The Bible

 

Jonah 4:2

English: World English Bible         

Study the Inner Meaning

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2 He prayed to Yahweh, and said, "Please, Yahweh, wasn't this what I said when I was still in my own country? Therefore I hurried to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and you relent of doing harm.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 4      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

In this fourth chapter of the Book of Jonah, (Jonah 4), the prophet Jonah has a strange reaction to his success. He's angry, and sulky. He thinks he knows better than God does. What is this story about?

Rev. George McCurdy, in his exegesis of this chapter, offers a summary in his Study Guide for the Book of Jonah, which is available for free as a .pdf, for your use. Below, we've excerpted part of his summary, and edited it for use in this context.

The people of the Jewish church in Jonah's time didn't want to reconsider their belief in their "most-favored-nation status." They challenged the Lord. They couldn't understand why He wanted to save their enemies in Nineveh.

Despite the hard lessons in chapters 1 and 2, and his success as described in chapter 3, Jonah still thought he knew better than the Lord. He thought that God was being too soft and loving -- too forgiving -- and that He needed to come around to Jonah’s tougher view.

Jonah got so angry and vengeful that he preferred to die rather than approve of the Lord’s way to save the Ninevites. His self-love wanted shade -- protection for its concepts. The Lord needed to bring such thinking to an end; the worm brought about death to the gourd from within. The Lord then sent a vehement east wind, that represents a blowing away of the stagnant thinking of the church.

The Lord's heavenly sun shone upon Jonah, but he felt faint. Here, Jonah's insistence on his own troubling view of things made him uncomfortable with the Lord’s view. The Divine guidance offered him a way to learn to enjoy the success of his neighbors as his own, but he wouldn't take it.

For us, then -- what? This story is telling us that we can't just keep the truths of the Word for ourselves; we have to go to Nineveh and share them. And then, if people start to hear them, and use them to turn their lives around, we can't allow ourselves to get resentful that the Lord accepts their repentance and forgives them. It's a very human reaction; think of the disciples vying to be first in the Lord's command structure (Luke 9:46), or the brother of the prodigal son (Luke 15:28-29), or the workers in the vineyard who had worked all day for a denarius (Matthew 20:10-12). But... it's not a good reaction. The Lord doesn't admire it in Jonah, and doesn't admire it when it crops up in our minds, either.

Rev. Martin Pennington recommends several explanatory passages from Swedenborg's theological writings:

"Shade or shadow means the perception of good and truth lies in obscurity." (Arcana Coelestia 2367)

"A vine is spiritual good (the spiritual church)". (Arcana Coelestia 217)

"A worm represents falsity gnawing away and tormenting one." (Arcana Coelestia 8481)

"'And the sun grew hot' in the contrary sense means self-love and love of the world." (Arcana Coelestia 8487)

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

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 214


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 10441

Sacred Scripture 51

True Christian Religion 226

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Psalms 86:15

Jonah 3:9

Word/Phrase Explanations

Yahweh
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

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...

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...

flee
Flight, as in Matthew 14:20, signifies removal from a state of the good of love and innocence. Flight, as in Mark 8:18, signifies the last...

Tarshish
Elishah, Tarshish, Kitthin, and Dodanium (Gen. 10:4) signify so many several doctrinals respecting ritual observances, and derived from external worship prevailing with Javan.

knew
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

merciful
In regular language, "mercy" means being caring and compassionate toward those who are in poor states. That's a position we are all in relative to...

anger
Anger is an emotion so common to people that it requires no definition. However a couple of points of interest can be raised. 1) The...

abundant
'Sufficiency' relates to the reception of good, because good is the spiritual nourishment of the soul, as natural food is the nourishment of the body.

kindness
In regular language, "mercy" means being caring and compassionate toward those who are in poor states. That's a position we are all in relative to...

harm
To do “harm” in the Bible specifically means attacks and injury by evil and falsity against what is good and true. The reverse is never...

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.


