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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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

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 Revealed #962

Apocalypse Revealed (Rogers translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 962  

← Previous   

962. The second account:

Since the Lord has granted me to see marvels that exist in the heavens and beneath the heavens, I am obliged by command to relate something I saw:

I saw a magnificent palace and at its center a large chapel. In the middle of the chapel there was a table of gold on which lay the Word, with two angels standing beside it.

Placed around the table were three rows of chairs. The chairs in the first row were covered with a purple-colored silk cloth, the chairs in the second row with a blue-colored silk cloth, and the chairs in the third row with a white cloth.

Hanging high up over the table from the ceiling I saw a canopy glistening with precious stones, whose radiance shone like that of a rainbow when the sky grows calm after a rain.

Suddenly then I saw, sitting on the chairs, as many of the clergy as there were seats, all attired in the vestments of their priestly office.

On one side there was a vestry where an angel custodian stood, and in it lay a beautiful array of shining vestments.

(References: Revelation 15:5)

[2] It was a council convened by the Lord, and I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Deliberate!"

However, they said, "About what?"

They were told, "About the Lord and the Holy Spirit."

But when they began to consider these, they found themselves without enlightenment and therefore prayed for it. And light then shone down from heaven, which illumined first the backs of their heads, next their temples, and finally their faces. With that they began, and as they were commanded, they considered first the Lord.

The first question proposed and discussed was who assumed the humanity in the virgin Mary.

One of the angels standing beside the table on which lay the Word read to them the following verses in Luke:

(The angel said to Mary,) "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest?." Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" And the angel answered and said..., "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore... that Holy One who is to be born (from you) will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:31-32, 34-35)

The angel also read the verses found in Matthew 1:20-25, and with emphasis what is said there in verse 25. 1

He read in addition more verses from the Gospels, where in respect to His humanity the Lord is called the Son of God, and where from the perspective of His humanity He calls Jehovah His Father. And from the Prophets as well, where it is foretold that Jehovah Himself would come into the world, including among others the following two passages in Isaiah:

It will be said in that day: "Behold, this is our God... This is Jehovah; we have waited for Him; we will exult and rejoice in His salvation." (Isaiah 25:9)

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of Jehovah; make straight in the desert a highway for our God... (For) the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together... Behold, the Lord Jehovih shall come with might... He will feed His flock like a shepherd. (Isaiah 40:3, 5, 10-11)

[3] The angel said moreover, "Since Jehovah Himself came into the world and assumed human form and by it saved and redeemed men, therefore in the Prophets He is called a Savior and Redeemer." And He read to them then the following passages:

Surely God is in you, and there is no other (God).... Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior! (Isaiah 45:14-15)

Am I not Jehovah? And there is no other God besides Me. There is no just God and Savior besides Me. (Isaiah 45:21-22)

...I am Jehovah, and besides Me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43:11)

I am Jehovah your God..., and you shall acknowledge no God but Me; there is also no Savior besides Me. (Hosea 13:4)

...that all flesh may know that I, Jehovah, am your Savior and your Redeemer... (Isaiah 49:26, cf. 60:16)

As for our Redeemer, Jehovah Zebaoth is His name... (Isaiah 47:4)

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

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

Thus said Jehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am Jehovah your God...." (Isaiah 48:17, cf. 43:14; 49:7; 54:8)

You, Jehovah, are our Father; our Redeemer from Eternity is Your name. (Isaiah 63:16)

Thus said Jehovah, your Redeemer...: "I am Jehovah, who makes all things, ...all alone, Myself." (Isaiah 44:24)

Thus said Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah Zebaoth: "I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God." (Isaiah 44:6)

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

Behold, the days are coming... when I will raise to David a righteous Branch, who shall reign a King... And this is His name...: JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:5-6, cf. 33:15-16)

In that day... Jehovah shall become King over all the earth. In that day there shall be one Jehovah and His name one. (Zechariah 14:8-9)

(References: Zechariah 14:9)

[4] Having been convinced by all these passages, the clergymen sitting on the chairs unanimously said that Jehovah Himself assumed human form in order to save and redeem men.

But at that a voice was heard from a group of Roman Catholics who had hidden themselves in a corner of the chapel, saying, "How can Jehovah, the Father, become a man? Is He not the Creator of the universe?"

Then one of the clergymen sitting on the chairs in the second row turned and said, "Who assumed human form then?"

And from the corner the Roman Catholic responded, "The Son from eternity."

But he received the reply, "Is not the Son from eternity, according to your belief, also the Creator of the universe? And what is a Son or God born from eternity? How can the Divine essence, which is a single entity and indivisible, be divided, and one part of it descend and take on human form, and not at the same time the whole of it?"

[5] A second discussion regarding the Lord considered whether God the Father and the Lord were not thus one, as soul and body are one. The clergymen said that it followed as a consequence, because the father is the origin of the soul. And then one of those who were sitting on the chairs in the third row recited the following from the statement of faith called the Athanasian Creed:

But although (our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God) is God and man, nevertheless there are not two Christs but one...; indeed, being completely one... by the unity of His person. For as the soul and the body are one person, so God and man are one Christ.

The clergyman reciting this said that this is the accepted faith throughout the Christian world, accepted also by Roman Catholics. And they all said then, "What need is there of more? God the Father and the Lord are one, as soul and body are one."

Then they said, "This being the case, we see that the Lord's humanity is Divine, because it is Jehovah's humanity. And we see that one must turn to the Lord in His Divine humanity, this being the only way that one can approach the Divine called the Father."

[6] The angel confirmed this conclusion of theirs with still more passages from the Word, which included the following in Isaiah:

...unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given... whose name (is) Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Also in Isaiah:

...You are our Father; ...Abraham was ignorant of us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, Jehovah, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name. (Isaiah 63:16)

And in John:

Jesus... said, "He who believes in Me, believes... in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me." (John 12:44-45)

Philip said to (Jesus), ." us the Father...." Jesus says to him, ."..He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how then can you say, 'Show us the Father'... Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? ...Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me...." (John 14:8-11)

And finally the following:

Jesus said..., "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)

When they heard these passages, the clergymen all said with one heart and mouth that the Lord's humanity is Divine, and that one must turn to Him in order to go to the Father, since Jehovah God, who is the Lord from eternity, by means of that humanity introduced Himself into the world and made Himself visible to the eyes of men and accessible. In like manner He made Himself visible and so accessible in human form to people in ancient times, but did so then by means of an angel.

[7] Following this they next took up a deliberation regarding the Holy Spirit. And they began by determining the idea many of them had of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, namely of God the Father sitting on high, so to speak, having the Son at His right hand, and the two sending out the Holy Spirit to enlighten and instruct mankind.

But then a voice was heard from heaven, saying, "We cannot abide that mental image! Who does not know that Jehovah God is omnipresent? Anyone who knows and acknowledges this must also acknowledge that it is He who enlightens and instructs, and that there is no intermediate God, distinct from Him, and still less distinct from two others, as one person is from another. Rid yourselves, therefore, of your earlier idea, which is an idle one, and accept this one, which is the right one, and you will see the matter clearly."

[8] However, a voice was again heard then from the group of Roman Catholics who had hidden themselves in a corner of the chapel, saying, "What then is the Holy Spirit, which is mentioned in the Word by the Gospels and Paul, by which so many of the learned in the clergy say they are led, especially in our clergy? Who today in the Christian world denies the reality of the Holy Spirit and its operation?"

At that one of the clergymen sitting on the chairs in the second row turned and said, "The Holy Spirit is the Divinity emanating from the Lord Jehovah. You say that the Holy Spirit is a distinct person and a distinct God, yet what is a person that originates and emanates from a person but an operation that originates and emanates? One person cannot originate or emanate from another one by means of another, but an operation can. Or what is a God that originates and emanates from God but a Divinity that originates and emanates? One God cannot originate and emanate from another one by means of another, but a Divinity can. Is not the Divine essence one and indivisible? And because the Divine essence or Divine being is God, is not God one and indivisible?"

[9] Hearing this, the clergymen sitting on the chairs unanimously concluded that the Holy Spirit is not a distinct person or a distinct God, but that it is the holy Divinity originating and emanating from the one and only omnipresent God, who is the Lord.

At that the angels standing beside the golden table on which lay the Word said, "Good! You do not read anywhere in the Old Testament that the prophets were inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak the Word, but that they were inspired by the Lord Jehovah. And where the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the New Testament, it means the emanating Divinity, which is the Divinity that enlightens, instructs, vivifies, reforms and regenerates."

[10] After this the clergymen took up a second discussion of the Holy Spirit, asking from whom the Divinity called the Holy Spirit emanated, whether it did so from the Divine called the Father, or from the Divine human called the Son. And as they were discussing this, a light shone from heaven which enabled them to see that the holy Divinity meant by the Holy Spirit emanates from the Divinity in the Lord by means of His glorified humanity, which is His Divine humanity, comparatively as every activity in the case of a person emanates from the soul by means of the body.

This conclusion one of the angels standing beside the table confirmed from the Word by the following verses:

...He whom (the Father) has sent speaks the words of God, ...God does not give (Him) the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. (John 3:34-35)

There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse... The Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might... (Isaiah 11:1-2)

Also verses saying that Jehovah put His spirit upon Him, and that the spirit of Jehovah was in Him (Isaiah 42:1; 59:19-20; 61:1, Luke 4:18).

When the (Holy Spirit) comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father... (John 15:26)

He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:14-15)

...if I depart, I will send (the Counselor) to you. (John 16:7)

The Counselor is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26).

...the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:39)

After His glorification Jesus breathed on His disciples and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22).

[11] Since the Lord's Divine operation and His Divine omnipresence are meant by the Holy Spirit, therefore when He spoke to His disciples about the Holy Spirit whom God the Father would send, He also said:

I will not leave you orphans... I am going away and coming back to you. (John 14:18, 28)


At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 14:20)

And just before He departed from the world He said:

Lo, I am with you always, even to the culmination of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

After he read these verses to them, the angel said, "From these and many other passages in the Word, it is apparent that the Divinity called the Holy Spirit emanates from the Divinity in the Lord by means of His Divine humanity."

At that the clergymen sitting on the chairs said, "It is the Divine truth."

[12] Lastly the clergymen formed this declaration, that "from the

deliberations in this council we have clearly seen and so acknowledge as a sacred truth that there is a trinity in our Lord Jesus Christ, namely, an originating Divine called the Father, a Divine humanity that is the Son, and an emanating Divinity that is the Holy Spirit. Thus there is in the church but one God."

[13] After these proceedings in that grand council were concluded, the clergymen stood up, and the angel custodian came from the vestry, bringing for each of those sitting on the chairs shining vestments, which were interwoven here and there with gold threads. And the angel said, "Take these wedding garments."

Then the clergymen were conveyed gloriously into the New Christian Heaven, the heaven with which the Lord's church on earth, the New Jerusalem, will be conjoined.

Revelation 22:21

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.



1. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins." So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS. (Matthew 1:20-25)


Go to section / 962  

← Previous   

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 21, 839

   Parallel Passages:

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 120

True Christian Religion 188

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.