The Bible

 

Luke 1:26-38 : The Annunciation to Mary

        

Study the Inner Meaning

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 2798, 2921, 3305, 3421, 5313, 9229, 10248

Apocalypse Revealed 56, 173, 294, 373, 481, 504, 520, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 44, 120

Conjugial Love 82

The Lord 19, 29, 40, 42

True Christian Religion 82, 88, 92, 93, 98, 111, 112, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 253, 328, 376, 677, 815, 852, 1069, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 30, 38, 216

Canons of the New Church 17, 39, 40, 43

De Domino 38

Justification 10, 13

Spiritual Experiences 4332

Marriage 82, 88, 92, 93, 98, 111, 112

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 13

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Judges 5:24, 6:12, 16

Ruth 3:11

2 Samuel 7:12, 13, 16, 23:5

1 Chronicles 17:12

Psalms 2:7, 45:7, 132:11

Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 49:1, 5

Jeremiah 23:5

Daniel 2:44, 7:14

Obadiah 1:21

Micah 4:7

Word/Phrase Explanations

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

angel
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

Gabriel
Gabriel signifies an angelic society in heaven that is made up of people who teach from the Word, particularly about the Lord’s advent.

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

galilee
Galilee was the northernmost province of Biblical Judea, a hilly area relatively remote from the center of Jewish culture in Jerusalem and bordered by foreigners...

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...

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...

Fear not
Fear not, as in Revelation 1:17; Daniel 10:5, 12; Matthew 17:5, 7; 28:10, etc., signifies resuscitation to life, and at the same time adoration from...

son
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

highest
'Highest' denotes the 'inmost,' because interior things, with person who is in space, appear as higher things, and exterior things as lower. But when the...

over
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

ever
“Age” is used in slightly different ways in natural language, and those differences are reflected in the word’s spiritual meanings. All the variations, though, reflect...

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...

answered
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

ghost
'The seven spirits' in Matthew 12:45 signify all falsities of evil, and as a result, a total extinction of goodness and truth. 'The seven spirits'...

Son of God
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

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.


 Angel Appears to Joseph
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel Appears to Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel Appears to Zacharias
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angelic Appearances at the Time of the Advent
A sermon about the angel Gabriel's appearances to different people and how this pictures aspects of the preparation we must do for the Lord's birth in our own lives. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Angel with Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel with Zacharias
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Annunciation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Birth of the Lord
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Blessings: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Call His Name Jesus
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Christmas Joy and Happiness
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Elizabeth Greets Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 His Name Is John
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 His Name Will Be Called: The Development of the Lord in Our Lives
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Jesus' Childhood
People are born without a set purpose and develop a purpose as they learn and choose a pathway. Jesus was born with an identity and a purpose; He had to discover His identity and become true to it.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Mary and Elizabeth
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Mary's Song of Praise
Mary's song of praise, often called the Magnificat, in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

 Mary Visits Elizabeth
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Naming John the Baptist
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Our Savior
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Picture of the Angel Gabriel
Project | Ages up to 10

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Prophecies of the Advent
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Scroll of Angelic Appearances in Christmas Story
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Angel Appearing to Mary
Use oil pastels and watercolors to show the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Angel Appears to Mary
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Angel Appears to Mary
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Angel Appears to Mary Mobile
Make a simple mobile to show the angel Gabriel coming to tell Mary that she would give birth to a Son and should name Him Jesus.
Project | Ages 3 - 8

 The Angel's Promise to Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Annunciation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Birth of John
Zacharias and Elizabeth were very good people who wanted a child very much. The Lord answered their prayers. John was born to help prepare people to learn from the Lord. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Introductory Level, for ages 5-6.
Religion Lesson | Ages 5 - 6

 The Birth of John the Baptist
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 Birth of John the Baptist
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Magnificat
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Maidservant of the Lord
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Mother of the Lord
Imagine what it must have been like to suddenly see an angel and be told such great news.
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 The Name Mary
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Savior
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Spread of the Lord's Word
We can be like the shepherds and others who have spread the good news as we learn about the Lord and find ways to tell people. Maybe this Christmas you can share your enjoyment of the story of the Lord’s birth with a friend or neighbor. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 5, for ages 10-11.
Religion Lesson | Ages 10 - 11

 Understanding the Virgin Birth
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Zacharias and the Angel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Zacharias’s Dumbness
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Zacharias Sees Angel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

Commentary

 

You Shall Bear a Son      

By Rev. Eric Carswell

The Annunciation, 1898, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
By Henry Ossawa Tanner - http://freechristimages.org/biblestories/annunciation.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4864374

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35

What amazing words these must have been to Mary, a young woman, when she first heard them. Just minutes before she had probably been engaged in some mundane task of daily life in her mother's home, perhaps grinding flour or baking bread, maybe weaving or spinning wool into yarn. If she was like most young women who are shortly to be married, her mind would have been turned to her future life with Joseph, what their home would be like, the children they would have and the life that they would lead together. Happy images of the future would have filled her thoughts. She would have had her hopes, dreams and expectations--images of how her life would be as the future wife of Joseph.

Suddenly with the appearance of the angel Gabriel, her visions of the future contained a new and dramatically different element. The angel told her that she was highly favored and blessed among women, that the Lord was with her and that she would soon conceive and bring forth a son whose name would be Jesus. This child would be given the throne of Mary's ancient forebear, King David, and reign forever.

Mary voiced the question of how this would take place. She knew the order of natural conception and knew that the angel's message did not fit into this order. In explanation the angel Gabriel told her of the greatest miracle of all time saying, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."

We are called to believe that miracles do occur. Some people are troubled by the idea of miracles based on their picture of cause and effect in this world. They have accepted that the only causes are natural ones, the laws of physics and so on. For such a person the idea of Jesus being born without a natural father is fantastic beyond belief.

But we are called to believe that miracles have and do occur. There are forces that attack this belief. We have grown up in a culture that has a strong sense of natural order. Science today is capable of explaining so many events that previously were mysteries. It is capable of explaining them by means of fundamental laws of nature. For some this sense of natural law can become so strong that the Lord's active presence within creation vanishes. For some there is no Divine intervention within this system. All is fixed and moves along with changes taking place by mere random accident. But it could be noted that according to natural law most changes result in more chaos, not less chaos. Changes tend toward the break down of a higher order into a lower one.

Think of the example of a person quickly typing out a document on a computer. You would expect that errors would be introduced into the typing. What is the likelihood that the errors would improve the original document? It’s possible, but rather unexpected. But the argument for pure natural evolution is that given enough time and the forces of natural selection life as we now know it has developed. Asserting that human life came about purely by random accidents starting with the genetic code of the most primitive life millions of years ago seems akin to saying that given enough time and enough typed copies a simple child’s nursery rhyme could evolve into a Shakespearean play without any plan or higher thought being involved.

We are called to believe that miracles do occur. However, the Writings for the New Church have taught us that we are not to expect to see the miracles of the Old and New Testaments performed today in the same way they were performed in the time those books were written. We read:

The reason miracles are not done at this day, as before, is that miracles compel, and take away free will in spiritual things; and from being spiritual, they make a person natural. All in the Christian world . . . can become spiritual; and they become spiritual solely from the Lord through the Word; and the faculty for this would perish if they were brought to believe through miracles. (True Christian Religion 501)

Partially based on statements such as this, a person can come to a pattern of thinking that does not believe in the Lord’s ability to affect things for good in a miraculous way even today. A person could believe in God, but still tend to view the progression of his or her life as following laws of a machine-like system. Anything that does not fit into this fixed system is believed to be a miracle that would take away spiritual freedom--the very freedom that the Lord was born into the world to reestablish.

Perhaps, though, it is too easy for us to become too limited in our view. So limited that we block out a sight of the miracles that can occur within our own lives without taking away our spiritual freedom. Perhaps it is too easy for this limited point of view to block out a sense of the Lord's presence, a sense of the Holy Spirit's presence. How does the Lord reach out to touch our lives?

What of Mary's life? The events surrounding the first Christmas were a major intervention within her life. The same is true of her husband to be, Joseph. Both of them could have denied the possibility of a miraculous conception and this state of denial would have been far more damaging than that of Zacharias's. Could the Lord's birth ever have taken place if Mary was not willing to accept the angel's words? Her firstborn was to have a continuing effect throughout her whole life. His presence was not without many events that brought a sense of awe and wonder to both Mary and Joseph. We know of at least one event that showed that raising Jesus was not always easy. At age 12, they spent three anxious days searching for Him, only to find Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of teachers, listening and asking questions.

In addition to the way in which Jesus' birth and life intervened in Joseph and Mary's life, think of the way His presence affected the disciples. Many of them were happily going about their daily jobs when they were called to leave all behind and follow Him. While this intervention sometimes involved something of the miraculous, it also involved an element of free will. Just as Joseph and Mary could have resisted the words of the angel announcing that the Lord would be born, so also the disciples could have heard the Lord call them to follow and shook their heads and returned to their work. There were many, many others who were influenced in this same way. Many others who heard the Lord's words calling to them and had their lives profoundly influenced by what He said.

The Lord comes to each of us in our lives many times each day. While we may not have anything occur in our lives that an objective observer would call miraculous, it is not true that our lives will follow some pre-established route, set by our inborn nature and directed by compelling experience of the natural world. The Lord's first birth represents the way in which He comes in any age to anyone who will receive Him. Just as the words of the angel Gabriel would have been a dramatic intervention within the happy normalcy of the future that Mary would have envisioned, so also the Lord can come to us announcing the conception of a future for us that is far different from the one our natural mind would envision. The Lord comes to us offering and promising a far different set of reactions to daily events from the ones we presently have--a different perspective, a far greater patience in some areas and a stronger resolve and commitment in others. He comes to us bringing light to areas of thoughts that we had resigned ourselves to being in deep darkness and bringing warmth to much that we might otherwise have done from need or duty.

The angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin, whose name was Mary. Ancient prophecies had promised that the Messiah would be born as the child of a young woman. Several hundred years after this prophecy was given, a Greek version of the Old Testament called the Septuagint, introduced a new element of the miraculous by using a word in this prophecy that was not the general one for a young woman, but rather the distinctive Greek term for "virgin." When the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, the gospel of Matthew records that he quoted this prophecy according to the way it is presented in the Septuagint. The Writings for the New Church make it quite clear that this seemingly added idea is correct and even essential in our understanding of the Lord's advent.

There are two distinct reasons for the importance of a belief in the virgin birth. One reason has to do with the essential need for Jesus to be born with a natural mother but without a natural father if He was going to become our Savior and Redeemer. It was crucial for the work of Jesus that He not derive from His birth any of the internal evils that are passed on through the soul provided by the natural father in any natural conception. His soul and life came directly from the infinite God. His developing mind and life were the ever more perfect manifestation in human form of the Father and creator, our Lord and God. But it was important that He take on a natural mind at first empty of any experience and knowledge as you and I were born with. It was important that He take on the hereditary inclinations to evil that birth to a natural mother brought to His life.

The second reason for believing in the virgin birth exists because of the representation of the term virgin and what this says about how the Lord comes to us in our lives. We are told that a virgin represents someone who willing to have his or her life affected by truth. In this story, Mary represents a state of mind in each of our lives that is not controlled by self interest nor committed to a determined course of action. It is a state of mind that is open to new possibilities.

The Lord comes to us to each of us bringing the promise of a new conception of life just as the angel Gabriel came to the virgin Mary. He comes promising a rebirth or regeneration of life that is radically different from the one we come by naturally. It is not to the hustle and bustle of established life that He appears, but rather to those states of mind that, like the virgin Mary, look forward to something new and different and most importantly are willing to receive the conception of this new life. The life that comes to us naturally, apart from any presence of the Lord, is like a child conceived of a human father and mother. Without the Lord's presence, this life cannot have any other basis than self-interest and worldly concern. Experience may teach us to broaden this self-interest and to temper these concerns, but apart from the Lord's advent within our lives they will never rise above this level. The Lord is born within each of our lives within the states of mind that are willing to be affected by what the Word teaches--by the states of mind that are willing to rise above the prompting of our natural inclinations to be self-serving and natural in our interests, thoughts and actions. He is born within the states of mind that are willing to turn outward to recognize and serve the needs of those around us. He is born within the states of mind that are willing to recognize that natural things exist to serve the needs of mankind and creation as a whole and have their proper uses as well as their abuses.

Our preparation for the celebration of Christmas, more than any other event of the season, tends to turn people outward to others. It is a time that can help us to recognize the community of caring people that we live in. And it is a time that can remind us that many are in need--there are many people who can use our help. This help may be a matter of providing food, clothing and shelter for those have not been able to or have not yet come to be provident enough to provide them for themselves. It can be a matter of giving a hand to someone who could use some help with a job, sharing some burden with them. Christmas is a time when we give gifts that symbolize and love and friendship for others. The most lasting gifts are those that we give when we recognize the spiritual needs of others—when we recognize that, by our words and actions, we can help the Lord bring loving warmth to another person's life. We, by our words and actions, can bring the light of greater understanding to another person's life. We have the capability of helping others receive far greater blessings in life than they might otherwise. Our preparation for and celebration of Christmas can remind us of how a truly Christian life is one of wisely giving and of serving. The state of mind that receives this reminder is the one imaged by the virgin, Mary.

The Lord comes to each of us in our lives, just as the angel Gabriel came to Mary. He comes telling of events that can take place, if we are willing, which far exceed anything we might picture ourselves. He promises us a new life, born within our own, but not taking its source from us. He promises the presence of the Holy Spirit within this new life. He comes with a miraculous intervention in the natural course of events. The words of the angel Gabriel to Mary are also words to us with the promise of a new life that will profoundly affect what we care about, think and do each day throughout the year. These words are the promise of a new life for each of us.

After the close of this service you are invited to take the sacrament of the Holy Supper. This act of worship represents our desire to receive the Lord’s gifts of love and wisdom within our lives, represented by our eating of the bread and drinking of the wine. There is a powerful reminder of the words of the angel Gabriel in The True Christian Religion description of this sacrament

...the Holy Supper for those who approach it worthily is a kind of guarantee and seal put on their adoption as sons of God ... the Lord is then present and introduces into heaven those who are born of Him, that is, who are regenerated. (True Christian Religion 728)

As the angel Gabriel said to Mary, so the Lord would say to us, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1573; Isaiah 7:1-15; Luke 1:26-38)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #328

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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328. For thou wast slain, and didst redeem us to God in Thy blood, signifies the separation of all from the Divine, and the conjunction with the Divine by the acknowledgment of the Lord, and by the reception of Divine truth from Him. This is evident from the signification of "being slain," as being, in reference to the Lord, the separation of all from the Divine, for "to be slain" signifies in the Word to be spiritually slain, that is, to perish by evils and falsities (see above, n. 315); and because the Lord with such is not, for He is denied, therefore "being slain" signifies, in reference to the Lord, not acknowledged (as above, n. 315 and also denied; and when the Lord is denied He is as it were slain with such as deny, and by the denial they are separated from the Divine; for such as deny the Lord, that is, His Divine, separate themselves altogether from the Divine. For the Lord is the God of the universe, and He is one with the Father, and the Father is in Him and He in the Father, and no one cometh to the Father but by Him, as the Lord Himself teaches; consequently those in the church who do not acknowledge His Divine, and still more those who in heart deny it, are altogether separated from the Divine.

(References: Revelation 5:9; The Apocalypse Explained 315)


[2] Denying the Divine is here meant by slaying Him with themselves. In the internal sense of the Word the same is meant by "crucifying the Lord" (see above, n. 83, 195); for the Jews, with whom the church then was, denied that he was the Christ, and thereby separated themselves from the Divine and therefore they gave Him up to death, or crucified Him. Moreover, at this day those who deny His Divine do the same; it is therefore frequently said by preachers that those who lead an evil life and blaspheme the Lord crucify Him with themselves. This, therefore, is what is here signified by "Thou wast slain. " This is evident also from the signification of "thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood," as being that He conjoined us to the Divine by the acknowledgment of Him, and by the reception of Divine truth from Him; for "to redeem" signifies to liberate from hell, and thereby to appropriate men to Himself, and thus enjoin them to the Divine, as will be seen from the passages in the Word in which "to redeem" and "redemption" are mentioned, which will be quoted below. The "blood of the Lord" signifies Divine truth proceeding from Him; and because man by the reception of Divine truth from the Lord is liberated from hell and conjoined to Him, therefore "Thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood" signifies conjunction with the Divine by the reception of the Divine truth from the Lord.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 83, 195)


[3] That this sense lies hidden in these words no one can see who abides in the mere sense of the letter, for in that sense nothing else can be seen except that "Thou wast slain" means that He was crucified and "Thou didst redeem us in Thy blood" means that He has reconciled us to His Father by the passion of the cross. Because this meaning is the meaning of the letter, and because it has hitherto been unknown that in the particulars of the Word there is an internal sense which is spiritual, from that sense, namely, the sense of the letter, it has been made a doctrine of the church that the Divine Itself which they call the Father cast away from Him the whole human race, and that the Lord by the passion of the cross made reconciliation, and that thus those for whom He intercedes are saved. Who that has any illumination of understanding cannot see that this doctrinal is contrary to the Divine Itself? For the Divine Itself never casts away any man from Him for He loves all, and therefore desires the salvation of all. It is also contrary to the Divine Itself to be reconciled by the shedding of blood, and to be brought back to mercy by beholding the passion of the cross which His own Son sustained, and from this to have mercy, and not from Himself. Although this doctrine is so contrary to the Divine essence, yet to believe this is called essential faith or justifying faith.

[4] Again, who can think from enlightened reason that the sins of the whole world were transferred to the Lord, and that the sins of anyone who merely has that faith are thereby taken away? But although this is the doctrine of those who never think beyond the sense of the letter, yet the angels who are with men have no perception of these things according to that sense, but according to the spiritual sense, for they are spiritual and therefore think spiritually and not naturally. To angels, "redeeming man in His blood" means liberating man from hell, and thus claiming and conjoining man to Himself by the acknowledgment of Him, and by the reception of Divine truth from Him. Moreover, the church may know that this is so; for it may know that no one is conjoined to the Divine by blood, but by the reception of the Divine truth, and the application of it to the life.

[5] Liberation from hell by the Lord was accomplished by His assuming the Human, and through it subjugating the hells, and reducing to order all things in the heavens, which could have been done in no way except by the Human; for the Divine operates from firsts through ultimates, thus from Himself through the things that are from Himself in ultimates, which are in the Human. This is the operation of Divine power in heaven and in the world. (On this see some things above, n. 41; also in Heaven and Hell 315; and in Arcana Coelestia 5897 897, 6239, 6451, 6465, 8603, 9215, 9216, 9824, 9828, 9836, 10044, 10099, 10329, 10335, 10548.)

Liberation from hell by the Lord was also accomplished by His glorifying His Human, that is, making it Divine; for thus and not otherwise could He hold the hells in subjection forever; and as the subjugation of the hells and the glorification of His Human was accomplished by means of temptations admitted into his Human, His passion of the cross was His last temptation and complete victory. That "He bore the sins of all" signifies that He admitted into Himself all the hells when He was tempted, for from the hells all sins or evils ascend, and enter into man and are in him; therefore the Lord's "bearing sins" signifies that He admitted the hells into Himself when tempted; and His "taking away sins" means that He subjugated the hells, in order that evils may no more rise up from them, with those who acknowledge the Lord and receive Him, that is, who receive in faith and life the Divine truth proceeding from Him, and who are thus conjoined to the Lord.

It was said that "Thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood" signifies conjunction with the Divine by the acknowledgment of the Lord, and the reception of Divine truth from Him; and as the church is founded on this, I will state briefly how conjunction is thereby effected.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9215-9216; Ezekiel 18:12; The Apocalypse Explained 41)


[6] The primary thing is to acknowledge the Lord, to acknowledge His Divine in the Human, and His omnipotence to save the human race; for by that acknowledgment man is conjoined to the Divine, since there is no Divine except in Him; for the Father is there; for the Father is in Him, and He in the Father, as the Lord Himself teaches; consequently they who look to another Divine near Him, or at His side, as those are wont to do who pray to the Father to have mercy for the sake of the Son, turn aside from the way and worship a Divine elsewhere than in Him. Moreover, they then give no thought to the Divine of the Lord, but only to the Human, when yet these cannot be separated; for the Divine and the Human are not two, but a single person, conjoined like soul and body, according to the doctrine received by the churches from the Athanasian Creed. Therefore to acknowledge the Divine in the Lord's Human, or the Divine Human, is the primary thing of the church, by which there is conjunction; and because it is the primary it is also the first thing of the church. It is because this is the first thing of the church, that the Lord, when He was in the world, so often said to those whom He healed, "Believest thou that I can do this?" and when they answered that they believed, He said, "Be it done according to thy faith." This He so often said that they might believe, in the first place, that from His Divine Human He had Divine omnipotence, for without that belief the church could not be begun, and without that belief they could not have been conjoined with the Divine, but must have been separated from it, and thus would not have been able to receive anything good from him.

[7] Afterwards the Lord taught how they were to be saved, namely, by receiving Divine truth from Him; and truth is received when it is applied to the life and implanted in it by doing it; therefore the Lord so often said that they should do His words. From this it can be seen that these two things, namely, believing in the Lord and doing His words, make one, and can by no means be separated; for he who does not do the Lord's words does not believe in Him; so also he who thinks that he believes in Him and does not do His words does not believe in Him, for the Lord is in His words, that is, in His truths, and by them He gives faith to man. From these few things it can be known that conjunction with the Divine is effected through the acknowledgment of the Lord and the reception of Divine truth from Him. This, therefore, is what is signified by "the Lamb redeeming us to God in His blood." That "the Lamb" signifies the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, see above n. 314. (On this more may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 293-297, and in the quotations from Arcana Coelestia, n 300-306, as also at the end of that work, where the Lord is particularly treated of.)

That "blood" signifies the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and "salvation by His blood" signifies by the reception of Divine truth from Him, will be explained in the following article.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 314)


[8] That "to redeem" signifies to deliver and to make free, and, in reference to the Lord, to deliver and free from hell, and thus to set apart and conjoin to Himself, can be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:

Who is this that cometh from Edom, walking in the multitude of his power? I that speak in righteousness, great to save. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed hath come. In all their straitness He was in straitness and the angel of His faces saved them; because of His love and His pity He redeemed them; and He took them up and carried them all the days of eternity (Isaiah 63:1, 4, 9).

This treats of the Lord and His temptation-combats, by which He subjugated the hells. "Edom from which He cometh" signifies His Human, so also does "the angel of His faces." His Divine power from which He fought is signified by "walking in the multitude of His power;" the casting down into hell of those who rose up against Him and the elevation of the good into heaven is meant by "righteousness," thus by these words, "I that speak in righteousness, great to save. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed hath come." His Divine love from which He did these things is described by "In all their straitness He was in straitness, and the angel of His faces saved them; because of His love and His pity He redeemed them; and He took them up and carried them all the days of eternity." From this it is clear that "the redeemed" and "those whom He redeemed" signify those whom He rescued from the fury of those who are from hell, and whom he saved.

[9] In the same:

Thus hath said Jehovah thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Former, O Israel; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine (Isaiah 43:1).

That "to redeem" signifies to free from hell, and to set apart and conjoin to Himself so that they may be His, is clear, for it is said, "I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine;" because this is effected through reformation and regeneration by the Lord, therefore it is said, "Jehovah thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Former, O Israel." He is called Creator because "to create" in the Word signifies to regenerate (see above, n. 294). "Jacob" and "Israel" signify those who are of the church, and are in truths from good.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 294)


[10] In the same:

Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and the wages of His work are before Him. And they shall call them a people of holiness, the redeemed of Jehovah (Isaiah 62:11-12).

This also treats of the Lord's coming, and the establishment of a church by Him. "Daughter of Zion" signifies the church which is in love to the Lord; His coming is meant by "Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and the wages of His work are before Him;" those who are reformed and regenerated by Him are meant by "the redeemed of Jehovah."

[11] These are called the "redeemed" because they have been freed from evils by regeneration, and are set apart by the Lord and are conjoined to Him. In the same:

No lion shall be there, and the ravenous of the wild beasts shall not be found therein; but the redeemed shall go; and the ransomed of Jehovah shall return, and come to Zion with singing, and the gladness of eternity shall be upon their head (Isaiah 30:9-10).

This also treats of the Lord's coming, and the salvation of those who suffer themselves to be regenerated by the Lord. That with such there shall not be falsity destroying truth nor evil destroying good, is signified by "No lion shall be there, and the ravenous of the wild beasts shall not be found therein;" that such are delivered from evils and freed from falsities is signified by "the redeemed shall go; so shall the ransomed of Jehovah return;" their eternal happiness is signified by "they shall come to Zion with singing, and the gladness of eternity shall be upon their head," "Zion" meaning the church. What "singing" signifies see just above (n. 326). There are two, words in the original by which "to redeem" is expressed, one signifying deliverance from evils, the other liberation from falsities; these two words are used here; thus it is said, "the redeemed shall go," and "the ransomed of Jehovah shall return. " (These two words are also used in Hosea 13:14; and in David, Psalms 69:18; 107:2)

(References: Isaiah 35:9-10; The Apocalypse Explained 326)


[12] "To redeem" signifies to deliver from evils and to free from falsities, and also to deliver and free from hell, because all evils and falsities with man arise out of hell; and since the Lord removes these by reformation and regeneration, reformation and regeneration also are signified by "to redeem" or "redemption," as in the following passages.

[13] In David:

Rise up as a help to us, and ransom us for Thy mercy's sake (Psalms 44:26);

to "ransom" here meaning to free and to reform. In the same:

God hath ransomed my soul from the hand of hell; and He will accept me (Psalms 49:15).

"To ransom from the hand of hell" means to free; "to accept me" means to set apart and to conjoin to Himself, or to make His own, as servants sold and redeemed. In Hosea:

Out of the hand of hell will I ransom them; I will redeem them from death (Hosea 13:14).

"To redeem" meaning to deliver and free from damnation. In David:

Bless Jehovah, O my soul, who hath redeemed thy life from the pit (Psalms 103:1, 4).

"To redeem from the pit" means to free from damnation; "the pit" meaning damnation. In the same:

Draw nigh unto my soul, redeem it, and because of my enemies ransom me (Psalms 69:18).

"To draw nigh to the soul" signifies to conjoin it to Himself; "to redeem it" signifies to deliver from evils; "because of my enemies ransom me" signifies to free from falsities, "enemies" meaning falsities. In the same:

Let the redeemed of Jehovah say, whom He hath redeemed out of the hand of the distressing enemy (Psalms 107:2).

"The redeemed of Jehovah" means those who are delivered from evil; "whom He hath redeemed out of the hand of the distressing enemy" means those whom He has freed from falsities. In Jeremiah:

I am with thee, to save thee and to rescue thee; and I will rescue thee out of the hand of the evil, and I will ransom thee out of the hand of the violent (Jeremiah 15:20-21).

"To ransom out of the hand of the violent" means to free from falsities that offer violence to the good of charity; the "violent" signifying such falsities, consequently those also who are in them.

(References: Isaiah 13:14)


[14] In David:

Let Israel hope in Jehovah, for with Jehovah there is mercy, and in Him is much ransom, and He shall ransom Israel out of all his iniquities (Psalms 130:7-8).

"Ransom" means liberation; "Israel" the church; and to reform those who are of the church and free them from falsities is signified by "He shall ransom Israel out of all his iniquities." In the same:

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I have waited for thee. Ransom Israel, O God, out of all his distresses (Psalms 25:21-22).

"To ransom Israel out of distresses" means here also to free those who are of the church from falsities, which straiten. In Isaiah:

Is My hand shortened, that there is no ransoming? or is there no power in Me to rescue? (Isaiah 50:2).

That "ransoming" means liberation is evident, for it is said also, "Is My hand shortened, or is there no power in Me to rescue." In David:

God shall hear my voice; He shall ransom my soul in peace (Psalms 55:17-18);

"to ransom" here means to free. In the same:

Unto Thee will I sing psalms with the harp, Thou Holy One of Israel. My lips shall praise; and my soul, which Thou hast ransomed (Psalms 71:22-23).

"To ransom the soul" means to free from falsities; for "soul" in the Word signifies the life of faith, and "heart" the life of love; therefore "to ransom the soul" signifies to free from falsities and to give the life of faith.

[15] In the same:

Ransom me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Thy precepts (Psalms 119:134).

"To ransom from the oppression of man" signifies to free from the falsities of evil, for "man" signifies the spiritual affection of truth and wisdom therefrom, and in the contrary sense, as here, the lust of falsity and insanity therefrom; the "oppression of man" signifies the destruction of truth by falsities. In the same:

Into Thine hand I will commend my spirit; Thou hast ransomed me, O Jehovah, God of truth (Psalms 31:5);

"to ransom" means to free from falsities and to reform by means of truths; and because this is signified by "ransom" it is said, "O Jehovah, God of truth." In the same:

Crime is in the hands of sinners, and their right hand is full of a bribe. But as for me, I walk in mine integrity; ransom me, and be merciful unto me (Psalms 26:10-11);

"to ransom" meaning to free from falsities and to reform. In the same:

He shall redeem their soul from fraud and violence; and precious shall their blood be in His eyes. And he shall live, and to him shall He give of the gold of Sheba; and He shall pray for him continually; all the day shall He bless them (Psalms 72:14-15).

The "needy" are here treated of, by whom those are signified who desire truths from spiritual affection; of these it is said that "He shall redeem their soul from fraud and violence," which signifies liberation from falsities and evils that destroy the goods of love and the truths of faith; the reception of Divine truth by them is signified by "precious shall their blood be in His eyes;" their reformation is described "he shall live, and to him shall He give of the gold of Sheba; and He shall pray for him continually; all the day shall He bless him;" "the gold of Sheba" is the good of charity; "to pray for him continually" signifies that they shall constantly be withheld from falsities and kept in truths; and "all the day shall He bless him" signifies that they shall constantly be in the good of charity and faith, for this is a Divine benediction; while to withhold from falsities and to keep in truths is "to pray for him continually."

(References: Psalms 26:9-11)


[16] In Isaiah:

Thus said Jehovah, For nought ye have been sold, and not by silver shall ye be redeemed. My people went down into Egypt to sojourn there, but Assyria oppressed them for nought (Isaiah 52:3-4).

This treats of the desolation of truths by knowledges and by the reasonings of the natural man from them; for "My people went down into Egypt to sojourn there" signifies the instruction of the natural man in knowledges and cognitions of truth; "Egypt" signifies knowledges and also cognitions, but such as are from the sense of the letter of the Word; and "to sojourn" signifies to be instructed; "Assyria oppressed them for nought" signifies the falsification of knowledges by the reasonings of the natural man; "Assyria" signifying reasonings, and "to oppress for nought" falsifications, for falsities are nought because there is nothing of truth in them. Knowledges are thus falsified when the natural man separate from the spiritual forms conclusions; this is why it is said, "For nought ye have been sold, and not by silver shall ye be redeemed;" "for nought to be sold" signifies from self or from the selfhood to alienate oneself from falsities and renounce them; and "not by silver to be redeemed" signifies that one cannot be delivered by means of truth from the falsities of evil; "silver" signifying truth, and "to be redeemed" signifying to be delivered from the falsities of evil and to be reformed.

[17] In Zechariah:

I will bring them together, because I will ransom them; and then shall they be multiplied; I will sow them among the peoples; and I will bring them back out of the land, and will bring them together out of Assyria; and I will lead them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon (Zechariah 10:8-10).

This treats of the restoration of the church, and reformation by means of truth from good; and "I will bring them together, because I will ransom them" signifies the dispersion of falsities and reformation by means of truths; therefore it is said, "they shall be multiplied, and I will sow them among the peoples," which signifies the multiplication and insemination of truth from good; "to bring them back out of the land of Egypt, and to bring them together out of Assyria" signifies (as above) to withdraw them from the falsifying of truth that they are in by their reasonings from knowledges; "to lead them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon" signifies to the good of the church, which is the good of charity, and to the good and truth of faith; the former is "the land of Gilead" and the latter "Lebanon. "

[18] From this it can be seen what is signified in the spiritual sense by Jehovah's "leading the people out of Egypt" and "ransoming them," as in Moses:

I will rescue you from bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched-out arm, and with great judgments (Exodus 6:6).

I led you out of Egypt with a stretched-out arm, and I ransomed you out of the house of bondmen (Deuteronomy 7:8; 9:26-29; 13:5; 15:15; 24:18).

Thou in Thy mercy hast led Thy people whom Thou hast redeemed; Thou hast guided them in the strength of Thy hand to the habitation of Thy holiness (Exodus 15:13).

And in Micah:

I made thee to go up out of the land of Egypt, and ransomed thee out of the house of bondage (Micah 6:4).

This means in the sense of the letter that they were led by the Divine power out of Egypt, where they had been made bondmen; but in the internal or spiritual sense no such thing is meant, but it means that those who are of the church, that is, those that are reformed by the Lord by means of truths and a life according to them, are delivered and freed from evils and from the falsities thence, for these are the things that make man a bondsman; this is the spiritual sense of these words, and in this sense are the angels when man is in the sense of the letter.

[19] Moreover, by "redemption" the angels understand deliverance from evils and liberation from falsities in the following passages. In Moses:

I will put a ransom between My people and Pharaoh's people (Exodus 8:23).

In David:

He hath sent a ransom unto His people; He hath commanded His covenant for ever; holy and fearful is His name (Psalms 111:9).

In Matthew:

What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, but shall cause the loss of his soul? or what price shall a man give sufficient for the redemption of his soul? (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36-37);

"redemption" here meaning deliverance from damnation.

[20] From this it can be seen what the Lord's redeeming mankind signifies, namely, that He delivered and freed them from hell and from the evils and falsities that continually rise up therefrom and bring man into condemnation, and that He continually delivers them and frees them. This deliverance and liberation was effected by His subjugating the hells; and the continual deliverance and liberation by His glorifying His Human, that is, making it Divine, for thereby He keeps the hells continually subjugated; this, therefore is what is signified by His redeeming man, and by His being called in the Word "Redeemer," as in the following passages. In Isaiah:

Fear not, thou worm of Jacob, and ye mortals of Israel; I am He that helpeth thee, and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:14).

Thus said Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, His Holy One, because of Jehovah who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who hath chosen thee (Isaiah 49:7).

Our Redeemer is Jehovah of Hosts, His name the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 47:4).

Thus said Jehovah your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 43:14).

That all flesh may know that I Jehovah am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob (Isaiah 49:26).

That thou mayest know that I Jehovah am thy Savior and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob (Isaiah 60:16).

By the "Holy One of Israel," and the "Mighty One of Jacob," who is here called "Redeemer," is meant the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, and by "Jehovah" is meant His Divine Itself. The Lord in respect to His Divine Human is called "the Holy One of Israel," and "the Mighty One of Jacob," and the "Strong One of Jacob," because "Israel" and "Jacob" signify the church, thus those who are regenerated and reformed, that is, redeemed by the Lord, for these alone are of the church, that is, constitute the church of the Lord.

[21] That the Lord's Divine Human is what is called "the Holy One" is evident in Luke:

The angel said unto Mary, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; therefore the Holy Thing born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).

And that the Lord in respect to the Divine Human is "the Strong One of Jacob," and the "Mighty One of Jacob;" in the same:

The angel said unto Mary, Behold, thou shalt conceive in the womb, and bring forth a Son. He shall be great, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:30-33).

"The house of Jacob" evidently means the Lord's church, not the Jewish nation.

[22] Because the Lord's Human was equally Divine with His Divine Itself that took on the Human, Jehovah is called "the Redeemer" in the following passages. In Isaiah:

Thus said Jehovah thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am Jehovah thy God (Isaiah 48:17).

Jehovah of Hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel the God of the whole earth shall He be called (Isaiah 54:5).

In David:

O Jehovah, my 1 Rock and my Redeemer (Psalms 19:14).

In Jeremiah:

Their Redeemer is strong; Jehovah of Hosts is His name (Jeremiah 50:34).

In Isaiah:

Thou, O Jehovah, art our Father, our Redeemer; from everlasting is Thy 2 name (Isaiah 63:16).

From this it can now be seen how this saying of the Lord is to be understood:

The Son of man came to give His soul a redemption for many (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45);

namely, that they might be delivered and freed from hell; for the passion of the cross was the last combat and complete victory by which He subjugated the hells, and by which He glorified His Human (see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 293-297, 300-306).

(References: Isaiah 35:9-10; Revelation 5:9)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 320, 329, 340, 374, 375, 376, 655, 748, 750, 860, 960, 966, 973, 975, 1049

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.


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