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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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

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

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Jeremiah 23:5

Daniel 2:44, 7:14

Obadiah 1:21

Micah 4:7

Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

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

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

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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

'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

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...

“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...

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...

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...

'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

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



You Shall Bear a Son      

By Rev. Eric Carswell

The Annunciation, 1898, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
By Henry Ossawa Tanner -, Public Domain,

"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 #815

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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815. Verse 11. And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, signifies confirmations from the sense of the letter of the Word in favor of faith separated from life, and the consequent falsifications of the truth of the church. This is evident from the signification of "the two beasts" treated of in this chapter, as being the confirmation of those things that are signified by "the dragon," for "the dragon" signifies especially faith alone (see above, n. 714; and "the beast coming up out of the sea" signifies reasonings from the natural man confirming the separation of faith from life (see also above, n. 774; therefore this "beast" signifies confirmations from the sense of the letter of the Word in favor of faith separated from life, and the consequent falsifications of the truth of the church. That "the dragon" is further described by these two "beasts" is evident from verses 2, 4, 11 of this chapter. There are moreover two means by which any heretical dogma may be confirmed, namely, by reasonings from the natural man and by confirmations from the sense of the letter of the Word; and these two means are what are signified by these two "beasts." The former "beast" signifies reasonings from the natural man, because the "sea" out of which that beast came up signifies the natural of man, while this "beast" signifies confirmations from the sense of the letter of the Word, because the "earth" out of which it came up signifies the church where the Word is. This "beast" signifies also falsifications of the Word, because the Word unless it is falsified can never confirm a false dogma, since all things of the Word are truths; consequently all truths can be confirmed from the Word, but by no means falsities, as can be clearly seen from what has been said above and also from what follows in this chapter.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 714, 774)

[2] As passages from the Word have been cited above n. 785 in which "works," "deeds," "working," and "doing" are mentioned, I will now cite passages where "faith" and "believing" are mentioned, but only from the Gospels, and not from the Epistles of the Apostles, and for the reason that the Gospels contain the words of the Lord Himself, all of which have concealed in them a spiritual sense, through which immediate communication with heaven is granted, while the writings of the Apostles contain no such sense, although they are nevertheless useful books for the church.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 785)

[3] The passages of the Word where "faith" and "believing" are mentioned are the following. In Matthew:

There came a centurion to the Lord, saying, Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof; but say the word only, and my boy shall be healed. Jesus hearing, marveled and said to them that followed Him, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And He said unto the centurion, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed be it done unto thee; and his boy was healed in that hour (Matthew 8:8, 10, 13).

The Lord healed this person and others according to their faith, because the first and primary thing of the church then to be established was to believe that the Lord is God Almighty, for without that faith no church could have been established. For the Lord was the God of heaven and the God of earth, with whom no conjunction is possible except by an acknowledgment of His Divinity, which acknowledgment is faith. The centurion evidently acknowledged the Lord to be God Almighty, for he said, "I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof; but say the word only, and my boy shall be healed."

[4] In the same:

A woman afflicted with an issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus' garment; for she said within herself, If I shall but touch His garment I shall be healed. Jesus turning and seeing her, said, Daughter be of good cheer, thy faith hath made thee whole; and she was healed in that hour (Matthew 9:20-22).

In the same:

They brought unto Him one sick of the palsy lying on a bed; Jesus seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy, Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven. Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thy house (Matthew 9:2-7; Luke 5:19-25).

In the same:

Two blind men cried, saying, Have mercy on us, Thou Son of David. Jesus said unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They say unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it done unto you; and their eyes were opened (Matthew 9:27-30).

No other faith than that which is called historical, which at that time was a miraculous faith, was meant by this faith whereby the sick were healed; consequently by this faith many wrought miracles at that time. This faith was, that the Lord was Almighty, because He was able to do miracles of Himself; for this reason He also allowed Himself to be worshiped, which was not the case with the prophets of the Old Testament, who were not worshiped. But there must always be this historical faith before it becomes a saving faith; for a historical faith becomes a saving faith with man by his learning truths from the Word, and living according to them.

(References: Luke 5:18-25; Matthew 9:27-29)

[5] In the same:

A woman of Canaan, whose daughter was vexed by a demon, came and worshiped Jesus, saying, Lord, help me. Jesus said unto her, Great is thy faith; be it done unto thee as thou wilt; and her daughter was healed (Matthew 15:22-28).

In John:

A ruler whose son was sick besought Jesus to heal his son before he died. Jesus said unto him, Go thy way, thy son liveth; and the man believed in the word that Jesus spake unto him. And his servants met him, saying, Thy son liveth. Therefore he believed, and his whole house (John 4:46-53).

In the same:

Jesus finding the man born blind whom He healed, said unto him, Believest thou, then, on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I may believe on Him? He said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him and He it is that speaketh with thee. He said, Lord, I believe; and he worshiped Him (John 9:35-38).

In Luke:

Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, whose daughter was dead, Fear not, only believe, and she shall be made whole; and the daughter was raised up again (Luke 8:50, 55).

In the same:

One of the ten lepers that were healed by the Lord, who was a Samaritan, returned and fell upon his face at the feet of Jesus; and Jesus said unto him, Arise, go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole (Luke 17:15, 16, 19).

In the same:

Jesus said to the blind man, Thy faith hath saved thee; and immediately he was able to see (Luke 18:42, 43).

In Mark:

Jesus said to the disciples, when they were unable to heal a certain man's son 1 who had a dumb spirit; to whom Jesus said, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth; the father of the boy crying out with tears, said, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief; and he was healed (Mark 9:17, 23, 24).

There were three reasons why faith in the Lord healed these; first, because they acknowledged His Divine omnipotence, and that He was God; secondly, because faith is acknowledgment, and from acknowledgment intuition; and all intuition from acknowledgment makes another to be present; this is a common thing in the spiritual world. So now, when a New Church was to be established by the Lord, it was this intuition from an acknowledgment of the Lord's omnipotence from which they were first to look to the Lord; and from this it is clear what is here meant by faith. The third reason was, that all the diseases healed by the Lord represented and thus signified the spiritual diseases that correspond to these natural diseases; and spiritual diseases can be healed only by the Lord, and in fact by looking to His Divine omnipotence and by repentance of life. This is why He sometimes said, "Thy sins are forgiven thee; go and sin no more." This faith also was represented and signified by their miraculous faith; but the faith by which spiritual diseases are healed by the Lord can be given only through truths from the Word and a life according to them; the truths themselves and the life itself according to them make the quality of the faith. But more about this in what follows.

(References: Luke 17:15-19, 17:15-16, Luke 18:42-43; Mark 9:17-18, Mark 9:23-24)

[6] In John:

When Lazarus was dead, his sister saith, Lord, by this time he stinketh. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, If thou wouldst believe thou shouldst see the glory of God? (John 11:39, 40).

In Luke:

Jesus said to the woman who was a sinner, and who made His feet wet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet, which she also anointed with oil, Thy sins are forgiven thee; thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace (Luke 7:38, 48, 50).

From this it is clear that it was faith in the Lord's omnipotence that healed them, and that the same faith remitted, that is, removed, sins. The reason of this was that this woman not only had faith in the Divine omnipotence of the Lord, but also loved Him, for she kissed His feet. Wherefore the Lord said, "Thy sins are forgiven thee, thy faith hath saved thee," because faith makes the Divine of the Lord to be present, and love conjoins. It is possible, however, for the Lord to be present and not be conjoined; from which it is evident that it is faith from love that saves.

(References: John 11:39-40)

[7] Again:

Jesus said to the disciples in the boat, Why are ye fearful, O ye men of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there came a great calm (Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:39-41; Luke 8:24, 25).

Peter, at the Lord's command, went down out of the boat and walked upon the waters; but when the wind became strong he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus took hold of his hand and said, O man of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt (Matthew 14:28-31).

When the disciples could not heal the lunatic, Jesus said unto them, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? and Jesus healed him; and He said to the disciples that they could not heal him by reason of their unbelief (Matthew 17:14, seq.).

Jesus came into His own country, and there they were offended in Him; and Jesus said, A prophet is not without honor save in his own country and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:57, 58).

