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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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

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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

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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 #695

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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695. And to give reward to His 1 servants, the prophets and the saints, signifies heaven to those who are in the truths of doctrine and in a life according to them. This is evident from the signification of "giving reward," as being salvation, and thus heaven; also from the signification of "His servants the prophets," as being those who are in the truths of doctrine, for those are called "servants of the Lord" who are in truths, because truths are serviceable for bringing forth, confirming, and preserving good, and whatever serves good serves the Lord, since every good is from the Lord. Those are called "prophets" who teach doctrine, thus in an abstract sense they signify doctrine. (That those are called "servants of God" who are in truths see above, n. 6, 409; and "prophets" who teach doctrine, and in an abstract sense doctrines, n. 624.) The above is evident also from the signification of "saints" as being those who are in the truths of doctrine from the Word and in a life according to them (see above, n. 204. From this it is clear that "to give reward to His servants, the prophets and saints," signifies heaven to those who are in the truths of doctrine and in a life according to them.

(References: Revelation 11:18; The Apocalypse Explained 6, The Apocalypse Explained 204, The Apocalypse Explained 409, The Apocalypse Explained 624)


[2] That "reward" signifies salvation, and thus heaven, can be seen without amplification and explanation; but as few know what is properly meant by "reward" it shall be told. "Reward" means properly that delight, blessedness, and happiness that is in the love or affection of good and truth. This love or affection has in itself all joy of heart, which is called heavenly joy, and also heaven; and for the reason that the Lord is in that love or affection, and with the Lord is heaven; consequently such joy, or such delight, blessedness, and happiness, is what is properly meant by the "reward" that those will receive who do good and speak truth from the love or affection of good and truth, thus from the Lord, and in no wise from themselves; and as they do this from the Lord and not from themselves it is not a reward of merit but a reward of grace. This shows that whoever knows what heavenly joy is also knows what reward is. (What heavenly joy is in its essence can be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 395-414.) This, therefore, is what is meant by the "reward" that those have who are in truths from good. But the "reward" that those have who are in falsities from evil is joy or delight, good fortune, and happiness in the world, but hell after their departure out of the world.

[3] From these few words the signification of "reward" in the following passages can be seen. In Isaiah:

Behold the Lord Jehovih cometh in strength; behold His reward is with Him, and the wages of His work are with 2 Him (Isaiah 40:10).

In the same:

Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy salvation cometh, and the wages of His work are with 3 Him (Isaiah 62:11).

And in Revelation:

Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me to give to each one as his work shall be (Revelation 22:12).

"Behold the Lord Jehovih cometh in strength," and "Behold thy salvation cometh," and "Behold He cometh quickly," signify the first and second coming of the Lord. "His reward is with Him" signifies heaven and all things belonging to it, as above, since where the Lord is, there heaven is, for heaven is not heaven from the angels there, but from the Lord with the angels. That heaven will be received in the measure of the love and affection of good and truth from the Lord is meant by "the wages of His work are before Him," and by "He will give to each one as his work shall be." No other work is meant by the "work" for which heaven is given as a reward than work from the love or affection of good and truth, for from that must be every work with man from which is heaven. For a work derives its all from love or affection, just as the effect derives its all from the effecting cause, therefore such as the love or affection is, such is the work. Thence it may be clear what is meant by "the work according to which it shall be given to everyone," and what is meant by "the wages of work."

[4] Likewise in Isaiah:

I Jehovah love judgment, I will give the reward of their work in truth, and will make with them a covenant of eternity (Isaiah 61:8).

The "judgment that Jehovah loves" signifies truth in faith, in affection, and in act, for man has judgment from truth, both when he thinks and desires truth, and when he speaks truth and acts according to it; and as this is what is signified by "judgment," therefore it is said "I will give the reward of their work in truth," that is, heaven according to the faith of truth and the affection of it in act; and as from this is conjunction with the Lord, from whom reward comes, therefore it is added, "I will make with them a covenant of eternity," "covenant" signifying in the Word conjunction by love, and "a covenant of eternity" conjunction by the love of good and truth, for that love conjoins, since it is of the Lord Himself and proceeds from Him.

