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Ezekiel 16:38

English: Webster's Bible         

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38 And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 139


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 8904

Apocalypse Revealed 350, 379, 880

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 100

The Lord 64


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 329, 1045

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Numbers 35:16, 17, 18, 21, 31

Deuteronomy 22:22, 24

Ezekiel 36:18

Word/Phrase Explanations

judge
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

blood
The internal meaning of “blood” is a little tricky, because Swedenborg gives two meanings that seem quite different. In most cases, Swedenborg links blood with...

judged
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

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...

fury
Fury is a receding from good, and anger is a receding from truth.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Revealed #379

Apocalypse Revealed (Rogers translation)      

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379. "And made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb." This symbolically means, and by truths have purified those religious beliefs from the falsities accompanying evil, and so have been reformed by the Lord.

Some evils are evils that accompany falsity, and some falsities are falsities that accompany evil. Evils that accompany falsity are found among people who, in accord with their religion, believe that evils do not condemn, provided they orally confess that they are sinners. And falsities that accompany evil are found among people who justify the evils they harbor.

As in no. 378 above, robes here symbolize general truths drawn from the Word, which constitute the people's religious beliefs. They are said to have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb because the color white is predicated of truths (nos. 167, 231, 232), meaning therefore that they used truths to purify their falsities.

This symbolically means also that thus they were reformed by the Lord, because all who have fought against evils in the world and have believed in the Lord are, after their departure from the world, taught by the Lord and led by truths away from the falsities of their religion. And so they are reformed. That is because people who refrain from evils as being sins possess goodness of life, and goodness of life desires truths, and acknowledges and accepts them. But this is never the case with evil of life.

People believe that the blood of the Lamb here and elsewhere in the Word symbolizes the Lord's suffering of the cross. But the suffering of the cross was the final temptation or trial by which the Lord completely overcame the hells and fully glorified His humanity. By these two means He saved mankind (see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Lord, nos. 12-14, 15-17, and also no. 67 above). Moreover, because by His suffering of the cross the Lord fully glorified His humanity, which is to say, made it Divine, therefore nothing else can be meant by His flesh and blood but the Divinity in Him and emanating from Him - His flesh meaning the Divine goodness of His Divine love, and His blood meaning the Divine truth emanating from that goodness.

(References: Apocalypse Revealed 231-232; Exodus 12:22-23; Psalms 72:13-16; Revelation 7:14; Teachings about the Lord 12-14, 15-17)


[2] Blood is mentioned many times in the Word, and everywhere it symbolizes, in the spiritual sense, either the Lord's Divine truth, which is the same as the Divine truth of the Word, or in an opposite sense, the Divine truth of the Word falsified or profaned, as can be seen from the following passages.

First, that blood symbolizes the Lord's Divine truth or the Divine truth of the Word can be seen from these passages:

Blood was called the blood of the covenant, and a covenant conjoins, a conjunction that the Lord accomplishes by His Divine truth. So, for example, in Zechariah:

By the blood of your covenant, I will set your prisoners free from the pit... (Zechariah 9:11)

After Moses read the Book of the Law in the hearing of the people, he sprinkled half the blood on the people and said,

This is the blood of the covenant which Jehovah has made with you in accordance with all these words. (Exodus 24:3-8)

Moreover,

(Jesus) took the cup..., and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. ...this is My blood, the blood of the new covenant... (Matthew 26:27-28, cf. Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20)

The blood of the new covenant or testament symbolizes nothing else than the Word, which is called a covenant or testament - the Old Covenant or Testament, and the New Covenant or Testament - thus symbolizing the Divine truth in it.

[3] Since blood has this symbolic meaning, the Lord therefore gave His disciples wine, saying, "This is My blood" - wine symbolizing Divine truth (no. 316). Wine is also on that account called "the blood of grapes" (Genesis 49:11, Deuteronomy 32:14).

This is still further apparent from these words of the Lord:

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will have no life in you... For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (John 6:53-56).

It is clearly apparent that blood here means Divine truth, because the text says that he who drinks has life, and abides in the Lord, and the Lord in him. This is the effect of Divine truth and a life in accordance with it, and an effect confirmed by the Holy Supper, as everyone in the church may know.

