The Bible

 

Matthew 3:1-12 : John the Baptist (Gospel of Matthew)

        

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1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

4 And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 794, 1017, 1861, 2371, 2708, 3301, 3540, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 315, 350, 378, 400, 553, 749, 839, ...

Doctrine of the Lord 15, 30, 51

Doctrine of Life 93, 104

Heaven and Hell 570

True Christian Religion 113, 144, 468, 483, 668, 677, 684, ...


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 109, 183, 374, 376, 395, 475, 504, ...

Marriage 113

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 4, 6, 13, 33, 67

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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Isaiah 40:3, 56:1, 57:14, 59:5

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Daniel 2:44

Bible Word Meanings

john the baptist
Jesus as a man in the Bible represents Divine Truth, the pure and perfect expression of the Lord's infinite love. That truth is contained within...

john
Jesus as a man in the Bible represents Divine Truth, the pure and perfect expression of the Lord's infinite love. That truth is contained within...

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

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

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

prepare
In general, when something is "prepared" in the Bible it means that it is in the proper spiritual order, which happens when our hearts and...

way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

paths
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....

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

leathern girdle
'The leathern girdle' which John the Baptist wore signifies an external band that receives and contains interior things.

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

pharisees
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",...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

said
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...

vipers
'Viper' signifies mortal hatreds and also extremely deceitful people.

say
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...

Abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

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

ghost
There are two aspects to the life of each person. We might call them "heart" and "mind," a part of us that wants and feels...

Fan
A fan, referred to in Matthew 3:12, signifies the separation of falsities from goods.

floor
The floor, as in Matthew 3:12, signifies the world of spirits which is between heaven and hell, and where the separation of evils and falsities...

Wheat
In Revelation 18:13, 'wine, oil, flour, and wheat' signify celestial principles of worship.

Garner
A garner, granary, or barn, as in as in Matthew 3:12 and 8:30, signify where there is a collection of the good.

chaff
Chaff is mentioned in Matthew 3:12 signifies falsity of every kind, derived from an in­fernal origin.

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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.


 Baptism of the Lord
Use felt tip markers to draw a picture of John baptizing the Lord in the Jordan River. Then dip a paintbrush in water and go over the picture to give the effect of watercolor. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Dove Poster or Mobile
The dove symbolizes purification by Divine truth. Make a poster or mobile with the color picture of a dove and truths which can help us "clean up" our lives.
Project | Ages 11 - 17

 Flight into Egypt
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 God Is a Divine Man
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Jesus Comes to John the Baptist
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 John the Baptist
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Lord's Baptism
Put together this project to make a picture of the Lord that can be moved to show Him going into the waters of the Jordan to be baptized. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Quotes: The Promise of Baptism
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Dove
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 The Lord’s Baptism
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Lord’s Baptism (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord’s Baptism (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Lord’s Baptism (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 You Are My Beloved Son (sheet music)
Sheet music for a beautiful song about the Lord’s baptism.
Song | Ages over 11

Commentary

 

The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand      

By Rev. William Woofenden

"Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 3:3
Additional readings: Isaiah 1:1-20

In the childhood of the human race, before men had departed from right ways of life, heaven was near to them. They could be led directly by the Lord, for their hearts and minds were open to him. Of this Golden Age of the human race it is written, "Man walked with God." But we have all read in the history of the human race as revealed in the Scripture the account of how many departed from the way of life and, following the devices of his own heart, closed his mind to the direct reception of goodness and truth from the Lord, until finally he reached a state in which all true knowledge of God and heaven was lost.

Then the Lord came to bring salvation to mankind, and preparation for His reception was made through John the Baptist, the messenger sent in fulfillment of a prophecy given centuries before. John’s message is our text: "Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And when John was put to death, and the Lord began His active ministry in the world, the words of our text were also His first message. For He came to make clear the way of life, and wrong ideas held possession of the minds of men then, as they do of many minds today.

