenerating a person and thereby creating or forming a new understanding in which there is a new will, which is the spiritual person's actual heaven in which the Lord dwells with that person. The fact that the regeneration or the formation of a new understanding, and of a new will within it, and so of a new person, is what 'stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' means is evident from actual explanations provided in the places quoted above. For they speak of Him who gives breath to the people on the earth, and spirit to those who walk on it, and also of Him who forms the spirit of man within him. 'Heaven and earth' means the Church, internal and external, see 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535, and 'the earth' in general means the Lord's kingdom and the Church, 9334; and these meanings too are plainly apparent in those places. For if 'the earth' did not have that meaning what sense could be made of 'spreading out the earth' and 'founding the earth', or 'forming the spirit of man within him 2 '?

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)


[6] The fact that 'stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' here is similar in meaning to stretching and spreading out a dwelling-place by the use of curtains is clear from other places where the same idea is stated even more plainly, as in Isaiah,

Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. Isaiah 40:22.

In the same prophet,

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwelling-places. Isaiah 54:2.

And in David,

Jehovah covers Himself with light, as if with a garment; He stretches out the heavens as a curtain. Psalms 104:2.

These places also show what 'the expanse' or that which is spread out means in the first chapter of Genesis,

God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let there be a distinguishing of the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse and He made a distinction between the waters that were under the expanse and the waters that were above the expanse, And God called the expanse Heaven. Genesis 1:6-8.

That first chapter describes the regeneration of a member of the celestial Church, 'the expanse' describing his new will and understanding. 'The waters under the expanse and those above the expanse' are the truths of the external man and those of the internal man. For the meaning of 'waters' as truths, see 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 8568, 9323.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, soul

2. The Latin here is in ea (in it, i.e. in the earth). But in his rough draft Swedenborg has, as in other places, in medio ejus which is usually taken to mean within him but could possibly mean in the midst of it.

-----

(References: Exodus 26:1; Jeremiah 10:20-21)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9598, 9684, 9742, 9743, 9744, 9774, 9776, 9777, 9835, 9954, 9960, 9995, 10062, 10093, 10207, 10213, 10227, 10296, 10540, 10545

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 139


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 118, 236, 277, 331, 375


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Apocalypse Explained #277

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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277. (Verse 6) And in the midst of the throne, and roundabout the throne, were four animals full of eyes before and behind. That this signifies the guardianship and providence of the Lord to prevent the interior heavens being approached except by the good of love and of charity, that lower things thence depending may be in order, is evident from the signification of in the midst of the throne, as denoting from the Lord; for He who sat upon the throne was the Lord, as may be seen above (n. 268); and from the signification of roundabout the throne as denoting the interior or higher heavens, these being most nearly round-about the Lord; and from the signification of four animals, which were cherubim, as denoting the Divine guardianship and providence to prevent the interior or higher heavens from being approached except by the good of love and of charity, which will be explained in what follows; and from the signification of eyes, of which they were full, before and behind, as denoting the Divine providence of the Lord; for eyes when said of man signify the understanding, which is his internal sight; but when eyes are said of God, they signify the Divine providence, as may be seen above (n. 68, 152). And because eyes there signify the Divine providence of the Lord to prevent the higher heavens from being approached except by the good of love and of charity, therefore those cherubim were seen full of eyes, before and behind. The reason why lower things, which are the lower heavens, and also the church on earth, depend on that providence of the Lord, that they may be in order, is that the influx of the Lord is immediate from Himself, and also mediate through the higher into the lower heavens, and into the church; therefore unless the higher heavens are in order the lower cannot be in order (concerning which influx see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 277, 278).

(References: Revelation 4:6; The Apocalypse Explained 68, The Apocalypse Explained 152, The Apocalypse Explained 268; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 277-278)


[2] That cherubim are here meant by the four animals is evident in Ezekiel, by whom similar things were seen at the river Chebar, which are described by him in chapters l. and x., and in the latter are called cherubim (verses 1, 2, 4-9, 14, 16, 18, 19). Concerning them it is said,

"The cherubim lifted themselves up; these animals which I saw by the river Chebar. These animals that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; I understood that they were the cherubim" (10:15, 20).

These four animals which were the cherubim, are thus described by the same prophet:

Near the river of Chebar "appeared the likeness of four animals of which this was the aspect: They had the likeness of a man, and they had each four faces, and they had each of them four wings: This was the likeness of their faces: the four had the face of a man and the face of a lion on the right side, and the four had the face of an ox on the left side, the four also had the face of an eagle. The appearance of them was as burning coals of fire, like the appearance of lamps; it went up and down among the animals, so that the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. Over the heads of the animals was an expanse according to the form of a wonderful crystal: over the expanse which was over their head, was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it; from the appearance of his loins and downwards I saw as it were the appearance of a fire, and it had brightness round about, as the aspect of a rainbow that is in the cloud; this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah" (1:1, 5, 6, 10, 13, 22, 26-28).

