The Bible

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

Study the Inner Meaning

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.

   Study the Inner Meaning
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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Marriage 113

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

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Leviticus 11:22

1 Samuel 14:25

2 Kings 1:8

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

Jeremiah 7:4

Daniel 2:44

Word/Phrase Explanations

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

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...

Wilderness
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

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
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

hand
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

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...

prophet
The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

voice of one crying
'A voice crying,' and 'the voice of a cry,' are common expressions in the Word, and are applied whenever there is a noise or disturbance,...

Voice
'Voice' signifies what is announced from the Word. 'Voice' often refers and is applied to things that cannot have a voice, as in Exodus 4,...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

crying
As with most common verbs, the spiritual meaning of “crying” or “crying out” (meaning a shout or wail, not weeping) is highly dependent on context....

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

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.

Camel
A camel (Matt. 22:24) signifies scientific knowledge. Camels are confirming scientifics, and cattle are the knowledges of good and truth (Jer. 49:32.)

hair
The hair is the very outermost part of the body, and "hair" in the Bible represents the outermost expression of whatever the body represents. In...

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

girdle
In a sense, the whole point of trying to accept the Lord and align ourselves with His love and His leading is so that we...

Loins
'Loins' in general, signify love, and when referring to the Lord, divine love. 'Loins' signify the interiors of conjugial love. Loins,' as in Isaiah 11:5,...

Meat
'Meat,' as in Genesis 40:17, signifies celestial good, because 'the meat of the angels' are nothing but the goods of love and charity, which not...

Locusts
'Locusts' signify falsities in the extremes, which consume the truths and goods of the church in a person. 'The locusts' which John the Baptist ate...

Honey
'Honey' signifies the delight derived from good and truth or from the affection thereof, and specifically the external delight. Thus it signifies the delight of...

Round
Something 'round' relates to good. 'A small round thing,' as in Exodus 16:14, refers to the good of truth in its first formation. This is...

Round about
'Round about' denotes the things most distant from the middle, or from good and truth.

Jordan
The land of Jordan,' as in Psalm 42:6, signifies what is lowly, consequently, what is distant from the celestial, as the external parts of a...

sins
'Bound up transgressions,' as in Lamentations 1:14, stands for falsities coming up towards interior or rational 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...

many
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

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",...

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

Flee
To flee signifies to escape, and be rescued. To flee signifies to be overcome.

wrath
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

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...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

stones
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Axe
The work of the hands of the workman with the axe, signifies that which is from man's proprium and from his own intelligence.

Root
'A root,' as in Malachi 4:1, signifies charity. The dried up root,' as in Hosea 9:16, 17, signifies charity which could not bear fruit.

tree
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

fruit
We tend to think of "fruit" in two ways in natural language. One is as food that grows on trees and vines, sweet and delicious,...

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

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....

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

water
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

Worthy
People in truths from the Lord, because they are in conjunction with Him, are called 'worthy,' as in Revelation 3:4. All worth in the spiritual...

bear
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

holy
The Bible describes many things as being holy, or sacred. The Ark of the Covenant is one very holy object. The inmost chamber of the...

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...

Gather
To gather, as in Genesis 6:21, refers to those things which are in the memory of man, where they are gathered. It also implies that...

wheat
As the finest of the grains, wheat fittingly represents the finest of spiritual food, what Swedenborg calls "the good of love and charity" – which...

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.

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 by following this link.


 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)
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.

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Explained #376

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

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376. Hitherto it has been shown that oil signifies celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord. It shall now also be shown that wine signifies spiritual good, which is the good of charity towards the neighbour, and the good of faith; and because this good in its essence is truth, therefore it is said in the general explanation, "See thou hurt not the oil and the wine," which signifies that hurt should not be done to the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, either as to good or as to truth, or what is the same, that injury should not be offered to the goods and truths of the internal or spiritual sense of the Word. The reason why the good of charity and the good of faith are in their essence truth, is because that good is implanted by the Lord in man's intellectual part by means of truths which are called the truths of faith, and when man lives according to them, then those truths become goods; for by truths a new will is formed in that part, and whatever proceeds from the will is called good. This will also is the same as conscience, and conscience is a conscience of truth, for it is formed by means of truths of every kind from the doctrine of the church, and from the sense of the letter of the Word. But on this subject see more in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 130-138; and the extracts therein from the Arcana Coelestia. n, 139-141.) This now is why by wine is signified truth.

(References: Revelation 6:6; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 130-138, 139-141)


[2] Moreover, there are goods and truths internal and external; the internal goods and truths are signified by the oil and the wine which are not to be injured; but the external goods and truths are signified by the wheat and barley; external goods and truths are those in the sense of the letter of the Word, but internal goods and truths are those in the internal or spiritual sense of the Word; or, external goods and truths are such as are in the lower heavens, with the angels there, namely, in the ultimates of heaven, but internal goods and truths are such as are in the higher heavens, namely, in the third and second, with the angels there. The latter goods and truths are themselves genuine goods and truths, but the former are truths and goods which correspond, thus are correspondences; the former have immediate communication with the angels of heaven, whereas the latter have not an immediate but a mediate communication by correspondences. Hence it is that the Jews, because they were only in the sense of the letter, and not in the knowledge of the signification of things in the spiritual sense, could not injure the spiritual sense thereof either as to good or as to truth, consequently, they could not injure genuine goods and truths. This also is the case with the Christian Church at this day, which cannot injure the genuine goods and truths of the spiritual sense of the Word, for it is in ignorance of that sense, and, consequently, also ignorant of genuine goods and truths.

[3] The reason why the spiritual sense of the Word has not been made known to Christians, is, because the genuine goods and truths, such as are in the higher heavens, lie concealed in the spiritual sense of the Word; and so long as those goods and truths were not perceived and known, that sense could not be opened, for they could not be seen. The reason why genuine goods and truths have not been perceived and known in the Christian churches, is, because those churches have, in general, been divided into the papal and the evangelical; and in the papal church they are altogether ignorant of truths, because those who are therein do not depend upon the Word, thus upon the Lord, who is the Word, that is, the Divine truth, but upon the Pope, from whose mouth scarcely anything proceeds but what is from the love of ruling, and this love is from hell. Therefore, scarcely a single truth pertaining to the church exists with them; but in the evangelical churches faith alone has been assumed for the essential means of salvation, and thereby the good of love and charity has been rejected as not essential, and where good is rejected there no truth that is really truth can exist, all truth being from good. For the Lord flows into man's good, and by means of good enlightens him, and gives him light to perceive truths, therefore, without that light, which is the very spiritual life of man, there can be no truth. However it may sound like truth, because from the Word, it is truth falsified by the ideas which a man holds concerning it; for from faith separated from charity, or from truths without good, no other result can follow.

