The Bible


Luke 24:13-35 : The Road to Emmaus

Study the Inner Meaning


13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass therein these days?

19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Luke 24      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verse 1. That the Lord's resurrection early in the morning involves in it the arising of a new Church, both in general and in particular, yea also in singular, thus that He rises again daily, yea every moment, in the minds of the regenerate.

Verses 2-4. On which occasion they who are in the affection of good and truth experience the removal of all false principles, so that Divine good and Divine truth are made manifest.

Verses 5-7. By which they are led into holy adoration, and are admonished that the Lord's Humanity was made Divine, when the hereditary principle received from the mother was separated by temptation combats.

Verses 8-12. They therefore communicate this truth to those, who had before been instructed concerning it, but as yet they cannot receive it.

Verse 12. Nevertheless they who are more principled in the doctrine of faith are led to make enquiry about it, and seeing that in the Lord all truth was made Divine Good, they are excited to adoration.

Verses 13-17. They too, who are in the doctrine of charity and faith united, reason together on the subject, and by their reasonings bring the Lord near to and present with them, though they do not know it.

Verses 17-27. By which nearness and presence they are finally instructed, that the Divine principle of the Lord led the Human principle into the most grievous temptations, and this even to the last of ability, that He might expel thence every thing that was merely human, until nothing remained but what was Divine.

Verse 27. And that all this was in agreement with what the Word teaches, since there is nothing written in theWord, which does not respect the Lord Himself, his kingdom and Church.

Verses 28-32. They therefore who are in the doctrine of charity and faith united are thus excited to cleave to the Lord with more earnest affection, by virtue of which affection they obtain conjunction with him, and by that conjunction are instructed in the good and truth of faith, by which the Lord makes himself manifest.

Verses 32-36. On which occasion, recollecting the warmth of heavenly love which has been inspired by the Lord's presence, they testify the doctrine of the Lord's glorification to those, who had before received the doctrine of good and truth.

Verses 36-44. So that these latter also are made sensible of the Lord's presence, which is attended with alarm and perplexity, until they are instructed, that the Lord made the very corporeal principle in Himself Divine, both as to its sensual and recipient principles.

Verse 44. And that this was in agreement with the Word throughout, since the things contained in the internal sense are all written of Him, for hence is the sanctity of the Word.

Verses 45-47. Their understandings thus become enlightened by the light of Divine Truth, which teaches, that the Lord by temptation-combats subdued the hells, and glorified His Humanity, and that all obtain remission of sins, who do the work of repentance and believe in Him.

Verses 48-49. They are therefore ordained to testify these things, as soon as the light of Divine Truth in their minds becomes conjoined with the love of Divine Good.

Verses 50-53. For which purpose they receive Divine benediction, and by that benediction are convinced of the glorification of the Lord's Humanity, through its oneness with Divinity, and that this glorified Humanity is the only proper object of worship, because it is the only source of all good and truth in the Church.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1540, 2816, 3863, 4735, 4859, 5045, 5405, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 36, 662

Divine Providence 114, 280

Doctrine of the Lord 11, 13, 35

True Christian Religion 128, 262, 777

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 286, 294

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 340, 443, 617, 677, 806, 820, 937

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

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'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

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chief priests
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rose up
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On the Road to Emmaus      

By Joe David

Lelio Orsi's painting, Camino de Emaús, is in the National Gallery in London, England.

Each of the four gospels contains a story about Jesus appearing to His disciples after the Sunday morning when they had found the sepulcher empty. For example, see Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-19; Luke 24:13-33; John 20:19-31, and John 21.

In Luke, there’s a story of two disciples walking from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, a walk of about seven miles. Shortly after they leave the city they are approached by another traveler who has noticed their troubled faces and serious talk and asks them what is troubling them. Walking along together, they ask the stranger, “Haven’t you heard of the troubles in Jerusalem, how the prophet from Galilee, who we hoped would be the one to save Israel, was given up to be crucified? And strange to say, when some of the women went on the third day to anoint His body, they saw angels who told them that he was not there but was risen from the dead.”

On hearing this, the traveler chides them for not believing, and says “Don’t you see that Christ had to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?” The stranger then tells the two disciples many things concerning Jesus, from the books of Moses, and the prophets, in the Old Testament. The two disciples listen with awe, but do not recognize the stranger. At length they arrive at Emmaus. The stranger appears to want to go on when the two stop, but they beg him to stop also, because it’s getting late in the day, and they want to hear more. So they all sit down to share the evening meal, and when the stranger takes up the loaf of bread and breaks it and gives them pieces, their eyes are opened and they recognize Him, and He vanishes.

One can imagine the stunned awe that came over them both as they realized that this was Jesus. They knew He was crucified, and yet He had walked and talked to them for several hours. The women were right! The angels were right! He was alive!

The New Church believes that there are internal meanings to all the stories in the Word of the Lord, the sacred scriptures, and that this internal meaning, within the literal stories about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joshua, Samuel, David, and the rest, and all the sayings of the prophets from Isaiah to Malachi, and the four gospels… this meaning is what makes the Word holy.

So what can we see here in this story? Well, that internal meaning in “Moses and the prophets” is the story of Jesus’ life in the world, from His birth in Bethlehem through all His growing years until His “death” and then His rising. Because Jesus knew that, and had certainly read the Scriptures and understood them internally, He knew for a long time how His earthly life was going to close, and that it was necessary for it to close as had been “written”, in order to save the human race. So He told the two disciples that story as they walked toward Emmaus.

More about that walk... In the Word, any mention of walking is really referring to how we live our lives from day to day. In many stories of the Word, it is said that someone walked with God. It is said that we should walk in His ways and that we should walk the straight and narrow path.

Also in this story we are told that this was a journey of sixty stadia (in the original Greek). Sixty (or other multiples of "six") represents the lifelong work of rejecting the temptations that come from our inborn selfishness. Apocalypse Explained 648. So, this journey to Emmaus means our life’s journey - as a person that is trying to follow the Lord’s teachings and become an angel.

The destination was Emmaus. In the Word any city represents a doctrine, an organized set of truths that we have put in order so that we can live according to them -- our rules of life. See Arcana Coelestia 402. They are not necessarily good, as with Jerusalem or Bethlehem, but can also be evil doctrines, e.g. Sodom or Babylon. My dictionary tells me that the name Emmaus means “hot springs”. Another universal meaning in the Word is that water means truth in its beneficial uses, but can also mean truth twisted into falsity by those in hell, in an opposite sense. See, for example, Arcana Coelestia 790. Think of the wells that Abraham dug, or the waters that Jesus promised to the woman of Samaria as they talked by Jacob’s well, or the pure river of water flowing out from under the throne in the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. In its converse sense, where water is destructive, think of the flood that destroyed all but Noah and his family, or the Red Sea that had to be parted so that the children of Israel could cross. The springs represented by Emmaus were holy truths bubbling up from the Word for us to use. And these are hot springs, and heat means love. So that's our destination, where truth and love together are flowing out for us to use, in a continual stream from the Lord.

This plain little anecdote about the disciples meeting the Lord on the road to Emmaus isn't just a story about Jesus's resurrection with a spiritual body. It is also a story of how we should be living our lives. We can be traveling toward heaven, listening to the Lord, walking in the way with him, and at the end He will break bread and have supper with us.

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #4735

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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4735. 'Do not shed blood' means not to do violence to what is holy. This is clear from the meaning of 'blood' as that which is holy, dealt with below, and therefore 'shedding blood' means doing violence to it. Everything holy in heaven proceeds from the Lord's Divine Human, as consequently does everything holy in the Church. For this reason to prevent people from doing violence to that which is holy the Lord instituted the Holy Supper, in which it is explicitly declared that the bread there is His flesh and the wine His blood, thus that His Divine Human is the source of that which is holy in the Holy Supper. Among the Ancients 'flesh and blood' meant the human proprium, for that which is human consists of flesh and blood. This explains what the Lord said to Simon,

Blessed are you, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 16:17.

Therefore the flesh and blood meant in the Holy Supper by the bread and wine are the Lord's Human Proprium. The Lord's actual Proprium which He acquired to Himself by His own power is Divine. His Proprium was since His conception that which He had from Jehovah His Father and was Jehovah Himself, and therefore the Proprium which He acquired to Himself within the Human was Divine. It is this Divine Proprium within the Human that is called flesh and blood, 'flesh' being His Divine Good, 3813, 'blood' Divine Truth that goes with Divine Good.

[2] The Lord's Human, now that it has been glorified or made Divine, cannot be thought of as something merely human but as Divine Love within a human form. This is more true of Him than it is of angels, who - when they come to be seen, as I myself have seen them - are seen as forms of love and charity taking on a human appearance, the Lord enabling this to be so. For it was by Divine Love that the Lord made His Human Divine, even, as has been stated, as heavenly love serves to make someone an angel after death, so that he too is seen as a form of love and charity taking on a human appearance. From this it is evident that in the celestial sense the Lord's Divine Human means Divine Love itself, which is a love directed towards the whole human race whom He wishes to save, making them blessed and happy for ever, and to whom He wishes to impart, insofar as its members can accept it, what is His and is Divine, so that it becomes their own. This love, and man's reciprocated love to the Lord as well as his love towards the neighbour, are meant and represented in the Holy Supper, Divine celestial love by the flesh or bread in it and Divine spiritual love by the blood or wine.

[3] From all this one may now see what is meant by eating the Lord's flesh and drinking His blood in John,

I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live for ever. But the bread which I shall give is My flesh. Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drank His blood you will have no life in you. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. This is the bread which came down from heaven. John 6:50-58.

Because 'flesh' and 'blood' mean the Divine Celestial and the Divine Spiritual that proceed from the Lord's Divine Human, as has been stated, or what amounts to the same, mean Divine Good and Divine Truth that proceed from His Love, 'eating' and 'drinking' mean making these things one's own. They become one's own through the life of love and charity which is also the life of faith. For 'eating' means making good one's own, and 'drinking' making truth one's own, see 2187, 3069, 3168, 3513, 3596, 3734, 3832, 4017, 4018.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4017-4018; John 6:51-58)

[4] Because 'blood' in the celestial sense means the Divine Spiritual or Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human, it therefore means that which is holy, for Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human is Holiness itself. There is no other Holiness, nor any other source of it.

[5] As regards 'blood' meaning that Holiness, this may be seen from many places in the Word, of which let the following be quoted here: In Ezekiel,

Son of man, thus said the Lord Jehovih, Say to every bird of the air, to every wild animal of the field, Assemble and come, gather yourselves from all around to My sacrifice which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, so that you may eat flesh and drink wine. You will eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth - rams, lambs, and he-goats, all of them fatlings of Bashan. And you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I will sacrifice for you. You will be glutted at My table with horse and chariot, with the mighty, and with every man of war. Thus will I set My glory among the nations. Ezekiel 39:17-21.

This refers to the calling together of all people to the Lord's kingdom, and specifically to the establishment of the Church among gentiles. 'Eating flesh and drinking wine' means making Divine Good and Divine Truth one's own, and so making one's own the Holiness which proceeds from the Lord's Divine Human. Is there anyone who cannot see that here in the references to their eating the flesh of the mighty and drinking the blood of the princes of the earth, and their being glutted with horse, chariot, the mighty, and every man of war, 'flesh' is not used to mean flesh nor 'blood' to mean blood?

(References: Ezekiel 39:17-22)

[6] Similarly in John,

I saw an angel standing in the sun, who called out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds flying in mid-heaven, Come, gather yourselves together to the supper of the Great God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and those seated on them, and the flesh of all, free men and slaves, small and great. Revelation 19:17-18.

Can anyone ever understand these things unless he knows what 'flesh' means in the internal sense, or what 'kings', 'captains', 'mighty men', 'horses', 'those seated on them', 'free men and slaves' mean?

[7] Also in Zechariah,

He will speak peace to the nations; His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River even to the ends of the earth As for you also, through the blood of your covenant I will let out your bound ones from the pit. Zechariah 9:10-11.

This refers to the Lord. 'The blood of the covenant' is Divine Truth proceeding from His Divine Human and is the Holiness itself which has gone out from Him since He was glorified. This Holiness is that which is also called the Holy Spirit, as is evident in John,

Jesus said, 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.

As regards the holiness proceeding from the Lord being 'the spirit', see John 6:63.

[8] Further to 'blood' meaning the holiness proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human - in David,

From deceit and from violence He will redeem 1 their soul, and precious will their blood be in His eyes. Psalms 72:14.

'Precious blood' stands for the holiness which they are to receive. In John,

These are they who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14.

And in the same author,

They have conquered the dragon by the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony; and they did not love their soul even to death. Revelation 12:11.

[9] The Church at the present day knows no more than this, that 'the blood of the Lamb' here means the Lord's passion, for it believes that people are saved solely through the Lord's passion and that it was to endure this that He was sent into the world, a belief which may be enough for the simple who are incapable of grasping interior arcana. The Lord's passion was the last stage of His temptation, by which He fully glorified His Humanity, Luke 24:26; John 12:23, 27-28; 13:31-32; 17:1, 4-5. But 'the blood of the Lamb' here in Revelation is the same as the Divine Truth or that which is holy proceeding from His Divine Human, and so is the same as 'the blood of the covenant' referred to just above, and also in Moses,

[10] Moses took the book of the covenant, and read it in the ears of the people, who said, All that Jehovah has spoken we will do and hear. Then Moses took the blood and sprinkled it over the people. and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which Jehovah has made with you, upon all these words. Exodus 24:7-8.

'The book of the covenant' was Divine Truth as it existed with them at that time, which Truth was corroborated by means of the blood that bore witness to the fact that such Truth proceeded from His Divine Human.

[11] In the ritual requirements of the Jewish Church 'blood' meant nothing other than the holiness proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human. When people were being consecrated blood was therefore used to effect this, as when Aaron was consecrated along with his sons. At that time the blood was sprinkled over the horns of the altar, the residue being poured out at the base of it. Some was also put on the tip of their right ear, on their right thumb and the big toe of their right foot, and on their vestments, Exodus 29:12, 16, 20-21; Leviticus 8:15, 19, 23, 30. And when Aaron went within the veil to the mercy-seat the blood had also to be sprinkled with his finger seven times over the east side of the mercy-seat, Leviticus 16:12-15. Likewise in all other consecrations, as well as expiations and cleansings, mentioned in Exodus 12:7, 13, 22; 30:10; Leviticus 1:5, 11, 15; 3:2 , 8, 13; 4:6-7, 17-18, 25, 30, 34; 5:9; 6:27-28; 14:14-19, 25-30; 16:12-15, 18-19; Deuteronomy 12:27.

(References: Exodus 12:22-23, 29:20; Leviticus 3:8, 3:13, 14:25-29, 16:14-15)

[12] As 'blood' in the genuine sense means that which is holy, so in the contrary sense 'blood' and 'bloods' mean things which bring violence to it. This is because 'shedding innocent blood' means doing violence to that which is holy. For the same reason too infamous deeds in life and profane acts of worship are called 'blood'. The fact that such things are meant by 'blood' and 'bloods' is clear from the following places: In Isaiah,

When the Lord will have washed the excrement of the daughters of Zion and washed away the blood of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgement and by a spirit of purging. Isaiah 4:4.

In the same prophet,

The waters of Dimon are full of blood. Isaiah 15:9.

In the same prophet,

Your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity. Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity. Isaiah 59:3, 7.

In Jeremiah,

Yes, in your skirts the blood of poor innocent souls is found. Jeremiah 2:34.

(References: Isaiah 15:6)

[13] In the same prophet,

For the sins of the prophets, the iniquities of the priests who shed in the midst of Jerusalem the blood of the righteous. They went astray blind in the streets, they are defiled with blood. Things which have no power they touch with their garments. Lamentations 4:13-14.

In Ezekiel,

I passed by you and saw you weltering in your blood, 2 and I said to you, Live in your blood; 2 I indeed said to you, Live in your blood'. I washed you with water and washed away your blood 2 from upon you, and anointed you with oil. Ezekiel 16:6, 9.

In the same prophet,

You, son of man, will you dispute with the city of blood? 2 Declare to her all her abominations. By your blood which you have shed you have become guilty, and by the idols which you have made you are defiled. Behold, the princes of Israel, each according to his power, 3 have been among you and have shed blood. Men of intrigue have been among you, [ready] to shed blood, and among you have eaten on the mountains. Ezekiel 22:2-4, 6, 9.

In Moses,

If anyone sacrifices anywhere else than on the altar at the tent of meeting it shall be [regarded as] blood, and as though he had shed blood. Leviticus 17:1-9.

[14] Truth that has been falsified and rendered profane is meant in the following references to 'blood': In Joel,

I will give portents in the heavens and on earth, blood and fire, and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into thick darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah comes. Joel 2:30-31.

In John,

The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became like blood. Revelation 6:12.

In the same author,

The second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third part of the sea became blood. Revelation 8:8.

In the same author,

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of one dead, from which every living soul died in the sea. The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and into the fountains of water, and blood was made. Revelation 16:3-4.

[15] A similar meaning occurs in the turning of the rivers, pools and ponds in Egypt into blood, Exodus 7:15-22, for 'Egypt' means knowledge which enters of its own accord into heavenly arcana and as a consequence perverts Divine truths, refuses to accept them, and renders them profane, 1164, 1165, 1186. Being Divine ones, all the miracles performed in Egypt embodied the same kind of meanings. 'The rivers' which were turned into blood means the truths that go with intelligence and wisdom, 108, 109, 3051, as likewise do 'waters', 680, 2702, 3058, and 'springs', 2702, 3096, 3424. 'Seas' means factual truths taken as a single whole, 28. 'The moon', which, it is also said, is to be turned into blood, means Divine Truth, 1529-1531, 2495, 4060. From this it is evident that the turning of the moon, sea, springs, waters, and rivers into blood means Truth that has been falsified and rendered profane.


1. The Latin means bring back (imperative singular), but the Hebrew means He will redeem.

2. literally, bloods

3. literally, arm


(References: Arcana Coelestia 108-109, 1164-1165; Ezekiel 39:17-22; Genesis 37:22; Isaiah 15:6)

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Arcana Coelestia 4745, 4751, 4770, 4779, 4844, 4876, 4958, 4984, 5078, 5147, 5365, 5405, 5576, 5673, 5701, 5826, 5959, 6106, 6135, 6378, 6409, 6791, 6978, 7047, 7102, 7317, 7326, 7356, 7553, 7846, 7850, 7906, 7966, 7978, 8432, 8464, 8682, 8902, ...

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