[5] That loving good and truth for the sake of good and truth is reward, for the reason that the Lord and heaven are in that love, can also be seen from the following passages. In Matthew:

Do not ye your alms before men; to be seen by them, for otherwise ye have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens. When thou doest alms sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do, in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men; verily I say to you they have their reward. But thou, when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth, that thine alms may be in secret; then thy Father who seeth in secret will reward thee openly. And when thou prayest thou shalt not be as the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men; verily I say unto you, they have their reward; but when thou prayest enter into thy chamber, and shutting thy door pray to thy Father who is in secret; then thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Matthew 6:1-6).

"Alms" in the most general sense signifies every good that man wills and does, and "to pray" signifies in the same sense every truth that man thinks and speaks. Those who do these two things "to be seen," that is, that they may be manifest, do good and speak truth for the sake of self and the world, that is, for the sake of glory, which is the delight of self-love that the world affords. Because delight in glory is the reward of such it is said "they have their reward;" but this delight in glory, which in the world seems to them like heaven, is changed after death into hell. But those who do good and speak truth, not for the sake of self and the world but for the sake of good itself and truth itself, are meant by those who "do alms in secret," and who "pray in secret," for they act and pray from love or affection, thus from the Lord; this, therefore, is loving good and truth for the sake of good and truth; and of such it is said that "the Father in the heavens will reward them openly." Thus "reward" is to be in goods and truths from love or affection, which is the same as being in them from the Lord, since in these is heaven and every blessedness and happiness of heaven.

[6] In Luke:

When thou makest a dinner or a supper call not the rich, lest haply they should call thee in turn; and a recompense be made to thee; but call the poor; then shalt thou be blessed, for they have not wherewith to recompense thee; for it shall be recompensed thee in the resurrection of the dead (Luke 14:12-14).

"To make a dinner and a supper and to call to them" has a similar signification as giving to eat and drink, or bread and wine, namely, doing good to the neighbor, and teaching truth, and being thus consociated in love; so those who do this for the purpose of being recompensed do it not for the sake of good and truth, thus not from the Lord, but for the sake of self and the world, thus from hell; while those who do this not for the purpose of being recompensed, do it for its own sake, that is, for the sake of good and truth, and those who do it for the sake of good and truth do it from good and truth, thus from the Lord, from whom are good and truth with man. The heavenly blessedness that is in such deeds and thence from them is "reward" and is meant by "it shall be recompensed thee in the resurrection of the dead."

[7] In the same:

Rather love your enemies, and do good and lend, hoping for nothing again; then shall your reward be much, and ye shall be sons of the Most High (Luke 6:35).

This has a similar signification as the previous passage, namely, that good is not to be done for the sake of recompense, that is, for the sake of self and the world, thus not for the sake of reputation, glory, honor, and gain, but for the Lord's sake, that is, for the sake of good itself and truth itself which are with such from the Lord, thus in which the Lord is. "To love enemies and do good to them" means here, in the nearest sense, to love the Gentiles and do good to them, which is to be done by teaching them truth and leading them by it to good; for the Jewish nation called their own people brethren and friends, but the Gentiles they called adversaries and enemies. "To lend" signifies to communicate goods and truths of doctrine from the Word; "to hope for nothing again" signifies, not for the sake of anything of self and of the world, but for the sake of good and truth; "then shall your reward be much" signifies that then they shall have heaven with its blessedness and delights; "and ye shall be sons of the Most High" signifies because they do these things not from self but from the Lord; for he who does good and teaches truth from the Lord is the Lord's son, but not he who does good from self, which is what everyone does who looks to honor and gain as his end.

[8] In Matthew:

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold [water] only in the name of a disciple, he shall not lose his reward (Matthew 10:41, 42).

