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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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...

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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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 Acknowledging Our Mistakes
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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?
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

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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. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

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

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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

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Illustrate the sun shining or the rain falling and being received by two very different kinds of plants: a thorny bush and a fruit tree.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

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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

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

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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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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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 The Sermon on the Mount
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Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Sermon on the Mount (3-5 years)
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The Ten Blessings from the Sermon on the Mount in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

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

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

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Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

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

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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 #785

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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785. Verse 3. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been wounded to death, signifies the discordance of their doctrinals with the Word, in which "love," "life," and "works," which do not at all agree with that religious principle, are so often mentioned. This is evident from the signification of the "heads" of that beast, as being the knowledge of the holy things of the Word which are falsified and adulterated (see above, n. 775. When the church and those of the church are treated of in the Word, "head" signifies intelligence and wisdom; and in the most universal sense the understanding of truth and the will of good. But as this treats of those who are not willing that the understanding should enter into the mysteries of faith, but who wish it to be held captive under obedience to their mysteries, and as these are described by "the dragon" and this his "beast," it follows that the "head" of this beast signifies knowledge [scientia]; for where the understanding does not see there is no intelligence, but in place of it knowledge. Moreover, intelligence cannot be predicated of those who are in falsities, but only knowledge (see about this in the New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 33). The above is evident also from the signification of "being wounded to death," as being in disagreement with the Word; for doctrine which disagrees with the Word is dead; and this death is what is signified by "being wounded to death."

(References: Matthew 5:1, Matthew 6:1, 7:1; Revelation 13:3; The Apocalypse Explained 775)


[2] The discordance is that they separate the life of love, which is good works, from faith, and make faith alone justifying and saving, and they take away everything of justification and salvation from the life of love or from good works; and as loving and doing are mentioned in the Word in a thousand passages, and it is declared that man is to be judged according to his deeds and works, and as this does not agree with that religious principle, therefore this is what is signified by the death-stroke of the head of this beast. From this it can be seen that the words, "I saw one of the heads of the beast as if it had been wounded to death," signifies disagreement with the Word, in which "love," "life," and "works," which do not at all agree with that religious principle, are so often mentioned. That they do not agree is clearly evident from the fact that it is a dogma of that religion that faith alone, without the works of the law, justifies and saves, yea, that if anything of salvation be placed in works it is damnable, because of man's merit and what is his own [proprium] in them. For this reason many abstain from doing them, saying in their heart, Good works do not save me, and evil works do not damn me, because I have faith. From this principle they also assert that those are saved who about the hour of death declare with some confidence that they have faith, whatever their life may have been. But "deeds" and "works," also "doing" and "loving," are mentioned in the Word in a thousand passages, and as these disagree with that religious principle, therefore its dogmatists have devised means of conjoining them with faith. This, therefore, is the signification of the words "he saw one of the heads of the beast as if it had been wounded to death," and "the stroke of his death was healed, and the whole earth wondered after the beast." But how that stroke was healed, namely, by devised modes of conjunction, shall be said in the following article.

[3] In the first place, some passages shall here be quoted from the Word where "deeds," "works," "doing," and "working," are mentioned, that everyone may see the discordance that is here signified by "one of the heads wounded to death;" also that this stroke is wholly incurable unless man lives according to the precepts of the Word by doing them. In Matthew:

Everyone that heareth My words and doeth them is like to a prudent man; but everyone that heareth My words and doeth them not is like to a foolish man (Matthew 7:24, 26).

In Luke:

Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say? Everyone who cometh to Me and heareth My words and doeth them is like a man that built a house upon a rock; but he that heareth and doeth not is, like unto a man that built a house upon the ground without a foundation (Luke 6:46-49).

In Matthew:

He that was sown in good earth, this is he that heareth the Word and giveth heed, and who thence beareth fruit, and yieldeth some a hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold (1 Matthew 13:23).

In the same:

Whosoever shall break the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of the heavens; but whosoever doeth and teacheth them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 5:19).

In John:

Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you (John 15:14).

In the same:

If ye know these things happy are ye if ye do them (John 13:17).

In the same:

If ye love Me keep My commandments. He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him. And I 1 will come unto him and will make 2 My abode with him. But he that loveth Me not keepeth not My words (John 14:15, 21-24).

In Luke:

Jesus said, My mother and My brethren are those who hear My 3 word and do it (Luke 8:21).

In Matthew:

I was an hungered and ye gave Me to eat, I was thirsty and ye gave Me to drink, I was a sojourner, and ye took Me in, I was naked and ye clothed Me, I was sick and ye visited Me, I was in prison and ye came unto Me. And to these the Lord said, Come, ye blessed, possess as inheritance the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And to those who had not done these things He said, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:31-46 the end).

In John:

My Father is the vinedresser; every branch that beareth not fruit He taketh away (John 15:1, 2).

In Luke:

Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance; every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.

By their fruits ye shall know them (Luke 3:8, 9; Matthew 7:19, 20).

In John:

Herein is My Father glorified, that ye may bear much fruit and become My disciples (John 15:7, 8).

In Matthew:

The kingdom of God shall be taken away from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matthew 21:40-43).

In John:

He that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest that they have been wrought in God (John 3:21).

In the same:

We know that God heareth not sinners, but if anyone worship God and do His will, him He heareth (John 9:31).

In Matthew:

The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall render unto everyone according to his deeds (1 Matthew 16:27).

In John:

Then shall come forth they that have done goods into the resurrection of life, but they that have done evils into the resurrection of judgment (John 5:29).

In Revelation:

I will give unto you to everyone according to his works; he that overcometh and keepeth My works unto the end (Revelation 2:23, 26).

Their works shall follow them (John 14:13).

The dead were judged out of the things that were written in the books according to their works. And the dead were all judged according to their works (Revelation 20:12, 13).

Behold I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give unto everyone according to his works (Revelation 22:12).

Happy are they that do His commandments (Revelation 22:14).

He said to the angel of the church of Ephesus, I have against thee that thou hast left thy first charity; remember whence thou hast fallen, and do the first works; but if not, etc. (Revelation 2:4, 5).

It was said to the angel of the church in Smyrna, I know thy works; to the angel of the church in Pergamos, I know thy works; to the angel of the church in Thyatira, I know thy works; to the angel of the church in Sardis, I know thy works; and to the angel of the church in Philadelphia, I know thy works (Revelation 2:9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8).

These two chapters treat of the exploration and judgment of those seven churches as to what they are and will be from their works and according to their works.

(References: John 15:1-2, 15:7-8; Luke 3:8-9; Matthew 7:19-20, Matthew 21:43, Matthew 25:35-45; Revelation 2:4-5, Revelation 14:13, 20:12-13)


[4] Also in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew from their beginning to their end the Lord teaches good works, and what they must be, and that thence is heavenly happiness; likewise in the parables of the laborers in the vineyard, of the husbandmen and servants, of the traders to whom pounds [minae] were given and those to whom talents were given; of the fig-tree in the vineyard which was to be cut down if it bore no fruit; of the man wounded by robbers, to whom the Samaritan showed mercy, respecting whom the Lord asked the lawyer which of the three was a neighbor, who answered, "He that showed mercy," and Jesus said to him, "Go and do thou likewise;" of the ten virgins, of whom five had oil in their lamps and five had none, "oil in the lamps" signifying charity in faith; also in other passages.

(References: Matthew 5:1, 6:1, Matthew 7:1)


[5] Moreover, the twelve disciples of the Lord represented the church in respect to all things of faith and charity in the complex; and of them, Peter, James, and John represented faith, charity, and good works in their order, Peter faith, James charity, and John good works; therefore the Lord said to Peter, when Peter saw John following the Lord:

What is that to thee, Peter? Follow thou Me, John; for Peter said of John, What of him? (John 21:21-22).

This signifies that those who do good works must follow the Lord. Because John represented the church in respect to good works, he reclined at the Lord's breast. That the church is with those who do good works is also signified by the Lord's words from the cross to John:

Jesus saw His mother, and spoke to the disciple whom He loved, who was standing by; and He said to His mother, Woman, behold thy son; and He said to that disciple, Behold thy mother; and from that hour that disciple took her unto himself (John 19:26-27).

This signifies that where good works are, there the church will be, for in the Word "woman," like as "mother," signifies the church. Thus much from the New Testament; there are yet more passages in the Old Testament, as where:

All are called blessed who keep and do the statutes, the judgments, and the commandments, and those cursed who do them not (as in Leviticus 18:5; 19:37; 20:8; 22:31-33; 26:3-4, 26:14, 26:16; Numbers 15:39-40; Deuteronomy 5:9-10; 6:25; 15:5; 17:19; 27:26 in a thousand other passages).

(References: John 13:34-35, John 14:13-23; Leviticus 26:4, 26:14-15; Luke 10:27-28; Matthew 22:37-40)


[6] Besides those passages in the Word where "deeds" and "doing" are mentioned there are also very many where "love" and "loving" are mentioned; and "loving" means the like as "doing," since he that loves does, for to love is to will, since everyone wills what he interiorly loves; and to will is to do, since everyone does that which he wills when he is able. Moreover, what is done is nothing but the will in act. Respecting love the Lord teaches in many passages (as in Matthew 5:43-48; 7:12; Luke 6:27-39, 6:43-49; 7:36-50 to the end; John 13:34, 35; 14:14-23; 15:9-19; 17:22-26; 21:15-23), and in brief in these words:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God in thy whole heart and from thy whole soul; this is the first and great commandment. The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:35-38, 40; Luke 10:27, 28; Deuteronomy 6:5).

"To love God above all things, and the neighbor as oneself," is to do His commandments (John 14:21-24); and "the law and the prophets" signify the Word in all things and in every particular. From all these passages cited from the Word it is fully evident that it is not faith separated from good works that saves, but faith from good works and with them. For he who does good works has faith, but he who does them not has no faith.

-----
Footnotes:

1. The photolithograph has "I will come," the Greek "we will make."

2. The photolithograph has "I will make," the Greek "we will make."

3. The photolithograph has "My," the Greek reads, "of God."

-----

(References: John 13:34-35; Luke 10:27-28; Matthew 21:43, Matthew 22:37-40)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 784, 815, 829, 875


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


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