The Bible

 

Luke 1:26-27 : A Virgin Betrothed to a Man

        

Study the Inner Meaning

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Apocalypse Revealed 548

The Lord 19, 29


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Spiritual Experiences 4332

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:



Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

angel
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

Gabriel
Gabriel signifies an angelic society in heaven that is made up of people who teach from the Word, particularly about the Lord’s advent.

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

galilee
Galilee was the northernmost province of Biblical Judea, a hilly area relatively remote from the center of Jewish culture in Jerusalem and bordered by foreigners...

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.


 Angel Appears to Joseph
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel Appears to Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel Appears to Zacharias
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angelic Appearances at the Time of the Advent
A sermon about the angel Gabriel's appearances to different people and how this pictures aspects of the preparation we must do for the Lord's birth in our own lives. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Angel with Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel with Zacharias
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Annunciation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Birth of the Lord
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Blessings: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Call His Name Jesus
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Christmas Joy and Happiness
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Elizabeth Greets Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 His Name Is John
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 His Name Will Be Called: The Development of the Lord in Our Lives
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Jesus' Childhood
People are born without a set purpose and develop a purpose as they learn and choose a pathway. Jesus was born with an identity and a purpose; He had to discover His identity and become true to it.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Mary and Elizabeth
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Mary's Song of Praise
Mary's song of praise, often called the Magnificat, in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

 Mary Visits Elizabeth
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Naming John the Baptist
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Our Savior
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Picture of the Angel Gabriel
Project | Ages up to 10

 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: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Prophecies of the Advent
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Scroll of Angelic Appearances in Christmas Story
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Angel Appearing to Mary
Use oil pastels and watercolors to show the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Angel Appears to Mary
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Angel Appears to Mary
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Angel Appears to Mary Mobile
Make a simple mobile to show the angel Gabriel coming to tell Mary that she would give birth to a Son and should name Him Jesus.
Project | Ages 3 - 8

 The Angel's Promise to Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Annunciation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Birth of John
Zacharias and Elizabeth were very good people who wanted a child very much. The Lord answered their prayers. John was born to help prepare people to learn from the Lord. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Introductory Level, for ages 5-6.
Religion Lesson | Ages 5 - 6

 The Birth of John the Baptist
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 Birth of John the Baptist
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Magnificat
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Maidservant of the Lord
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Mother of the Lord
Imagine what it must have been like to suddenly see an angel and be told such great news.
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 The Name Mary
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Savior
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Spread of the Lord's Word
We can be like the shepherds and others who have spread the good news as we learn about the Lord and find ways to tell people. Maybe this Christmas you can share your enjoyment of the story of the Lord’s birth with a friend or neighbor. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 5, for ages 10-11.
Religion Lesson | Ages 10 - 11

 Understanding the Virgin Birth
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Zacharias and the Angel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Zacharias’s Dumbness
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Zacharias Sees Angel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

Commentary

 

The Betrothal      

By Rev. Dr. Andrew T. Dibb

Mary, By Henry Ossawa Tanner - http://www.classicartrepro.com/artistsb.iml?artist=427, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4864395

The Betrothal
A Christmas Doctrinal Class by Rev. Andrew M.T. Dibb

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
(Luke 1:26-27)

So begins the wonderful story of the Lord's conception in the Gospel of Luke. The scene is familiar to each of us: Mary is at home, when suddenly she sees the angel Gabriel and hears his words of great joy:

"Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" (Luke 1:28)

An angel is a messenger of the Lord. In the Word angels came to bring wisdom and comfort, hope and the good news, the “euangellion” or Gospel, to those to whom the Lord wanted His presence revealed. This Gospel is the teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world, that He made it possible for all people to be saved and brought into His kingdom. Thus the angel Gabriel came in excitement to Mary to inform her that she was the Lord’s choice as His natural mother.

When Mary saw the angel Gabriel, she didn't know that he was the human form of an entire society of angels. Nor did she know that his greatest love is to tell people about the Lord, especially that He would be born into the world to save the human race from spiritual bondage.

The scene of the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she would conceive and bear a son, and call His name Jesus, is one of the most poignant in the Word. Mary was a simple person, living in Galilee far away from the centre of worship at Jerusalem. She was neither highly educated nor socially well connected, except that she descended from Israel’s greatest king, David. There is a beautiful innocence in Mary’s simplicity. The last thing she expected in life was to see an angel. The image we have of Mary is of a demure young maiden, a virgin in every sense, for, as she said to the angel, 'I do not know a man'. Her state of life was that of a young woman about to embark on her married life to Joseph, but still living at home with her parents. The marriage had not yet been celebrated.

It is central to the Christmas story that Mary was betrothed to Joseph when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. This fact is mentioned in the lesson we read in the Gospel of Luke, where it is plainly stated that she was a 'virgin betrothed'. In Matthew we are again told that Mary was 'betrothed to Joseph'. This means that she had been promised as a wife to Joseph. In our culture, we would say that they were engaged to be married.