(References: John 6:50-58)


[4] Since blood symbolizes the Lord's Divine truth, which is the same as the Divine truth of the Word, and this is the essence of the Old and New Covenants or Testaments, therefore blood was the holiest representative symbol in the Israelite Church, in which every single thing corresponded to something spiritual. So, for example, the people were to take some of the blood of the paschal lamb and put it on the doorposts and lintel of their houses to keep the plague from coming upon them (Exodus 12:7, 13, 22). The blood of the burnt offering was to be sprinkled on the altar, at the base of the altar, on Aaron and his sons, and on their vestments (Exodus 29:12, 16, 20-21).

(References: Deuteronomy 12:27; Leviticus 1:5, 1:11, 1:15, 3:2, 3:8, 3:13, 4:6-7, 4:17-18, 4:25, 4:30, 4:34, 5:9, 8:15, 8:24, 16:12-15, 17:6; Numbers 18:17)


[5] The blood of the Lamb has a like symbolism in the following verses in the book of Revelation:

...war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon... And they overcame it by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony... (Revelation 12:7, 11)

For no one can think that Michael and his angels overcame the dragon with anything other than the Lord's Divine truth in the Word. Angels in heaven, indeed, cannot think of any blood, nor do they think of the Lord's suffering, but of His Divine truth and resurrection. Consequently, when a person thinks about the Lord's blood, angels perceive His Divine truth, and when a person thinks about the Lord's suffering, they perceive His glorification, and then only His resurrection. I have been granted to know the reality of this by much experience.

[6] That blood symbolizes Divine truth is apparent also from these verses in the book of Psalms:

(God) will save the souls of the needy... Precious shall be their blood in His sight. And they shall live, and He will give them the gold of Sheba. (Psalms 72:13-15)

The blood, precious in the sight of God, stands for Divine truth among those people. The gold of Sheba is the resulting wisdom.

In Ezekiel:

Gather together... to My great sacrifice... on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall... drink the blood of the princes of the earth... You shall... drink blood till you are drunk at My sacrifice which I am sacrificing for you... (Thus) I will set My glory among the nations. (Ezekiel 39:17-21)

Blood here does not mean blood, because the statement is that they will drink the blood of the princes of the earth and that they will drink blood till they are drunk. But the true meaning of the word emerges when blood is understood to mean Divine truth. The subject there, too, is the Lord's church, which He would establish among gentiles.

(References: Ezekiel 39:17-22)


[7] Second, that blood symbolizes Divine truth can be clearly seen from its opposite meaning, in which it symbolizes the Divine truth of the Word falsified or profaned, as is apparent from these passages:

He who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil... (Isaiah 33:15)

You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; Jehovah abhors the bloody and deceitful man. (Psalms 5:6)

...everyone recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord has... rinsed away (her) blood... from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of purification. (Isaiah 4:3-4)

...on the day you were born... I saw you trampled in your blood, and I said to you in your blood, "Live!" ...I washed you and rinsed away the blood upon you... (Ezekiel 16:5-6, 9, 22, 36, 38)

They wandered blind in the streets; they have defiled themselves with blood, and what they cannot touch, they touch with their garments. (Lamentations 4:13-14)

The garment is polluted with blood. (Isaiah 9:5)

Also on your skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocent... (Jeremiah 2:34)

Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings... (Isaiah 1:15-16)

...your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken a lie... They make haste to shed innocent blood. (Isaiah 59:3, 7)

...Jehovah is coming out... to visit the iniquity... of the earth; then the earth will disclose her blood... (Isaiah 26:21)

...as many as received Him, to them He gave the ability to be children of God..., who were born, not of blood... (John 1:12-13)

In (Babylon) was found the blood of prophets and saints... (Revelation 18:24)

...the sea... became as the blood of a dead man... ...the springs of water... became blood. (Revelation 16:3-4. Cf. Isaiah 15:9, Psalms 105:29)

The like is symbolized by the rivers, ponds, and pools of water in Egypt being turned into blood (Exodus 7:15-25).

...the moon (shall be turned) into blood, before the coming of the great... day of Jehovah. (Joel 2:31)

...the moon became... blood. (Revelation 6:12)

In these places and many others, blood symbolizes the truth of the Word falsified, and also profaned. But this can be seen more clearly when these passages in the Word are read in context.

So, then, since blood in an opposite sense symbolizes the truth of the Word falsified or profaned, it is apparent that blood in a true sense symbolizes the truth of the Word not falsified.

