The Bible


Matthew 14:22-33 : Jesus Walks on Water



22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.

25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.

26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was Come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.



Jesus Walks on Water


By New Christian Bible Study Staff

The Disciples See Christ Walking on the Water, by Henry Ossawa Tanner

This is one of the Bible’s best-loved stories, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s easy for us to visualize the disciples struggling to get their small ship across the stormy Sea of Galilee, and their astonishment when Jesus comes to them, strolling atop the waves as if the water was a Roman road. We can sympathize with Peter, who in the flush of amazement goes onto the water himself, only to be struck with fear. And we can draw a clear spiritual message of trusting the Lord and believing in His power.

But is that all there is? Did Jesus walk on water just to amaze the disciples and to amaze the reader? Or did it have some deeper meaning?

According to the Writings, what the story illustrates the fact that the new church being launched by Jesus would bring spiritual life to the wide world, not just the narrow group of specific believers – and that the Lord works the same way in the world today.

One of the key symbols here is the sea, which represents those in the outskirts of the church. They have some spiritual knowledge and a great deal of natural knowledge, all of it fluid and turbulent. Another is the ship, which represents the specific beliefs held by the disciples, their doctrine. They sail that ship, alone, into the turbulence of the beliefs of the outskirts of the church. The waves show that they were attacked by arguments from natural ideas; the wind shows that their doctrine was not elevated enough to be truly aligned with the Lord’s power.

So Jesus comes to them at dawn – which means the beginning of His new church – walking on the water. This shows that in His perfect love and goodness He brings life even to those in external beliefs. At first the disciples don’t recognize Him and are afraid – the reaction of those in a lower spiritual state to the advance of a higher one. But Jesus reassures them, and Peter – who represents true ideas which spring from the desire for good – dares to walk on the water himself.

For a moment, buoyed by the belief in Jesus, it works. True ideas based on the desire for good can work without the support of a specific doctrinal system, even in the hurly-burly of natural thinking. But the disciples are not ready for this yet; Peter’s confidence fails him and Jesus has to deliver him back to the ship. The end result, though, is a spiritual advance for the disciples. The fact that the wind stops when Jesus boards the ship shows an elevation in their doctrinal ideas; they are more in accord with the Lord’s power (represented by the wind). And what is this difference? That’s illustrated by the fact that they bow and worship Jesus, calling him the Son of God.

So what does this mean to us? We are (hopefully, anyway) essentially disciples – people with some knowledge of the Lord and the desire to be good. What we can learn, then, is that the Lord’s love is not restricted to us or to those who believe as we do – it is for everyone, everywhere, in every reach of the sea. And we might want to work on trusting the Lord and believing in His power if we want to get out on the water and help the world.

From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Explained #514

Study this Passage

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514. And the third part of the ships was destroyed, signifies that also all the knowledges from the Word, and from doctrines from the Word perished. This is evident from the signification of "the third part," as being everything, here all, because it is predicated of the knowledges of truth and good; also from the signification of "ships," as being the knowledges of truth and good, also doctrinals. "Ships" have this signification because they carry riches over the sea for traffic, and "riches" signify in the Word the knowledges of truth and good, which also are doctrinals. "Ships," in a strict sense, as being containing vessels, signify the Word and doctrine from the Word, because the Word and doctrine therefrom contain the knowledges of truth and good, as ships contain riches; and "trading," which is chiefly done by ships, signifies acquiring knowledges for oneself and communicating them to others. But when the contents rather than the contained are meant, "ships" signify the knowledges from the Word and from doctrine from the Word.

[2] This signification of "ships" is evident from the passages where they are mentioned in the Word. Thus in Ezekiel:

O Tyre, thy borders are in the heart of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty. They have built for thee all thy planks of fir-trees from Senir; they have taken a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for thee. Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; they have made thy benches of ivory, a daughter of steps from the isles of Kittim. The inhabitants of Zidon and Arvad were thy rowers; thy wise men, O Tyre, that were in thee, they were thy ship-masters. The elders of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee caulking thy breaches; all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to trade in thy merchandise. The ships of Tarshish served as carriers for thy wares. Thou wast filled and glorified exceedingly in the heart of the seas (Ezekiel 27:4-6, 8, 9, 25).

In this chapter Tyre is treated of; and as "Tyre" signifies the knowledges of truth and good, therefore her trading is treated of, and the various wares by which she was enriched. For "her trading with various wares by which she was enriched" signifies the acquisition of such knowledges and spiritual opulence there from; therefore a ship is here described with all its furniture, its planks, oars, mast, its pilots, rowers, mariners, and in the preceding and following verses, its wares. But it would take too much space to explain here what all these particulars signify in the spiritual sense; it is enough to say that it is evident from this that a "ship" signifies doctrine from the Word, and that its "planks," "oars," and "mast" signify the various things of which doctrine consists; also that those who teach, lead, and rule, are meant by "pilot" "ship-masters," "rowers," and "mariners," and the doctrinals themselves by its "wares," and the acquisition of spiritual wealth and spiritual riches, which are the knowledges of truth and good, through which wisdom is gained, by "trading." It is therefore said, "thy wise men, O Tyre, were in thee, they were thy ship-masters."

[3] Again in the following chapter, which also treats of Tyre:

Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee; in thy wisdom and in thine understanding thou hast made to thyself wealth, and hast made gold and silver in thy treasures; by the abundance of thy wisdom in thy trading thou hast increased to thyself wealth (Ezekiel 28:3-5).

From these passages it is clear that "Tyre" and her "tradings" mean the knowledges of truth and good through which wisdom is gained; what other reason could there be for saying so much about her wares and her merchandise if spiritual things were not meant? (That "Tyre" means the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and good, consequently the knowledges of truth and good that belong to the church, see Arcana Coelestia 1201.)

[4] The vastation of the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and good is treated of in the same chapter, and is described in these words:

At the voice of the cry of thy ship-masters the suburbs shall quake. And all that hold the oar shall come down from their ship, all the ship masters of the sea, and shall cry out bitterly over thee (Ezekiel 27:28-30).

"Ship-masters" signify those who are wise by means of knowledges from the Word; "those that hold the oar" signify those who are intelligent; the vastation of wisdom and intelligence is signified by "the voice of the cry of the ship-masters," and by "those who hold the oar shall come down from the ships."

[5] That "ships" in the Word mean the knowledges of truth and good and also doctrinals from the Word, when the cargo is meant by the "ship," that is, the contents for the containant, is further evident from these passages. In Isaiah:

Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is devastated. The inhabitants of the island are still, the merchant of Zidon passing over the sea, they have filled thee. Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, for your stronghold is devastated (Isaiah 23:1, 2, 14).

"The ships of Tarshish" mean doctrinals from the Word, for those ships carried gold and silver, which signify goods and truths and the knowledges of these from the Word; and as "Tyre" signifies the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and good, here the church vastated, therefore it is said, "Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is devastated;" "the inhabitants of the island" mean those who are in the goods of life according to their doctrinals; "the merchants of Zidon" signify those who are in truths from the Word, of whom it is said, "they have filled thee;" "your stronghold" signifies doctrine from the Word defending; and "it is devastated" signifies that there is no perception of it and thence no truth; for the same doctrinals from the Word apart from spiritual perception are not truths, for they are falsified by incorrect ideas respecting them.

[6] In the same:

The isles shall trust in Me, and the ships of Tarshish in the beginning, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them (Isaiah 60:9).

"The ships of Tarshish in the beginning" mean the knowledges of truth and good, such as those who are reformed have in the beginning, as may be seen above n. 406, where this is explained. For the ships of Tarshish in the beginning brought gold and silver in great abundance, which signified the goods of life and the truths of doctrine.

[7] Of the ships of Tarshish it is said in the first book of Kings:

Solomon made a ship in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Sea Suph, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. They came to Ophir and took gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to King Solomon (1 Kings 9:26-28).

And again:

The king had at sea a ship of Tarshish with the ship of Hiram; once in three years came the ship of Tarshish, bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks (1 Kings 10:22).

and again in the same book:

King Jehoshaphat built ships of Tarshish to go to Ophir for gold; but they went not, for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber (1 Kings 22:48).

Although these are historical facts they contain a spiritual sense as well as the prophecies; "the ships made in Ezion-geber, at the shore of the Sea Suph in the land of Edom," signified the knowledges of the natural man, for these contain in themselves, and as it were carry, spiritual wealth, as ships carry worldly wealth; for "the Sea Suph" and "the land of Edom," where Ezion-geber was, were the outmost border of the land of Canaan, and the "outmost borders of the land of Canaan" signify the ultimates of the church, which are knowledges (scientiae), including the cognitions [cognitiones] of truth and good. "Gold and silver" signify the goods and truths of the internal church; "ivory, apes, and peacocks," signify the truths and goods of the external church; knowledges (scientia) here meaning such knowledges as the ancients had, namely, the knowledges of correspondences, of representations, and of influxes, and respecting heaven and hell, which especially included and were serviceable to the cognitions of truth and good of the church; "Hiram" signifies the nations that are out of the church with whom also there are cognitions of good and truth; and that the "ships" under king Jehoshaphat "were broken" signifies the devastation of the church in respect to its truths and goods.

[8] From these considerations it can be seen what is signified in particular by "the ships of Tarshish" in the preceding passages, and also in David:

By the east wind Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish (Psalms 48:7);

"the east wind" signifying devastation and desolation; for the wind that comes from the east in the spiritual world overturns from their foundations the abodes of the evil, and they, with the treasures upon which they had set their hearts, are cast out into the hells (respecting this wind, see in the small work on The Last Judgment 61). "The ships of Tarshish" here signify false doctrines.

[9] Also in Isaiah:

The day of Jehovah of Hosts upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are exalted and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the exalted mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every lofty tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all images of desire, that the haughtiness of man [homo] may bow down, and the exaltation of men [viri] be brought low, and Jehovah alone be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2:12-17).

"The day of Jehovah" means the Lord's coming, when The Last Judgment was accomplished by Him. (That a Last Judgment was accomplished by the Lord when He was in the world may be seen in the small work on The Last Judgment 46.) Those within the church upon whom the judgment was wrought are here recounted; "the cedars of Lebanon exalted and lifted up" signifying those who are boastful from self-intelligence, and "the oaks of Bashan" those who are boastful from knowledge [scientia], for "cedars" in the Word are predicated of the rational man, and "oaks" of the natural man, and intelligence belongs to the rational man, and knowledge to the natural man. "The exalted mountains and hills lifted up" signify those who are in the love of self and in the love of the world (see above, n. 405; "lofty tower" and "fenced wall" signify confirmed principles of falsity, and thus also such as are in them; "the ships of Tarshish and the images of desire" signify the false doctrine favoring the delights of earthly loves. The destruction of the arrogance that springs from self-intelligence and knowledge is meant by "that the haughtiness of man [homo] may bow down, and the exaltation of men [viri] be brought low;" that all intelligence and knowledge are from the Lord is signified by "that Jehovah alone may be exalted in that day." It is believed that knowledge is from man; but so far as knowledge is serviceable to intelligence, in which is the perception of truth, it is from the Lord alone.

[10] In Isaiah:

In Zion and in Jerusalem will the glorious Jehovah be unto us a place of rivers, of streams, of breadth of spaces; no ship of oar shall go therein, and no magnificent ship shall pass through it (Isaiah 33:21).

"Zion and Jerusalem" mean the Lord's church, "Zion" the church where the good of love rules, and "Jerusalem" the church where the truth of doctrine rules. Jehovah is called "glorious" (or magnificent) when men of the church are such as to be recipients of Divine good and truth from the Lord; and Zion and Jerusalem are called "a place of rivers, of streams, and of breadth of spaces," when all their wisdom and intelligence, and good and truth, are from the Lord, "rivers" signifying wisdom, "streams" intelligence, and "breadth of spaces" truths from good in multitude and extension; "no ship of oar shall go therein, and no magnificent ship shall pass through it," signifies that in the church there shall be no intelligence and wisdom from one's own [proprium]; "a ship of oar" meaning intelligence from one's own [proprium], because it is moved by men by means of oars, and a "magnificent ship" wisdom from one's own [proprium], because man is boastful and proud by reason of that wisdom; for when a ship is passing through and crossing the sea, thus bearing its cargo on its course, it signifies intelligence and wisdom. Here evidently no ship is meant, for this is said of Zion and Jerusalem.

[11] In David:

How many are Thy works, O Jehovah; this sea great and wide in spaces, wherein is the creeping thing without number, small animals with the great. There go the ships; there is leviathan, which Thou hast formed to play therein. All these wait upon Thee, that Thou mayest give them their food in its time (Psalms 104:24-27).

Here the sea is not meant, nor creeping things, nor animals, nor leviathan (or a whale), nor ship, but such things as are with the men of the church, for these are what "wait upon Jehovah." "The sea great and wide" signifies the external or natural man, which receives goods and truths as knowledge, "great" is predicated of the good therein, and "wide" of truth therein. "Creeping things" signify living knowledges [scientifica]; "animals great and small" the knowledges of good and truth of all kinds higher and lower, also in general and in particular (as in the preceding article, n. 513. "Ships" mean doctrinals, the "leviathan" (or whale) all things of the natural man in the complex; this is said "to play in the sea" because of the delight of knowing and thus of becoming wise. Since man by virtue of these things is actuated by a desire to know and understand, it is said, "All these wait upon Thee, that Thou mayest give them their food in its time," "to wait upon" signifying to desire, and "food" knowledge and intelligence; for man does not desire these from himself, but from those things that are with him from the Lord; consequently these are what desire with man, although it appears as if man desired from himself.

[12] In the same:

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do work in many waters; these see the deeds of Jehovah and His wonders in the deep (Psalms 107:23, 24).

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do work in many waters," signify those who intensely study the doctrine of truth from the Word; "these see the deeds of Jehovah and His wonders in the deep," signifies that they understand the truths and goods of heaven and the church, and the hidden things thereof, "the deeds of Jehovah" meaning all things of the Word that perfect man, all which have reference to truth and good, and "the wonders in the deep" meaning the hidden things of intelligence and wisdom.

[13] In Isaiah:

Thus saith Jehovah your 1 Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, For your sakes I have sent to Babylon, and I will cast down all the bars, and the Chaldeans, in whose ships there is a cry (Isaiah 43:14).

This treats of the deliverance of the faithful from the oppression of those who lay waste the church; those who lay waste the church are meant by "Babylon," and they lay it waste by withholding all from the knowledges of truth and good, affirming that they alone know and must be believed, and yet they know nothing of truth; thus they keep others with themselves in dense ignorance, and turn them away from the worship of the Lord, that they themselves may be worshiped. "To cast down their bars" signifies their principles of falsity and the falsities devastating truths, "bars" meaning the principles of falsity, and "the Chaldeans" those who devastate by falsities; for "Babylon" means those who destroy goods by means of evils, and the "Chaldeans" those who destroy truths by means of falsities. "In whose ships there is a cry" signifies the destruction of their doctrinals.

[14] This destruction is further described by "ships" in Revelation:

For in one hour so great riches was made desolate. And every ship master, and everyone concerned with the ships, and the sailors, and all who trade by sea, stood afar off, and cast dust upon their heads, and cried out weeping and mourning, saying, Woe, woe, the great city Babylon, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea, by reason of her preciousness; for in one hour has she been made desolate (Revelation 18:17, 19).

This passage will be explained further on. In Daniel:

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south come into collision with him; and the king of the north shall rush upon him like a tempest, with chariot and with horsemen and with many ships; and he shall enter into the land and shall overflow and pass through (Daniel 11:40).

"The time of the end" signifies the last time of the church, when there is no truth because there is no good; "the king of the south" means truth in light, which is truth from good; "the king of the north" means no truth because there is no good, consequently falsity, for where there is no truth there is falsity, since man then turns himself away from heaven to the world, and from the Lord to self; and when nothing flows in out of heaven from the Lord, nothing flows in from the world and from self except falsity from evil. The combats between good from truth and falsity from evil in the last times of the church are described in this chapter by the combats between the king of the south and the king of the north; that falsities will then rush in and destroy truths is meant by "the king of the north shall rush upon the king of the south with chariot, with horsemen, and with many ships," "chariot" meaning the doctrine of falsity, "horsemen" the reasonings therefrom, and "ships" the falsities and falsifications of truth of every kind; that "he shall enter into the land, and overflow and pass through," signifies that falsities will destroy all things of the church, both exterior and interior.

[15] In Moses:

And Jehovah shall bring thee back into Egypt in ships, by the way whereof I said unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again; where ye shall be sold unto your enemies for menservants and for maidservants and there shall be no buyer (Deuteronomy 28:68).

This treats of the desolation of the church in respect to truth, when the life is not according to the Lord's precepts in the Word; "the sons of Israel," to whom this was said, represented and thence signified the church where the Word is, and truths of doctrine therefrom, thus spiritual men; but the "Egyptians" signified merely natural men. "Jehovah shall bring them back into Egypt in ships" signifies that they will be merely natural in consequence of doctrinals of falsity, "ships" meaning doctrinals of falsity; "by the way whereof I said unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again," signifies from being a spiritual man into being a merely natural man, for the man of the church from being a natural man becomes spiritual; but when he does not live according to the commandments from the Word, from being a spiritual man he becomes merely natural; "where ye shall be sold unto your enemies for menservants and maidservants," signifies that falsities and evils shall become dominant; "and there shall be no buyer" signifies to become utterly vile.

[16] In Job:

My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good; they pass by with the ships of desire, as the eagle flieth to its food (Job 9:25, 26).

"Ships of desire, with which the days pass by," signify the natural affections and delights of every kind, which are merely of the world and of the body; and because these are more eagerly desired and imbibed than spiritual things, it is said, "as the eagle flieth to its food."

[17] In Moses:

Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the seas, and he shall dwell at the haven of ships, and his side shall be unto Zidon (Genesis 49:13).

"Zebulun" signifies the conjunction of good and truth; "he shall dwell at the haven of the seas" signifies the life of truth; "and he shall dwell at the haven of ships" signifies according to doctrinals from the Word; "and his side shall be unto Zidon" signifies the extension on the one part to knowledges of good. (But this may be seen explained in Arcana Coelestia 6382-6386.)

[18] In the same:

When there shall be ships from the place of the Kittim, and they shall afflict Asshur and shall afflict Eber, and he also even to him that is perishing (Numbers 24:24).

This is from the prophecy of Balaam. "Ships from the place of the Kittim" signify the knowledges of truth and good, which those had who were of the Ancient Church; "Asshur, whom they shall afflict," signifies reasonings from falsities; and "Eber, whom also they shall afflict," signifies the externals of worship, such as existed among the sons of Jacob; their vastation in respect to truth and good is signified by "he also even to him that is perishing."

[19] In the book of Judges:

Gilead, why dwellest thou in the crossing of Jordan? And why will Dan fear ships? (Judges 5:17).

"Gilead" has a similar meaning with "Manasseh," and "Manasseh" signifies the good of the natural man; and because the tribe of Manasseh did not fight in company with Deborah and Barak against the enemies, it is said, "Gilead, why dwellest thou in the passage of Jordan?" which signifies, why livest thou in externals only, which are of the natural man? The external of the church was signified by the regions beyond Jordan, and its internal by the regions on this side Jordan. The external of the church is with those who are more natural than spiritual. And because the tribe of Dan was not joined with Deborah and Barak in the battle with the enemies it is said, "why will Dan fear ships?" signifying, why does not one reject falsities and the doctrinals of falsity?

[20] As all things in the Old Testament contain in themselves a spiritual sense, so do all things in the New Testament which are in the Gospels and in Revelation. Moreover, all the Lord's words and doings and miracles signify Divine celestial things, because the Lord spoke from the Divine, and did His works and miracles from the Divine, therefore from things first through things last, and thus in fullness. From this it can be seen that the Lord's teaching from boats was significative; also that it was significative that He chose certain of His disciples from boats while they were fishing; and that He walked upon the sea to the boat in which the disciples were, and thence calmed the wind.

Respecting the Lord's teaching from a boat it is said in the Gospels:

Jesus sat by the seaside. And there were gathered unto Him great multitudes, so that He entered into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the beach. And He spake to them many things in parables (Matthew 13:1, 2, et seq.; Mark 4:1, 2, et seq .).

Jesus, standing by the shore of Gennesaret, saw two boats standing by the lake. Then He entered into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the throng out of the ship (Luke 5:1-9).

In all these particulars also, that "He sat by the seaside" and "on the shore of Gennesaret," then "that He entered into Simon's boat, and taught the throng therefrom," there is a spiritual sense. This was done because the "sea" and the "lake of Gennesaret" signify, in reference to the Lord, the knowledges of good and truth in the whole complex, and "Simon's boat" signifies the doctrinals of faith; so "His teaching from a boat" signifies that it was from doctrine.

[21] Respecting the Lord's walking on the sea to the boat in which the disciples were, it is said in the Gospels:

The boat containing the Lord's disciples was in the midst of the sea, tossed by the wind. In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came unto them, walking on the sea. And Peter said, Bid me come unto Thee upon the water. And He said, Come. Therefore Peter, going down, walked upon the water to come to Jesus. But beginning to sink, he was afraid. Jesus stretching forth His hand, took hold of him, and said, O man of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the boat the wind ceased. And they that were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God (Matthew 14:24-33; Mark 6:48-52).

And again:

When evening came His disciples went down unto the sea; and when they had entered into a boat they went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, but Jesus was not come to them. And the sea was moved by a great wind that blew. When they had gone on about twenty-five or thirty stadia, they beheld Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the boat; and they were afraid. But He said, It is I; be not afraid. Then they were willing to receive Jesus into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land whither they were going (John 6:16-21, et seq.).

Here, too, the particulars signify Divine spiritual things, which nevertheless do not appear in the letter; as the sea, the Lord's walking upon it, the fourth watch in which He came to the disciples, and the ship, His entering into it, and from it restraining the wind and the waves of the sea, and other things besides. But there is no need singly to explain here the spiritual things signified; let it be said only that the "sea" signifies the ultimate of heaven and the church, since there are seas in the outmost borders of the heavens; the Lord's walking upon the sea signifies the Lord's presence and His influx even into these, and consequent life from the Divine to those who are in the ultimates of heaven; their life from the Divine was represented by the Lord's walking upon the sea; and their obscure and wavering faith was represented by Peter's walking upon the sea and beginning to sink, but being saved when the Lord took hold of him, "to walk" signifying in the Word to live. This was done "in the fourth watch" to signify the first state of the church, when it is daybreak and morning is at hand, for then good begins to act through truth, and then the Lord comes; that the sea in the meanwhile was moved by the wind, and that the Lord restrained it, signifies the natural state of life that precedes, which is an unpeaceful and as it were tempestuous state; but with the state that is nearest to morning, which is the first state of the church with man, because the Lord is then present in the good of love, there comes tranquillity of mind.

[22] The like is signified by the Lord's calming the wind and the waves of the sea, as described in the Gospels:

When Jesus had entered into a boat His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great commotion in the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves; but He was asleep. Therefore the disciples, coming to Him awoke Him, saying, Lord, save us; we perish. Then He arose and rebuked the wind; and there was a great calm (Matthew 8:23-26; Mark 4:36-40; Luke 8:23, 24).

This represented the state of men of the church when they are in what is natural and not yet in what is spiritual, in which state the natural affections, which are various cupidities springing from the loves of self and the world, rise up and produce various commotions of the mind. In this state the Lord appears as it were absent; this apparent absence is signified by His being asleep; but when they come out of a natural into a spiritual state these commotions cease, and there comes tranquillity of mind; for the Lord calms the tempestuous commotions of the natural man when the spiritual mind is opened, and through it the Lord flows into the natural. Since the affections that are of the love of self and of the world, and the consequent thoughts and reasonings, are from hell, for they are lusts of every kind that rise up therefrom into the natural man, these, too, are signified by "the wind and the waves of the sea," and hell itself is signified by the "sea" in the spiritual sense.

[23] This can be seen, too, from its being said that "the Lord rebuked the wind," as also in Mark:

Jesus awoke and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Be quiet, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm (Mark 4:39).

This could not have been said to the wind and to the sea unless hell had been meant thereby, from which arise the tempestuous emotions of the mind from various cupidities. That the hells also are signified by "seas" may be seen above n. 342.


1. The photolithograph has "our", the Hebrew "your," as also Apocalypse Revealed 786; Arcana Coelestia 1368, 6385; The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Lord 34, 38, 40.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.