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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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
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 Attitudes for Heavenly Happiness
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 Be A Peacemaker
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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?
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When we perform acts that agree with the Lord’s teachings in the Word, the Lord will guide them and be in them. 
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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

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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.
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 Inspirational Quotation - Let Your Light Shine
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 Let Your Light Shine
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 "Let your light shine…" Calligraphy
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 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
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 Memory Verse: The Ten Blessings
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Activity | Ages over 18

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 Quotes: The Ten Blessings
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Activity | Ages over 18

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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

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Article | Ages 15 - 17

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Activity | Ages over 18

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Explore the meaning of vocabulary used in the Ten Blessings to help you understand what the Lord is teaching us.
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 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? 
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 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. 
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Teaching Support | Ages over 3

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

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 Why Did the Lord Come on Earth?
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Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

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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 #304

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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304. Verse 3. And no one was able, in heaven nor upon the earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, neither to look thereon, signifies manifestation that no one knows and perceives of himself anything whatever of the state of life of all in general, and of each one in particular. This is evident from the signification of "And no one was able to open the book, neither to look thereon," as being that no one of himself knows and perceives the states of the life of all in general and of each one in particular (of which see just above, n. 303); also from the signification of "in heaven nor upon the earth nor under the earth," being that no one anywhere has such knowledge, not even in the slightest degree; for "in heaven, upon the earth, and under the earth," means the three heavens; and by all who are there heaven in its entire complex is meant. And as heaven is heaven from the Divine truth that flows in from the Lord and is received by the angels, and not at all from any self-intelligence of the angels, for this is no intelligence, so the same words signify that no one has any knowledge or perception whatever from himself. That angels in heaven as well as men in the world have a selfhood [proprium], which regarded in itself is nothing but evil, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 592), and as evil receives nothing of intelligence and wisdom, it follows that angels equally with men understand nothing at all of truth from themselves, but solely from the Lord. Angels are such for the reason that all angels are from the human race, and every man retains after death what is his own [suum proprium], and angels are withheld from the evils that pertain to what is their own [proprii eorum] and are kept in goods by the Lord. (That all angels are from the human race, and not one is created such from the beginning, see in the small work on The Last Judgment 14-22; and that they are all withheld from evil, and kept in good by the Lord, see in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 166.)

(References: Revelation 5:3; The Apocalypse Explained 303)


[2] "In heaven," "upon the earth," and "under the earth," signify the three heavens, because the angels that are in the third or highest heaven dwell upon mountains; and those that are in the second or middle, upon hills; and those that are in the first or lowest, in plains and valleys below these. For in the spiritual world, where the spirits and angels are, it is just as it is in the natural world where men are, that is, there are lands, hills, and mountains; and in appearance the resemblance is such that there is no difference at all; therefore men after death scarcely know otherwise than that they are still living on the earth, and when the privilege is granted them to look into our world, they see nothing dissimilar. Moreover, the angels who are in the lowest heaven call that heaven where the angels of the third heaven dwell, because it is high above them, and where they themselves dwell they call earth; moreover, the third or highest heaven, which is upon the mountains, does not appear, to those who are below or upon that earth, otherwise than as the highest region of the atmosphere covered with a thin bright cloud appears before us, thus as the sky appears to us. From this it can be seen what is here meant, specifically, by "in heaven," "upon the earth," and "under the earth." (But more can be seen on this subject in the work on Heaven and Hell, where Appearances in Heaven are treated of, n 170-176; and The Habitations and Dwelling Places of Angels, n. 183-189)

[3] As men have not known that there is a like surface of the earth in both worlds, the natural and the spiritual, therefore they have not perceived otherwise when they have read the Word than that "heaven" and "earth" there mean the heaven visible before our eyes, and the earth inhabited by men; from this arose the belief in the destruction of heaven and earth, and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth at the day of the Last Judgment; when yet "heaven" and "earth" there mean the heaven and the earth where spirits and angels dwell, and in the spiritual sense the church with angels and with men (for there is a church with angels equally as with men, as may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 221-227). It is said, in the spiritual sense, for an angel is not an angel, nor is a man a man, from the human form, which both have, but because of heaven and the church with them. This is why "heaven" and "earth," where angels and men dwell, signify the church; "heaven" the internal church and also the church with angels, and "earth" the external church and also the church with men. But since it can only with difficulty be believed that "earth" in the Word means the church, because it is not yet known that in every particular of the Word there is a spiritual sense, whence a material idea adheres and keeps the thought fixed in the nearest meaning of the expression, I wish to illustrate and confirm it by a number of quotations.

[4] In Isaiah:

Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth empty and maketh it void, and He shall disfigure the faces thereof; in emptying the earth shall be emptied, and in spoiling it shall be spoiled; the habitable earth shall mourn and be confounded; the world shall be confounded; the earth shall be profaned under its inhabitants; therefore a malediction shall devour the earth, and the inhabitants of the earth shall be burnt up, and a man shall be rare. A shout over the wine in the streets; the gladness of the earth shall be banished; it shall be in the midst of the earth as the shaking of an olive tree, as the gleanings when the vintage is ended. From the uttermost part of the earth we have heard songs, Glory to the righteous. The floodgates from on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth quake; in breaking the earth is broken, in rending the earth is rent asunder, in moving the earth is moved; in tottering the earth shall totter as one drunken; and it shall be moved to and fro as a veil; but it shall be in that day that Jehovah will visit upon the host of the height in the height, and upon the kings of the earth who are upon the earth (Isaiah 24:1, 3-6, 11, 13, 16, 18-21).

