The Bible


Jonas 2:6

Tagalog: Ang Dating Biblia (1905)     

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6 Ako'y bumaba sa mga kaibaibabaan ng mga bundok; Ang lupa sangpu ng kaniyang halang ay tumakip sa akin magpakailan man: Gayon may isinampa mo ang aking buhay mula sa hukay, Oh Panginoon kong Dios.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 2      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

In Jonah 2:1-10, Jonah is trapped in the belly of the great fish. He prays for salvation, and in the end, after this terrible trial, he is vomited forth onto dry land.

Before a new church -- either a state of good and truth with a group of people, or a new state of good an truth in ourselves - can come into existence, a period of temptation, of struggle, must occur. During this time a remnant of good and truth from prior states, will be preserved. This happens to us. When we really don't want to do something that we know we should do, we get into a state of spiritual temptation. That's what this chapter is about.

In Arcana Coelestia 756, it says: "In Jonah, 'The waters closed around me, even to my soul, the deep surrounded me. Here... 'the waters' and 'the deep' stand for the full extent of temptation.

This chapter also prophesies, or foreshadows, the combats that Jesus Christ would have with the hells, and his most grievous temptations at the time. The “three days and nights during which Jonah was in the bowels of the fish,” signify the entire duration of the combat with the hells.

In the New Testament, in Matthew 12:39-41, there's a reference back to this story:

"No sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And now One greater than Jonah is here.

For us, then... what? When we've turned away from the Lord, and we're in "the belly of the fish" - in temptations, struggles, combats, and everything looks pretty hopeless - then if we really pray, and seek the Lord's help, he can help us.

Here's a link to an interesting (audio) sermon on this chapter, by Rev. Todd Beiswenger.

Here, too, is a link to Rev. McCurdy's study guide for the Book of Jonah, which is available for free as a .pdf, for your use.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 212

Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 1691, 4728

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 538

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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.

 How the Lord Saved Jonah
A retelling of the story for young children with beautiful color illustrations. 
Story | Ages 4 - 6

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

 Jonah and the Great Fish
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

 Jonah and the Great Fish
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jonah and the Great Fish (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Jonah and the Great Fish (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Jonah and the Great Fish (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Jonah Disobeys the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Jonah in the Great Fish
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jonah Swallowed by a Fish
Another way to make a 3 dimensional fish that can swallow Noah. 
Project | Ages up to 6

 Quotes: Divine Providence and Evil
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Prophet Jonah
This article shows how the Lord tried to teach Jonah to be merciful and kind when Jonah disobeyed the Lord because of his hatred toward the Assyrians. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14




By New Christian Bible Study Staff

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

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3623)

From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Explained #539

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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539. And there went up a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace, signifies dense falsities therefrom out of the evils of earthly and corporeal loves. This is evident from the signification of "smoke," as being the falsity of evil (of which presently); from the signification of "the pit of the abyss," as being the hell where those are who have falsified the Word (respecting which see above, n. 537; and from the signification of "a great furnace," as being the evils of earthly and corporeal loves out of which such falsities break forth (of which in the following article). "Smoke" signifies the falsity of evil, because it proceeds from fire, and "fire" signifies the loves of self and the world and thence all evils; consequently the hells that are in falsities from the evils of those loves, and still more the hells where those are who have falsified the Word by adapting it to favor those loves, appear in a fire like that of a great furnace, from which a dense smoke mingled with fire goes up. I have also seen those hells, and it was evident that it was the loves with those who were in them that presented the appearance of such a fire, and the falsities flowing forth from those loves that presented the appearance of the fiery smoke. But there is no such appearance to those who are therein, for they are in these loves and in the falsities therefrom, their life is in them, and it is by these that they are tormented in many ways, and not by such fire and smoke as are in our natural world. (This can be seen better in the chapter in the work on Heaven and Hell 566-575, which treats of Infernal Fire and the Gnashing of Teeth.)

(References: Revelation 9:2; The Apocalypse Explained 537)

[2] That "smoke" signifies the dense falsity that flows forth from evil can be seen from the following passages. In Moses:

Abraham looked upon the faces of Sodom and Gomorrah, and upon all the faces of the land of the plain, and he saw, and lo, the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace (Genesis 19:28).

