The Bible

 

Genesis 1

English: King James Version      

Study the Inner Meaning

Genesis 2 →

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 2 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

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

Apocalypse Explained 257

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 402


Other references to this chapter:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 200, 414

Conjugial Love 132, 156

Divine Love and Wisdom 11, 18, 287, 358

Divine Providence 123, 328

Sacred Scripture 14, 103

Heaven and Hell 137

The Last Judgment 20

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Canons of the New Church 45

Charity 91

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

De Verbo (The Word) 14

Spiritual Experiences 1973, 1974, 5605, 6110

Marriage 20, 34, 46, 48, 71

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

female
Female signifies good.

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

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

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

Resources for parents and teachers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

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

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

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

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

 The Creation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Greatest Gift
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Universe
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 Two Great Lights
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #9596

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

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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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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

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 unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 118, 236, 277, 331, 375


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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #2702

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2702. 'And she saw a well of water' means the Lord's Word from which truths are drawn. This is clear from the meaning of 'a well of water' and of 'a spring' as the Word, also as doctrine drawn from the Word, and consequently as truth itself, dealt with in what follows immediately below; and from the meaning of 'water' as truth. That 'a well' which has water in it, and 'a spring', mean the Word of the Lord, also doctrine drawn from the Word, and so consequently truth itself, may become clear from very many places. Here because the subject is the spiritual Church the word 'well' and not spring is used in subsequent verses of this chapter,

Abraham reproached Abimelech on account of the well which Abimelech's servants had seized (verse 25).

Also in Genesis 26,

All the wells which the servants of Isaac's father had dug, in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up. And Isaac returned and dug [again] the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had been stopping them up after Abraham's death. And Isaac's servants dug in the valley and found there a well of living waters. And they dug another well and disputed over that also. And he moved on from there and dug another well, and they did not dispute over that. And it happened on that day, that Isaac's servants came and pointed out to him the reasons for the well which they had dug; and they said to him, We have found waters (verses 15, 18-22, 25, 32).

(References: Genesis 26:15, Genesis 26:15-22, 26:18-19, 26:18-22, 26:20-21, 26:22, 26:25, 26:32)


[2] In these verses nothing else is meant by 'wells' than matters of doctrine - both those about which they disputed, and those about which they did not. Otherwise their digging of wells and their disputing so many times about them would not be important enough to be mentioned in the Divine Word.

'The well' referred to in Moses in a similar way means the Word or doctrine,

They travelled to Beer. This was the well of which Jehovah said to Moses, Gather the people and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song: Spring up, O well! Answer from it! The well which the princes dug, which the willing ones 1 of the people dug out, as directed by the law-giver, with their staves. Numbers 21:16-18.

Because 'a well' meant the Word, doctrine drawn from it, and truth itself, this prophetic song therefore existed in Israel - a song in which the doctrine of truth is the inner theme, as is clear from everything contained in the internal sense. From this the name Beer is derived, and the name Beersheba, 2 and its meaning in the internal sense as doctrine itself.

[3] Doctrine however that has no truths in it is called 'a pit', or a well with no water in it, as in Jeremiah,

Their illustrious ones sent their lesser ones to the water; they came to the pits; they found no water; they returned with their vessels empty. Jeremiah 14:3.

Here 'waters' stands for truths, 'the pits in which they found no waters' for doctrine that has no truth within it. In the same prophet,

My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the source of living waters, to hollow out pits for themselves, broken pits, which cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:13.

Here in a similar way 'pits' stands for doctrines that are not true, 'broken pits' for matters of doctrine that have been ravaged.

[4] As regards 'a spring' meaning the Word, also doctrine, and therefore truth, this is seen in Isaiah,

The afflicted and the needy were seeking water, and there was none; their tongue was parched with thirst. I Jehovah will hearken to them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the sloping heights, and springs in the midst of valleys; I will make the wilderness into a pool of water, and the dry land into streams of water. Isaiah 41:17-18.

In the first place this refers to the desolation of truth, which is meant by the statements that 'the afflicted and needy sought water and there was none', and that 'their tongue was parched with thirst'. Then it refers, as in the present verses in Genesis where Hagar is the subject, to the comfort, renewal, and instruction following desolation, which are meant by the promise that 'Jehovah will open the rivers on the sloping heights, will place springs in the midst of valleys, make the wilderness into a pool of water, and the dry land into streams of water', all of which have to do with the doctrine of truth and the affection acquired from this.