Here it is very clear that "earth" does not mean the earth, but the church. Let the particulars be run over and considered. One who is in a spiritual idea does not think, when "earth" is mentioned, of the earth itself, but of the people on it and their quality; still more is this true of those who are in heaven; who, since they are spiritual, perceive that the church is meant. Here the church destroyed is treated of; its destruction in respect to the good of love and the truth of faith, which constitute it, is described by "Jehovah maketh the earth empty and maketh it void," "in emptying the earth shall be emptied, in spoiling it shall be spoiled," "it shall mourn and be confounded," "it shall be profaned," and "a malediction shall devour it;" "the floodgates from on high are opened, and the foundations of it quake;" "it is broken," "it is rent asunder," "it is moved," "it shall totter as one drunken. " These things can be said neither of the earth, nor of any nation, but only of the church.

[5] In the same:

Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, to lay the earth waste; and He shall destroy the sinners out of it. For the stars of the heavens and the constellations thereof do not cause their light to shine, the sun hath been darkened in its rising, and the moon maketh not bright her light. I will make a man more rare than fine gold; wherefore I will cause the heavens to tremble and the earth shall quake out of its place (Isaiah 13:9-10, 12-13).

It is clear from the particulars understood in the spiritual sense, that "earth" here means the church. The end of the church is here treated of, when truth and good, or faith and charity, are no more. For "the stars and constellations that do not cause their light to shine," signify the knowledges of truth and good; the "sun that has been darkened in its rising," signifies love; the "moon that maketh not bright her light," signifies faith; a "man made more rare than fine gold," signifies intelligence and wisdom: this makes clear what is signified by "Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh to lay the earth waste. I will cause the heavens to tremble and the earth shall quake out of its place;" "the day of Jehovah" is the last end of the church, when there is the judgment; the "earth" is the church. It can be seen that the earth itself does not quake out of its place, but that the church is removed when love and faith are not. "To quake out of its place" signifies to be removed from its former state.

[6] In the same:

Behold, the Lord, as a deluge of hail, a storm of slaughter, as a deluge of mighty waters. He shall cast down to the earth with the hand. A consummation and decision I have heard from the Lord Jehovih of hosts upon the whole earth (Isaiah 28:2, 22).

This is said of the day of judgment upon those who are of the church. The day of judgment, when the church is at an end is meant by "a consummation and decision I have heard from the Lord Jehovih of Hosts upon the whole earth;" it is therefore said "as a deluge of hail, a storm of slaughter, as a deluge of mighty waters. He shall cast down to the earth with the hand;" by "hail" and "a deluge of it" falsities that destroy the truths of the church are signified; by "slaughter," and "a storm of it," evils that destroy the goods of the church are signified; by "mighty waters" falsities of evil are signified. (That a "deluge" or "flood" signifies immersion into evils and falsities, and the consequent destruction of the church) see Arcana Coelestia (Arcana Coelestia 660, 705, 739, 756, 790, 5725, 6853 the like is meant by "casting down to the earth," or a violent rain.

[7] In the same:

The land shall become burning pitch; from generation to generation it shall be desolate (Isaiah 34:9-10).

"Burning pitch" signifies every evil springing from love of self, through which the church entirely perishes and is desolated; it is therefore said, "the land shall become burning pitch; from generation to generation it shall be desolate." Who does not see that such things are not said of the land itself?

[8] In the same:

The land mourneth and languisheth; Lebanon blusheth, and hath withered away (Isaiah 33:9).

Here also the "land" means the church, which is said "to mourn" and "to languish" when falsities begin to be accepted and acknowledged in place of truths; it is therefore said, "Lebanon blusheth and hath withered away;" "Lebanon" signifying the like as "cedar," namely, the truth of the church.

[9] In Jeremiah:

The lion is gone up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the nations hath gone forth from his place to make thy land a waste; thy cities shall be destroyed. I saw the earth, when lo, it was void and empty; and towards the heavens, and lo, they had no light. I saw the mountains, and lo, they quaked and all the hills are overturned. Jehovah said, The whole earth shall be a waste. For this shall the land mourn, and the heavens above be black (Jeremiah 4:7, 4:23-24, 27-28).

Here also the vastation of the church is treated of, which takes place when there are no longer truth and good, but falsity and evil in place of them. This vastation is described by "the lion going up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the nations going forth from his place;" "the lion" and "the destroyer of the nations" signifying falsity and evil, laying waste. The "mountains that quake," and the "hills that are overturned," signify love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbor. This is the signification of "mountains" and "hills," because those who are in love to the Lord dwell upon mountains in heaven, and those who are in charity towards the neighbor, upon hills (see what has been said above, also in the work on Heaven and Hell, 188 , and in the notes there, letter, original edition). "The heavens where there was no light, and that were black" signify the interiors of the men of the church, which, when closed by evils and falsities, do not admit light from heaven, but darkness from hell instead. From this it can be seen what is signified by "the lion and the destroyer of the nations making the land a waste;" so likewise by "I saw the earth, and lo, it was void and empty;" also by "the whole earth shall be a waste; for this shall the land mourn," namely, that the earth is not meant, but the church.

(References: Jeremiah 4:28)


[10] In the same:

How long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field [wither]? for the evil of them that dwell therein the beasts shall be carried off, and the fowl. The whole land is made waste because no man layeth it to heart. Wasters are come upon all the bare heights in the wilderness; for the sword of Jehovah devoureth from one end of the land even to the other end of the land. They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns (Jeremiah 12:4, 11-13).