How these words of the Lord are to be understood no one can see except from their internal or spiritual sense; for who can know what is meant by "receiving a prophet's reward" and "a righteous man's reward," and by "receiving a prophet and a righteous man in the name of a prophet and a righteous man;" also what is meant by the "reward" that he will receive who "shall give to drink unto one of the little ones a cup of cold [water] only, in the name of a disciple"? Without the internal spiritual sense, who can see that these words mean that everyone shall receive heaven and its joy in the measure of his affection of truth and good, and in the measure of his obedience?

(References: Matthew 10:41-42)


[9] This meaning becomes evident when it is seen that "prophet" means the truth of doctrine, "righteous man" the good of love, and "disciple" the truth and good of the Word and of the church, and that "in their name" means for the sake of these, and according to their quality with those who do and teach them; also that "reward" means heaven, as has been said above, namely, that everyone has heaven in the measure of his affection of truth and good, and according to its quality and quantity; for on these affections all things of heaven are inscribed, since no one can have these affections except from the Lord, for it is the Divine proceeding from the Lord in which and from which is heaven.

[10] "To give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold [water] only in the name of a disciple" means to do good and teach truth from obedience, for "water" signifies the truth in affection, and "cold [water]" truth in obedience, for obedience alone is a natural, not a spiritual, affection, and is therefore comparatively cold; and a "disciple" in whose name or for whose sake it is "given to drink" signifies the truth and good of the Word and of the church. (That "a prophet" signifies the truth of doctrine can be seen above, n. 624); that "a righteous man" signifies the good of love, n. 204; that a "disciple" signifies the truth and good of the Word and of the church, n. 100, 122; and that "name" signifies the quality of a thing and 4 state, n. 102, 135, 148, 676.)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 100, 102, 122, 135, The Apocalypse Explained 148, The Apocalypse Explained 204, The Apocalypse Explained 624, The Apocalypse Explained 676)


[11] In Mark:

Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name, because ye are Christ's, verily I say unto you he shall not lose his reward (Mark 9:41).

This also means that those shall receive the delight of heaven who from affection hear, receive, and teach the truth because truth and the affection of it are from the Lord, thus for the Lord's sake, and accordingly for the truth's sake, since "because ye are Christ's" signifies for the sake of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. (That "Christ" means the Lord in regard to Divine truth, and thus Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, may be seen above , n. 684, 685.)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 684-685)


[12] In Zechariah:

The foundation of the house of Jehovah of Hosts hath been laid, the temple, that it may be built; for before these days there was no reward of man, nor reward of beast, and to him that went out and to him that came in there was no peace from the adversary. Now the seed of peace, the vine shall give its fruit, and the land shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew (Zechariah 8:9, 10, 12).

This was said of the New Church to be established by the Lord when the old had been laid waste; the New Church that is to be established is signified by "the house of Jehovah of Hosts" whose foundations have been laid, and by "the temple" that was to be built, "the house of Jehovah" signifying the church in respect to good, and "the temple" the church in respect to truth (see above, n. 220. That before this, no one had any spiritual affection of truth and good or any natural affection of truth and good is signified by "before these days there was no reward of man, nor reward of beast;" "man" signifying the spiritual affection of truth, and "beast" the natural affection of good, and "reward" heaven, which those have who are in the affections of truth and good. (That "man" signifies the spiritual affection of truth, and consequent intelligence, may be seen above, n. 280, 546, 547; and that "beast" signifies the natural affection, n. 650.)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 220, 280, The Apocalypse Explained 546-547, The Apocalypse Explained 650; Zechariah 8:9-10)


[13] "To him that went out and to him that came in there was no peace from the adversary" signifies that heretofore they had been infested by hell in every state of life; "to go out and come in" signifying the state of life from beginning to end, "there was no peace" signifying infestation by evils and falsities therefrom, and "adversary" signifying hell, the source of evils and falsities. "The seed of peace" signifies the truth of heaven and the church, which is from the Lord; this is called "the seed of peace" because it defends from the hells and gives security. "The vine shall give fruit and the land produce" signifies that the spiritual affection of truth shall bring forth the good of charity, and the natural affection of good and truth shall bring forth the works of charity; "vine" signifying the church in respect to the spiritual affection of truth, "land" the church in respect to the natural affection of truth, "fruit" the good of charity, and "produce" the works of that good. "The heavens shall give dew" signifies that these things are from influx through heaven from the Lord.

