The Bible

 

Matthew 6:24-34 : Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

     

Study the Inner Meaning

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1, 1749, 1839, 2357, 3069, 3875, 5449, ...

Divine Providence 18, 233

Doctrine of Life 28

Heaven and Hell 64, 281

True Christian Religion 383, 416, 536

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 144


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 193, 683, 750, 847, 902, 1193

Charity 156

Spiritual Experiences 252, 1312

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 15:24, 16:19

Joshua 24:14

1 Kings 3:13, 17:4, 9, 18:21

2 Kings 17:33

2 Chronicles 29:3, 31:21

Job 7:1, 12:7

Psalms 145:15, 147:9

Song of Solomon 2:1

Zephaniah 1:5

Haggai 2:19

Malachi 3:10

Word/Phrase Explanations

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

serve
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

hate
If you truly hate someone, that means you would kill them and destroy their reputation if you could do so without repercussion – not a...

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...

love
To some degree, there really is no spiritual meaning to the word “love” in the Bible. Why? Because if you truly love another, that is...

Hold
'A hold,' 'a den,' or 'dungeon,' as mentioned in Revelation 18:2, signifies hell, because people who are there are in confinement.

despise
We tend to think of "despising" something or someone as just a strong way of expressing dislike, but there is a further shade of meaning...

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...

mammon
"Mammon" is an ancient word that means "wealth" or "riches," and is used in the Bible in a negative way, denoting worldly wealth as opposed...

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...

thought
Those who are 'anxious' are not content with their own lot, and do not trust the Divine, but only themselves. They only look to worldly...

life
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...

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

drink
Food in the Bible represents the desire for good, and water and other drinks represent the understanding and true ideas we need to recognize what...

Body
The body (Matt. 6:22), signifies the man (homo). "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree" (Deut. 21:23), signifies lest it should be...

Put on
'To put on' is communication and imbuement.

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

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...

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

Sow
'To sow,' as in Isaiah 28:24, signifies learning. 'To sow beside all waters,' as in Isaiah 32:20, relates to people who allow themselves to be...

Reap
'To reap' signifies executing judgment. 'Reaping' denotes the reception of truth in good.

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...

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...

much
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...

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

Grow
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

Solomon
Solomon was permitted to institute idolatrous worship to provide an image of the Lord's kingdom or the church in all the religions of the whole...

Glory
Glory, wisdom, and thanksgiving signify the Lord's divine spiritual principle. Honor, virtue and might signify his divine celestial principle, as in Revelation 7:12.

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

Oven
'An oven,' as in Malachi 4:1, signifies hell, where the people live who confirm themselves in false doctrines and evils of life from earthly and...

faith
It's interesting to note that despite the prominent place of faith in mainstream Christian belief systems, the word itself appears exactly twice in the King...

seek
The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

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...

righteousness
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

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.


 Analyzing the Lord's Prayer
Look at the Prayer to see which parts are statements and which are requests. 
Activity | Ages over 11

 Blessings: Life Is Eternal
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Blessings: The Word of God
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Border for the Lord's Prayer Calligraphy
Color the border around this calligraphy of the Lord's Prayer.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Clothes That Angels Wear
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Conversation with God
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Dare to Give
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Divine Providence and Tragedy
The Lord respects our freedom because He loves us. He respects it so much that He allows us to get into trouble, and then as far as we are willing, He brings us new strength out of our troubles
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Do Not Worry
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 Earthly vs. Heavenly Treasures
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 For Reflection: Treasure of the Heart
How can we gather spiritual treasure and bring forth good?
Activity | Ages over 15

 Give Us This Day
Project | Ages up to 6

 Golden Rule and Prayer Crossword Puzzle
Crossword puzzle about the Golden Rule and the Lord's Prayer.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Heavenly Clothing
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 His Kingdom
Article | Ages over 18

 Identify and Name False Gods
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Infinite Meaning in the Lord's Prayer
Think of ways that you can become more “connected” with the Lord and the people around you.
Activity | Ages over 15

 Kingdom of God
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Looking More Closely at Flowers
Ways to help children appreciate the beauty of flowers the Lord has created. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Lord's Prayer Book
Illustrate your own book about the Lord's Prayer, following the suggestions given below each phrase of the prayer.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Lord's Prayer in Folding Hands
Put the text of the Lord's Prayer in hands that can be folded in prayer.
Project | Ages up to 10

 Make a Border for the Lord's Prayer Calligraphy
Make your own border for the Lord's Prayer.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Make a Mural of the Lord's Prayer
Make a mural with a section depicting each portion of the Lord's prayer. Then illustrate what each part means to you.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Memory Verse: Our Daily Bread
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: The Lord Protects Us
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Trusting in the Lord
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 No Other Gods
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Our Father, Who Art in Heaven
How, then, should we pray, and what should we ask for from the Lord? One of His disciples asked the Lord this while He was on earth.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Quotes: Holy Is His Name
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Praying to the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Trusting in the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Relationship With God
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Seek First the Kingdom of God
The most important thing for us to do is to think about the Lord and try to obey what He says.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Simplicity
In order for us to receive the Lord's words, we must be simple - simple in the sense of being single-minded, looking to one source of truth, and in having our internal and external thoughts agree. 
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Spiritual Treasure
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Taking Care for the Morrow
We must work and plan for the future but trust that the Lord has the ability and the desire to lead us to heavenly happiness. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Glory of the Lord
We can know and love the Lord in His glorified human even better than the disciples did.
Article | Ages over 18

 The Life Which Lasts Forever
Death is a new beginning. We continue to be the same people. We meet up with people we know. And husbands and wives who had been separated by death are reunited. This is a beautiful picture, and it can provide tremendous reassurance.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father
Make a picture of the Lord who is our Father in heaven, always looking out for us. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 1)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 2)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord's Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is a way of talking directly to the Lord who is our Heavenly Father. The Lord gave us this prayer because it can lead our minds to the important things that will make our spirits grow strong. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 1, for ages 6-7.
Religion Lesson | Ages 6 - 7