By these representatives is described the Divine of the Lord in the higher heavens, and His providence to prevent them from being approached except by the good of love and of charity; and in that description are contained all the things mentioned in this chapter of the Apocalypse concerning the arrangement of the heavens, and they are signified by the throne upon which sat one in appearance like a jasper stone and a sardine; also by the rainbow about the throne, by the lamps of fire burning before the throne, and other things, which it would therefore be needless to explain, particularly in this place.

(References: Ezekiel 1:1-2, 1:5-6, 10:1-2, 10:1, 10:4-9, 10:9, 10:14, 10:16, 10:18-19)


[3] It shall now only be shown that by cherubim in the Word are signified the guardianship and providence of the Lord, to prevent the higher heavens from being approached except by the good of love and of charity, that lower things may be in order. This is clearly manifest from the account of the cherubim placed before the garden of Eden, when man was driven out; concerning which it is thus written in Moses:

"When" Jehovah God "had driven out the man, he made cherubim to dwell on the east of Eden, and a flame of a sword turning itself every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24).

What is meant by the man and his wife in these chapters may be seen explained in Arcana Coelestia, namely, that by the man is there meant the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial church; and a celestial is distinguished from a spiritual church in this, that the former is in the good of love to the Lord, but the latter is in the good of charity towards the neighbour, as may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell 20-28).

From the men who constitute those two churches on earth the two higher heavens are formed; when, therefore, the celestial church, which was the most ancient and primary church on this earth, declined and began to recede from the good of love, then it is said that cherubim were made to dwell on the east of the garden of Eden, and a flame of a sword which turned itself every way, to guard the way of the tree of life. By the east of Eden is signified where the good of celestial love enters; and by the flame of a sword which turned itself every way is signified truth from that good defending; and by the tree of life is signified the Divine which is from the Lord in the higher heavens, which is the good of love and charity, and heavenly joy therefrom. Hence it is evident that by cherubim are signified guards to prevent those heavens being approached except by the good of love and of charity; and on this account it is also said, "to guard the way of the tree of life." (That the east signifies the good of love, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia 1250, 3708; that Eden signifies wisdom therefrom, n. 99, 100; that sword signifies truth fighting against falsity and dispersing it, thus truth defending [see above], n. 73, 131; that flame signifies truth from celestial good, n. 3222, 6832, 9570; that the tree of life signifies the good of love from the Lord and heavenly joy therefrom, may be seen above, n. 109, 110).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 73, 99-100, 109-110, 131)


[4] On account of this signification of cherubim there were two made of solid gold placed upon the propitiatory upon the ark, concerning which it is thus written in Moses:

"Thou shalt make cherubim, of solid gold shalt thou make them, from the two extremities of the propitiatory; from the propitiatory thou shalt make the cherubs, and let the cherubim be expanding their wings upward, covering with their wings the propitiatory; towards the propitiatory shall be the faces of the cherubim, and thou shalt put the propitiatory upon the ark. I will meet thee there, and I will speak with thee between the two cherubim" (Exodus 25:18-22; 37:7-9).

By the ark and the tabernacle were represented the higher heavens; by the ark, in which was the testimony, or the law, was represented the inmost or third heaven; by the habitation which was without the veil, the middle or second heaven; by the propitiatory, hearing and reception of all things of worship which are from the good of love and of charity; by the cherubim were signified guards, and by the gold of which they were made, the good of love. It is therefore also evident that the two cherubim represented guards to prevent the higher heavens from being approached, except by the good of love and of charity. (That by the tabernacle in general was represented heaven, where the Lord is, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia 9457, 9481, 10545; by the ark, the inmost or third heaven, n. 3478, 9485; by the testimony or the law in the ark, the Lord as to the Word, n. 3382, 6752, 7463; by the habitation which was without the veil, the middle or second heaven, n. 3478, 9457, 9481, 9485, 9594, 9596, 9632; by the propitiatory, the hearing and reception of all things of worship which are from the good of love and of charity from the , n. 9506, and by gold, the good of love, n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9510, 9874, 9881).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552)


[5] And because by the cherubim were signified guards, therefore also, there were cherubim upon the curtains of the habitation, and upon the veil (Exodus 26:1, 31).

And it was for the same reason that Solomon made, in the oracle of the temple, cherubim of olive wood, and set them in the midst of the inner house, and overlaid them with gold, and engraved all the walls of the house round about with figures of cherubim, and palm trees, and open flowers, and that he ornamented the two doors in the same manner (1 Kings 6:23-29, 32-35).

