The Bible


Luke 19:29-44 : Jesus' Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem (Gospel of Luke)

Study the Inner Meaning


29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,

30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.

31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.

32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.

33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?

34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.

35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.

36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.

37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Luke 19      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1-10. That the Gentiles, who are out of the Church, are accepted of the Lord, and have conjunction with Him in charity and the good of life.

Verses 3-4. Because, notwithstanding their deficiency in the knowledges of truth from the Word, they are desirous to know the truth, and by that desire are elevated into the truths and goods of the external Church.

Verses 5-6. And are thus acknowledged by the Lord, and declared to be the members of His Church and kingdom, which declaration they receive with joy.

Verse 7. Still it appears contrary to order, that the Divine Truth should be imparted to those who are in disorder of life.

Verses 8-9. Until it is seen, that the Gentiles, who are out of the Church, are principled in charity, and that by charity they are capable of being saved, and thus of being received within the Church.

Verse 10. Since the Lord operates charity, faith, freewill, repentance and regeneration with every one, inasmuch as He wills the salvation of all.

Verses 11-13. For the Lord is willing to communicate to all the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, with the faculty of perceiving them.

Verse 14. And this, notwithstanding the force of hereditary and actual evil on the part of man, which is opposed to the Divine Love and Wisdom.

Verse 15. Every one therefore, sooner or later, must give an account of his application of those knowledges.

Verses 16-21. On which occasion it becomes manifest, that some procure, to themselves much intelligence and wisdom, and others procure some, and others none.

Verses 20-27. And that they who procure none are deprived of the truths which they possessed in the memory only, and not in the life.

Verse 21. Since they think harshly of the Divine mercy, and accuse it of expecting more from man than he has the ability to perform.

Verses 22-23. Whereas this their idea of the Divine mercy ought to have led them to exert themselves the more in procuring charity and the good of life.

Verses 24-26. And inasmuch as they have not made the use of the knowledges which they possessed, therefore those knowledges are taken away from them, since it is an eternal law, that they who are in the good of charity shall sooner or later be enriched with truths, whereas they who are in falsities derived from evil in the other life are deprived of all truths.

Verse 27. At the same time they are deprived of all spiritual life.

Verses 28-30. That the Lord from His Divine love, and by His Divine truth, explores the principles of the natural man as to truth, requiring them to be separated from all that is evil and false, and to receive influx of life from Himself.

Verse 31. And if the persuasions of the natural man oppose, they are to be overcome by teaching the necessity of such an influx to restore order.

Verses 32-34. Which necessity is accordingly taught, and is acknowledged by the natural man.

Verses 35-36. So that truths in every complex are submitted to the Lord.

Verses 37-38. And all, who are principled in what is good and true, exalt the Divine Human principle of the Lord, and His Divine operation, as the source of every blessing.

Verses 39-40. Which doctrine is taught, not only in the spiritual and internal sense of the Word, but also in its natural and literal sense.

Verses 41-42. The rejection therefore of this doctrine by the Jewish nation excites the tenderness of the Lord's love, that, if possible, they might receive it, but reception is now become impossible.

Verses 43-44. Inasmuch as through rejection of the Lord at his advent, they were immersed in evils and falsities of every kind, so that the representatives of a Church no longer existed amongst them.

Verses 45-46. For they made gain of holy things, and thus defiled all worship by perversion of what is holy.

Verses 47-48. And when the Lord would have instructed them in the things concerning himself and his kingdom, they opposed all his love and wisdom, yet not without caution, since there were still some remains of the affection of truth in the lower principles.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 2242, 2701, 2781, 5291, 5323, 5480, 6588, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 81, 166, 336, 493, 618, 809, 839, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 100

Doctrine of the Lord 64

True Christian Religion 782

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 31, 102, 195, 340, 365, 405, 638, ...

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 13

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Deuteronomy 28:52, 32:29

2 Samuel 15:30

2 Kings 8:11, 9:13

Psalms 148:1

Isaiah 6:9, 11, 29:3, 59:8, 65:12

Jeremiah 6:6, 13:17, 14:17

Lamentations 3:48, 49

Ezekiel 4:2

Daniel 9:26

Micah 3:12

Habakkuk 2:11

Zechariah 9:9

Bible Word Meanings

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

Bethany was a village on the Mount of Olives about two miles from Jerusalem, near its sister village Bethphage. It plays a small but significant...

'Olives' signify good.

When we read the Gospels and see Jesus addressing the disciples, we assume His words are meant for us as well. And indeed they are!...

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...