It is not by chance that this first message turns our thoughts to heaven. The purpose of our creation is that we may so live that we shall find our homes in heaven. Belief in heaven had been lost, along with the knowledge about it. And today belief in heaven is for the most part vague, and many think that eternal life does not mean personal existence in the spiritual world, but only the persistence of one’s influence in this world. Great men like Homer, Plato, Moses, Shakespeare, Gladstone, Lincoln, Pasteur, and many others perpetuate themselves in the influence they exert in the minds of living men. This, they say, is what is meant by immortality, by everlasting life. But we should realize that this type of everlasting life is open to the evil as well as to the good. A Diocletian may be remembered forever as well as the beloved Apostle. We need to know the truth that men and women, as individuals, live forever after death in the spiritual world.

But this is not the implication of the text which I have chosen for consideration this morning." The kingdom of heaven is at hand." We know that heaven is not in some remote part of the natural sky, that we cannot say, "Lo, here, or Lo, there" (Luke 17:21). But we are still apt to think of it as far away. We are also inclined to think of it as remote in time. We speak commonly of the "future" world. In the thought of some even, it lies at the indefinitely remote time, when they expect a general resurrection along with others; death is the gateway of heaven, but heaven still seems too distant to be of much practical and present interest.

But the truth is that heaven is far away neither in space nor in time. It is here, it is now, it is "at hand." We live in it now, or we may do so. It is a present reality, the most real and the most important element of the life we are now living. When we speak of heaven, and of living for heaven, we are not, as some charge, setting our hearts on something far away, and despising the real world in which we now are. If one lives for a far-off heaven — and no doubt some have lived so — he may be careless of this world’s joys and sorrows, of opportunities for usefulness, keeping his eyes fixed on some vision of the future. But we may live for heaven and still live thoroughly in the present. We ought to value heaven as the most real of present realities. The Gospel is true: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand."

We are taught in the New Church that heaven is essentially a state of human feeling, thought and life, a state in which love to the Lord and love to the neighbor are the ruling motives. We are taught that no outward paradise which could be made by human or by Divine skill would be a heaven if those affections were absent from the heart, that there is no real or lasting satisfaction except in the exercise of these affections. It follows that we can come into heaven in this world, and live in heaven while we live on earth, for we may learn here to love the Lord and one another, and to find our chief enjoyment in the exercise of these heavenly loves.

But this is an abstract way of speaking. Concretely, heaven is not merely a heavenly state in ourselves; it is the great world of human beings who are living in that state, those people in whose hearts are heavenly affections, whose minds are bright with spiritual light, and whose hands are busy with heavenly works. There are many such people in this world. There are countless more who have gone from the earth to the spiritual world, and are there living the same good life under freer and happier conditions. All these people are heaven.

When we have love to the Lord and the neighbor in ourselves, we are brought spiritually near to those in like affections, both of this world and of the spiritual world. It is not a figure of speech when we say that heaven is about us when we are in heavenly states. It is a literal and positive fact. Heaven is so really around us at such times that if it were granted to us, as it was to Elisha’s servant and to others in Bible days to have our spiritual eyes opened, we should see the angels who are our companions and the beautiful land in which they dwell. Among them we should see and recognize some who were dear to us on earth, who still love and help us, and there would be some whom we had not known before but who would from the first glance seem to us as old friends, because they have similar desires and thoughts. And we should recognize them as the source of our happiness.

The Lord created the world and all things in it. All things in the world were made for man to use and enjoy, from the very materials of the earth to all the myriad things of the vegetable and animal kingdoms, the beast of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea. For man’s needs of food, clothing, shelter, for gratification of his senses, and the improvement of his mind these things were made. All these were created and given to man for blessings. But they are subject to one important condition: man must indeed labor to make these things of service to himself, but he must also use them in the service of others. Only so can he have any security or peace. The world of nature and of human beings is not for one man, or a few men, or a nation to control or exploit. Indeed we cannot rightly claim sovereignty over ourselves. We need the guidance of the Lord. And whatever under the Divine Providence we have been able to acquire, whether of material wealth, or of skill, or of learning, we did not acquire it by our unaided efforts. Our daily knowledge of the happenings in the world, our libraries, our schools are made possible by the labor of mind and body of other men and women, great or humble, living or dead. We depend on others and they on us, and life and security today, as always, depend upon the honesty and good will of the community in which we live.