There are several good reasons why Mary should have been in this state when she conceived the Lord:
- In the Jewish Church of that time betrothal was considered marriage, although the marriage had not yet been consummated. This meant that the people around her considered Mary a woman, and it also meant that her mind was focusing on the upcoming marriage and future life as a wife and a mother.
- She was expected, during this period of betrothal, to remain in a state of order. She was not free to come into romantic contact with any other man, and she certainly was not permitted to have sexual intercourse with any man, including her husband to be.

The angel appeared to her in this state precisely for that reason - the child who was to be conceived needed to be conceived in a state of virginity, and there could be no question down the ages that Jesus was the son of an ordinary man. This is why Mary protested that she could not conceive because she 'had not known a man'.

There is a very good reason for this: the doctrines tell us that the human soul is transmitted as the living principle of the masculine seed. That soul, or internal human is passed from father to child, is an image of the father's own soul - although the life in it is from the Divine Itself. When a child is conceived, that human soul can receive life from the Lord, and, using the life in it, begins to draw from the mother the various substances needed to form the human body. When the child is born, he or she becomes an individual, drawing life from the Lord, and potential spiritual things from both mother and father, and the body from the mother. Thus there is a complete mixing of parents in the birth of a child.

When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he announced the birth of the Lord. It was to be a miracle of all miracles, for according to prophecy a virgin would conceive and bear a son. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit. His soul was Divine, given to Him by the Father, or, put another way, the soul within Jesus was not limited and finite as our souls are, but infinite and eternal, and capable of overcoming the powers of hell and saving the human race.

Here's an excerpt from Swedenborg's work, Arcana Coelestia 1999: "But the Lord's Internal was Jehovah Himself, since He was conceived from Jehovah, who cannot be divided or become the relative of another, like a son who has been conceived from a human father. For unlike the human, the Divine is not capable of being divided but is and remains one and the same. To this Internal the Lord united the Human Essence. Moreover because the Lord's Internal was Jehovah it was not, like man's internal, a recipient form of life, but life itself. Through that union His Human Essence as well became life itself. Hence the Lord's frequent declaration that He is Life, as in John,

As the Father has Life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have Life in Himself. John 5:26."

Yet even a soul such as that, if it is to live and walk amongst the people of this earth, must be clothed in a body. The Lord always operates within the boundaries of the order of creation - and order dictates that a soul must be clothed with a material body.

At first the father’s soul is clothed with human elements, for it begins as a reproduction of the father’s own soul, then,

"during its descent, … the soul is enveloped by elements of a type that have to do with the father's natural love. This is the source from which hereditary evil springs." (Conjugial Love 245)

And so the Lord needed an orderly environment in which to be born. Mary was chosen as His mother because, according to the Lord's all-seeing wisdom, He saw that she would be willing to carry this child, and she would be able to nurture Him in such a way that He would grow up prepared for the great work ahead of Him.

Yet Mary had to be in a state of order herself. In ancient Israel, to bear a child meant that she had to be married, and yet to preserve the honesty of the conception and ensure that the soul was Divine, not human, she had to be in the state before actual physical union with Joseph had taken place - otherwise the Lord could have been Joseph's son. So she had to be betrothed, and no motive should be found as a basis for accusations against the Virgin Birth.

It was partly for this reason that when Joseph heard that she was carrying a child he decided to put her away. Effectively this meant he planned to divorce her. According to the law of Moses, a betrothed woman carrying a child had broken the rules. Ideally speaking, the man responsible should be put to death. Joseph had no idea who the man was, but assumed that there was one. He was, however, a kind man, and so decided not 'to make her a public example', but to put her away privately.

It was at this juncture that the angel Gabriel came to Joseph in a dream, and soothed his fears. 'The child she is carrying,' the angel said, 'is conceived by the Holy Spirit.' Now Joseph understood, and the state of betrothal could continue, and order could be maintained so that the Lord could be born into this world with the full appearance of two loving parents, bound together in marriage after an orderly betrothal.

We now need to expand our vision of the Lord's life in this world. The conception of the Lord was but the first step in his development. He had to be born and grow up. His mind and body had to develop as does our own. The home of Mary and Joseph was needed to provide a stable and orderly environment for Him where He could live and grow, undergoing not only physical and mental development, but also the very processes by which His Divine soul could become present within His natural mind.

In picking these two people to be his 'parents' in the natural world, the Lord was able to provide for the future as well. The Word does not tell us anything about the marriage relationship between Joseph and Mary. We know that Joseph was obedient to the angel when he was told to take Mary and the infant Lord down to Egypt to escape Herod's cruelty. We know that each year they travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. We know that had other children, whom likewise they loved and nurtured. But that is about all we know.