 The Lord's Prayer
The Lord's prayer in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

 The Lord’s Prayer
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord’s Prayer
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord's Prayer Calligraphy with Violet Border
The Lord's Prayer with a lovely border of violets around it.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 The Second Coming
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Sermon on Mount: Do Not Worry
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sermon on Mount: How to Pray
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sermon on the Mount
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

 The Sermon on the Mount (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer
Activity | Ages over 15

 Thy Kingdom Come
Activity | Ages over 15

 Treasures in Heaven
What would you put in a treasure box for life here on earth? What would you put in a treasure box for heaven?
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Treasures in Heaven, Treasures on Earth
On one chest, write what you would put in a treasure box for life here on earth. In the other treasure chest, write what you would want to pack in a treasure box for heaven.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Trusting in the Lord's Providence Bookmarks
Print out these beautiful bookmarks with quotes about trusting in the Lord. 
Project | Ages over 15

 Understanding the Meaning of the Lord's Prayer
This is an overview of the deeper meaning of the prayer.
Activity | Ages over 11

 Vain Repetitions
Activity | Ages over 15

 Why Did God Create Me?
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

Commentary

 

Worrying About the Future      

By Rev. Brian W. Keith

A little boy, hands clasped tightly and eye squinched shut, says his prayers.

Consider the simple faith expressed in this psalm to the Lord. A confidence that evil will be punished and that good will always prevail. The future is bright. There is no need to worry.

We might assume that the author was an idealistic youth - one who has never experienced pain or disappointment. Yet this psalm did not come from any naive child. It was written by a very old man, a man who had known incredible hardships. It is a psalm of David.

Think of David. Although from a shepherd he became king, he also knew hardship. As a youth he had to flee for his life from the jealous Saul. He felt the grief over being responsible for the death of his infant son. Later, as king, he saw his children rape and kill one another. He was forced to flee Jerusalem for his life, because his own son Absalom had rebelled. Then he regained his throne at the cost of his beloved Absalom's life.

David experienced intense pain. Yet he could advise us not to worry about those who do evil. All we need do is trust in the Lord and do good. Indeed, he claims that those who commit their way to the Lord will have everything they need, even if it be but a little in comparison with those who are evil. There is nothing in the future to fear. The good will be rewarded for their efforts.

Comparing this psalm with David's life, we may think that he had an unrealistic view of providence. But consider a similar teaching from the doctrines of the New Church: "When the Lord is present with someone, he leads him, and provides that all things which happen, whether sad or joyful, befall him for good; this is the Divine providence" (Arcana Coelestia 6303). Whatever happens - being promoted or fired, realizing our dreams or having them dashed - all result in good!

A difficult idea to accept - in large part because it seems like the Lord thereby is just manipulating us, causing evil to come into our lives.

But such is not the case. The Lord would never make anything bad happen. And He would prefer that we never suffer any pain. His providence is a gentle leading which causes good things to happen, and tolerates evil things. However He permits us to hurt ourselves and He allows others to cause us pain. Not as punishment, but as the result of free choices by individuals and groups.

One of the greatest stumbling blocks to sensing mercy in His providence is that when we feel pain or worry about serious problems we think that is all there is in life. We cannot see beyond the suffering, the hurt. But while we are occupied with worry, the Lord is already looking ahead - to what can come from the experience, to how He can lead us to grow in spite of the difficulty. For the Lord's view is eternal. He sees hope when we see none. He leads to happiness when we feel hurt.

The apparently random and purposeless events in life are described in the Heavenly Doctrines with pebbles. The Lord allows a person "to go here and there, so that the moments of his life appear like scattered pebbles. But the Lord then sees whether he fills up that space between them; He sees what is lacking and where; and then, continually, what is next in order, after a hundred or a thousand years" (Spiritual Experiences 4692[m]). The Lord's sight and providence encompasses eons of time. He sees all we are, and all we might become. He then gradually provides for it - not immediately, but over the course of an eternal lifetime. Whatever happens, whatever decisions we make, or whatever others do to us - the Lord eventually turns everything to good.

Unfortunately, our view is seldom as long. We cannot see how things will turn out in twenty, much less two thousand years. And when we are suffering our sight is even more limited. So we worry about what will happen. We may try to trust in His guidance, but we are more likely to feel abandoned by the Lord. Whatever He might be doing is both invisible and insensible to us.

In such a frame of mind we might wish we could see the future, be certain of how things will work out. If we were assured of the specific outcome, or knew exactly which path were the best to follow, we could really trust in the Lord - have confidence in Him to lead us.

Yet, in this, as in all other things, the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. He does not hide the workings of providence from us as a test of our trust, or a puzzle for us to sort out. The Divine does not tease us. But the Lord is fully aware that if we were to know the future, or if we received the "right" answers to our specific questions by a voice out of heaven, we would wind up destroying ourselves.

Imagine what we would feel like if someone predicted every last thing that we would experience for the 24 hours. At first we would disbelieve, but what if the predictions started coming true? It would be disturbing, to say the least. And would we not begin to feel restricted, and try to prevent the predictions from coming true?

We value our freedom, our sense of self. We will protect it at all costs. When we are forced to do something, or if we are pressured into one course of action, do we not rebel, wanting to act against that pressure?

Such resistance is not adolescent or infantile reaction to authority. It stems from our inner freedom of thought. For us to be human beings we need to think things out for ourselves and then act in freedom. Whatever choices we make determine the kind of person we become - and whether our choices are good or bad, at least they make us who we choose to be, not who someone else forces us to be.

Yet, when we are confused or suffering, we have a tremendous yearning to see something of the potential the Lord sees for us and those we love. Unfortunately, if we were able to glimpse it, we would probably work against it. A paradox which can be frustrating and lead us to worry about the future.

It would be much better if we could just let go and trust the Lord to make the best of whatever we do. That is what the angels do. They have no memory of past events from their earthly life to trouble them. Nor do they have any desire to know what is to come. For they are content in the present. Imagine if we could be so fully engaged in our present activities, dealing with what we can do rather than what is beyond our power, that we had no time to worry about the future! It is a goal worth striving for.

But for now, we tend to worry. We tend to worry about our jobs, our health, our children, the international situation, our spiritual state. It can on go on and on. Certainly some amount of thoughtful consideration is important. We are meant to make plans for the future - use good judgment to provide for our families. And we can delight in looking forward to continued productivity or happier times. But planning and worrying about what might or might not occur can become excessive.

The Psalms admonish us: "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret - it only causes harm" (37:8). Do not worry, it only causes pain. Thinking too much of the future can lead us to forget that the Lord's providence is silently guiding us. The doctrines of the New Church point out that, "a longing to know the future is innate with most people; but this longing derives its origin from the love of evil" (Psalm 179).

Anxiety about the future stems from a lack of confidence that the Lord can lead us to happiness. Since He works invisibly, we can think that we are the only ones who have any direct influence upon what happens. It is a subtle trust in self, and denial that the Lord can be relied upon. Certainly it appears as if we have to do all the work, but it is not the reality. For we could not have created ourselves. We can't even make ourselves happy!

So the Heavenly Doctrines describe the Lord's providence "as when one walks in thick forests, the exit out of which he does not know; but when he finds it, he attributes the discovery to himself, whereas providence meantime is as one who stands in a tower, sees the wanderings of such a person, and leads him without his knowing it to the place of exit" (Spiritual Experiences 4393). The Lord is in the tower, inspiring our thoughts, motivating our actions so that we can be led from darkness into light.

But His guiding can only be effective when we cooperate. We have to search for ways out of the forest. The Lord gave us the ability to think so we would use it. If we sit back and ponder our situation, how hopeless it may seem, little is accomplished. Can we add one cubit to our height by worrying about it? We also need to act. If we stand around and complain about how lost we are, or how unfair life is, it is very difficult for the Lord to lead us anywhere. He will not drag us out of our forests against our wills.

It is as the Psalm said: "Trust in the Lord and do good." Such simple advice, but so true! We cannot alter the past, but we can do something in the present, enabling the Lord to create a happy future.

There will still be times of selfishness where we long to know how things could possibly work out, and there will still be things happening to us which are not pleasant. We cannot control life. But we can avoid being defeated by it. We have been given the knowledge of how the Lord operates to bring about happiness in the long term. We have been given the freedom to act with reason. We have the basis for trusting in Him.

Let us then listen to the Psalm, not worrying about the future, not worrying about what is or what might be. Let us do the good that we can, and leave the rest to the Lord. After all, He should be able to do a much better job than we. Let us commit our ways to the Lord, trusting in Him, and He can give us the heavenly desires of our hearts.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6303; Divine Providence 176; Spiritual Experiences 2178, 4393, 4692)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #750

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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750. And they loved not their life (anima), even unto death.- That this signifies the faithful who endured temptations because of those truths, and esteemed the life of the world as of no account in comparison with the life of heaven, is evident from the signification of, not to love the soul, as denoting to regard the life of the world as of no account in comparison with the life of heaven (concerning which we shall speak presently); and from the signification of, even unto death, as denoting to suffer temptations. For those who are in combats of temptations consider the life of the world as of no account in comparison with the life of heaven, consequently, they regard the death of the body as of no account in comparison with the life of the soul, as is evident from those who suffered martyrdom. The reason is, that they know that life in the world, which lasts only for a few years, is nothing compared with the life in heaven, which is eternal life; in fact, there is no comparison at all between the time of man's life in the world, and the life in heaven which will endure to eternity. Let any one consider, whether there can be any comparison between a hundred thousand years and eternity, and he will find that there cannot be. These and many other thoughts flow in from heaven with those who endure spiritual temptations, therefore they love not their life, that is, their life in the world, even unto death.

(References: Revelation 12:11)


[2] What is meant by life (or soul = anima) is little known in the world, because the learned have invented many theories about the seat of the soul in the body, also about its essence, and its influx into and operation in the body, and from the notions drawn therefrom about its immortality. In consequence of this it has come to be a matter of belief that the soul is a cogitative something, ethereal in its essence, and that, when separated from the body, it has no organs of motion or of sense, as it had in the world [and will not have] until again united with the body, which they say will take place at the time of the Last Judgment. As, in consequence of this, such an inconsistent idea concerning the soul of man has been accepted in the learned world, it is of importance to make clear from the Word what is meant by the soul. By the soul (anima), in general, is meant man, and specifically, the life of man; and as in every man there are three degrees of life, there are also as many degrees of the soul. But because the entire life of man resides in these two faculties, which are called will and understanding - on which account they are sometimes in the Word called lives in the plural - and as the soul means the life, it follows that there is a soul of the will, and a soul of the understanding, and that the soul of the will is the affection which is of love, and the soul of the understanding is thought therefrom. But in the Word, soul correctly means the life of man's understanding, which is thought, and the heart means the life of the will, which is affection. And because the respiration of the lungs corresponds to the life of the understanding which is thought, and the pulsation of the heart corresponds to the life of the will which is affection, therefore the soul, in the lowest natural sense, means the life of respiration; consequently it is usual to say of those who are about to die, that they give up the soul or spirit, also that they have no longer any animation, or that no breathing from the mouth is sensibly perceived.

That such is the meaning of soul in the Word, is evident from the passages where it is mentioned.

[3] (I.) That soul (anima) in general signifies man, is clear from the following passages.

In Moses:

"Abram took every soul which they had gotten in Haran; and they departed into the land of Canaan" (Gen. xii. 5).

"The king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the souls, and take the substance to thyself" (Gen. xiv. 21).

"All the souls of the sons and daughters of Leah were thirty and three" (Gen. xlvi. 15).

"The sons of Joseph were two souls, every soul of the house of Jacob which came into Egypt, seventy" (Gen. xlvi. 27).

"Every soul which hath eaten of a carcase, or of that which is torn, shall be unclean until the evening" (Levit. xvii. 15).

"Of the cities of the people thou shalt not keep any soul alive" (Deut. xx. 16).

"If a man steal the soul of his brethren, and make gain thereof" (Deut. xxiv. 7).

"The soul that eateth fat and blood shall be cut off" (Lev. vii. 27).

"The soul that is not circumcised shall be cut off from his people" (Gen. xvii. 14); and elsewhere.

In these passages soul is used instead of man.

(References: Deuteronomy 20:16, Deuteronomy 24:7; Genesis 12:5, 14:21, 17:14, Genesis 46:15, 46:27; Leviticus 7:27, Leviticus 17:15)


[4] (II.) That the soul specifically signifies the life of the body is clear from these passages.

In Luke:

The rich man thought with himself, "I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast many goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry; but God said unto him, Thou foolish one, this night they shall require thy soul of thee" (xii. 19, 20).

In Moses:

"When the soul" of Rachel "was departing she called his name Benoni" (Gen. xxxv. 18).

"All the men are dead which sought thy soul" (Exod. iv. 19); and elsewhere.

"By the hand of them that seek thy soul" (Jer. xix. 7, 9; xxxiv. 21).

"He who departeth to the Chaldeans shall live, and his soul shall be to him for spoil" (Jer. xxi. 9).

"I will give thy soul for a prey" (Jer. xlv. 5).

"Is this the fast which I choose; a day for a man to afflict his soul" (Isaiah lviii. 5).

Reuben said to his brethren concerning Joseph, "Let us not smite him in the soul" (Gen. xxxvii. 21).

"Soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth" (Deut. xix. 21).

"Thou shalt not take the mill or the upper mill stone for a pledge, for he receiveth the soul for a pledge" (Deut. xxiv. 6)

"Samson said, Let my soul die with the Philistines" (Judges xvi. 30).

Jezebel said to Elijah that tomorrow she would make his soul as the soul of one of them; and Elijah "departed for his soul" (1 Kings xix. 2, 3).

Peter said, "I will lay down my soul for thee; Jesus answered, Wilt thou lay down thy soul for me? verily I say The cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice" (John, xiii. 37, 38).

In these passages soul is used for the life of the body. The Lord spoke in a similar manner concerning the life of His body; "As the son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his soul a redemption for many" (Matt. xx. 28; Mark x. 45).

So elsewhere,

"Behold, I love thee; therefore I will give a man for thee, and peoples for thy soul" (Isaiah xliii, 4).

Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his soul for his friends" (John xv. 13).

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd layeth down his soul for the sheep. I lay down my soul, and I will take it again; no man taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John x. 11, 12, 15, 17, 18).

(References: 1 Kings 19:2-3; Deuteronomy 19:21, Deuteronomy 24:6; Exodus 4:19; Genesis 35:18, 37:21; Isaiah 43:4, 58:5; Jeremiah 19:7, 19:9, 21:9, Jeremiah 34:21, 45:5; John 10:11-12, John 10:11, 10:15, 10:17-18, John 13:37-38, 15:13; Judges 16:30; Luke 12:19-20; Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28)


[5] (III.) That "soul" signifies the life of man's spirit, which is called his spiritual life, is plain from the following passages.

In the Evangelists:

Jesus said, "Fear not them who can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell (gehenna)" (Matt. x. 28; Luke xii. 4, 5).

"Whosoever would find his soul shall lose it; and whosoever would lose his soul" for Jesus' sake, "shall find it" (Matt. x. 39; Luke xvii. 33).

"He that loveth his soul shall lose it; but he who hateth his soul in this world shall keep it unto the life eternal" (John xii. 25).

Jesus said, "Whosoever would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. He that would save his soul shall lose it, but he that would lose his soul for my sake shall find it. What doth it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world, but lose his soul; or what shall a man give as a sufficient price for the redemption of his soul" (Matt. xvi. 24-26; Mark viii. 34-37; Luke ix. 24, 25).

Jesus said, "I have come not to destroy souls, but to save them" (Luke ix. 56).

Mary said unto Elizabeth, "My soul doth magnify the Lord" (Luke i. 46).

"Simeon said unto Mary," concerning the infant Jesus, "A sword shall also pierce through thine own soul, that the thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke ii. 35).

Jesus said concerning the last times, "In patience possess ye your souls" (Luke xxi. 19):

and elsewhere

"The foundations shall be broken, all those making gain with pools of the soul" (Isaiah xix. 10).

"With the peril of our souls we get our bread, because of the sword of the wilderness" (Lam. v. 9).

"They have digged a pit for my soul" (Jer. xviii. 20).

"Their soul shall be as a watered garden" (Jer. xxxi. 12).

"I will water the wearied soul, and every soul which grieveth I will fill" (Jer. xxxi. 25).

"Woe to them that sew pillows under all the joints of mine hands, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls. Will ye hunt the souls of my people that ye may preserve your souls alive? Thou hast profaned me with my people, to slay the souls that ought not to die, and to keep alive the souls that ought not to live" (Ezek. xiii. 18, 19).

"Behold, all souls are mine, as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son, they are mine; the soul that sinneth it shall die" (Ezek. xviii. 4, 20).

"I will go away for the bitterness of my soul" (Isaiah xxxviii. 15).

"The waters compassed me about even to the soul" (Jonah ii. 5).

"The waters came even unto the soul; I was sunk in deep mire" (Psalm lxix. 1, 2).

"They hurt my foot with a fetter, my soul came to the earth" (Psalm cv. 18).

"Bring my soul out of prison" (Psalm cxlii. 7).

"Thou hast delivered my soul from death" (Psalm lvi. 13).

"To rescue their soul from death, and to make them alive in famine" (Psalm xxxiii. 19).

"Deliver me not up to the soul of my foes" (Psalm xxvii. 12; xli. 2).

"I afflicted my soul with fasting; let them not say in their heart, Ah, for his soul" (Psalm xxxv. 13, 25).

"Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (in inferno),* neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm xvi. 10).

"The man who feareth Jehovah, him shall he teach the way that he shall choose; his soul shall pass the night in good "(Psalm xxv. 12, 13).

"The clean in hands and the pure in heart, who doth not lift up his soul to vanity" (Psalm xxiv. 4).

"He shall save the souls of the needy, he will redeem their soul from deceit and violence" (Psalm lxxii. 13, 14).

"Bless Jehovah, O my soul" (Psalm ciii. 1, 22).

"Let every soul praise Jah" (Psalm cl. 6).

"They will ask food for their soul" (Psalm lxxviii. 18).

"Jehovah breathed into man's nostrils the breath of lives, and man became a living soul" (Gen. ii. 7).

In these passages "soul" is used for the life of man's spirit, which is called his spiritual life.

(References: Ezekiel 13:18-19, 18:4, 18:20; Genesis 2:7; Isaiah 19:9-10, Isaiah 38:13, 38:15; Jeremiah 18:20, Jeremiah 31:12, 31:25; John 12:25; Jonah 2:5; Lamentations 5:9; Luke 1:46, 2:35, 9:23-25, 9:24-25, 9:56, Luke 12:4-5, Luke 17:33, 21:19; Mark 8:34-37, 8:35-37; Matthew 10:28, 10:39, 16:24-26; Psalms 16:10, 24:4, 25:12-13, Psalms 27:12, Psalms 33:19, 35:13, 35:25, 41:2, Psalms 56:13, Psalms 69:1-2, 72:13-14, 78:18, 103:1, 103:22, 105:18, 142:7, 150:6)


[6] (IV.) Since man has two faculties of life, namely, the faculty of understanding and the faculty of willing, and both these faculties constitute the spiritual life of man, it is evident from some of the passages quoted above, and also from the following, that "soul" signifies that faculty which is called the life of man's understanding.

As in Moses:

"Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength" (Deut. vi. 5; x. 12; xi. 13; xxvi. 16).

And in the Evangelists:

Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Matt. xxii. 37; Mark xii. 30, 33; Luke x. 27).

To love Jehovah God with all the heart and with all the soul, means with all the will and all the understanding, also with all the love and all the faith; for the heart signifies the love and the will, and the soul signifies faith and understanding. The heart signifies these two, namely, the love and the will, because a man's love is of his will; and the soul signifies these two, faith and understanding, because faith is of the understanding. This signification of heart and soul is derived from correspondence, because the heart of man corresponds to the good of love, which is of his will, and the breath (anima) of the lungs corresponds to the truth of faith, which belongs to man's understanding. With all the strength and with all the mind, signifies above all things.

(References: Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, 11:13, Deuteronomy 26:16; Luke 10:27; Mark 12:30, 12:33; Matthew 22:37)


[7] In Ezekiel:

"Their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the anger of Jehovah; they shall not satisfy their soul, neither shall they fill their bowels" (vii. 19).

Here also soul is put for the understanding of truth, which is said not to be satisfied when there is no truth in the church, and the bowels denote the will of good, which are said not to be filled when there is no good in the church. Because silver, from correspondence, signifies truth, and in the opposite sense falsity, and gold signifies good, and in the opposite sense evil, it is therefore said, "Their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the anger of Jehovah," the silver and gold there denoting what is not true and what is not good, also what is false and evil, and the day of anger denotes the day of judgment.

(References: Ezekiel 7:19)


[8] In Isaiah:

"The light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame, which shall burn up and consume the glory of his forest and Carmel; it shall consume from the soul even to the flesh" (x. 17, 18).

The light of Israel and His Holy One, which shall be for a fire and a flame, mean the Lord as to a last judgment; fire and flame signify the destruction of those who are in falsities of evil; by the glory of the forest and Carmel, which the fire and flame shall burn and consume, are signified truth and the good of truth pertaining to the church, which shall be destroyed because they have been turned into falsities and evils of falsity. From the soul even to the flesh, signifies even from its understanding to its will, soul denoting the understanding of truth, and flesh the will of good.

(References: Isaiah 10:17-18; Psalms 25:12-13)


[9] In the same:

"The fool speaketh foolishness, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail" (xxxii. 6).

Here also the soul signifies man as to the understanding of good and truth, the soul of the hungry the understanding of good, and the drink of the thirsty the understanding of truth. That a man who is in falsities of evil will endeavour to deprive of that truth one who is in truth from good, is signified by "The fool speaketh foolishness, to make empty the soul," and to cause it to fail.

(References: Isaiah 32:6)


[10] In the same:

"It shall be as when a hungry man dreameth as if he were eating, but when he awaketh, his soul is empty; and when a thirsty man dreameth as if he were drinking, but when he awaketh, behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; so shall be the multitude of all nations that fight against Mount Zion" (Isaiah xxix. 8).

These things are said of those who are in falsities from evil, and yet suppose them to be truths from good; the falsities of evil fighting against the goods of the church are signified by "the multitude of all nations fighting against Mount Zion"; multitude is used in reference to truths, nations signify evils, and Mount Zion signifies the church as to the good of love. The belief that evils are good, when yet they are evils of falsity, is signified by "It shall be as when a hungry man dreameth as if he were eating, but when he awaketh, his soul is empty"; a hungry man dreaming as if he were eating signifies an erroneous opinion and belief about good, to dream signifying such erroneous opinion and belief, and to be hungry and as if he were eating, signifying a kind of desire as it were for good that will give nourishment. But when he awaketh, signifies when it is discovered what good is; his soul is empty, signifies that there is no understanding of good. Similar things are said concerning truth, which are signified by "when a thirsty man dreameth as if he were drinking" but when he awaketh, behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite"; to be thirsty and as if he were drinking whilst he dreameth, signifying an opinion and belief that it is truth; but when he awaketh, behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite, signifies that still it is not truth but falsity, soul here signifying belief in falsity, because truth is not understood; for both evil and falsity as well as good and truth, pertain to faith and understanding when they are of the thought alone. For a man is able to so think as to understand and thus believe that evil is good, and falsity truth. Such are all those who are in falsities of doctrine, and have faith merely in their masters and books, and do not consider whether the things which are taught may not consist of falsities and evils, believing them to be truths and goods because they can be proved, not knowing that falsity and evil may be proved equally as truth and good.

(References: Isaiah 29:8)


[11] In the same:

"If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, thy light shall arise in darkness, and thy thick darkness shall be as the noon-day" (Isaiah lviii. 10).

To draw out the soul to the hungry, and to satisfy the afflicted soul, signifies to teach him who desires it what is good and what is true; the hungry signify those who desire good, and the afflicted those who desire truth, while to draw out the soul signifies to teach good and truth, that is from understanding, doctrine and faith. That to those who are in ignorance, and yet are in the desire for them, there shall be given the understanding of truth and good, is signified by "thy light shall arise in darkness, and thy thick darkness shall be as the noon-day," darkness and thick darkness denoting ignorance of truth and good, while the light and the noon-day denote the understanding of these.

(References: Isaiah 58:10)


[12] In Lamentations:

"All the people groan, they seek bread, they have given their desirable things for food to refresh the soul. He is far from me the comforter that refresheth my soul, my sons are become desolate, because the enemy hath prevailed. My priests and my elders expired in the city, because they sought food for themselves with which they might refresh their souls" (i. 11, 16, 19).

This is said of a church where there is no longer any truth and good of doctrine, whence the men of the church who desire these are lacking. The deficiency of good and truth in doctrine, and a desire for them in order to nourish the life of faith and of the understanding, is signified by "All the people groan, they seek bread, they have given their desirable things for food to refresh the soul"; deficiency is signified by their groaning, the desire for good by seeking bread, the desire for truth by giving their desirable things for food, while the nourishment of faith and understanding is signified by refreshing the soul. That there is no nourishment of faith and understanding, because there are no longer any truths through evils of life, is signified by "He is far from me the comforter that refresheth my soul, my sons are become desolate, because the enemy hath prevailed," the sons being desolate signifying that there are no longer any truths, and the enemy that hath prevailed signifying evil from hell, thus evil of the life. That there are no longer any who teach good and truth is signified by "My priests and my elders expired in the city," priests signifying those who teach good, elders those who teach truths, and city doctrine, while to expire denotes that these no longer exist. That they have no spiritual nourishment is signified by "because they sought food for themselves with which they might refresh their souls."

(References: Lamentations 1:11, 1:16, 1:19)


[13] In Lamentations:

"They say to their mothers, Where is the corn and the wine? when they faint as one thrust through in the streets of the city, when their soul is poured out upon their mother's bosom" (ii. 12).

The signification of these words is similar to that of the preceding, namely, that such is the desolation of the church from the want of good and truth in doctrine, that spiritual life therein faints and perishes. Mothers signify the truths of the church; they say to them, Where is the corn and the wine? signifies, where is now the good of doctrine and its truth. Their soul is poured out upon their mother's bosom, signifies the fainting and perishing of spiritual life because of the desolation arising from deficiency of truths. Because the soul means the life of faith and of the understanding of good and truth, which is the spiritual life of man, it is said that they faint as one thrust through in the street of the city, one thrust through signifying those who perish through falsities, and the street of the city truth of doctrine.

(References: Lamentations 2:12)


[14] In Jonah:

"When my soul fainted upon me" (ii. 7).

This treats of temptations; and that his soul fainted upon him signifies that truth fainted (or ceased) in faith and understanding.

In David:

"Mine eye wasteth away with indignation, my soul and my belly" (Psalm xxxi. 9).

In the same:

"My soul is bowed down to the dust, our belly cleaveth to the earth" (Psalm xliv. 25).

A state of temptations is also described by these words. The eye signifies the understanding, the soul, the belief in and understanding of truth, and the belly, the belief in and understanding of good. The reason why this is the signification of belly is, that the belly receives the food, and food and bread signify good that nourishes, here understanding and faith. The deficiency of these in temptation is signified by wasting away with indignation, bowing down to the dust, and cleaving to the earth.

(References: Jonah 2:7; Psalms 31:9, Psalms 44:25)


[15] In Moses:

"They said, Now is our soul dried up, there is nothing but manna before our eyes" (Numb. xi. 6).

Because manna signifies spiritual nourishment, and it is faith and understanding, that is, man's intelligence, which is spiritually nourished, and because the sons of Israel had no natural nourishment, and yet desired it, therefore they said, "Our soul is dried up, there is nothing but manna before our eyes." The soul dried up signifies the life of faith and of the understanding failing when there was at the same time no natural nourishment; there is nothing but manna before our eyes, signifies that there was only spiritual nourishment; and because they loathed this, the flesh of quails, or selav,** was given to them, and the flesh of these signifies natural nourishment.

(References: Numbers 11:6)


[16] And in the First Book of Samuel:

Hannah said unto, Eli, "I have poured out my soul before Jehovah" (i. 15).

To pour out the soul before Jehovah signifies to declare the thoughts of her mind and heart.

In the Evangelists:

"Be ye not anxious for your soul what ye shall eat, and what ye shall drink, nor for your body what ye shall put on; is not the soul more than food, and the body more than raiment?" (Matt. vi. 25; Luke xii. 22, 23).

Although these words are spoken of the life of the body, they nevertheless signify such things as pertain to the life of the spirit, for all things of the sense of the letter of the Word, which is natural, contain within them an internal sense, which is spiritual. In this sense, eating, drinking, and food signify spiritual nourishment, which is the nourishment of faith, together with that of the understanding, from which comes intelligence in spiritual things; it is therefore said, "Be not anxious for your soul what ye shall eat, and what ye shall drink; is not the soul more than food?" To eat denotes to perceive good intellectually and thus spiritually; to drink, to perceive truth intellectually and thus spiritually; and food denotes the good and truth which are the source of [spiritual] nourishment. By clothing the body and by raiment is signified truth investing the good of love and of the will, raiment signifying such truth, and the body the good of love which is the good of the will.

(References: 1 Samuel 1:15; Luke 12:19-20, Luke 12:22-23; Matthew 6:25)


[17] In David:

"O my soul, I lie in the midst of lions, the sons of man are set on fire" (Psalm lvii. 4).

Here too soul signifies spiritual life, which is the life of faith, thus also the life of the understanding; for the understanding is formed from truths, and consists of them, as also faith. Because these things are signified by the soul, and the vastation of truth is the subject here treated of, it is therefore said, "I lie in the midst of lions," lions signifying falsities destroying the truths of the church. It is also said, "The sons of men are set on fire," the sons of men signifying the truths of doctrine and of the church, and when these are taken possession of by corporeal love and thereby perish, they are said to be set on fire.

In Moses:

Abraham spake with the sons of Heth, "If it be with your soul that I bury my dead" (Gen. xxiii. 8).

Soul here signifies thought from truth. But these words are explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 2930).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2930, Genesis 23:8; Psalms 57:4)


[18] In Jeremiah:

"Thy lovers will abhor thee, they will seek thy soul" (iv. 30).

Lovers mean those who are in the love of evil; to seek the soul signifies to desire to destroy belief in and the understanding of truth, by means of the falsities of evil.

In Ezekiel:

"Javan and Tubal traded with the soul of man and vessels of brass" (xxvii. 13).

This is said of Tyre, which signifies the church as to the knowledges of truth and good. Trading signifies the acquisition and communication of these; Javan and Tubal signify external representative worship, and the soul of man signifies knowledge (scientia) of truth in the natural man, and vessels of brass signify knowledge of good in the natural man; knowledge of natural truth (veri naturalis) is also signified by "souls of men" in the Apocalypse (xviii. 13). The souls of men (animoe hominum) mean strictly slaves or servants, which also, in the spiritual sense, signify truths scientific (vera scientifica) of the natural man, that are serviceable to the spiritual.

(References: Ezekiel 27:13; Jeremiah 4:30; Revelation 18:13)


[19] (V.) Since the life of faith, and also the life of man's understanding is from Divine Truth, therefore Divine Truth is also signified by soul, as is evident in the following passages:

In Jeremiah:

"I will plant them in this land in verity, in my whole heart and in my whole soul" (xxxii. 41).

As there are two things that proceed from the Lord, Divine Good and Divine Truth, and these, when received by the angels of heaven and the men of the church, make heavenly life in them, therefore it is evident what is signified by planting them in the whole heart and in the whole soul, namely, in His Divine Good and in His Divine Truth; for the heart signifies the Divine Good of the Divine Love, and the soul Divine Truth.

(References: Jeremiah 32:41)


[20] In the same:

"Jehovah hath sworn by His soul" (li. 14; Amos vi. 8).

Jehovah is said to swear by His soul when He confirms by means of His Divine Truth, for to swear signifies to confirm, and the soul of Jehovah Divine Truth.

In David:

"Jehovah trieth the just; the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth" (Psalm xi. 5).

Here also the soul of Jehovah signifies Divine Truth, for the violent in the Word signifies one who does violence to Divine Truth; and because this is done by falsities of evil, therefore this is signified by the wicked and him that loveth violence.

(References: Amos 6:8; Jeremiah 51:14; Psalms 11:5)


[21] In Isaiah:

"My chosen in whom my soul is well pleased, I have put my Spirit upon him" (xlii. 1).

This is said of the Lord, who is meant by the chosen of Jehovah; and as the Spirit of Jehovah, which was put upon Him, signifies the proceeding Divine, therefore the soul of Jehovah, which was well pleased in Him, signifies Divine Truth, for the Lord was in that Divine Truth as to His Human in the world.

In Jeremiah:

"Jehovah said, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, my soul [could] not [be] toward this people" (xv. 1).

Moses and Samuel, in the representative sense, signify the Word; and as the Word is Divine Truth, and the people there mentioned mean the sons of Israel, who had no Divine Truth but what was falsified and adulterated, it is said, "My soul could not be toward this people."

(References: Isaiah 42:1; Jeremiah 15:1)


[22] In the same:

"Shall not my soul take vengeance" (v. 9, 29).

Here also the soul of Jehovah means Divine Truth; and when from this the Lord executes judgment, it is said that His soul takes vengeance. The Son of man who is to execute judgment has a similar signification, the Son of man also denoting the Lord, as to Divine Truth.

In the same:

"Receive chastisement, O Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from thee, and I reduce thee to wasteness" (vi. 8):

Jerusalem signifies the church as to doctrine, to receive chastisement, signifies to receive discipline; lest my soul be alienated from thee, signifies lest Divine Truth should depart from them; and to reduce to wasteness, signifies lest the church should be desolated as to all truth.

(References: Jeremiah 5:9, 5:29, 6:8)


[23] In Isaiah:

"Jehovah that giveth soul to the people upon the earth, and spirit to them that walk therein" (xlii. 5).

The soul which Jehovah giveth to the people upon the earth, signifies Divine Truth from the Lord to those who will be of His church. The spirit which Jehovah will give to them that walk upon the earth, signifies life according to Divine Truth, to walk signifying to live.

(References: Isaiah 42:5)


[24] (VI.) Since soul (anima) in reference to the Lord signifies Divine Truth, therefore it signifies spiritual life from truth.

In Moses:

"The soul of all flesh is the blood" (Levit. xvii. 14).

As the ultimate life of man, which is the life of his body, consists in the blood, it is therefore said that "the soul of all flesh," that is to say, the life thereof, is its blood; but because there is a spiritual sense in every detail of the Word, and as in that sense blood signifies truth of doctrine from the Word, therefore this also is signified by the soul of flesh. That blood signifies truth of doctrine from the Word, which is Divine Truth, may be seen above (n. 328, 329, 476). Because this is the signification of blood, therefore the sons of Israel were forbidden to eat blood, and therefore the blood of the burnt-offerings and sacrifices was sprinkled about the altar; and sanctifications and also inaugurations were performed by blood, also the covenant of the God of Israel, that is, of the Lord with the people was entered into by blood. The case is also the same with the new covenant entered into by the Lord with the church at this day. This is why the blood of the Lord is called the blood of the covenant, that is, of conjunction with the Lord, and it is so called because it is the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord that conjoins. From these things it is now clear why blood is called soul.

(References: Leviticus 17:14; The Apocalypse Explained 328, 329, 476)


[25] Because of this signification of blood, it was forbidden, from the most ancient times, to eat blood, as is evident in Moses:

"Every creeping thing that liveth, to you it shall be for food, but the flesh with the soul thereof, the blood thereof, ye shall not eat" (Gen. ix. 3, 4).

Here also it is said that the blood is the soul of the flesh, and it was forbidden to eat, because eating blood signified the profanation of truth.

In the same:

"Whosoever shall eat any blood, I will set my faces against the soul that eateth blood, that I may cut off that soul from the midst of its people; for the soul of the flesh is in the blood; therefore I have given it upon the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood itself that maketh atonement for the soul" (Levit. xvii. 10, 11).

Because soul, like blood, signifies truth from the Word, which is Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, and as all worship of the Lord is performed by means of Divine Truth, it is therefore said, "For the soul of the flesh is in the blood, therefore have I given it upon the altar," to give the blood upon the altar signifying worship from Divine Truth. And since all liberation from evils and falsities, which is atonement (expiatio), is effected by means of Divine Truth and by a life according to it, it is therefore said, "to make atonement for your souls," for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.

(References: Genesis 9:3-4; Leviticus 17:10-11)


[26] In the same:

"Surely the blood of your souls will I require, at the hand of every wild beast will I require it, especially at the hand of man, at the hand of a man's brother will I require the soul of man" (Gen. ix. 7).

That blood, and also soul, here mean the spiritual life of man, which is a life according to Divine Truth, is evident from this, that whoever extinguishes that life perishes in eternal death, for that life can be extinguished only by one who is in infernal evil and falsity. But this may be seen explained in the Arcana Coelestia.

(References: Genesis 9:5, 9:7)


[27] (VII). That living soul (anima vivens) signifies life in general is evident from passages where beasts, birds, reptiles, and fish are called living souls; as in the following:

"God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving thing, the living soul. God created the great sea monsters (ceti magni), and every living soul that creepeth, which the waters brought forth abundantly" (Gen. i. 20, 21).

"God said, Let the earth bring forth the living soul, after its kind, beast and wild beast" (Gen. i. 24).

"Jehovah brought unto the man every beast of the field, and every bird of the heavens, to see what he would call it; and whatsoever the man called it, the living soul, that was its name" (Gen. ii. 19).

"Every living soul that swimmeth, whithersoever the rivers come, shall live; whence there shall be much fish" (Ezek. xlvii. 9).

And in the Apocalypse:

"Every living soul in the sea died" (xvi. 3).

All animals, in the spiritual sense, signify things that belong to the natural man and its life; and as the life of the natural man, which is life in ultimates, signifies life in its whole extent, therefore they are called living souls.

(References: Ezekiel 47:9; Genesis 1:20-21, 1:24, Genesis 2:19; Revelation 16:3)


[28] From these things it is now evident that soul (anima) in the Word signifies the life of man both natural and spiritual, thus the life both of his body and spirit. It may thus be seen how inconsistent is the idea concerning man's soul, entertained in the first place by the learned, and then by the common people, that it is a kind of indivisible entity having its seat in some part of the body, either in the brain, or in the heart, or elsewhere, and that when it is set free from man by death, it is destitute of a body, and possesses none of those powers of sense and motion that belong to the body, but that these will be added to it at the day of the Last Judgment. Then also, that in the meantime it is something or other flitting about in the ether, or dwelling in some place or other awaiting its accessory part, which is the body.

Such is the idea entertained in the world concerning man's soul, although nothing of the kind is meant in the Word by soul (anima), which there signifies the life of man, and this cannot exist apart from a body, but only in a body; for the body is the external form of that life which is called the soul, giving effect to its will and pleasure in both worlds, the natural, in which men live, and the spiritual, in which spirits and angels live. And as the proceeding Divine from the Lord constitutes the life of all, therefore this is signified by soul in the celestial sense. Because the proceeding Divine, wherever it comes, forms an image of the Lord, that is, so forms angels and spirits that they become human forms according to their receptivity, therefore it now follows that the soul that lives after death must mean man's spirit, which is a man with both a soul and body, with a soul which governs the body, and with a body by means of which it gives effect to its will in the world in which it is.

* Heb. Sheol.

** The Hebrew word for quails.

(References: Deuteronomy 24:6-7; Genesis 9:7; Isaiah 38:13; John 10:11; Leviticus 17:14-15; Revelation 12:11)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 743

Other New Christian Commentary

Hungry 1

Life 1

Pleasant 1

Soul 1

Heritage of Esau 1

Hungry and afflicted 1

Samuel 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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