Yet we should also realize that behind the labors and sufferings and the honesty and good will of men stands the Lord. Through His power alone man achieves progress. It is a law of the Divine Providence that man must act in freedom according to reason. This applies to the life of nations as well as to the life of individuals. But the Lord is present and operative always.

For infinitely wise and good reasons, the Lord does not draw the veil aside for us and allow us to see the heavenly world. Some argue that if only they could see heaven, they would believe in it. But to see that world as an outward, objective reality would destroy our freedom. We should be lured by its outward attractiveness, and it would be less possible for us to come into its true spirit.

When we are living in selfish and evil affections, we are in hell. Not only is hell within us at such times but it is also about us, not by a figure of speech, but actually. We are breathing its poisoned atmosphere and, if our eyes were opened, we should see the forms and faces of those who find their life in evil and who exult in influencing others to evil. Why, at least then, does the Lord not draw the veil aside and show us the terribleness of evil? The sight might for the moment frighten us, but we should be less able to shun evil freely because it is evil, and our power to escape permanently from it would be greatly lessened.

If we are tempted to question the Lord’s Providence in not revealing to us more openly the conditions of the good and evil in the spiritual world, we do well to remember His words, "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them….If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead" (Luke 16:29-31).

The Lord said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). We should seek those good things which endure forever, and should not sacrifice them for the sake of money or health or life itself. To acquire love to the Lord and to the neighbor is the only thing worth living for. Our business dealings should have as their motive the love of use, of service to others. The most necessary thing in making a home is having in it the sunshine of heaven. The only absolute requirement for our happiness as we go to and fro in the ways of the world is that heaven shall go with us. This is to live for heaven, and yet to live must fully in the present. This is the practical meaning of living for heaven.

It may be stated still more simply. Heaven is not heaven from locality, neither is it heaven from anything which belongs to the angels as their own. It is heaven from what is received from the Lord into the lives and hearts of the angels. To be near the Lord, not in place merely, but in heart, to feel the protection and peace of His presence is heaven. Heaven is being near to the Lord and keeping near to Him. There is no other heaven for men or angels.

"The kingdom of heaven is at hand." When John first spoke this message, the kingdom of heaven was in a special sense at hand, because the Lord had come to live with men and to make Himself accessible to them. A power to heal and bless went forth from the Lord during His life on earth. Men obsessed felt his saving power and sat at His feet clothed and in their right mind.

At the Transfiguration Peter said, "Lord, it is good for us to be here" (Matthew 17:4, Mark 9:5, Luke 9:33). In following the Lord, in hearing His Word and in doing His work, they were tasting of heaven. But we need to note that the mere physical nearness of the Lord did not make heaven. Some cried out with fear at His approach. It was not heaven to them. It was not heaven to those who followed Him to accuse and to betray Him. His presence was a blessing only to those who in some measure drew near to Him in spirit.

Even in the Lord’s coming on earth the kingdom of heaven was not forced on me. It was made accessible to them; it was brought within their reach.

It is brought within our reach. Just as there is no royal road to knowledge, there is no royal road to heaven. We must cease to do evil before we can learn to do well. Repentance, the willingness to recognize and acknowledge our faults and weaknesses and to struggle to overcome them opens the door. Heavenly life comes into the soul when selfish desires are replaced by kindly thoughts and the desire to serve. The Lord tell us to seek these heavenly virtues now, not for the sake of honor for ourselves, but that we may be really kind and helpful to others, that our lives may have something of the Lord’s love in them. Then we shall find that life here makes one with heavenly life, and that our Heavenly Father is the Source of happiness in both alike.

The Bible

 

Isaiah 59:5

King James Version         

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5 They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

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Explanation of Isaiah 59      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 59

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

1. BEHOLD, the hand of Jehovah is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

VERSE 1. As to the meaning of "hand" and "arm", see Chapter 5:25; and what is meant by being "short of hand", see Chapter 25:11, the Exposition.

2. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God; and your sins have hidden His faces from you, that He doth not hear.

Verse 2. Your sins have hidden His faces front you, etc. - For what is involved in these words, see Chap. 8:17; 54:8, the Exposition.

3. For your hands are polluted with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, and your tongue has meditated perverseness.

Verses 3, 7. "The hands polluted with blood, and the fingers with iniquity", signifies that in everything belonging to them there is the false and the evil of the false; the "hands" and the "fingers" signify power, and hence all things appertaining to them wherein there is any ability.

Inasmuch as these things are signified, therefore, it is also said, "Your lips have spoken falsehood, and your tongue has meditated perverseness"; "falsehood" [or lies] denoting falsities, and "perverseness" the evil of the false.

By "their feet hastening to shed innocent blood", is signified to destroy the Good of love and of charity, this being meant by "shedding innocent blood"; the Good of innocence is that from which is derived every Good and Truth of heaven and the church, as may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell 276-283.
From these considerations it may appear what is signified, in the general sense, by "bloods" in the plural, namely, violence offered as well to the Truths of the Word and of the church as to the Goods thereof. Inasmuch as by "shedding innocent blood" is signified to destroy the Good of love and of charity, therefore every precaution was taken that "innocent blood" might not be shed", and if it was shed, that "the land might be expiated; " (see Deuteronomy 19:10, 13; 21:1-9) for the "land" signifies the church. Apocalypse Explained 329. That the "land", or the "earth", signifies the church, see above, Chapter 24, the Exposition.

4. No one calls in justice, and no one pleads in truth: trusting in vanity, and speaking lies; conceiving mischief; and bringing forth iniquity.

Verse 4. Trusting in vanity, etc. - "Vanity" signifies the falsity of doctrine and of religion, as may appear from the following passages:

"There shall be no more any vision of vanity, nor flattering divination in the midst of the house of Israel"; (Ezekiel 12:24) a "vision of vanity" means a false revelation, See also Ezekiel 13:6-9. Arcana Coelestia 9248.

5. They hatch the eggs of the asp, and weave the web of the spider: he that eats of their eggs dieth; and when it is pressed, a viper breaks forth.

Verse 5. Speaking of evil men, who by treachery and craft seduce in things spiritual. The clandestine evils to which they craftily allure, are meant by "the eggs of the asp which they hatch"; the treacherous falsities are understood by "the web of the spider which they weave." The deadly hurt which they cause if they are received, is signified by "he that eats of their eggs dieth; and when it is pressed, a viper breaks forth." Inasmuch as the Pharisees were of such a quality, therefore they are called by the Lord, "serpents, a generation of vipers." (Matthew 23:33)

That the subtlety and malice of such could do no hurt to those whom the Lord protects, is signified by "The suckling shall play upon the hole of the viper; and upon the den of the basilisk shall the weaned child lay his hand." (Isaiah 11:8) Apocalypse Explained 581. See also Chapter 14:29, 30, the Exposition.

6. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the deed of violence is in their hands.

7. Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; devastation and destruction are in their paths.

Verses 6, 7. Their works are works of iniquity, and the deed of violence is in their hands; their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood, etc. - "Violence" means violence against charity, as may appear from many passages; the same is also signified by "shedding innocent blood." See Chapter 60:17, 18, the Exposition.

8. The Way of peace they know not; neither is there any judgment in their goings: they have perverted to themselves their paths; one that goes therein shall not know peace.

Verse 8. In this and in many other passages "peace" signifies, in the supreme sense, the Lord; in the representative sense, His kingdom and Good from the Lord therein, thus the Divine Principle which flows into Good, or into the affections of Good, and which causes, from an inmost principle, joys and happiness. Arcana Coelestia 3780.

As to "peace", see above, Chapter 9:6; 48:18, 22, the Exposition.

9. Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we look for light, but behold darkness! for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness.

Verse 9. "Judgment is far from us", signifies that there is no understanding of Truth; "justice doth not overtake us", means that there is no Good of life; "we look for light, but behold darkness", signifies expectation of Truth, but behold the false; and "for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness", denotes the expectation of Goods by Truths, but behold the life of the false from evils; for "brightness" or "splendours " signify the Goods of Truth, because "light" signifies Truth, and Truth is resplendent from Good; "thick darkness" denotes the falsities of evil, and to "walk" signifies to live. Apocalypse Explained 526.

Verses 9, 10. We look for light, but behold darkness! for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind; we stumble at mid-day as in the twilight, etc. - In the Word "darkness" [tenebrae] and "thick darkness" [caligo] are named together. That "darkness" signifies the deprivation of Truth, and "thick darkness" the deprivation both of Truth and of Good, is evident from Isaiah 59:9, 10. "Judgment is far from us, neither doth justice overtake us", signifies that there is neither Truth nor Good; that "judgment" is predicated of Truth, and "justice" of Good, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia 2235. To "look for light" means Truth, and "for brightness or splendours" means the Good of Truth; for the splendour of "light" [or Truth] is from Good. That "darkness" is there opposed to "light", and to "judgment", thus to Truth; and "thick darkness" to "brightness" and to "justice", thus to Good, is evident; wherefore "darkness" is the deprivation of Truth, and "thick darkness" is the deprivation both of Truth and of Good. (See also Amos 5:20; Joel 2:2) Arcana Coelestia 7111.

Here the "blind" denote those who are not in the understanding of Truths; "darkness" and "thick darkness" mean falsities. To "stumble at mid-day, as in the twilight", denotes to err in falsities, although they may be in the light from the Word. Apocalypse Explained 239.

10. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as those that have no eyes: we stumble at mid-day as in the twilight; we are among the living as dead.

11. We groan all of us like bears; and like doves we make a constant moan: we look judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.

12. For our transgressions are multiplied before You; and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us, and our iniquities we acknowledge;

13. By transgressing and lying against Jehovah, and by turning backward from our God; by speaking oppression and revolt, and by conceiving and meditating from the heart words of falsehood.

Verses 10-12. "We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as those that have no eyes", signifies that there is not any understanding of Truth; "we stumble at mid-day as in the twilight", signifies the lapsing into errors, although they are in the church where the Word is, from which they might come into the light of Truth; "we are among the living as dead", denotes that they might be in spiritual life by the Word, and yet are not, because they are in falsities. "We groan all of us like bears, and like doves we make a constant moan", signifies the grief of the natural man, and thence of the spiritual man; "we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us", denotes the hope of illustration of the understanding, and thence of salvation, but in vain. "For our transgressions are multiplied before You; and our sins testify against us", signifies by reason of falsities from evil. Apocalypse Explained 781.

14. And judgment is turned away backwards, and justice stands afar off: for truth has stumbled in the street, and rectitude cannot enter.

15. And truth is taken away; and he that shuns evil is accounted mad: and Jehovah saw it, and it was evil in His eyes that there was no judgment.

Verse 14. By "judgment" and "justice", in the Word, are meant Truth and Good. That these no longer exist, is signified by "judgment being turned away backwards, and justice standing afar off." The wandering from the Truths of doctrine, and there being thence no Truth in the life, which is Good of life, is understood by Truth has stumbled in the street, and rectitude cannot enter"; for all the Good of life is procured by Truths of doctrine, as man thereby learns how he ought to live; whereas "street" signifies where Truth leads, therefore it is said "Truth stumbles in the street." Apocalypse Explained 652.

Verses 14-16. Truth has stumbled in the street, and rectitude cannot enter, etc. - "No man" manifestly means no one intelligent, thus, in the universal sense, for no Truth; for this passage treats of the last time of the church, when there is no longer anything of Truth; wherefore it is said, "Truth has stumbled in the street; rectitude cannot enter; and Truth is taken away. That "street" is also predicated of the Truth, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia 2336; in like manner "judgment", Arcana Coelestia 2335. Arcana Coelestia 3134. See also above, Chapter 41:28, the Exposition; and Arcana Coelestia 8273.

16. And He saw that there was no man; and He wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His own arm wrought salvation for Him; and His justice, it sustained Him.

Verse 16. That the Lord made His Human Divine from His own proper power, thus without the aid of any one, is evident from this, that because He was conceived of Jehovah, the Divine was in Him, and thus that the Divine was His; wherefore, when He was in the world, and made the Human in Himself Divine. He did it out of His own Divine, or out of Himself, which is described in the above words in Isaiah. The "arm" which wrought salvation for Him, is His own proper power, by which He subjugated the hells. Arcana Coelestia 5005, 9715.

How the Lord, when He was in the world, bore the iniquities of the human race, that is, fought with the hells and subjugated them, and thus acquired to Himself the Divine Power of removing them with all who are in Good, and that He thus became Merit and Justice, is described in Isaiah 59:10-20. Arcana Coelestia 9937.

He saw that there was no man. - See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 41:28.

There was no intercessor. - As to the meaning of "intercession", see Chapter 53:12, the Exposition.

17. And He put on justice as a breast-plate, and a helmet of salvation upon His head: and He put on the garments of vengeance for His clothing; and He clad Himself with zeal as with a mantle.

Verse 17. These words treat of the subjugation of the hells by the Lord. By "righteousness [or justice] as a breast-plate", is denoted His zeal of delivering the faithful from hell, and His divine love of saving the human race; and because it was zeal from Divine Love, and hence the power from which Ho fought and conquered, therefore justice is called a "breast-plate"; but by the "helmet of salvation" is signified Divine Truth from Divine Good, by which is salvation, for a "helmet" has a similar signification to the "head" with which it is clothed; and the "head", when said of the Lord, signifies the Divine Truth and the Divine Wisdom. Apocalypse Explained 557.

These things are said of the Lord, and of His combats with the hells; for when He was in the world He reduced all things in the hells and in the heavens to order, and this by Divine Truth from Divine Love. The "garments of vengeance" signify the Truths by which He fought; "zeal as a mantle" is the Divine Love from which He fought. Hence it may appear why the "mantle" is mentioned, namely, to signify the Lord's combating by Divine Truths from Divine Love. The "cloak of the ephod, with which Aaron was clothed, upon the borders whereof were pomegranates and bells", mentioned in Exodus 28:31-35, and in Leviticus 8:7-13, had a similar signification, as may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia 9911-9929. Apocalypse Explained 395.

18. According to their deserts, accordingly will He repay: fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands a recompense will He repay.

Verse 18. To the islands a recompense will He repay. - Concerning the signification of "islands", both in a good and in a bad sense, see Chapter 42:15, the Exposition.

19. And they from the west shall fear the name of Jehovah; and they from the rising of the sun, His glory: when he [the adversary] cometh in like a rushing river, the Spirit of Jehovah shall raise up a standard against him,

Verse 19. In this passage, "from the rising and from the setting of the sun" signifies all who are in the Goods and Truths of heaven and the church. Apocalypse Explained 422.

What is signified by a "name", see Chapter 4:1; 26:8, the Exposition.

That the Lord is the "Sun" of heaven, see Chapter 30:26, the Exposition.

When he [the adversary] cometh in like a rushing river, the Spirit of Jehovah shall raise up a standard against him. - The Divine Truth which was in the Lord when He was in the world, and which then was Himself, is "the Spirit of Jehovah." Arcana Coelestia 9818.

20. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to them that turn away from transgression in Jacob; says Jehovah.

Verse 20. By "Zion" is understood heaven and the church, in which the Lord rules by His Divine Truth. Apocalypse Explained 850

21. And as for Me, this is My covenant with them, says Jehovah: My spirit, which is upon you, and My words, which I have put in your mouth; they shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your seed, nor from the mouth of your seed's seed, says Jehovah; from this time forth for ever.

Verse 21. As to "covenant", see Chapter 42:6, the Exposition.

My spirit, which is upon you. - As to "the Spirit of Jehovah", see Chapter 11:2, the Exposition.

My words, which I have put in your mouth; shall not depart out of your mouth, etc. - See Chapter 51:16, 17, the Exposition.

---
Isaiah Chapter 59.

1. BEHOLD, the hand of Jehovah is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

2. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God; and your sins have hidden His faces from you, that He doth not hear.

3. For your hands are polluted with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, and your tongue has meditated perverseness.

4. No one calls in justice, and no one pleads in truth: trusting in vanity, and speaking lies; conceiving mischief; and bringing forth iniquity.

5. They hatch the eggs of the asp, and weave the web of the spider: he that eats of their eggs dieth; and when it is pressed, a viper breaks forth.

6. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the deed of violence is in their hands.

7. Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed. innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; devastation and destruction are in their paths.

8. The Way of peace they know not; neither is there any judgment in their goings: they have perverted to themselves their paths; one that goes therein shall not know peace.

9. Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we look for light, but behold darkness! for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness.

10. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as those that have no eyes: we stumble at mid-day as in the twilight; we are among the living as dead.

11. We groan all of us like bears; and like doves we make a constant moan: we look judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us.

12. For our transgressions are multiplied before You; and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us, and our iniquities we acknowledge;

13. By transgressing and lying against Jehovah, and by turning backward from our God; by speaking oppression and revolt, and by conceiving and meditating from the heart words of falsehood.

14. And judgment is turned away backwards, and justice stands afar off: for truth has stumbled in the street, and rectitude cannot enter.

15. And truth is taken away; and he that shuns evil is accounted mad: and Jehovah saw it, and it was evil in His eyes that there was no judgment.

16. And He saw that there was no man; and He wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His own arm wrought salvation for Him; and His justice, it sustained Him.

17. And He put on justice as a breast-plate, and a helmet of salvation upon His head: and He put on the garments of vengeance for His clothing; and He clad Himself with zeal as with a mantle.

18. According to their deserts, accordingly will He repay: fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; to the islands a recompense will He repay.

19. And they from the west shall fear the name of Jehovah; and they from the rising of the sun, His glory: when he [the adversary] cometh in like a rushing river, the Spirit of Jehovah shall raise up a standard against him,

20. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to them that turn away from transgression in Jacob; says Jehovah.

21. And as for Me, this is My covenant with them, says Jehovah: My spirit, which is upon you, and My words, which I have put in your mouth; they shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your seed, nor from the mouth of your seed's seed, says Jehovah; from this time forth for ever.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 59


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 251, 9013

Apocalypse Revealed 455

True Christian Religion 185, 487


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 581

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 56

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 45

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Related Books  (see all)


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Matthew 3:7

Bible Word Meanings

hatch
'To hatch eggs' means to perform uses.

cockatrice
A basilisk (Isaiah 14:29) signifies the destruction of all the truth in the church. Sometimes this word is translated as "cockatrice".

weave
signifies teach.

Spider's web
'Spider's web,' as in Isaiah 59:5, signify treacherous falsities.

spider
'Spider's web,' as in Isaiah 59:5, signify treacherous falsities.

dieth
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

viper
A basilisk (Isaiah 14:29) signifies the destruction of all the truth in the church. Sometimes this word is translated as "cockatrice".

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.


 His Own Arm Brought Salvation
Because the Lord came on earth and overcame the hells two thousand years ago, our battles are easier today. He fought the hells one by one, and each time He fought, He used a truth to combat them
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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