(References: Exodus 7:15, 7:25, 12:22-23; Ezekiel 39:17-22; Isaiah 15:6; Jeremiah 2:33-34; John 6:50-58; Psalms 72:13-16, 105:23; Revelation 7:14)

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Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 19, 121, 327, 332, 342, 399, 404, 492, 497, 555, 653, 681, 684, 730, 801, 825, 865

True Christian Religion 367, 635, 686


   Parallel Passages:

True Christian Religion 706

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.

The Bible

 

Isaiah 33:15

English: King James Version         

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15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;

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Explanation of Isaiah 33      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 33

(Note: Rev. Smithson's translation of the Isaiah text is appended below the explanation)

1. WOE unto you, you spoiler, who has not been spoiled; and who dealest treacherously, and they have not dealt treacherously with you! when you shalt cease to spoil, you shalt be spoiled; and when you shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with you.

VERSE 1. There are two kinds of "desolation" or of "devastation", or of" spoiling", mentioned in the Word. One is predicated of the regenerate, which is apparent only; the other of the unregenerate or of the evil, and is absolute. The man who is born within the church, from earliest childhood learns out of the Word, and from the doctrinals of the church, what the Truth of faith is, and also what the Good of charity is; but when he becomes adult, he begins either to confirm in himself, or to deny in himself, the Truths of faith which he had learnt, for he then looks at them with his own proper sight; thereby he causes them either to be appropriated to himself, or to be rejected: for nothing can be appropriated to anyone which is not acknowledged from his own proper intuition, that is, which he does not know from himself, not from another, to be so. The Truths, therefore, which he had imbibed from childhood, could not enter further into his life than to the first entrance, from which they may be admitted more interiorly, or else be cast forth abroad. With those who are regenerated, that is, who the Lord foresees will suffer themselves to be regenerated, those Truths are exceedingly multiplied, for all such are in the affection of knowing Truths, but when they accede nearer to the very act of regeneration, they are, as it were, deprived of those Truths, which are then drawn inwards, and in this case the man appears in desolaiion; nevertheless those Truths are successively remitted into the natural principle, and are there conjoined with Good, during man's regeneration. But with those who are not regenerated, that is, who the Lord foresees will not suffer themselves to be regenerated, Truths indeed are wont to be multiplied, inasmuch as they are in the affection of knowing such things for the sake of reputation, honour, and gain; but when they come to maturer age, and submit those Truths to their own proper sight, in this case they either do not believe, or they deny, or turn them into falsities; thus Truths with such are not drawn inwards, but are cast forth abroad, yet still they remain in the memory for the sake of ends in the world without life. This state is also called "desolation" or " devastation", but it differs from the former in that the desolation of the former state is apparent, whereas the desolation of this state is absolute: for in the former state man is not deprived of Truths, but in this latter state he is altogether deprived of them. These two kinds of "desolation" and of "devastation" are often mentioned in the Word. (See Chapter 49:17, 18, 19, the Exposition.) How the case is with "desolation", is evident from those who are in desolation in the other life. They are vexed by evil spirits and genii, who infuse persuasions of what is evil and false, insomuch that they are almost overflooded, in consequence of which Truths do not appear; but as the time of desolation comes to an end, they are illustrated by light from heaven, and thus the evil spirits and genii are driven away everyone into his own hell, where they undergo punishments. In Isaiah it is said- "Woe unto you, you spoiler; who has not been spoiled, and who dealest treacherously", etc.; (Isaiah 33:1) by which is meant that the "spoiler", or those [the evil spirits] who devastate and cause devastation to the good, will, in their turn, be devastated of everything true and good in the external which they had assumed, and be cast into hell; hence it is that a "woe" is denounced against them. Arcana Coelestia 5376.

To "deal treacherously", or perfidiously; is to act against revealed Truths.. Apocalypse Explained 710. See above, Chapter 21:2, the Exposition.

2. O Jehovah, have mercy on us; we have waited for You: be You their arm every morning; even our salvation in the time of distress.

Verse 2. We often read of "morning" in the Word, and it has a various signification according to the series of things treated of in the internal sense; in the supreme sense it signifies the Lord, and also His coning; by it, in the internal sense, is signified His kingdom and church, and their state of peace; it signifies, moreover, the first state of a New Church, and also a state of love, likewise a state of illustration, consequently a state of intelligence and wisdom, find also a state of conjunction of Good and Truth, which is when the internal man is conjoined to the external. The ground and reason why "morning" has such various significations is, because in the suprerne sense it signifles the Divine Human of the Lord; and hence it likewise signifies all those things which proceed from Him, so that He Himself is there. The reason why the Divine Human of the Lord in the supreme sense is understood by "morning" is, because the Lord is the Sun of the angelic heaven, and the Sun of that heaven does not make a progression from morning to evening, or from rising to setting, as the sun of the world does to appearances but it remains constant in its place, in front above the heavens; hence it is that it is always in the morninq, and never in the evening; and inasmuch as all intelligence and wisdom which the angels possess, exists with them from the Lord as a Sun, therefore also their state of love, and their state of wisdom and intelligence, and, in general, their state of illustration, is signified by "morning"; for those things proceed from the Lord as a Sun, and what proceeds from Hirn is Himself, for from the Divine nothing but what is Divine proceeds, and everything Divine is Himself. That the Lord is the Sun of the angelic heaven, and that from Him, as a Sun, exists all love, wisdom, and intelligence, and, in general, all illustration as to divine Truths, from which wisdom is derived, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell 116-125, 126-143, 155, 156. Apocalypse Explained 179.

Be You their arm, every morning. - That the "hands", the "arms", and the "shoulders" correspond to power in the Grand Man, is because the forces and powers of the whole body, and of all its viscera, relate to those members, for the body exercises its powers by the arms and the hands. Hence also it is that, in the Word, powers are signified :by the "'hands", the "arms", and the "shoulders", as might be proved by many passages, as in Isaiah:

"Be You their arm every morning. (See also Isaiah 40:10; 44:12; 51:5) Arcana Coelestia 4933. See also above, Chapter 5:25, the Exposition.

3. At the voice of the tumult the peoples flee; at the lifting up of Yourself the nations are scattered.

Verse 3. "Peoples" here signify falsities, and "nations" evils, which, at the time of Judgment, are said "to flee and to be scattered." Apocalypse Explained 331.

4. And your spoil shall be gathered, as the caterpillar gathereth: as the running to and fro of locusts, so shall he run upon it.

Verse 4. The false in extremes, or the most dense false, is here signified [by the "caterpillar" and] by the "locusts", as is evident from many passages in the Word, especially from the Apocalypse, Chapter ix., "where" locusts" were seen ascending from the bottomless pit. The "locust" specifically signifies the sensual principle, which is the ultimate of the life of man, or the ultimate in which terminates and upon which rests the understanding of man. Hence this ultimate is like a basis upon which interior or superior principles, which belong to the will and to the understanding of man, rest as upon their foundation. In like manner the interior and superior things of the Word, which are called spiritual and celestial, since they must have a foundation upon which they can stand and subsist, wherefore the literal sense of the Word, which is its ultimate and its basis, is natural and sensual, and is also, in a good sense, understood by the "locust"; consequently the Good and Truth of the literal sense is understood by "locusts." Hence it was that John the Baptist "fed upon locusts", (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6) and that the, people of Israel were "permitted to eat them." (Leviticus 11:20-22) Apocalypse Explained 543.

5. Jehovah is exalted; yea, He dwells on high: He has filled Zion with judgment and justice.

Verse 5. What is Divine is signified by what is "exalted" and "high"; hence it is that Jehovah, or the Lord, is said "to be exalted, and to dwell on high." See also Isaiah 57:15, and many other passages. Arcana Coelestia 8153.

6. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, the strength of [your] salvations: the fear of Jehovah, this shall be his treasure.

Verse 6. "Wisdom" and "knowledge" signify the Good of faith conjoined with its Truth. The fear of Jehovah, a treasure", is the Good of love. Arcana Coelestia 2826.

7. Behold, the mighty men shall cry without: the angels of peace shall weep bitterly [saying],

Verses 7, 8. Inasmuch as peace is of the Lord, and in heaven from Him, therefore the angels are there called "the angels of peace:" and as there is no peace to those upon earth who are in evils and falsities thence derived, therefore it is said that "they weep bitterly [saying], The highways are devastated; the wayfaring man ceases"; "paths" and "ways" signifying the goods of life and truths of faith; wherefore "the highways being devastated" slgnify the goods of life being no more, and "the wayfaring man having ceased." signifies the same with respect to the truths of faith. A.. Apocalypse Explained 365.

8. The highways are devastated; the wayfaring man ceases: he has broken the covenant; he has despised the cities; he regards no man,

Verse 8. The devastation of the church is here treated of. "The highways are devastated, the wayfaring man ceases", signifies that the goods and truths which lead to heaven were no more; "he has broken the covenant", signifies that there was no conjunction with the Lord; "he has despised the cities", denotes that they refuse doctrine; "he regards no man", signifies that they make no account of wisdom. Apocalypse Explained 280.

Verses 8, 9. To "despise the cities", denotes to despise truths of doctrine; to "regard no man", is not to consider Truth and Good. "The earth mourns, it langnisheth", is the church as to Good; "Lebanon is ashamed, it withers", is the church as to Truth. Apocalypse Explained 223.

9. The earth mourns, it languishes: Lebanon is ashamed, it withers: Sharon is become like a desert; and Bashan and Carmel shake off [their leaves].

Verse 9. Where also the "earth" denotes the church, which is said to "mourn" and to "languish" when falsities begin to be apprehended and acknowledged for Truths, wherefore it is said "Lebanon is ashamed, it withers"; by "Lebanon" is signified the same as by the "cedar", namely, the Truth of the church. Apocalypse Explained 304.

Sharon is become like a desert. - "Sharon" is the internal of the celestial church. Arcana Coelestia 10609.

Basham and Carmel, etc. - "Bashan" is the good of the natural principle. (Arcana Coelestia 3923)

But what it means, in a bad sense, and what the "Oaks of Bashan " signify, see Chapter 2:12-17, the Exposition.

10. Now will I arise, says Jehovah; now will I lift up Myself; now will I be exalted.

Verses 10, [The Lord's rising to Judgment is here described, and, instead of producing the fruits represented by "Sharon", "Bashan", and "Carmel", which denote the celestial, spiritual, and natural good of the church, which the wicked, or the "hypocrites", had assumed in the external whilst they lived in the world, they will now" conceive chaff, and bring forth stubble", which are the fallacies and falsities conjoined with the evils in their internal, which at Judgment are brought forth to their condemnation.]

11. You shall conceive chaff; you shall bring forth stubble: as to your spirit, fire shall consume you.

Verse 11. "The spirit whichfire shall consume" signifies the understanding of Truth, thus intelligence; "fire" is lust or concupiscence which, because it is from evil, destroys. Arcana Coelestia 9818. See also True Christian Religion 156.

Verses 11, 12, 14. As to your spirit, fire shall consume you" etc.Where "fire", in the Word, is predicated of the evil and of the hells, it signifies the love of self and of the world, and thence every evil affection and cupidity which torment the wicked after death in hell. The reason of this opposite signification of "fire" is, because the Divine Love, when it descends out of heaven, and falls into the societies where the evil are, is turned into a love contrary to the Divine Love, and thence into various burnings of concupiscences and cupidities, and thus into evils of every kind; and inasmuch as evils carry with them the punishments of evil, hence arise their torments from this conversion of the Divine Love into infernal love with the evil. The hells, where the love of self and of the world, and thence hatred and revenge, have rule, appear as in a flaming fire, both within and round about, although no fire is perceived by the diabolic crew who are in those hells; from these loves, also, the diabolic crew themselves, who are in such hells, appear with their faces inflamed and reddening as from fire. Hence may appear the signification of "fire" in the above passage, and in the following:

"Wickedness burns like a fire: the brier and the thorn it shall consume, and it shall kindle the thicket of the wood; and they shall mount up in a volume of smoke, And the people shall be as food for the fire: a man shall not spare his brother." (Isaiah 9:18, 19)

And Again,

"All the people shall be for burning, even food for the fire." (Isaiah 9:5) Apocalypse Explained 504.

12. And the peoples shall be as the burnings of lime; as the thorns are cut up, and burned in the fire.

Verse 12. "Thorns burned in the fire" signify falsities, which catch fire and consume Goods and Truths. Arcana Coelestia 9144.

As to what is understood by "thorns" and "briers", see above, Chapter 7:23, 24, 25, the Exposition.

["Burnings of lime" signify evils of life, and "thorns" are falsities conjoined with those evils.]

13. Hear, O you that are afar off, what I have done; and acknowledge, O you that are near, My power.

14. The sinners in Zion are afraid; terror has seized the hypocrites. Who among us can abide this devouring fire? who among us can abide these everlasting burnings?