That the "land" here signifies the church is evident, from its being said that "the land shall mourn, and the herb of every field [wither]," and that "the beasts and the birds shall be carried off for the evil of them that dwell therein, and because no man layeth it to heart." "The herb of every field" signifies every truth and good of the church, and the "beasts and the fowl" signify the affections of good and truth; and since the church is signified by the "land," and it is here treated of as being vastated, it is said "wasters are come upon all the bare heights in the wilderness; for the sword of Jehovah devoureth from one end of the land even to the other end of the land. They have sown wheat, and have reaped thorns." "The bare heights in the wilderness upon which the wasters came" signify the things that are of charity, "wilderness" meaning where there is no good because no truth; "the sword of Jehovah" signifies falsity destroying truth; "from one end of the land to the other end of the land" signifies all things of the church; "to sow wheat and reap thorns" signifies to take from the Word the truths of good and to turn them into the falsities of evil, "wheat" meaning the truths of good, and "thorns" the falsities of evil.

[11] In Isaiah:

Upon the ground of my people shall come up the thorn and briar; the palace shall be deserted; the multitude of the city shall be forsaken (Isaiah 32:13-14).

The "thorn and briar that shall come up upon the ground" signify falsity and evil; the "palace that shall be deserted" signifies where good dwells; and the "multitude of the city that shall be forsaken" signifies where there are truths; for "city" signifies the doctrine of truth.

[12] In the same:

All the land shall be a place of briars and brambles; but as to all the mountains that shall be hoed with the hoe, there shall not come thither the fear of the briar and bramble; but there shall be the sending-forth of the ox and the trampling of the sheep (Isaiah 7:24-25).

"Briars and brambles" signify falsity and evil; which makes evident what is signified by "all the land shall be a place of briars and brambles." "The mountains that shall be hoed with the hoe" signify those who from the love of good do goods, that with them there shall be no falsity and evil, but good, natural as well as spiritual, is signified by "there shall not come thither the fear of the briar and bramble, but there shall be the sending forth of the ox, and the trampling of sheep;" that is, thither shall oxen be sent, and there the sheep shall trample, "ox" signifying natural good, and "sheep" spiritual good.

[13] In Ezekiel:

Thy mother is a lioness; she couched among lions; one of her whelps went up; he desolated the cities; the land and the fullness thereof was made waste by the voice of his roaring (Ezekiel 19:2-3, 7).

"Mother" signifies the church; a "lioness" and "lions" signify the power of evil and falsity against good and truth; the "roaring of the lion" signifies the lust of destroying and desolating; the "cities that he desolated" signify doctrine with its truths, which makes evident what is signified by "the land and the fullness thereof was laid waste," namely, the whole church.

[14] In the same:

They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their waters with astonishment, that the land may be laid waste from the fullness thereof, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein; and the cities that are inhabited shall be desolated, and the land shall be a waste (Ezekiel 12:19-20).

Here "the land and the cities that shall be desolated and shall be a waste" have the same signification as above, namely, "the land" signifies the church, and "cities" doctrine with its truths; it is therefore said, "because of the violence of all them that dwell therein. " Since this is what is meant, it is first said that "they shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their waters with astonishment," "bread" and "water" in the Word signifying all the good of love and truth of faith (see Arcana Coelestia 9323), and "eating" and "drinking" signifying instruction and appropriation (n. 3168, 3513, 3832, 9412).

[15] In David:

I called upon Jehovah, and cried unto my God. Then the earth tottered and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains trembled and tottered when He was wroth (Psalms 18:6-7).

Here the "earth" stands for the church, which is said to "totter and quake" when it is perverted by the falsification of truths; and then "the foundations of the mountains" are said "to tremble and totter," for the goods of love, which are founded upon the truths of faith, vanish; "mountains" meaning the goods of love (as above), and their "foundations" the truths of faith; which also shows that the "earth" is the church.

[16] In the same:

The earth is Jehovah's and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein; and He hath founded it upon the seas, He hath established it upon the rivers (Psalms 24:1, 2).

The "earth" and the "world" stand for the church, and "fullness" for all things thereof; the "seas upon which He hath founded it," mean the knowledges of truth in general; the "rivers" doctrinals; because the church is founded on both of these, it is said that "He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers." That this cannot be said of the earth and the world is clear to anyone.

(References: Psalms 24:1-2)


[17] In the same:

We will not fear, when the earth shall be changed, and when the mountains shall be moved in the heart of the seas, when the waters thereof are in tumult and do foam. The nations are in tumult, the kingdoms are moved, when He giveth forth His voice the earth shall dissolve (Psalms 46:2-3, 6).

The "earth" evidently means the church, since it is said "to be changed" and "to dissolve," also that "the mountains shall be moved in the heart of the seas, and the waters thereof shall be in tumult," and "the nations are in tumult and the kingdoms are moved." "Mountains" signify (as above) the goods of love, which are said "to be moved in the heart of the seas" when the essential knowledges of truth are perverted; "waters" signify the truths of the church, which are said "to foam" when they are falsified; "nations" signify the goods of the church, and in a contrary sense, its evils; and "kingdoms" the truths of the church, and in a contrary sense, its falsities; and also those who are in the one and the other."

(References: Psalms 46:8)


[18] In the same:

O God, Thou hast cast us off; Thou hast been angry; bring back rest to us. Thou hast made the earth to quake, Thou hast broken it up; heal the breaches thereof, for it is moved (Psalms 60:1-2).

It can be seen that these things are said of the church, and not of the earth, for it is said, "Thou hast made the earth to quake, Thou hast broken it up; heal the breaches thereof, for it is moved;" and as "the earth" signifies the church, and here the church vastated, it is said, "O God, Thou hast cast us off, Thou hast been angry; bring back rest to us."

[19] In the same:

When I shall receive the set time, I shall judge with uprightness. The earth and all the inhabitants thereof shall be dissolved; I will make firm the pillars of it (Psalms 75:2-3).