'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

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...

These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

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...

Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

'Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

In Revelation 5:2, 'a loud' or 'great voice' signifies divine truth from the Lord, in its power or virtue.

'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

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...

In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving (Rev. 7.) signify divine spiritual things of the Lord.

'Highest' denotes the 'inmost,' because interior things, with person who is in space, appear as higher things, and exterior things as lower. But when the...

The Pharisees were a sect of the Jewish church at the time of the New Testament. The name comes from a root that means "separate",...

A company, congregation, and a multitude, in the Word, are predicated of truths.

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...

'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

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

'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

The end time of the church and each individual, is called 'the visitation,' and precedes judgment. 'Visitation' is nothing but an exploration of the quality...

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.

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Weeping at Easter


By Rev. Peter M. Buss Sr.

Before entering Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus wept over its future. This painting by Enrique Simonet, is called "Flevit super Illam", the Latin for "He Wept Over It". It is in the Museum of Malaga.

"And as they drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, 'If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that belong to your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.'" (Luke 19:41,42 ).

"'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.... For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" ( Luke 23:28,31).

Jesus wept over Jerusalem. The women wept over Him, and He told them to weep for themselves and for their children. Grief at a moment of triumph, grief at a moment of desolation.

There is irony in the Palm Sunday story, for over its rejoicing hangs the shadow of the betrayal, trial and crucifixion. Was the angry crowd that called for His crucifixion the same multitude that hailed Him as King five days earlier? Why did the Lord ride in triumph, knowing the things that would surely come to pass? He did so to announce that He, the Divine truth from the Divine good, would rule all things; to give us a picture which will stand for all time of His majesty. And then the events of Gethsemane and Calvary let us know the nature of that majesty - that indeed His kingdom is not of this world.

Can we picture the scene on Palm Sunday? The multitudes were rejoicing and shouting, and then they saw their King weeping. This was not a brief moment, but a sustained weeping, which caused the writer of the gospel to hear of it. Did their shouting die down as they watched His grief, did they wonder when He pronounced doom upon the city they lived in? "Your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children with you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another because you did not know the time of your visitation." Then, perhaps, as He rode on, the cheering resumed, and the strange words were forgotten.

There is yet another irony; for the people shouted that peace had come. "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Yet when Jesus wept, He said to the city, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes."

This grand panorama speaks of the world inside each human being. It is in our minds, in the spiritual sense of the Word, that Jesus rides in triumph. When we see the wonder of His truth, sense its power over all things, we crown Him. All the events of Palm Sunday tell of those times when we acknowledge that the Lord, the visible God, rules our minds through the Word which is within us. It is a time of great rejoicing. Like the multitudes of Palm Sunday, we feel that this vision will sweep all that is evil away, and the Lord will easily reign within us as our King and our God.

Such happy times do come to us, and we can rejoice in them, and hail our Lord and King with jubilation. "Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!" Peace comes through conjunction with the Lord whom we have seen (Apocalypse Explained 369:9, 11). Yet the Lord Himself knows that there are battles to come from those who know no peace. This too He warns us of in His Word. In the natural Jerusalem of the Lord's day the rulers had used falsity to destroy the truth, and they brought much grief upon the Christians. In the spiritual Jerusalem in our minds there are false values which would destroy peace. Before we get to heaven there is going to be a battle between our vision of the Lord and our self love which will abuse the truth to make that happen.

So the Lord wept, out there on the mount of Olives, as He looked down upon the city. His weeping was a sign of mercy, for He grieves over the states in us which will hurt us and which are opposed to our peace. (Arcana Coelestia 5480; Apocalypse Explained 365 [9]; cf. 365:11, 340). Yet His grief is an active force, it is mercy, working to eliminate those states. Jesus promised that Jerusalem would be utterly destroyed - not a single stone left standing. It is true that the natural Jerusalem was razed to the ground, but this is not what He meant. He promises us - even as He warns us of the battles to come - that He will triumph, and that our Jerusalem - our excuses for doing evil - will not stand. They will be decimated by His Word. (Cf. Arcana Coelestia 6588 [5]; Apocalypse Explained 365 [9]).

He wept from mercy, and He promised an end to weeping, for "His tender mercies are over all His works."

On Good Friday there was surely cause for weeping. Picture this scene: The women were following the cross, lamenting. Jesus must have been bleeding from the whipping, and scarred by the crown of thorns. He was surrounded by people who enjoyed seeing someone die. Those who called Him their enemy were satisfied that they had won.