Verse 13. What is meant by being "far off" and "near", see Chapter 5:26, 28; also Chapter 34:1, the Exposition.

15. He who walks in justice, and speaks right things; who despises the gain of oppressions; who shakes his hands from holding a bribe; who stoppeth his ear from the hearing of bloodshed; who shutteth his eyes from seeing evil:

16. He shall dwell in the high places; the strongholds of the rocks shall be his place of defence: his bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

Verses 15, 17. To "walk in justice" and to "speak right things", signifies to live in the Good of love and charity, and to think and perceive Truths; for to "walk" signifies to live, "justice" is predicated of Good, and "right things" of Truth. To "see the King in His beauty", signifies to attain to wisdom; for "king" denotes Truth from Good, and "beauty" its wisdom, forasmuch as in wisdom Divine Truth is in its beautiful form. "They shall behold the land far extended", signifies the extension of wisdom into heaven; for "land" or the "earth" signifies the church and also heaven, and "far extended" signifies extension there. Apocalypse Explained 453.

Who shutteth his eyes from seeing evil: thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty. - To "shut the eyes from seeing evil", denotes not to admit evil into the thought. That "the eyes should see the King in His beauty", signifies that they should understand Truth in its own light with pleasantness; for by the "King" in this passage is not understood any king, but Truth, as may be seen above, n. 31. Apocalypse Explained 152.

17. Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land far extended.

Verse 17. They shall behold the land far extended, etc. - To "see the King in His beauty", denotes genuine Truth which is from the Lord; to "behold the land far extended" [or of far distances], signifies the extension of wisdom and intelligence. Apocalypse Explained 304.

18. Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe ? where is the weigher? where is he that numbered the towers?

19. You shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deep speech, which you couldst not hear; and of a barbarous tongue of no understanding.

Verses 18, 19. The above words signify remembrance of the state of the church when there is no intelligence nor wisdom, and when interior Truths are falsified. "Terror" denotes that state; "scribe" means intelligence; the "weigher" denotes wisdom; "towers" denote interior Truths; and to destroy the quality thereof by falsifications is here signified by "numbering" them. "You shalt not see a fierce [or obstinate] people", signifies those who are in the falsities of evil, and, abstractedly, those falsities; "a people of a deep speech", signifies falsities of doctrine confirmed until they appear as Truths; "speech" denoting the Truth of doctrine, but, in the present case, the false not visible. Apocalypse Explained 453.

Verse 18. Where is he that numbered the towers ?-As to the signification of "numbering", in a bad sense, see Chapter 22:10, the Exposition.

20. Look unto Zion, the city of our appointed feasts: thine eyes shall behold Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down: whose stakes shall not be removed for ever, and of whose cords none shall be plucked up.

21. But Jehovah shall be magnificent unto us, a place of rivers and of streams, and of broad spaces, in which no ship with oars shall pass, neither shall any magnificent vessel go through.

Verse 20. By " Zion" is not understood Zion, nor by "Jerusalem " Jerusalem, but heaven and the church, as to the Good of Love and the Truth of Doctrine. These are "a quiet habitation", and "a tabernacle which shall not be taken down" or dissipated. By "the stakes that shall not be removed", is signified confirmation by divine Truths; and by "the cords which shall not be plucked up [or rent asunder]", is signified conjunction by divine Good. Apocalypse Explained 709.

A tabernacle that shull not be taken down, etc. - The reason why a "tabernacle" signifies the church as to doctrine and worship, is, because they who were of the church in the most ancient times dwelt in tabernacles and tents, with which also they journeyed; for in those times they were mostly feeders of sheep, and the father of the family taught those who were descended from his house the precepts of charity, and thence the life of love, in tabernacles, as was the case afterwards, in temples, Hence the "tabernacle" signified the same as the "house of God", that is, the worship of God according to doctrine, consequently also the church, inasmuch as the church is a church from a life according to doctrine, and a life according to doctrine is worship. Inasmuch as those most ancient people, with whom the church was, adored God under a human form, ' and under a human form is the Lord, they consequently worshipped Him; hence their church was a celestial church, which is distinguished from the spiritual church in this, that the celestial church, is in love to the Lord and in worship from that love, and the spiritual church is in love towards the neighbour and in worship from that love; and whereas such was the quality of the church with the most ancient people, and the doctrine of love to the Lord was taught in their tabernacles, and, hence tabernacles were loved by the Lord above temples, therefore, by command of the Lord on Mount Sinai, a tabernacle was built, in which the Israelitish nation might perform holy worship; and afterwards, in memory of this most holy worship, the "feast of tabernacles" was instituted. Apocalypse Explained 799.