The book, Conjugial Love, by Emanuel Swedenborg, however, gives us some insights into the kind of orderly relationship they had. They begin in the concept of Betrothal, for betrothal is introductory to marriage. The kinds of preparation people make for their marriages determine a great deal the course their marriage will follow. The fact that Mary in her betrothed state had 'not known a man' indicates that she took the responsibilities of that state serious. Similarly, the fact that Joseph immediately knew that he was not the father of the child Mary carried indicates a similar seriousness about the state of betrothal. They were both innocent of any wrongdoing, and were obviously committed to building a life together based on the firm foundation of proper preparation.

Their betrothal prepared them for their future life together as man and wife, and, thus as the Lord's parents on earth. Betrothal is a preparation for marriage. It is a time when the minds and spirits of the two partners begin to grow together.

The teachings of the New Church tell us that true marriage, or conjugial love as it is often called, is a meeting and union of two minds. A true marriage is one in which the couple recognises the essential differences between masculinity and femininity, and rejoices in those differences without any attempt to dominate the other. In order for a couple to come into a true appreciation of each other, they need to put aside physical love to foster and nurture spiritual love. This is why Mary and Joseph lived apart during this stage of their relationship, and why they refrained from sexual activity, for in that way they made it possible for their minds to soar, and be united at the highest levels of idealism.

The book Conjugial Love tells us that in this state the mind of each partner is opened by his or her spiritual love. They are able to reach higher levels of love and commitment to each other as they foster the growth of mutual understanding unencumbered by physical things. The passage describing this development, then, goes on to describe how when a couple marry their love descends from the mind to the body. It is worth reflecting on the statement that

"It needs to be known that the quality of conjugial love as it comes down is determined by the height to which it climbs. If it reaches the heights it comes down chaste, but if it does not, it comes down as unchaste." (Conjugial Love 302).

With Mary and Joseph we can but only assume that their love reached its heights during their betrothal, and that their marriage was one of purity and chastity. Chastity in this sense means a marriage love between two people that has been cleansed of all impurities. In such a state the husband and wife enjoy the full pleasures of marriage, beginning on the spiritual level with a full meeting of minds, and descends into the body, where their love is consummated.

A marriage of this kind provides the most wonderful environment, for the love between the husband and wife provides a state of tranquillity and peace in which children can be reared. This is the kind of environment the Lord chose to be born into. He knew that during his life in this world He would have to face the most terrible of temptations. He knew that He would have to battle against hell continuously, and face the disbelief of the people around Him. His first thirty-three years were a preparation for this work lying before Him. And so He chose to be born to a couple who were in a state of order, who because of that order, were willing to receive Him into their lives, to nurture Him as if He was their own.

There is a message in this for us. Each one of us wants the Lord to be born into our own lives, and He is willing to come to us. "Behold,' He says, 'I stand at the door and knock'. Yet He can only enter into us to the degree that we bring our lives into order. Mary and Joseph clung to their betrothal - they committed themselves and stood fast. That is what the Lord wants us to do: to commit ourselves to Him, to live according to His Word in every detail of our lives, especially in our relationships with others, in our preparation for marriage, and in our marriages themselves. As we do, then He enters into us, establishes His presence there, and lifts us up to heaven.
AMEN

Lessons:
Deuteronomy 22:25-29
Isaiah 7:14-16
Luke 1:26-38
Conjugial Love 302

The Bible

 

Isaiah 7:14-16

English: King James Version         

Study the Inner Meaning

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14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

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   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Isaiah 7      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 7

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

1. AND it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Retzin, king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up against Jerusalem to besiege it; but they could not prevail against it.

VERSE 1. All "wars", although they are of a civil nature, are representative in heaven of states of the church, and are correspondences thereto. Such were all the wars which are described in the Word, and such also are all wars at this day. The wars described in the Word are those which were carried on by the children of Israel with various nations as with the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Philistines, the Syrians, the EgyptIans, the Chaldeans, the Assyrians; and when the children of Israel, who represented the church, departed from their precepts and statutes, and fell Into the evils which were signified by those nations (for each particular nation with which the children of Israel waged war signified some particular kind of evil), then they were punished by that nation. For example, when they profaned the holy things of the church by foul idolatries, they were punished by the

Assyrians and Chaldeans, because by "Assyria and Chaldea" is signified the profanation of what is holy. What is signified by "the wars with the Philistines may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning Faith 50-54. Similar things are represented by wars at this day, wherever they are; for all the things which are done In the natural world correspond with spiritual things in the spiritual world, and all spiritual things concern the church. It is not known in this world which kingdoms in Christendom represent the Moabites and Ammonites, which the Syrians and Philistines, and which the Chaldeans and Assyrians, and the others with whom the children of Israel carried on wars nevertheless there are kingdoms in Christendom which represent those people. But what is the quality of the church upon earth, and what are the evils into which it falls; and on account of which it is punished with wars, cannot at all be seen In the natural world, because in that world appear externals only which do not constitute the church but it is seen in the spiritual world, where internals appear which do constitute the church, and there all are conjoined according to their various states. The conflicts of those in the spiritual world correspond to wars, which on both sides are, governed correspondentially by the Lord according to His Divine Providence. Divine Providence 251.

Kings of Judah and of Israel. - For the signification of "kings", when mentioned in the Word, see above, Chapter 1:1, the Exposition.

The Lord was called a "Man of war", and "Jehovah Zebaoth" or Jehovah of armies, from this circumstance, that when He was in the world, He alone, that is, of Himself, fought against the hells and subdued them. Hence it is the Lord who alone fights for man, and protects him, when he is assaulted by the hells, and this continually, especially in temptations, which are spiritual combats. In the Word, where mention is made of "war", in the internal sense, is meant spiritual war, which is against falsities and evils, or what is the same thing, which is against the devil, that is, the hells. (See Arcana Coelestia 1664, 2686)

The subject concerning the wars, or combats of the Lord against the hells, is treated of, in the internal sense, both in the histories and prophecies of the Word; in like manner concerning the wars and combats of the Lord for man. Amongst the ancients with whom the church of the Lord was, there was also a Word both historical and prophetical, which at this day is not extant. The historical Word was called The Book of the Wars of Jehovah, and the prophetical Word was called Enunciations [of Jehovah]. This Word is mentioned in Moses. (Numbers 21:24, 27)

That by the expression moshlem, "enunciations" or "proverbs", at verse 27, are signified prophetical declarations, is evident from the signification of that expression in Numbers 23:7, 18; 24:3, 15. By the "Wars of Jehovah" are there meant the Lord's combats and victories, when He was in the world, against the hells; and also His perpetual combats and victories afterwards for man, for the church, and for His kingdom. For the hells continually desire to raise themselves up, inasmuch as they breathe nothing else but dominion; but they are repressed by the Lord alone. Their attempts to climb upwards appear as ebullitions [or bubblings up], and as ejections [or heavings] of the back by man; but as often as they attempt this many are cast down more deeply thither. Arcana Coelestia 8273.

2. And when it was told to the house of David, that Syria did rest upon Ephraim; his heart, and the heart of his people, was moved, as the trees of the forest are moved before the wind.

Verse 2. Syria did rest upon Ephraim. - The understanding of the Word, both true and false, is described in the prophetic writings, particularly in the prophet Hosea, by "Ephraim"; for the understanding of the Word in "the church is signified in the Word by "Ephraim." Inasmuch as the understanding of the Word constitutes the church, therefore Ephraim is called

"a dear son, and a pleasant child"; (Jeremiah 31:20)

"The first-born"; (Jeremiah 31:9)

"The strength of the head of Jehovah"; (Psalm 60:7; 108:8)

"A mighty man"; (Zechariah 10:7)

"filled with the bow"; (Zechariah 9:13)

and the children of Ephraim are called "armed and shooters with the bow" (Psalm 78:9), for by a "bow" is signified doctrine derived from the Word combating with falsities.

For the same reason also, "Israel set his right hand upon Ephraim, and blessed him"; and he was also "accepted in lieu of Reuben"; (Genesis 48:5, 14) and for the same reason, "Ephraim, with his brother Manasseh, under the name of their father Joseph, was exalted by Moses, in his blessing of the children of Israel, above all the rest." (Deuteronomy 33:13-17)

But the state and nature of the church, when the understanding of the Word is destroyed, is also described in the writings of the prophets by "Ephraim", particularly in Hosea; as in these passages:

"Israel and Ephraim shall fall in their iniquity; Ephraim shall be desolate; Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment." (Hosea 5:5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14)

"O Ephraim, what shall I do unto you? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away." (Hosea 6:4)

"They shall not dwell in the land of Jehovah, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria." (Hosea 9:3)

The "land of Jehovah" is the church:

"Egypt" is the scientific principle of the natural man; and "Assyria" is reasoning founded on it; therefore it is said that "Ephraim shall return into Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria."

"Ephraim feeds on wind, and follows after the east wind; he daily increases lies and desolations; he makes a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt." (Hosea 12:1)

To "feed on wind", to "follow after the east wind", to "increase lies and desolations", is to falsify truths, and so to destroy the church.