His followers were desolate. Never had they imagined that the dream He had fostered would end this way, or the Leader they loved would be treated so terribly. They felt for Him in what they were sure was His suffering. They wept for Him.

Then perhaps the crowds that insulted Him were stilled as He turned to the mourners. Out of His infinite love He spoke. "'Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.'" He did not think of His approaching agony, He grieved for those He loved. He would triumph. It was upon them that suffering would come. What clearer picture can we have of the goal which brought our God to earth than that sentence? He came because evil people and evil feelings bring misery to His children. He came to give them joy after their weeping, to give them consolation and hope, and finally to give them the certainty that there should be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying.

The women of that time did indeed face physical sorrow. It is heartbreaking to learn of the persecutions of the Christians, to think of people killed because they worship their God; of children being taken from them, of good people subject to the mercy of those who know no mercy. Indeed it must have seemed that the Lord was right in saying that it would have been better had they never borne children who would suffer so for their faith. "For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!'"

But the real reason the Lord came down to earth was that within physical cruelty there is a far greater hurt. There are plenty of people walking this earth who wouldn't think of murdering someone else, but who regularly enjoy taking away something far more precious - his ability to follow his Lord.

That was why the Lord spoke those words, "Weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." The daughters of Jerusalem represent the gentle love of truth with sincere people all over the world. Their children are the charity and faith which comes from the love of truth. These are the casualties of evil, especially when it infests a church. These are the things that cause internal weeping, a sorrow of the spirit that is the more devastating because it is silent.

"Daughters of Jerusalem," He called them. Our innocent love of the truth grows up together with our justification for being selfish. In fact, it is ruled by self justification, as the daughters of Jerusalem were ruled by a corrupt church. When those women tried to break loose from the Jewish Church they were persecuted. When our innocent love of the truth seeks to lead us to follow the Lord we suffer temptations in our spirits. The hells rise up and tempt us with all the selfish and evil delights we have ever had, and we indeed weep for ourselves.

You see, it is not the truth itself that suffers! "Weep not for Me," Jesus said. The truth is all powerful. It is our love for that truth which is tempted. It is our charity and our faith - the children of that love - which suffer.

"For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts which never nursed.'" Doesn't it seem to us at times that the people who have no truths, who have no ideals, are the ones that are happy? In fact this is a prophecy that those who are outside of the Church and find it afresh will have an easier time than those who bring the falsities of life into the battle.

On Palm Sunday, when Jesus wept, He said that Jerusalem would be destroyed. As I have said, He was actually promising the destruction of evil in us. On Good Friday He gave the same assurance: "Then they will begin 'to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"' These apparently harsh words are ones of comfort, for they promise that as the Lord's truth triumphs in us, heaven will draw nearer. When that happens the hells who tempt us will be unable to bear the presence of heaven, and will cover themselves over and hide.

"For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" The listeners knew what that meant: if when He was among them they rejected His truth, what will they do when the memory of His presence and His miracles have dried up? In the internal sense the green wood is truth that is still alive from a love for it. Even when we see the ideals of the Word, we are going to struggle with temptation. But when that wood dries out, when we can't sense the life and power of truth, the battle becomes very much harder.

In both these images - His weeping on Palm Sunday, His sad warning to the women to weep for themselves and for their children, the Lord is preparing us to fight for what we believe. How does He prepare us? By assuring us, not only of the trials to come, but of the certainty of victory now that He has revealed His might. There is such wonder, such hope for eternal happiness in the true Christian religion. Yet no worthwhile love will ever be ours to keep until it has faced its challenges. There must be a time of weeping: our merciful Lord weeping over our struggles and giving us strength from mercy; our dreams and hopes weeping when we fear they are lost. Through the trial we express our commitment to our dreams, and He delivers us.

Less than twenty four hours before His arrest the Lord spoke again about weeping. At the Last Supper He said, "Most truly I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice." But He did not stop there. "And you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you."

When He was crucified and rose again, they must have thought that now His words were fulfilled. Now they had found the joy which no one could take from them. Perhaps when they suffered at the hands of persecutors and found joy among fellow-Christians they thought the same. And finally, when they had fought their private battles, and from His power overcome the enemy within, they knew what He really meant.

"Jesus wept over the city." "Weep for yourselves and for your children." Our love of the truth will be threatened and with it our hope for true faith and true charity. It was to that end that He came into the world and rode in triumph and drank of the cup of rejection and apparent death - to be able to turn our sorrow into joy. Therefore He could also say, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Amen.

