The Bible


John 5:25-29 : The End is the New Beginning


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25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 290, 1607, 1999, 2628, 2658, 2798, 3704, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 23, 37, 58, 230, 233, 273, 502, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 119

Conjugial Love 102

Divine Love and Wisdom 4

Divine Providence 128, 159, 324

The Lord 19, 22, 25, 32

Doctrine of Life 2, 105

Interaction of the Soul and Body 8

True Christian Religion 21, 25, 40, 153, 342, 358, 440, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 278

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 43, 63, 82, 186, 228, 250, 261, ...

Canons of the New Church 40

Charity 102

Nine Questions 3

Marriage 21, 25, 40

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 7, 14, 70

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

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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.

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The End is the New Beginning      

By Rev. Junchol Lee

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We use a calendar that has 12 months and 365 days in it. As it nears December 31st, we feel as though something is getting close to an end, and yet on January 1st it feels like a new beginning. Our life is composed of many endings and beginnings. We may live one life, but within this one life we have many different journeys.

(References: Habakkuk 3:17)

From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Explained #186

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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186. That thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead, signifies the quality of their thought, in that they think themselves to be alive, because they are living a moral life, when yet they are dead. This is evident from the signification of "name," as being quality of state (see above, n. 148; also from the signification of "living," as being to have spiritual life (of which presently); also from the signification of "being dead," as being not to have spiritual life, but only moral life without it. This is "being dead," because in the Word "life" signifies the life of heaven with man, which is there also called "life eternal;" while "death" signifies the life of hell, which life in the Word is called "death," because it is the privation of the life of heaven. Here, therefore, "thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead," signifies thinking that they have spiritual life, and thus are saved, because they are living a moral life, when yet they are spiritually dead. But how this is to be understood can be seen from what was said above n. 182 of each life, spiritual and moral, namely, that moral life apart from spiritual life is the life of the love of self and the love of the world, while moral life that is from spiritual life is a life of love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor; this life is the life of heaven, but the other life is what is called spiritual death. When this is understood (see above, n. 182, it can be known what is meant here by "being alive and yet being dead."

(References: Revelation 3:1; The Apocalypse Explained 148, 182)

[2] That "to live," or "being alive," signifies spiritual life in man, and "being dead" deprivation of that life, and damnation, can be seen from many passages in the Word, of which I will cite the following. Thus in Ezekiel:

When I shall say unto the wicked, In dying he 1 shall die, and thou shalt not give him warning, nor speak to warn the wicked one from his evil way, that he may be made alive, the wicked shall die in his iniquity. But if thou shalt give warning to the wicked, and he shall not 2 turn back from his wickedness nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; yet hast thou delivered thy soul. So if thou shalt give warning to a righteous man that he sin no more, 3 and he sin not, living he shall live, because he took warning (Ezekiel 3:18-21).

Here "dying he shall die" is to perish in eternal death, which is damnation, for it is said of the wicked; and "living he shall live" is to enjoy eternal life, which is salvation, for it is said of those who repent, and of the righteous.

[3] In the same:

Ye have profaned Me with My people, to kill the souls that should not die, and to keep alive the souls that should not live, whilst ye lie to My people, to them that hear a lie (Ezekiel 13:19).

This treats of the falsification of truth, which is meant by "Ye have profaned Me with My people," and by "ye lie to the people, to them that hear a lie." Here "a lie" signifies what is false, and what is falsified. "To kill the souls that should not die" is to deprive them of the life that comes from truths; and "to keep alive the souls that should not live" is to persuade them that life eternal is from falsities. That this is here meant by "making alive" is evident from the preceding verse there.

[4] In David:

Behold the eye of Jehovah is upon them that fear Him, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine (Psalms 33:18-19).

In the same:

Thou hast delivered my soul from death, and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living (Psalms 56:13).

In Jeremiah:

Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death (Jeremiah 21:8).

In John:

Jesus said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My Word hath eternal life, and shall not come into condemnation, but shall pass from death into life (John 5:24).

[5] It is clear that in these passages "death" means damnation, and "life" salvation. Because "death" is damnation it is also hell, for which reason hell is commonly called "death" in the Word, as in these passages. In Isaiah:

Hell will not confess Thee, nor will death praise Thee; they that go down into the pit will not hope on Thy truth. The living, the living, he shall confess Thee (Isaiah 38:18-19).

In the same:

We have made a covenant with death, and with hell we have made a vision (Isaiah 28:15).

In Hosea:

I will ransom them from the hand of hell; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plague! O hell, I will be thy perdition! (Hosea 13:14).

In David:

In death there is no remembrance of Thee; in hell who shall confess Thee? (Psalms 6:5).

In the same:

The cords of death compassed me, and the cords of hell (Psalms 18:4-5).

In the same:

Like sheep shall they be laid in hell; death shall feed them (Psalms 49:14).

In the same:

Jehovah, thou hast brought up my soul from hell; Thou hast made Me to live (Psalms 30:3).

In Revelation:

A pale horse, and he that sat upon him whose name was death, and hell will follow 4 him (Revelation 6:8).

And in another place:

Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).

[6] As "death" signifies damnation and hell, its meaning in the following passages is evident. In Isaiah:

He will swallow up death for ever; and the Lord Jehovih will wipe away tears from off all faces (Isaiah 25:8).

In the same:

That he might give the wicked to their sepulcher, and the rich in their deaths (Isaiah 53:9).

In David:

Jehovah, Thou liftest me up from the gates of death (Psalms 9:13).

Thou shalt not be afraid for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the death that wasteth at noonday (Psalms 91:5-6).

In John:

If any one keep My word he shall never see death John 8:51).

In Revelation:

He that overcometh shall not be destroyed in the second death (Revelation 2:11).

In another place:

Many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter (Revelation 8:11).

In the same:

The second angel poured out a bowl upon the sea, and it became blood as of one dead, whence every living soul died in the sea (Revelation 16:3).

(References: John 8:51-52)

[7] From these passages it can be seen what is meant by "the dead," namely, those who have not in themselves the life of heaven, and consequently are in evils and in falsities therefrom. These are meant also in the following passages. In David:

They joined themselves also unto Baal-peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead (Psalms 106:28).

In the same:

He hath made me to sit in darkness, like the dead of eternity (Psalms 143:3).

In Matthew:

One of His disciples said, Lord, suffer me first to go away and bury my father. Jesus said, Follow Me, and let the dead bury the dead (Matthew 8:21-22).

On account of this signification of "the dead":

The sons of Aaron were forbidden to touch any dead body (Leviticus 21:2-3, 11);

Likewise the priests, the Levites (Ezekiel 44:25);

Likewise the Nazirite (Numbers 6:6-7);

And whoever of the sons of Israel touched the dead must be cleansed by the water of separation (Numbers 19:11-22 end).

[8] As "death" signifies damnation and hell, so on the other hand "life" signifies salvation and heaven; as in the passages that follow. In Matthew:

Narrow is the gate and straitened is the way which leadeth unto life (Matthew 7:14).

In the same:

It is good to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire (Matthew 18:9).

If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17).

In John:

They shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life (John 5:29).

From this it is that salvation is called "eternal life" (as in Matthew 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mark 10:30, 31; Luke 10:25; 18:18, 30; John 3:14-16, 36; 17:2, 3; and other places). For the same reason heaven is called "the land of the living," as in David:

"the land of the living," as in David:

O Jehovah, Thou art my reliance, my part in the land of the living (Psalms 142:5).

In the same:

That thou mayest see the good of Jehovah in the land of the living (Psalms 27:13).

In the same:

O bless our God, ye peoples, who places our soul among the living (Psalms 66:8, 9).

(References: John 17:2-3; Mark 10:30-31; Psalms 66:8-9)

[9] That the Lord alone has life in Himself, and that even man has life from Him, the Lord Himself teaches in the following passages. In John:

As the Father raiseth up the dead and maketh them alive, even so the Son maketh alive whom He will. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:21, 26).

In the same:

Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he die, shall live (John 11:25, 26).

In the same:

I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

In the same:

I am the bread of life that cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world (John 6:33, 35, 47, 48).

From this it is that the Lord is said to be "Living" and "the Living One" (Revelation 4:9, 10; 5:14; 7:2; 10:6). The same is said of Jehovah in many passages in the prophets.

(References: John 6:47-48, John 11:25-26; Revelation 4:9-10)

[10] And as the Lord is life, so all have life from Him; this also the Lord teaches. In John:

He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life (John 3:36).

In the same:

Jesus said, I came that the sheep may have life. I give unto them eternal life (John 10:10, 28).

In the same:

He that believeth on Me, though he die, shall live (John 11:25, 26).

In the same:

Ye will not come to Me, that ye may have life (John 5:40).

(References: John 11:25-26)

[11] "Life" signifies the Lord, and thence salvation and heaven, because all of life is from one only Fountain, and that only Fountain of life is the Lord, while angels and men are merely forms receiving life from Him. The Life itself that proceeds from the Lord and fills heaven and the world, is the life of His love, and in heaven this appears as light, and because this light is life it enlightens the minds of angels, and enables them to understand and be wise. From this it is that the Lord calls Himself not only "the Life" but also "the Light." As in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man coming into the world (John 1:1, 4-12).

In the same:

Jesus said, I am the Light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).

In David:

Jehovah, with Thee is the fountain of life, in Thy light shall we see light (Psalms 36:9).

The light which is life from the Lord in heaven is there called Divine truth, because it shines in the minds of those who are there, and thence shines before their eyes. From this it is that in the Word "light" signifies Divine truth, and intelligence and wisdom therefrom, and that the Lord Himself is called "the Light." (But this is shown more fully in the work on Heaven and Hell 126-140, 275, which see.)

(References: John 1:4, John 1:4-9, John 1:9)

[12] The Lord is the source [a quo] of everything of life, because He is the sun of the angelic heaven, and the light of that sun is Divine truth, and its heat is Divine good; the two are life. From that origin is all life in heaven and in the world. The spiritual that flows into nature, and gives life there, is from no other source; but it gives life according to reception. (On this also see the work on Heaven and Hell 116-125.) From this it is now evident why it is that the Lord calls Himself "the Life," and why it is that those are said to have life and to live who receive light which is Divine truth, from the Lord, and why those who do not receive it are said not to live, but to be dead. (That there is one only Fountain of life, and that the Lord is that Fountain, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 9; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 278.)


1. The Hebrew has: "thou shalt die," as found also in Arcana Coelestia 5890.

2. Latin for "and he shall not turn" has "and he shall turn. "

3. Latin for "that he sin no more" has "lest he sin more."

4. For "will follow" the Greek has "followed," as found in 377, 383.


(References: John 1:4, John 1:9, John 8:51-52; Revelation 3:1)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 181, 349, 383, 387, 521, 899

Other New Christian Commentary

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