The Bible

 

John 21:1-14 : Breakfast by the Sea of Galilee

        

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1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.

2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, and hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.

13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 2921, 4973, 7852, 10061

Apocalypse Revealed 405, 890

Conjugial Love 316


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 513, 600, 820

De Domino 45

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Psalms 127:2

Word/Phrase Explanations

disciples
A disciple in Matthew 10:41 signifies charity and at the same time, faith from the Lord. It disciple signifies the truth of life, and a...

sea
'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

Simon
'Simon, son of Jonah,' as in John 21:15, signifies faith from charity. 'Simon' signifies worship and obedience, and 'Jonah,' a dove, which also signifies charity.

peter
Peter – born Simon, son of Jonah – is certainly one of the Bible's most important figures, second only to Jesus in the New Testament....

Galilee
Cana of Galilee signifies the church among the Gentiles.

saith
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...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

answered
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

cast
For something to be cast down or cast out generally refers to a rather dramatic move from a higher spiritual state to a lower one....

net
To cast the net on the right side,' as in John 21:6, signifies teaching the good of life.

side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

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

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

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

bread
The idea of a “loaf” in the Bible is very closely tied to the idea of “bread,” and is often used to mean bread: Jesus...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

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

risen
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

Resources for parents and teachers

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Commentary

 

The Breakfast by the Sea of Galilee      

By Joe David

The net was so full that they could not draw it into the boat.

Near the end of the gospel of John, (in John 21:1-14), we find a story where, some days after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, seven of Jesus's disciples have travelled north from Jerusalem, to the sea of Galilee. At Peter's suggestion they have all gone out in Peter's boat to fish. But they try all night, and have no luck and catch nothing. They are close to the shore, and as the early morning light begins to grow they see a man standing by the water. He calls out to them asking if they have caught anything. When they answer "no" He tells them, "try the other side of the boat". When they do this they catch so many fish they can't haul the net into the boat, it's too heavy. So they row toward shore letting the net full of fish drag on the bottom.

At first they don't recognize that the man they are seeing is Jesus. He has a small fire burning, and is cooking fish, and He invites them to have breakfast with Him. Then John says quietly to Peter that it's Jesus. Peter grabs his cloak, belts it around himself to cover his nakedness, and jumps in to swim to shore, since they are very close already.

This story has some interesting details to explore. The first of the stories of things that happened after the Lord's rising took place in or near Jerusalem, but this one is in Galilee. Five of these disciples are named, and at least four of the five we know are from Galilee, so in coming there they are at home, and these are fishermen, so to go fishing is in their blood. The five named are Simon (or Peter), the brothers James and John, Thomas, and Nathanael, and then two more who are not named, to make up the seven. It would be reasonable to guess that the unnamed two are Andrew, Peter's brother, and Philip, a friend of Nathaniel's, both of whom we know are from that area near the lake.

The angels that Peter and John saw at the sepulcher had told them that Jesus would meet them in Galilee on "the mountain", and perhaps these seven, because they came from Galilee, hurried on ahead of the others.

Let's look at their names and see what the literal meaning is, and what they represent in a spiritual way.

- Simon was renamed by Jesus as ‘Peter' which in the Greek means a rock, and in his case, the firmest and most critical rock, or truth, of Christianity, that Jesus was from God.

- John means love or charity.

- John's brother James means the doing of charity.

- Nathaniel means a gift from God, and being a friend of Philip, I think it might be that the gift from God that he represents is the love of learning things that fill the understanding, our curiosity.

- Thomas, in Greek, means a twin, and since he is named right after Peter perhaps he has a similar representation. Peter believes in the Lord easily because of what he has seen and what the Lord has told him whereas Thomas believes, and believes just as strongly, but only after his doubts have been erased, after he has been shown.

The towns most mentioned in the stories that take place around the "Sea of Galilee" in the gospels are Bethsaida, Capernaum, Cana, and Nazareth. Bethsaida itself means "a place of fishing." The maps I have of the area are small scale and not all exactly the same, but the indication is that it is at the northern end of the lake or even on the upper Jordan river just before it runs into the lake. Capernaum and Magdala are on the northwestern shore and Cana and Nazareth are inland, but only four or five miles west of this corner of the lake. This area was where most of these disciples had been brought up, and fishing was a common occupation.

