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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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

 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? 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 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
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 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. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 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 #9818

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

9818. 'Whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom' means who have Divine Truth inscribed upon them. This is clear from the meaning of 'the spirit of wisdom', when used in reference to those governed by celestial good, as Divine Truth, dealt with below. People are said to be filled with it when it is inscribed permanently on them. The situation is that those in the Lord's celestial kingdom are acquainted with truths not as a result of coming to know and consequently believe them, but as a result of inward perception; for they are governed by the good of love received from the Lord, and this good has all truths rooted within it. The actual good itself has been implanted in the will part of their minds, and truth springing from it in the understanding part. And with these people the will and understanding parts act altogether as one, quite differently from the way the two parts act with those who are in the spiritual kingdom. So it is that the understanding part of the mind in those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom serves to give them not a knowledge but a perception of truths. For the good implanted in the will presents itself - its inward nature and its outward form - in the understanding, and in so to speak blazing light there. For those people the outward form of the good and its inward nature is truth, which they do not see, but instead perceive from good. For this reason they never argue about truths; they so avoid it that whenever there is talk about truths they say Yes or No, and no more than that. For if they said anything more it would not come from good. These are the ones who are meant in Matthew,

Let your words be Yes, yes; No, no; anything beyond this is from evil. 1 Matthew 5:37.

The fact that those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom are like this, see 2715, 2718, 3246, 4448, 5113, 6367, 7877, 9166 (end), 9543. What the difference is between those who are in the celestial kingdom and those who are in the spiritual kingdom, see the places referred to in 9277.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9276)


[2] From all this people may now recognize what should be understood when it is said that Divine Truths have been inscribed upon someone. Many places in the Word use the term 'spirit', and when they use it in reference to a person his 'spirit' means goodness and truth inscribed on the understanding part of his mind and consequently on the life of that part of it. The reason why 'spirit', when attributed to a person, has this meaning is that inwardly a person is a spirit, indeed inwardly is in the company of spirits. See what has already been shown abundantly on this matter in the following places,

Spirits and angels reside with a person, and the person is governed by the Lord through them, 50, 697, 986, 2796, 2886, 2887, 4047, 4048, 5846-5866, 5976-5993.

A person is among spirits and angels such as he himself is like, 4067, 4073, 4077, 4111.

Every person has a spirit through which his body has life, 4622.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2886-2887, 4047-4048)


[3] From this one may know what 'spirit' means when used in reference to the Lord, namely that it is Divine Truth emanating from His Divine Good, and that when this Divine Truth flows in and is received by a person it is the Spirit of truth, Spirit of God, and Holy Spirit; for it flows directly from the Lord, and also indirectly through angels and spirits, see the places referred to in 9682. The fact that the Spirit of truth, Spirit of God, and Holy Spirit have this meaning will be seen further on below; for prior to that it must be shown that, when used in the Word in reference to a person, 'spirit' means goodness and truth inscribed on the understanding part of a person's mind and consequently means the life of that part of it. For there is the life of the understanding part, and there is the life of the will part. That of the understanding part consists in knowing, seeing, and understanding that truth is indeed truth and good is indeed good. But the life of the will part consists in willing and loving truth for truth's sake and good for goodness' sake. In the Word the life of the will is called 'heart', but that of the understanding 'spirit'.

[4] The following places in the Word show that this is so: In Ezekiel,

Make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:31.

And in the same prophet,

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I give in the midst of you. Ezekiel 36:26.

'A new heart' stands for a new will. and 'a new spirit' for a new understanding. In Zechariah,

Jehovah stretches out the heavens, and founds the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Zechariah 12:1.

'Stretching out the heavens and founding the earth' stands for the establishment of a new Church, this Church being meant by 'heaven and earth', see 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 3355 (end), 4535. 'Forming the spirit of man within him' stands for regenerating a person as to his understanding of truth and good.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)


[5] In David,

Create for me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from before You, and do not take the spirit of Your holiness from me. Bring back to me the joy of Your salvation, and let a generous spirit uphold me. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. 2 Psalms 51:10-12, 17.

'A clean heart' stands for a will that detests evils, which are forms of uncleanness; 'a steadfast spirit' stands for an understanding of and belief in truth; 'a broken spirit' and 'a broken heart' stand for a state of temptation and the consequent humbling of the life in both. The fact that 'spirit' means life is evident from every detail in these verses. Divine Truth, from which that life springs, is meant by 'the spirit of holiness'. In the same author,

A generation that did not make its heart right, nor was its spirit steadfast with God. Psalms 78:8.