The same is also signified by the "whoredom of Ephraim", for "whoredom" signifies the falsification of the understanding of the Word, that is, of its genuine truth, as in these passages:

"For now, O Ephraim, you committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled." (Hosea 5:3)

"I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel; Ephraim has committed whoredom there, and Israel is defiled." (Hosea 6:10)

"Israel" means the church itself, and "Ephraim" the understanding of the Word, which determines the state and quality of the church; wherefore it is said "Ephraim committeth whoredom, and Israel is defiled." But as the church amongst the children of Israel and Judah was totally destroyed by falsifications of the Word, therefore it is said of Ephraim, "I will give you up, Ephraim, I will deliver you up, Israel, I will make you as Admah, I will set you as Zeboim." (Hosea 9:8)

Now since the prophet Hosea, from the first chapter to the last, treats of the falsification of the genuine understanding of the Word, and of the consequent destruction of the church, therefore he was commanded, for the purpose of representing that state of the church, to "take unto himself a wife of whoredoms, and children of whoredoms"; (Hosea 1:2) and again, - to "take to himself an adulteress." (Hosea 3:1)

We have quoted these passages for the sake of showing and proving from the Word that the quality of the church is always determined by its understanding of the Word; and that it is excellent, and precious if its understanding be grounded on the genuine truths of the Word, but that it is destroyed, yea, filthy, 'if it be grounded on truths falsified. True Christian Religion 247.

3. And Jehovah said to Isaiah, Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct of the upper-pool, at the highway of the fuller's field;

4. And you shalt say unto him, Take heed, and be still: fear not, neither let your heart be faint, because of the two tails of these smoking firebrands; for the burning wrath of Retzin and of the Syrian, and of the son of Hemaliah.

5. Because Syria has devised evil against you; Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah,

6. Saying, "We will go up against Judah, and harass it; and we will make a breach into it for ourselves; and we will set a king to reign in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:

Verse 3. The upper pool. - The "pools" in Jerusalem signified truths such as are in the exterior and interior senses of the Word. Apocalypse Explained 453.

Verse 4. By "Retzin and Syria" is signified the rational principle perverted, and by "the son of Remaliah, the king of Israel", who is also called Ephraim, is signified the intellectual principle perverted; the intellectual principle, signified by "Ephraim, king of Israel", has relation to the Word; and the rational principle, signified by "Retzin and Syria", has relation to sciences which confirm, for man, in order to have the understanding of the Word, must also have rationality; and when these two principles are perverted, they look only downwards to the earth, and outwards to the world, as sensual men do who are in the falsities of evil; hence they are called "tails"; a "smoking firebrand" signifies the concupiscence of the false, and thence wrath against the truths and goods of the church. Apocalypse Explained 559. See also Arcana Coelestia 6952.

"Retzin, king of Syria", denotes here the knowledges of evil; for "Syria", in a good sense, means the knowledges of good; thus in the opposite sense the knowledges of evil. the "son of Remaliah the king of Samaria" signifies the knowledges of the false; the latter and the former are "tails", because lowest principles; "smoking firebrands" denote wrath, Arcana Coelestia 6952.

As to the meaning of the "tail", see a fuller Exposition below, Chapter 9:13, 14, also at Chapter 19:15.

By "Aram", or Syria, are signified the knowledges of good. "Aram", or Syria, signifies also in an opposite sense the knowledges of good perverted, according to what is usual in the Word, where the same expression is frequently applied in such a twofold signification. That "Aram" is thus used in two senses may be seen in Isaiah 7:4-6. Arcana Coelestia 1232.

7. Thus says the Lord Jehovih, It shall not stand, and it shall not be.

8. For the head of Syria shall be Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Retzin; and within threescore and five years Ephraim shall be broken, that he be no more a people.

9. And the head of Ephraim shall be Samaria, and the head of Samaria, Remaliah's son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.

10. And Jehovah spake yet again to Ahaz, saying,

Verse 7. Lord Jehovih. - See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 3:15, and note.

Verse 8. For the head of Syria shall be Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Retzin, etc. - "Damascus" was the principal city of Syria, as appears from Isaiah 7:8; by which is signified nearly the same as by Syria. The last border of the land of Canaan, but beyond Dan, is signified by "Damascus", as in Amos 5:26, 27. The border of the holy land, or of the Lord's kingdom, towards the north, is also called the "border of Damascus." (Ezekiel 47:16) Arcana Coelestia 1715.

11. Ask you a sign from Jehovah your God; ask it either in the depth [beneath], or in the height above.

12. And Ahaz said, I will not ask; neither will I tempt Jehovah.

13. And Isaiah said, Hear you now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that you should weary my God also?

Verses 11, 14. Ask you a sign, from Jehovah your God, etc. - The reason why these things were said to Ahaz, king of Judah, is, because the king of Syria and the king of Israel made war against him, even unto Jerusalem: on whose side also was the tribe of Ephraim: but still they did not prevail, by reason that the "king of Syria" there represented the external or natural [principle] of the church, the "king of Israel" the internal or spiritual [principle] thereof, and "Ephraim" the intellectual [principle]; but in this case those three principles, namely, the natural, spiritual, and intellectual, perverted, which were desirous to assault the doctrine of Truth, signified by the "king of Judah and Jerusalem", wherefore they did not succeed. But in order that Ahaz might be assured of their attempt being in vain, it is said to him that be might "ask a sign", that is, a testification that he might be assured; and option was given him whether it should be from heaven or from hell, which was signified by "the depth beneath" or in "the height above"; for the king was evil; but whereas "Jerusalem", by which is signified, the doctrine of Truth from the Word, was not to be destroyed by such before the advent of the Lord, therefore a miraculous sign was given to him, testifying concerning that subject, that is, that "a virgin should conceive, and bring forth a Son, whose name should be IMMANUEL", or God with us. That that church should afterwards be destroyed follows in that chapter. Apocalypse Explained 706.

14. Wherefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son; and she shall call His name IMMANUEL.

Verse14. A virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and she shall call His name IMMANUEL. - That by "the Child born and the Son given, here and in chapter 9, is understood the Lord as to the Divine Human is evident; [see Matthew 1:23] and that the Lord as to that [principle] also is God, thus that His Human is Divine, is manifestly declared for it is said, that "His name shall be called God, God-with-us, the Father of Eternity."

Besides these passages, many others might also be adduced to confirm that the Lord by Father, in the Word, meant His own Divine Principle, which was the life or soul of His Human and not another [Person] separate from Himself; neither could He mean any other; hence the Divine and. Human in the Lord, according to the doctrine received in the Christian world are not two but one Person, altogether as soul and body, as is expressed in clear terms in the Athanasian Creed; and whereas God and Man in the Lord, are not two, but one Person, and so united as soul and body, it follows that the Divine [Principle] which the Lord had from conception was what He called Father, and the Divine Human what He called Son, consequently, that each was Himself Apocalypse Explained 852.

15. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good:

16. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good, the land, whose two kings you abhorrest, shall be forsaken.

17. But Jehovah shall bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon your father's house, days such as have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed, from Judah, namely the king of Assyria.

Verses 14-16. That the "Son whom a virgin shall conceive and bear, and whose name shall be called GOD-WITH-US", is the Lord as to His Human, is manifest. The appropriation of divine good spiritual and natural, as to the Human, is understood by "butter and honey shall He eat; divine good spiritual by "butter", and divine good natural by "honey", and appropriation by "eating"; and inasmuch as it is known how to refuse, or to reprobate evil, and to choose good in proportion as Divine Good spiritual. and natural is approprIated, therefore it is said that "He may know to refuse or to reprobate evil and choose good." That the church was deserted and vastated as to all Good and Truth by scientifics falsely applied, and by reasonings thence derived, is signified by the "land which they shall abhor, being then deserted by or from before her two kings"; the "land" signifies the church; the desertion thereof is understood by being "deserted and abhorred"; and the "two kings", who are the king of Egypt and the king of Assyria, signify scientifics ill applied, and reasosings thence derived; the king of Egypt those scientifics, and the king of Assyria those reasonings. That these are the kings who are here understood is evident from what presently follows in the same chapter, verses 17, 18, where Egypt and Assyria are mentioned; these things also are what principally devastate the church. Apocalypse Explained 617. See also 619.

That the "left" signify remains, see above, Chapter 1. 9, the Exposition.

Verse 16. By "the land being forsaken is signified the church, or the true doctrine of faith. Arcana Coelestia 566.

That these things are said of the Lord and of His coming is known. The "butter and honey which He shall eat" signify the goods of love; "butter" the good of celestial and spiritual love, and "honey" the good of natural love. By these things is understood that the Lord would appropriate to Himself the Divine, even as to His Humanity. To" eat "signifies to appropriate; that "the land would be forsaken or deserted before He knew to refuse evil and to choose good", signifies that nothing of the church would remain upon the earth, when He should be born; and because those, where the church was, rejected all divine Truth, and perverted all things of the Word, and explained them to favour their own purposes of self-love, wherefore it is said of the land, that is, the church, "which you abhorrest before her two kings"; "kings" signify the Truths of heaven and the church; "two kings", the Truth of the Word in its internal or spiritual sense, and the Truth of the Word in its external or natural sense. "Milk" (in verse 22), signifies Truth by which is Good; and because "butter" is Good thence derived, it is said that "of the abundance of milk [which the young cow and the two sheepwould give] everyone left in the midst of the land should eat" which signifies that all Truth should be of Good, [that is, derived from Good and Influenced by it.] Apocalypse Explained 304.

18. And it shall be in that day, that Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the extremity of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria:

19. And they shall come, and they shall rest all of them on the rivers of desolation, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on the thickets, and on all the courses.

Verses 18, 19. Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the extremity of the rivers of Egypt, etc. - Thus is described the church vastated by scientifics falsely applied, and by reasonings thence derived, whereby the knowledges of truth from the good are perverted. The "fly in the extremity of the rrvers of Egypt signifies the false in the extreme parts or principles of the natural man. The extremes of the natural man are what are called things sensual, for the natural man is interior, middle, and exterior; the interior communicates with the spiritual man by means of the rational principle, but the exterior communicates with the world by the bodily senses, and the middle depends upon the senses of the body, and thence derives all that belongs to it; the falsities which are therein, and thus derived, are 'signified by "the fly in the extremity of the rivers of Egypt"; but by "the bee in the land of Assyria" are signified false reason!ngs thence derived; for by "Assyria" is signified the rational principle, and by "Egypt", the scientific principle of the natural man; and inasmuch as the rational principle derives all that it has from the scientifics of the natural man, hence the reasonings thereof are signified by "bees"; because bees suck out and derive their store from the flowers, as the rational [principle] of man does from the scientifics of the natural; here, however, by "bees" are signified false reasonings, because the rational principle collects what belongs to it from scientifics falsely applied. The reason why these things are likened to "flies" and "bees" is also grounded in correspondence, for, in the spiritual world, there appear flying insects of various kinds, but they are appearances from the ideas of the thoughts of spirits; and amongst the noxious are flies and bees of such a kind. The flies in "the extremity of the rivers of Egypt" derive their correspondence from their birth being from the filth of rivers. It is said that "they shall come and rest in the rivers of desolations, and in the clefts of the rocks", and thereby is signified that the falsities originating in scientifics and in reasonings thence derived, shall reside where there are no truths, but a faith originating in the false; "the rivers of desolations" denoting where there are no truths, and "the clefts of the rocks" denoting where is the faith of what is false it is also said "in all shrubs and in all courses", and thereby is signified that the knowledges and perceptions of truth are falsified by them; the "shrubs" denote the knowledges of truth, and "courses or ducts", perceptions which are falsified when the falsities above mentioned flow in. No one could see the arcana contained in these words, except from the internal sense, and at the same time from seeing and knowing what is in the spiritual world. Apocalypse Explained 410. See also Arcana Coelestia 7441.

20. In that day the Lord shall shave with a hired razor, by those beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.

Verse 20. Treating of the state of the church in its end, when the Lord was about to come.That reasonings grounded in falsities would then deprive the men of the church of all wisdom and spiritual intelligence is described by the above words; the reasonings are signified by "the king of Ashur in the passages of the river", that is, Euphrates; the deprivation of essential Wisdom and intelligence thence derived, is signified by the hairs of the head and of the feet being shaved by a hired razor", and by the "beard being consumed" for by "hairs" are signified natural things into which spiritual things operate and into which they close, wherefore they signify, in the Word, the ultimates of wisdom and intelligence; the "hairs of the head", the ultimates of wisdom; the "beard", the ultimates of intelligence; and the "hairs of the feet", the ultimates of science; when these ultimate things do not exist, things prior cannot exist, as when there is no basis to a column, or foundations to a house. That they who have deprived themselves of intelligence by reasonings from fallacies and from falsities, appear in the spiritual world as bald, may be seen above, n. 66. Apocalypse Explained 569.

21. And it shall be in that day, that a man shall keep alive a young cow, and two sheep; .

22. And it shall be, that for the abundance of milk which they shall produce, he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land.

Verse 21. That "pasture", on which sheep and oxen feed, denotes Good and Truth which recreate and sustain the soul or spirit of man, is plain from the Lord's words in John 10:9, there "pasture" signifies the goods and truths pertaining to those who acknowledge the Lord and seek life from Him alone. Thus to "find pasture", signifies to be taught, illustrated, and nourished in divine Truths. Arcana Coelestia 6078. See also Apocalypse Revealed 914.

Because a shepherd signifies one who leads to the good of charity by the truth of faith, in the supreme sense a "Shepherd" denotes the Lord Himself. (John 10:11) Arcana Coelestia 6426.

Verse 22. The abundance of milk which they shall produce etc. - Treating of the New Church to be established by the Lord; and by "butter and honey" is signified spiritual and natural good, and by "eating" is signified to appropriate, as above; by" milk" is signified what is spiritual from a celestial origin, from which those goods are. Apocalypse Explained 617.

"Milk" signifies the truth by which is good, and inasmuch as butter signifies the good thence derived, therefore "for the abundance of milk shall everyone eat butter that is left in the midst of the land" signifies that all Truth shall be of or from Good. Apocalypse Explained 304.

23. And it shall be in that day, that every place, where there were a thousand vines for a thousand pieces of silver, shall be for briers and thorns.

24. With arrows and with the bow shall they come thither; for the whole land shall become briers and thorns.

Verses 23, 24. Describing the church vastated as to all Truth and Good. The quality of the church before, when genuine truths, which are truths from good, were in abundance, is described by there being a "thousand vines for a thousand pieces of silver"; a "thousand vines " denoting truths from good in abundance, and a "thousand pieces of silver" denoting their very high estimation as being genuine; "silver" signifies truth and a "thousand" signifies many, consequently, abundance. But what became the quality of the church when it was vastated as to all Truth and Good is described by these words :

"With the arrows and with the bow shall he come thither because, the whole land is a place of briers and thorns"; the "arrows" denote falsities destroying truths, and the "bow" is the doctrine of the false; a "place of briers" signifies the false from evil, and a "place of thorns", the evil from the false; the "land" is the church. Apocalypse Explained 357.

25. But as to all the mountains which are weeded with the mattock, thither shall not come the fear of briers and, of thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of the ox, and for the treading of sheep.

Verse 25. The mountains which are weeded with the mattock, etc. - By "the mountains which are weeded with the mattock" are signified those who do good from the love of good; that the false and the evil shall not be with them, but good, as well natural as spiritual, is signified by "there not coming thither the fear of the briers and thorns, but it shall be for the sending forth of the ox and the treading of the sheep", or thither shall the ox be sent, and there the sheep shall tread; the "ox" signifying natural good, and the "sheep" spiritual good. Apocalypse Explained 304.

---
Isaiah Chapter 7

1. AND it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Retzin, king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up against Jerusalem to besiege it; but they could not prevail against it.

2. And when it was told to the house of David, that Syria did rest upon Ephraim; his heart, and the heart of his people, was moved, as the trees of the forest are moved before the wind.

3. And Jehovah said to Isaiah, Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct of the upper-pool, at the highway of the fuller's field;

4. And you shalt say unto him, Take heed, and be still: fear not, neither let your heart be faint, because of the two tails of these smoking firebrands; for the burning wrath of Retzin and of the Syrian, and of the son of Hemaliah.

5. Because Syria has devised evil against you; Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah,

6. Saying, "We will go up against Judah, and harass it; and we will make a breach into it for ourselves; and we will set a king to reign in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:

7. Thus says the'Lord Jehovih, It shall not stand, and it shall not be.

8. For the head of Syria shall be Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Retzin; and within threescore and five years Ephraim shall be broken, that he be no more a people.

9. And the head of Ephraim shall be Samaria, and the head of Samaria, Remaliah's son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.

10. And Jehovah spake yet again to Ahaz, saying,

11. Ask you a sign from Jehovah your God; ask it either in the depth [beneath], or in the height above.

12. And Ahaz said, I will not ask; neither will I tempt Jehovah.

13. And Isaiah said, Hear you now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that you should weary my God also?

14. Wherefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son; and she shall call His name IMMANUEL.

15. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good:

16. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good, the land, whose two kings you abhorrest, shall be forsaken.

17. But Jehovah shall bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon your father's house, days such as have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed, from Judah, namely the king of Assyria.

18. And it shall be in that day, that Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the extremity of the rivers of. Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria:

19. And they shall come, and they shall rest all of them on the rivers of desolation, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on the thickets, and on all the courses.

20. In that day the Lord shall shave with a hired razor, by those beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.

21. And it shall be in that day, that a man shall keep alive a young cow, and two sheep; .

22. And it shall be, that for the abundance of milk which they shall produce, he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land.

23. And it shall be in that day, that every place, where there were a thousand vines for a thousand pieces of silver, shall be for briers and thorns.

24. With arrows and with the bow shall they come thither; for the whole land shall become briers and thorns.

25. But as to all the mountains which are weeded with the mattock, thither shall not come the fear of briers and, of thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of the ox, and for the treading of sheep.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 7


Other references to this text:

Arcana Coelestia 566, 680, 2015, 2184, 5620, 10154, 10819

Apocalypse Revealed 598, 613

The Lord 6, 19

True Christian Religion 82

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 284


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 304, 617, 619, 706, 852

On the Athanasian Creed 23, 29

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 60

De Domino 39

Marriage 82

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


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Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Judges 6:36

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Psalms 46:8

Isaiah 7:22, 8:4, 8, 10, 38:7

Micah 5:2

Matthew 1:23

Luke 31, 35

Revelation 12:5

Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

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

virgin
In the Word, the words 'virgin' and 'girl' are used, although the word translated 'girl' rarely occurs in the original language. In Exodus 2:8, 'a...

son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

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

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

butter
Butter (Isa. 7:14, 16) signifies the Lord's celestial principle, and honey that is derived from thence. Butter of the herd (Deut. 32:13) signifies the celestial...

honey
'Honey' signifies the delight derived from good and truth or from the affection thereof, and specifically the external delight. Thus it signifies the delight of...

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

know
In a general sense, men represent things of the intellect – facts, ideas, knowledge, everything from the deepest truths to the most pernicious falsities about...

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

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...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

both
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...

kings
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

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 Christmas Prophecies
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 Prophecies of the Messiah
One of the most important events in the history of human beings is the birth of the Lord on earth as an infant. By the time the Lord was actually born, the truths of the Word had been lost or perverted. But there had been prophets who told people that the Lord was going to come on earth and gave them hope. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 6, for ages 11-12.
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 The Inner Meaning of Prophecies of Christmas
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