The name Galilee means "a circuit". The Word teaches us that Jesus taught in the towns all around the lake, so that a reading of all that Jesus taught and did in that country could be thought of as a "circuit" of His teachings.

The next detail of interest is that when the Lord suggests the other side of the boat and the result is a large catch of fish after a long night of nothing. This is reminiscent of the fishing incident given in Luke 5:4-7. Since the disciples are to become "fishers of men" (as in Matthew 4:19) and they are to persuade people into the knowledge and worship of the Lord, the Christ, it is perhaps a lesson that in their ministry they must always be guided by the Lord.

Then John realizes, and whispers to Peter, "it's the Lord" (John 21:7) and Peter quickly puts his cloak on and jumps in to get to shore faster. Why is it John that first realizes? John represents love and affection while Peter represents faith or truth. While truth is the means of acting, as Peter does, love is the means of connecting, which is what John did. And why did Peter need to grab his cloak and put it on? Clothing in the Word represents the truths about spiritual things that all people may have if they look for them and it is the particular truths that form Peter as a disciple, "Thou art the Christ" (Matthew 16:16-18) that he answers to the Lord, and this truth is the rock of the Christian church. Having this truth as part of himself is necessary to meet the Lord.

When they are all on shore, Jesus says to them to bring some of the fish they have caught, so Peter goes to the water and drags the full net up onto the sand and counts out the fish, one hundred and fifty three. Then Jesus invites them all to come and eat.

Now a strange comment is put into the story: "…none of the disciples durst ask him, 'who art thou?', knowing that it was the Lord." (John 21:12). It seems that they should have known, they had been following Him for several years. I wonder if this is a reminder that the Christian church has yet to understand the true reality of the Lord - was He God, or was He man? The Catholic church argued this for more than three hundred years, and the council that was supposed to decide came up with three separate persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all in one Godhead. Some of the Christian churches of today seem to focus on two, the Father, and a Son born from eternity, who apparently both rule together.

The New Christian Church understands that Jesus was born both God and man but that there was a slow but inevitable change going on during His lifetime. He was born with God, Jehovah, as His inmost, and a human heredity and body from Mary as a covering or cloak over this inmost. Mary was, you may recall, of the royal house of David, so her heredity was both strong and inclusive, and thus represented all that was connected to the Jewish form of worship. During Jesus' life (and starting early, though we don't know just how early), He put off things from Mary, and put on what was a corresponding Divine, from His inmost, in its place, until on Easter morning He was wholly divine, with all that came from His mother being dispersed and gone. There is only One God.

Why is it that in this little story the number of fishes that were caught in the net is mentioned, and why does it seem now so important that Peter took the time to count them as everyone waited? Something that has been revealed to the New Christian Church is that all the numbers used in the stories of the Word have a meaning that belongs to that number even outside the literal use in the story. The number 153 can be seen as the combination of 150 and 3, and both of these are strongly meaningful. Starting with the "three", there should be little doubt that it means something since it is used so often. Jesus rose on the third day. Also three is the number of things that, put together, make anything complete, the wish or desire to do it, the knowledge of how to do it, and the actual doing. This is true of any task - from baking a cake right up to the Lord's love, His wisdom, and His act put forth in creating the universe. One hundred and fifty is not so plain. I am aware of only two places it is used in the Word, and we are told that it means a total change, an ending of something and the beginning of something different. It is used here and in the story of the flood, at the end of Genesis 7 and in Genesis 8:3; "And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." "… And the waters returned from off the earth continually; and after the end of the one hundred and fifty days the waters were abated." The use here is that it means the end of the Church called "Adam" and the start of the church called "Noah" (See on this website "The Churches", and for the meaning, see Arcana Coelestia 812, 846). In the story we are considering it means the end of the Church called Israel and the start of the Christian church, though that is probably complete a day or two later when the Lord meets with all of His disciples on the mountain and sends them out to preach and heal.