Verses 20, 21. By "Zion and Jerusalem." is understood the church of the Lord; by "Zion" the church where the Good of love is the ruling principle, and by "Jerusalem" the church where the Truth of doctrine is the ruling principle. Jehovah is called "magnificent" when the men of the church are of such a nature and quality as to be receptive of divine Good and Truth from the Lord; and Zion and Jerusalem are called "a place of rivers and of streams, and of broad spaces", when all their intelligence and wisdom, and Good and Truth, are from the Lord; "rivers" denoting wisdom, "streams" intelligence, and the "broad spaces" Truths from Good in multitude and extension. "No ship wth oars shall pass, neither shall any magnificent vessel go through", signifies that in the church there shall be no lntelhgence and wisdom from the proprlum; for the "ship with oars" is intelligence from the proprium, because it is moved by men by means of oars; and the "magnificent vessel" is wisdom from the proprium, because man, by reason of that wisdom, glories and is proud, for a "ship", when it is going along and paesmg through the sea, being then in its course, carrying its wealth, signifies intelligence and wisdom. That a ship is not here [literally] understood, is evident, for it is said concerning Zion and Jerusalem. Apocalypse Explained 514.

As to the signification of "ships", and especially of the "ships of Tarshish", see above, Chapter 23:1-3, the Exposition.

22. For Jehovah is our Judge; Jehovah is our Lawgiver; Jehovah is our King: He shall save us.

Verse 22. The Lord is a "Judge", because He acts from Good; He is a "Lawgiver" or "Legislator", because He acts from Truth by that Good; and He is a "King", because He acts from Truth; thus these things follow in order. Arcana Coelestia 6372.

23. Your cords are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast; they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.

Verse 23. That "cords" and "ropes" signify coujunction mediums, see Chap: Isaiah 5:18, the Exposition. [When Truths are separated from Good, as in this verse, they have no longer any power to support the doctrine (ship) In which the mind of man can trust for salvation; see verse 20, where "cords" are used in a good sense.]

The lame take the prey. - By the "lame", in the Word, are signified [In a bad sense] those who are in no good, and hence in no truth as in Isaiah 33:23. In the original tongue, "to be lame" is expressed by one term, and "to halt" by another. By the "lame", in a proper sense, are signified those who are In natural good, into which spiritual truths cannot flow, on account of the natural appearances and fallacies of the senses; and, in the opposite sense, those who are in no natural good, but in evil, which entirely prevents the influx of spiritual Truth. But by "halting", in a proper sense, are signified those who are in natural good in which common [or general] truths are admitted, but not particular and singular truths, because of ignorance; but, in the opposite sense, those who are in evil, and thus who do not even admit general truths. Arcana Coelestia 4302.

[By the "prey" which the lame are here said to take is signified the literal sense, the spoil of the Assyrian army, which, as it signified falsified and perverted truths and adulterated goods, was taken, .according to the above extract, by the "lame" in a bad sense' that is appropriated to the evil when separated at the time of Judgment from the good, and cast into hell, which was signified by the total destruction of the Assyrian army, as recorded in Chapter Isaiah 37:36.]

24. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.

Verse 24. As to what is signified by "sickness", "diseases", "wounds", "bruises" and "sores" when mentioned in the Word, see Chapter 1:6, 7, the Exposition.

The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. - It is commonly supposed that when sins are remitted, they, are wiped away or washed off as filth is by water; but sins are not wiped Rway, but removed, that is, man is withheld from them when he is kept in good by the Lord; and, when this is the case, it appears to him as if he were without his sins, thus as if they were wiped away. And, so far as man is reformed, so far he is capable of being kept in good. How this reformation is effected, will be shown in the following chapter on Regeneration. He who supposes that sins are remitted in any other way is greatly deceived. The evidences that accompany the remission, that is, the removal, of sins, are the following. They whose sins are remitted experience a delight in worshipping God for His own sake, and in serving the neighbour for the sake of the neighbour; in doing good for the sake of good, and in speaking truth for the sake of truth. Such persons disclaim all merit in the exercise of their charity and faith; they are utterly averse to all evils, as enmity, hatred, revenge, adultery; and not only do they shun them, but they abhor the very thought of them connected with any intention. But the evidences that sins are not remitted, or removed, are these. They whose sins are not remitted do not worship God for His own sake, or serve the neighbour for his own sake; thus they do not do good and speak truth for the sake of good and truth, but for the sake of themselves and the world. They claim merit on account of their deeds; they perceive nothing undelightful in evils, such as enmity, hatred, revenge, and adultery; and, influenced with these lusts, they cherish the thought of them in all licentiousness. The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 166, 167.