(References: Luke 19:29-44, 23:24-38)

From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Explained #195

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195. Verse 4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis that have not defiled their garments, signifies those who live a moral life from a spiritual origin, by applying the knowledges of truth and good from the Word to the uses of their life. This is evident from the signification of "name," as being the quality of the state of man's life (see above, n. 148); here, therefore, "names" signify men who are such. It is evident also from the signification of "the church in Sardis," as being those who live a moral life but not a spiritual life, because they have little regard for the knowledges of truth and good from the Word (see also above, n. 148, 182); but here those are meant who live a moral life from a spiritual origin, for it is said, "that have not defiled their garments." It is evident also from the signification of "garments," as being knowledges [scientifica] and cognitions in the natural man (of which presently). "Not defiling their garments," therefore, signifies living as a moral man not for the sake of self and the world, which is for the sake of the body and its life only, but for the sake of the Lord and of heaven, which is for the sake of the soul and its life. From this it is clear that "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis that have not defiled their garments," signifies such as live a moral life from a spiritual origin, by applying the knowledges of truth and good from the Word to their life.

(References: Revelation 3:4)

[2] But as few know what it is to live a moral life from a spiritual origin, and what it is to apply the knowledges of truth and good from the Word to the uses of their life, it shall be told. Man lives a moral life from a spiritual origin when he lives it from religion; that is, when he thinks, when anything evil, insincere, or unjust presents itself: that this must not be done because it is contrary to the Divine laws. When one abstains from doing such things in deference to Divine laws he acquires for himself spiritual life, and his moral life is then from the spiritual; for by such thoughts and faith man communicates with the angels of heaven, and by communication with heaven his internal spiritual man is opened, the mind of which is a higher mind, such as the angels of heaven have, and he is thereby imbued with heavenly intelligence and wisdom. From this it can be seen that to live a moral life from a spiritual origin is to live from religion, and within the church, to live from the Word; for those who live a moral life from religion and from the Word are elevated above their natural man, thus above what is their own [proprium], and are led by the Lord through heaven; consequently they have faith, the fear of God, and conscience, and also the spiritual affection of truth, which is the affection of the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, for to such men these are Divine laws, according to which they live. Many of the heathen live such a moral life, for they think that evil must not be done because it is contrary to their religion; this is why so many of them are saved.

[3] But on the other hand, to live a moral life not from religion, but only from the fear of the law in the world, and of the loss of fame, honor, and gain, is to live a moral life not from a spiritual but from a natural origin; therefore to such there is no communication with heaven. And as they think insincerely and unjustly regarding the neighbor, although they speak and act otherwise, their internal spiritual man is closed, and the internal natural man only is opened; and when this is open they are in the light of the world, but not in the light of heaven. For this reason such persons have in them little regard for Divine and heavenly things, and some deny them, believing nature and the world to be everything. (From this it can now be seen what it is to live a moral life from a spiritual origin, and what it is to live it from a natural origin; but these things may be seen set forth in clearer light in the work on Heaven and Hell 528-535.) Of those who live a moral life from a natural origin only, it may be said that they "defile their garments," for "garments" mean that which is outside the man himself and which clothes him, thus his natural man with the things that are in it, which are knowledges [scientifica] and cognitions; and when these are from the Word they are defiled by the fact that he learns and holds them only for the sake of reputation, that he may be thought learned or well informed, or that he may thereby acquire honors and gain wealth; and except for such ends he has no regard for them. Thus it is that the knowledges from the Word are polluted and defiled by the loves of self and the world, for these knowledges dwell in the same place with the evils and falsities that gush out from those loves as from their fountains.

[4] It was said above, that man becomes spiritual by means of the knowledges of truth and good from the Word applied to the uses of life. Why men become spiritual by means of knowledges from the Word, and not by means of other knowledges, shall now be told. All things that are in the Word are Divine, and they are Divine for the reason that they have in them a spiritual sense, and by that sense communicate with heaven and with the angels there. When, therefore, man has knowledges from the Word and applies them to life, then through these he has communication with heaven and by that communication becomes spiritual; for man becomes spiritual by his being in like or in corresponding truths with the angels of heaven. It is said in "corresponding" truths, because each and all things in the sense of the letter of the Word are correspondences, for they correspond to the truths that angels have. But the knowledges derived from other books, which set forth and by various means establish the doctrines of the church, do not effect communication with heaven except by the knowledges from the Word they contain; such knowledges do give communication if they are rightly understood and are applied to life, and not to faith alone. Everyone can see that this is so from this, that the Word in itself is Divine, and what is Divine in itself can become Divine with man by his applying it to life. "Becoming Divine with man" means that the Lord can have His abode with man (John 14:23), thus dwelling with him in what is His own (that the Lord dwells in His own with man and angel, and not in what is their own [proprio illorum], see in the work on Heaven and Hell 12). The Lord dwells in His own when He dwells in those things with man that are from the Word, for the Lord is the Word (John 1:1, 2, 14); and the words that He spoke, that is, that are in the Word:

Are spirit and life (John 6:63, 68; 12:50).