The Lord called the disciples "men of little faith" when they were unable to do miracles in His name, and He was unable to do miracles in His own country because of their unbelief, for the reason that while the disciples believed the Lord to be the Messiah or Christ, also the Son of God, and the prophet of whom it was written in the Word, yet they did not believe that He was God Almighty, and that Jehovah the Father was in Him; and yet so far as they believed Him to be a man, and not at the same time God, His Divine to which omnipotence belongs could not be present with the disciples by faith. For faith presents the Lord as present, as has been said above; but faith in Him as a man only does not present His Divine omnipotence as present. For the same reason those in the world at the present day who look to His Human alone and not at the same time to His Divine, as the Socinians and Arians do, cannot be saved.

(References: Luke 8:24-25; Matthew 13:57-58)

[8] And for a like reason the Lord could not do miracles in His own country, for there they had seen Him from infancy like another man; and therefore they were unable to add to that idea the idea of His Divinity; and when that idea is not present while the Lord is present, He is not present in man with Divine omnipotence; for faith presents the Lord as present in man according to the quality of the perception of Him. Other things man does not acknowledge and therefore rejects; for in order that the Lord may operate anything with man by faith the Lord's Divine must be present in man, and not outside of him.


[9] In John:

Many of the multitude believed on Jesus, and said, When the Christ shall come, will He do more signs than those which this one hath done? (John 7:31).

In Mark:

These signs shall follow them that believe: in My name they shall cast out demons; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word by signs following (Mark 16:17-20).

As the Jewish nation believed in Jehovah solely because of miracles, it is evidently a miraculous and not a saving faith that is here meant; for they were external men, and external men are moved to Divine worship only by external things, like miracles which forcibly strike the mind. Moreover, a miraculous faith was the first faith with those among whom a New Church was to be established; and such a faith is also the first with all in the Christian world at this day, and this is why the miracles performed by the Lord were described, and are also now preached. For the first faith with all is a historical faith, and this afterwards becomes a saving faith when man by his life becomes spiritual; for first of all it is to be believed that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and that He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite, and one with the Father. These things must be known; but so far as they are merely known they are historical, and a historical faith presents the Lord as present, because it is a looking to the Lord from His Divine nature. And yet that faith does not save until man lives the life of faith, which is charity; for he then wills and does what he believes, and to will and to do is of the love, and love conjoins to Him whom faith presents as present. The signification of those miracles that the disciples were to do, and that were done by them in the beginning of the Christian church, as casting out demons, speaking with new tongues, and others, may be seen above n. 706.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 706)

[10] In Matthew:

Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:14-20).

In Mark:

Have the faith of God; for verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou lifted up and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, what he hath said shall be done for him. Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye ask when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive them and ye shall have them (Mark 11:22-24).

In Matthew:

Jesus said to the disciples, If ye have faith and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which has been done to the fig-tree, but even if ye shall say unto this mountain, be thou lifted up and cast into the sea. And all things whatsoever ye shall ask believing in Me, ye shall receive (Matthew 21:21, 22).

In Luke:

If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed ye would say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou rooted up and be thou planted in the sea, and it would obey you (Luke 17:6).

That this is to be understood otherwise than according to the words is evident from its being said to the disciples, that "If they had faith as a grain of mustard seed they would be able to pluck up a mountain or a sycamine tree from its place, and cast it into the sea;" also that "all things whatsoever they asked they should receive;" and yet it is not according to Divine order for one to receive what he asks if he only have faith, or for the disciples to pluck up a mountain or a tree from its place and cast it into the sea. But "faith" here means faith from the Lord, consequently it is called "the faith of God," and he who is in faith from the Lord asks for nothing but what contributes to the Lord's kingdom and to himself for salvation; other things he does not wish, saying in his heart, Why should I ask for what does not contribute to this use? Therefore if he were to ask for anything except what it is granted him from the Lord to ask he would have no faith of God, that is, no faith from the Lord. It is impossible for angels of heaven to wish and so to ask for anything else, and if they were to do so they could have no faith that they would receive it. The Lord compared such faith to the ability and power to cast a mountain or sycamine tree into the sea, because the Lord spake here as well as elsewhere by correspondences, and therefore these words must be understood spiritually. For a "mountain" signifies the love of self and of the world, thus the love of evil; and a "sycamine tree" signifies the faith of that love, which is a faith in falsity from evil, and the "sea" signifies hell; therefore "to pluck up a mountain and cast it into the sea by the faith of God" signifies to cast these loves, which in themselves are diabolical, into hell, and likewise the faith in falsity from evil; and this is done through faith from the Lord. This comparison of the ability and power of faith from the Lord with plucking up and casting a mountain and a sycamine tree into the sea was also made because in the spiritual world such things actually take place. There these loves of evil sometimes appear as mountains, and the faith in falsity from evil as a sycamine tree; and both of these an angel can root up and cast into hell through faith from the Lord. (That a "mountain" signifies love to the Lord, and in the contrary sense the love of self, see above, n. 405, 510; and that a "fig-tree," or a "sycamine tree," signifies the natural man in respect to its goods and truths, and in the contrary sense the same in respect to evils and falsities, see above, n. 403.

(References: Luke 17:15-19; Matthew 21:21-22; The Apocalypse Explained 403, 405, 510)

[11] So much respecting miraculous faith. Passages from the Gospels respecting saving faith, which is faith in truth from love to the Lord, shall now follow. In John:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have eternal life. He that believeth in Him is not judged; but he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God (John 3:14-19).

In the same:

The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand; he that believeth in the Son hath eternal life, but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the anger of God abideth on him (John 3:35, 36).

In the same:

Except ye believe that I am He ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24).

In the same:

They said to Jesus, What shall we do that we may work the works of God? Jesus answering said, This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him whom the Father hath sent. I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he that believeth in Me shall never thirst. This is the will of Him that sent Me, that everyone that seeth the Son and believeth in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. Not that anyone hath seen the Father save He that is with the Father; 2 He hath seen the Father. Verily I say unto you, he that believeth in Me hath eternal life. I am the bread of life (John 6:28, 29, 35, 40, 46-48).

In the same:

Jesus said, He that heareth My word and believeth Him that sent Me hath eternal life, and shall not come into judgment, but shall pass from death into life. Verily I say unto you, that the hour shall come when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. Even as the Father hath life in Himself so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:24-26).

In the same:

Jesus cried out, saying, If anyone thirst let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. These things He said of the Spirit which those believing in Him were to receive John (7:37-39).

In the same:

Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he die yet shall he live; but everyone who liveth and believeth in Me shall not die to eternity (John 11:25-27).

In the same:

Jesus cried out and said, He that believeth in Me believeth not in Me but in Him that sent Me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me may not abide in the darkness. And if anyone hear My words and yet believe not, I judge him not; he that rejecteth Me and receiveth not My words hath one that judgeth him, the word that I have spoken shall judge him at the last day (John 12:44-48).

In the same:

While ye have the light believe in the light, that ye may be sons of light (John 12:36).

In the same:

Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me (John 14:1).

In the same:

As many as received Jesus, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them that believe in His name (John 1:12).

In the same:

Many believed in His name, beholding His signs (John 2:23).

In the same:

These are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life in His name (John 20:31).

In Mark:

Jesus said to the disciples, Going into all the world, preach ye the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned (Mark 16:15, 16).

These and other passages describe saving faith, which is to believe in the Lord; and to believe in Him is also to believe in the Father, because He and the Father are one. "To believe in the Lord" signifies not only to adore and worship Him, but also to live from Him, and one lives from Him when he lives according to the Word which is from Him; therefore "to believe in Him" is to believe that He regenerates man, and gives eternal life to those who are regenerated by Him.

(References: John 3:14-18, John 3:35-36, John 6:28-29, John 6:33, 6:39-40, John 7:37-39, John 11:25-26; Mark 16:15-16)

[12] "To believe in His name" has a similar signification as "to believe in Him," since the Lord's "name" signifies every quality of faith and love by which He is to be worshiped, and by which He saves man. This is signified by "His name," because in the spiritual world names that are given to persons are always in accord with the quality of their affection and life, and in consequence the quality of each one is known from his name alone. So when anyone's name is pronounced, and the quality that is meant by the name is loved, that one becomes present, and the two are united as companions and brethren. The quality of the Lord however is everything of faith and love by which He saves man, for that quality is the essence proceeding from Him; therefore when that quality is thought of by man the Lord becomes present with him, and when this quality is loved the Lord is conjoined to him. Thence it is that those who believe in His name have eternal life. This shows how necessary it is that man should know the quality of faith and love, that is, the Lord's "name;" also how necessary it is to love that quality, which comes by doing those things that the Lord has commanded. The names "Jesus" and "Christ" moreover involve this same quality, since "Jesus" means salvation, and "Christ" or "Messiah" Divine truth, which is everything of faith and love as to knowledges, doctrine, and life. When, therefore, these names are mentioned their quality must be thought of and they must live according to it. This is what is meant by the words of the Lord in Matthew:

Jesus said, If two of you on earth shall agree in My name respecting anything that they shall ask it shall be done for them by My Father who is in the heavens. For where two or three are gathered together in My name there am I in the midst of them (18 :19, 20).

There is, indeed, a presence of the Lord with all and also a love towards all; and yet man cannot be led and be saved by the Lord except in the measure of his reception of the Lord by faith in Him and love to Him.

(References: Matthew 18:19-20)

[13] This shows how necessary it is for man to know the quality of faith and love, that is, the Lord's name, also to love it, since the Lord can be loved only through His quality. That the Lord, and not the Father, must be approached and must be worshiped in accordance with the quality of the faith and love that is prescribed in the Word the Lord Himself teaches, saying:

That no one has seen the Father at any time but that the Son brings Him forth to view (John 1:18);

Also that no one cometh to the Father except through Him (John 14:6);

Since the Father and He are one (John 10:30).

Therefore to approach the Father and not the Lord is to make two out of one, and thus to worship apart from the Lord the Divine that is in Him. And this destroys in man the idea of Divinity in respect to the Lord, which again makes evident the truth:

That he that believeth in the Son hath eternal life (John 3:36).

[14] That to believe in the Lord is to believe in the Father, the Lord Himself teaches also in John:

He that believeth in Me believeth not in Me but in Him that sent Me; and he that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me (John 12:44, 45).

This means that he that believes in the Lord believes in Him not separate from the Father, but in the Father; and it is therefore added, "He that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me." So elsewhere in John:

Believe in God, believe in Me (14:1).

In the same:

Philip, believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? Believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me. Verily I say unto you, He that believeth in Me, the works that I do he shall do also, because I go to My Father (John 14:10-12).

In the same:

In that day ye shall ask in My name; and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; and I go unto the Father. The disciples say, In this we believe that Thou camest forth from God (John 16:26-30).

"To come forth from the Father" signifies to be conceived of Him, and "to go to the Father" signifies to be fully united to Him. That "to come forth from the Father" means to be conceived of Him is clearly evident from His conception (Matthew 1:18-25; and in Luke 1:34, 35). That "to go to the Father" means to be fully united to Him is evident from the glorification of His Human by the passion of the cross, which has been spoken of above; and therefore He says, "In that day ye shall ask in My name," and no more in the name of the Father.

(References: John 12:44-45, John 16:26-28, 16:30; Luke 1:34-35)

[15] In the same:

Jesus said unto Thomas, Because thou hast seen Me thou hast believed; happy are they that have not seen and yet have believed. And Thomas said, My Lord and my God (John 20:29, 20:28).

It was because the Lord was now fully united to the Divine Itself, which is called the Father, that Thomas called Him his Lord and his God. So elsewhere in the same:

Say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of My Father believe me not; though ye believe not Me believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in Me and I in the Father (John 10:36-38).

That the Jews did not believe is evident in John 5:14-17; 10:24-26; 12:37-39; Matthew 21:31-32. The cause of their unbelief was their wish for a Messiah who would exalt them to glory above all the nations in the world; also that they were wholly natural and not spiritual; also that they had falsified the Word, especially where it treats of the Lord and also of themselves. That such were the causes of their unbelief is evident also from the faith of the Jews at this day, who are altogether natural, and know or wish to know scarcely anything about the Lord's kingdom in the heavens. That neither would those in the Christian world at the present day believe that the Lord is one with the Father, and is therefore the God of heaven and earth, is meant by the Lord's words in Luke:

When the Son of man cometh shall He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8).

But on this subject, the Lord willing, more will be said elsewhere.


1.  The photolithograph has "filiam" "daughter," for "filium," "son. "

2.  The Latin has "Father" for "God."


(References: John 3:14-18, John 5:14-47, John 6:33, John 6:39-40, John 11:25-26, John 12:37-49, John 16:26-28, John 16:30, 20:28-29; Luke 17:15-19; Mark 9:17-18, Mark 16:15-20; Matthew 9:27-29)

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