[5] In Moses,

Israel dwelt securely, alone at Jacob's spring, in a land of corn and new wine; even his heavens distil the dew. Deuteronomy 33:28.

'Jacob's spring' stands for the Word and the doctrine of truth drawn from it. It was because Jacob's spring meant the Word, and the doctrine of truth drawn from it, that when the Lord came to Jacob's spring He talked to the woman from Samaria and taught what is meant by the spring and by water. The incident is described in John as follows,

Jesus came to a city of Samaria called Sychar. Jacob's spring was there. Jesus therefore, weary from the journey, sat thus by the spring. A woman from Samaria came to draw water, to whom Jesus said, Give Me a drink. Jesus said, If you knew the gift of God and who it is who is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would ask of Him to give you living water. Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but he who drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up into eternal life. John 4:5-7, 10, 13-14.

Because 'Jacob's spring' meant the Word, 'water' truth, and 'Samaria' the spiritual Church, as is the case many times in the Word, therefore the Lord talked to the woman from Samaria and taught that the doctrine of truth is derived from Himself, and that when it is derived from Himself, or what amounts to the same, from His Word, it is 'a spring of water welling up into eternal life'; also that the truth itself is 'living water'.

(References: John 4:5-6, 4:7)


[6] Similar teaching occurs in the same gospel,

Jesus said, If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the scripture says, Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water. John 7:37-38.

And in the Book of Revelation,

The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and will guide them to living springs of water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17.

In the same book,

To him who thirsts I will give from the spring of living water without price. Revelation 21:6.

'Rivers of living water' and 'living springs of water' stand for truths which are derived from the Lord, that is, from His Word, for the Lord is the Word. The good of love and charity which comes solely from the Lord is the life of truth. The expression 'he who thirsts' is used of one who is stirred by a love and affection for truth; no other can so thirst.

[7] These truths are also called 'the springs of salvation' in Isaiah,

With joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation, and you will say on that day, Confess Jehovah, call on His name. Isaiah 12:3-4.

That 'a spring' means the Word, or doctrine drawn from it, is also evident in Joel,

It will happen on that day, that the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will run with milk, and all the streams of Judah will run with water, and a spring will come forth from the house of Jehovah and will water the river of Shittim. Joel 3:18.

Here 'water' stands for truths, 'a spring from the house of Jehovah' for the Word of the Lord.

[8] In Jeremiah,

Behold I am bringing them from the north land, and I will gather them from the extremities of the earth, among them the blind one and the lame. With weeping they will come, and with supplications I will bring them to springs of water in a straight path on which they will not stumble. Jeremiah 31:8-9.

'Springs of water in a straight path' plainly stands for matters of doctrine concerning truth. 'The north land' stands for the lack of knowledge or the desolation of truth, 'weeping and supplications' for their state of grief and despair. 'Being brought to springs of water' stands for renewal and instruction in truths, as in this chapter of Genesis where Hagar and her son are the subject.

[9] The same matters are presented in Isaiah as follows,

The wilderness and the dry land will be glad for them; and the lonely place will rejoice and blossom like the rose. It will bud prolifically, and will rejoice also with rejoicing and singing. The glory of Lebanon has been given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of Jehovah, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. The eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Waters will break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the lonely place; and the dry place will become a pool and the thirsty ground wellsprings of water. Isaiah 35:1-3, 5-7.

Here 'a wilderness' stands for a desolation of truth. 'Waters', 'streams', 'a pool', 'wellsprings of water' stand for truths which serve to renew and give joy to people who have experienced vastation and whose joys are described in many ways here.

[10] In David,

Jehovah sends forth springs in the valleys; they will go among the mountains.

They will give drink to every wild beast of the fields; the wild asses will quench their thirst. He waters the mountains from His chambers. Psalms 104:10-11, 13.

'Springs' stands for truths, 'mountains' for the love of good and truth, 'giving drink' for giving teaching, 'wild beasts of the fields' for people who live by that teaching, see 774, 841, 908, 'wild asses' for those who have none but rational truth, 1949-1951.

[11] In Moses,

The son of a fruitful one is Joseph, the son of a fruitful one beside a spring. Genesis 49:22.

'A spring' stands for doctrine from the Lord. In the same author,

Jehovah your God will bring you into a good land, a land of rivers, waters, springs, depths gushing out in valleys and mountains. Deuteronomy 8:7.