(References: John 1:1-2)

[5] That "garments" signify the things that are in the natural man, which are knowledges [scientifica], 1 true or false, or cognitions, is from the spiritual world; for in the spiritual world all, however many, appear clothed according to their moral life; consequently those who have lived a moral life from a spiritual origin appear clothed in shining white garments, like fine linen; but those who have lived a moral life from a natural origin only, appear according to the nature of that life, those who have polluted their life by evils and falsities appearing in dark garments, mean, torn, and hideous to behold (see the work on Heaven and Hell 177-182). From this now it is that "garments" in the Word signify truths from good, and in the contrary sense falsities from evil, both of them in the natural man; truths and falsities in the natural man are called knowledges [scientifica] and cognitions.

[6] That "garments" in the Word signify truths or falsities can be clearly seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:

Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion, put on the garments of thy splendor, O Jerusalem; for henceforth there shall no more come to thee the uncircumcised and the unclean (Isaiah 52:1).

"Zion" in the Word signifies the Lord's celestial kingdom, thus also the celestial church, and "Jerusalem" the spiritual kingdom and the spiritual church (what the celestial kingdom is, and the spiritual kingdom, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 20-28). The "garments of splendor that Jerusalem must put on" are Divine truths; the "uncircumcised and the unclean that shall not come to them" are those who are in evils and falsities.

[7] In Ezekiel:

Jerusalem, I clothed thee with broidered work, I shod thee with badger's skin, I girded thee about with fine linen. I adorned thee with ornament, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy throat, and a jewel upon thy nose, and earrings upon thine ears, yea, a crown of ornament upon thy head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy garments were fine linen, silk, and broidered work, whence thou becamest exceeding beautiful, and didst prosper even unto the kingdom. But thou didst take of thy garments, and didst make to thee high places with divers colors, that thou mightest commit whoredom upon them; thou also didst take garments of thy broidered work, and didst cover the images of a male, with which thou didst commit whoredom (Ezekiel 16:10-13, 16-18).

Here what the church was when it was first established by the Lord is described; the "garments" that are mentioned are truths from good; "broidered work" is true knowledge [scientificum]; "fine linen and silk" are truths from a celestial source; the "bracelets," "chain," "jewel," "earrings," and "crown," are decorations signifying things spiritual of various kinds; the "gold and silver" with which she was decked are the good of love and its truth. Then the same church when perverted is described, by this, that "she took of the garments, and did make to herself high places with divers colors," signifying truths falsified; and that "she took the garments of broidered work, and covered the images of a male," signifies that they applied the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word to so confirm falsities even so as to make them appear like truths; "committing whoredom with them" and "under them" signifies making doctrine and worship out of falsities (that this is to "commit whoredom," see above, n. 141, 161).

(That "Jerusalem" is the church where there is true doctrine, see Arcana Coelestia 402, 3654, 9166. That "broidered work" is knowledges [scientificum], n. Arcana Coelestia 9688. That "fine linen" is truth from a celestial origin, n. 5319, 9469. That "bracelets" are truths and goods of the church, n. 3103, 3105. That "a chain [for the neck]" is representative of the conjunction of interior and exterior things, n . 5320; that "jewels [for the nose]" and "earrings" are representatives of perception and obedience, n. Arcana Coelestia 4551. That "a crown" means wisdom, see above, n. 126. That "gold" is the good of love, see Arcana Coelestia 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9510, 9874, 9881; that "silver" is truth from that good, n. 1551, 1552, 2954, 5658. That "high places with divers colors" are truths falsified, n. 796, 4005. That the "male" or "masculine" is truth, n. 749, 2046, 4005, 7838; therefore "images of a male" are appearances of truth.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552; Ezekiel 16:10-18)

[8] In the same:

Fine linen in broidered work from Egypt was thy spreading forth, blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was thy covering. Syria was thy merchant in purple, and broidered work, and fine linen, with chrysoprasus. Dedan was thy merchant with garments of liberty for the chariot; Asshur and Chilmad with bales of blue and of broidered work, and with treasures of precious garments (Ezekiel 27:7, 16, 20, 23-24).