This first part of this story ends with all of the seven disciples on the shore with Jesus, and His giving to them a breakfast of bread and roasted fish, and with this giving perhaps they all fully realized who He was, as with the two at Emmaus, and the Gospel comments, "This is now the third time that Jesus showed Himself to his disciples after that He was risen from the dead.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #600

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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600. And he set his right foot upon the sea, and the left upon the earth, signifies the sense of the letter, which is natural, in which are all things of heaven and the church. This is evident from the signification of "feet," as being in reference to the angel, by whom is meant the Lord in relation to the Word, the Divine truth in ultimates, or the Word in the natural sense, which is the sense of the letter (see above 65, 69). "Feet" in a general sense signify natural things, because man from the head to the soles of the feet corresponds to heaven, which in its whole complex represents one man, the head corresponding to the inmost or third heaven, the angels of which are celestial, the breast down to the loins corresponding to the middle or second heaven, the angels of which are called spiritual, and the feet corresponding to the ultimate or first heaven, the angels of which are celestial-natural and spiritual-natural; and the soles of the feet corresponding to the world, in which everything is natural. This makes clear why the "feet" signify natural things (see more on this correspondence in the work on Heaven and Hell 59-86, and 87-102).

(References: Heaven and Hell 87-102; Revelation 10:2; The Apocalypse Explained 65, 69)


[2] From this it is now evident why "the feet of the angel," who here represented the Lord as to the Word, signify the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of its letter. The above is evident also from the signification of "the right foot upon the sea and the left upon the earth," as being all things of heaven and the church; for the "right" 1 signifies all things of good which is the source of truth, and the "left" all things of truth from good; and "the sea and the earth" signify all things of heaven and the church exterior and interior, the "sea" exterior things, and the "earth" interior things. And as all things of heaven and the church have relation to good and truth, also to things exterior and things interior, therefore these words signify in general all things of heaven and the church. The angel was seen to stand "upon the sea and upon the earth," because there is a similar appearance of things in the spiritual world as in the natural world; that is, in the spiritual world as in the natural world there are seas and lands, seas round about and lands between them (see above, n. 275, 342, 538). This shows why "sea and earth" signify all things of heaven and also of the church.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 275, The Apocalypse Explained 342, The Apocalypse Explained 538)


[3] As "right and left" are mentioned in many passages in the Word, and in some places "right" alone, or "left" alone, I will explain in a few words what is signified by each of them, and by the two together. This can be known from the quarters in the spiritual world, where the south is to the right, and the north to the left, and the east in front, and the west behind. An angel perpetually faces the Lord as a sun, therefore before him is the Lord as the east, and behind him the Lord as the west, and at his right hand is the south, and at his left hand the north. It is from this way of facing that the "right" signifies truth in light, and the "left" truth in shade; or what is the same, that the "right" signifies spiritual good which is truth in light, and the "left" signifies spiritual truth which is truth in shade; so, too, the "right" signifies good which is a source of truth, and the "left" truth from good. Such is the signification of all the right and left parts of the body, and also of the head; as the right and left eye, the right and left hand, the right and left foot, and so on, the proper signification of each member or part being preserved. From these few statements it can be known what "right" and "left" signify, in general and in particular, in the Word of both the New and the Old Testaments, as in the following passages.

[4] In Matthew:

When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what the right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret (Matthew 6:3, 4).

This signifies that good is to be done from good and for the sake of good, and not on account of self and the world for the sake of appearance; "alms" mean every good work; and "let not the left hand know what the right hand doeth" signifies that good must be done from good itself, and not without good, since that would not be good. The "right hand" signifies good which is a source of truth, and the "left hand" truth from good, as has been said above; these act as one in those who are in the good of love and charity, but not as one in those who have regard to self and the world in the goods they do; therefore the "left hand" means here to know and to act without good. "That thine alms may be in secret" signifies that it may not be for the sake of appearance.

(References: Matthew 6:3-4)


[5] In the same:

And the King shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left; and He shall say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess as inheritance the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And He shall say unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:33, 34, 41).

He who does not know what is signified in the proper sense by "sheep" and what by "goats," might suppose that "sheep" mean all who are good, and "goats" all who are evil; but in the proper sense "sheep" mean those who are in the good of charity towards the neighbor, and thence in faith, and "goats" mean those who are in faith separated from charity; thus all upon whom the judgment in the last time of the church will come; for all who were in the good of love to the Lord, and thence in the good of charity and faith, had been taken up into heaven before the Last Judgment; while all who were in no good of charity, and in no faith therefrom, consequently all who were inwardly and at the same time outwardly evil, had been cast down into hell before the Last Judgment; but those who were inwardly good and not equally so outwardly, also those who were inwardly evil but outwardly in good, were all left until the Last Judgment, when those who were inwardly good were taken up into heaven, and those who were inwardly evil were cast into hell (respecting this see what has been said from things seen and heard, in the little work on The Last Judgment). From this it can be seen that "goats" mean those who have been in faith separated from charity; as for instance:

The he-goat in Daniel (Daniel 8:5-25), and in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:17).