"Sodom and Gomorrah" in the spiritual sense mean those who are altogether in the loves of self; therefore the smoke that Abraham saw rising from their land after the burning, signifies the dense falsity pertaining to those who are altogether in the love of self; for those who love themselves supremely are in the thickest darkness in respect to things spiritual and celestial, for they are merely natural and sensual, and are wholly separated from heaven; and then they not only deny Divine things, but they think out falsities by which to destroy them. These falsities are what are signified by the "smoke" seen rising from Sodom and Gomorrah.

[3] In the same:

And the sun went down, and there was dense darkness, and behold a furnace of smoke, and a torch of fire that passed through between those pieces (Genesis 15:17).

This was said of Abraham's posterity from Jacob, as can be seen from what precedes in that chapter; "the sun went down" signifies the last time, when consummation takes place; "and there was dense darkness" signifies when evil takes the place of good and falsity the place of truth; "behold a furnace of smoke" signifies the densest falsity from evils; "a torch of fire" signifies the heat of cupidities; "it passed through between the pieces" signifies that these separated them from the Lord. (But this may be seen more fully explained in Arcana Coelestia 1858-1862.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1858)

[4] In the same:

Moses made the people to go forth from the camp to meet God; and they stood in the lower parts of the mount. And Mount Sinai smoked, the whole of it, because Jehovah descended upon it in fire; and the smoke ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked exceedingly (Exodus 19:17, 18);

And all the people saw the voices and the torches, and the voice of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and the people saw, and they were moved and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us and we will hear, but let not God speak with us lest we die (Exodus 20:18, 19).

This represented the quality of that people; for Jehovah, that is, the Lord, appears to everyone according to his quality; to those who are in truths from good He appears as a serene light, but to those who are in falsities from evil as smoke from fire. And because that people was in earthly and corporeal loves, and in falsities of evil therefrom, the Lord appeared to them from Mount Sinai as a devouring fire, and as the smoke of a furnace. (That the sons of Jacob were such has been shown in many places in the Arcana Coelestia, as may be seen from what is brought together in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 248; and that the Lord appears to everyone according to his quality, as a vivifying and recreating fire to those who are in good, and as a consuming fire to those who are in evil, see Arcana Coelestia 934, 1861, 6832, 8814, 8819, 9434, 10551; what the other particulars in the passages cited signify may be seen in the same work where the book of Exodus is explained.)

(References: Exodus 19:17-18, 20:18-19)

[5] "Smoke and fire" have a like signification in David:

Because He was wroth there went up a smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured, coals burned from Him; He bowed heaven also and came down; and gross darkness was under His feet (Psalms 18:7-9; 2 Samuel 22:8, 9).

This does not mean that smoke and a devouring fire went up from Jehovah, for there is no anger in Him; but it is so said because the Lord so appears to those who are in falsities and evils, for they regard Him from their falsities and evils.

(References: 2 Samuel 22:8-9)

[6] The like is signified by the following in the same:

He looketh on the earth and it trembleth; He toucheth the mountains and they smoke (Psalms 104:32).

In the same:

Bow Thy heavens, O Jehovah, and come down; touch the mountains, that they may smoke (Psalms 144:5).

In Isaiah:

Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou whole Philistia art dissolved; for from the north cometh a smoke (14 Isaiah 14:31).

"Gate" signifies truth introducing into the church, "city" doctrine, "Philistia" faith; therefore "Howl, O gate, cry, O city, thou whole Philistia art dissolved," signifies the vastation of the church in respect to the truth of doctrine, and thence in respect to faith. The "north" signifies the hell where and from which are the falsities of doctrine and the falsities of faith, and "smoke" such falsities; therefore "from the north cometh smoke" signifies devastating falsity out of the hells.

[7] In Nahum:

Behold, I will burn her chariot with smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions (Nahum 2:13).

This, too, treats of the devastation of the church; and "to burn a chariot with smoke" signifies to pervert all truths of doctrine into falsities, "smoke" meaning falsities, and "chariot" doctrine; and "the sword shall devour thy young lions" signifies that falsities will destroy the chief truths of the church, "young lions" meaning the chief and protecting truths of the church, and "sword" meaning falsity destroying truth.