Here Tyre and her wares are treated of, and "Tyre" signifies the knowledges of truth and good, and "trading" and "trafficking," signify acquiring for oneself and communicating such knowledges; "purple and blue" signify the celestial love of good and truth; "Egypt," the knowledge belonging to the natural man; by "broidered work from Egypt" the like; "Syria" the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and good; "Asshur" the rational of that church; "Dedan" those who are in the knowledges of celestial things. From this it can be seen that the "wares of Tyre," treated of in the whole of that chapter, do not mean wares, but each and all these things mean spiritual things, which man ought to acquire, be imbued with, and communicate. (That "Tyre" signifies the knowledges of good and truth, see Arcana Coelestia 1201. That "Egypt" signifies the knowledges [scientificum] belonging to the natural man, n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 5700, 5702, 6015, 6651, 6679, 6682, 6683, 6692, 7296, 9340, 9391. That "Syria" is the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and good, n. 1232, 1234, 3664, 3680, 4112. That "Dedan" signifies those who are in the knowledges of celestial things, n . 3240, 3241. That "Asshur" is the rational therefrom, n. 119, 1186. That "purple" is the celestial love of good, n. Arcana Coelestia 9467. That "blue" is the celestial love of truth, n. 9466, 9687, 9833; likewise "chrysoprasus," n. Arcana Coelestia 9868. What "fine linen" and "broidered work" signify, see just above.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165, Arcana Coelestia 3240-3241, 6682-6683)

[9] In David:

The king's daughter is all glorious within, her clothing is inwrought with gold. She shall be brought unto the king in broidered work (Psalms 45:13-14).

The "king's daughter" signifies the spiritual affection of truth, and therefore the church consisting of those who are in that affection; "king" signifies the Lord in respect to Divine truth; "clothing inwrought with gold," intelligence and wisdom from that truth; the "broidered work" in which she should "be brought to the king" signifies the knowledges of truth. (That "daughter" signifies the affection of truth, and the church therefrom, see Arcana Coelestia 2362, 2623, 3373, 3963, 4257, 6729, 6775, 6779, 8649, 9055, 9807. That "king" signifies the Lord in respect to Divine truth, see above, n. 31.)

[10] In the second book of Samuel:

Daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet with dainty things, and who put an ornament of gold upon your apparel (2 Samuel 1:24).

This is in the lamentation of David over Saul, which he wrote:

To teach the sons of Judah the bow (2 Samuel 1:18);

by "bow" is signified truth combating against falsities (see Arcana Coelestia 2686 Arcana Coelestia 2686[1-8] Arcana Coelestia 2686 Arcana Coelestia 2686[1-8], 2709); "Saul" here, as a king, signifies such truth; the "sons of Judah" signify those who are in truths from good; "to clothe the daughters of Israel in scarlet," and "to put ornaments of gold upon the apparel," is to impart intelligence and wisdom to those who are in the spiritual affection of truth.

[11] In Matthew:

When the king came in to behold those reclining to eat, he saw there a man that had not on a wedding garment; and he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? He was speechless. Then said the king, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him out into outer darkness (Matthew 22:11-13).

A "wedding garment" signifies the intelligence of the spiritual man, which is from the knowledges of truth and good; but "he that had not on a wedding garment" signifies a hypocrite, who by a moral life counterfeits the spiritual life when yet he is merely natural; "to bind him hand and foot" signifies the deprivation of the knowledges from the Word, by which he has put on the likeness of a spiritual man; "to be cast out into outer darkness" signifies among those who are in falsities from evil (for "outer darkness" signifies falsities from evil).

[12] In Zephaniah :

I will visit upon the princes, and upon the king's sons, and upon all that are clothed with the garments of the alien (Zephaniah 1:8). "Princes" and "king's sons" signify those who are in truths, and in a contrary sense, as here, those who are in falsities; these are said to be "clothed with the garment of the alien," because "garment" signifies falsity, and "alien" those who are out of the church and do not acknowledge the truths of the church.

[13] In Matthew:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing; inwardly they are ravening wolves (Mat. Matthew 7:15).

"False prophets in sheep's clothing, who inwardly are ravening wolves," are those who teach falsities as if they were truths, and who in appearance live a moral life, but who by themselves, when they think from their spirit, think of nothing but themselves and the world, and are eager to deprive all others of truths.

[14] In John:

Jesus said to Peter, When thou wast younger thou girdedst thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old thou shalt stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldest not (John 21:18).

