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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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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Activity | Ages over 18

 Attitudes for Heavenly Happiness
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 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?
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

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

 Cleaning Up Our Act
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Activity | Ages over 18

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

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

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

 Inspirational Quotation - Let Your Light Shine
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 "Let your light shine…" Calligraphy
Project | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

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

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

 Memory Verse: The Ten Blessings
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 Peace Like a River
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Power Under Control
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Activity | Ages over 18

 Protecting Marriage
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Quotes: The Ten Blessings
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

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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

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

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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.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 The Blessings of Adversity
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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 Lord and His Disciple, Simon Peter
Four scenes about the Lord and Peter from the gospels of Matthew and John, and two later scenes from the book of Acts.
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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
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

 You Are As Happy As You Choose To Be
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Activity | Ages over 18

Commentary

 

The Beatitudes      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #2371

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2371. 'And they said, Did not this one come to sojourn' means people with different teaching and a different life. This is clear from the meaning of 'sojourning' as receiving instruction and living, and so as doctrine and life, dealt with in 1463, 2025. Here the nature of the state of the Church around the last times is described, when faith is no more because charity is no more, that is to say, when the good of charity is rejected on doctrinal grounds as well, because it has severed all connection with life.

[2] The people described here are not those who falsify the good of charity by explaining things to their own advantage. They are not those who, so that they may be very great and may possess all the world's goods, make the good of charity the earner of merit. Nor are they those who assume the right to dispense rewards, and in so doing defile the good of charity by various devices and misleading means. Instead the subject is those who do not wish to hear anything about the goods of charity, that is, about good works, only about faith separated from those works. And this they wish to hear from the argument that man has nothing but evil within him and that even the good which springs from himself is in itself evil, and so contains nothing of salvation; and from the argument that no one can merit heaven by means of any good, nor accordingly be saved by it, only by means of a faith whereby they acknowledge the Lord's merit. This is the teaching which flourishes in the last times when the Church starts to breathe its last, and which is enthusiastically taught and favourably accepted.

[3] But to maintain from all this that anyone can lead an evil life and at the same time possess a faith that is good is a false conclusion. It is also a false conclusion to say that because man has nothing but evil within him, good from the Lord - which has heaven within it because it has the Lord within it, and blessedness and happiness within it because heaven is within it - cannot exist there. Finally it is a false conclusion to say that because nobody can merit [heaven] by any good, heavenly good from the Lord in which [self-] merit is regarded as something monstrous has no existence. Such good exists with every angel, such good exists with every regenerate person, and such good exists with those who perceive delight, and indeed blessedness, in good itself, that is, in the affection for it. The Lord speaks of this good or charity in the following way in Matthew,

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. [But] I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who hurt and persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? And if you salute only your brothers, what more are you doing [than others]? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? Matthew 5:43-48

Similar words occur in Luke, with this addition,

Do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. Luke 6:27-36.

[4] Here good which is derived from the Lord is described and the fact that it does not carry any thought of repayment. Consequently people who are governed by that good are called 'sons of the Father who is in heaven', and 'sons of the Most High'. Yet because that good has the Lord within it there is also a reward: in Luke,

When you give a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbours, lest perhaps they invite you back in return, and you are repaid. But when you give a feast invite the poor, the maimed, the blind, and you will be blessed, for they have nothing with which to repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. 1 Luke 14:12-14.

'Dinner', 'supper', or 'feast' means the good that flows from charity, in which the Lord dwells together with man, 2341. Here it is described therefore, and it is plainly evident, that recompense lies within good itself since this has the Lord within it, for it is said that 'you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just'.

[5] People who strive to do good from themselves because the Lord has commanded it to be done are the ones who at length receive this good and who after receiving instruction then acknowledge in faith that all good comes from the Lord, 1712, 1937, 1947. And they are now so opposed to self-merit that they are saddened by the mere thought of merit and perceive that blessedness and happiness with them is that much diminished.

[6] It is quite different in the case of those who fail to do good and instead lead an evil life, while teaching and professing that salvation resides in faith separated from charity. These people are not even aware of the possibility of such good. And what is remarkable the same people in the next life, as I have been given to know from much experience, wish to merit heaven on the basis of all the good deeds they recall their having done, for they are now aware for the first time that no salvation lies in faith separated from charity. But these are the ones whom the Lord refers to in Matthew,

They will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by Your name, and by Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many mighty works? But then will I declare to them, I do not know you; depart from Me, you workers of iniquity. Matthew 7:22-23.

With these people it is also seen that they had paid no attention at all to any one of the things which the Lord Himself taught so many times about the good that flows from love and charity. Instead those things had been to them like clouds sailing by or like things seen in the night, such as the things recorded in Matthew 3:8-9; 5:7-48; 6:1-20; 7:16-20, 24-27; 9:13; 12:33; 13:8, 23; Matthew 18:21-end; Matthew 18:19:19; 19:22:35-40; 24:12-13; Matthew 25:34-end; Matthew 25:Mark 4:18-20; 11:13-14, 20; 12:28-35; Luke 3:8-9; 6:27-39, 43-end; 7:47; 8:8, 14-15; 10:25-28; 12:58-59; 13:6-10; John 3:19, 21; 5:42; 13:34-35; 14:14-15, 20-21, 23; 15:1-8, 9-19; 21:15-17. These then, and other things like them, are what were meant by the words 'the men of Sodom' - that is, those immersed in evil, 2220, 2246, 2322 - 'saying to Lot, Did not this one come to sojourn, and will he surely judge?' that is, Will people with different teaching and a different life teach us?

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Footnotes:

1. The Latin means the dead; but the Greek means the just, which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse.

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(References: Genesis 19:9; John 15:1-19; Luke 6:43-49; Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 18:21-35, 18:21-23, 18:24-35, 19:19, 22:34-39, 22:34-40, 25:34-46)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2373, 2375, 2387, 2411, 2417, 2669, 3416, 4189, 4783, 6393, 9210

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 158

Other New Christian Commentary

Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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