'Heart that is not right' stands for a will that is not right, and 'spirit that is not steadfast with God' stands for an understanding of and belief in God's truth that are not steadfast.

[6] In Moses,

Jehovah God had hardened the spirit of Sihon king of Heshbon and made his heart obstinate. Deuteronomy 2:30.

Here also 'spirit' and 'heart' stand for the life in both parts, which is said to have been 'made obstinate' when the will has no desire to understand truth and good and put them into practice. In Ezekiel,

Every heart will melt, and all hands will hang down, and every spirit will shrink. Ezekiel 21:7.

Here the meaning is similar. In Isaiah,

Jehovah is He who gives soul 3 to the people on the earth, and spirit to those who walk on it. Isaiah 42:5.

'Giving soul to the people' stands for endowing with the life of faith, 'soul' meaning the life of faith, see 9050; and 'giving spirit' stands for providing with an understanding of truth. In the same prophet,

With my soul I desired You in the night; even with my spirit within me I waited for You early. Isaiah 26:9.

Here the meaning is similar.

[7] In the same prophet,

Conceive chaff, bring forth stubble; fire will devour your spirit. Isaiah 33:11.

'Spirit' which fire will devour stands for an understanding of truth, and so for intelligence; 'fire' stands for a craving which, because it springs from evil, is destructive.

[8] In Ezekiel,

Woe to the foolish prophets, who go away after their own spirit! Ezekiel 13:3.

In the same prophet,

What comes up onto your spirit 4 will not ever be brought about. Ezekiel 20:32.

In Malachi,

Not one has done so, nor those remaining who had spirit. Why then is there one seeking God's seed? Therefore take heed through your spirit, to see that it does not act treacherously against the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:15.

In David,

Blessed is the person to whom Jehovah does not impute iniquity; only let there be no guile in his spirit. Psalms 32:2.

In Matthew,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3.

In the same gospel,

Jesus said to the disciples, Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is eager, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41.

In these places, as is plainly evident, 'spirit' is used to mean the actual life in a person. That the life of the understanding, or the life of truth, is meant becomes clear from the consideration that in the natural sense 'spirit' is used to mean human life and breath. And drawing breath, which is the work of the lungs, corresponds to the life of truth, which is the life of faith and consequently of the understanding, whereas the beating of the heart corresponds to the life of the will and so of love. For this correspondence of lungs and heart, see 3635, 3883-3896, 9300, 9495. All this makes clear what type of life is meant in the spiritual sense by 'spirit'.

[9] The fact that 'spirit' in the ordinary sense means human life and breath is clearly evident in David,

You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You gather up their spirit, they breathe their last. You send forth Your spirit, they are created. Psalms 104:29-30.

In the same author,

Answer me, O Jehovah. My spirit is consumed. Do not hide Your face from Me. Psalms 143:7.

In Job,

My spirit is consumed, my days are extinguished. Job 17:1.

In Luke,

Jesus took the dead girl's hand, saying, Girl, arise. Her spirit therefore returned, and she arose at once. Luke 8:54-55.

In Jeremiah,

Every person has been made stupid by knowledge; his graven image is a lie, and there is no spirit in it. Jeremiah 10:14; 51:17.

In Ezekiel,

He brought me out in the Spirit of Jehovah and set me down in the midst of the valley. And there the Lord Jehovih said to the dry bones, Behold, I am bringing spirit into you that you may live. Thus said the Lord Jehovih, Come from the four winds, O spirit, and breathe into these killed. And spirit came into them, and they were alive again. Ezekiel 37:1, 5, 9-10.

In the Book of Revelation,

The two witnesses were killed by the beast ascending from the abyss. But after three and a half days the spirit of life from God entered them, so that they stood on their feet. Revelation 11:7, 11.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 17:1; Ezekiel 36:1, 36:5, 36:9-10)


[10] From these places it is plainly evident that 'spirit' is a person's life. The fact that more specifically it is the life of truth, which is the life of the understanding part of a person's mind, and is called intelligence, is made plain in John,

The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. God is a Spirit, therefore those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:23-24.

In Daniel,

... that there was in him an excellent spirit, both of knowledge and of intelligence. Daniel 5:12, 14.

In Luke,

John grew and became strong in spirit. Luke 1:80.

And regarding the Lord, in the same gospel,

The child Jesus grew and became strong in spirit, and was filled with wisdom. Luke 2:40.

In John,

He whom the Father has sent speaks the words of God, for God has not given Him the spirit by measure. 5 John 3:34.

Here 'the spirit' stands for intelligence and wisdom; 'speaking the words of God' means declaring Divine Truths.

