The Bible

 

Matthew 17:24-27 : The Temple Tax

Study the Inner Meaning

        

24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Exploring the Meaning of Matthew 17      

By Rev. Dr. Ray Silverman

Chapter 17.

Glimpses of Heaven

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1. And after six days Jesus takes Peter, and James, and John his brother, and brings them up into a high mountain by themselves,

2. And was transformed before them; and His face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as the light.

3. And behold, there was seen by them Moses and Elijah, speaking with Him.

4. And Peter answering said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if Thou willest, let us make here three tabernacles: one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

5. While he was yet speaking, behold, an illuminated cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.”

6. And the disciples, hearing, fell on their face, and feared exceedingly.

7. And Jesus coming touched them, and said, “Arise, and be not afraid.”

8. And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus only.
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At the end of the previous episode, Jesus promised that “there are some standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” In this next episode, He fulfills His promise — but not in the way that the disciples had expected. While they are thinking about a natural kingdom with thrones, imperial status, and political power, Jesus is preparing them for a spiritual kingdom that is governed by divine truth and filled with divine love. In this next episode, Jesus gives a few of His disciples a glimpse of that kingdom.

The disciples chosen for this special privilege are Peter, James and John. Leaving Caesarea Philippi, which is situated at the foot of Mt. Hermon, Jesus now takes these three disciples to the top of that mountain and there reveals Himself to them: “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (17:1-2). 1

This mountain-top moment, known as “the Transfiguration,” is the spiritual fulfillment of what Jesus promised at the end of the preceding episode This is “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” It is a picture of what it is like to be in the presence of divine truth (“the Son of Man”) as it shines forth from the Word. The words “His face shone like the sun” is an image of God’s love, and “His clothes became as white as light” is an image of the truth that shines forth from that love. It is at moments like this that doubts about the divinity of the Word and the divinity of the Lord are overcome. The truth of Jesus’ divinity shines forth in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “In that day … the light of the sun shall be as the light of seven days” (Isaiah 30:26).

This glimpse of divinity is granted everyone who undergoes the combats of temptation. It is granted to all who willingly lay down their life in the service of love and wisdom, and therefore find their life. In the Word, the labors of temptation are represented by the number “six.” As it is written, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh is the Sabbath” (Exodus 20:9). And as this episode begins, we read “After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, his brother, and brought them up on a high mountain.” 2

In the preceding episodes, Jesus has been teaching His disciples about the necessity of temptation, and preparing them for it. Jesus Himself will have to go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things before He will be raised up again. Similarly, we also must go through temptations so that our lower nature may be humbled and our higher nature “raised up.” These are the struggles that give us the opportunity to lay aside our selfish concerns. While the struggle can be difficult and arduous, it leads to mountain-top states. In the language of sacred scripture, this peak experience is described as “being on a high mountain with Jesus.”

When Jesus told His disciples that some of them “would not taste of death” until they saw Him coming in His kingdom, they could not have known that He was referring to Peter, James, and John. The question arises, therefore, why were these three selected, and not the others? Was it because they were specially favored? Or was it, perhaps, because of what they represented? As mentioned earlier, every disciple represents a specific spiritual principle. In this case, Peter, James, and John represent the three leading principles of our awakening spiritual life: Peter represents the principle of faith; James represents the principle of charity; and John,, who is the brother of James, represents the works of charity — that is, useful service to others. Note how closely related charity and the works of charity are: they are brothers. Since these are the three leading principles of our spiritual life, they are described as being separate from all the others: “He brought them up on a high mountain by themselves.” 3

Jesus now begins to perform another great wonder. Temporarily withdrawing them from the concerns of the body and the world, He opens their spiritual sight so that they might see heavenly things. 4 We, too, are sometimes granted an unearned glimpse of heaven so that we may be inspired to continue our journey. In this case, Peter, James, and John, are brought into an elevated spiritual state because Jesus wants to prepare them and strengthen them for the eventual temptations they will endure. Glimpses of heaven, such as this, are necessary in the beginning of regeneration. It is like the beginning of marriage when people experience a pure, heavenly love for their partner. They are convinced that they have found their true love, and will do anything for that person — even lay down their life. Recalling these glimpses of heaven can strengthen them when temptations arise. 5

On the mountain, Peter, James, and John are given a fleeting glimpse of Jesus in His Divine Humanity. The memory of this miraculous moment will serve them well throughout the temptations that lay ahead. It will also be important for them to know that Jesus is intimately connected to the Hebrew scriptures. We read therefore that “Moses and Elijah were seen along with Jesus, talking with Him” (17:3). This is a wonderful picture of the Law (Moses), the Prophets (Elijah) and Gospels (Jesus), now together as the complete Word of God — “speaking together.” In our temptation combats we need more than pleasant and delightful memories. We need more than “glimpses” of heaven. We also need the living truth of the Word, active in our minds, the law of Moses, the words of the Prophets, and the teachings of Jesus. And we need to see essential agreement among these teachings; we need to see them “speaking together.”

Peter, amazed and overwhelmed by this wonderful vision, expresses his desire to enshrine this memory in his heart forever: “Lord,” he says, “It is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles; one for You; one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (17:4). But even while Peter is still speaking, a response comes from heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him’” (17:5). The voice from heaven does not say, “These are my three prophets. Hear them.” It says, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him.”

The seamless connection of every episode — even very sentence — becomes especially clear in moments like this. Our spiritual rebirth may begin with seeing some truth shining from Word — the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. But the birth process cannot stop there. It’s not just about seeing the truth; it’s about hearing the truth. “Hear Him” says the voice.

The sense of hearing surpasses the sense of sight in that what is heard goes beyond what is seen. If we say to someone, “I hear you,” it means that we not only understand the meaning of the words; we also feel the affection behind the words. In scripture, “hearing the Word of the Lord,” is not just about listening; it’s also about having an inner perception of the truth and, at the same time, a worshipful desire to obey what has been heard. 6

Accordingly, when the disciples hear this voice from heaven, they fall on their faces and are greatly afraid (17:7). True adoration and worship is from a state of profoundest humility. It is the awe one feels in the presence of divinity. In states like this we experience something akin to reverential fear — the sense of how great God is, and how humbling it feels to be in His presence. It is from this state of utmost humility that we can be touched by the warmth and light of heaven. Therefore, we read, “Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, do not be afraid’” (17:7). They obey, and immediately they experience the profoundest, most interior moment of all. We read, “When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only” (17:8). 7

The words, “They saw no one, but Jesus only” indicates that the whole Word points to Jesus only. In the words and life of Jesus, the whole of the law and the whole of the prophets is not only fulfilled but also infilled with more interior wisdom. Jesus becomes the way in which we understand the sacred truths contained within the Hebrew scriptures. As we read those scriptures in the light of Jesus’ teachings — lifting up our eyes — we are not just reading the words, we are hearing from the author Himself.

The Faith that Moves Mountains

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9. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one, until the Son of Man rise again from the dead.”

10. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?”

11. And Jesus answering said to them, “Elijah indeed comes first, and shall restore all things.

12. But I say unto you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but have done unto him whatever they willed; so also the Son of Man is about to suffer by them”.

13. Then understood the disciples that He spoke to them concerning John the Baptist.

14. And when they had come to the crowd, there came to Him a man kneeling before Him, and saying,

15. “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic, and suffers badly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water.

16. And I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not cure him.”

17. And Jesus answering said, “O faithless and perverse generation, till when shall I be with you? Till when shall I bear with you? Bring him hither to Me.”

18. And Jesus rebuked him; and the demon came out of him; and the boy was cured from that [very] hour.

19. Then the disciples, coming to Jesus by themselves, said, “Why could not we cast him out?”

20. And Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for amen I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, ‘Pass on from here to there’; and it shall pass on; and nothing shall be impossible to you.

21. But this kind goes not out, except by prayer and fasting.”
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When Peter, James and John “lifted up their eyes” and saw “Jesus only” it was the end of their mountain-top vision. While it was merely a glimpse of heaven, it was an essential part of their preparation for the spiritual combats that they would soon have to undergo. It was now time to come down from the mountain and take on the normal routines of daily life.

The case is similar in our own lives. From time to time God allows us to experience “mountaintop states” in which we catch a glimpse of how wonderfully He has been working in our lives. Perhaps some truth from the Word shines forth with great glory, and we feel uplifted and inspired. Or maybe in a moment of reflection — whether it be on a mountaintop, or even in front of the mirror while brushing our teeth — we are given an insight which brings together a number of questions that have been on our mind. We feel elevated, and lifted to new heights.

But we cannot remain there. We need to take these new insights with us as we descend the mountain, and resume our lives in the world. While Peter wants to remain on the mountain and build a tabernacle there, the reality is that the true tabernacle is in our hearts, and remains with us wherever we go. It is a living tabernacle of flesh and blood and spirit. It is an inner tabernacle that, according to Isaiah, “will not be taken down, nor shall one of its stakes ever be removed, nor any of its cords be broken” (Isaiah 33:20).

The goal, then, is to come down from the mountain without losing our inspiration. The mountaintop vision should become an integral part of us as we reach out in useful service to others. This is, of course, what Jesus has in mind for His disciples, but He cautions them about the importance of keeping this experience confidential. As they come down from the mountain, Jesus says, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead” (17:9).

This is not the first time that Jesus tells His disciples to be quiet about their knowledge of His divinity. Just after Peter has confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus commands the disciples to tell no one about it (16:20). And here He says something similar: “Tell the vision to no one.” Peter’s confession of faith at Caesarea Philippi and the vision on the mountaintop are important moments in the gradual revelation of Jesus’ divinity, but the disciples have still not undergone any serious spiritual challenges. They have not experienced the “sign of the prophet Jonah” — spiritual resurrection — in their own hearts. Neither have they experienced “the Son of man rising from the dead” — not just Jesus’ physical resurrection, but also some truth that Jesus has taught them rising up within them to give them life. Therefore, while they have witnessed amazing miracles and seen great visions, this is not the testimony Jesus is seeking. The only testimony He seeks from them — and from us — is the testimony which comes from a purified heart after the struggles of temptation. 8

This is why we must continually return to the plain of our everyday lives, no matter how high we have climbed in the mountains of elevated insight, no matter what kind of “emotional high” we may have experienced. No matter how high we have risen, we must return to the world of application and service. And so, as Jesus and His three disciples return from their mountaintop adventure, they are immediately given an opportunity to be useful: a man approaches the disciples and asks them to heal his son. The disciples, who have been given the power to heal and the cast out demons, are unsuccessful: “I brought him to your disciples,” the man says to Jesus, “But they were unable to cure him” (17:16).

This is the first time that the disciples have attempted to cure someone — and this first attempt is a failure. 9 Jesus appears to be displeased with them: “O faithless and perverse generation,” He says, “How long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” (17:17). Jesus then cures the boy instantly: “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and he came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour” (17:18).

It seems as though Jesus is upset with the disciples, calling them “faithless” and “perverse” — rather strong language — simply because they are unable to cure the demon-possessed child. What can this mean? They have just come down from a mountaintop experience where they have been given a special glimpse of Jesus’ divinity. Their faith must have been at an all-time high. Earlier, Jesus promised to give them “power over unclean spirits, to cast them out” and He commanded them to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons” (10:8). Why, then, could they not do so now?

Speaking privately with Jesus, they ask: “Why could we not cast him out?” And Jesus answers, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (17:20).

The story of enlightenment on the mountain followed by failure in the valley contains a vital spiritual lesson. If enlightenment is not followed by strong faith in the source of that enlightenment, the experience can lead to feelings of conceit, of being specially chosen, of being highly privileged, and therefore of being better than others. True enlightenment is just the opposite. It is always attended with a sense of humility and gratitude. It reveals to us our essentially sinful nature. We come to see that we are less worthy than others, and that we deserve hell rather than heaven. This is enlightenment. While Peter, James, and John caught a glimpse of this on the mountaintop when they fell on their faces in reverential fear, it is a lesson in humility that the disciples would still need to learn. 10

The power of humility, which is the only thing that can receive the Lord’s power, can move mountains — mountains of self-love, inordinate pride, and superiority. But this takes a special kind of faith, the faith that we have no power at all from ourselves, and that all power is from the Lord alone. 11

Jesus then explains how this faith should be practiced. Referring to the demons that had been possessing the boy, Jesus says, “This kind only goes out by prayer and fasting” (17:21). “Prayer,” in essence, is turning to the Lord and receiving the good and truth that flow in from Him; “fasting” is refusing to accept the evil and falsity that flow in from hell. 12

This is the faith that not only casts out demons, but also moves mountains.

Paying Taxes

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22. And while they were occupied in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered up into the hands of men;

23. And they shall kill Him; and on the third day He shall be raised up.” And they sorrowed greatly.

24. And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received the didrachma came to Peter, and said, “Does not your Teacher pay the didrachma?”

25. He says, “Yes.” And when he had come into the house, Jesus came before him, saying, “What thinkest thou, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tribute or duty? From their own sons, or from strangers?”

26. Peter says to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus declares to him, “Therefore the sons are free.

27. But lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the fish that first comes up, and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt find a stater; that take, and give unto them for Me and thee.”
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As we descend the mountain of enlightenment, and enter daily life, there will not only be demons to cast out, but also civic duties to fulfill. A simple duty that awaits us when we “come down from the mountain” is that of paying taxes. Although tax-paying cannot compare with the majesty of our mountaintop states, or the essential work of removing evils, it still must be done. True spirituality involves all aspects of life, spiritual like as well as natural life. While we are in this world, we cannot be purely spiritual beings without also caring for temporal and worldly things. In fact, a responsible civic life provides a firm foundation for a spiritual life, even as the body provides a solid structure through which the spirit can operate. 13

Therefore, it is fitting that in the next episode Jesus is confronted with the question of whether or not it is appropriate for Him and His disciples to pay the temple tax. This was an annual tax, required of all Israelites, for the support and maintenance of the temple in Jerusalem. Since Jesus and His disciples were under the constant criticism of the corrupt temple authorities, the question of whether Jesus should pay the temple tax, or refuse to do so, is an important one. Should Jesus and His disciples continue to support a corrupt religious establishment?

Jesus is planning to pay the temple tax, but in a way that demonstrates that He does not directly support what the religious leaders have been doing. Moreover, He will use this situation as an opportunity to teach an enduring spiritual lesson about how the cares and concerns of everyday life must be subordinated to more interior, spiritual principles. In other words, spiritual values should never be ruled over, or be submissive to, materialistic concerns. The higher must rule over the lower — and never the other way around.

This is the interior lesson contained in Jesus’ words to Peter. “Go to the sea,” He says, “cast in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. And when you open the fish’s mouth, you will find a coin” (17:27). Peter does so, and, miraculously, out of the sea containing thousands of fish, the first fish he catches has a coin in its mouth. Moreover,

the coin is exactly the amount needed to pay the temple tax for both Jesus and Peter. “Take the coin,” says Jesus, “and give it to them for Me and for you” (17:27).

This is a further manifestation of Jesus’ divinity. How could He have known that a coin would be in the mouth of a fish, and that the value of the coin would be exactly enough to pay the temple tax for Him and for Peter? And, at a more interior level, how could He have had the wisdom to provide an incident that perfectly answers the difficult question about paying the temple tax?

The question is answered on two levels. First, on the most external level, Jesus seems to be saying that the Lord will always provide, even in the most miraculous of ways. Therefore, there is never any need to worry. But at a more interior level Jesus is saying that natural life, represented by a fish in the water, must serve the higher, spiritual principles of our life represented by Jesus and Peter. The fact that neither Jesus nor Peter is directly providing that support — but rather paying indirectly from a fish caught in the water — demonstrates that neither Jesus (who represents that which is Divine) and Peter (who represents faith in that which is Divine) directly supports the temple. 14

A further wonder contained in this incident involves the details of the fishing incident. These include going fishing in the sea, the hook used to catch the fish, opening the mouth of the fish, and the silver coin that is extracted from the fish’s mouth. Whenever we go to the Word and search for some truth, we are “going fishing.” The “hook” that we use is our sincere desire to be enlightened so that we might discover some truth that will help us lead better lives. The “fish” that we catch is a literal teaching from the Word; and the silver coin that we extract from the fish’s mouth is the more interior truth contained within that literal teaching; this more interior truth shines forth, like bright silver, with a direct application to our lives.

In all of this, however, we should keep in mind the most general teaching of this entire sequence episodes, beginning with the transfiguration on the mountaintop. No matter how high we rise spiritually, it all must be brought down into practical life. While this chapter begins on the mountaintop where Jesus reveals Himself to the disciples in His transfigured glory, it ends by the sea, in a simple rustic scene describing a coin found in the mouth of a fish. In this closing scene, Jesus reveals both His omniscience and His omnipotence, demonstrating that His shining glory on the mountaintop is as universal as His splendor by the sea. It is everywhere, filling the universe, and providing for each of us at every moment.

One of the more obvious takeaways is that Peter would not have to worry about the temple tax; in his case, the funds would be miraculously provided. While this should not be interpreted to mean that the Lord will always cover our financial obligations, it does provide assurance that He will abundantly fill our spiritual needs in ways that are often surprising — even as the disciples found a coin in the mouth of a fish. In His omniscience, God is guiding us at all times, arranging the circumstances of our life in every least detail — from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the sea — so as to lead us into the greatest joy we can possibly receive.

In His omniscience, the Lord perceives the possible outcomes of every decision we make. Because of this, He is with us every step of the way; He foresees the possibilities of wrong turns we might take, while simultaneously leading us — if we are willing to follow — into paths that lead to greatest joy. As the psalmist writes, “Thou wilt show me the path of life. In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). 15

In the miracle of the coin in the fish’s mouth, Jesus reveals the omniscience of God — a divine omniscience that both foresees and provides a wonderful pathway for each of us to follow. The awareness of this profound truth can lead us into surrender to the Lord’s will, faith in His leading, and, finally, into states of profoundest humility. 16

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Footnotes:

1. Some scholars have claimed that the transfiguration took place on Mt. Tabor in Galilee. But in the previous episode Jesus was in Caesarea Phillipi (in the foothills of Mt. Hermon). Moreover, Mt. Tabor is not a “high mountain,” being only 1,750 feet tall, while Mt. Hermon is the tallest mountain in Israel, reaching upwards to 9,400 feet. It would, therefore, seem appropriate that the transfiguration took place on Mt. Hermon — not on Mt. Tabor. 2. Arcana Coelestia 737:2: “Genesis 1 describes the six days of a person’s regeneration prior to becoming celestial. During those six days there is constant conflict, but on the seventh day comes rest. Consequently there are six days of labor, and the seventh is the Sabbath, a word which means rest. This also is why a Hebrew slave was to serve for six years and in the seventh was to go free” See also, Arcana Coelestia 8494: “ The word ‘rest’ signifies a state of peace when there is no temptation . . . such as there was on the days of the Sabbath. . . . But the six preceding days represented the combat and labor, consequently the temptations, which precede a state of peace; for after temptations comes a state of peace, and then there is the conjunction of good and truth.”

3. Apocalypse Explained 64[2]: “The Lord took Peter, James, and John, because by them the church in respect to faith, charity, and the works of charity was represented; He took them ‘into a high mountain,’ because ‘mountain’ signifies heaven; ‘His face did shine as the sun,’ because ‘face’ signifies the interiors, and it did shine as the sun because His interiors were Divine, for the ‘sun’ signifies Divine love.” See also Arcana Coelestia 7038:3: “The Lord loved John more than the rest; but this was not for his own sake, but because he represented the exercises of charity, that is, uses.”

4. Heaven and Hell 119: “The Lord was seen by the disciples when they were withdrawn from the body and were in the light of heaven.” See also Arcana Coelestia 1530: “He so appeared to them because their interior sight was opened.”

5. Conjugial Love 333: “Are there not and have there not been men who, for the woman they long for and implore to be their bride, regard their very life as worthless and wish to die if she does not consent to their entreaty — evidence, as also testified to by the many battles of rival suitors even to their death, that this love exceeds love of life?

6. Apocalypse Explained 14: “The things that enter by the sense of sight, enter into the understanding and enlighten it … but the things that enter by the sense of hearing, enter into the understanding and at the same time into the will…. That the things which enter by hearing, enter directly by the understanding into the will, may be further illustrated from the instruction of the angels of the celestial kingdom, who are the wisest; these receive all their wisdom by hearing and not by sight; for whatever they hear of Divine things, they receive in the will from veneration and love, and make a part of their life.”

7. Arcana Coelestia 3719: “In the internal sense ‘fear’ signifies what is sacred … [It is a state of] veneration and reverence, or reverential fear.”

8. This will become a major theme in the Gospel According to Mark. 9. It is recorded that Jesus gave them “power over unclean spirits” (10:1) and commanded them to “cast out demons” (10:8), but up to this point Matthew does not record any instances of them performing any of these actions.

10. Arcana Coelestia 2273: “A person is not saved on account of temptations if he places anything of merit in them; for if he does this, it is from the love of self, in that he congratulates himself on their account, and believes that he has merited heaven more than others, and at the same time he is thinking of his own preeminence over others by despising others in comparison with himself; all of which things are contrary to mutual love, and therefore to heavenly blessedness. The temptations in which a person overcomes are attended with a belief that all others are more worthy than himself, and that he is infernal rather than heavenly.”

11. Apocalypse Explained 405: “The Lord spoke those things to the disciples when they supposed that they could do miracles from their own faith, thus from themselves, when notwithstanding such things are only done by faith derived from the Lord, and thus by the Lord.”

12. Arcana Coelestia 6206: “All evil flows in from hell, and all good through heaven from the Lord.”

13. Heaven and Hell 528: “To receive the life of heaven a person must needs live in the world and engage in the duties and employments there, and by means of a moral and civil life receive the spiritual life. In no other way can the spiritual life be formed with a person, or a person’s spirit prepared for heaven; for to live an internal life and not at the same time an external life is like dwelling in a house that has no foundation, that gradually sinks or becomes cracked and rent asunder, or totters till it falls.”

14. Apocalypse Explained 513:18: “What is natural is subject to what is spiritual and serves it, for the spiritual man is like a lord, and the natural man like a servant; and as the natural are servants, and are therefore meant by those who pay tribute, so it was brought about that neither the Lord nor Peter, but the ‘fish,’ which signified the natural man, should furnish the tribute.” See also Arcana Coelestia 6394: “Peter’s catching a fish out of the sea and finding in its mouth a piece of money which he was to give [to pay the temple tax], represented that the lowest natural, which serves, should do this; for ‘fishes’ signify this natural.”

15. Spiritual Diary 5002: “The life of every person is foreseen by the Lord, as to how long he will live, and in what manner; therefore, each person is directed from earliest infancy with a regard to a life to eternity. The Providence of the Lord, therefore, commences from earliest infancy.” It should be noted that Divine foresight is such that it foresees every possibility. However, because of human free will, which is never taken away, nothing is inevitable.

16. Arcana Coelestia 5122:3: “The Lord knows all things, and every single thing, provides for them every moment. If He were to pause even for an instant, all the progressions would be disturbed; for what is prior looks to what follows in a continuous series and produces a series of consequences to eternity. Therefore, it is plain that the Divine foresight and providence are in everything, even the very least; and that unless this were so, or if they were only universal, the human race would perish.”

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From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 6394

Apocalypse Revealed 405


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 513, 820

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 30:12, 16

2 Kings 6:7

2 Chronicles 24:6, 9

Nehemiah 10:33

Bible Word Meanings

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

peter
Peter – born Simon, son of Jonah – is certainly one of the Bible's most important figures, second only to Jesus in the New Testament....

said
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...

saith
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...

simon
'Simon, son of Jonah,' as in John 21:15, signifies faith from charity. 'Simon' signifies worship and obedience, and 'Jonah,' a dove, which also signifies charity.

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

sea
'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

cast
For something to be cast down or cast out generally refers to a rather dramatic move from a higher spiritual state to a lower one....

fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

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

Resources for parents and teachers

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 The Lord Is Transfigured
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 The Transfiguration
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.
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 The Transfiguration
Since His resurrection, the Lord appears in heaven much as He looked when He was transfigured so this is a wonderful project for children to do! 
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 The Transfiguration
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Transfiguration (3-5 years)
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 The Transfiguration (6-8 years)
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 The Transfiguration (9-11 years)
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 The Transfiguration: A Wonderful Vision
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 Transfiguration: One Lord, Two Prophets, Three Disciples
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 Ways That the Lord Appeared to People on Earth
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

Commentary

 

Incorporating the New

     

By Rev. Todd Beiswenger


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There's an old saying that says, "When the student is ready the master will appear." The idea is that the student must incorporate everything they've already been taught into their life before the next master will come to teach them the next steps. We see something similar in the Word, where Jesus opens the eyes of Peter, James and John to a new spiritual reality, but now they have a difficult time trying to synthesize what they've just been taught with everything they've always believed. (note - Todd offers his apologies for an error; where he mistakenly says in this audio that the "spiritual serves the natural"... he meant to say, "natural serves the spiritual.")

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6394; Matthew 17:14-20, 17:24-27; The Apocalypse Explained 64, 405)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #405

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405. And every mountain and island were moved out of their places, signifies that every good of love and every truth of faith perished. This is evident from the signification of "a mountain," as being the good of love to the Lord (of which presently); from the signification of "island" as being the truth of faith (of which in the next article); and from the signification of "to be moved out of their places," as being to be taken away and to perish, since the good of love and the truth of faith are meant, for when these are moved out of their places, then evils and falsities take their place, and through evils and falsities goods and truths perish. "Mountain" signifies the good of love, because in heaven those who are in the good of love to the Lord, dwell upon mountains, and those who are in charity towards the neighbor dwell upon hills; or, what is the same, those who are of the Lord's celestial kingdom dwell upon mountains, and those who are of His spiritual kingdom dwell upon hills; and the celestial kingdom is distinguished from the spiritual kingdom in this, that those who are of the celestial kingdom are in love to the Lord, and those who are of the spiritual kingdom are in charity towards the neighbor (but of the latter and the former, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 20-28). This is why "mountain" signifies the good of love to the Lord.

(References: Revelation 6:14)


[2] The good of love to the Lord is meant in an abstract sense by "mountain," because all things in the internal sense of the Word are spiritual, and spiritual things must be understood in a sense abstracted from persons and places; consequently, because angels are spiritual they think and speak abstractedly from these, and thereby have intelligence and wisdom; for the idea of persons and places limits the thought, since it confines it to persons and places, and thus limits it. This idea of thought is proper to the natural, while the idea abstracted from persons and places extends itself into heaven in every direction, and is no otherwise limited than the sight of the eye is limited when it looks up into the sky without intervening objects; such an idea is proper to the spiritual. This is why "a mountain" in the spiritual sense of the Word signifies the good of love. It is similar with the signification of "the earth," as being the church; for thought abstracted from places, and from nations and peoples upon the earth, is thought respecting the church there or with these; this, therefore, is signified by "earth" in the Word. It is similar with the other things that are mentioned in the natural sense of the Word, as with hills, rocks, valleys, rivers, seas, cities, houses, gardens, woods, and other things.

[3] That "mountain" signifies the love to the Lord, and thus all good that is from that, which is called celestial good, and in the contrary sense signifies the love of self, and thus all the evil that is from that, is evident from the following passages in the Word. In Amos:

Dispose thyself towards thy God, O Israel; for lo, He is the Former of the mountains, and the Creator of the spirit, and declareth unto man what is his thought (Amos 4:12-13).

God is here called "the Former of the mountains" because "mountains" signify the goods of love, and "the Creator of the spirit" because "spirit" signifies life from such goods; and because through these He gives intelligence to man it is added, "and declareth unto man what is his thought," for the intelligence that man has is of his thought, which flows in from the Lord through the good of love into his life, so "to declare" here means to flow in.

[4] In David:

God who maketh firm the mountains by His power; He is girded with might (Psalms 65:6).

Here, too, "mountains" signify the goods of love; these the "Lord maketh firm" in heaven and in the church through His Divine truth, which has all power; therefore it is said "He maketh firm the mountains by His power; He is girded with might." In the Word "God's power" signifies Divine truth; and "might" in reference to the Lord signifies all might or omnipotence. (That all power is in the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 228-233; and above, n. 209, 333; and that might in reference to the Lord is omnipotence, see above, n. 338)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 209, The Apocalypse Explained 333, 338)


[5] In the same:

I lift up mine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh help (Psalms 121:1).

"Mountains" here mean the heavens; and as in the heavens those who are in the goods of love and of charity dwell upon the mountains and hills, as was said above, and the Lord is in these goods, "to lift up the eyes to the mountains" also means to the Lord, from whom is all help. When "mountains," in the plural, are mentioned, both mountains and hills are meant, consequently both the good of love to the Lord and the good of charity towards the neighbor.

(References: Psalms 121:2)


[6] In Isaiah:

There shall be upon every high mountain and upon every lofty hill streams, rivulets of waters, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers shall fall (Isaiah 30:25).

The Last Judgment, which is here treated of, is meant by "the day of great slaughter, when the towers shall fall," "great slaughter" meaning the destruction of the evil, "the towers which shall fall," the falsities of doctrine that are from the love of self and the world. That this is what "towers" signify is from appearances in the spiritual world, for those who seek to rule by such things as pertain to the church build towers for themselves in high places (see in the (The Last Judgment 56) sm (The Last Judgment 58) all work on The Last Judgment 56, 58). That such then as are in love to the Lord and in charity towards the neighbor are raised up into heaven and imbued with intelligence and wisdom, is meant by "there shall be upon every high mountain and upon every lofty hill streams, rivulets of waters;" "the high mountain" signifying where those are who are in love to the Lord, and "lofty hill" where those are who are in charity towards the neighbor; "streams" wisdom, and "rivulets of waters" intelligence, for "waters" mean truths, from which are intelligence and wisdom.

[7] In Joel:

It shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the water-courses of Judah shall flow with waters (Joel 3:18).

This treats of the Lord's coming and of the new heaven and the new earth at that time; "the mountains shall drop down sweet wine" means that all truth shall be from the good of love to the Lord; "the hills shall flow with milk" means that there shall be spiritual life from the good of charity towards the neighbor; and "all the water-courses of Judah shall flow with waters" means that there shall be truths from the particulars of the Word, through which there is intelligence. (But these things may be seen more fully explained above, n. 376)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 376)


[8] In Nahum:

Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that proclaimeth good tidings, [that publisheth] peace (Nahum 1:15).

In Isaiah:

How joyous [upon the mountains] are the feet of him that proclaimeth good tidings, that maketh peace to be heard; that saith unto Zion, Thy king 1 reigneth (Isaiah 52:7).

In the same:

O Zion, that proclaimest good tidings, go up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that proclaimest good tidings, lift up thy voice with power (Isaiah 40:9).

This is said of the Lord's coming, and of the salvation at that time of those who are in the good of love to Him, and thence in truths of doctrine from the Word; and as the salvation of these is treated of, it is said, "Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that publisheth peace," and "O Zion, that proclaimest good tidings, go up into the high mountain," "to publish peace," signifying to preach the Lord's coming, for "peace" in the highest sense signifies the Lord, and in the internal sense every good and truth that is from the Lord (see above, n. 365; and "O Zion, that proclaimest good tidings," means the church that is in the good of love to the Lord; and "O Jerusalem, that proclaimest good tidings," the church that is thence in truths of doctrine from the Word.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 365)


[9] In Isaiah:

I will make all My mountains for a way, and My highways shall be exalted. Sing aloud O heavens, and exult O earth, and break forth with singing aloud O mountains; for Jehovah hath comforted His people (Isaiah 49:11, 13).

"Mountains," in the plural, mean both mountains and hills, thus both the good of love and the good of charity. "Mountains and hills shall be made for a way, and highways shall be exalted" signifies that those who are in these goods shall be in genuine truths; "to be made for a way" signifying to be in truths, and "highways being exalted" signifying to be in genuine truths; for "ways and highways" signify truths, which are said to be exalted by good, and the truths that are from good are genuine truths. Their joy of heart on this account is signified by "Sing aloud O heavens, exult O earth," internal joy by "Sing aloud O heavens," and external joy by "exult O earth." Confessions from joy originating in the good of love are signified by "break forth with singing aloud O mountains;" that this is on account of reformation and regeneration is signified by "for Jehovah hath comforted his people." Evidently mountains in the world are not here meant; for why should mountains be made for a way, and highways be exalted, and mountains resound with singing aloud?

[10] In the same:

Sing aloud ye heavens, shout ye lower parts of the earth, break forth with singing aloud, ye mountains, O forest and every tree therein; for Jehovah hath redeemed Jacob, and hath shown Himself glorious in Israel (Isaiah 44:23).

"Sing aloud ye heavens, shout ye lower parts of the earth, break forth with singing aloud ye mountains," has a like signification as just above; but here "mountains" signify the goods of charity; therefore it is also said, "O forest and every tree therein," for "a forest" means the external or natural man in respect to all things thereof, and "every tree" means the cognizing and knowing faculty therein; the reformation of these is signified by "Jehovah hath redeemed Jacob, and hath shown Himself glorious in Israel;" "Jacob and Israel" meaning the church external and internal; thus the external and internal with those in whom the church is.

[11] In the same:

The mountains and hills shall break forth with singing aloud, and all the trees of the field shall clap the hand (Isaiah 55:12).

In David:

Praise Jehovah, mountains and hills, tree of fruit, and all cedars (Psalms 148:7, 9).

This describes the joy of heart from the good of love and charity; and "mountains," "hills," "trees," and "cedars," are said "to break forth with singing aloud," "to clap the hand," and "to praise," because these signify the goods and truths that cause joys in man; for man does not rejoice from himself, but from the goods and truths that are with him; these rejoice because they make joy for man.

[12] In Isaiah:

The wilderness and its cities shall lift up their voice, and the villages that Arabia doth inhabit; the inhabitants of the cliff shall sing aloud, they shall shout from the top of the mountains (Isaiah 42:11).

"The wilderness" signifies the obscurity of truth; "its cities" signify doctrinals; "villages" the natural cognitions and knowledges; "Arabia" the natural man, for "an Arabian in the wilderness" means the natural man; "the inhabitants of the cliff" signify the goods of faith, or those who are in the goods of faith; "the top of the mountains" signifies the good of love to the Lord. This makes clear what the particulars signify in their order, namely, confession and joyful worship from the good of love in such things as are mentioned; for "to shout from the top of the mountains" means to worship from the good of love.

[13] In David:

A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan; a mountain of hills is the mountain of Bashan; why leap ye, ye mountains, ye hills of the mountain? God desireth to dwell in it; yea, Jehovah will inhabit it perpetually (Psalms 68:15-16).

"The mountain of Bashan" signifies voluntary good, such as exists in those who are in the externals of the church; for Bashan was a region beyond Jordan, which was given as an inheritance to the half tribe of Manasseh, as may be seen in Joshua (Joshua 13:29-32); and "Manasseh" signifies the voluntary good of the external or natural man. This voluntary good is the same as the good of love in the external man, for all good of love is of the will, and all truth therefrom is of the understanding; therefore "Ephraim," his brother, signifies the intellectual truth of that good. Because "the mountain of Bashan" signifies that good, "the hills" of that mountain signify goods in act. Because it is the will that acts-for every activity of the mind and body is from the will, as everything active of thought and speech is from the understanding, therefore the joy arising from the good of love is described and meant by "skipping" and "leaping;" this makes clear what is signified by "a mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan; a mountain of hills is the mountain of Bashan; why leap ye, ye mountains, ye hills of the mountain?" Because the Lord dwells with man in his voluntary good, from which are goods in act, it is said, "God desireth to dwell in it; yea, Jehovah will inhabit it perpetually."

[14] In the same:

Judah became the sanctuary of Jehovah. The sea saw it and fled; the Jordan turned itself back. The mountains leaped like rams, the hills like the sons of the flock. What hast thou O sea, that thou fleest? O Jordan, that thou turnest back? ye mountains, that ye leap like rams; ye hills, like sons of the flock? Before the Lord thou art in travail, O earth, before the God of Jacob; who turned the rock into a pool of waters, the flint into a fountain of waters (Psalms 114:2-8).

This describes the departure of the sons of Israel out of Egypt; and yet without explanation by the internal sense no one can know what this signifies, as that "the mountains then leaped like rams, and the hills like the sons of the flock," likewise what is meant by "the sea saw it and fled, and the Jordan turned itself back." It shall therefore be explained. The establishment of the church, or the regeneration of the men of the church, is here meant in the internal sense, for the church that was to be established is signified by the sons of Israel, its establishment by their departure, the shaking off of evils by the passage through the sea Suph, which is said "to have fled," and the introduction into the church by the crossing of the Jordan, which is said to have "turned itself back." But for the particulars: "Judah became a sanctuary, and Israel a domain," signifies that the good of love to the Lord is the very holiness of heaven and the church, and that truth from that good is that by which there is government; for "Judah" signifies celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord; "sanctuary" the very holiness of heaven and the church; "Israel" spiritual good, which is truth from that good, by which there is government, for all government pertaining to the Lord is a government of Divine truth proceeding from Divine good; "the sea saw it and fled, Jordan turned itself back," signifies that when the evils and falsities which are in the natural man had been shaken off, true knowledges [scientifica] and cognitions [cognitiones] of truth and good took their place; "the mountains leaped like rams, the hills like the sons of the flock," signifies that celestial good, which is the good of love, and spiritual good, which is truth from that good, produce good or come into effect from joy; "mountains" signifying the good of love, "hills" the goods of charity, which in their essence are truths from that good; and "to leap," because it is predicated of these, signifies to produce good from joy. It is said "like rams," and "like the sons of the flock," because "rams" signify the goods of charity, and "the sons of the flock" truths therefrom. The establishment of the church from these, that is, the regeneration of the men of the church, is signified by, "before the Lord thou art in travail, O earth, before the God of Jacob; who turned the rock into a pool of waters, and the flint into a fountain of waters;" "earth" meaning the church; and this is said "to be in travail" when it is established or when the man of the church is born anew; it is said "before the Lord" and "before the God of Jacob," because where the good of love is treated of in the Word the Lord is called "the Lord;" and when goods in act are treated of He is called "the God of Jacob." Regeneration by truths from goods is signified by "He turned the rock into a pool of waters, and the flint into a fountain of waters;" "pool of waters" signifying the knowledges of truth, and "fountain of waters" the Word from which these are, and "rock" the natural man in respect to truth before reformation, and "flint" the natural man in respect to good before reformation.

[15] In the same:

Thou hast caused a vine to journey out of Egypt; Thou hast driven out the nations and planted it. The mountains were covered by its shadow, and the cedars of God by its branches (Psalms 80:8, 10).

"A vine out of Egypt" signifies the spiritual church which has its beginning with man by means of knowledges and cognitions in the natural man, "vine" meaning the spiritual church, and "Egypt" the knowing faculty [scientificum] which is in the natural man; "thou hast driven out the nations, and planted it," signifies that when evils had been cast out therefrom the church was established; "nations" meaning evils, and "to plant a vine" meaning to establish the spiritual church; "the mountains were covered by its shadow, and the cedars of God by its branches," signifies that the whole church is from spiritual goods and truths; "mountains" meaning spiritual goods, and "the cedars of God" spiritual truths. Evidently the bringing forth of the sons of Israel out of Egypt and their introduction into the land of Canaan, from which the nations were expelled, is what is meant by these words; and yet the same words, in the internal sense, mean such things as have been explained; nor was anything else represented and signified by the introduction of the sons of Israel into the land of Canaan, and by the expulsion of the nations from it; for all the historical parts of the Word, as well as its prophetical parts, involve spiritual things.

[16] In Isaiah:

As to all mountains that shall be hoed with the hoe, there shall not come thither the fear of briar and bramble; but there shall be the sending forth of the ox and the trampling of the sheep (Isaiah 7:25).

"The mountains that shall be hoed with the hoe" mean those who do what is good from a love of good. (What the remainder signifies see above, n. 304, where it is explained.) In the same:

I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of My mountains, that My chosen may possess it and My servants dwell there (Isaiah 65:9).

"Jacob" and "Judah" signify the church, "Jacob" the external church, which is in the knowledges of good and truth, and "Judah" the [internal] church which is in the good of love to the Lord; therefore "a seed out of Jacob" signifies the knowledges of good and truth, and thus such as are in these; and "the mountains whose inheritor shall be out of Judah," signify the good of love to the Lord, and thence such as are in it; "the chosen who shall possess the mountain," signify those who are in good, and "the servants" those who are in truths from good.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 304)


[17] In Jeremiah:

I will bring the sons of Israel back upon their land. Behold, I will send to many fishers, who shall fish them; and I will send to many hunters, who shall hunt them from upon every mountain and from upon every hill and out of the holes of the cliffs (Jeremiah 16:15-16).

This treats of the establishment of a new church, which was represented and signified by the bringing back of the Jews from the captivity out of the land of Babylon into the land of Canaan. He who does not know what is signified by "fishing and hunting," by "mountain," "hill," and "holes of the cliffs," can gather nothing from these words that he can comprehend. That a church was to be established from those who are in natural good and in spiritual good is meant by "I will send fishers who shall fish them, and hunters who shall hunt them." To gather together those who are in natural good is meant by "sending fishers who shall fish them;" and to gather together those who are in spiritual good is meant by "sending hunters who shall hunt them;" because such are meant it is added, "from upon every mountain and from upon every hill, and out of the holes of the cliffs," those "upon a mountain" meaning those who are in the good of love, "those upon a hill" those who are in the good of charity; "and those out of the holes of the cliffs" those who are in obscurities respecting truth.

[18] In Ezekiel:

Ye mountains of Israel, ye shall give forth your branch, and bear your fruit to My people Israel, when they draw near to come (Ezekiel 36:8).

"The mountains of Israel" signify the goods of charity; that from these are the truths of faith and the goods of life, is signified by "ye shall give forth your branch, and bear your fruit;" "branch" meaning the truth of faith, and "fruit" the good of life.

(References: Jeremiah 36:8)


[19] In Amos:

Behold, the days come, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall dissolve; for I will bring back the captivity of My people (Amos 9:13-14).

What these words signify may be seen above (n. 376), where they are explained. "The mountains" are said "to drop sweet wine," and "the hills to dissolve," because "mountains" signify the good of love to the Lord, and "hills" the good of charity towards the neighbor, and "sweet wine" truths; therefore these words signify that from these two goods they shall have truths in abundance, for the bringing back of the people from captivity, about which this is said, signifies the establishment of a new church.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 376)


[20] In David:

Jehovah, Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God; Thy judgments like a great deep (Psalms 36:6).

Because "righteousness," in the Word, is predicated of good, and "judgment" of truth, it is said that "the righteousness of Jehovah is like the mountains of God, and His judgments like a great deep;" "the mountains of God" signifying the good of charity, and "the deep" truths in general, which are called the truths of faith. (That "righteousness" is predicated of good, and "judgment" of truth, see Arcana Coelestia 2235, 9857.)

[21] In the same:

Jehovah hath founded the earth upon its bases; Thou hast covered it with the deep as with a vesture; the waters stand above the mountains. At Thy rebuke they flee; at the voice of Thy thunder they hurried away. The mountains arise, the valleys sink down unto the place which Thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound, they pass it not; they return not again to cover the earth. He sendeth forth springs into the brooks, they flow between the mountains. He watereth the mountains from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Thy works (Psalms 104:5-10, 13).

This, understood in the spiritual sense, describes the process of regeneration, or of the formation of the church with man; and "He hath founded the earth upon its bases," signifies the church with man with its boundaries and closings; "Thou hast covered it with the deep as with a vesture," signifies with knowledges [scientifica] in the natural man, by which knowledges the interiors of the natural man, where the spiritual things of the church have their seat, are encompassed; "the deep" signifying knowledges in general, and "vesture" the true knowledges encircling and investing; "the waters stand above the mountains" signifies the falsities above the delights of the natural loves, which delights are in themselves evils; "mountains" meaning the evils of those loves, and "waters" falsities therefrom; "at Thy rebuke they flee, at the voice of Thy thunder they hurry away" signifies that falsities are dispersed by truths, and evils by goods from heaven; "the mountains arise, and the valleys sink down unto the place which Thou hast founded for them" signifies that in place of natural loves and of evils therefrom there are inserted heavenly loves and goods from them, and in place of falsities general truths are let down; "Thou hast set a bound, they pass it not, they return not again to cover the earth" signifies that falsities and evils are kept without, separated from truths and goods, and held within bounds that they may not flow in again and destroy; "He sendeth forth springs into the brooks, they flow between the mountains" signifies that the Lord, out of the truths of the Word, gives intelligence, all things of which are from the good of celestial love; "springs" signifying the truths of the Word, "springs sent into brooks" the intelligence therefrom, and their "flowing between the mountains" that they are from the goods of celestial love, "mountains" meaning such goods. "He watereth the mountains from His upper chambers" signifies that all goods are by means of truths from heaven; "to water" is predicated of truths, because "waters" mean truths; "mountains" mean the goods of love; and "upper chambers" the heavens from which these are; "the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Thy works" signifies that from the Divine operation the church continually increases with man; "the fruit of works" meaning, in reference to the Lord, the Divine operation, and "the earth" the church in man, the formation of which is here treated of; and the church is said "to be satisfied" by continual increase. These are the arcana that are hid in these words; but who can see them unless he knows them from the internal sense, and unless he is in knowledges, in this case, unless he is in knowledge respecting the internal and external man, and the goods and truths that constitute the church in these?

[22] In Zechariah:

I lifted up mine eyes and saw, when behold, four chariots coming out from between the mountains; and the mountains were mountains of copper (Zechariah 6:1).

A new church to be established among the Gentiles is treated of in this chapter, for a new temple is treated of, which signifies a new church. "Chariots coming out from between the mountains" signify doctrine, which is to be formed out of good by means of truths, "chariots" signifying doctrinals, "mountains" the goods of love, and "between mountains" truths from goods; for "valleys," which are between mountains, signify lower truths, which are the truths of the natural man. That it may be known, that "mountains" here signify the goods of the natural man, it is said, "and the mountains were mountains of copper," "copper" signifying the good of the natural man.

[23] In Zechariah:

Jehovah shall go forth and fight against the nations; His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, before the faces of Jerusalem from the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be cloven asunder, a part thereof toward the east and toward the sea with a great valley, and a part of the mountain shall withdraw toward the north, and a part of it toward the south. Then shall ye flee through the valley of My mountains; and the valley of the mountains shall reach towards Azal (Zechariah 14:3-5).

This is said of the Last Judgment, which was accomplished by the Lord when He was in the world; for when the Lord was in the world He reduced all things to order in the heavens and in the hells, therefore He then wrought a judgment upon the evil and upon the good. This judgment is what is meant in the word of the Old Testament by "the day of indignation," "of anger," "of wrath," "of the vengeance of Jehovah," and by "the year of retributions" (on this judgment see the small work on The Last Judgment 46). That the Lord's coming and the judgment that then took place are treated of in this chapter, is evident from these words in it:

Then Jehovah my God shall come, all the holy ones with Thee. And there shall be in that day no light, brightness, nor flashing; and it shall be one day that shall be known to Jehovah, not day nor night; for about the time of evening there shall be light (Zechariah 14:5-7).

"The time of evening" means the last time of the church, when judgment takes place; then it is "evening" to the evil, but "light" to the good. As soon as these things are known, it becomes plain, through the spiritual sense, what the particulars here signify, namely, "Jehovah shall go forth and fight against the nations" signifies the Last Judgment upon the evil, "to go forth and fight" means to execute judgment, and "nations" the evil; "His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, before the faces of Jerusalem from the east" signifies that this is effected from the Divine love by means of Divine truths proceeding from His Divine good; "the Mount of Olives" signifying, in reference to the Lord, the Divine love, "Jerusalem," the church in respect to truths, and therefore the Divine truths of the church, and "the east" the Divine good; "the Mount of Olives shall be cloven asunder, a part thereof toward the east and toward the sea, with a great valley" signifies the separation of those who are in good from those who are in evil; for "the Mount of Olives," as was said, means the Divine love; "the east" means where those are who are in Divine good, and "the sea" where those are who are in evil, for in the western quarter of the spiritual world is a sea which separates; "a part of the mountain shall withdraw toward the north, and part of it toward the south" signifies the separation of those who are in the falsities of evil from those who are in the truths of good; "the north" meaning where those are who are in the falsities of evil, since they are in darkness, and "the south" where those are who are in the truths of good, since they are in light; "then shall ye flee through the valley of my mountains" signifies that then those who are in truths from good shall be rescued, "to flee" signifying to be rescued, "the valley of the mountains" signifying where those are who are in the knowledges of truth, and thus in truths from good, for those who are in the knowledges of truth dwell in valleys, and those who are in good upon the mountains; "and the valley of the mountains shall reach even unto Azal" signifies separation from the falsities of evil, "Azal" signifying separation and liberation.

[24] Because "the Mount of Olives," which was before Jerusalem eastward, signified the Divine love, and "Jerusalem from the east" Divine truth proceeding from Divine good, as was said above, the Lord was accustomed to stay on that mount, as is evident in Luke:

Jesus during the days was teaching in the temple; but at night He went out and lodged in the mount that is called the Mount of Olives (Luke 21:37; 22:39; John 8:1).

It was here, too, that He spoke with His disciples about His coming and the consummation of the age, that is, about the Last Judgment (Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:3). It was from here, also, that He went to Jerusalem and suffered (Matthew 21:1; 26:30; Mark 11:1; 14:26; Luke 19:29, 37; 21:37; 22:39); signifying thereby that He did all things from the Divine love, for "the Mount of Olives" signified that love; for whatever the Lord did in the world was representative, and whatever He spoke was significative. The Lord when in the world was in representatives and significatives, in order that He might be in the ultimates of heaven and the church, and at the same time in their firsts, and thus might rule and dispose ultimates from firsts, and thus all intermediates from firsts through ultimates; representatives and significatives are in ultimates.

[25] Because "a mountain" signified the good of love and in reference to the Lord, the Divine good of the Divine love, from which good Divine truth proceeds, so Jehovah, that is, the Lord, descended upon Mount Sinai and promulgated the law. For it is said that:

He came down upon that mount, to the top of the mount (Exodus 19:20; 24:16-17);

And that He promulgated the law there (Exodus 20).

Therefore also Divine truth from Divine good is signified in the Word by "Sinai," and also by "the law" there promulgated. So too:

The Lord took Peter, James, and John into a high mountain, when He was transfigured (Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:2).

and when He was transfigured He appeared in Divine truth from Divine good, for "His face which was as the sun" represented the Divine good, and "His raiment which was as the light" the Divine truth; and "Moses and Elias," who appeared, signified the Word, which is Divine truth from the Divine good.

(References: Exodus 20:1, 24:17)


[26] Since "a mountain" signified the good of love, and in the highest sense, the Divine good, and from the Divine good Divine truth proceeds, so Mount Zion was built up above Jerusalem, and in the Word "Mount Zion" signifies the church that is in the good of love to the Lord, and "Jerusalem" the church that is in truths from that good, or the church in respect to doctrine. For the same reason Jerusalem is called "the mountain of holiness," also "the hill;" for "the mountain of holiness," likewise "hill" signify spiritual good, which in its essence is truth from good, as can be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:

It shall come to pass in the latter end of days that the mountain of Jehovah shall be on the head of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; whence all nations shall flow unto it; and many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob (Isaiah 2:2-3).

In the same:

In that day a great trumpet shall be blown, and the perishing in the land of Assyria shall come, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and they shall bow down to Jehovah in the mountain of holiness at Jerusalem (Isaiah 27:13).

In Joel:

Blow ye the trumpet in 2 Zion, and cry aloud in the mountain of holiness (Joel 2:1).

In Daniel:

Let thine anger and Thy wrath be turned back from Thy city Jerusalem, the mountain of Thy Holiness (Daniel 9:16).

In Isaiah:

They shall bring all your brethren out of all nations unto Jehovah, unto the mountain of My holiness, Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:20).

He that putteth His trust in Me shall have the land for a heritage, and shall possess as an inheritance the mountain of My holiness (Isaiah 57:13).

In Ezekiel:

In the mountain of My holiness, in the mountain of the height of Israel, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve Me (Ezekiel 20:40).

In Micah:

In the latter end of days it shall be that the mountain of the house of Jehovah shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and the peoples shall flow unto it (Micah 4:1).

Besides many passages elsewhere in which "the mountain of holiness," "Mount Zion," and "the mountain of Jehovah" are mentioned:

The mountain of holiness (Isaiah 11:9; 56:7; 65:11, 65:25; Jeremiah 26:23; Ezekiel 28:14; Daniel 9:20; 11:45; Joel 2:11; 3:17; Obadiah 1:16; Zephaniah 3:11;Zechariah 8:3; Psalms 15:1; 43:3).

And Mount Zion (Isaiah 4:5; 8:18; 10:12; 18:7; 24:23; 29:8; 31:4; 37:32; Joel 3:5; Obad. verses Obadiah 1:17, 1:21; Micah 4:7; Lamentations 5:18; Psalms 48:11; 74:2; 78:68; 125:1).

Because "Mount Zion" signified Divine good and the church in respect to Divine good, it is said in Isaiah:

Send ye [the lamb of] the ruler of the land from the cliff towards the wilderness unto the mountain of the daughter of Zion (Isaiah 16:1).

And in Revelation:

A lamb standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand (Revelation 14:1).

(References: Jeremiah 31:23; Joel 2:32; Micah 4:1-2; Obadiah 1:16-17)


[27] From this it can also be seen why the New Jerusalem, in which was a temple, was seen by Ezekiel built upon a high mountain, respecting which it is thus written:

In the visions of God I was brought unto the land of Israel; he set me down upon a very high mountain, whereon was as it were the building of a city on the south (Ezekiel 40:2).

Respecting this, much is said in the chapters that follow. In David:

Great is Jehovah, and to be praised exceedingly in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness; beautiful in situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces as a refuge (Psalms 48:1-3).

This describes the worship of the Lord from truths that are from good. The worship of Him from spiritual truths and goods and the consequent pleasure of the soul is signified by "Great is Jehovah, and to be praised exceedingly in the city of our God, in the mountain of His Holiness, beautiful for situation;" worship is meant by "to be great," and "to be praised exceedingly;" spiritual truth that is from spiritual good by "in the city of our God, the mountain of His Holiness;" and the consequent pleasure of the soul by "beautiful for situation;" the worship of the Lord from celestial goods and truths is described by "the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great king;" worship from celestial good is meant by "the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion;" and truths from that good by "on the sides of the north, the city of the great King;" "the sides of the north" meaning truths from celestial good, and "the city of the great King" the doctrine of truth therefrom. That truths are inscribed on those who are in celestial good is signified by "God is known in her palaces." "The sides of the north" signify truths from celestial good, because those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom dwell in the east in heaven; and those who are in truths from that good, towards the north there.

[28] In Isaiah:

O Lucifer, thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into the heavens; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit on the mount of the meeting, on the sides of the north (Isaiah 14:13).

"Lucifer" means Babylon, as is evident from what precedes and follows in this chapter; its love of ruling over heaven and the church is described by "I will ascend into the heavens, and will exalt my throne above the stars of God;" which means a striving for dominion over those heavens that constitute the Lord's spiritual kingdom, for truths and the knowledges of truth appear to such as stars; "I will sit on the mount of meeting, on the sides of the north" signifies a striving for dominion over the heavens that constitute the Lord's celestial kingdom, "the mount of meeting" and "the sides of the north" meaning the goods and truths there (as above). The fact that Mount Zion and Jerusalem were built as far as possible according to the form of heaven makes clear what the words cited above from David signify, "Mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great king;" and the words from Isaiah, "The mount of meeting on the sides of the north."

[29] In Isaiah:

Sennacherib the king of Assyria said, By the multitude of my chariots I will come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon; where I will cut down the height of its cedars, the choice of its fir trees (Isaiah 37:24).

This describes, in the internal sense, the haughtiness of those who wish to destroy the goods and truths of the church by reasonings from falsities; "the king of Assyria" signifies the rational perverted; "the multitude of his chariots" signifies reasonings from the falsities of doctrine; "to come up to the height of the mountains, to the sides of Lebanon, and to cut down the height of its cedars, and the choice of its fir trees" signifies the endeavor to destroy the goods and truths of the church, both internal and external; "mountains" meaning the goods of the church, "the sides of Lebanon" meaning where goods are conjoined with truths, "Lebanon" the spiritual church, "cedars" its internal truths which are from good, and "fir trees" its external truths, also from good. This is the meaning of these words in the spiritual sense, consequently in heaven.

[30] "Mountain" and "mountains" signify the goods of love and of charity in the following passages also. In David:

Jehovah who covereth the heavens with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to spring forth upon the mountains (Psalms 147:8).

"The clouds," with which Jehovah covers the heavens, signify external truths, such as are in the sense of the letter of the Word; for the truths in that sense are called in the Word "clouds," while the truths in the internal sense are called "glory;" "the heavens" mean internal truths, because those who are in the heavens are in them; "the rain which he prepares for the earth" signifies influx of truth, "the earth" meaning the church, and thus those there who receive truth, for the church consists of such; "the mountains on which He makes grass to spring forth" signify the goods of love, and thence those who are in the goods of love, "grass" signifying the spiritual nourishment that such have; for grass for beasts is meant, and "beasts" signify the affections of good of the natural man.

[31] In Moses:

Of Joseph he said, Blessed of Jehovah be the land [of Joseph] for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that lieth beneath, for the firstfruits of the mountains of the east, and for the precious things of the hills of an age (Deuteronomy 33:13-15).

This is the blessing of Joseph, or of the tribe named from Joseph by Moses; and this blessing was pronounced upon Joseph because "Joseph" signifies the Lord's spiritual kingdom, and the heaven there that most nearly communicates with the Lord's celestial kingdom; "the land of Joseph" means that heaven, and also the church that consists of those who will be in that heaven; "the precious things of heaven, the dew, and the deep that lieth beneath" signify Divine-spiritual and spiritual-natural things from a celestial origin, "the precious things of heaven" Divine-spiritual things, "the dew" spiritual things communicating, and "the deep that lieth beneath" spiritual-natural things; "the firstfruits of the mountains of the east, and the precious things of the hills of an age" signify genuine goods, both of the love to the Lord and of charity towards the neighbor, "the mountains of the east" meaning the goods of love to the Lord, "the firstfruits" genuine goods, and "the hills of an age" the goods of charity towards the neighbor. Those who are ignorant of what is represented by "Joseph" and "his tribe," and also by "dew," "the deep that lieth beneath," "the mountains of the east," and "the hills of an age," can know scarcely anything of what such words involve, and, in general, can know scarcely anything of the significance of what is said by Moses in this whole chapter respecting the tribes of Israel, and of what is said by Israel the father in Genesis 49.

[32] In Matthew:

Ye are the light of the world; a city 3 that is set on a mountain cannot be hid (Matthew 5:14).

This was said to the disciples, by whom the church which is in truths from good is meant; therefore it is said, "Ye are the light of the world," "the light of the world" meaning the truth of the church. That it is not the truth unless it is from good is signified by "a city that is set on a mountain cannot be hid," "a city on a mountain" meaning truth from good.

[33] In the same:

If any man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, will he not leave the ninety and nine in the mountains, and going seek that which is gone astray? (Matthew 18:12).

It is said, "will he not leave the ninety and nine in the mountains?" for "sheep in the mountains" signify those who are in the good of love and charity; but "the one that is gone astray" signifies one who is not in that good, because he is in falsities from ignorance; for where falsity is, there good is not, because good is of truth.

[34] In the Gospels:

When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, then let them that are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let him that is on the roof not go down into the house (Mark 13:14; Matthew 24:15-17; Luke 21:21).

In those chapters the Lord describes the successive vastation of the church, but it is described by pure correspondences. "When ye shall see the abomination of desolation" signifies when the disciples, that is, those who are in truths from good, perceive the church to be devastated, which takes place when there is no longer any truth because there is no good, or no faith because there is no charity; "then let them that are in Judea flee to the mountains" signifies that those who are of the Lord's church are to remain in the good of love, "Judea" signifying the Lord's church, and "mountains" the goods of love; "to flee to them" means to remain in those goods; "let him that is on the roof not go down into the house" signifies that he that is in genuine truths should remain in them, "house" signifying a man in respect to all the interior things which belong to his mind, and "the roof of the house" signifying therefore the intelligence that is from genuine truths, thus also the genuine truths through which there is intelligence. Unless the particulars of what the Lord said in these chapters of the Gospels are illustrated by the spiritual sense, scarcely anything that is contained there can be known, thus when it is said "let him that is on the roof not go down into the house;" or in another place, "let not him that is in the field return back to take his garments;" and many other things.

(References: Mark 13:14-15, Mark 13:16; Matthew 24:16-17)


[35] Thus far it has been shown that "mountains" signify in the Word the goods of love; but as most things in the Word have also a contrary sense, so do "mountains," which in that sense signify the evils of the love, or the evils that spring forth from the loves of self and the world. Mountains are mentioned in this sense in the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:

The day of Jehovah of Hosts shall come upon everyone that is proud and exalted, and upon all the exalted mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up (Isaiah 2:12, 14).

"The day of Jehovah of Hosts" means the Last Judgment, when the evil were cast down from the mountains and hills which they occupied in the spiritual world, as was said in the beginning of this article. It is because such before the Last Judgment dwelt upon mountains and hills, that "mountains and hills" mean the loves and the evils therefrom in which they were, "mountains" the evils of the love of self, and "hills" the evils of the love of the world. It is to be known that all who are in the love of self, especially those who are in the love of ruling, when they come into the spiritual world, are in the greatest eagerness to raise themselves into high places; this desire is inherent in that love; and this is why "to be of a high or elated mind" and "to aspire to high things" have become expressions in common use. The reason itself that there is this eagerness in the love of ruling is that they wish to make themselves gods, and God is in things highest. That "mountains and hills" signify these loves, and thence the evils of these loves, is clear from its being said, "a day of Jehovah of Hosts shall come upon everyone that is proud and exalted, and upon all the exalted mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up;" what else could be meant by "coming upon the mountains and hills?"

[36] In the same:

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, make level a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low (Isaiah 40:3-4).

This, too, treats of the Lord's coming and of the Last Judgment at that time; and "the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah, and a highway for our God," signifies that they should prepare themselves to receive the Lord; "wilderness" signifying where there is no good because there is no truth, thus where there is as yet no church; "every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low" signifies that all who are humble in heart, that is, all who are in goods and truths, are received, for such as are received by the Lord are raised up to heaven; while "every mountain and hill shall be made low" signifies that all who are elated in mind, that is, who are in the love of self and the world, shall be put down.

[37] In Ezekiel:

For I will make the land a desolation and wasteness, that the pride of strength may cease; and the mountains of Israel have been laid waste, that none may pass through (Ezekiel 33:28).

This describes the desolation and vastation of the spiritual church, which the Israelites represented; for the Jews represented the Lord's celestial kingdom, or the celestial church, while the Israelites represented the Lord's spiritual kingdom, or the spiritual church. Its "desolation and vastation" signifies the last state of the spiritual church, which was when there was no longer any truth because there was no good, or, when there was no faith because no charity; "desolation" is predicated of truth which is of faith, and "vastation" of good which is of charity. Boasting and elation of mind from falsities that they call truths, is signified by "the pride of strength," "strength" and "power" having reference to truths from good, because all strength and all power belong to such truths; here, however, they have reference to falsities, because of the boasting and elation of mind. That there was no longer any good of charity and faith is signified by "the mountains of Israel have been laid waste;" that there was no good whatever, but only evil, is signified by "that none may pass through."

[38] In the same:

Son of man, set thy faces toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord Jehovih; Thus said the Lord Jehovih to the mountains and to the hills, to the water-courses and to the valleys: Behold I bring the sword upon you (Ezekiel 6:2-3).

Here, too, "mountains of Israel" signify the evils that proceed from the love of self and of the world, which exist with those who are in the spiritual church, when they no longer have any good of life, but only evil of life and the falsity of doctrine therefrom; "mountains," "hills," "water-courses," and "valleys," signify all things of the church, both interior or spiritual and exterior or natural, "mountains and hills" signifying things interior or spiritual, "water-courses and valleys" things exterior or natural; that these will perish through falsities is signified by "Behold I will bring the sword upon you," "sword" meaning the destruction of falsity by truths, and in a contrary sense, as here, the destruction of truth by falsities.

[39] In the same:

In the day in which God shall come upon the ground of Israel, the fishes of the sea, and the fowl of the heavens, and the wild beast of the field, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the ground, and every man who is upon the faces of the ground, shall quake before Me, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steps shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the earth; then I will call for the sword against him unto all My mountains (Ezekiel 38:18, 20-21).

What all this signifies see above, n. 400, where it is explained, namely, what is signified by "God," by "the fishes of the sea," "the fowl of the heavens," "the wild beast of the field," "the creeping thing that creepeth upon the ground;" also that "the mountains of Israel" signify the goods of spiritual love, but here, the evils of love that are opposed to those goods.

(References: Ezekiel 38:18-21; The Apocalypse Explained 400)


[40] In Micah:

Arise, strive thou with the mountains, that the hills may hear thy 4 voice. Hear, O ye mountains, the strife of Jehovah, and ye strong foundations of the earth; for Jehovah hath a strife with His people, and He reproveth Israel (Micah 6:1, 2).

This, too, was said of the spiritual church, which was represented by the Israelites when separated from the Jews; and "mountains" mean the goods of charity, and "hills" the goods of faith; but here, the evils and falsities that are the opposites of these goods; therefore, it is said, "strive thou with the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice;" "the strong foundations of the earth" mean the principles of falsity in that church, "the earth" meaning the church, and "foundations" the principles upon which the other things are founded. It is said, "with His people," "with Israel," because "people" means those who are in truths, or those who are in falsities; and "Israel" those who are in goods, or those who are in evils.

(References: Micah 6:1-2)


[41] In Jeremiah:

Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, destroying the whole earth; and I will stretch out the hand against thee, and roll thee down from the cliffs, and will make thee a mountain of burning (Jeremiah 51:25).

This was said of Babylon, by which those who are in the falsities of evil and in the evils of falsity from the love of self are meant, for such misuse the holy things of the church as a means of ruling; it is from that love and the falsities and evils therefrom that Babylon is called "a destroying mountain, destroying the whole earth," "the earth" meaning the church. The destruction and damnation of such by the falsities of evil is signified by "I will roll thee down from the cliffs," "cliffs" meaning where the truths of faith are, here, where the falsities of evil are; while the destruction and damnation of such by the evils of falsity is signified by "I will make thee a mountain of burning," "burning" having reference to the love of self, because "fire" signifies that love (see in the work on Heaven and Hell 566-573). This makes clear that "mountains" signify the evils of the love of self and the world, since Babylon is called "a destroying mountain," and is to be made "a mountain of burning." In Nahum:

The mountains quake before Him, and the hills dissolve, and the whole earth is burned up before Him. Who can stand before His rebuking (Nahum 1:5-6).

What this, in series, signifies, may be seen above n. 400, where the particulars are explained; showing that "mountains and hills" here mean the evils of the love of self and the world.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 400)


[42] In Micah:

Jehovah going forth out of His place cometh down and treadeth upon the high places of the earth. Therefore the mountains are melted under Him, and the valleys are cleft, as wax before the fire, as waters poured down a descent; on account of the transgressions of Jacob is all this, and on account of the sins of the house of Israel (Micah 1:3-5).

This, too, was said of the Last Judgment, and of those who then made for themselves a semblance of heaven upon the mountains and hills (who have been treated of above, in several places). The Last Judgment is meant by "Jehovah going forth out of His place, He cometh down and treadeth upon the high places of the earth," "upon the high places of the earth" signifying upon those who were in the high places, that is, upon whom judgment was executed, for in the spiritual world, just as in the natural world, there are lands, mountains, hills, and valleys. The destruction of those who are upon the mountains and in the valleys, who are such as are in evils from the love of self and the world and in the falsities therefrom, is signified by "the mountains are melted under Him, and the valleys are cleft, as wax before the fire, as waters poured down a descent," "mountains" signifying the evils of the loves of self and of the world, and "valleys" the falsities therefrom; of these evils of the loves of self and of the world that are signified by "mountains" it is said that they are melted "as wax before the fire," since "fire" signifies those loves; and of the falsities that are signified by "valleys" it is said "as waters poured down a descent," since "waters" signify falsities. This was evidently because of evils and falsities, for it is said, "on account of the transgressions of Jacob is all this, and on account of the sins of the house of Israel."

[43] In Jeremiah:

I saw the earth, and lo, it is void and empty; and towards the heavens, and they have no light. I saw the mountains, and lo, they quake, and all the hills are overturned. I saw, and lo, there is no man, and every fowl of heaven hath fled away (Jeremiah 4:23-25).

"The quaking of the mountains" signifies the destruction of those who are in the evils of the love of self, and "the overturning of the hills," the destruction of those who are in the evils of the love of the world, and in falsities. (The remainder may be seen explained above, n. 280, 304).

In Isaiah:

O Jehovah, that Thou wouldst rend the heavens, that Thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down before Thee (Isaiah 64:1).

These words have a similar signification as those in Micah (1:3-5) which have been explained above.

(References: Isaiah 63:19; The Apocalypse Explained 280, 304)


[44] In David:

Bow Thy heavens, O Jehovah, and come down; touch the mountains that they may smoke. Flash forth the lightning and scatter them (Psalms 144:5-6.

"To bow the heavens and come down," means the like as "to rend the heavens and come down," "to go forth out of His place, and to come down and tread upon the high places of the earth," quoted above, namely, to visit and judge; "to touch the mountains that they may smoke" signifies to destroy by His presence those who are in the evils of the loves of self and of the world, and in falsities therefrom; "to smoke" signifies to be let into the evils of these loves and into their falsities, for "fire" signifies these loves, and "smoke" their falsities; "flash forth the lightning and scatter them" signifies the Divine truth by which they are dispersed, for it is by the presence of Divine truth that evils and falsities are disclosed, and from the collision then there are appearances like lightnings.

[45] In Moses:

A fire hath been kindled in Mine anger, and shall burn even unto the lowest hell, and it shall devour the earth and its produce, and shall set in flames the foundations of the mountains (Deuteronomy 32:22).

It is said that "a fire hath been kindled in Jehovah's anger, which shall burn even unto the lowest hell," although Jehovah has no fire of anger, much less one that burns to the lowest hell; for Jehovah, that is the Lord, is angry with no one, and does evil to no one, neither does He cast anyone into hell, as may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 545-550); but it is so said in the sense of the letter of the Word, because it so appears to an evil man, and also to a simple man, for the Word in the letter is according to appearance, because according to the apprehension of natural men. But as angels, who are spiritual, see the truths themselves of the Word, not apparently according to the apprehension of man, but spiritually, therefore with the angels the sense of such expressions is inverted, and this is the internal or spiritual sense, that is, that the infernal love with man is such a fire, and burns even to the lowest hell; and as that fire, that is, that love, destroys all things of the church with man, from the very foundation, therefore it is said that "it shall devour the earth and its produce, and shall set in flames the foundations of the mountains," "the earth" meaning the church, "its produce" everything of the church, "the foundations of the mountains" the truths upon which the goods of love are founded, and these are said "to be set in flames" by the fire of the love of self and the world. In David:

Then the earth tottered and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains trembled and tottered because He was wroth (Psalms 18:7).

The meaning here is similar, but for an explanation of the particulars see above, n. 400. In the same:

God is a refuge for us. Therefore will we not fear when the earth shall be changed, and when the mountains are moved in the heart of the seas; the waters thereof shall be in tumult, they shall foam, the mountains shall quake in the uprising thereof (Psalms 44:1-3).

This, too, may be seen explained above n. 304, where it may be seen what is signified by "the mountains are moved in the heart of the seas," and "the mountains shall quake in the uprising," namely, that the evils of the loves of self and of the world will cause distress according to their increase.

(References: Psalms 46:1-3; The Apocalypse Explained 304, The Apocalypse Explained 400)


[46] In Isaiah:

The anger of Jehovah is against all nations, and His wrath upon all their host; He hath devoted them, He hath given them to the slaughter, that their slain may be cast forth; and the stink of their carcasses shall come up, and the mountains shall be melted by their blood (Isaiah 34:2-3).

This is said of the Last Judgment; and "the anger of Jehovah is against all nations, and His wrath upon all their host" signifies the destruction and damnation of all who are in evils and their falsities from purpose and from the heart; "nations" signifying these evils, and "host" all falsities therefrom. That such are to be damned and that they will perish is signified by "He hath devoted them, and hath given them to the slaughter." The damnation of those who will perish through falsities is signified by "their slain shall be cast forth;" those are said in the Word "to have been slain" who have perished through falsities; and "to be cast forth" signifies to be damned. The damnation of those who would perish by evils is signified by "the stink of their carcasses shall come up;" those are called in the Word "carcasses" who have perished by evils, and "stink" signifies their damnation; "the mountains shall be melted by their blood" signifies that evils of the loves with such are full of falsities, "mountains" meaning the evils of the loves of self and of the world, and "blood" falsity.

[47] In the same:

I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools (Isaiah 42:15).

"To make waste mountains and hills" signifies to destroy all the good of love to the Lord and towards the neighbor; "to dry up every herb" signifies the consequent destruction of all truths, "herb" signifying truths springing from good; "to make the rivers islands, and to dry up the pools" signifies to annihilate all the understanding and perception of truth, "rivers" signifying intelligence which is of truth, "islands" where there is no intelligence, "pools" the perception of truth. The understanding of truth is from the light of truth, but the perception of truth is from the heat or love of truth.

[48] In the same:

Behold, O Jacob, I have made thee into a new threshing instrument having sharp teeth, that thou mayest thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt disperse them, that the wind may carry them away and the tempest scatter them (Isaiah 41:15-16).

"Jacob" means the external church in respect to good and truth, and thence external good and truth, which are good and truth from the sense of the letter of the Word. Those who are of the external church are in such good and truth. These are compared to "a new threshing instrument having sharp teeth," because a threshing instrument beats out wheat, barley, and other grain from the ears, and these signify the goods and truths of the church (see above, n. 374-375; here therefore because evils and falsities are what are to be crushed and broken up it is said "a threshing instrument having sharp teeth, that thou mayest thresh the mountains and beat them small, and make the hills as chaff," which signifies the destruction of the evils arising from the love of self and the world, and of the falsities therefrom; and it is added "thou shalt disperse them, that the wind may carry them away and the tempest scatter them," which signifies that they shall be of no account; both "wind" and "tempest" are mentioned because both evils and falsities are meant, "wind" having reference to truths, and in the contrary sense to falsities, and "tempest" to the evils of falsity.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 374-375)


[49] In the same:

The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but My mercy shall not depart from with thee (Isaiah 54:10).

"The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed," does not mean that the mountains and hills that are on the earth are to depart and be removed, but those who are in evil loves and in falsities therefrom, for this chapter treats of the nations from which a new church is to be formed, therefore "mountains and hills" mean, in particular, those of the former church, consequently the Jews with whom were mere evils of falsity and falsities of evil, because they were in the loves of self and of the world.

[50] In Jeremiah:

For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are laid waste so that no man passeth through (Jeremiah 9:10).

"The mountains" for which there is weeping and wailing, mean evils of every kind springing forth from the two loves just mentioned; and "the habitations of the wilderness" signify falsities therefrom, for "wilderness" signifies where there is no good because there is no truth, and "habitations" where falsities are; so here the "habitations of the wilderness" mean the falsities from the evils above described; that there is no good and truth whatever is meant by "they are laid waste so that no man passeth through." Where vastation is treated of in the Word, it is customary to say, "so that no man passeth through," and it signifies that there is no longer any truth, and consequently no intelligence. It is evident that it is not mountains and habitations of the wilderness for which there is weeping and wailing.

[51] In the same:

My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have caused them to err, the mountains have turned away; they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place (Jeremiah 50:6).

In Ezekiel:

My sheep go astray on all the mountains and upon every exalted hill; and My sheep were scattered upon all the faces of the earth, and there is none that enquireth or seeketh (Ezekiel 34:6).

That "the sheep have gone from mountain to hill," and that "they go astray on all the mountains and upon every exalted hill" signifies that they seek goods and truths, but do not find them, but that evils and falsities are seized upon instead. "The mountains have turned away" signifies that instead of goods there are evils.

[52] In Jeremiah:

Give glory to Jehovah your 5 God, before He cause darkness and before your feet stumble upon the mountains of twilight (Jeremiah 13:16).

This signifies that Divine truth must be acknowledged, that falsities and evils therefrom may not break in from the natural man; "to give glory to God" signifies to acknowledge the Divine truth, "glory" in the Word signifying Divine truth, and to acknowledge it and live according to it is the glory which the Lord desires, and which is to be given to Him; "before He cause darkness" signifies lest falsities take possession, "darkness" meaning falsities; "and before your feet stumble upon the mountains of twilight" signifies lest evils therefrom out of the natural man take possession, "the mountains of twilight" meaning the evils of falsity, for "mountains" mean evils, and it is "twilight" when truth is not seen, but falsity instead, and "feet" signify the natural man, for all evils and the falsities therefrom are in the natural man, because that man by inheritance is moved to love himself more than God, and the world more than heaven, and to love the evils adhering to those loves from parents. These evils and the falsities therefrom are not removed except by means of Divine truth and a life according to it; by these means the higher or interior mind of man, which sees from the light of heaven, is opened, and by this light the Lord disperses the evils and the falsities therefrom that are in the natural mind. (That "feet" signify the natural man, see above, n. 65, 69 and Arcana Coelestia 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 65, 69)


[53] In the Gospels:

Jesus saith unto the disciples, Have the faith of God; verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto [this] mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass, what he hath said shall be done for him (Mark 11:22-23; Matthew 17:20).

One who is ignorant of the arcana of heaven and of the spiritual sense of the Word, might believe that the Lord said this, not of saving faith, but of another faith that is called historical and miraculous; but the Lord said this of saving faith, which faith makes one with charity and is wholly from the Lord, therefore the Lord calls this faith "the faith of God;" and because it is by this faith, which is the faith of charity from Him, that the Lord removes all evils flowing from the loves of self and of the world and casts them into hell from which they came, so He says, "Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea, what he hath said shall he done;" for "mountain" signifies the evils of those loves, and "sea" signifies hell; therefore "to say to a mountain, Be thou taken up," signifies the removal of those evils, and "to be cast into the sea" signifies to be cast into the hell from which they came. Because of this signification of "mountain" and "sea," this came to be a common expression with the ancients when the power of faith was the subject of discourse; not that that power can cast the mountains on the earth into the sea, but it can cast out the evils that are from hell.

Moreover, the mountains in the spiritual world upon which the evil dwell are often overturned and cast down by faith from the Lord; for when the evils with such are cast down, the mountains upon which they dwell are also cast down, as has been several times said before; and this has often been seen by me. That no other faith than the faith of charity from the Lord is here meant is evident from what follows in the Lord's discourse in Mark, where it is said:

Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever that praying ye ask for, believe that ye are to receive, and it shall be done for you. But when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any, that your Father also who is in the heavens may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye shall not forgive, neither will your Father who is in the heavens forgive your trespasses (Mark 11:24-26).

This makes evident that "the faith of God," of which the Lord here speaks, is the faith of charity, that is, the faith that makes one with charity, and is therefore wholly from the Lord. Moreover, the Lord said these things to the disciples when they supposed that they could do miracles from their own faith, thus from themselves; nevertheless such things are done by faith from the Lord, thus by the Lord (as is also evident from Matthew 17:19, 20, where like things are said).

(References: Matthew 17:19-20)


[54] Because "mountains" signified the goods of celestial love, and "hills" the goods of spiritual love, the ancients, with whom the church was representative, had their Divine worship upon mountains and hills, and Zion was upon a mountain, and Jerusalem on mountainous places below it. But that the Jews and Israelites, who were given to idolatry, might not turn Divine worship into idolatrous worship, it was commanded them that they should have their worship in Jerusalem only, and not elsewhere; but because they were idolaters at heart they were not content to have their worship in Jerusalem, but after a custom of the nations derived from the ancients they everywhere held worship upon mountains and hills, and sacrificed and burnt incense thereon; and because this was idolatrous with them, worship from evils and falsities was signified by their worship upon other mountains and hills; as in the following passages. In Isaiah:

Upon a mountain high and lifted up hast thou set thy bed; thither also wentest thou up to sacrifice sacrifices (Isaiah 57:7).

In Hosea:

They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills (Hosea 4:13).

In Jeremiah:

Backsliding Israel is gone away upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and thou hast played the harlot (Jeremiah 3:6).

"To play the harlot" signifies to falsify worship; that this was idolatrous, is evident from these words in Moses:

Ye shall destroy the places wherein the nations served their gods, upon the mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree (Deuteronomy 12:2).

In these passages, therefore, worship upon mountains and hills signifies worship from evils and falsities. From this, also, it came that the nations in Greece placed Helicon on a high mountain, and Parnassus on a hill below it, and believed that their gods and goddesses dwelt there; this was derived from the ancients in Asia, and especially those in the land of Canaan, who were not far away, with whom all worship consisted of representatives.

[55] It is said in the Gospels:

The devil took Jesus up into a high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and tempted Him there (Matthew 4:8; Luke 4:5).

This signifies that the devil tempted the Lord through the love of self, for this is what "the high mountain" signifies; for the three temptations described in these passages signify and involve all the temptations that the Lord endured when He was in the world; for the Lord, by temptations admitted into Himself from the hells and by victories then, reduced all things in the hells to order, and also glorified His Human, that is, made it Divine. All the Lord's temptations were described so briefly, since He has revealed them in no other way; but yet they are fully described in the internal sense of the Word. (Respecting the Lord's temptations see what is cited in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem , n. 201, 293, 302.)

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Footnotes:

1. Hebrew has "God," which we find in AC 8331; in his own copy of TCR he corrected the reading n. 303 of "King" in the margin to "God." The reading "King" is found in AE 365, 612; also AR 306, 478; AC 3780.

2. The photolithograph has "out of;" Hebrew "in," which we also find in AE 502; AR 397.

3. The photolithograph has "light;" the Greek has "city," which is also found in AE 223; AR 194.

4. The photolithograph has "my;" for Hebrew "thy," which we also find in the text as quoted before.

5. The photolithograph has "our" twice; Hebrew has "your," which is also found in AE 526.

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(References: Isaiah 63:19; Mark 11:22-26, Mark 13:14-15; Micah 4:1-2; Obadiah 1:16-17; Psalms 46:1-3, Psalms 121:2; Revelation 6:14; Zechariah 14:3-7)

  
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Apocalypse Explained 398, 406, 410, 411, 418, 422, 433, 448, 510, 513, 514, 518, 612, 625, 638, 657, 700, 706, 741, 811, 815, 850, 946, 1025, 1029, 1062


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