Here, likewise, the "earth" stands for the church, which is said to "dissolve" when the truths by which there is good fail; truths, because they support the church, are called its "pillars," which God will make firm; it is not the pillars of the earth evidently that are made firm. As the restoration of the church is here described, it is said, "When I shall receive the set time, I shall judge with uprightness." The truths of the church, here called the "pillars of the earth," are also called the "bases of the earth" (1 Samuel 2:8); and the "foundations of the earth," in Isaiah:

Do ye not understand the foundations of the earth? It is He that dwelleth upon the circle of the earth, that bringeth the princes to nothing; and maketh the judges of the earth as emptiness (Isaiah 40:21-23).

The "princes who will be brought to nothing," and the "judges of the earth, whom He will make as emptiness," signify the things that are from self-intelligence and from one's own judgment.

[20] In Jeremiah:

A tumult cometh even to the end of the earth. Thus said Jehovah, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest shall be stirred up from the sides of the earth. And the slain of Jehovah shall be in that day from the end of the earth even unto the end thereof (Jeremiah 25:31-33).

The "end of the earth" and the "sides of the earth" signify where the ultimates of the church are, and where evils and falsities begin; and "from the end of the earth to the end thereof" signifies all things of the church; from this it can be known what is signified by "a tumult shall come to the end of the earth," and "a great tempest shall be stirred up from the sides of the earth," also by "the slain of Jehovah in that day shall be from the end of the earth to the end thereof." The "slain" signify those in whom the truths and goods of the church are extinguished (see Arcana Coelestia 4503 Arcana Coelestia 4503[1-11]).

[21] In Isaiah:

The isles saw, they feared; the ends of the earth trembled, they drew near, and came. I will make the wilderness into a pool of waters, and the dry land into a spring of waters (Isaiah 41:5, 18).

The establishment of the church among the Gentiles is thus described; they are signified by the "isles" and the "ends of the earth;" for "isles" and "the ends of the earth" in the Word signify those who are far removed from the truths and goods of the church because they do not have the Word, and consequently, are in ignorance. That a church is to be established with such is signified by "I will make the wilderness into a pool of waters, and the dry land into a spring of waters." That is called a "wilderness" where there is not yet good because there is not yet truth, and for the same reason it is called "dry land;" a "pool of waters" and a "spring of waters" signify good, because they signify truth; for all spiritual good, which is the good of the church, is acquired by means of truths.

[22] In the same:

Woe to the land shadowed with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Cush. Go, ye messengers, to a nation trodden down, whose land the rivers have despoiled (Isaiah 18:1-2).

No one knows what is meant by "a land shadowed with wings," and "a land that the rivers have despoiled," unless he knows that "land" means the church, and "rivers" falsities; "a land shadowed with wings" is a church that is in thick darkness in respect to Divine truths (that these are signified by "wings," see above, n. 283; "beyond the rivers of Cush" signifies in respect to the knowledges themselves from the sense of the letter of the Word, which have been falsified; "a nation trodden down, to which the messengers should go, whose land the rivers have despoiled," signifies those out of the church who are in falsities from ignorance; "rivers" meaning the truths of doctrine, and in a contrary sense falsities; that "the messengers should go to them" signifies that they should be invited to receive the church.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 283)


[23] In the same:

In the fury of Jehovah of Hosts the land is obscured (Isaiah 9:19).

A "land obscured" signifies the things of the church in thick darkness, that is, in falsities; for the falsities of evil are said to be in thick darkness, but truths in light.

[24] In the same:

Jehovah shall remove man, and forsaken places shall be multiplied in the midst of the land (Isaiah 6:12);

"man whom Jehovah shall remove," signifying him who is wise, and abstractly, wisdom (as may be seen above, n. 280; "forsaken places multiplied in the midst of the land" signifying that there shall be no good at all, because no truth; "the midst of the land" meaning where truth is in the highest light; consequently when there is no light there, thick darkness pervades the whole; thus there is nowhere any truth at all.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 280)


[25] In the same:

Jehovah shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He put to death the wicked (Isaiah 11:4).

"The rod of Jehovah's mouth which shall smite the earth," signifies truth in ultimates, which is the truth of the sense of the letter of the Word; "the breath of the lips which shall put to death the wicked," signifies truth in the spiritual sense of the Word; these truths are said "to smite the earth," and "to put to death the wicked," when such are condemned by truths; for by truths everyone is judged and is condemned.

[26] In the same:

The earth is at rest, and is quiet. Hell hath stirred up the Rephaim because of thee, all the powerful of the earth. They that see thee shall say, Is this the man that maketh the earth to tremble, that maketh the kingdoms to quake; that hath made the world as a wilderness and threw down the cities thereof? Thou hast destroyed thy land, thou hast slain thy people. Prepare slaughter for his sons, that they rise not up and possess the land, and the faces of the world be filled with cities. I will break the Assyrian in My land, and upon My mountains I will tread him down (Isaiah 14:7, 9, 16-17, 20-21, 25).

These things are said of the king of Babylon, by whom is signified the destruction of truth by the love of ruling over heaven and earth; which love the truths of the Word or of the church are made to serve as means; here their damnation is treated of. The "Rephaim whom hell stirred up," mean those who are in the direful persuasion of what is false, who are therefore called the powerful of the earth; "to make the earth to tremble," "to make the kingdoms quake," "to make the world as a wilderness," and "to throw down the cities thereof," signifies to pervert all things of the church; "earth" and "world" mean the church, "kingdoms" the truths that constitute it; and "cities" all things of doctrine. From this it is clear what is signified by, "Thou hast destroyed thy land, thou hast slain thy people." The "Assyrian who shall be broken in the land and trodden down upon the mountains," signifies the reasonings from falsities against truths; "to be broken" means to be dispersed, and "to be trodden down" means to be wholly destroyed; "mountains upon which this is done," signify where the good of love and charity reigns, for there, or with such, all reasoning from falsities is dispersed or destroyed.