[14] In John:

Lift up your eyes and behold the fields, that they are white already for harvest; and he that reapeth receiveth reward and gathereth fruit unto life eternal, that he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together (John 4:35, 36).

This, too, is said of a New Church from the Lord. That it is at hand is signified by "the fields that are white already for harvest;" those of that church who are in the spiritual affection of truth, and thence in heaven, are meant by "he that reapeth receiveth reward and gathereth fruit unto life eternal;" and the Lord Himself, from whom is that affection of truth, and heaven, is meant by "he that soweth may rejoice together with him that reapeth."

(References: John 4:35-36)


[15] In Jeremiah:

Rachel weeping for her sons, she refuseth to be comforted for her sons because they are not. But refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears, for there is reward for thy labor, for they shall return from the land of the enemy; and there is hope for thy latter end, for thy sons shall return to their own border (Jeremiah 31:15-17; Matthew 2:18).

This refers to the infant boys put to death in Bethlehem by command of Herod, as is evident from the passage cited in Matthew; but what this signifies has not heretofore been known. The signification is that when the Lord came into the world there was no spiritual truth remaining; for "Rachel" represented the internal spiritual church, and "Leah" the external natural church, "Bethlehem" the spiritual, and "the boys put to death" truth from that origin. That there was no spiritual truth any longer remaining is signified by "Rachel weeping for her sons, she refuseth to be comforted for her sons, because they are not."

[16] That henceforth there will be no grief on that account, because the Lord has been born, from whom there will be a New Church that will be in truths from spiritual affection, is signified by "refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears, for there is reward for thy labor," "His reward" signifying heaven for those who will be of that church from the spiritual affection of truth, and "labor" signifying the Lord's combats against the hells and the subjugation of the hells that a New Church may be established. That the New Church will be established in the place of the one that perished is signified by "they shall return from the land of the enemy, and there is hope for the latter end," also by "thy sons shall return to their own border;" "to return from the land of the enemy" signifying to be brought out of hell; "hope for the latter end" signifying the end of the former church and the beginning of the new, and "the sons shall return to their own border" signifying that spiritual truths will exist with those who will be of that New Church.

[17] In Isaiah:

I said, I have labored in vain, I have consumed my strength in emptiness and vanity; yet surely my judgment is with Jehovah, and the reward of my work with my God (Isaiah 49:4).

This, again, is said of the establishment of the New Church by the Lord. That it could not be established with the Jewish nation, because truths could not be received by that nation with any spiritual affection, is meant by "I said, I have labored in vain, I have consumed my strength in emptiness and vanity;" that still a spiritual church is being provided by the Lord, namely, among the Gentiles, is signified by "my judgment is with Jehovah, and the reward of my work is with my God;" "reward" here signifying the church that is in the spiritual affection of truth; and "labor and work" signifying the Lord's combat against the hells and their subjugation, by which the Lord restored the equilibrium between heaven and hell, in which man is able to receive truth and to become spiritual. (On this equilibrium see in the work Heaven and Hell 589-603, and in the small work Last Judgment 33, 34, 73, 74.)

(References: The Last Judgment 33-34, 73-74)


[18] In David:

Behold, sons are a heritage of Jehovah, the fruit of the womb is a reward; as darts in the hand of the mighty so are the sons of youth; happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them, they shall not be ashamed when they shall speak with enemies in the gate (Psalms 127:3-5).