By the temple also was signified heaven and the church, and by its oracle, the inmost of heaven and of the church; by the olive wood of which the cherubim were made was signified the good of love, and similarly by the gold with which they were overlaid. By the walls upon which the cherubim were engraved were signified the ultimates of heaven and of the church, and the cherubim there signified guards. By the doors, upon which also were cherubim, was signified entrance into heaven and the church. It is therefore evident that these cherubim signified guards to prevent heaven from being approached except by the good of love and of charity; and because of this signification of cherubim, they also signify the Divine providence of the Lord, for those guards are from the Lord and are His Divine providence. (That the temple and house of God signify heaven and the church may be seen above, n. 220; hence the oracle signifies their inmost. That olive wood signifies the good of love, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia 886, 3728, 4582, 9780, 9954, 10261, and likewise the gold, see above, n. 242. That doors signify approach and admission may be seen also above, n. 248).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 220, 242, 248)


[6] Similarly, the new temple is described as ornamented with cherubim; concerning which it is thus written in Ezekiel:

"Cherubim and palm trees were made, so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; thus was it done to all the house round about; from the ground unto above the door were cherubim and palm trees made, and the wall of the temple" (41:18-20).

The palm signifies spiritual good, which is the good of charity (as may be seen, Arcana Coelestia. n. 8369).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 8369)


[7] Because the Divine truth from the Divine good is that which protects, therefore the king of Tyre is called a cherub; for by king is signified Divine truth, and by Tyre are meant knowledges (cognitiones); and hence by the king of Tyre is signified intelligence, concerning which it is thus written in Ezekiel:

King of Tyre, "thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering. Thou cherub, the spreading out of one that protects; I have placed thee in the mount of holiness of God; thou hast walked in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways in the day that thou wast created" (Ezekiel 28:13-15).

(That by a king is signified Divine truth, may be seen above, n. 31, and by Tyre knowledges, in Arcana Coelestia 1201. That by precious stones are signified the truths and goods of heaven and of the church, see n. 9863, 9865, 9868, 9873, 9905, which are called stones of fire, because fire signifies the good of love, as may be seen, n. 934, 4906, 5215, 6314, 6832). Because the king of Tyre signifies intelligence from Divine truth, and this guards or protects, therefore the king of Tyre is called the cherub, the spreading out of one that protects.

(References: Ezekiel 28:12-16, 28:12-15; The Apocalypse Explained 31)


[8] Because the higher heavens cannot be approached except by means of the good of love and of charity, that is, cannot be approached by worship and by prayers unless they proceed from that good, therefore the Lord communed with Moses and Aaron, when they entered the habitation, between the two cherubim that were upon the ark (Exodus 25:22); as also is evident in Moses:

"When Moses entered into the tent of assembly he heard a voice speaking unto him from over the propitiatory that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim " (Num. 7:89).

Because it is the Divine proceeding from the Lord which provides and guards, therefore it is said of the Lord,

That He sitteth upon the cherubim, as in Isaiah 37:16; Psa. 18:10; 80:1; 99:1; 1 Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 6:2.

(References: Psalms 18:9-10)


[9] Because the subject treated of in this chapter is the arrangement of all things for judgment therefore also the cherubim are here treated of, that the guardianship and providence of the Lord that the higher heavens may not be approached except by means of the good of love and of charity; for unless this had been done before the Judgment, the very heavens themselves, in which were the true angels, would have been endangered, because those heavens which were about to perish (concerning which see Apoc. 21:1) were not in the good of love and charity, but only in some truths. For there were there those from the Christian world who were in the doctrine of faith alone, which some had confirmed from a few passages of the Word, and by that means had obtained some kind of conjunction with the ultimate heaven; but this conjunction was broken when that heaven, which is called the former heaven, had passed away. It was then ordained by the Lord, that hereafter no one should be conjoined with the heavens unless he be in the good of love to the Lord and in charity towards the neighbour; this is what is specifically meant by the things that now follow in this chapter. Whoever, therefore, believes that the heavens can hereafter be approached by the worship and by the prayers of those who are in faith alone and not also in the good of charity, is much deceived. The worship of these is no longer received, nor are their prayers heard, but the love of their life alone is regarded. Wherefore if the love of self and of the world reign, in whatever external worship they may have been, they are conjoined to the hells, and are also borne thither after death, and not in the first place to some heaven that is about to perish, as was previously the case.

(References: Ezekiel 28:12-15; Revelation 4:6)

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Apocalypse Explained 276, 288, 297, 313, 348, 353, 362, 422, 504, 600, 630, 954, 1038


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Translation by Isaiah Tansley. Many thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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