What these words signify in the spiritual sense may be seen above n. 9; namely, that by "Peter" is meant the faith of the church; when he "was younger and girded himself and walked whither he would" means the faith of the church at the beginning, when men are in the good of charity, that they then think about the truths of the church from the spiritual man, which is to think from their spirit, thus from the spiritual affection of truth, that is, from freedom. But by "Peter when old, that he should stretch forth his hands and another should gird him," is meant the faith of the church at its end, when faith would be without charity, that they then would think nothing about the truths of the church from themselves, but from others, thus from doctrine only and not from the Word, which is relatively a servile state. For to believe what another says is servile, but to believe what one himself thinks from the Word is freedom; according to the Lord's words in John:

If ye abide in My Word, ye are truly My disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32).

[15] In Luke:

No man putteth a piece of a new garment on an old garment; else the new will rend the old, and the piece from the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and itself be spilt, and the bottles be destroyed (Luke 5:36-37; Matthew 9:16-17; Mark 2:21-22).

Because a "garment" signifies truth, the Lord compared the truths of the former church, which was a church representative of spiritual things, to a piece of an old garment, and the truths of the new church, which were spiritual truths themselves, to a piece of a new garment; He compared them likewise to bottles of wine, because "wine" in like manner signifies truth, and "bottles" mean the knowledges that contain truth. (That "wine" in the Word signifies truth, see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 219.)

(References: Luke 5:36-38)

[16] From this it can now be seen what is signified in the Word elsewhere by "garments," which are often mentioned there, as in the following passages. In Revelation:

And upon the thrones four and twenty elders sitting, arrayed in white garments (Revelation 4:4).


The armies of the One sitting upon the white horse followed Him, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Revelation 19:14).


They who stood before the throne in sight of the Lamb, were clothed in white robes (Revelation 7:9).


The seven angels from the temple were clothed in linen, clean and shining (Revelation 15:6).


White robes were given to everyone of those under the altar (Revelation 6:11).


Buy gold and white garments (Revelation 3:18).

In Ezekiel:

If he giveth his bread to the hungry, and covereth the naked with a garment (Ezekiel 18:16).

"To give bread to the hungry" signifies in the spiritual sense to instruct from the good of charity those who long for truths; "to cover the naked with a garment" signifies to instruct, in like manner, those who are not in truths.

[17] In the same:

The enemies shall strip thee of thy garments, and shall take away the jewels of thine adorning (Ezekiel 23:26).

In Zechariah:

Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and thus stood before the angel. And he said to those that stood before him, Take away the filthy garments from off him. And he said, I have made thine iniquity to pass from off thee, in clothing thee with changed garments (Zechariah 3:3-5).

In Lamentations :

They have wandered blind in the streets, they have been polluted with blood; what they cannot pollute they touch with their clothes (Lamentations 4:14).

From the signification of "garments" it can be known what is meant by many statutes with the sons of Israel:

That they should not put on mixed garments (Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:11);

That a woman should not wear the vessels of a man, nor a man be clothed with the garments of a woman (Deuteronomy 22:5);

That they should wash their garments that they might be purified, and thus sanctified (Exodus 19:14; Leviticus 11:25, 11:28, 11:40; 14:8; (Leviticus 14:8); Numbers 19:11-22);

and elsewhere:

That in mourning for transgression against Divine truths they should put off their garments and put on sackcloth (Isaiah 15:3; 22:12; 37:1-2; Jeremiah 4:8; 6:26; 48:37; 49:3; Lamentations 2:10; Ezekiel 27:31; Amos 8:10; Jonah 3:5-6, 3:8);

And that they should rend their garments (Isaiah 37:1 and elsewhere).

Also what this signifies:

That the disciples laid their garments upon the ass and the colt when the Lord was going to Jerusalem, and that the people then strewed their garments in the way (Matthew 21:7-9; Mark 11:7-8; Luke 19:35-36);

can be seen above n. 31.

(References: Leviticus 14:8-9)

[18] That "garments" signify truths has its origin in this, that the light of heaven is Divine truth proceeding from the Lord as a sun there, and all things that have existence in the heavens have existence from the light there, and this is true in like manner of the garments in which the angels appear clothed. It is from this:

That the angels who sat at the Lord's sepulchre had raiment white as snow (Matthew 28:3);

And that their garments were shining (Luke 24:4).