What is here signified by "sons," "fruit of the womb," "darts," "quiver," and "enemies in the gate," may be seen above n. 357; and that "reward" here also signifies the happiness that those have who are in heaven.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 357)


[19] In the Gospels:

Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say every evil word against you falsely for Christ's sake, rejoice and exult, for much is your reward in the heavens; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11, 12; Luke 6:22, 23).

This is said of those who fight and conquer in temptations induced by evils, that is, by hell; temptations are signified by "reviling," "persecuting," and "saying an evil word falsely for Christ's sake," for temptations are assaults and infestations of truth and good by falsities and evils; "Christ" means Divine truth from the Lord which is assaulted and on account of which they are infested. "Rejoice and exult, for much is your reward in the heavens," signifies heaven with its joy which those have who are in the spiritual affection of truth, for such only fight and conquer, since the Lord resists and conquers for the man in the combats of temptations, and He is in that affection; "for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you" signifies that previously the truths of doctrine with those who were in the spiritual affection of truth had in like manner been assaulted, for "prophets" in a sense abstracted from persons signify truths from the Word or from the Lord. From what has thus far been cited from the Word it can be seen that "reward" signifies heaven in respect to its blessedness, happiness, and delight, which those have who are in the spiritual affection of truth and good, and that the reward is that affection itself; for it is the same whether you say heaven or that affection, for heaven is in that affection and from it.

(References: Luke 6:22-23; Matthew 5:11-12)


[20] But those who speak truth and do good not from spiritual affection but from merely natural affection, and who think continually of heaven as a reward, were represented in the Israelitish church by "hired servants," respecting whom there were in that church many statutes, as:

That hired servants should not eat of the Passover (Exodus 12:43, 45);

That they should not eat of the holy things (Leviticus 22:10);

That the wages of a hired servant should not abide with anyone during the night until the morning (Leviticus 19:13);

That they should not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, either of thy brethren or of the sojourner that is in thy land and in thy gates; in his day thou shalt give him his hire, so that the sun may not go down upon it, lest he cry against thee unto Jehovah, and it be in thee a sin (Deuteronomy 24:14, 15).

In Malachi:

I will be against the oppressors of the hired servant in his wages, of the widow, and of the fatherless, and against them that turn aside the sojourner and fear not Me (Malachi 3:5);

and elsewhere. Hired servants were forbidden to eat of the Passover and of things sanctified because they represented those that are natural and not spiritual, and the spiritual are of the church, but not so the natural. To look to heaven as a reward on account of the good that is done is natural, for the natural considers good to be from itself, thus heaven to be a reward; and this makes good meritorious. But it is otherwise with the spiritual, which acknowledges good as being not from itself but from the Lord, and thus heaven to be not from any merit but from mercy. Nevertheless, as those signified by "hired servants" still do good, although not from a spiritual affection but from a natural affection, which is obedience, and then think of heaven as a reward, they are mentioned with the "poor," the "needy," the "sojourners," the "fatherless," and the "widows," because they are in spiritual poverty; for genuine truths are obscure to them, because light from heaven does not flow in through their spiritual man into the natural; this is why they are classed with those mentioned above, and it is commanded that "their reward shall be given them before the going down of the sun. " Moreover, such are in the lowest regions of the heavens, where they are servants, and are rewarded according to their works (see many things further in the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 150-158).

(References: Deuteronomy 24:14-15)


[21] But hired servants who do not think of reward in heaven but of reward in the world, thus who do good for the sake of gain, whether it be honors or wealth, thus who do good from the love of honor or wealth, thus, for the sake of self and the world, are infernal-natural. Such "hired servants" are meant in John:

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd layeth down his soul for the sheep. But a hired servant seeth the wolf and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth, because he is a hired servant (John 10:11-13).

And in Jeremiah:

A very fair she-calf is Egypt; destruction cometh out of the north; her hired servants are like fattened calves, for they also are turned, they flee together, they stood not, for the day of their calamity is come upon them (Jeremiah 46:20, 21);

and elsewhere (Isaiah 16:14; 21:16).