 Jonah
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

 Jonah Goes to Nineveh
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 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

Commentary

 

Exploring the Meaning of Jonah 4      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

In this fourth chapter of the Book of Jonah, (Jonah 4), the prophet Jonah has a strange reaction to his success. He's angry, and sulky. He thinks he knows better than God does. What is this story about?

Rev. George McCurdy, in his exegesis of this chapter, offers a summary in his Study Guide for the Book of Jonah, which is available for free as a .pdf, for your use. Below, we've excerpted part of his summary, and edited it for use in this context.

The people of the Jewish church in Jonah's time didn't want to reconsider their belief in their "most-favored-nation status." They challenged the Lord. They couldn't understand why He wanted to save their enemies in Nineveh.

Despite the hard lessons in chapters 1 and 2, and his success as described in chapter 3, Jonah still thought he knew better than the Lord. He thought that God was being too soft and loving -- too forgiving -- and that He needed to come around to Jonah’s tougher view.

Jonah got so angry and vengeful that he preferred to die rather than approve of the Lord’s way to save the Ninevites. His self-love wanted shade -- protection for its concepts. The Lord needed to bring such thinking to an end; the worm brought about death to the gourd from within. The Lord then sent a vehement east wind, that represents a blowing away of the stagnant thinking of the church.

The Lord's heavenly sun shone upon Jonah, but he felt faint. Here, Jonah's insistence on his own troubling view of things made him uncomfortable with the Lord’s view. The Divine guidance offered him a way to learn to enjoy the success of his neighbors as his own, but he wouldn't take it.

For us, then -- what? This story is telling us that we can't just keep the truths of the Word for ourselves; we have to go to Nineveh and share them. And then, if people start to hear them, and use them to turn their lives around, we can't allow ourselves to get resentful that the Lord accepts their repentance and forgives them. It's a very human reaction; think of the disciples vying to be first in the Lord's command structure (Luke 9:46), or the brother of the prodigal son (Luke 15:28-29), or the workers in the vineyard who had worked all day for a denarius (Matthew 20:10-12). But... it's not a good reaction. The Lord doesn't admire it in Jonah, and doesn't admire it when it crops up in our minds, either.

Rev. Martin Pennington recommends several explanatory passages from Swedenborg's theological writings:

"Shade or shadow means the perception of good and truth lies in obscurity." (Arcana Coelestia 2367)

"A vine is spiritual good (the spiritual church)". (Arcana Coelestia 217)

"A worm represents falsity gnawing away and tormenting one." (Arcana Coelestia 8481)

"'And the sun grew hot' in the contrary sense means self-love and love of the world." (Arcana Coelestia 8487)

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

The Bible

 

Luke 9:46

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Luke 9      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1-2. That the goods and truths of the Church have power imparted from the Lord, to rule over all evil and false principles from hell, and to announce the Lord's advent, and to remove spiritual disorders.

Verse 3. Under this condition, that they acknowledge all to be from the Lord alone, and nothing from themselves.

Verses 4-5. And that they enjoy heavenly consociation with those, who receive the Lord in faith and love, but denounce eternal misery on those who reject Him.

Verse 6. Thus they proclaim the Lord's advent, and remove evils and falsities.

Verses 7-9. That they who are in evils and falsities are instructed concerning the Lord, that He is the Word which they had rejected, therefore they are desirous to acquire knowledge of Him.

Verse 10. And that they who are in goods and truths make confession to the Lord of the effects of the power they have received from Him, and are afterwards let into temporary desolation.

Verse 11. Nevertheless they who are in the affection of good and of truth adhere to the Lord more closely, and are instructed by Him concerning His coming, and thus delivered from their natural disorders.

Verses 12-13. And in states of spiritual obscurity and distress, the Lord provides for their support, by the communication of good and truth from Him self, notwithstanding the apparent impossibility of such provision.

Verses 14-16. Yet not until inferior goods and truths are brought into right arrangement, and communication is opened through benediction from the Divine Good.