[8] In Joel:

I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth; blood and fire and columns of smoke (Joel 2:30).

This is said of the Last Judgment; and "blood, fire, and columns of smoke," signify the truth of the Word falsified, its good adulterated, and mere falsities resulting therefrom, "blood" meaning the truth of the Word falsified, "fire" its good adulterated, and "columns of smoke" mere and dense falsities therefrom.

[9] In David:

The wicked shall perish, and the enemies of Jehovah as the glory of lambs shall be consumed, in smoke shall they be consumed (Psalms 37:20).

"The wicked and the enemies of Jehovah shall be consumed in smoke" signifies that they shall be destroyed by the falsities of evil; those are called "wicked" who are in falsities, and "enemies" who are in evils, and "smoke" means the falsity of evil.

[10] In the same:

As smoke is driven away Thou wilt drive away; as wax melteth before the fire the wicked shall perish before God (Psalms 68:2).

The destruction of the wicked is compared to smoke driven away by the wind, and to wax that melts before the fire, because "smoke" signifies falsities, and "fire" evils.

[11] In Isaiah:

The heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment (Isaiah 51:6).

"Smoke" here signifies falsity, by which those who were in the former heaven would be destroyed; and "the garment waxing old" signifies truth destroyed by the falsities of evil. Comparison is made with smoke vanishing away, and with a garment waxing old, because comparisons in the Word are also correspondences, and in like manner significative.

(References: Isaiah 2:6)

[12] In Hosea:

They sin more and more, and make them a molten image of their silver, idols in their understanding, all of it the work of the artificers; therefore they shall be as a morning cloud, and as the dew falling early and going away, it is driven by a whirlwind out of the threshing-floor, and like smoke out of a chimney (Hosea 13:2, 3).

This describes the doctrinals that are from self-intelligence, in which are the evils of falsity and the falsities of evil. Such doctrinals are signified by "molten images of silver," and by "idols;" their "silver" signifies what is from self-intelligence, and the "work of the artificers" that intelligence; it is therefore added "in their understanding they have made them idols, all of it the work of the artificers." That such doctrinals, being falsities, would pass away, is signified by "they shall pass away like smoke out of a chimney." It is also said "as a morning cloud, and as the dew falling early, and as [chaff] out of the threshing-floor," because the church in its beginning is like a morning cloud, like dew falling early, and like corn in the threshing-floor, by which are signified the truths of good and the goods of truths, which nevertheless successively pass away and are changed into the falsities of evil and into the evils of falsity.

(References: Hosea 13:2-3)

[13] "Smoke" also signifies falsity in other passages in Revelation, as in the following:

Out of the mouth of the horses went forth fire and smoke and brimstone; and by these was the third part of men slain, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone (Revelation 9:17, 18).

The smoke of their torment goeth up unto the ages of the ages (Revelation 14:11).

And again:

The smoke of Babylon goeth up unto the ages of the ages (Revelation 19:3).

(References: Revelation 9:17-18, 14:10)

[14] Because "fire" signifies love in both senses, both celestial love and infernal love, and therefore "smoke" signifies that which flows forth from love-falsity, which is from infernal love, and truth, which is from heavenly love-therefore "smoke" signifies in a good sense holy truth. This is what "smoke from the fire of the incense-offerings" signifies, as may be seen above (n. 494), as also in the following passages. In Isaiah:

Jehovah will create over every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and over her convocations, a cloud by day and a smoke and the brightness of a flame of fire by night; for over all the glory shall be a veiling (Isaiah 4:5).

(This may be seen explained above, n. 294, 504.) In the same:

The posts of the thresholds were moved at the voice of the crying seraphim, and the house was filled with smoke (Isaiah 6:4).

In Revelation:

The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power (1 Revelation 15:8).

And again:

The smoke of the incense-offerings with the prayers of the saints ascended out of the angel's hand before God (Revelation 8:4).

(References: Revelation 9:2, Revelation 14:10-11; The Apocalypse Explained 294, 494, 504)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 533, 541, 543, 578, 642, 825, 889, 916, 955, 1029, 1131, 1173, 1204

   Swedenborg Research Tools

Related New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.