This makes evident that the "right hand," where the "sheep" are, means the good of charity and of faith therefrom, and the "left hand," where the "goats" are, means faith separated from charity. It was said to the sheep that they should "possess as inheritance the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world," because in the heavens at the right is the south, where all those are who are in truths from good; for in the southern part the Divine proceeding itself is such as is meant by "the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world." So, too, they are called "the blessed of My Father," the "Father" meaning the Divine good, from which are all things of heaven. But respecting the "goats," that are on the left hand, it is not said "prepared from the foundation of the world," but "the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," because the evil prepare their hell for themselves. They are called "cursed" because by the "cursed" in the Word are meant all who turn themselves away from the Lord, for such reject the charity and faith of the church. What the "eternal fire" signifies may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 566-575).

(References: Matthew 25:33-34)


[6] The "two robbers who were crucified one of them on the right hand and the other on the left hand of the Lord" (Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; Luke 23:39-43), have a similar signification as the "sheep" and the "goats;" therefore to the one who acknowledged the Lord it was said that he should be with Him in paradise.

[7] In John:

Jesus said to the disciples who were fishing, Cast the net on the right side of the boat, then ye shall find. They cast, therefore, and they were no longer able to draw it for the multitude of fishes (John 21:6).

Since "fishing" signifies in the Word the instruction and conversion of men who are in external or natural good, in which good were most of the Gentiles at that time, "fish" signifying the things of the natural man, and "boat" doctrine from the Word; therefore "the right side of the boat" signifies the good of life. This makes clear the signification of what the Lord said, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat," namely, that they should teach the good of life. That they would thus convert the Gentiles to the church is signified by their finding in such abundance that "they were not able to draw the net for the multitude of fishes." Anyone can see that the Lord would not have commanded them "to cast the net on the right side of the ship" unless the "right side" had been significative.

[8] In Matthew:

If thy right eye hath caused thee to stumble, pluck it out and cast it from thee. And if thy right hand hath caused thee to stumble, cut it off and cast it from thee (Matthew 5:29, 30).

That by the "right eye" and the "right hand" the Lord did not mean the right eye and the right hand, anyone can see from its being said that the eye "must be plucked out" and the hand "must be cut off" if they cause to stumble; but as the "eye" signifies in the spiritual sense everything belonging to the understanding and to thought therefrom, and the "right hand" everything belonging to the will and to affection therefrom, it is evident that "if the right eye hath caused thee to stumble it must be plucked out" signifies that if one thinks evil the evil must be rejected from the thought; also "if the right hand hath caused thee to stumble it must be cut off" signifies that if evil is willed the evil of the will must be cast out. For the eye itself cannot cause to stumble, nor can the right hand, but the thought of the understanding and the affection of the will, to which they correspond, can. It is said the "right eye" and the "right hand," and not the left eye and the left hand, because the "right" signifies good, and in the contrary sense evil, while the "left" hand signifies truth, and in the contrary sense falsity, and all cause of stumbling comes from evil, not from falsity, unless the falsity is the falsity of evil. That these things are said of the internal man, whose part it is to think and to will, and not of the external, whose part it is to see and to act, is evident also from the words that immediately precede respecting the "woman of another," that merely looking upon her from lust is committing adultery.

(References: Matthew 5:27-28, Matthew 5:28, 5:29-30)


[9] In the Gospels:

The mother of the sons of Zebedee asked Jesus that one of her sons should sit on the right hand and the other on the left in His kingdom. Jesus said, Ye know not what ye ask; to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give except to those to whom it is given by the Father (Matthew 20:20-23; Mark 10:35-40).

"The mother of the sons of Zebedee," James and John, asked this, because by "mother" the church is meant; by "James" charity, and by "John" the good of charity in act; these two, or those who are in them, are at the right hand and the left of the Lord in heaven; to the right there is the south, and to the left is the north, and in the south are those who are in the light of truth from clear good, and in the north are those who are in the light of truth from obscure good. The Divine itself proceeding from the Lord as a sun produces such a Divine sphere in those quarters; for this reason none can possibly dwell there except those who are in those truths from good; this is the signification of "to sit on the right hand and on the left hand of the Lord is for those only to whom it has been given, or for whom it has been prepared by the Father;" "the Father" meaning the Divine good of the Divine love, from which is heaven and everything of heaven; so these words of the Lord mean that to sit on His right hand and on His left in the heavens is given by the Lord to those for whom it has been prepared from the foundation of the world to have an inheritance allotted to them in the south and in the north.

(References: Matthew 20:22-23)


[10] That the "right hand" means the south in the heavens is clearly evident in David:

The heavens are Thine, and the earth is Thine; the world and the fullness thereof, Thou hast founded them; the north and the right hand Thou hast created (Psalms 89:11, 12).

"Heaven and earth" means the higher and lower heavens, likewise the internal and external church; the "world and the fullness thereof" means the heavens and the church in general as to good and truth; the "world" heaven and the church as to good, and the "fullness thereof" heaven and the church as to truth; and as these principles, or those who are in them, are in the north and in the south, and the south is at the Lord's right hand, it is said "the north and the right hand;" and as Divine truth united to Divine good in those quarters is such from the foundation of the world, as has been said above, it is said, "Thou hast founded" and "Thou hast created."

(References: Psalms 89:11-12)


[11] In Isaiah:

The Lord hath given you the bread of distress and the waters of oppression; but thine instructors shall not be made to fly away anymore, and thine eyes shall look again to thine instructors; and thine ears shall hear the word saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye shall go to the right and when ye shall go to the left (Isaiah 30:20, 21).

This treats of those who are in temptations, and who, by means of temptations and after temptations, accept and receive instruction in the truths of doctrine; temptations themselves are signified by "the bread of distress and the waters of oppression," "bread of distress" signifying temptations in respect to the good of love, and "waters of oppression" temptations in respect to the truths of faith; for temptations are of two kinds, namely, in respect to the good which is of love, and in respect to the truth which is of faith; "bread" signifying the good of love, and "waters" the truths of faith, and "distress" and "oppression" states of temptation. Instruction in the truths of doctrine is signified by "thine eyes shall look again to thine instructors," "eyes" signifying the understanding and faith, and "instructors" doctrine. The good of life according to the truths of doctrine is signified by "thine ears shall hear the word," "ears" signifying obedience, and because obedience is of the life, so "to hear the word" signifies a life according to the truths of doctrine. Instruction and obedience are further described by "saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye shall go to the right hand and when ye shall go to the left;" "way" signifies truth leading, truth leading to the south in heaven is meant by "going to the right," and truth leading to the north there by "going to the left."

(References: Isaiah 30:20-21)


[12] In the same:

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; hinder not; make long thy cords, and make firm thy stakes; for on the right hand and on the left thou shalt break forth; and thy seed shall inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited (Isaiah 54:2, 3).

This treats of the establishment of the church among the Gentiles; and "Enlarge the place of thy tent" signifies the increase of the church in respect to the worship from good; "to stretch forth the curtains of the habitations" signifies the increase of the church in respect to the truths of doctrine; "to make long the cords" signifies the extension of these truths; "to make firm the stakes" signifies confirmation from the Word; "to break forth on the right hand and on the left" signifies enlargement in respect to the good of charity and the truth of faith; "on the right" meaning in respect to the good of charity, and "on the left" in respect to the truth of faith from that good; "the seed which shall inherit the nations" signifies truth through which are goods; "seed" meaning truth, and "nations" goods; "the desolate cities which the nations shall make to be inhabited," signify the truths from goods of life; "the desolate cities" meaning the truths of doctrine where there were no truths before; "nations" meaning the goods of life from which are truths, and "to inhabit" meaning to live.

(References: Isaiah 54:2-3)


[13] In the same:

In the wrath of Jehovah of Hosts the land has been obscured, and the people have become as the fuel of the fire; they shall not spare a man his brother; and if he shall cut down 2 on the right hand he shall still be hungry, and if he shall eat on the left hand they shall not be satisfied; they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm (Isaiah 9:19-21).

This describes the extinction of good by falsity, and of truth by evil; the extinction of all good and truth, however it is sought for, is signified by "if he shall cut down on the right hand he shall still be hungry, and if he shall eat on the left hand they shall not be satisfied;" "the right hand" meaning good from which is truth; "the left hand" truth from good; "to cut down and to eat of these" means to search for; "to be hungry and not to be satisfied" means not to be found, or if found, still not received. (The rest may be seen explained above, n. 386.)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 386)


[14] In Ezekiel:

This was the likeness of the faces of the cherubim, the four had the face of a man and the face of a lion on the right side, and the face of an ox on the left side; the four also had the face of an eagle (1 Ezekiel 1:10).

What is signified by the "cherubim" and by their "faces" which were like the faces of a man, of a lion, of an ox, and of an eagle, may be seen above (n. 277-281). The faces of the man and of the lion were seen "on the right side" because "man" signifies Divine truth in light and intelligence, and a "lion" Divine truth in power therefrom, such as it is in heaven in the south; and the face of the ox was seen "on the left side," to signify the good of truth in obscurity, for an "ox" signifies the good of the natural man, which is in obscurity in those who in heaven dwell to the north.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 277-281)


[15] In Zechariah:

In that day will I make the leaders of Judah like a furnace of fire among wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf, that they may devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left, that Jerusalem may yet dwell in her own place in Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:6).

This treats of the establishment of a celestial church, or of a church that will be in the good of love to the Lord; that church is meant by "the house of Judah." Her "leaders" mean the goods with the truths of that church; the dispersion of evils and falsities by these is signified by "they shall be made like a furnace of fire among wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf," and by "they shall devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left;" the evils that will be dispersed by that church are signified by "like a furnace among the wood, and like a torch in a sheaf;" and the falsities that will also be dispersed are signified by "all the peoples round about, whom they shall devour or consume;" that this church will be safe from the infestation of evils and falsities, and will live in the good of life according to the truths of doctrine, is signified by "Jerusalem shall yet dwell in her own place in Jerusalem;" "to be dwelt in" is predicated of the good of life, and "Jerusalem" signifies the church in respect to the truths of doctrine.

[16] In Ezekiel:

I will set the point of the sword against all their gates, it is made into lightning, it is sharpened for slaughter. Gather thee together, turn to the right, set thyself in array, turn to the left, whithersoever thy faces are set (Ezekiel 21:15, 16).

This describes the destruction of truth by direful falsities; "a sword" signifies such falsities destroying truth, and the direfulness and enormity of that falsity is described by "a sword made into lightning, and sharpened for slaughter;" that those who are in such falsity have nothing of good or truth, with however much zeal they may search for it, is signified by "Gather thee together, turn to the right, set thyself in array, turn to the left, whithersoever thy faces are set."

(References: Ezekiel 21:15-16)


[17] In Zechariah:

Woe to the shepherd of naught forsaking the flock! A sword is upon his arm, and upon the eye of his right side; his arm in withering shall wither, and the eye of his right side in growing dim shall grow dim (1 Zechariah 11:17).

"A shepherd of naught forsaking the flock" means those who do not teach truth and by it lead to the good of life, and who do not care whether it is truth or falsity that they teach; "a sword upon his arm" signifies falsity destroying every good of the will, and "a sword upon the eye of his right side" signifies falsity destroying every truth of the understanding; that they will be deprived of all good and truth is signified by "his arm in withering shall wither, and the eye of his right side in growing dim shall grow dim." (This may be seen further explained, n. 131, 152.)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 131, 152)


[18] As the right region of the body and the members of the right region signify good through which is truth, so when Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the priesthood it was commanded:

That the blood of the ram should be taken and should be put upon the tip of their right ear, upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot (Exodus 29:20).

This was commanded because "blood" signified Divine truth, by means of which is the good of love, for this good was represented by "Aaron," and truth by his "sons;" and because all consecration for representing the Divine good of love is effected by Divine truth, "blood was put upon the tip of the right ear, upon the thumb of the right hand, and upon the great toe of the right foot." The "tip of the right ear" signifies obedience from perception; the "thumb of the right hand" signifies good in the will; and the "great toe of the right foot" signifies good in act.

[19] Because a "leper" signifies good consumed by falsities, the way in which such an evil is to be cured by Divine means is described by the process of the cleansing of the leper, understood in the spiritual sense, from which I will cite only this:

That the priest should take of the blood of the guilt-offering and should put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot; and the priest should take oil from the log and pour it upon the palm of his left hand; and the priest should dip his left 3 finger in the oil that is in his left palm, and should sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before Jehovah (Leviticus 14:14-17, 24-28).

Here "the tip of the right ear," "the thumb of the right hand," and "the great toe of the right foot," have a similar signification as above; so has the "blood," namely, Divine truth, for this is what purifies man from the falsities that have consumed the goods in him; and when he is purified from these, good can be produced by means of truths, and the man be thus healed of leprosy. From all this it can be seen that "the right and the left" signify the good from which is truth and the truth that is from good (as has been said above). For what other purpose would the blood have been put upon the right part of those members, and the oil be taken from the left palm, and sprinkled with the left finger?

[20] Likewise:

The prophet Ezekiel was commanded to lie upon his left side, and to have laid upon him the iniquities of the house of Israel (Ezekiel 4:4).

For a "prophet" signifies one who teaches, and in an abstract sense the doctrine of the church; the "left side" signifies the doctrine of truth from good, and it is through truths from good that man is purified from his iniquities.

[21] Solomon set the lavers:

Five beside the shoulder of the house on the right, and five beside the shoulder of the house on its left; but he set the brazen sea by the right shoulder of the house eastward from the region of the south (1 Kings 7:39);

for the reason that the "house or temple" represented heaven and the church; the "lavers" the purifications from falsities and evils, and thus the preparations for entering into heaven and the church; "the right shoulder of the house" signified the south in the heavens, where Divine truth is in its light, and "the left shoulder" signified the north, where Divine truth is in its shade. Thus these "ten lavers" signified all things of purification and all who are purified, and "the five on one shoulder and the five on the other" signified those, or that kind of men, with whom Divine truth is in the light and with whom it is in the shade; "ten" signifying all things and all persons, and "five" one part or one kind. The brazen sea represented general purifying. This was placed by "the right shoulder of the house eastward from the region of the south," because purifying Divine truth proceeds from the Lord's Divine love; for the east is where the Lord appears as a sun; Divine truth, which is the light of heaven from that sun, in the south is in its clearness and sunshine; this is why the general purificator was placed "eastward from the region of the south." These arcana of the Word cannot be known in the world until the quarters in heaven are understood, which differ from the quarters in the world. (Respecting the Quarters in Heaven, see what has been said, from things seen and heard, in the work on Heaven and Hell 141-153.)

[22] Since everyone in the spiritual world enters and walks in ways that lead to those who are in a like ruling love, and everyone is free to go any way he wishes, thus into and by any way that his love leads him, and these ways to the right or to the left tend to one love or another, thus to the love that has become ingrafted, so "right and left" signifies pleasantly, freely, and of choice. Thus in the book of Genesis:

Abraham said to Lot, Separate thyself; if to the left I will go to the right, if to the right I will go to the left (Genesis 13:9).

And Abraham's servant said to Laban when he asked for Rebecca as a wife for Isaac:

Tell me, that I may look to the right or the left (Genesis 24:49).

Not to recede or to turn to the right hand or to the left, signifies also to go in no other way than that in which the Lord Himself leads, and in which the good and truth of heaven and the church lead, thus not to go astray, as:

That they should not turn aside from the word of the priest, the Levite, and of the judge, nor from the precepts in the Word, to the right hand or to the left (Deuteronomy 17:11, 20; 28:14; Joshua 1:7; 2 Samuel 14:19).

And that the sons of Israel should not turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but should go by the king's highway when they passed through the land of Edom (Numbers 20:17).

And when they passed through the land of King Sihon (Deuteronomy 2:27).

Moreover, "the right hand" signifies full power, and in relation to the Lord, Divine omnipotence (as may be seen above, n. 298.

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Footnotes:

1.  Latin has "for the right and the left."

2.  Latin has "fall," the text as quoted just above has "cut down. "

3.  Latin has "left," the Hebrew "right," as is also found in AC 7430, 10061.

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(References: Matthew 5:28-30, Matthew 20:22-23; Revelation 10:2; The Apocalypse Explained 298)

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Apocalypse Explained 573, 598, 606, 609, 615, 617, 666, 708, 746, 774, 781, 876, 1120

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 Ezekiel's Vision
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.
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