(That the garments in which the angels appear clothed correspond to their intelligence, and that they have intelligence according to their reception of Divine truth from the Lord, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 177-182;and that Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is light in heaven, n. 126-135.) From this it can be seen what "garments" signify in reference to the Lord, namely, Divine truth proceeding from Him; and as Divine truth is signified, the Word also is signified, for the Word is Divine truth from the Lord on earth and in the heavens. This was represented by the Lord's "garments" when He was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, which are thus described in the Evangelists:

When Jesus was transfigured, His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became white as the light (Matthew 17:2);

And white, dazzling (Luke 9:29);

And glistering white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them (Mark 9:3).

The like is said of the Ancient of Days in Daniel:

The Ancient of Days did sit, and His garment was like white snow (Daniel 7:9).

"The Ancient of Days" is the Lord from eternity. As "light" is Divine truth, and this in reference to the Lord is signified by "garments," therefore it is said in David:

Jehovah covereth Himself with light as with a garment (Psalms 104:2).

(References: Psalms 45:8)

[19] From this it can be seen what the Lord's garments mentioned elsewhere in the Word signify. As in David:

He hath anointed all Thy garments with myrrh and aloes and cassia (Psalms 45:7-8);

where the Lord is treated of. In Moses:

He will wash His vesture in wine, and His covering in the blood of grapes (Genesis 49:11).

This is also said of the Lord. "Wine" and "the blood of grapes" signify Divine truth. Because the Lord's garments signified Divine truth, therefore also:

Those who touched the border of His garment were healed (Matthew 9:20-21; Mark 5:27-28, 30; 6:56; Luke 8:44).

In Isaiah:

Who is this that cometh from Edom, His garments bespattered from Bozrah; this that is honorable in His apparel? Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments as of one treading in the wine-press? Their victory is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all Mine apparel (Isaiah 63:1-3).

This also is said of the Lord; "garments" here signify the Word, which, as has been said, is Divine truth from the Lord on earth and in the heavens; the violence offered to Divine truth or to the Word by those who were then of the church, is described by this, that "He was red in apparel as one treading in the wine-press," and that "victory was sprinkled upon His garments," and that "He had stained all his raiment."

[20] In Revelation:

He that sat on the white horse was arrayed with a garment dipped in blood; and His name is called the Word of God (Revelation 19:13).

Here it is plainly declared that He who sat on the white horse was called "the Word of God;" and it is clear that this is the Lord, for it is immediately said of Him:

He hath on His garment and on His thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).

It is therefore the Word in the letter that is signified by the "garment dipped in blood," since violence was done to it, but not to the Word in the spiritual sense; violence could not be done to this, because they knew nothing about it.

[21] That violence was done to the Word in the sense of the letter, but not to the Word in the spiritual sense, is signified also by the soldiers dividing the Lord's garments, but not His tunic, of which it is said in John:

The soldiers took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part, also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore one to another, Let us not divide it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be. These things therefore the soldiers did (John 19:23-24).

And in David:

They parted My garments, and cast the lot upon My vesture (Psalms 22:18).

"The garments of the Lord which they parted" signify the Word in the letter; His "tunic" the Word in the spiritual sense; "soldiers" signify those of the church who should fight in behalf of Divine truth; therefore it is said, "These things therefore the soldiers did." (That "tunic" signifies Divine truth, or the Word in the spiritual sense, see Arcan (Arcana Coelestia 9826, 9942) a Coelestia, n. 9826, 9942; that "soldiers" signify those who are of the church, and who should fight in behalf of Divine truth, see above, n. 64, at the end, where these things are more fully explained.) It should be known that each particular related in the Evangelists respecting the Lord's passion, involves and signifies how the church at that time, which was among the Jews, had treated Divine truth, thus the Word, for this was Divine truth with them; the Lord also was the Word, because He was Divine truth (John 1:1, 2, 14). But what each particular involves and signifies cannot be known except from the internal sense. Here it will be told only what "the Lord's garments" signified, because the meaning of "garments" is here treated of, namely, that they signify truths, and in reference to the Lord, Divine truths.

(References: John 1:1-2)

[22] "The garments of Aaron and of his sons" have a like signification, because Aaron with his sons represented the Lord in respect to Divine good, and their garments the Lord in respect to Divine truth. (But these things may be seen explained and shown in The Arcana Coelestia; as that Aaron represented the Lord in respect to Divine good, n. 9806, 9946, 10017; also what each of their garments signified, the breastplate, the ephod, the cloak, the tunic wrought with checker work, the miter, and the belt, n. 9814, 9823-9828)


1. The Latin has "knowledge," for "knowledges."

(References: Luke 5:36-38; Psalms 45:8; Revelation 19:13-14)

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