'A land' stands for the Lord's kingdom and Church, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 2571, which is called 'good' from the good of love and charity. 'Rivers', 'waters', 'springs', and 'depths' stand for the truths derived from that good. In the same author,

The land of Canaan, a land of mountains and valleys, on the arrival of the rain of heaven it drinks water. Deuteronomy 11:11.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067)


[12] That 'waters' means truths, both spiritual and rational, and also factual, is evident from the following places: In Isaiah,

Behold, the Lord Jehovah Zebaoth is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah the whole staff of bread and the whole staff of water. Isaiah 3:1.

In the same prophet,

To the thirsty bring water; meet with his bread the fugitive. Isaiah 21:14.

In the same prophet,

Blessed are you who sow beside all waters. Isaiah 32:20.

In the same prophet,

He who walks in righteous ways and speaks upright words will dwell on the heights; his bread will be given to him, his water will be sure. Isaiah 33:15-16.

In the same prophet,

At that time they will not thirst; in the wilderness He will lead them; He will make water flow for them from the rock. And He cleaves the rock and the water flows out. Isaiah 48:21; Exodus 17:1-8; Numbers 20:11, 13.

In David,

He split rocks in the wilderness and caused them to drink abundantly like the depths. He brought streams out of the rock and caused waters to descend like a river. Psalms 78:15-16.

Here 'rock' stands for the Lord, 'water, streams, and the depths from it' for truths derived from Him.

[13] In the same author,

Jehovah turns rivers into a wilderness, and streams of waters into a dryness. He turns a wilderness into a pool of water, and parched land into streams of waters. Psalms 107:33, 35.

In the same author,

The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters; Jehovah is upon many waters. Psalms 29:3.

In the same author,

There is a river whose streams will make glad the city of God, the holy place of the dwellings of the Most High. Psalms 46:4.

In the same author,

By the word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all their host by the spirit of His mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea together as a heap; He placed the depths in storehouses. Psalms 33:6-7.

In the same author,

You visit the earth and delight in it, You enrich it very greatly; the river of God is full of water. Psalms 65:9.

In the same author,

The waters have seen You, O God, the waters have seen You. The depths trembled, the clouds poured out water. Your way was in the sea, and Your path in many waters. Psalms 77:16-17, 19.

It is evident to anyone that 'waters' here do not mean waters, and that 'the depths trembled' and 'Jehovah's way was in the sea and His path in the waters', are not meant literally, but that spiritual waters are meant, that is, things of a spiritual kind, which are matters of truth; otherwise it would all be just a heap of meaningless words. In Isaiah,

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters, and he who has no money, come, buy! Isaiah 55:1.

In Zechariah,

It will happen on that day, that living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. Zechariah 14:8.

[14] Furthermore when the Church which is about to be established or which has been established is the subject in the Word and it is described by a paradise, a garden, a grove, or by trees, it is usual for it to be described also by waters or rivers running through, which mean things of a spiritual, rational, or factual kind, which are matters of truth. Paradise as described in Genesis 2:8-9, for example, is also described by the rivers there, verses 10-14, which mean things that are attributes of wisdom and intelligence, see 107-121. Similar examples occur many times elsewhere in the Word, as in Moses,

Like valleys that are planted, like gardens beside a river, like aloes Jehovah has planted, like cedars beside the waters. Waters will flow from his buckets, and his seed will be in many waters. Numbers 24:6-7.

In Ezekiel,

He took some of the seed of the land and planted it in a seed field; he took it to be beside many waters. It sprouted and became a spreading vine. Ezekiel 17:5-6.

'A vine' and 'a vineyard' mean the spiritual Church, see 1069. In the same prophet,

Your mother was like a vine in your likeness, planted beside the waters; fruitful, and made full of branches by reason of many waters. Ezekiel 19:10.

(References: Ezekiel 31:4; Genesis 2:8-14, 2:10-14)


[15] In the same prophet,

Behold, Asshur [was a cedar] in Lebanon; the waters caused it to grow, the depth made it high, with its rivers going round about the place of its planting; and he sent out his lines of water to all the trees of the field. Ezekiel 31:3-4.

In the same prophet,

Behold, on the bank of the river were very many trees, on this side and on that. He said to me, These waters are going out towards the eastern boundary, and they go down over the plain, and they go towards the sea, having been sent away into the sea; and the waters are fresh. And it will be that every living creature that creeps, in every place which the two rivers come to, will live; and there will be very many fish, for these waters go there, and become fresh, so that everything may live where the river goes. Its swamps and its marshes are not healed; they will be given up to salt. Ezekiel 47:7-9, 11.

This refers to the New Jerusalem or Lord's spiritual kingdom. 'Waters going out towards the eastern boundary' means things that are spiritual flowing from those which are celestial, or truths derived from a celestial source, that is, faith springing from love and charity, 101, 1250. 'Going down into the plain' means matters of doctrine belonging to the rational, 2418, 2450. 'Going towards the sea' means towards factual knowledge, 'the sea' being a gathering together of facts, 28. 'The living creature that creeps' means the delights which go with these, 746, 909, 994, which will receive their life from 'the waters of the river', that is, from spiritual things derived from a celestial source. 'Many fish' stands for an abundance of appropriate facts, 40, 991, while 'swamps and marshes' stands for such as are inappropriate and impure. 'Turning into salt' stands for becoming vastated, 2455. In Jeremiah,

Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah. He will be like a tree planted beside the waters, which sends out its roots beside the stream. Jeremiah 17:7-8.

In David,

He will be like a tree planted beside streams of water, which will yield its fruit in its season. Psalms 1:3.

In John,

He showed me a pure river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and of the river, on this side and on that, was the tree of life bearing twelve fruits. Revelation 22:1-2.

(References: Ezekiel 47:7-8, 47:9)


[16] Now because 'waters' means truths in the internal sense of the Word it was therefore commanded in the Jewish Church, for the sake of representation before the eyes of the angels who beheld ritual acts in a spiritual way, that the priests and Levites should wash themselves with water when they came to perform their duties, and that they should do so with water from the layer placed between the tent and the altar, and later on with water from the bronze sea and all the other lavers around the temple, which were there in place of a spring. In a similar way for the sake of representation the ritual involving the water of sin or of expiation which was to be sprinkled over the Levites was established, Numbers 8:7, also the ritual involving the water of separation from the ashes of the red cow, Numbers 19:2-19, as well as the requirement that spoils taken from the Midianites were to be cleansed with water, Numbers 31:19-25.

(References: Numbers 31:19-24)


[17] The water provided out of the rock, Exodus 17:1-8; Numbers 20:1-13, represented and meant an abundance of spiritual things, that is, of truths of faith from the Lord. The bitter waters which were made drinkable by means of the wood, Exodus 15:22-25, represented and meant that truths, from being unpleasant, are made acceptable and gratifying by virtue of good, that is, of the affection for it - 'wood' meaning good which constitutes affection or the will, see 643. From these considerations one may now see what 'water' means in the Word, and from this what the water used in baptism means, regarding which the Lord says the following in John,

Unless a person has been born from water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5.

That is to say, 'water' means the spiritual constituent of faith, and 'the spirit' the celestial constituent of it, so that baptism is the symbol of man's regeneration by the Lord by means of the truths and goods of faith. Not that a person's regeneration is accomplished in baptism, but by the life, the sign of which life is denoted in baptism, and into which life Christians who possess the truths of faith because they have the Word must enter.

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Footnotes:

1. the willing ones is the primary meaning of the Hebrew expression here. Put the latter also has a derivative meaning nobles, which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse.

2. Beer is the Hebrew word for a well, and Beersheba means The well of the oath or The well of seven.

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(References: Deuteronomy 8:15; Exodus 15:23-25; Genesis 21:19, Genesis 26:15-22)


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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2723, 2781, 2832, 3051, 3058, 3065, 3068, 3082, 3083, 3089, 3095, 3096, 3104, 3131, 3137, 3412, 3419, 3422, 3424, 3426, 3432, 3445, 3464, 3693, 3765, 4017, 4697, 4735, 4744, 4861, 4876, 4891, 4958, 5077, 5342, 5668, 6015, 6413, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 186, 209


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 71, 110, 240, 242, 275

Other New Christian Commentary

Symbolism 1

Water 1

Cisterns 1

Miry places and marshes 1

Pit, or well, that can hold no water 1

Waters, rivers, and depths 1

Wells 1

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.


 Woman at the Well
A woman met Jesus a well in Samaria and, after talking to Him, recognized Him as the promised Messiah. How is her journey for understanding the Word of God like our quest for meaning in the Bible?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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


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