[11] From all this it may now be seen what 'spirit' means in John,

Jesus said to Nicodemus, Unless a person has been born from water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, but that which has been born from the spirit is spirit. John 3:5-6.

'Being born from water' means [being regenerated] by means of truth, and 'being born from the spirit' means life from the Lord which comes as a result of this, called spiritual life. For the meaning of 'water' as the truth by means of which regeneration is accomplished, see 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8568, 9323. 'Flesh' however means the human proprium or selfhood, in which there is no spiritual life at all, 3813, 8409.

[12] Something similar is meant by 'spirit' and 'flesh' in the same gospel,

It is the Spirit which bestows life, the flesh does not profit anything. The words which I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life. John 6:63.

'The words' which the Lord spoke are Divine Truths, the life which comes as a result being 'the spirit'. In Isaiah,

Egypt is man (homo), not God, and his horses are flesh and not spirit. Isaiah 31:3.

'Egypt' stands for knowledge in general, 'his horses' for factual knowledge supplied from the understanding, which is spoken of as 'flesh and not spirit' when it does not have any spiritual life at all within it.

'Egypt' is knowledge, see the places referred to in 9340, 9391. 'Horses' are the power of understanding, 2761, 2762, 3217, 5321. 'The horses of Egypt' are known facts supplied from the understanding, 6125, 8146, 8148.

Anyone who does not know what is meant by 'Egypt', what is meant by 'his horses', and also what is meant by 'flesh' and 'spirit', cannot possibly know what these words [in Isaiah 31:3] imply.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2761-2762)


[13] Once people know what 'spirit' present in a person means they may know what is meant by 'spirit' when this term is used in reference to Jehovah or the Lord. Everything a human being has, such as face, eyes, ears, arms, and hands, also heart and soul, He is said to have. Thus spirit as well is attributed to Him, and in the Word it is called Spirit of God, Spirit of Jehovah, Spirit of His mouth, and Spirit of Holiness or Holy Spirit. The fact that the term is used to mean Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is clear from a large number of places in the Word. The reason why Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is meant by 'Spirit of God' is that all of a person's life comes from there, as does the heavenly life possessed by those who receive that Divine Truth in faith and love. The Lord Himself teaches in John that this is what 'Spirit of God' means,

The words which I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life. John 6:63.

'The words' which the Lord spoke are Divine Truths.

[14] In the same gospel,

Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water. This He said about the Spirit which those believing in Him were to receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39.

'The Spirit' which those believing in the Lord were to receive from Him means the life coming from the Lord that is the life of faith and love, as is evident from the specific expressions used in these verses. For 'thirsting' and 'drinking' means the desire to know and understand truth; and 'rivers of living water' which will flow from the belly are God's truths. From this it is clear that 'the Spirit' which believers were to receive, also called 'the Holy Spirit', means the life brought by Divine Truth emanating from the Lord. This life, as stated just above, is called the life of faith and love, being the spiritual and heavenly life itself present in a person. The reason why it says 'the Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified' is that while He was in the world the Lord Himself taught Divine Truth; but when He had been glorified, which was after the Resurrection, He taught it through angels and spirits. That holy influence present with a person, emanating from the Lord through angels and spirits, whether in a discernible manner or an indiscernible one, is the Holy Spirit there. For in the Word Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is called that which is holy, 9680.

[15] This explains why the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth and why it is said that He would lead into all truth, that He would not speak on His own [authority], but speak what He hears from the Lord, and that He would receive from the Lord what He was to declare, John 16:13-14. It also explains why the Lord, when He was going to leave the disciples, breathed into them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit, John 20:21-22. 'Breathing' means the life of faith, 9229, 9281, so that the Lord's breathing into someone means imparting the ability to understand Divine Truths and thereby receive that life. So it is also that 'the Spirit', being a name derived from 'breathing', is a derivation also of 'blowing' and of 'wind'; and this is why the spirit is frequently called the wind. Breathing, which is the work of the lungs, corresponds to the life of faith, while the beating of the heart corresponds to the life of love, see 3883-3896, 9300, 9495.

[16] Something similar is meant by 'breathing into' in the Book of Genesis,

And Jehovah breathed into man's nostrils the soul of life. Genesis 2:7.

This is why in Lamentations 4:20 the Lord is called the Spirit of our nostrils; and since Divine Truth consumes and devastates the evil it says in David,

The foundations of the world were revealed at the blast of the Spirit of Your nose. Psalms 18:15.

And in Job,

By the breath of God they perish, and by the Spirit of His nose they are consumed. Job 4:9.

In David,

By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all their host by the Spirit of His mouth. Psalms 33:6.

'The Word of Jehovah' is Divine Truth, as is 'the Spirit of His mouth'. The fact that the Lord is that Word is clear in John,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made though Him. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1-3, 14.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 4:9; John 1:1, 1:3)


[17] The fact that Divine Truth, from which heavenly life comes to a person, is the Holy Spirit is further evident from the following places: In Isaiah,

There will come forth a shoot from the trunk of Jesse, and the Spirit of Jehovah will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and intelligence, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of Jehovah. Isaiah 11:1-2.

These words refer to the Lord, in whom there is Divine Truth. Consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence is called 'the Spirit of Jehovah', and in these verses 'the Spirit of wisdom and intelligence, counsel, strength, and knowledge'. In the same prophet,

I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth judgement to the nations. Isaiah 42:1.

These words too refer to the Lord. 'The Spirit of Jehovah' upon Him is Divine Truth, and consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence. Divine Truth is also called 'judgement', 2235.

[18] In the same prophet,

He will come like a rushing 6 river; the Spirit of Jehovah will place a sign on Him. Isaiah 59:19.

In the same prophet,

The Spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon Me, therefore Jehovah has anointed Me to bring good tidings to the poor. Isaiah 61:1.

This too refers to the Lord. Divine Truth, which was in the Lord when He was in the world, and which He was then, is meant by 'the Spirit of Jehovah'.

[19] The fact that 'the Spirit of Jehovah' means Divine Truth and consequently heavenly life that comes to the person who receives that Truth is further evident from the following places: In Isaiah,

... until the Spirit is poured out on us from on high; then the wilderness will become a ploughed field, then judgement will dwell in the wilderness. Isaiah 32:15-16.

The subject here is regeneration. 'The Spirit from on high' is life from the Divine; for the promises that 'the wilderness will become a ploughed field' and that 'judgement will dwell in the wilderness' mean the presence of intelligence where none existed previously, thus new life there.

[20] Something similar occurs in Ezekiel,

... in order that you may know that I will put My Spirit in you, in order that you may live. Ezekiel 37:14.

In the same prophet,

I will no longer hide My face from them, because I shall pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel. Ezekiel 39:29.

In Joel,

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; and on men servants and women servants in those days I will pour out My Spirit. Joel 2:28-29.

In Micah,

I have been filled with strength by 7 the Spirit of Jehovah, and with judgement and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Micah 3:8.

In Zechariah,

The horses going out into the north land have caused My Spirit to rest on the north land. Zechariah 6:8.

In Isaiah,

I will pour out waters upon the thirsty land, and streams upon the dry. I will pour out My Spirit upon your seed. Isaiah 44:3.

In these places it is evident that 'the Spirit of Jehovah' means Divine Truth and the life of faith and love which come through that Truth. It flows in directly from the Lord, also indirectly from Him through spirits and angels, see 9682 (end).

(References: Ezekiel 37:13-14)


[21] Something similar occurs elsewhere in Isaiah,

On that day Jehovah Zebaoth will be a crown of adornment and a tiara of beauty for the remnant of His people, and a Spirit of judgement to him who sits in judgement, and strength to those ... Isaiah 28:5-6.

'A crown of adornment' stands for the wisdom that comes with good, 'a tiara of beauty' for the intelligence that comes with truth, and 'a Spirit of judgement' for Divine Truth, since 'judgement' is spoken of in reference to truth , 2235, 6397, 7206, 8685, 8695, 9260, 9383.

[22] In the same prophet,

The angel of Jehovah's face 8 delivered them; because of His love and His pity He redeemed them. But they rebelled, and exasperated the Spirit of His holiness; consequently He was turned by them into an enemy. He put the Spirit of His holiness in the midst of them. The Spirit of Jehovah led them. Isaiah 63:9-11, 14.

'The Spirit of holiness' here is the Lord in respect of Divine Truth, thus Divine Truth which comes from the Lord; 'the angel of His face' is the Lord in respect of Divine Good, for 'Jehovah's face' is love, mercy, and good. In the Book of Revelation,

The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10.

'The testimony of Jesus' is Divine Truth that comes from Him and has regard to Him, 9503.

[23] In David,

Jehovah God makes His angels spirits, 9 and [His] ministers flaming fire. Psalms 104:4.

'Making angels spirits' stands for making them recipients of Divine Truth; 'making them flaming fire' stands for making them recipients of Divine Good or Divine Love. In Matthew,

John said, I baptize you with water for repentance. But He who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11.

