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

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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


Arcana Coelestia #5291

Study this Passage

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5291. 'And let him take up a fifth part of the land [of Egypt]' means which are to be preserved and then stored away. This is clear from the meaning of 'taking up a fifth part' as that which implies something similar to taking tenths. In the Word 'taking tenths' means preserving remnants, and preserving remnants is a gathering together and then storing away of forms of truth and good. For remnants are the forms of good and truth that the Lord has stored away in the interior man, see 468, 530, 560, 561, 661, 1050, 1906, 2284, 5135, and 'tenths' is used in the Word to mean remnants, 576, 1738, 2280, and so also is 'ten', 1906, 2284. And the number five, which is half of ten, is likewise used to mean the same. Half or twice any number when used in the Word holds the same meaning as the number itself. Twenty for example holds the same meaning as ten, four the same as two, six the same as three, twenty-four the same as twelve, and so on. A multiplication of a number also holds the same meaning. A hundred or a thousand for example holds the same as ten; seventy-two and also a hundred and forty-four hold the same as twelve. Therefore what it is that composite numbers hold within them may be seen from the simple numbers of which they are the products. What the more simple numbers hold within them may be seen in a similar way from their integers. Five for example may be seen from ten, two and a half from five, and so on. In general it should be recognized that multiples hold the same meaning as their factors, yet more completely, while quotients hold the same meaning as their dividends, yet less completely.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 560-561)

[2] As regards the number five specifically, this has a dual meaning. First, it means that which is little and consequently something; second, it means remnants. It receives its meaning of that which is little from its relationship with other numbers meaning that which is much, namely a thousand and a hundred, and therefore ten also. For 'a thousand' and 'a hundred' mean that which is much, see 2575, 2636, and so therefore does 'ten', 3107, 4638, as a consequence of which 'five' means that which is little, and also something, 649, 4638. But 'five' means remnants when it has a connection with ten, 'ten' in this case meaning remnants, as stated above. For all numbers used in the Word have spiritual realities as their meaning, see 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252, 4264, 4495, 4670, 5265.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 647-648)

[3] Anyone who does not know that the Word has an internal sense which is not visible in the letter will be utterly astonished by the idea that spiritual realities too are meant by the numbers used in the Word. The specific reason for his astonishment is his inability to use numbers to give shape to any spiritual idea, when yet the spiritual ideas known to angels present themselves as numbers, see 5265. The identity of those ideas or spiritual realities to which numbers correspond can, it is true, be known; but the origin of such correspondence remains hidden, such as the origin of the correspondence of 'twelve' to all aspects of faith, the correspondence of 'seven' to things that are holy, as well as that of 'ten' and also 'five' to forms of good and truth stored up by the Lord within the interior man, and so on. Even so, it is enough if people know simply that such a correspondence does exist and that by virtue of that correspondence each number used in the Word denotes something present in the spiritual world, consequently that what is Divine has been inspired into them and so lies concealed within them.

[4] Examples of this are seen in the following places where 'five' is mentioned, such as the Lord's parable in Matthew 25:14 and following verses about the man who, before going away to a foreign country, placed his resources in the hands of his servants. To the first he gave five talents, to the second two, and to the third one. The servant who received five talents traded with them and earned five talents more. In a similar way the one who received two earned two more; but the servant who received one hid his master's money 1 in the earth. The person whose thought does not extend beyond the literal sense knows no other than this, that the numbers five, two, and one have been adopted merely to make up the story told in the parable and that they entail nothing more, when in fact those actual numbers hold some arcanum within them. The servant who received the five talents means those people who have accepted forms of good and truth from the Lord and so have received remnants. The one who received the two talents means those who at a more advanced stage in life have linked charity to faith, while the servant who received the one means someone who receives faith alone devoid of charity. Regarding this servant it is said that he hid his master's money 1 in the earth - the reason for this description being that the money 1 he is said to have received means in the internal sense truth which is the truth of faith, 1551, 2954; but faith that is devoid of charity cannot earn any interest, that is, it cannot be fruitful. These are the kinds of matters that numbers hold within them.

(References: Matthew 25:14-18)

[5] Much the same is contained in other parables, such as the parable in Luke 19:12 and following verses regarding someone who journeyed to a far country to receive a kingdom. He gave his servants ten minas and told them to trade with these until he came back. When he returned the first said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten minas'. He said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you have been faithful over a very little, be over ten cities'. The second said, 'Sir, your mina has made five minas', and to him too he said, 'You also, be over five cities'. The third had kept his mina stored away in a handkerchief. But the master said, 'Take the mina from him and give it to him who has ten minas'. Here in a similar way 'ten' and 'five' mean remnants, 'ten' rather more, 'five' somewhat less. The one who kept his mina stored away in a handkerchief describes those who acquire the truths of faith but do not join them to the good deeds of charity, so that these truths do not gain interest or become fruitful at all.

(References: Luke 19:12-46, Luke 19:12-27)

[6] The same meaning exists in other places where the Lord uses these numbers, such as the place where He refers to what one of those invited to a supper said,

I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going away to test them. Luke 14:19.

Also in the place where He refers to what the rich man said to Abraham,

I have five brothers; send [Lazarus] to speak to them, lest they come into this place of torment. Luke 16:28.

And in the place where He talks about ten virgins, five of whom were wise and five were foolish, Matthew 25:1-13. The following words spoken by the Lord in a similar way contain such numbers,

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division; for from now on there will be in one house five divided; three against two, and two against three. Luke 12:51-52.

And the following details given in the historical narrative also contain such numbers - the Lord fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes; He commanded them to sit down in groups of a hundred and groups of fifty; and after they had eaten they collected twelve baskets of broken pieces, Matthew 14:15-21; Mark 6:38 and following verses; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:5-13.

(References: Luke 12:51; Mark 6:38-44)

[7] It is hardly credible that the numbers included in such details, since these belong to a historical narrative, have a spiritual meaning. That is, five thousand, the number of people, has a spiritual meaning; so does five, the number of loaves, as well as two, the number of fishes. A hundred, and likewise fifty, the numbers of people sitting down together, each have a spiritual meaning; and so lastly does twelve, the number of baskets containing broken pieces. Though it may seem incredible, every detail holds some arcanum. Every single thing occurred providentially, to the end that Divine realities might be represented by them.

[8] In the following places too 'five' means things of a similar nature in the spiritual world, and it corresponds to such in both senses, the genuine sense and the contrary one: In Isaiah,

Gleanings will be left in it, as in the shaking of an olive tree, 2 two or three berries on the top of the [highest] branch, four or five on the branches of a fruitful tree. Isaiah 17:6-7.

In the same prophet,

On that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt which speak in the lips of Canaan and swear to Jehovah Zebaoth. Isaiah 19:18.

In the same prophet,

One thousand at the rebuke of one, at the rebuke of five you are fleeing, until you remain like a flagstaff on top of a mountain, like a signal upon a hill. Isaiah 30:17.

In John,

The fifth angel sounded, at which point I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key of the pit of the abyss. It was given the locusts which were coming out from there, that they should not kill the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads, but that they should torment them five months. Revelation 9:1, 3, 5, 10.

In the same book,

Here is intelligence, if anyone has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits; and there are seven kings. Five have fallen; and one is, the other has not yet come. And when he comes he must remain a short time. Revelation 17:9-10.

(References: Isaiah 17:6; Revelation 9:3-5)

[9] The number five holds a similar representative meaning in the following places,

The valuation for a man or for a woman was determined by their ages - between one month and five years, and between five years and twenty years. Leviticus 27:1-9.

If a field was redeemed, one-fifth was to be added. Leviticus 27:19.

If tithes were redeemed, again one fifth was to be added. Leviticus 27:31.

The firstborn who were in excess [of the Levites] were to be redeemed for five shekels [each]. Numbers 3:46-end.

The firstborn of an unclean beast was to be redeemed with the addition of one-fifth. Leviticus 27:27.

In the case of any wrongs that were done one-fifth was to be added as a penalty. Leviticus 22:14; 17:13, 15; Numbers 5:6-8.

Anyone who stole an ox or one of the flock, and who slaughtered it or sold it, had to restore five oxen for an ox, and four of the flock for one of the flock. Exodus 11:1.

(References: Exodus 22:1; Leviticus 27:13, 27:15; Numbers 3:46-51)

[10] The fact that the number five contains some heavenly arcanum, as does ten also, is evident from the cherubs referred to in the first Book of Kings,

In the sanctuary Solomon made two cherubs of olive wood, each ten cubits high. The wing of one cherub was five cubits, and the wing of the other cherub five cubits; ten cubits from the tips of the wings of one to the tips of the wings of the other. Thus a cherub was ten cubits; both cherubs were the same size and same shape. 1 Kings 6:23-25.

The same fact is evident from the lavers around the temple, and also from the lampstands, described in the same book,

Five bases for the lavers were placed on the right side of the house, 3 and five on the left side of the house. 3 Also, five lampstands were placed on the right, and five on the left in front of the sanctuary. 1 Kings 7:39, 49.

The bronze sea was ten cubits from one brim to the other, and five cubits high, and thirty cubits in circumference. 1 Kings 7:13.

All this was prescribed so that holy things might be meant spiritually not only by the numbers ten and five but also by thirty, for although geometrically this number giving the circumference is not right for the stated diameter, it nevertheless implies spiritually what is meant by the rim of a vessel.

(References: 1 Kings 6:23-27, 7:23)

[11] All numbers mentioned in the Word mean things existing in the spiritual world, as is clearly evident from the numbers used in Ezekiel, where a new land, a new city, a new temple, and a detailed measuring of these by the angel are described; see Chapters 40-43, 45-49 [sic.]. Numbers are used in these chapters to describe practically every sacred object, and therefore anyone unacquainted with what those numbers hold within them can know scarcely anything about the arcana present there. The number ten and the number five occur there in Ezekiel 40:7, 11, 48; 41:2, 9, 11-12; 42:4; 45:11, 14, in addition to the multiplications of such numbers, namely twenty-five, fifty, five hundred, and five thousand. As regards the new land, the new city, and the new temple mentioned in those chapters, these mean the Lord's kingdom in heaven, and therefore His Church on earth, as is clear from every detail mentioned there.

(References: Ezekiel 41:1, 42:1, 43:1, 46:1, 47:1, 48:1)

[12] All the references above to 'five' have been gathered together for the reason that here and in what follows the subject is the land of Egypt, where, in the seven years of abundance, a fifth part of the corn was to be gathered and preserved for use in the succeeding years of famine. This demonstrates that 'the fifth part' means the forms of good and truth which a person has received from the Lord, who has stored them away and preserved them in that person for future use when there is a famine, that is, when there is an absence and deprivation of goodness and truth. For unless the Lord stored away in a person such forms of good and truth, there would be nothing to raise him up in a state of temptation and vastation and consequently to make it possible for him to be regenerated, so that he would be left without any means of salvation in the next life.


1. or silver

2. The Latin means fig tree, but the Hebrew means olive tree, which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse.

3. literally, beside the shoulder of the house towards the right/left

(References: Genesis 41:34; Luke 19:12-46; Matthew 25:14-18)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 5292, 5335, 5708, 5894, 6070, 6156, 6508, 7284, 7842, 7900, 7973, 8714, 8715, 9102, 9437, 9487, 9488, 9600, 9641, 9659, 9660, 9674, 9716, 9757, 10235, 10253, 10262, 10492

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 121

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 39, 194, 270, 336, 384, 430

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