[27] In the same:

Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; from the land of Chittim it shall manifestly come to them. Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish; the girdle is no more. Behold the land of the Chaldean; Assyria hath founded it into heaps. Jehovah will visit Tyre, that she may return to the hire of whoredom and commit whoredom with all the kingdoms of the earth upon the faces of the ground (Isaiah 23:1, 10, 23:13, 17).

Neither ships of Tarshish, nor Tyre, nor the land of Chittim, nor the land of the Chaldeans, nor Assyria, are here meant, as can be seen from the particulars in this chapter; but "the ships of Tarshish" mean the knowledges of truth and good, "Tyre" the like; "the land of Chittim" what is idolatrous; "the land of the Chaldeans" the profanation and destruction of truth, and "Assyria" reasoning from falsities. From this it is clear that, "Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is desolated" signifies that there were no longer any knowledges of truth; "from the land of Chittim it shall manifestly come to them" signifies idolatry therefrom; "the girdle is no more" signifies that there is no longer any coherence of truth with good; "behold the land of the Chaldeans" signifies that thus there is profanation and destruction of truth; "Assyria hath founded it into heaps" signifies that reasonings from falsities have destroyed it; "to return to the hire of whoredom" and "to commit whoredom with all kingdoms upon the faces of the ground" signifies the falsification of all truths of the whole church.

[28] In the same:

The king of Assyria shall pass on through Judah, he shall overflow and pass through, he shall reach even to the neck; and the flappings of his wings 1 shall be the fullness of the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel (Isaiah 8:8).

Here, too, "the king of Assyria" signifies the reasoning from falsities against truths; "he shall pass on through Judah, he shall overflow and pass through" signifies that this shall destroy the good of the church (to "overflow" is predicated of falsities, because they are signified by "waters"); "he shall reach even to the neck" signifies that thus there shall be no longer any communication of good and truth; and "the flappings of his wings shall be the fullness of the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel" signifies that falsities shall be opposed to all the truths of the Lord's church; "the breadth of the land" signifies the truths of the church (see Heaven and Hell 197), consequently, in a contrary sense, falsities; therefore the "flappings of his wings" signify reasonings from falsities against truths; "fullness" signifies all; thus "the fullness of the breadth of the land" signifies all the truths of the church.

[29] In the same:

In that day shall the bud of Jehovah be for adornment and glory, and the fruit of the earth for magnificence and splendor to those left of Israel (Isaiah 4:2).

The "bud of Jehovah," that shall be for adornment and glory, signifies the truth of the church; and the "fruit of the earth," that shall be for magnificence and splendor, signifies the good of the church; "Israel" signifies the spiritual church. Evidently it is the truth and good of the church, and not the bud and the fruit of the earth, that shall be for adornment, glory, magnificence, and splendor. When it is said the truth and good of the church, the truth of faith and the good of love are meant, for all truth is of faith, and all good is of love.

[30] In the same:

Thou hast added to the nation, O Jehovah; Thou hast been glorified; Thou hast removed all the ends of the earth (Isaiah 26:15).

The "nation to which Jehovah has added" signifies those who are in the good of love, whom He has claimed to Himself; "the ends of the earth which He has removed" signify the falsities and evils that infest the church, from which He has purified them.

[31] In the same:

Thine eyes shall behold the king in his beauty, they shall behold a land of far distances (Isaiah 33:17).

"To see the king in his beauty," means to see genuine truth, which is from the Lord alone; "to behold a land of far distances" signifies to behold the extension of intelligence and wisdom.

[32] In the same:

I have given thee for a covenant to the people, to restore the earth. Sing aloud O heavens, and exult O earth, and break forth O mountains with a song (Isaiah 49:8, 13).

This treats of the Lord and His coming; the establishment of the church by Him is described by "I have given thee for a covenant of the people, to restore the earth," to "restore the earth" being to reestablish the church; it is known that the Lord did not restore the earth to the Jewish people, but that He established a church among the Gentiles; the joy in consequence is described by, "Sing aloud O heavens, and exult O earth, and break forth O mountains with a song," "the heavens" being the heavens where angels are who are in the interior truths of the church, "the earth" the church among men, and "the mountains" those who are in the good of love to the Lord.

[33] In Jeremiah:

The land is full of adulterers; for because of malediction the land mourneth; the pastures of the wilderness are dried up (Jeremiah 23:10).

"Adulterers" signify those who adulterate the goods of the church; therefore it is said, "the land is full of adulterers, and because of the malediction the land mourneth;" the "pastures of the wilderness that are dried up" signify no spiritual nourishment in such a church; that is called "wilderness" where there is no truth.

[34] In the same:

A drought is upon her waters, so that they shall become dry; for it is a land of graven images (Jeremiah 50:38).

"A drought upon the waters, so that they shall become dry" signifies that there are no more truths, "waters" being truths; "for it is a land of graven images" signifies the church destroyed by falsities which are from self-intelligence, which they call truths, "graven images" signifying those falsities.

[35] In Ezekiel:

The end hath come upon the four quarters of the earth; the earth is full of the judgment of bloods, and the city is full of violence (Ezekiel 7:2, 23).

"The end hath come upon the four quarters of the earth" signifies the last time and the last state of the church, when its end is, the four quarters being all truths and goods of the church, and in a contrary sense, all its falsities and evils, thus all things of the church; "the earth full of the judgment of bloods" signifies that it is filled with evils of every kind, "bloods" being the evils that offer violence to the goods of love and charity and wholly destroy them; "the city full of violence" signifies the doctrine of that church likewise offering violence.

[36] In the same:

All the luminaries of light in heaven will I make black over thee, and will set darkness upon thy land (Ezekiel 32:8).