(References: Jeremiah 46:20-21)


[22] Because in the Word "reward" signifies heaven, which those have who are in the spiritual love of truth and good, so in the contrary sense "reward" signifies hell, which those have who are in the love of falsity and evil. Such is the signification of "reward" in David:

He shall clothe himself with cursing as with his garment and it entereth into the midst of him as waters, and as oil among his bones. This is the reward of mine adversaries from Jehovah, and of them that speak evil against my soul (Psalms 109:18, 20).

By this in the spiritual sense the Lord is meant, for where David speaks of himself in the Psalms, in that sense the Lord is meant, David as a king representing the Lord, and thus signifying Him in relation to the Divine-spiritual, which is the Lord's royalty. "The reward of the Lord's adversaries, and of them that speak evil against His soul," is described as a hell from the love of falsity and evil, by this, that "he shall clothe himself with cursing as with his garment" and "it hath entered into the midst of him as waters, and as oil among his bones," these two expressions describing hell as received in externals and in internals, "to clothe himself with cursing as with a garment" describing the hell that is received in externals, and "cursing entering into the midst of him as waters, and as oil among his bones," describing the hell that is received in internals. It is said "as waters," and "as oil," because "waters" signify the falsities of faith, and "oil" the evils of the love, so the two expressions mean the love or affection of falsity and evil, which is hell, as can be seen also from this, that love imbibes all things that are in harmony with it, just as a sponge imbibes water and oil; for the love of evil is nourished by falsities, and the love of falsity is nourished by evils, and love being such, it is said that "cursing enters into the midst of him as waters, and as oil among his bones."

[23] Since in the contrary sense "reward" signifies hell in respect to the affection of falsity from evil, therefore the falsification of truth is here and there called in the Word "the reward of whoredom." As in Hosea:

Be not glad, O Israel, unto exultation like the nations, 5 for thou hast committed whoredom from under thy God; thou hast loved the reward of whoredom upon all corn-floors; the floor and the wine-vat shall not feed them 6 (Hosea 9:1, 2).

"To commit whoredom from under God" signifies to falsify the truths of the Word, and to apply the holy things of the church to idolatries; "to love the reward of whoredom" signifies the delight of falsifying and of falsity and of idolatry from infernal love; "upon all corn-floors" signifies all things of the Word and of doctrine from the Word, for "corn," of which bread is made, signifies all things that nourish spiritually, and "floor" signifies where these are gathered together, that is, the Word; "the floor and the wine-vat shall not feed them" signifies not to draw from the Word the good things of charity and love, that is, the things that will nourish the soul, for the "floor" here means the Word in respect to the goods of charity and the "wine-vat" the Word in respect to goods of love, the "vat" here meaning oil, for which as well as for wine there were vats; "and the new wine shall dissemble unto her" signifies that neither shall there be any truth of good; for "new wine," the same as "wine," signifies truth from the good of charity and love.

(References: Hosea 9:1-2)


[24] In Micah:

All the graven images of Samaria shall be beaten in pieces, and all the rewards of her whoredom shall be burned up with fire, and all their idols will I lay waste; for she hath brought them together from the reward of whoredom, therefore to the reward of whoredom shall they return; for this I will lament and howl, I will go stripped and naked (Micah 1:7, 8).

"Samaria" means the spiritual church in respect to the truths of doctrine, here in respect to the falsities of doctrine; for their "graven images" signify things falsified, which are from self-intelligence; "the rewards of her whoredom that shall be burned up with fire" signify the falsifications of truth from a love of falsity from evil and the consequent infernal delight; and as that love is from hell it is said that "they shall be burned up with fire," "fire" signifying love in both senses; "and all their idols will I lay waste" signifies the falsities that must be destroyed; "for she hath brought them together from the reward of whoredom" signifies from the love of falsity that is from evil and from the consequent infernal delight; "therefore to the reward of whoredom shall they return" signifies that all things of that church will be truths falsified, because they are thence; "for this I will lament and howl" signifies the grief of the angels of heaven and of the men of the church in whom the church is, and thus with them with whom the Lord is; "I will go stripped and naked" signifies mourning because of the vastation of all truth and good. That "graven images" and "idols" signify doctrinals from self-intelligence favoring the loves of self and of the world and the principles derived therefrom, thus the falsities of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, may be seen above (n. 587, 654).