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Isaiah Chapter 33

1. WOE unto you, you spoiler, who has not been spoiled; and who dealest treacherously, and they have not dealt treacherously with you! when you shalt cease to spoil, you shalt be spoiled; and when you shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with you.

2. O Jehovah, have mercy on us; we have waited for You: be You their arm every morning; even our salvation in the time of distress.

3. At the voice of the tumult the peoples flee; at the lifting up of Yourself the nations are scattered.

4. And your spoil shall be gathered, as the caterpillar gathereth: as the running to and fro of locusts, so shall he run upon it.

5. Jehovah is exalted; yea, He dwelleth on high: He has filled Zion with judgment and justice.

6. And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, the strength of [your] salvations: the fear of Jehovah, this shall be his treasure.

7. Behold, the mighty men shall cry without: the angels of peace shall weep bitterly [saying],

8. The highways are devastated; the wayfaring man ceases: he has broken the covenant; he has despised the cities; he regards no man,

9. The earth mourns, it languishes: Lebanon is ashamed, it withers: Sharon is become like a desert; and Bashan and Carmel shake off [their leaves].

10. Now will I arise, says Jehovah; now will I lift up Myself; now will I be exalted.

11. You shall conceive chaff; you shall bring forth stubble: as to your spirit, fire shall consume you.

12. And the peoples shall be as the burnings of lime; as the thorns are cut up, and burned in the fire.

13. Hear, O you that are afar off, what I have done; and acknowledge, O you that are near, My power.

14. The sinners in Zion are afraid; terror has seized the hypocrites. Who among us can abide this devouring fire? who among us can abide these everlasting burnings?

15. He who walks in justice, and speaks right things; who despises the gain of oppressions; who shakes his hands from holding a bribe; who stoppeth his ear from the hearing of bloodshed; who shutteth his eyes from seeing evil:

16. He shall dwell in the high places; the strongholds of the rocks shall be his place of defence: his bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

17. Thine eyes shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land far extended.

18. Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe ? where is the weigher? where is he that numbered the towers?

19. You shalt not see a fierce people, a people of a deep speech, which you couldst not hear; and of a barbarous tongue of no understanding.

20. Look unto Zion, the city of our appointed feasts: thine eyes shall behold Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down: whose stakes shall not be removed for ever, and of whose cords none shall be plucked up.

21. But Jehovah shall be magnificent unto us, a place of rivers and of streams, and of broad spaces, in which no ship with oars shall pass, neither shall any magnificent vessel go through.

22. For Jehovah is our Judge; Jehovah is our Lawgiver; Jehovah is our King: He shall save us.

23. Your cords are loosed; they could not well strengthen their mast; they could not spread the sail: then is the prey of a great spoil divided; the lame take the prey.

24. And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 33


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 2165, 2702, 3869, 8711, 9263

Apocalypse Revealed 48, 50, 379

Doctrine of Life 84


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 71, 152, 329, 453

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 43

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  PDF Resources


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 23:8

Job 31:7

Psalms 15:2, 5

Proverbs 1:10, 15

Word/Phrase Explanations

righteously
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

speaketh
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

gain
'Lucre or gain' signifies every thing false derived from evil which perverts the judgment.

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

hearing
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

blood
Bloods signify evil, in Ezek. 16:9.

eyes
'Pairs of hands, eyes, etc.' relate to the will and understanding, or to good and truth. The right side to the will or good, and...

seeing
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...

evil
'Wickedness' signifies evil, and 'iniquity' signifies falsities.

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.


 Picturing the Lord as Our King
Make a picture of the Lord as King with a beautiful crown on His head and shining white garments. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Adults: The Lord Our King
Activity | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Children: The Lord Our King
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Teens: The Lord Our King
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 The Lord Is the King of Kings
Color picture of the Lord our King on a white horse.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Promise of the King
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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