"The luminaries of light in the heavens" mean the sun, moon, and stars; the "sun" signifying love, the "moon" faith therefrom, and the "stars" the knowledges of good and truth; from this it is clear what is signified by "I will make them black over thee," namely, that these no longer exist; thence also it is clear what is signified by "I will set darkness upon thy land," namely, that there will be falsities in the church," "darkness" meaning falsities, and "land" the church.

(References: Ezekiel 33:8)


[37] In the same:

Prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains and to the hills and to the watercourses and to the valleys, Behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you that ye may be tilled and sown (Ezekiel 36:6, 9).

"The land of Israel" means the church; "mountains, hills, watercourses, and valleys" signify all things of the church from the first to the last things thereof, "mountains" are the goods of love to the Lord, "hills" the goods of charity towards the neighbor-these are the first things of the church; "watercourses and valleys" are truths and goods that are the last things of the church. That this is the meaning can be seen from what was said at the beginning of this article, namely, that those in heaven who are in the good of love to the Lord dwell upon mountains, those who are in charity towards the neighbor upon hills, and those who are in goods and truths in the lowest heaven in plains and valleys; "watercourses" are the truths of doctrine there; to implant these is signified by "I will turn unto you that ye may be tilled and sown. "

[38] In Hosea:

In that day I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn and the new wine and the oil, and these shall hear Jezreel, 2 and I will sow her unto me in the earth (Hosea 2:21-23).

Evidently these things are to be understood spiritually, and not naturally according to the sense of the letter, for it is said that "these shall hear Jezreel; and I will sow her unto me in the earth;" therefore the "heavens" mean the heavens where the Lord is; and the "earth" the church where also the Lord is; "corn, new wine, and oil" signify all the things of spiritual nourishment, which are the goods of love and charity and the truths of faith.

[39] In Malachi:

He shall not destroy for you the fruit of the ground, neither shall the vine in the field be barren to you; all nations shall proclaim you happy, and ye shall be a land of good pleasure (Malachi 3:11-12).

These things are said of those with whom is the church; and because "the fruit of the ground," and "the vine in the field" signify the goods and truths of the church ("fruit" goods, and "the vine" its truths), therefore they are called "a land of good pleasure."

[40] In David:

Let thy good spirit lead me into the land of uprightness; vivify me, O Jehovah, for Thy name's sake (Psalms 143:10-11).

"The land of uprightness" stands for the church in which is the right and the true; and because "the spirit of Jehovah" signifies Divine truth, and everyone receives spiritual life through that, therefore it is said, "Let Thy good spirit lead me," and "vivify me, O Jehovah."

[41] As the "earth" signifies the church, and where the church is there is heaven, therefore heaven is called "the land of the living," and "the land of life;" "the land of the living" in Isaiah:

I said, I shall not see Jah in the land of the living (Isaiah 38:11);

and in Ezekiel:

Who caused terror in the land of the living (Ezekiel 32:23-27).

"The land of life," in David:

Unless I had believed to see good in the land of life (Psalms 27:13).

[42] In Moses:

The stone shall be entire and just, the ephah shall be entire and just, that thy days may be prolonged upon the earth (Deuteronomy 25:15).

"Days to be prolonged upon the earth" does not mean a lengthening of life in the world, but the state of life in the church, thus in heaven; for "to be prolonged" is predicated of good and its increase, and "day" signifies the state of life; and as "a stone entire and just," which was a weight, and "an ephah entire and just," which was a measure, signify truth and good and their quality, and both together signify justice, "stone" signifying truth, and "measure" good, and as not to deceive by weight and measure is to be just, therefore such shall have the life of the church and afterwards life in heaven, which is meant by "their days upon the earth shall be prolonged."

[43] The like is signified by this precept in the Decalogue:

Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be prolonged upon the earth (Exodus 20:12).

Those who honor father and mother have heaven and the happiness there, because in heaven no other father but the Lord is known, for all there have been generated anew from Him; and in heaven by "mother" the church is meant, and in general, the kingdom of the Lord. It is clear that those who worship the Lord and seek his kingdom will have life in heaven, also that many of those who honor father and mother in the world do not live there long.

[44] In Matthew:

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

"Inheriting the earth" signifies not possession of the earth, but possession of heaven and blessedness there; the "meek" mean those who are in the good of charity.

[45] In Isaiah:

Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name God-With-Us: butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to reject the evil and to choose the good; for before the Lad knoweth to reject the evil and to choose the good, the land which thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of its two kings. It shall come to pass in that day, by reason of the abundance of milk they yield, He shall eat butter; for butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land (Isaiah 7:14-16, 21-22).

It is known that these things were said respecting the Lord and His coming; "butter and honey," which He shall eat, signify the goods of love; "butter" the good of celestial and spiritual love, "honey" the good of natural love; this means that He would appropriate the Divine to Himself even in respect to the Human; "to eat" signifying to appropriate. That "the land shall be forsaken before He knoweth to reject the evil and to choose the good" signifies that when He should be born there would not be anything of the church remaining in the whole world; and because those where the church was, rejected every Divine truth and perverted all things of the Word, and explained it in favor of self, it is said of the land, that is, the church, "which thou abhorrest from the presence of its two kings; "king" signifying the truths of heaven and of the church; "two kings" the truth of the Word in the internal or spiritual sense, and the truth of the Word in the external or natural sense. "Milk" signifies truth through which good comes, and as "butter" signifies the good therefrom, "by reason of the abundance of yielding milk, butter shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land" signifies that every truth shall be from good.

(References: Isaiah 7:22)


[46] In Matthew:

In the consummation of the age, all the tribes of the earth shall lament (Matthew 24:30).

"The consummation of the age" which is treated of in that chapter, is the last time of the church, when judgment takes place; "all the tribes of the earth" signify all truths and goods of the church, which are said "to lament" when they are no more.