(References: Micah 1:7-8; The Apocalypse Explained 587, The Apocalypse Explained 654)


[25] In Ezekiel:

Thou hast built thy eminent place at the head of every way, and thy exalted place in every street; and hast not been as a harlot to glory in reward; the adulterous woman received strangers instead of her husband; they give reward to all harlots, but thou hast given thy rewards to all thy lovers, and hast given them presents that they might come unto thee from every side in thy whoredoms. Thus the contrary is in thee from women in thy whoredoms, that they went not after thee to commit whoredom in giving a reward, and no reward has been given to thee, therefore thou hast been contrary (Ezekiel 16:31-34).

This chapter treats of the abominations of Jerusalem, that is, of the abominable things of the Jewish Church, in that it not only perverted and adulterated the goods of the Word, but also received falsities of religion and of worship from the idolatrous nations, and thereby adulterated the truths and goods of the Word, and confirmed these adulterations. What "building an eminent place at the head of every way, and making an exalted place in every street" signifies may be seen above n. 652. That "adulteries and whoredoms" signify in the Word the adulterations and falsifications of the truth and good of the church may be seen above (n. 141, 511); therefore "not to have been as a harlot to glory in reward" signifies not to have so falsified the truths of the Word from the delight of affection; "the adulterous woman received strangers instead of her husband" signifies the truths and goods of the Word perverted by the falsities of other nations; "they give reward to all harlots, but thou hast given thy rewards to all thy lovers and hast given them presents," signifies that they loved the falsities of religion and of the worship of other nations; a "reward or gift of whoredom" meaning the love of falsifying by means of the falsities of others; "that they might come unto thee from every side in thy whoredoms" signifies that falsities were searched for from every direction, whereby truth was falsified; "thus the contrary is in thee from women in thy whoredoms, that they went not after thee to commit whoredom in giving a reward, and no reward has been given to thee, therefore thou hast been contrary," signifies the delight of the love and affection of falsifying the truths of their church by the falsities of other religions, and of confirming such falsities, "the reward or gift of whoredoms" meaning the delight of the love and affection towards the falsities of other religions.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 141, The Apocalypse Explained 511, The Apocalypse Explained 652)


[26] From that which has been stated, what is meant spiritually by "reward" in both senses can now be seen; for that which affects with delight and joy is spiritual reward. For example, there are riches, possessions, honors, and gifts, by which a man is rewarded for well-doing; these are not "reward," spiritually understood, but the delights and joys which spring from these; much more is this true of the heavenly reward that the man of the church who lives well will have, which is the spiritual affection of truth, and intelligence and wisdom therefrom, which is the source of blessedness and happiness. Moreover, in heaven there is opulence and magnificence which results from the heavenly love as its correspondent, but yet in heaven it is not opulence and magnificence that are regarded as reward, but the spiritual from which they are. This, too, is what is meant by "the price of a work," and by "reward," which is in the Lord and from the Lord (Isaiah 40:10; 61:8; 62:11; Luke 6:35; 14:12-14; and elsewhere).

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Footnotes:

1. Swedenborg in the heading corrected "His" into "Thy," but left it uncorrected immediately below and in 695.

2. The Hebrew has "beore," as found below in the explanation, and also in Arcana Coelestia 1793.

3. The Latin has "is" for "and."

4. The Latin has "For if" for "For so."

5. The Hebrew has "peoples."

6. The photolithograph omits "And the new wine shall dissemble unto her," but explains it in the text.

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(References: Revelation 11:18)

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Apocalypse Explained 692, 841, 862, 922, 1039, 1046, 1098, 1139

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