The Bible

 

Matthew 5:1-12 : The Beatitudes

        

Study the Inner Meaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

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

Apocalypse Revealed 209, 285, 323, 526, 956

Conjugial Love 482

Divine Providence 33

The Lord 49

Sacred Scripture 51, 57

Life 17, 84

Heaven and Hell 357

True Christian Religion 96, 156, 226, 440


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Spiritual Experiences 1325

Marriage 96

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

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

2 Kings 22:20

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

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

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

Jeremiah 15:15, 31:25

Word/Phrase Explanations

seeing
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

multitudes
'A multitude' relates to truths.

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

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

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

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

spirit
'The seven spirits' in Matthew 12:45 signify all falsities of evil, and as a result, a total extinction of goodness and truth. 'The seven spirits'...

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

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

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

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

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

see
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

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


What is Meant by The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth?

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


The Difference Between Grace and Mercy

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

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


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

 Attitudes for Heavenly Happiness
Article | Ages 15 - 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Peace Like a River
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

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

 Protecting Marriage
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Quotes: The Ten Blessings
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

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

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

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

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

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

 The Blessings of Adversity
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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.
Activity | Ages 11 - 14

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

 The Lord’s Ten Blessings
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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

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

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

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

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

Commentary

 

The Beatitudes      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #2658

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2658. 'For the son of this servant-girl shall not inherit together with my son, with Isaac' means that the merely human rational could not possess the same life as the Divine Rational itself, neither as to truth nor as to good. This is clear from the meaning of 'inheriting' as possessing the life of another, to be dealt with immediately below; from the meaning of 'the son of a servant-girl' as the merely human rational as to truth and as to good, dealt with in 2657; and from the meaning of 'my son, Isaac' as the Divine Rational as to truth, meant by 'my son', and as to good, meant by 'Isaac', dealt with in 2623, 2630. That 'Isaac' is the Divine Rational as to good is clear from verses 6-7 (in 2640, 2641, 2643) - from the meaning of 'laughter', from which he was named, as the affection for truth, or good that flows from truth. From this it is evident that 'the son of this servant-girl shall not inherit together with my son, with Isaac' means that the merely human rational cannot possess the same life as the Divine Rational, neither as to truth nor as to good. Its inability to possess the same life is clear from the single consideration that the Divine is life itself, and this being so possesses life within Itself, whereas the merely human is only an organ for life and that being so does not possess life in itself.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2640-2641)


[2] Once it had become Divine the Lord's Human was no longer an organ or recipient of life; it was now Life itself, the same as that of Jehovah Himself. It had this life at the start from its very conception from Jehovah, as is plainly evident from the Lord's own words in John,

As the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. John 5:26.

The Divine Human is what is called 'the Son', 1729, 2159, 2628. In the same gospel,

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:4.

In the same gospel,

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 14:6.

In the same gospel,

Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, though he die, will live. John 11:25.

In the same gospel,

The bread of God is that which 1 comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world. John 6:33.

Man however is not life but an organ or recipient of it, see 2021, and in various places elsewhere. From this it may be evident that when the Lord was made Jehovah even as to the Human, that which was not life in itself, that is, the merely human, was banished. This is the meaning of the statement that the son of a servant-girl could not inherit together with the son Isaac.

[3] When 'inheriting' in the internal sense has reference to the Lord it means possessing the Father's life, and so possessing life within Himself; and when it has reference to men it means possessing the Lord's life, that is, receiving life from the Lord. This is clear from many places in the Word. Possessing life in Himself is the very Being (Esse) of life, which is Jehovah, whereas possessing the Lord's life, or receiving life from the Lord, is accepting the Lord in love and faith. And because such persons abide in the Lord and are the Lord's they are called His heirs and sons.

[4] In the Old Testament Word 'inheritance' is used to refer both to what is celestial, or good, and to what is spiritual, or truth, though what is celestial is expressed by one word, what is spiritual by another. The first word may be rendered as 'possessing by inheritance', but the second as 'inheriting'. In the original language the first word also implies possession, but the second a derivation from such possession, in the way that celestial and spiritual are related to each other, or good and truth are related. In the present verse, where 'Isaac' represents the Lord's Divine Rational or Divine Human, the word describing possession by right of inheritance is used, for the Lord's Divine Human is sole heir and possessor, as He also teaches in the parable recorded in Matthew 21:33, 37-38; Mark 12:7; Luke 20:14; and in various places declares that all that is the Father's is His.

(References: Luke 20:13-14; Mark 12:6-7)


[5] When 'possessing by inheritance' and 'inheriting' in the Word have reference to men, they mean receiving life from the Lord, and therefore receiving eternal life or heaven, for only those who receive the Lord's life receive heaven. This is clear in John,

He who overcomes will receive all things by inheritance, and I will be his God and he will be My Son. Revelation 21:7.

In Matthew,

Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters for My name's sake will receive a hundredfold and will be allotted the inheritance of eternal life. Matthew 19:29; 25:43; Mark 10:17; Luke 18:18.

Here heaven is called 'eternal life', elsewhere simply 'life', as in Matthew 18:8-9; 19:17; John 3:36; 5:24, 29, the reason being that the Lord is life itself, and anyone who receives His life is in heaven.

(References: Matthew 25:34)


[6] In David,

God will save Zion and will build the cities of Judah; and they will dwell there and possess it by inheritance; and the seed of His servants will inherit it, and those loving His name will dwell in it. Psalms 69:35-36.

Here 'possessing by inheritance' has reference to those in whom celestial love exists, 'inheriting' to those in whom spiritual love exists. In Isaiah,

He who trusts in Me will inherit the land, and will possess by inheritance My holy mountain. Isaiah 57:13.

Here the meaning is similar.

[7] In Moses,

I will bring you to the land over which I lifted up My hand to give it to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a hereditary possession. Exodus 6:8.

In the sense of the letter these words mean that the land of Canaan was to be granted to them as a hereditary possession, which did in fact happen. But in the internal sense they mean that heaven was to be granted to those in whom love to and faith in the Lord were present, for as the Lord is represented by 'Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob' so are love itself and faith itself meant by them, and consequently people in whom love and faith are present, and who accordingly abide in the Lord. These are also meant by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with whom many will recline at table in the kingdom of heaven, in Matthew 8:11; for those who are in heaven are completely unaware of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, and know only of what is represented and meant by them. And the same goes for 'reclining at table (or eating) with them'. For all names mentioned in the Word mean real things, see 1224, 1264, 1876, 1888, and the land of Canaan means the heavenly Canaan or heaven, 1585, 1607, 1866, which is also referred to simply as 'the land', 1413, 1607, 1733, 2571. So too in Matthew,

Blessed are the meek, for they will receive the inheritance of the land. Matthew 5:5.

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Footnotes:

1. or He who

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(References: Genesis 21:10)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2661, 2669, 2851, 3001, 3043, 3672, 5605, 6103, 7212, 8327, 9338, 10447

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 278

Other New Christian Commentary

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


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