[47] In Luke:

Then shall there be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, the sea and the waves roaring; men expiring for fear and for expectation of the things coming upon the whole earth; for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. That day as a snare shall come upon all that dwell upon the face of the whole earth (Luke 21:25-26, 35).

Here also the last time of the church is treated of, when judgment takes place, and the "earth" and the "world" here mean the church. "The distress of nations upon the earth," "the fear and expectation of the things coming upon the earth, and upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth" signifies upon those who are in the spiritual world, not upon those who are in the countries in the natural world. (That there are lands in the spiritual world also, see what is said at the beginning of this article; and that the Last Judgment was accomplished there, see Last Judgment.) It has been told before what "sun," "moon," and "stars" signify, in which are signs, namely, that "sun" signifies love, "moon" faith therefrom, and "stars" the knowledges of good and truth; the "sea and waves roaring" signify the reasonings and assaults of truth from the sense of the letter of the Word, wrongly and perversely applied. The "powers of the heavens that shall be shaken" signify the Word in the sense of the letter, since this sense is the foundation of the spiritual truths that are in the heavens. (See Heaven and Hell, in the article that treats of the conjunction of heaven with man by the Word, n. 303-310.)

[48] In Isaiah:

Sing aloud ye heavens; shout, ye lower parts of the earth; break forth with singing, ye mountains, O forest and every tree therein; for Jehovah hath redeemed Jacob. I am Jehovah, that maketh all things; that stretchest forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself (Isaiah 44:23-24).

"Sing aloud, ye heavens; shout, ye lower parts of the earth; break forth with singing, ye mountains, O forest and every tree therein" signifies all things of heaven and of the church, both internal and external, all of which have reference to good and to truth. Things internal are signified by "the heavens," things external by "the lower parts of the earth;" "mountains" mean the good of love, the "forest" means natural truth, and the "trees" therein mean the knowledges of truth. Because such things are signified, it is said, "for Jehovah hath redeemed Jacob," "Jacob" in the Word signifying the external church, and "Israel" the internal church; "to stretch forth the heavens," and "to spread abroad the earth" signifies the church on all sides, which is spread forth and extended by the multiplication of truth and the fructification of good, with those who are of the church.

[49] In Zechariah:

Jehovah stretcheth out the heavens, and foundeth the earth, and formeth the spirit of man in the midst of him (Zechariah 12:1).

Here, too, in like manner "heavens" and "earth" signify the church everywhere, thus in respect to its interiors and as to its exteriors; therefore it is also said, "He formeth the spirit of man in the midst of him."

[50] In Jeremiah:

The gods that have not made the heaven and the earth, let them perish from the earth and from under the heavens. Jehovah maketh the earth by His power, prepareth the world by His wisdom, and stretcheth out the heavens by His intelligence. At the voice which He giveth forth there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causeth the vapors to ascend from the end of the earth (Jeremiah 10:11-13; 51:15-16).

Because the "heavens" and the "earth" signify the church (as above), it is said, "Jehovah maketh the earth by His power, prepareth the world by His wisdom, and stretcheth out the heavens by His intelligence;" and therefore also it is said, "At the voice which He giveth forth there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causeth the vapors to ascend from the end of the earth;" "the voice that Jehovah giveth forth" signifies Divine truth proceeding from Him; the "multitude of waters in the heavens" signifies truth in abundance, for "waters" signify truths; and "the vapors that He causeth to ascend from the end of the earth" signify the ultimate truths of the church, "vapors" are those truths; and "the end of the earth" is the ultimate of the church; and as "gods" signify the falsities of doctrine and of worship, which destroy the church, it is said, "The gods that have not made the heaven and the earth, let them perish from the earth and from under the heavens."

[51] In David:

Jehovah, who by intelligence maketh the heavens, and spreadeth out the earth above the waters (Psalms 136:5-6).

Because "heaven" and "earth" signify the church, and the church is formed by truths, and the truths of the church constitute intelligence, it is said, "Jehovah maketh the heavens by intelligence, and spreadeth out the earth above the waters," "waters" meaning the truths of the church.

[52] In Isaiah:

Thus saith Jehovah God, that createth the heavens, and stretcheth them out, that spreadeth forth the earth and the products thereof, that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein (Isaiah 42:5).

"To create the heavens" and "to spread forth the earth and the products thereof" signifies to form the church and to reform those who are in it, "products" meaning all things of the church; therefore it is said, "that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein. " That "to create" is to reform, see above n. 294.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 294)


[53] In the same:

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the [higher] clouds flow down with righteousness; let the earth open, and bring forth the fruit of salvation. I have made the earth, and created man upon it. Thus said Jehovah who created the heavens; God Himself who formeth the earth and maketh it and prepareth it: I have not spoken in secret, in a place of the land of darkness (Isaiah 45:8, 12, 18-19).

"Heavens" and "earth" here plainly mean all things of the church, both its internals and externals; for it is said, "Drop down, ye heavens, and let the [higher] clouds flow down with righteousness; let the earth open, and bring forth the fruit of salvation. " "Heavens" signify the interiors of the church, because the interiors that are of man's spiritual mind are the heavens with him. (That with the man with whom the church is there is a heaven, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 30-57.) "To create the heavens and to form the earth, and make and prepare it," signifies to fully establish the church.

[54] In the same:

Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered (Isaiah 65:17).

"To create new heavens and a new earth" signifies to establish a new church in respect to its interiors and exteriors, both in the heavens and on earth (as above).

[55] In the same:

Who hath heard a thing like this? shall the earth bring forth in one day? shall a nation be begotten at one time? For as the new heavens and the new earth which I am about to make shall stand before Me, so shall your seed and your name stand (Isaiah 66:8, 22).