Hence then it is, that the spiritual sense of the Word could not be opened to the Christian churches; for if it had been opened, they would have falsified and perverted it by ideas from fallacies, and so would have profaned it. For this reason also no one will hereafter be admitted into the spiritual sense of the Word unless he is in genuine truths from good; and no one can be in genuine truths from good unless in his heart he acknowledges the Lord alone as the God of heaven and earth, for from Him is every good and truth therefrom. The reason why the spiritual sense of the Word is, at this day, opened, and therewith also genuine truths and goods disclosed, is, because the Last Judgment has been accomplished by the Lord, and thus all things in the heavens and in the hells are reduced to order. And as a result it can be provided by the Lord that the genuine truths and goods, in the spiritual sense of the Word, shall not be injured, which could not have been provided for before (see the small work concerning the Last Judgment, n. 73).

(References: The Last Judgment 73)


[4] That wine signifies spiritual good, or the good of charity and the good of faith, which in its essence is truth, is evident from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; buy wine and milk without money and without price" (lv. 1).

Every one can see that it is not wine and milk, which they would buy without money; therefore by wine and milk are signified spiritual things, namely, by wine spiritual good, which in its essence is truth, as was said above, and by milk the good of that truth. That these are freely given by the Lord to such as are ignorant of truth and good, and yet desire them, is signified by "he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat, buy without money." To buy signifies to procure to oneself; and to eat to appropriate to oneself, which is done by application as of oneself. That those who are ignorant of truth and good, and yet desire them, are meant, is evident, for it is said, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters"; to thirst signifying to desire, and waters signifying truths, here the Word wherein they are contained.

(References: Isaiah 55:1)


[5] In Joel:

"It shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk; all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters" (iii. 18).

Here the Lord's coming, and a new heaven and a new church from Him, are treated of. That the mountains in the land of Canaan, or in Judea, did not then drop down new wine, nor the hills flow with milk, and that neither did the rivers of Judah flow with waters more than formerly, is known, therefore, by those words are meant something other than new wine, milk, and waters, also than mountains, hills, rivers, namely, that by the mountains dropping down new wine (mustum) or wine (vinum), is meant every genuine truth from the good of love to the Lord. By the hills flowing with milk, is meant spiritual life from the good of charity towards the neighbour; and by all the rivers of Judah flowing with waters, are meant truths from the particulars of the Word. For by Judah is signified the Lord's celestial kingdom, and also the Word (as may be seen, n. 3881, 6363). Hence by its rivers are signified the particulars thereof. (That by mountains is signified the good of love to the Lord, n. 795, 4210, 6435, 8327, 8758, 10,438, 10,608; and by hills the good of charity towards the neighbour, n. 6435, 10,438; and this because in heaven those dwell on mountains who are in the good of love to the Lord, and, upon hills those who are in the good of charity towards the neighbour, n. 10,438; and in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 188.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 795, Arcana Coelestia 3881, Arcana Coelestia 4210, Arcana Coelestia 6363, Arcana Coelestia 6435, Arcana Coelestia 8327, Arcana Coelestia 8758, Arcana Coelestia 10438, 10608; Heaven and Hell 188; Joel 3:18)


[6] In Amos:

"Behold, the days come, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop new wine, and all the hills shall melt. I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities; and they shall sit and plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. Then will I plant them upon their land" (ix. 13-15).

In this chapter the vastation of the church is first treated of; and afterwards its restoration by the Lord. By the people Israel also is not meant that people, but those with whom the church was to be established. By the ploughman overtaking the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth the seed, is signified that he who receives good and truth shall also perform uses, or bear fruit, thus that they will be together with the member of the church. By the mountains dropping down new wine, and all the hills melting, is signified as just above, that from the good of love to the Lord, and from the good of charity towards the neighbour, there would be truths in abundance, new wine here or wine denoting truth. By the captivity of the people Israel, which should be brought back, is signified the restoration of the church among the Gentiles, for by captivity is meant spiritual captivity, in which those are who are remote from goods and truths, and yet desire them (see n. 9164). By the waste cities, which they shall build, are signified the doctrinals of truth and good from the Word hitherto destroyed, and afterwards to be restored; by the vineyards which they shall plant, and of which they shall drink the wine, are signified all things of the church from which is intelligence, a vineyard signifying the spiritual church, whence by vineyards are signified all things of the church. By wine is signified the truth thereof in general; and by drinking it is signified to be instructed and become intelligent, thus intelligence; and by the gardens which they shall make, and of which they shall eat the fruit, is signified wisdom, gardens denoting all things of intelligence, and the fruit of them signifying goods of life; thus by eating their fruit is signified the appropriation of good, thus wisdom, for wisdom is formed when truths are committed to the life; and because these things are meant, it is therefore said of Israel, I will plant them upon their land.

(References: Amos 9:13-15; Arcana Coelestia 9164)


[7] In Moses:

"He bindeth his ass's-colt to the vine, the son of his she-ass unto the choice vine; he washeth his raiment in wine, and his covering in the blood of grapes; his eyes are red with wine, and his teeth white with milk" (Gen. xlix. 11, 12).

This occurs in the prophecy of Israel the father concerning Judah, by whom is not here meant Judah, but the Lord as to the celestial kingdom; and by wine and the blood of grapes is meant the Divine truth. (What the other things signify, and that wine signifies Divine truth, because it relates to the Lord, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 6375-6381.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6375-6381, Genesis 49:1, 49:11-12, Genesis 49:12)


[8] In the same:

"Jacob brought of his venison to his father Isaac, and he did eat; and he brought him wine, and he drank. And Isaac blessed him, saying, God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatnesses of the earth, and plenty of corn and new wine" (Gen. xxvii. 25-28, 37).

Those who do not know that the Word is spiritual in every particular, may suppose that by Isaac here is meant Isaac, and by Jacob, Jacob; and hence that by the fatnesses of the earth, and by the corn and new wine, no higher are meant; whereas by Isaac here was represented the Lord, and by Jacob the church; hence by the fatnesses of the earth, celestial things of the good of love; and by corn and new wine, all the good and truth of the church. (But these words may also be seen explained in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 3570, 3579, 3580.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3570, 3579-3580, Genesis 27:25, Genesis 27:26-28, 27:27-28, 27:37)


[9] In the same:

If ye shall hearken unto my precepts, I will give rain to your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, and thou shalt gather in thy corn, and thy new wine, and thine oil" (Deut. xi. 13, 14).

These blessings of the earth were promised to the sons of Israel if they would hear and do Jehovah's precepts, which also attended them, because with them the church was representative, and the things that were said and commanded by Jehovah corresponded to spiritual things, thus the blessings of the earth to the blessings of heaven. The blessings of heaven, to which the blessings of the earth correspond, have all reference to such things as belong to the good of love and the truth of faith; such blessings, therefore, are signified by the former and the latter rain, for rain specifically signifies the Divine truth flowing in out of heaven, from which all things of the church and heaven with man are born, grow, and are brought forth; wherefore by the corn, new wine, and oil, which they should gather, are signified every good and truth of the external and internal man.

(References: Deuteronomy 11:13-14)


[10] In the same:

"Thus Israel dwelt securely, solitary at the fountain of Jacob, in a land of corn and new wine; his heavens also dropped down dew" (Deut. xxxiii. 28).

This was the conclusion of the blessings of the children of Israel by Moses, which were all prophetical; and every son and every tribe of Israel signified something of the church, as in Gen. xlix. Here Israel signifies the church itself; and by dwelling securely and solitary at the fountain of Jacob, is signified to live without infestation from evils and falsities, and to be led by the Lord alone by means of Divine truth; the fountain of Jacob denoting Divine truth and the Word. And by living in a land of corn and new wine, is signified in all the good and truth of the church; and by his heavens also shall drop down dew, is signified influx out of heaven.

(References: Deuteronomy 33:28)


[11] In the same:

"He made him ride upon the high places of the earth, and gave him butter of the herd, and milk of the flock, with the fat of lambs, and of rams of the sons of Bashan, and of goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the blood of the grape, pure wine" (Deut. xxxii. 13, 14).

These things are said of the Ancient Church, which was that before the Israelitish Church, and was in the good of charity and in the truths of faith. The goods of every kind, in which it was, are meant by those things, namely, by butter of the herd, milk of the flock, the fat of lambs, the fat of rams, the fat of goats, the fat of kidneys of wheat; and the spiritual truths by the blood of the grape and pure wine (merum).

(References: Deuteronomy 32:13-14)


[12] In Jeremiah:

"They shall come and sing in the height of Zion., and shall flow together to the goodness of Jehovah, to the wheat, and to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the sons of the flock and of the herd" (xxxi. 12).

By wheat, new wine, and oil, are signified goods and truths of every kind (what they mean specifically may be seen above, n. 374).

In Isaiah:

"Jehovah hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no longer give thy corn to be food for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall no more drink thy new wine (mustum), for which thou hast laboured; but they who gather it, shall eat it, and praise Jehovah; and they who bring it together, shall drink it in the courts of holiness" (lxii. 8, 9).

These things are said concerning Jerusalem, by which is signified the church as to doctrine. By the corn, therefore, which shall no longer be given as food for the enemies, and by the new wine, which the sons of the stranger shall not drink, are signified in general the good and truth of the church, which shall no longer be consumed by evils and falsities; enemies here denoting evils; and the sons of the stranger, falsities; and eating or food, to be given unto them; and drinking denoting to consume. That goods and truths shall abide with those who receive them, and thence make use of them, is signified by, "they who gather it, shall eat it; and they who bring it together, shall drink it." The worship from these is signified by praising Jehovah, and drinking in the courts of holiness.

(References: Isaiah 62:7-9, 62:8-9; Jeremiah 31:12; The Apocalypse Explained 374)


[13] In the same:

"Joy is taken away, and exultation from Carmel; and in the vineyards there is no singing, there is no shouting for joy; the treader treadeth not out the wine in the wine-press; I have made the vintage shouting to cease" (xvi. 10).

The taking away of heavenly delight from good and the truths thence, because good and truth itself, is thus described. The good of the church is meant by Carmel, and the truths thence by vineyards and by treading out the wine in the wine-presses; the delights thereof, which are taken away, by joy, exultation, singing, shouting, and vintage shouting; for it was customary to sing in the vineyards, and in the wine-presses, when the grape was trodden into wine, on account of the representation of the delights from truths, which were signified by wine.

(References: Isaiah 16:10)


[14] In Jeremiah:

"O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee above the weeping of Jazer; thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer; the spoiler is fallen upon thy fruits of autumn, and upon thy vintage. Whence is collected joy and gladness out of Carmel, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused the wine to fall in the wine-presses; none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting" (xlviii. 32, 33).

Here also the removal of heavenly delight, from the good of love and the truths thence, is treated of, for all heavenly delight is in these and from these. Lamentation over it is meant by grievous weeping; the deprivation thereof, by which joy and gladness is collected out of Carmel, also by the spoiler falling upon them, by [the wine] failing, and the shouting being no shouting; the good which was taken away, for which there was lamentation, is meant by the fruits of autumn; and the truths of good which were taken away, by the vintage and by the wine in the wine-presses. That truths were banished, and that they perished by scientifics, is meant by the wine of Sibmah, and by the plants thereof having gone over the sea, even to the sea of Jazer, the sea signifying the scientific part.

(References: Jeremiah 48:32-33)


[15] In Lamentations:

"The infant and the suckling faint in the streets of the city. They say to their mothers, Where is the corn and the wine? when they faint as one that is slain in the streets of the city, when their soul is poured out upon the bosom of their mothers" (ii. 11, 12).

These words contain a lamentation over the Jewish Church, that all the good and truth thereof have perished, and the lamentation is described by the infant and the suckling who faint in the streets of the city, and say to their mothers, Where is the corn and the wine? the infant and the suckling signify those who are in the good of innocence, and in the abstract, the good of innocence itself, by which good is meant every good of the church, because it is the essential of all the goods of it (see the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 276-283, 285, 288, 341, 382). By the streets of the city are signified truths of doctrine; by mothers are signified all things of the church; and by corn and wine are signified all the good and truth thereof in general. The reason why it is said that they faint as one slain in the streets of the city, when their soul is poured out upon the bosom of their mothers, is, because one that is slain signifies those who perish spiritually through deprivation of truth, and by the soul is signified spiritual life. (That the streets of the city in which they faint signify truths of doctrine, may be seen, n. 2336; and that the mother, into whose bosom the soul is poured out, signifies the church, n. 2691, 2717, 3703, 4257, 5581, 8897.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2336, Arcana Coelestia 2691, 2717, Arcana Coelestia 3703, Arcana Coelestia 4257, Arcana Coelestia 5581, Arcana Coelestia 8897; Heaven and Hell 276-283, 285, 288, 341, 382; Lamentations 2:11-12)


[16] In Zephaniah:

"Their wealth shall be a prey, and their houses a waste: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof" (i. 13).

By the wealth that shall be for a prey, is signified spiritual wealth, which is the knowledges of good and truth; by the houses becoming a waste are signified those things in man that pertain to the church; from which, when they are devastated, [men] then profit and receive nothing, although they hear them and see them in the Word, is signified by, building and not inhabiting, and planting vineyards, and not drinking the wine thereof; houses denoting the goods of the church, and vineyards together with wine denoting the truths thereof.

(References: Zephaniah 1:13)


[17] Similar things are meant in Micah:

"Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olive, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil and new wine, but shalt not drink wine" (vi. 15).

In Amos:

"Vineyards of desire shall ye plant, but ye shall not drink the wine of them" (v. 11).

And in Hosea:

"The corn-floor and the wine-press shall not feed them, and the new wine shall deceive them. They shall not make wine-offerings to Jehovah, and they shall not be pleasing unto him" (ix. 2, 4).

By the corn-floor and the wine-press are signified the same as by corn and wine, because in these places they are brought together; that they shall not profit from the things heard, is signified by, they "shall not feed them, and the new wine shall deceive them"; and hence their worship was not accepted, is signified by, "they shall not make wine-offerings to Jehovah, and they shall not be pleasing," namely, the libations, unto Him.

(References: Amos 5:11; Hosea 9:2, 9:4; Micah 6:15)


[18] In Joel:

"Awake ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, which is cut off from your mouth. The field is wasted, the land mourned, for the corn is wasted, the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth; the husbandmen were ashamed; the vinedressers howled" (i. 5, 10, 11).

What is signified by these words, in the spiritual sense, may be seen above (n. 374), where they are explained; and that by wine and new wine is meant the truth of the church, and by vinedressers those who are in truths and teach them; the subject here treated of being the devastated church, in which goods and truths have perished.

(References: Joel 1:5, Joel 1:10-11; The Apocalypse Explained 374)


[19] In Ezekiel:

"Damascus was thy trader by the multitude of thy works, by the multitude of all riches; in the wine of Helbon, and the wool of Zachar" (xxvii. 18).

This is said of Tyre, by which is signified the church as to the knowledges of good and truth; and by Damascus, which was a city of Syria, is signified the scientific part concordant; and by the tradings, which are treated of in that chapter, are signified the acquisition and communication, and also the use, of them. Because Damascus signifies the scientific part concordant, it is therefore said, it was a trader by the multitude of all works and riches; and by works, from which uses are effected, are signified the knowledges of good, and by riches the knowledges of truth; and because the knowledges of truth and good are in the natural man, for therein is everything cognizable, perceptible, and knowable, it is therefore said, in the wine of Helbon, and the wool of Zachar; the wine of Helbon signifying natural truth, and the wool of Zachar natural good.

(References: Ezekiel 27:18)


[20] In Isaiah:

"A curse shall devour the earth. The new wine shall mourn, the vine shall languish, all the merry-hearted shall sigh. They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of emptiness shall be broken; every house shall be shut up, that no man come in" (xxiv. 6, 7, 9, 10).

By these words is described the perversion of the church, which is when falsity rules in the place of truth, whence there is no longer any good, for man has good by means of truths. By the earth which the curse shall devour, is signified the church; the curse denoting the perversion thereof; by the new wine mourning, and the vine languishing, is signified all the truth of the church, to mourn and to languish signifying its deprivation; that there shall no longer be any heavenly delight and blessing, is signified by, all the merry-hearted shall sigh, they shall not drink wine with a song; that they shall turn away from all things which agree with truths, is signified by, strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it, strong drink signifying the things that are from truths and agree with them; but that the doctrine of falsity shall be destroyed, is signified by, the city of emptiness shall be broken, a city denoting doctrine, and emptiness denoting falsity; and that good and wisdom shall be no longer with man, is signified by, every house shall be shut up, that no man come in, which takes place when there is no truth, but falsity only.

(References: Isaiah 24:6-7, 24:9-10)


[21] In Amos:

"Who drink out of bowls of wine, and anoint themselves with the first-fruits of the oils; but they are not grieved for the breaking of Joseph" (vi. 6).

In this, and the preceding part of the chapter, those are described who are in external worship without internal, such as the Jews were formerly, and are at the present day. The bowls of wine, out of which they drink, denote the externals of truth from which is their worship; and the first-fruits of the oils, with which they anoint themselves, denote the externals of good, from which also their worship comes. Joseph signifies the internal of the church, or its spiritual; and their not being affected because it perished, is signified by, they are not grieved for his breaking. (That external worship without internal, is no worship, may be seen, n. 1094, 1175, 7724; that the Jews were formerly and are at the present time in external worship without internal, n. 1200, 3147, 3479, 8871; that Joseph signifies the spiritual church, and hence also the spiritual of the church, n. 3969, 3971, 4669, 6417.)

(References: Amos 6:6; Arcana Coelestia 1094, 1175, 1200, Arcana Coelestia 3147, 3479, Arcana Coelestia 3969, Arcana Coelestia 3971, Arcana Coelestia 4669, Arcana Coelestia 6417, Arcana Coelestia 7724, Arcana Coelestia 8871)


[22] In Zechariah:

"I will render powerful the house of Judah, and I will keep the house of Joseph; hence they shall be as the powerful Ephraim, and their heart shall be glad as if with wine" (x. 6, 7).

By the house of Judah is signified the Lord's celestial church, and by the house of Joseph the Lord's spiritual church; and by rendering powerful their houses, is signified to multiply with them truths from good, for all power is of truth from good; hence it is said, that they shall be as the powerful Ephraim; by Ephraim is signified the understanding of truth from good, [which] is thus called powerful from its multiplication; heavenly delight thence is signified by, their heart shall be glad as if with wine, wine denoting truth from good, from which that delight comes. (That all power belongs to truths from good, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 228-233; and also above, n. 209, 333; that Judah in the Word signifies the Lord's celestial kingdom, in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 3881, 6363; and Ephraim, the Intellectual of the church, n. 3969, 5354, 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267, 6296.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3881, Arcana Coelestia 3969, Arcana Coelestia 5354, Arcana Coelestia 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267, 6296, 6363; Heaven and Hell 228-233; The Apocalypse Explained 209, The Apocalypse Explained 333; Zechariah 10:6-7)


[23] In Daniel:

"Belshazzar king of Babylon, and his princes, and his wives, and his concubines, drank wine out of the vessels of the temple of Jerusalem, and they praised the gods [of gold,] silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone. Therefore there was written on the wall, numbered, weighed, divided. And he* was afterwards driven out from the sons of man, and his dwelling was with the wild asses" (v. 2-5, 21).

In the internal sense the profanation of good and truth is here described, which also Babel or Babylon denotes; for by drinking wine out of the vessels of the temple of Jerusalem, is signified to imbibe the truths of the church from the Word, to drink wine denoting to imbibe truths, and the vessels of the temple of Jerusalem denoting those things that pertain to the doctrine of the church from the Word; and to praise the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone, signifies worship from the love of self and of the world; for by those gods is signified idolatrous worship of every kind, and profanation; that therefore it was written on the wall, numbered, weighed, divided, signifies separation from all things of heaven and the church. That he* was afterwards driven out from the sons of man, and had his dwelling with the wild asses, signifies separated from all truth, and the allotment of his life with the infernals; the sons of man denoting the truths of the church; wild asses denoting those who are in dire falsities, such as are in the hells; and dwelling denoting the lot which is of the life.

(References: Daniel 5:2-5, 5:21, Daniel 5:24-25)


[24] In Joel:

"They have cast lots over my people; for they have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, which they drank" (iii. 3).

By casting lots over the people, is signified to dissipate the truths of the church, to cast lots signifying to dissipate, and the people signifying the church as to truths, thus also the truths of the church; by giving a boy for a harlot, is signified to falsify truth, for a boy denotes the truth of the church, and a harlot denotes falsity; and by selling a girl for wine which they drank, is signified to pervert the good of the church by truth falsified, a girl denoting the good of the church, and wine denoting truth falsified.

(References: Joel 3:3)


[25] Because wine signified the truth of the church which is from good, therefore it was commanded that, with the sacrifices upon the altar, they should also offer a meat-offering and a drink-offering, and the meat-offering was bread, and the drink-offering wine, by which was signified the worship of the Lord from the good of love, and from the truths thence, all worship being from these. (Concerning the drink-offerings and the different portions of wine in them at the different sacrifices, see Exod. xxix. 40, 41; Lev. xxiii. 13, 18; Num. vi. 1-4, 15, 17; xv. 4-7, 10, 24; xxviii. 7-10, 24, 31; xxix. 6, 11, 19, 22, 25, 27, 28, 31, 34, 38, 39; and in addition Gen. xxxv. 14). Hence it is evident what is signified in Joel:

"The meat-offering and the drink-offering is cut off from the house of Jehovah, the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, mourned" (i. 9).

This means, that worship from the good of love, and the truths thence, had perished. Who cannot see that the meat-offering and drink-offering, which were bread and wine, could not be pleasing to Jehovah in worship, unless they had signified such things as pertain to heaven and the church?

(References: Exodus 29:40-41; Genesis 35:14; Joel 1:9; Leviticus 23:13, 23:18; Numbers 6:1-4, 6:15, 6:17, 15:4-7, 15:10, 15:24, 28:7-10, 28:24, 28:31, 29:6, 29:11, 29:16, 29:19, 29:22, 29:25, 29:27-28, 29:31, 29:34, 29:38-39)


[26] From these considerations it is now evident what the bread and wine in the Holy Supper involve, namely, bread the good of love from the Lord to the Lord, and wine the good of faith which in its essence is truth. (But concerning the Holy Supper, and concerning the bread and wine therein, see the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 210-222.)

Because wine signifies the good of faith, which in its essence is truth, therefore, the Lord, when He instituted the sacrament of the Supper, said,

"I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matt. xxvi. 29).

"I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come" (Luke xxii. 18).

By the fruit of the vine, or the wine, which the Lord would drink new with them in His Father's kingdom, or when the kingdom of God should come, is meant that all Divine truth in heaven and the church would then proceed from His Divine Human; therefore He calls it new, and He calls it also the New Testament in His blood (verse 20); for the Lord's blood signifies the same as wine (see above, n. 30, 328, 329). And because, after the Lord rose again, all the Divine proceeds from Him, therefore He says that He will drink it with them when the kingdom of God shall come, and it came when He reduced all things to order in the heavens and in the hells. That the kingdom of God came with the Lord, and is from Him, is evident from

Matt. iii. 2; iv. 17; x. 7; xii. 28; xvi. 28; Mark i. 14, 15; ix. 1; Luke i. 32, 33; ix. 11, 27, 60; x. 11; xvi. 16; xvii. 20, 21; xxiii. 42, 51; John xviii. 36.

Because, now, as bread signifies the good of love, and wine the good of faith, which in its essence is truth from that good, and, in the highest sense, bread the Lord as to the Divine good, and wine the Lord as to the Divine truth; and because there is a correspondence between spiritual things and natural, and there is such a correspondence, so that, when man thinks of bread and wine, the angels think of the good of love and the good of faith; and because all things of heaven and the church have reference to the good of love and the good of faith, therefore, the Holy Supper was instituted by the Lord, that by it there might be a conjunction of the angels of heaven with the men of the church.

(References: John 18:36; Luke 1:32-33, Luke 9:11, 9:27, 9:60, 10:11, Luke 16:16, 17:20-21, 22:18, 22:20, 23:42, 23:51; Mark 1:14-15, 9:1; Matthew 3:2, 4:8, 4:17, Matthew 10:7, 12:28, 16:28, 26:29; The Apocalypse Explained 30, The Apocalypse Explained 328, 329; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 210-222)


[27] Such things being meant by bread and wine in heaven, therefore

"Melchizedek king of Salem" going out to meet Abram, "brought forth bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God." And he blessed Abram (Gen. xiv. 18,19).

By Melchizedek is here represented the Lord as to the Divine good and Divine truth; by him as a priest the Divine good, and by him as a king the Divine truth; therefore he brought forth bread and wine, because by bread is signified the Divine good, and by wine is signified the Divine truth; or, applied to man, by bread is signified the good of love to the Lord, and by wine the good of faith, which is from the reception of Divine truth.

The same is signified by the Lord by wine in the following.

(References: Genesis 14:18-19)


[28] In Matthew:

"They do not put new wine into old bottles; else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out; but they put [new] wine into new bottles, and both are preserved" (ix. 17).

In Luke:

"And no man having drunk old wine straightway desireth new; for he saith the old is better" (v. 39).

Because all comparisons in the Word are from correspondences, so also is this comparison; and by wine is signified truth, by old wine, the truth of the old or Jewish Church; and by bottles are signified those things that contain; by old bottles, the statutes and judgments of the Jewish Church, and by new bottles, the Lord's precepts and commandments. That the statutes and judgments of the Jewish Church, which especially concerned the sacrifices and representative worship, are not in agreement with the truths of the Christian Church, is meant by, "they do not put new wine into old bottles, else the bottles break and the wine runneth out, but they put [new] wine into new bottles, and both are preserved together." That those who were born and educated in the externals of the Jewish Church could not be led immediately into the internals of the Christian Church, is signified by, "no man having drunk old wine straightway desireth new; for be saith the old is better."

(References: Luke 5:37-39, 5:39; Matthew 9:17)


[29] The same is signified by the water turned into wine in Cana of Galilee, concerning which it is thus written in John:

In the marriage in Cana of Galilee, when the wine failed, "there were set there six water-pots of stone, according to the purifying of the Jews. Jesus said, Fill the water-pots, which they filled to the brim. Then he said unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the ruler of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast tasted the water that was made wine, he called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when they have had enough, that which is worse; thou hast kept the good wine until now" (ii. 1-10).

It should be known that all the miracles performed by the Lord, as well as all the miracles of Him recorded in the Old Testament, signified such things as pertain to heaven and the church, that is, that they contained such things within them, and that hence His miracles were Divine (see the Arcana Coelestia, n. 7337, 8364, 9051), this miracle similarly. By a marriage here, as elsewhere in the Word throughout, is signified the church; in Cana of Galilee that amongst the Gentiles; and by water is signified the truth of the external church, such as was the truth of the Jewish Church from the sense of the letter of the Word; and by wine is signified the truth of the internal church, such as is the truth of the Christian Church. Hence the Lord's making the water wine, signifies that He would make the truths of the external church truths of the internal church, by opening the internal things that lay concealed in them. By the six water-pots of stone, set after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, are signified all those things in the Word, and thence in the Jewish Church and its worship, all of which were representative and significative of things Divine in the Lord, and from the Lord, which contained things internal. Therefore also, there were six of stone, set for the purifying of the Jews, the number six signifying all, and being said of truths, stone signifies truth, and the purification of the Jews purification from sins, thus all things of the Jewish Church. For the church regards purification from sins as its all, for in proportion as any one is purified therefrom, in the same proportion he becomes a church. By the ruler of the feast are meant those who are in the knowledges of truth; his saying to the bridegroom, "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have had enough, that which is worse; thou hast kept the good wine until now," signifies that every church commences by truths from good, but afterwards ends in truths not from good, and that still, at the end of the church, truth from good, or genuine truth, is given from the Lord.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 7337, Arcana Coelestia 8364, Arcana Coelestia 9051; John 2:1-10)


[30] Because wine signifies the truth of the church, and oil the good thereof, therefore, the Lord says, in the parable of the man who was wounded by thieves,

That the Samaritan poured oil and wine into his wounds (Luke x. 33, 34).

Here by the man wounded by thieves are meant those who are infested and wounded as to their conscience by evil men, who are robbers; and by the Samaritan are meant the Gentiles, who are in the good of charity; hence by pouring into his wounds oil and wine are signified the spiritual things that heal a man thus injured, oil denoting the good of love and wine the good of faith or truth. What the other particulars signify, namely, that he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and bade them take care of him, may be seen above (n. 375), where they are explained. That wine signifies the truth of the church is evident, not only from the passages adduced, but also from others in the Word (as Isa. i. 21, 22; xxv. 6; xxxvi. 17; Hos. vii. 4, 5, 14; xiv. 5, 7; Amos. ii. 8; Zech. ix. 15, 17; Ps. civ. 15).

(References: Amos 2:8; Hosea 7:4-5, 7:14, Hosea 14:5-7; Isaiah 1:21-22, Isaiah 25:6, Isaiah 36:17; Luke 10:33-34; Psalms 104:14-16, 104:15; The Apocalypse Explained 375; Zechariah 9:15, 9:15-17, 9:17)


[31] Because most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so also has wine, and in that sense it signifies truth falsified, and also falsity, as in the following passages. In Isaiah:

"Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, to the flower of his decaying glory, which is upon the head of the valley of the fat ones confused with wine; the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under the feet; these stray through wine, and through strong drink they wander from the way; the priests and the prophets stray through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they wander from the way through wine, they stray among the seeing, they totter in judgment" (xxviii. 1, 3, 7).

These things are said of those who are insane in spiritual things, because they believe themselves to be intelligent from themselves, and, consequently, glory in it; the state of such is here described by pure correspondences. Those who are insane in spiritual things or in truths, are meant by drunkards, and those who thence believe themselves intelligent, by Ephraim; and the vaunting of their intelligence or erudition thence, by the crown of pride; for those who are in falsities of doctrine, and have confirmed themselves therein, when they are enlightened and see truths in the other life, become, as it were, drunkards. Such the learned become, who have confirmed themselves in falsities, and to confirm oneself in falsities is to do so from oneself and not from the Lord. Hence it is clear what is signified by, "Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim." By "the flower of decaying glory which is on the head of the valley of the fat ones confused with wine," is signified the truth of the church destroyed in its birth from the vaunting of man's own intelligence, which pertains to the natural man separated from the spiritual, who then sees falsity instead of truth. The flower of glory denotes truth in its birth falling or perishing, the head of the valley of the fat ones denotes the intelligence of the natural man; confused with wine denotes those who see falsity instead of truth; "the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under the feet," signifies that that intelligence shall entirely perish; "these stray through wine, and through strong drink they wander from the way," signifies by falsities and by such things as are therefrom; "the priest and the prophet stray through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they wander from the way through wine," signifies that those who ought to be in the doctrine of good and truth are of such a quality, and apart from persons, that their doctrine itself is of such a quality; "they stray among the seeing, they totter in judgment," signifies that they do not see the truths of intelligence. That such things are signified by these words no one can see except from the spiritual sense, without which it could not be known that the crown and the head signify intelligence; that drunkards signify those who are insane in things spiritual; that Ephraim signifies the understanding, here man's own or from himself; that valley signifies the lower things of the mind, which are natural and sensual, and that a priest and prophet signify the doctrine of good and truth.

(References: Isaiah 28:1, 28:3, 28:7)


[32] In the same:

"Pause, wonder, be astonished, and make a cry; they are drunken, and not with wine; they stagger, and not with strong drink. For Jehovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your heads, the seers hath he covered" (xxix. 9, 10).

These things are said of those who can see nothing of truth when they hear and read it from the Word; those who are such are called drunken, not with wine, and they stagger, and not with strong drink; wine signifying specifically the truth of the spiritual, and hence of the rational man, and strong drink the truth of the natural man thence. Because such are meant, it is, therefore, said, Jehovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the spirit of sleep denoting no perception, and the closed eyes denoting no understanding. "The prophets and your heads hath he covered," signifies those who were in the doctrine of truth, and thence wise and intelligent; prophets signifying those who are in the doctrine of truth, and abstractedly the doctrine itself; the heads signifying the wise, and in the abstract wisdom; and the seers signifying the intelligent, and in the abstract intelligence. Wonder at the greatness of their stupidity, is described by, "Pause, wonder, be astonished," and lamentation over them by, "make a cry." Such are those who are in a life of evil, and are at the same time in principles of falsity, however learned they may be supposed to be; for by a life of evil the perception of good is shut out, from which thought has life and light, and by principles of falsity the understanding of truth is shut out, whence they see only from the sensual man, and not at all from the spiritual.

(References: Isaiah 29:9-10)


[33] In the same:

"Dogs obdurate in soul, they know not satiety; the same are the shepherds, they know not to understand; Come, I will take wine, and we will be drunk with strong drink" (lvi. 10-12).

These [words] are said of those who care for nothing but worldly and terrestrial things, by which the internal spiritual man is closed. From having no perception of good and no understanding of truth, they are called dogs obdurate in soul, which know not satiety, that is, who cannot receive good; to know here signifies to be able, and satiety the reception of good, for satiety is predicated of food, by which spiritual nourishment is signified. That neither have they any understanding of truth, is meant by, "the same are the shepherds, they know not to understand"; those being called shepherds who believe themselves able to instruct others, for to feed denotes to instruct; and because such love falsities and things falsified, it is therefore added, "Come, I will take wine, and we will be drunk with strong drink."

(References: Isaiah 56:11-12)


[34] In Jeremiah:

"Thus said Jehovah, God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine. Behold, I fill all the inhabitants of this land, and the kings thereof that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with drunkenness" (xiii. 12, 13).

Here also by wine is signified falsity, and by every bottle which shall be filled with wine is signified the mind [mens] of man, because that is a recipient of truth or falsity, as a bottle is of wine. By the kings thereof that sit upon the throne of David, are signified those who should otherwise be in Divine truths; by the priests, those who should be in Divine goods; by prophets, those who are in doctrine; by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, all who belong to the church; and by the drunkenness with which they shall be filled is signified insanity in spiritual things.

(References: Jeremiah 13:12-13)


[35] In the same:

"I am become as a drunkard, and as a man whom wine hath entered, because of Jehovah, and because of the word of his holiness. For the land is full of adulterers" (xxiii. 9, 10).

This is a lamentation over the adulteration of good, and the falsification of truth in the church, which is signified by the land being full of adulterers; those things are signified by adulteries, and the church, by the land. Insanity in spiritual things through reasonings from evils against Divine goods, and from falsities against Divine truths, is signified by, I am become as a drunkard, and as a man whom wine hath entered, because of Jehovah, and because of the word of His holiness. To become as a drunkard and as a man whom wine hath entered, signifies perturbation of mind, and insanity from reasonings from evils and falsities; because of Jehovah, signifies because of Divine goods, and because of the word of His holiness, signifies because of Divine truths.

(References: Jeremiah 23:9-10)


[36] In Isaiah:

"Hear this, thou afflicted and drunken, but not with wine" (li. 21).

By the drunken but not with wine, are here meant those who are in falsities from ignorance of the truth.

Noah drank of the wine, and was drunken, and hence lay naked in the midst of his tent (Gen. ix. 21).

In the spiritual sense something altogether different is meant from what appears in the sense of the letter; similarly by,

Lot was made drunken by his daughters, and they then lay with him (Gen. xix. 32-34).

What is meant by the drunkenness of Noah, in the spiritual sense, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 1070-1081; and what by the drunkenness of Lot, n. 2465 at the end. By drunkenness also elsewhere in the Word is signified insanity in spiritual things, also falling into errors (as Isa. xix. 11, 12, 14; Jer. xxv. 27; li. 7; Joel i. 5, 6, 7; Lev. x. 8, 9).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1070-1081, Arcana Coelestia 2465, Genesis 9:21, Genesis 19:32-34, Genesis 19:32-35, 19:32-33; Isaiah 19:11-12, 19:14, Isaiah 24:20, Isaiah 51:21; Jeremiah 25:27, Jeremiah 51:7; Joel 1:5-6, Joel 1:5-7, 1:7; Leviticus 10:8-9, 10:9)


[37] That by wine, in an opposite sense, is signified falsity, also appears in Isaiah:

"Woe unto them that rise early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue unto twilight, till wine inflames them. But they regard not the work of Jehovah, and see not the work of his hands. Woe to the wise in their own eyes, and the intelligent before their own faces. Woe unto the heroes to drink wine, and the men of strength to mingle strong drink" (v. 11, 12, 21, 22).

These things are said of those who frame for themselves doctrinals from their own intelligence, and not from the Lord, or out of the Word from Him, whence they are mere falsities; therefore by, "Woe to them who, rising early in the morning, follow strong drink, to them that linger unto twilight, till wine inflames them. But they regard not the work of Jehovah, and see not the work of his hands," are signified the perverted states of those who believe themselves to be enlightened from themselves, whence they are in falsities of doctrine, and care not for the Word, from which they may know goods and truths of life and of doctrine. To rise early in the morning, and continue till twilight, signifies to be enlightened; and to follow strong drink, and to be inflamed with wine, signify to pour forth doctrinals from themselves; not to regard the work of Jehovah, and not to see the work of His hands, signifies not to care for the Word, and the goods of life and truths of doctrine there discovered; the work of Jehovah being said of goods of life, and the work of His hands of the truths of doctrine, both from the Word. Because such persons are meant, therefore, it is said, "Woe to the wise in their own eyes, and the intelligent before their own faces!" and by the wise in their own eyes are signified those who are so from their own intelligence; and by the intelligent before their own faces are signified those who are so from their own affection; the eyes signifying understanding, and the face, affection. And by, "Woe unto the heroes to drink wine, and the men of strength to mingle strong drink," are signified to such as aspire after great things, and are ingenious in confirming the falsities that favour the loves of self and their own principles; heroes denoting those who aspire to great things; men of strength, those who are ingenious, and seem to themselves to be intelligent. To drink wine denotes to imbibe falsities, and to mingle strong drink denotes to confirm them; such are all those who are in the love of self, and who seek after the fame of learning, for such are in their proprium, and cannot be raised above it; therefore their thought is in the corporeal Sensual, to which no truth appears, and by which no spiritual good is perceived; whereas those who are not in the love of self, and who seek intelligence for the sake of the uses of life, are raised by the Lord from the proprium into the light of heaven - they themselves not knowing - and are thereby enlightened.

(References: Isaiah 5:11-12, 5:21-22)


[38] In Hosea:

"Whoredom and new wine have possessed the heart. My people interrogate wood, and their staff answereth them; for the spirit of whoredoms hath seduced them, and they have committed whoredom under their God. Ephraim is joined to idols; their wine hath departed; they commit whoredom continually" (iv. 11, 12, 17, 18).

It is here treated of those who falsify truths, the falsification of truth being signified by whoredom, and the falsity thence by new wine; hence it is evident what is signified by, "whoredom and new wine have possessed the heart; the spirit of whoredoms hath seduced them, they have committed whoredom under their God, and the wine hath departed, they commit whoredom continually," namely, that they falsify Divine truths, and that, consequently, they have not any truth; to commit whoredom under their God, signifies to falsify Divine truths, and the wine hath departed, signifies that, consequently, they have not any truth. By Ephraim being joined to idols, are signified those who are in their own intelligence, and by the idols to which he is joined are signified the falsities of their religion. By, "My people interrogate wood, and their staff answereth them," is signified that they consult their self-love, and cherish it from their own intelligence; for wood, or an idol of wood, which they interrogate signifies self-love, and the staff which answers, signifies power, thus intelligence from the proprium.

(References: Hosea 4:11-12, 4:17-18)


[39] In the Apocalypse:

"Babylon is fallen, is fallen; that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. If any one worship the beast, he shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, mixed pure in the cup of the wrath of God; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone" (xiv. 8-10).

In another place:

"I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (xvii. 1, 2).

And again:

"For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her" (xviii. 3).

By the wine of the wrath of God is signified the falsity of evil, and by the wine of fornication is signified truth falsified; what is meant by the other expressions will be seen in the explanation of them, likewise what by these words in the Apocalypse:

"Babylon the great came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of God's wrath" (xvi. 19).

What is signified by the wine of God's wrath is also signified by the chalice or cup of God's wrath.

(References: Revelation 14:8-10, 16:19, 17:1-2, 18:3)


[40] In Jeremiah:

"Babylon hath been a cup of gold in the hand of Jehovah, making the whole earth drunken; the nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are mad" (li. 7).

And in David:

"There is a cup in the hand of Jehovah, and he hath mixed wine in it; he hath filled it with mixture; and he hath poured it out; but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall suck out and drink" (Ps. lxxv. 8).

Because by the meat-offering and the drink-offering, which were bread and wine, are signified worship from the good of love and the truths of faith, hence in an opposite sense, by the meat- and drink-offering is signified worship from the evils of the love of evil, and from the falsities of faith; this was signified by the meat-offering and drink-offering that were offered to idols and other gods (Isa. lxv. 11; lvii. 6; Jer. vii. 18; xliv. 17-19; Ezek. xx. 28; Deut. xxxii. 38; and elsewhere). From the signification of wine it is evident what is signified in the Word by a vineyard, by a vine, by the branches thereof, and by the grapes; namely, that by a vineyard is signified the spiritual church, or the church that is in the truths and goods of doctrine from the Word; by the vine, the doctrine itself; by its branches the truths from which the doctrine is formed; and by the grapes, which are the fruit of the vineyards and vines, the goods of charity and the goods of faith; but of these it shall be treated elsewhere.

* Nebuchadnezzar.

(References: Daniel 5:24-25; Deuteronomy 32:38; Ezekiel 20:28; Genesis 19:32-35, Genesis 27:25-28, Genesis 49:11-12; Isaiah 57:6, 62:7-9, Isaiah 65:11; Jeremiah 7:18, Jeremiah 44:17-19, Jeremiah 51:7; Joel 1:9-11; Psalms 75:8; Revelation 6:6)


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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 368, 405, 419, 433, 492, 619, 625, 638, 657, 811, 881, 887, 918, 919, 920, 962, 1035, 1049, 1152, 1154

Other New Christian Commentary

Water into Wine 1

Explanation of John 2:1 1

Cana 1

Galilee 1

Milk 1

Wine 1

Bottle 1

Cana of galilee 1

Carmel 1

Flower of glory, and head of the fat valleys 1

Galilee, Cana of 1

Ruler of the feast 1

Sufficiency 1

Strong drink 1

Vine-dressers 1

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 Jesus' First Sign at Cana
Each of the seven "signs" in the Gospel of John reveals something about the Lord. On a deeper level the signs also show the miracles the Lord can do in our lives.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 New Wine
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
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