The Bible

 

Matthew 3:1-12 : John the Baptist (Gospel of 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 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 #374

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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374. Verse 6. A measure of wheat for a denarius, and three measures of barley for a denarius, signifies that the genuine good of the church, as also the genuine truth of the church, is of no account to them. This is evident from the signification of "measure" [choenix] (which was the Greek measure for wheat and barley), as being the quality of estimation, for "measures" in the Word (as was said in the article above), signify the quality of a thing in respect to good and in respect to truth. It is evident also from the signification of "wheat," as being the good of the church in general (of which presently); also from the signification of "barley," as being the truth of that good (of which presently); and from the signification of "a denarius," the standard of estimation, as being as of no account. Because this was the smallest coin, it signifies the least worth, but here as of no account. The reason for this is that "the red horse" (mentioned above), signifies the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to good, and "the black horse" the understanding of the Word destroyed in respect to truth (see above, n. 364, 372); and when the understanding of the Word in respect to good and in respect to truth has been destroyed, then the genuine good and the genuine truth of the church are estimated as of no account. The "denarius" is here taken as the standard of estimation, because some piece of money must be taken that some price may be expressed in the sense of the letter, since it is said that "a balance was in the hand of him that sat upon the horse," and that "the wheat and the barley were measured;" consequently the smallest coin of all was taken as the standard of the estimation of the price; and as there was no longer any understanding of the Word in respect to good and in respect to truth, a "denarius" in the spiritual sense here signifies as of no account.

(References: Revelation 6:6; The Apocalypse Explained 364, 372)


[2] It is said, "a measure of wheat and three measures of barley," because "one" is predicated of good, and "three" of truths; and "one," when predicated of good, signifies what is perfect, thus also what is genuine; and "three," when predicated of truths, signifies what is full, thus also what is genuine; consequently "a measure of wheat and three measures of barley" signify the genuine good and the genuine truth of the church. "Wheat" signifies good, and "barley" its truth, because all things belonging to the field signify the things that belong to the church; and things belonging to the field, as crops of various kinds, serve for food; and things for food and for the nourishment of the body signify in the spiritual sense such things as nourish the soul or mind, all of which have relation to the good of love and the truth of faith; thus especially wheat and barley, because bread is made from them. (That foods of every kind signify spiritual food, thus the things of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, consequently the good and truth from which these are, see Arcana Coelestia 3114, 4459, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5410, 5426, 5576, 5582, 5588, 5655, 5 9 5915, 8408, 8562, 9003. Of "bread" in general, see the work on The New Jerusalem, n. 218; that "field" signifies the church, seeArcana Coelestia 2971, 3766, 9139.)

That "wheat" and "barley" have such a signification is from correspondence, as is evident from the things that appear in the spiritual world, where all appearances are correspondences. There plains, fields, crops of various kinds, and also bread appear; from this is the knowledge that they are correspondences, and consequently that they have significations according to correspondences.

[3] That "wheat" and "barley" signify the good and truth of the church, "wheat" its good, and "barley" its truth, can be seen also from the passages in the Word where they are mentioned, as from the following. In Jeremiah:

Jehovah, who hath dispersed Israel, will bring him together and will keep him as a shepherd doth his drove; for Jehovah hath ransomed Jacob, and hath redeemed him out of the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore shall they come and sing aloud in the height of Zion, and shall flow together unto the good of Jehovah, to the wheat, to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the sons of the flock, and of the herd; and their soul shall become as a watered garden (Jeremiah 31:10-12).

This treats of the establishment of a new church; "Israel" and "Jacob" signify that church, "Israel" the internal spiritual church, and "Jacob" the external; for every church is internal and external. Its establishment is described by "Jehovah will bring him together and will keep him as a shepherd doth his drove, for He hath ransomed Jacob, and hath redeemed him out of the hand of him that was stronger than he;" "to redeem" signifies to reform (see above, n. 328; "out of the hand of him that was stronger than he" signifies out of evil and falsity, which before had possession; the internal joy or joy of heart arising from celestial good and truths therefrom that such have, is signified by "therefore shall they come and sing aloud in the height of Zion, and shall flow together unto the good of Jehovah, to the wheat, to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the sons of the flock and of the herd," "to sing in the height of Zion" signifying internal celestial joy, or such as is in the Lord's celestial kingdom, "to sing aloud" meaning that joy (see above, n. 326, "height" what is internal, and "Zion" the celestial kingdom; "wheat" signifies the good of the natural man, "new wine" its truth; "oil" the good of the spiritual man, "the sons of the flock" spiritual truths, and "the sons of the herd" natural truths; because these are what are signified they are called "the good of Jehovah." That such have intelligence and wisdom from this source is signified by "their soul shall become as a watered garden," for "garden" in the Word signifies intelligence, and "watered" continual growth. "Wheat," "new wine," "oil," "the sons of a flock and of the herd," are plainly not here meant, for it is said, "Jehovah hath ransomed Jacob, and their soul shall become as a watered garden. "

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 326, 328)


[4] In Joel:

The field was devastated, the ground mourned; for the corn was devastated, the new wine was dried up, the oil languished. The husbandmen were ashamed, the vine-dressers howled for the wheat and for the barley, because the harvest of the field hath perished (Joel 1:10, 11).

This is not said of a field and its barrenness, but of the church and its vastation; therefore "field," "ground," "corn," "new wine," and "oil" do not mean these things themselves, but "field" and "ground" mean the church, "field" the church in relation to the reception and bringing forth of truth and good, and "ground" the church in respect to the nation that is in it; "corn" means good of every kind in the external man; "new wine" the truth also therein; "oil" the good in the internal man; "the husbandmen that were ashamed," and "the vine-dressers that howled for the wheat and for the barley" signify those who are of the church, "wheat" and "barley" signifying the good and truth of the church; and "the harvest of the field that thus perished" signifying all worship from good and truth.

(References: Joel 1:10-12, Joel 1:10-11)


[5] In Jeremiah:

Upon all the heights in the wilderness the devastators have come; because the sword of Jehovah devoureth from the end of the land even to the end of the land; no flesh hath peace. They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns (Jeremiah 12:12-13).

This, too is said of the church and its vastation; "the heights in the wilderness upon which the devastators have come" signify that every good of charity has perished through evils and falsities, "heights" in the Word signifying where there is the good of charity, and in an abstract sense that good itself, "wilderness" signifies where there is no good because no truth, and "devastators" signify the evils and falsities through which good and truth perish; "the sword of Jehovah devoureth from the end of the land even to the end of the land" signifies falsity destroying all things of the church, "the sword devouring" meaning falsity destroying, and "from the end of the land even to the end of the land" signifying all things of the church; "no flesh hath peace" signifies that there is no longer internal rest, because of the dominion of evil and falsity; "they have sown wheat and have reaped thorns" signifies that instead of the goods of truth there are the evils of falsity, "wheat" meaning the goods of truth, and "thorns" the evils of falsity.

[6] In the same:

Ishmael, who was of the seed of the kingdom, slew Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed over the land, and all the Jews who were with him, and the Chaldeans, also the men from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria; but ten men were found among them who said unto Ishmael, Put us not to death, for we have things hid in the field, wheat and barley, and oil and honey. So he forbare, and put them not to death (Jeremiah 41:1-8).

These historical statements describe, in the internal sense, the damnation of those who profane holy things; for "Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon appointed over the land," and "the Jews who were with him," and "the Chaldeans," and "the men from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria," mean those who profane, and in the abstract sense, profanations of every kind, "the king of Babylon" signifying the profanation of good and truth. Their damnation is signified by their being put to death, for "to be put to death" signifies to be slain spiritually (see n. 315; but "the ten men who said to Ishmael, put us not to death for we have things hid in the field, wheat and barley, and oil and honey," mean those who have not profaned the holy things of the church, because inwardly they have good and truth; for those who profane have nothing of good and truth inwardly, but only outwardly when they speak and preach, while those who do not profane have good and truth inwardly; this is meant by their saying that "they have things hid in the field, wheat, barley, oil, and honey," "wheat and barley" signifying the goods and truths of the external man, "oil" the good of the internal man, and "honey" the delight thereof; "ten men" signify all who are such, "ten" signifying all persons and all things; that "he forbare and put them not to death" signifies that they were not profane, thus not damned; "Ishmael" represents those who are in the genuine truths of the church, which is also signified by "the seed of the kingdom," of which he was. Such are the things involved in this history, the histories in the Word equally with the prophecies having an internal sense.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 315)


[7] In Moses:

Jehovah thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths going forth in valley and mountain; a land of wheat and barley, and of vine, and fig-tree, and pomegranate; a land of oil olive and honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8

In the sense of the letter this is a description of the land of Canaan, but in the spiritual sense the Lord's church is described, since this is meant in that sense by "the land of Canaan;" and all kinds of good and truth pertaining to the church are enumerated. The land is called "a land of brooks of water," because "brooks of water" signify the doctrinals of truth; "fountains and depths going forth in valley and mountain" signify interior and exterior truths from the Word, "fountains," interior truths therefrom, and "depths" exterior truths. The latter are said to go forth "out of the valley," because "a valley" signifies what is lower and exterior, where such truths are; and the former are said "to go forth out of the mountain," because a "mountain" signifies what is higher and interior, where truths of that kind are; "a land of wheat and barley, and of vine and fig-tree, and pomegranate," signifies the church in respect to good and truth of every kind, "wheat and barley" signifying good and truth from a celestial origin, "vine and fig-tree" good and truth from a spiritual origin, and "pomegranate" knowledges of good and truth; and "a land of oil olive and honey" signifies the church in respect to the good of love and its enjoyment. One who does not know the spiritual sense of the Word believes no otherwise than that this merely describes the land of Canaan; but in that case the Word would be merely natural, and not spiritual, and yet the Word everywhere is in its bosom spiritual, and it is spiritual when by these words are understood the spiritual things they signify, namely, goods and truths of every kind. (But what "brooks," "fountains," "depths," "valley," "mountain," "vine," "fig-tree," "pomegranate," "olive," "oil" and "honey" signify is shown in Arcana Coelestia, all of which would be too extended to cite here; but many of these things have been shown and will be shown in this explanation of Revelation, and these may be consulted in their places.)

[8] In Job:

If I have eaten the strength (of the earth) without silver, and have made the soul of its [masters] to expire, let the thorn come forth instead of wheat, and the wild vine instead of barley (Job 31:39-40).

"To eat the strength of the earth without silver" signifies to appropriate to oneself the good of the church without the truth, "earth" meaning the church, and "silver" truth; and "to make the soul of its [masters] to expire" signifies thus to empty out the spiritual life; "let the thorn come forth instead of wheat, and the wild vine instead of barley" signifies that evil will be held for good, and falsity for truth, "wheat" meaning good, "thorn" evil, "barley" truth, and "wild vine" falsity; for good can be acquired only by means of truths.

[9] In Isaiah:

I have heard a consummation and decision from the Lord Jehovih of Hosts upon the whole earth. Will the ploughman plough all day for sowing? will he open and harrow his ground? when he hath made plain the faces thereof doth he not scatter the fennel? and doth he not put in the measured wheat and the appointed barley and the appointed spelt? Thus doth he chasten him for judgment, his God doth instruct him (Isaiah 28:22, 24-26).

This in the spiritual sense describes the total destruction of the church with the Jewish and Israelitish nation, and teaches that it is of no avail to learn and know the Word except for the purpose of applying its good and truth to the use of life; from this source and no other is intelligence from the Lord. That the church with that nation was wholly destroyed is meant by "I have heard a consummation and decision from the Lord Jehovih of Hosts upon the whole earth," "consummation and decision" meaning the complete destruction, and "the whole earth," the whole church, that is, every thing of it; that it is of no avail to learn and know the Word is signified by "will the ploughman plough all day for sowing? Will he open and harrow his ground?" "to plough for sowing" meaning to learn, and "to harrow the ground" meaning to deposit in the memory. That the good and truth of the Word should be applied to the use of life is signified by "when he hath made plain the faces thereof, doth he not scatter the fennel, and put in the measured wheat and the appointed barley and the appointed spelt?" "When he hath made plain the faces of the ground he scattereth the fennel" signifies when there is preparation by the Word; "the measured wheat and the appointed barley and the appointed spelt" signify the application of good and truth to the use of life, "wheat" meaning good, "barley" truth, and "spelt" knowledges; and that from this source and no other is intelligence from the Lord is signified by "thus doth he chasten for judgment, his God doth instruct him," "judgment" signifying intelligence, and "his God doth instruct him" signifying that it is from the Lord.

[10] In Moses:

Jehovah made him ride upon the high places of the earth, and fed him with the increase of the fields; He made him to suck honey out of the cliff, and oil out of the flint of the rock; butter of the herd and milk of the flock, with the fat of lambs, and of rams, the sons of Bashan, and of he-goats, with the fat of the kidneys of wheat; and thou drinkest the blood of grapes, unmixed wine (Deuteronomy 32:13-14).

This is said of the Ancient Church established by the Lord after the flood, which was in intelligence and wisdom, because it was in the good of charity and in the faith therefrom. This intelligence and wisdom from the Lord is signified by "Jehovah made him to ride upon the high places of the earth, and fed him with the increase of the fields;" the celestial and spiritual goods that they received through truths are described by "He made him to suck honey out of the cliff, and oil out of the flint of the rock; butter of the herd and milk of the flock, with the fat of lambs, and of rams, the sons of Bashan, and of he-goats, with the fat of the kidneys of wheat; and thou drinkest the blood of grapes, unmixed wine," "wheat" signifying here in a general sense all good, and "blood of grapes" and "unmixed wine" all truth therefrom.

[11] In David:

O that My people would hearken unto Me, and Israel would walk in My ways! I would feed 1 them with the fat of wheat; and with honey out of the rock I would satisfy them (Psalms 81:13, 16).

"Fat of wheat," and "honey out of the rock with which they would be fed and satisfied" signify good of every kind from celestial good and enjoyment thereof from the Lord; for "fat" signifies celestial good, "wheat" good of every kind, "honey" the enjoyment of good, and "rock" the Lord. That those who live according to the Lord's commandments will possess these things is meant by "O that My people would hearken unto me, and Israel would walk in My ways!" "Ways" in the Word signifying truths and also commandments, and "to walk" signifying to live.

[12] In the same:

Celebrate Jehovah, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion. For He strengtheneth the bars of thy gates, He blesseth thy sons in the midst of thee. He maketh thy border peace, and satisfieth thee with the fat of wheat (Psalms 147:12-14).

"Jerusalem" and "Zion" mean the church; "Jerusalem" the church in respect to the truths of doctrine, and "Zion" the church in respect to the goods of love; "He maketh thy border peace" signifies all things of heaven and the church, for "border" signifies all these things; "He satisfieth thee with the fat of wheat" signifies with every good of love and with wisdom, "fat" signifying the good of love, and "wheat" all things from it, which are goods because they are from good; these things being signified, it is said, "the fat of wheat."

[13] In Hosea:

Jehovah said to the prophet, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her companion, and an adulteress, even as the love of Jehovah to the sons of Israel, who regard other gods, and love flagons of grapes. And I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley (Hosea 3:1-2).

This represented what the Jewish and Israelitish church was in respect to doctrine and worship, namely that by vain traditions it had falsified all things of the Word, though worshiping it as holy; "a woman beloved of her companion, and an adulteress whom the prophet should love" signifies such a church, "a woman" signifying the church, and "beloved of her companion and an adulteress" the falsification of truth and the adulteration of good; "even as the love of Jehovah to the sons of Israel, who regard other gods" signifies the falsities of doctrine and the evils of worship; these are signified by "regarding other gods;" "loving flagons of grapes" signifies the Word in the sense of the letter alone, for "wine" signifies the truths of doctrine from the Word, "grapes" its goods from which are truths, and "a flagon" signifies that which contains, thus the ultimate sense of the Word, which is the sense of the letter, and which they apply to their falsities and evils. "He bought her to him for fifteen pieces of silver" signifies for a small price, "fifteen" meaning very little; "a homer of barley" and "half a homer of barley" signifying so little of good and truths as to be scarcely any.

[14] In Matthew:

John said of Jesus, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor; and will gather the wheat into the garner; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:11-12).

"To baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire" signifies to reform the church and to regenerate the man of the church by means of Divine truth and Divine good; "to baptize" signifying to reform and to regenerate, "the Holy Spirit" Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and "fire" the Divine good of His Divine love. "The wheat that He will gather into the garner" signifies good of every kind that is of heavenly origin, which He is to preserve to eternity, thus those who are in good; and "the chaff that He will burn with unquenchable fire" signifies falsity of every kind that is of infernal origin, which He is to destroy, thus those who are in falsity; and because "wheat," "garner," and "chaff" are mentioned, "fan" and "floor" are also mentioned, "fan" signifying separation, and "floor" signifying where separation is effected.

[15] In the same:

Jesus said, The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a man that sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares, and went away. But when the blade sprang up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. And the servants of the householder coming said unto him, Lord, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? Then he said unto them, A man, an enemy hath done this. But the servants said, wilt thou then that we going out gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up at the same time the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the season of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn (Matthew 13:24-30).

What these words involve is very clear from the spiritual sense, for the particulars here are correspondences. For when the Lord was in the world, He spoke by pure correspondences, because He spoke from the Divine. Here the Last Judgment is treated of when there must be a separation of the good from the evil, and the good are to come into heaven, and the evil into hell. "The good seed in the field that the man sowed" signifies the truths of the church that are from good, "field" signifying the church where these are, and "sowing" signifying influx and reception, thus also instruction; "the man who sowed" means the Lord through the Word, in which are all the truths of the church; "while men slept his enemy came and sowed tares, and went away," signifies that with natural men the falsities of evil flow in from hell, and are received; for "to sleep" signifies to live a natural life separated from the spiritual life (see above 187), and "enemy" signifies hell, and "tares" signify the evils of falsity. What the remainder to the end signifies, can be seen from what is presented in the small work on The Last Judgment 70); for it involves arcana that are there explained; here it need only be said that "wheat" signifies the good of truth, and therefore those who are in good through truths; and that "tares" signify the evil of falsity, and therefore those who are in evil through falsities. That these things are said of the Last Judgment is evident from what follows in the same chapter, where it is said:

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the seed are the sons of the kingdom; the tares are the sons of the evil one; the enemy is the devil; the harvest is the consummation of the age (Matthew 13:37-39).

"The consummation of the age" is the last time of the church when judgment takes place. From these passages quoted from the Word it can be seen that "wheat" signifies the good of the church in general, and "barley" its truth.

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Footnotes:

1. In AC 6377 we read "He would feed."

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(References: Joel 1:10-12; Matthew 13:38-39; The Apocalypse Explained 187)

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Apocalypse Explained 368, 375, 376, 403, 405, 411, 619, 625, 657, 1153


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