Because the "earth" signifies the church, it is said, "shall the earth bring forth in one day? shall a nation be begotten at one time?" "To bring forth," and "birth," and "to beget," and "begetting," in the Word, signify spiritual birth and begetting, which are of faith and love, thus reformation and regeneration. What the "new heavens" and the "new earth" signify has been told above.

[56] In Jeremiah:

I have made the earth, man and beast that are upon the faces of the earth, and I give it to him who is right in My eyes (Jeremiah 27:5).

"Man and beast that are upon the faces of the earth" signify the affections of truth and good in the spiritual and the natural man (see n. 280; and Arcana Coelestia 7424, 7523, 7872); and since these affections with men constitute the church in them it is said, "I have made the earth, man and beast that are upon the faces of the earth, and I give it to him who is right in My eyes." Everyone knows that God gives the earth not alone to those who are right in His eyes, but also to those who are not right, while the church He gives to those only who are right; "right" signifying truth and its affection.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 280)


[57] In Isaiah:

The heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and the dwellers therein shall die in like manner (Isaiah 51:6).

The "heavens that shall vanish away," and the "earth that shall wax old like a garment" signify the church; this step by step falls, and at length is desolated; but not so the visible heaven and the habitable earth; therefore it is said, "and the dwellers therein shall die in like manner," "to die" signifying to die spiritually:

The heavens and earth shall pass away (Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 16:17);

has a like signification.

[58] In Revelation:

Four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow upon the earth (Revelation 7:1).

"The four corners of the earth," and "the four winds of the earth" signify all truths and goods of the church in the complex; for they have the like signification as the four quarters of heaven (that these have this signification, see Heaven and Hell, on the four quarters in heaven, n 141-153). To "hold the four winds" signifies that truths and goods do not flow in because they are not received; therefore it is said that "the wind should not blow upon the earth." "The earth" signifies the church elsewhere in Revelation (as Revelation 10:2, 5-6, 8; 12:16; 13:13; 16:2, 14; 20: , 8-911; 21:1), as well as in many other places in the Word, too numerous to be cited.

(References: Revelation 7:3, Revelation 20:8-9, 20:11)


[59] As the church was signified by the "earth" and especially by the "land of Canaan," because the church was there, and as the church which was there was a representative church, so all things there were representative, and all that was said to them by the Lord signified the spiritual or interior things of the church, and this even to the land itself and its products; as in these words in Moses:

If thou wilt keep the commandments, Jehovah will lead thee into a good land, into a land of brooks of waters, of fountains, of depths coming forth out of valley and mountain; a land of wheat, of barley, of vine, of fig, of pomegranate; a land of the olive, of oil, of honey; a land where thou shalt eat bread without scarceness; it shall lack nothing; a land where the stones are iron and out of the mountains is digged copper; and thou shalt eat, and shalt be satisfied in this good land (Deuteronomy 8:6-10).

This is a description of all things of the church, both its interiors and its exteriors; but to explain what the particulars signify would be tedious and not to the present purpose.

(References: Deuteronomy 8:1, Deuteronomy 8:7-10)


[60] Because the "land" signifies the church it was among the blessings, that if they lived according to the commandments:

The land would yield its increase, evil beasts would cease out of the land, nor would the sword pass through the land (Leviticus 26:3-4, 6).

That "the land would yield its increase" signifies that there would be good and truth in the church; that "evil beasts would cease" signifies that there would not be evil affections and lusts, which destroy the church; that "the sword would not pass through the land" signifies that falsity would not cast out truth.

[61] Again, as the "land" signifies the church, it was also decreed that:

The seventh year should be a sabbath of the land, and that there should be no labor upon it (Leviticus 25:1-8).

It is therefore said also that:

The land was defiled on account of their evils, and would vomit them out because of their abominations (Leviticus 18:25-28).

Because the "land" [or ground] signified the church:

The Lord spat on the earth, and made clay of the spittle, and anointed the eyes of the blind man, and said, Go wash thee in the pool of Siloam (John 9:6-7, 11, 15);

So the Lord, when the Scribes and Pharisees questioned Him respecting the woman taken in adultery, stooping down, wrote twice on the earth (John 8:6, 8);

which signified that the church was full of adulteries, that is, full of the adulteration of good and the falsification of truth; therefore the Lord said to them:

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her; but they went out one by one, beginning from the elders, even unto the last (John 8:7, 9).

(References: John 8:4; Leviticus 18:26, 18:28)


[62] As most things in the Word have also a contrary sense, so has the "earth," which in that sense signifies the church vastated; it is vastated when the good of love and the truth of faith are no more, but instead thereof evil and falsity; as these damn man, the "earth" in that sense signifies damnation, as in the following places: Isaiah 14:12; 21:9; 25:12; 26:19, 21; 29:4; 47:1; 63:6; Lamentations 2:2, 10; Ezekiel 26:20; 32:24; Numbers 16:29-33; 26:10; and elsewhere.

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Footnotes:

1. The photolithograph has "breadth" for "wings," Apocalypse Revealed 861; Arcana Coelestia 1613, 4482, 9487 have "wings."

2. "Jezreel" for "Israel;" see n. 375; Arcana Coelestia 3580, where we read "Jezreel."

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(References: Deuteronomy 8:1, 8:7-10; Isaiah 7:22; Jeremiah 4:28; John 8:4, John 8:6-9; Leviticus 18:26, Leviticus 18:28; Psalms 46:8; Revelation 7:3)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 301, 306, 311, 315, 318, 327, 333, 342, 359, 365, 384, 388, 400, 405, 420, 518, 531, 535, 608, 619, 697, 741, 752, 764, 787, 821, 860, 871, 876, 912, 960, 1029, 1047, 1057


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


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