Verse 17. On which occasion, heavenly good and truth are appropriated in all fullness.

Verses 18-19. That they who are of the Church ought to enquire concerning the Lord's Human principle, so as not to confound it with that of other men.

Verse 20. Because the faith of the Church teaches, that the Lord's Human principle is the eternal Word, consequently Divine.

Verse 21. Which truth the Church at that time was not in a state to receive.

Verse 22. They are therefore instructed concerning the Lord's temptations, and the glorification thereby of His Human principle.

Verse 23. And taught the necessity of opposing the suggestions of self-love, and of enduring temptations, and of acknowledging the Lord by obedience to His precepts.

Verse 24. Since by so doing they would attain conjunction of life with the Lord, which is a good infinitely greater than any temporal good whatever.

Verse 26. Whereas if they reject the Lord and His precepts, they separate themselves eternally from Him, and from all heavenly good and truth.

Verse 27. That they who are principled in faith, in charity, and the works of charity, no longer experience separation of life from the Divine Being, but behold heaven, continually open through the Lord's Divine Human principle.

Verses 28-29. And being elevated into interior truths of good, behold that principle as the supreme good and supreme truth.

Verses 30-31. Thus as the all of the Word both historical and prophetical, since both the historical and prophetical Word testify to the glorification of the Lord's Human principle through temptation-combats.

Verse 32. This glorification however cannot be seen in a natural state of mind, but in a spiritual state.

Verse 33. In which spiritual state it excites an ardent desire of the reception and accomplishment of the whole Word.

Verses 34-35. Accordingly they who are elevated into such a spiritual state are instructed from the letter of the Word, that the Lord's Divine Human principle is the Divine truth itself, and the one living source of all truth in the Church.

Verse 36. And that thus the Lord is the whole of the Word.

Verses 37-39. And to be adored as the sole power of deliverance by such as are in evils and falsities.

Verse 40. Who cannot be delivered by any goods and truths but such as are in connection with the Divine Good and truth of the Lord's Divine Human principle.

Verses 41-42. To effect which connection, the Lord assumed the Human principle, and endured temptations, that thus they who desire to be delivered from evils and falsities may come to Him, and thereby be separated from infernal association.

Verses 43-45. Mankind therefore ought to consider well the nature and necessity of the Lord's temptations, which is a subject hid from the apprehension of the mere natural man, who is afraid to explore it.

Verses 46-48. For the natural man is concerned only about self-exaltation, when yet he ought to be concerned principally about humility and innocence, since the Lord, with all His Divine Good, is ever present with the humble and innocent, and thus exalting them.

Verses 49-50. And also conjoining Himself with all those, who, through His Divine power, oppose evil in themselves.

Verses 51-53. That as the period of the Lord's glorification approaches, He is intent on the concerns of the Church, but is rejected by those who are of the perverted spiritual Church.

Verses 54-56. Yet He bears all with patience, being influenced only by the Divine love of saving mankind.

Verses 57-58. So that a strong desire is excited in some to believe in Him, and keep His precepts, when yet the Word at that time had no place with the Jews, because they did not acknowledge Him.

Verses 59-60. But adhered to self-hood, which yet, in respect to the Lord, is as one that is dead, to one that is alive.

Verses 61-62. Thus they had recourse to the doctrinals of faith, instead of abiding, as they ought to have done, in the good of love and charity.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1594, 3417


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 586, 1001

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



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.


 Feeding the 5000
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Feeding the Five Thousand
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 People Follow the Lord
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Plow Your Field
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Apostles Are Sent Out
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 Lord Feeding the Multitude Diorama
Color the background scene, the figure of the Lord, and the boy carrying a basket of bread and fish. Cut out the figures of the Lord and the boy, and then assemble the diorama.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord's Teachings Are Spiritual Food
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Transfiguration
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Transfiguration: A Wonderful Vision
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Transfiguration: One Lord, Two Prophets, Three Disciples
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14


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