'Baptizing' means regenerating; 'with the Holy Spirit' means doing so through Divine Truth; and 'with fire' means springing from the Divine Good of Divine Love. For the meaning of 'baptizing' as regenerating, see 5120 (end), 9088; and for that of 'fire' as the Divine Good of Divine Love, 4906, 5215, 6314, 6832, 6834, 6849, 7324.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4849)


[24] In Luke,

If you, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? Luke 11:13.

'Giving the Holy Spirit' means enlightening with Divine Truth and endowing with life from that Truth, which is the life of intelligence and wisdom. In the Book of Revelation,

The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne are the seven spirits of God. Revelation 4:5.

And in addition,

In the midst of the elders [there was] a Lamb standing, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Revelation 5:6.

It is self-evident that the word 'spirits' in these places is not used to mean spirits, since they say that the lamps and the Lamb's eyes are the spirits of God . For Divine Truths are meant by 'lamps', 4638, 7072; the understanding of truth is meant by 'the eyes', or Divine Intelligence and Wisdom when the expression refers to the Lord, 2701, 4403-4421, 4523-4534, 9051; and the power of truth derived from good is meant by 'horns' 2832, 9081, 9719-9721. From all this it is evident that Divine Truths are meant by 'the spirits of God'.

[25] When people know therefore that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, which is real Holiness, they may know the Divine meaning in the Word wherever the terms 'Spirit of God' and 'Holy Spirit' are used, as in the following places: In John,

I will ask the Father to give you another Paraclete, to remain with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and remind you of all that I said to you. John 14:16-18, 26.

And in another place,

When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from the Father, He will bear witness to Me. And you will bear witness. John 15:26-27.

And in yet another place,

I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. If I do not go away the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go away I will send Him to you. John 16:7.

[26] From these places it is again evident that the Divine Truth which emanates from Divine Good, or from the Father, is the Paraclete and Holy Spirit. This also explains why He is called 'the Spirit of truth', and why it is said that He will remain in them, teach them all things, and bear witness to the Lord. In the spiritual sense 'bearing witness to the Lord' means teaching about Him. The reason why [in the first of these quotations] it is said that the Paraclete, who is the Holy Spirit, is sent in the Lord's name from the Father, then [in the second] that the Lord Himself will send Him from the Father, and after this [in the third] that the Lord will send Him, is that 'the Father' means the Divine [Being] Himself within the Lord, so that the Father and He are one, as the Lord teaches explicitly in John 10:30; 14:9-11.

[27] In Matthew,

Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy of the Spirit will not be forgiven people. If anyone speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come. Matthew 12:31-32.

'Speaking a word against the Son of Man' takes place when a person goes against God's truth that has not yet been implanted in or inscribed on his life; for 'the Son of Man' is Divine Truth, see above in 9807. But 'speaking a word against the Holy Spirit' takes place when a person goes against Divine Truth, especially Divine Truth concerning the Lord, that has been implanted in or inscribed on his life. Speaking against or denying that Truth when it has formerly been acknowledged is profanation; and profanation is such that it completely destroys a person interiorly. This is why it says that this sin cannot be forgiven. What profanation is, see 3398, 3898, 4289, 4601, 6348, 6960, 6963, 6971, 8394, 8882, 9298.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6959)


[28] And in the same gospel,

Jesus said to the disciples, Go and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19.

'The Father' is the Divine [Being] Himself, 'the Son' is that Divine [Being] Himself in a human form, and 'the Holy Spirit' is the emanation from the Divine [Being], so that there is one Divine [Being] yet still a Trinity. The truth that the Lord is the Divine [Being] Himself under human form is His own teaching in John,

From now on you know the Father and have seen Him. He who sees Me sees the Father. I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. John 14:7, 9-10.

-----
Footnotes:

1. or from the evil one

2. The Latin means God does not despise but the Hebrew means O God, You will not despise

3. or breath

4. i.e. What you have in mind

5. Swedenborg here follows the Latin version of Sebastian Schmidt. The Greek means He who God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the spirit by measure.

6. literally, narrow

7. literally, with

8. i.e. presence

9. or makes winds His messengers

-----

(References: Exodus 28:3)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9819, 9820, 9857, 9932, 9954, 9956, 10053, 10069, 10098, 10111, 10128, 10149, 10240, 10267, 10276, 10302, 10306, 10330, 10570

Heaven and Hell 86

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 209, 306


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 10, 24, 27, 108, 375

Other New Christian Commentary
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.


 Jesus' Final Words
After the crucifixion Jesus appeared to His disciples, offering reassurance of His continued presence and commissioning them to love and follow Him.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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


Translate: