The Bible

 

Matthew 5:1-12 : The Beatitudes

        

Study the Inner Meaning

1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1017, 2371, 2658, 3863, 8002, 9263, 9818

Apocalypse Revealed 209, 285, 323, 526, 956

Conjugial Love 482

Divine Providence 33

The Lord 49

Sacred Scripture 51, 57

Life 17, 84

Heaven and Hell 357

True Christian Religion 96, 156, 226, 440


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 118, 122, 304, 386, 612, 695, 746, ...

Spiritual Experiences 1325

Marriage 96

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 6, 12, 20, 30, 68, 81, ...

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

2 Kings 22:20

Psalms 17:15, 24:3, 4, 37:9, 11, 22, 29, 34, 41:2, 119:28, 126:5

Proverbs 2:21, 11:17, 12:20, 21:21

Isaiah 51:1, 57:15, 61:2

Jeremiah 15:15, 31:25

Word/Phrase Explanations

seeing
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...

multitudes
'A multitude' relates to truths.

into a mountain
'To be taken up into a mountain,' as in Revelation 21:10, signifies being taken up into the third heaven, because it says 'in the spirit.'...

disciples
A disciple in Matthew 10:41 signifies charity and at the same time, faith from the Lord. It disciple signifies the truth of life, and a...

opened
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

poor
"The Word talks frequently about aiding the poor and needy. People in possession of external truths who have not yet been brought to internal truths...

spirit
'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'...

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

hunger
'Hunger,' or 'famine,' signifies evils of life. 'Hunger,' or 'famine,' signifies desiring good from affection, because 'bread,' in the internal sense, is the good of...

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

filled
'To be satiated,' as in Revelation 19:21, signifies being nourished by lusts, and taking them in with delight.

see
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...

persecuted
There are only a few references to "persecution" in Swedenborg, but they say it means "to harrass and slander out of hatred," and it generally...

revile
To revile something – or "reproach," as it is often translated – represents making a direct and deliberate attack on what is spiritually true, in...

persecute
There are only a few references to "persecution" in Swedenborg, but they say it means "to harrass and slander out of hatred," and it generally...

say
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

rejoice
Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

glad
Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

reward
A "reward" in the Bible represents something that brings people together, or brings spiritual states together, and binds them. It's easy to see this in...

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here: swedenborg.com.


What is Meant by The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth?

What did Jesus mean by this phrase? Chelsea digs into Swedenborg's writings and the Bible for insights about the importance of humility in our earthly lives.


The Difference Between Grace and Mercy

Grace and mercy are mentioned a lot in the Bible and both come from God, but what's the difference? We dig into the spiritual difference between these two divine auras and how we can open ourselves up to them.

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.


 Acknowledging Our Mistakes
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Attitudes for Heavenly Happiness
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Be A Peacemaker
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
In the process of trying to be a person who is growing spiritually, there will be mourning. We will see things that are not the way they should be - in ourselves and in the world around us. This sermon examines ways in which we can be comforted?
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Blossoming from the Lord
When we perform acts that agree with the Lord’s teachings in the Word, the Lord will guide them and be in them. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Cleaning Up Our Act
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

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

 Does the Lord Forgive?
Lesson and activities looking at the Lord's love and mercy in forgiving us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Echo the Ten Blessings
Help children learn the Ten Blessings by echoing (repeating) each line or finishing each line for you.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 He Makes His Sun Rise on the Evil and the Good
Illustrate the sun shining or the rain falling and being received by two very different kinds of plants: a thorny bush and a fruit tree.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

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

 Inspirational Quotation - Let Your Light Shine
Poster showing a lighthouse with the Lord's words telling us to let our light shine.
Picture | Ages over 8

 Let Your Light Shine
Take turns lighting a candle as you "give glory to the Lord" for letting you help Him touch the lives of people around you.
Activity | Ages 11 - 17

 "Let your light shine…" Calligraphy
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Loving One Another
This sermon shows that someone who really cares about others will seek to understand the truth so that he may serve in intelligent ways. When this happens, greater blessings are achieved for all. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Loving Others
The Lord wants us to love everyone but the way we love friends will be different than the way we love those who harm us or others.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Matching Quotes with the Ten Blessings
Match each of the Ten Blessings with a quotation from the Old Testament.
Activity | Ages 11 - 17

 Memory Verse: Being a Good Neighbor
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: The Ten Blessings
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Peace Like a River
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Power Under Control
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Protecting Marriage
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Quotes: The Ten Blessings
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

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

 Separation and Divorce
Marriage is a civil and spiritual covenant. Spiritual laws about divorce and remarriage are not always in agreement with what civil law permits.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

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

 Strength Through Trials
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Ten Blessings Vocabulary Discovery
Explore the meaning of vocabulary used in the Ten Blessings to help you understand what the Lord is teaching us.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 The Blessings of Adversity
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Kingdom of Heaven Is Within
When we think of blessings we do not usually think of sadness, difficulty or want. We usually think of happiness, peace and plenty. Indeed the word blessing means happiness. Why, then, does the Lord seem to say the opposite in the Sermon on the Mount? 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord and His Disciple, Simon Peter
Four scenes about the Lord and Peter from the gospels of Matthew and John, and two later scenes from the book of Acts.
Activity | Ages 11 - 14

 The Lord's Sermon on the Mount
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord’s Ten Blessings
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 The Meaning of the Ten Blessings
When the Lord gave the Sermon on the Mount, He was teaching people the steps leading to a heavenly life. The words He spoke then can still teach us how to follow Him into eternal happiness. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Sermon on the Mount
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

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

 The Ten Blessings
The Ten Blessings from the Sermon on the Mount in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

 The Ten Blessings (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Ten Blessings Word Search
Find key words of the Ten Blessings in this word search.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

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

 What Is Heaven Like?
Emanuel Swedenborg visited heaven. His vivid accounts describe the nature of angels and the communities they live in.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Why Did the Lord Come on Earth?
A lesson and activities exploring the reasons Jesus came on earth and what He accomplished.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 You Are As Happy As You Choose To Be
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

Commentary

 

The Beatitudes      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

This fresco was created by Franz Xaver Kirchebner in the Parish church of St. Ulrich in Gröden, Italy, which was built in the late 18th century.

These verses, the opening phrases of the Sermon on the Mount, hold some of the Bible’s most beautiful and best-loved poetry. Part of its beauty, though, lies in the fact that the meaning is not quite clear. What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? What does it mean to “inherit the earth” or to be called “the children of God.” The fact that there are many possibilities causes us to linger over the phrases, pondering them.

Understood in the internal sense, these blessings show the spiritual states of the various people who could be receptive of the Lord and the new church he was launching. On a deeper level it shows that states within ourselves that can lead each of us to the Lord and to a deeper understanding of His truth today.

The “poor in spirit” are those who know little about spiritual things, but want to learn. Those that “mourn” are those who want to be good, but see no desire for good in their church. The “meek” are those who love to care for and serve others. To “hunger and thirst after righteousness” shows a desire to rise up, to learn about what’s good and to come to desire it.

The “merciful” are those who love their fellow people. The “pure in heart” are those who love only what is good. “Peacemakers” are those who are in harmony with the Lord, gaining knowledge from Him and wanting what He wants. And to be “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” means acting out of love and care for others, even though you are condemned by others for it.

There’s something of a progression there, from those who simply want to learn to those who actively want to be good people to those who actually are good and acting out of love for others. None of it, though, describes those who are learned in the Jewish traditions, or even necessarily observant in terms of ritual; they are, rather, those who sense that it is possible to be a good person and are willing to make the effort.

And they are promised their rewards! The “kingdom of heaven” is the understanding the angels have of the Lord; “comfort” represents ideas that lead to the good of life; “inheriting the earth” is a state of loving others and being loved by them in return. The overall message is simple: If we truly wish to be good people, and are willing to let the Lord teach us how to be good people, we will end up filled with love and wisdom from Him. And that’s what we need to focus on: The desire to be good, and openness to ideas from the Lord. It’s not about ritual and intellectual “correctness”; it’s about ideas that lead us to be good.

But what of being reviled and persecuted? This depicts temptation, when the hells attack our newborn good desires and true understanding. They cause us to doubt our ability to be truly good and question the ideas that are leading us. And they can do it in many ways, reminding us of the fun we’ll be missing or reminding us of all the bad things we’ve ever done to render us hopeless. They will even attack the Bible and the ideas that come to us through it from the Lord; that’s represented by the idea that people also attacked the prophets.

These states, however, are blessed in their own way; only by battling these evils, which are rooted inside us, can we finally fully embrace the good life we have been striving for. That’s why it is pictured last, and that's why it leads to the “great reward” in heaven.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #122

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous   Next →

122. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, signifies that those who are in falsities from evil will set about to deprive them of all truth from the Word. This is evident from the signification of "casting into prison," as being, in reference to those who are in the spiritual affection of truth, to endeavor and to set about to deprive them of truths from the Word (of which presently); and from the signification of the "devil," as being the hells which are in evil and in falsities therefrom (of which above, n. 120. "To cast into prison," in reference to those who are in the spiritual affection of truth, is to endeavor and to set about to deprive them of truths from the Word, for the reason that truths are, as it were, in prison or in confinement when falsities break in; and so long as falsities are under view, truths cannot appear, still less can they be set at liberty. Those that are in the spiritual affection of truth, who are those that love truths because they are truths, are held in such confinement whenever they do not understand the Word and yet wish to understand it; the falsities that imprison rise up from hell into the natural man when the delights of the love of self and the world have rule therein, for these delights are the origins of all evils and of the falsities therefrom (see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 65-83).

(References: Luke 6:22-23; Matthew 21:33-41; Revelation 2:10; The Apocalypse Explained 120)


[2] This is meant, in the spiritual sense, by "being cast by the devil into prison;" for as the devil is hell, and out of hell every evil arises, and as the influx from hell is into the natural man, and not into the spiritual, so the devil affects all who are in the delights of these loves, and subjects them to himself and makes them his crew; for all who are in the hells are in evils and the falsities thence from the loves of self and of the world (see in the work on Heaven and Hell 551-565; but that the delights of those loves are changed into correspondences, the character of which may be seen there, n. 485-490).

This casting into prison by the devil is described in the Word, where it is said that the Jews and the evil will persecute the Lord's disciples, and will evil entreat and kill them; for by the "disciples of the Lord" are meant all who are in truths from good, thus who are in truths from the Lord; and as these are meant by the Lord's disciples, so in a sense abstracted from persons, which is the spiritual sense itself of the Word, truths and goods themselves, which are from the Lord through His Word, are meant. (That by the Lord's twelve disciples all things of faith and love in the complex, thus all the truths and goods of the church, are meant, see Arcana Coelestia 2129, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397; that the Word in heaven is understood in a sense abstracted from persons, see above, n. 99, 100.)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 99-100)


[3] When one knows that by the "disciples of the Lord" all those who are in truths from good from the Lord are meant, and in an abstract sense truths themselves from good; and that by their being "cast into prison by the devil" is meant the endeavor of those who are in falsities from evil to deprive them of truths, and in a sense abstracted from persons, the detention or imprisonment of truths by falsities, as described above, he can understand what is signified in each of these senses in the following passages:

They shall lay hands on you and shall persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, for My name's sake (Luke 21:12).

That "for the sake of the Lord's name" signifies for the sake of the goods of love and the truths of faith, from Him, see above n. 102.

Then shall they deliver you up to affliction, and shall kill you, and ye shall be held in hatred for My name's sake (Matthew 24:9, 11).

They will deliver you up to councils and to synagogues, and they will scourge you for My sake (Matthew 10:17, 18; Mark 13:9).

Behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them ye shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city (Matthew 23:34).

A man that was a householder planted a vineyard, and let it out to husbandmen. When the season of the fruits drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, to receive the fruits of it. But the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants, and they did unto them likewise. At length he sent unto them his son. But the husbandmen, when they saw the son, said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and possess his inheritance. And they took him, and cast him forth out of the vineyard, and killed him (Matthew 21:33-44).

The wisdom of God said, I will send unto them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall kill and persecute (Luke 11:49).

(That by "prophets" in the Word are meant those who teach truths, and in a sense abstracted from persons the doctrine of truth, see Arcana Coelestia 2534, 7269; and that "apostles" have a similar signification, see above, n. 100

Blessed are ye, when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and shall say every evil word against you falsely, for My sake; rejoice and exult, for great is your reward in the heavens; for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you (Matthew 5:10-12).

Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake; for in the same manner did their fathers unto the prophets (Luke 6:22, 23).

(References: Luke 6:22-23; Matthew 5:11-12, Matthew 10:17-18; The Apocalypse Explained 100, 102)


[4] Similar to this is the signification of the words of the Lord, that they should follow Him and take up their cross; as in the following passages:

Jesus said unto His disciples, If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34);

"to deny oneself" is to put away evils that are from proprium [the self-life].

Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:27).

Jesus said to the young man who was rich, One thing thou lackest; go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and come, follow Me, bearing the cross (Mark 10:21).

By this is meant, in the spiritual sense, that he should put away the falsities that were of the Jewish doctrine, and accept the doctrine of truth from the Lord, and should undergo assaults and temptations from falsities. Those, therefore, are deceived who believe that those who wish to follow the Lord are to sell their goods and suffer the cross. Since the Lord was Divine truth itself, which in John 1:1-3, 14, is called the "Word," the Lord's suffering Himself to be scourged and crucified signifies that Divine truth which is in the Word was so treated by the Jews. (That all things related of the Lord's passion in the Evangelists involve and signify that the Jews so treated Divine truth, see above, n. 83 Wherefore the Lord says:

Remember My word, if they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 83)


[5] That the Jews in particular are meant by the "devil" who was to cast the disciples of the Lord into prisons, and that, in general, all that call themselves "Jews, and are not, but are a synagogue of satan," are meant (according to the passages cited above, n. 119, 120), is clear from the Lord's words in John:

Ye do not understand My speech because ye cannot hear My word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh from his own, for he is a liar and the father thereof (John 8:43, 44).

That "their father was a murderer from the beginning," "and the truth was not in him, but a lie," signifies that from the beginning they had been against truths and in falsities from evil. For a "murderer" is a destroyer of the truth of the church, and "father" means predecessors. (Of the quality of the Jewish nation formerly and at present, see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 248; that the "bound in prison" signify those who are in falsities from evil, see the Arcana Coelestia 4958, 5096; "to be overcome 1 in prison" signifies to be detained and separated from truths, n. 5037, 5038, 5083, 5086, 5096; and also to be tempted, n. 5037, 5038.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5037-5038; John 8:43-44; The Apocalypse Explained 119-120)


[6] The Jews were such as are here described because they were in the love of self and the world more than other nations; and persons of that character, when they read the Word, apply all things of the Word to their own loves; and especially the Jews, because they are so frequently mentioned. It is similar with others who are in these loves, for the love that is dominant turns the mind of him who reads to those things only that favor the love; for love is like a fire, which lights up the things that favor it, while the rest are either passed by as if not seen, or drawn over to one's side by perverse explanation and thus falsified. Both infest those who are in the spiritual affection of truth, and both are meant by the "devil" who "casts into prison" those who are of the Lord's church; from them, indeed, all falsities from the spiritual world flow into those that long for truths, and hold them as if bound in confinement. The same are meant by those of whom the Lord says:

I was in prison and ye visited Me not (Matthew 25:43).

-----
Footnotes:

1. Some of the Latin editors read vinciri for vinci, "bound" for "overcome."

-----

(References: Matthew 5:11-12, Matthew 21:33-41; Revelation 2:10)

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 111, 137, 151, 333, 655, 695

Other New Christian Commentary

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


Translate: