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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.

   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 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:



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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.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #183

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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183. These things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, signifies the Lord from whom are all the truths of heaven and of the church. This may appear from the fact that it is the Lord who is meant, because it is the Son of man who said these things, as well as those said to the angels of the other churches; and the Son of man is the Lord in respect to the Divine Human (see n. 63, 151). By "the seven spirits of God" all the truths of heaven and of the church are meant, because "the Spirit of God" in the Word signifies Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. "Spirit" is mentioned in many passages in the Word, and "spirit," when used in reference to man, signifies Divine truth received in the life, thus it signifies man's spiritual life; but in reference to the Lord, by "spirit" is meant the Divine that proceeds from Him, which is called by the general term Divine truth. But since few at this day know what is meant by "spirit" in the Word, I will first show by passages from the Word that "spirit," in reference to man, signifies Divine truth received in the life, thus man's spiritual life. But because there are two things that constitute man's spiritual life, namely, the good of love and the truth of faith, in many passages in the Word mention is made of "heart and spirit," and also of "heart and soul;" and by "heart" the good of love is signified, and by "spirit" the truth of faith; the latter is also signified by "soul," for this means in the Word man's spirit.

(References: Revelation 3:1; The Apocalypse Explained 63, The Apocalypse Explained 151)


[2] That "spirit," in reference to man, signifies truth received in the life, is clear from the following passages. In Ezekiel:

Make you a new heart and a new spirit; why will ye die, O house of Israel (Ezekiel 18:31).

In the same:

A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I give in the midst of you (Ezekiel 36:26).

And in David:

Create for me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in the midst of me. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart God doth not despise (Psalms 51:10, 17).

In these passages "heart" signifies the good of love, and "spirit" the truth of faith, from which man has spiritual life; for there are two things that make all of man's life, namely, good and truth; these two when united in man make his spiritual life.

(References: Psalms 51:10-12)


[3] As "heart" signifies good, and "spirit" truth, both received in the life, so "heart," in the contrary sense, signifies evil, and "spirit" falsity; for most expressions in the Word have also a contrary sense. In this sense "heart" and "spirit" are mentioned, in David:

A generation that doth not set its heart aright, neither is its spirit steadfast with God (Psalms 78:8).

And in Ezekiel:

Every heart shall melt, and every spirit shall faint (Ezekiel 21:7).

In Moses:

Jehovah hardened the spirit of the king of Heshbon, and confirmed his heart (Deuteronomy 2:30).

In Isaiah:

Conceive chaff, bring forth stubble; your spirit fire shall devour (Isaiah 33:11).

In Ezekiel:

Woe unto the foolish prophets that go away after their own spirit (Ezekiel 13:3).

In the same:

That which ascendeth upon your spirit shall never come to pass (Ezekiel 20:32).

[4] From this it is clear that the whole of man's life is meant by "heart and spirit;" and as his whole life refers itself to these two, namely, to good and truth, and in a spiritual sense to love and faith, so these two lives of man are meant by "heart and spirit." From this also it is that "heart and spirit" signify the will and the understanding of man; since these two faculties in man make all his life; nowhere else than in these has man life; and for the reason that the will is the receptacle of good and its love, or of evil and its love; and the understanding is the receptacle of truth and 1 its faith, or of falsity and its faith; and as has been said, all things with man refer themselves to good and truth, or to evil and falsity, and in a spiritual sense to love and faith (see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 28-35). In reference to man, "spirit" signifies truth or falsity, and man's life from one or the other; because by "spirit" is meant especially the spirit that is in man and that thinks, and it thinks 2 either from truths or from falsities. But as was said just above, there are two things that make the life of man, understanding and will; the life of the understanding is to think either from truths or from falsities, and the life of the will is to affect or inflame with love those things that the understanding thinks. These two lives of man correspond to the two lives of his body, which are the life of the respiration of the lungs, and the life of the pulse of the heart; it is by this correspondence that spirit and body with man are united (see above, n. 167; and in the work on Heaven and Hell 446-447).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 167)


[5] Because of this correspondence the word that means spirit in the Hebrew, as well as in many other languages, means wind or breath; so also to expire [to breathe out] is expressed by the term "to give up the spirit [breath, or ghost];" and this also in the Word; as in David:

I gathered in 3 their spirit, he expired (Psalms 104:29).

In Ezekiel:

The Lord Jehovih said to the dry bones, Behold I bring spirit into you, that ye may live; and the Lord Jehovih said, From the four winds come, O spirit, and breathe into these slain; and the spirit came into them, and they revived (Ezekiel 37:5, 9-10).

In Revelation:

The two witnesses were slain by the beast that cometh up out of the abyss; but after the three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them, so that they stood upon their feet (Revelation 11:7, 11).

In Luke:

Jesus, taking the hand of the dead girl, called, saying, Maiden, arise. Therefore her spirit came again, and she rose up immediately (Luke 8:54-55).

[6] When these passages are understood it can be seen what "spirit" signifies, when predicated of man, in many places in the Word, of which I will cite only these. In John:

Except one be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the spirit (John 3:5, 8).

The Lord breathed on the disciples, and said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).

And in the book of Genesis:

Jehovah breathed into man's nostrils the breath of lives (Genesis 2:7);

besides other places.

(References: John 20:21-22)


[7] That "spirit," in the spiritual sense, signifies truth, and man's life therefrom, which is intelligence, is clear from the following passages. In John:

The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

In Daniel:

In him was an excellent spirit of knowledge and understanding. I have heard of thee that the spirit of God is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee (Daniel 5:12, 14).

In Moses:

Thou shalt speak to all the wise in heart, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom (Exodus 28:3).

In Luke:

John grew, and waxed strong in spirit (Luke 1:80).

And concerning the Lord:

The child Jesus grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was filled with wisdom (Luke 2:40).

[8] When it is known what "spirit," in reference to man, signifies, it can be known what it signifies when predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, to whom are attributed all things that a man has, as face, eyes, ears, arms, hands, as also heart and soul, and so also a spirit, which in the Word is called "the Spirit of God," "the Spirit of Jehovah," "the Spirit of His nostrils," "the Spirit of His mouth," "the Spirit of truth," "the Spirit of holiness," and "the Holy Spirit." That "spirit" means Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is plain from many passages in the Word. Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is "the Spirit of God," because from it men have all their life; and those who receive that Divine truth in faith and life have heavenly life. That this is "the Spirit of God" the Lord Himself teaches. In John:

The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life (John 6:63).

In Isaiah:

There went forth 4 a shoot out of the stock of Jesse; the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and intelligence, the spirit of counsel and of might (Isaiah 11:1, 2). In the same:

I have given My spirit unto Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the nations (Isaiah 42:1).

In the same:

He shall come like a flood; the spirit of Jehovah shall lift up a standard against Him (Isaiah 59:19).

In the same:

The spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon me, therefore Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor (Isaiah 61:1). In John:

He whom the Father hath sent speaketh the words of God, for not by measure hath God given the spirit (John 3:34).

These things are said of the Lord.

(References: Isaiah 11:1-2; John 16:13-14)


[9] That the Holy Spirit is Divine truth proceeding from the Lord can be seen in John:

I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go away I will send Him unto you. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all truth; He shall not speak from Himself, but He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you (John 16:7, 13, 14).

That "the Comforter (Paraclete)" here is Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is plainly evident, for it is said that the Lord Himself spoke to them the "truth," and that, when He should go away, He would send the Comforter, the "Spirit of truth," who should "guide them into all truth," and that He would "not speak from Himself," but from the Lord. It is said "He shall take of Mine," because Divine truth proceeds from the Lord, and what proceeds is called "Mine;" for the Lord Himself is Divine love; and what proceeds from Him is Divine truth, thus it is His (see in the work on Heaven and Hell 139, 140, and the preceding numbers; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 307). "Being sent" and "sending" mean proceeding and going forth (see Arcana Coelestia., n. 2397, 4710, 6831, 10561); the same is meant here by "I will send Him to you." That "the Comforter" is the Holy Spirit is evident in John:

The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, He shall teach you all things (John 14:26).

(References: Heaven and Hell 139-140; John 16:13-14)


[10] In the same:

Jesus cried with a great voice, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This He saith of the spirit which they that believe on Him were to receive; the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).

It is clear from this that the Holy Spirit is Divine truth, proceeding from the Lord, which flows in with man, both immediately from the Lord Himself and mediately through angels and spirits; for the Lord says first, that "he who believes on Him, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water," and then that "He spake this of the spirit which they were to receive;" for "water" in the spiritual sense, signifies truth, and "rivers of living water," Divine truth from the Lord in abundance; the like is therefore meant by "the spirit which they were to receive." (That "water" signifies truth," and "living water" Divine truth," see above, n. 71.) And as Divine truth proceeds from the glorified Human of the Lord and not immediately from the Divine Itself, for this was glorified in Itself from eternity, so it is here said, "the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified." That to "glorify" is to make Divine, and that the Lord fully glorified His Human, that is, made it Divine by His last temptation and victory on the cross, see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 293-295, 300-306).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 71)


[11] It is greatly wondered at in heaven that the man of the church does not know that the Holy Spirit, which is Divine truth, proceeds from the Lord's Human, and not immediately from His Divine, when yet the doctrine received in the whole Christian world teaches that:

As is the Father so also is the Son, uncreate, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, God, Lord; neither of them first or last, nor greatest or least. Christ is God and man: God from the nature of the Father, and man from the nature of the mother; but although He is God and man, yet they are not two, but one Christ; He is one, but not by changing the Divine into the Human but the Divine took the Human to Itself. He is altogether one, not by a mingling of two natures, but He is a single person, because as body and soul are one man, so God and man is one Christ. (This from the Creed of Athanasius).

Now as the Divine and the Human of the Lord are not two, but a single person, and are united as soul and body, it may be known that the Divine which is called the Holy Spirit goes out and proceeds from His Divine through the Human, thus from the Divine Human; for nothing whatever can go forth from the body except from the soul through the body, since all the life of the body is from its soul. And since "As is the Father so is the Son, uncreate, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, God and Lord, and neither of them is first or last, nor greatest nor least," it follows that the proceeding Divine, which is called the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Divine Itself of the Lord through His Human, and not from another Divine that is called the Father; for the Lord teaches that the Father and He are one, and that the Father is in Him and He in the Father (see below, n. 200. But the reason why most of those in the Christian world think otherwise in their hearts, and thence believe otherwise, is, the angels said, because they think of the Lord's Human as separate from His Divine, although this is contrary to the doctrine which teaches that the Divine and the Human of the Lord are not two persons, but a single person, united as soul and body. That this should be the doctrine of the whole Christian world was provided by the Lord, because it is the essential of the church, and the essential of the salvation of all. But they have divided the Divine and the Human of the Lord into two natures, and have said that the Lord is God from the nature of the Father, and man from the nature of the mother, because they do not know that when the Lord fully glorified His Human He put off the human from the mother, and put on a Human from the Father (according to what is shown in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 295. That this distinction was made in a certain council by those who were there, for the pope's sake, that he might be acknowledged as the Lord's vicar, see Arcana Coelestia 4738).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 200)


[12] That the "Spirit of God" is Divine truth, and thence spiritual life to the man who receives it, is further evident from these passages. In Micah:

I am full of power with the spirit of Jehovah and of judgment (Micah 3:8).

And in Isaiah:

I will pour out waters upon him that is thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground, and My spirit upon thy seed (Isaiah 44:3).

In that day shall Jehovah Zebaoth be for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for might to them (Isaiah 28:5-6.

In Ezekiel:

And ye shall know that I will put my spirit in you that ye may live (Ezekiel 37:14).

In Joel:

I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and upon the menservants and upon the maidservants (Joel 2:28).

In Revelation:

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).

Since the "Spirit of God" signifies Divine truth, it is called:

The spirit of the mouth of Jehovah (Psalms 33:6);

The spirit of His lips (Isaiah 11:4);

The breath of God and the spirit of His nostrils (Lamentations 4:20; Psalms 18:16; Job 4:9).

In Matthew:

John said, I baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that cometh after me, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11).

In the spiritual sense, "to baptize" signifies to regenerate; the "Holy Spirit" is Divine truth, and "fire" Divine good. (That to "baptize" signifies to regenerate, see above, n. 71; and that "fire" signifies the good of love, n. 68)

(References: Acts of the Apostles 4:9; Ezekiel 37:13-14; Joel 2:28-29; Psalms 18:15; The Apocalypse Explained 68, The Apocalypse Explained 71)


[13] From this it can now be seen what is meant by the words of the Lord to His disciples:

Go ye, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

Here "the Father" is the Divine Itself, "the Son" is the Divine Human, and "the Holy Spirit" is the proceeding Divine which is Divine truth; thus there is one Divine, and yet there is a trine. That this is so the Lord teaches in John:

Henceforth ye know the Father, and have seen Him. He that seeth Me seeth the Father. I am in the Father, and the Father in Me (John 14:7, 9-10).

[14] Since the proceeding Divine, which is Divine truth, flows in with men immediately, as well as mediately through angels and spirits, it is believed that the Holy Spirit is a third person, distinct from the two called Father and Son. But I can affirm that no one in heaven knows any other Holy Divine than the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. And since Divine truth is also communicated to men mediately through angels, it is said in David:

Jehovah God maketh His angels spirits (Psalms 104:1, 4).

These passages have been cited that it may be known that "the seven spirits" signify all the truths of heaven and of the church from the Lord. It is made still more manifest that "the seven spirits" are all the truths of heaven and of the church, from these passages in Revelation:

The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne are the seven spirits of God (Revelation 4:5).

And further:

In the midst of the elders a Lamb standing, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (Revelation 5:6).

It is plain that the spirits here are not spirits, from the fact that the "lamps" and the "eyes of the Lamb" are called spirits. "Lamps" signify Divine truths, and "eyes" the understanding of truth; and when predicated of the Lord, His Divine wisdom and intelligence (see above, n. 152.

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Footnotes:

1. The Latin has "or," but the context requires "and."

2. The Latin for "thinks either" has "either thinks either."

3. For "I gathered in" the Hebrew has "thou gatherest in. "

4. For "there went forth," the Hebrew has, "There shall go forth," as found in Arcana Coelestia 2826 Arcana Coelestia 2826[1-14], 9818; Apocalypse Revealed 46, 962.

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(References: Ezekiel 37:13-14; Joel 2:28-29; John 20:21-22; Psalms 51:10-12; Revelation 3:1; The Apocalypse Explained 152)

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References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 181, 204, 230, 274, 318, 343, 665, 684, 831, 922


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