The Bible

Exodus 23:14-19 : The Three Annual Festivals

Study the Inner Meaning

14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)

16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.

17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.

18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.

19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 9285, 9286, 9287, 9288, 9289, 9290, 9291, ...


Other references to this text:

Arcana Coelestia 1001, 2342, 2405, 2788, 3519, 4262, 7906, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 623, 939


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 329, 412, 661, 725, 865

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Bible Study Videos:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 12:10, 15, 13:3, 4, 22:28, 34:17, 18

Leviticus 23:6, 9, 10, 17, 34, 39

Numbers 15:21, 18:12, 13, 28:26

Deuteronomy 14:21, 16:1, 26:10

1 Kings 9:25

Nehemiah 10:36

Psalms 42:3

Proverbs 3:9

Ezekiel 44:30, 46:9, 48:13, 14

Micah 6:6

Luke 2:41

Word/Phrase Explanations

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

keep
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

feast
There are two kinds of feasts mentioned in the Bible. Some were held to commemorate specific, one-time events, such as the feast Abraham held to...

feast of
'The feast of weeks' signifies the implanting of truth in good.

unleavened
For something to be “unleavened” means that it's been made without yeast. Since yeast is what makes bread rise and take on its airy texture,...

Unleavened bread
'Unleavened bread' signifies the holiness of love, or the holy of holies, so, pure love. The baking of unleavened bread is purification.

bread
The word “bread” is used two ways in the Bible. In some cases it means actual bread; in others it stands for food in general....

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

seven
The number 'seven' was considered holy, as is well known, because of the six days of creation, and the seventh, which is the celestial self,...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

time
Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

Month
'A month' has respect to the state of truth in a person. 'A month' signifies a full state. Month,' as in Genesis 29, signifies the...

Abib
The Passover, and the beginning of the Exodus from Egypt, happened during the month Abib, in the Hebrew calendar. Abib signifies the beginning of a...

camest
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Egypt
In the Bible, Egypt means knowledge and the love of knowledge. In a good sense that means knowledge of truth from the Lord through the...

none
'No one,' or 'none' denotes the negative side of something.

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

harvest
'A sickle,' as in Revelation 14, signifies the divine truth of the Word, because 'a harvest' signifies the state of the church regarding divine truth...

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

ingathering
'Produce' denotes fruit derived from the good of charity, and truth of faith.

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

blood
The internal meaning of “blood” is a little tricky, because Swedenborg gives two meanings that seem quite different. In most cases, Swedenborg links blood with...

Fat
Fat signifies the celestial principle. Fat things, full of marrow, signify goodnesses. Fat and blood signify interior goods and truths, and hence the Israelites, prior...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

house of the
'The house of the prison' denotes the vastation of falsity, and also falsity itself.

Seethe
'To seethe' signifies destroying truths and goods by falsities.

Kid
'A kid' signifies the truth of the church. 'A kid,' as in Isaiah 11:6, signifies the genuine truth of the church and also innocence and...

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

milk
Water represents true ideas about day-to-day life, and other drinks and liquids in general represent different forms of truth. Milk is a drink that contains...

Resources for parents and teachers

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


 Feast of Ingathering
Color the pictures of the Children of Israel celebrating this feast, then attach the pictures together to display.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Memory Verse: Our Guardian Angels
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Quotes: The Lord's Fruitful Harvest
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Thanking the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Significance of Thanksgiving
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

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

Commentary

Three Feasts

A loaf of homemade bread.

The Children of Israel were told to keep three feasts each year - the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of first fruits, and the feast of ingathering. Should we still do that?

In Exodus 23:14-16, Moses receives the instructions about these feasts. Those three verses in Exodus comprise our brief story. Their inner meaning is explained in Arcana Coelestia 9286-9296.

There are three feasts. In the Word, the number three represents a completeness, a sense of things being covered from beginning to end. Our thankfulness to the Lord is supposed to keep going - to endure.

The first feast, of unleavened bread, stands for worship, for our thankfulness for the Lord's action in our minds to get rid of false ideas. That enables us to start to receive good loves.

The second feast, of first fruits, relates to the planting of true ideas in that "soil" of initial loves for doing good.

The third feast, of harvest, or ingathering, stands for the time when, by applying our true ideas, we receive real good - loves of the neighbor and of the Lord - that become the middle of our lives. This is the state of rebirth, where we have - by working through the year (our lives), and enduring in thankfulness, allowed the Lord to get rid of our false ideas, and push our evil loves to the periphery, so that good can work, and be fruitful.

These feasts, then, represent the progress of our spiritual lives. In some manner, we need to keep them.

The Bible

Luke 2:41

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

← Luke 2:40    Full Chapter    Luke 2:42 →

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Canons of the New Church 30

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 23:14, 15

Word/Phrase Explanations

Parents
'Parents' signify the goods and truths of the church.

feast
There are two kinds of feasts mentioned in the Bible. Some were held to commemorate specific, one-time events, such as the feast Abraham held to...

Feast of the Passover
The Feast of the Passover signifies celebration of the Lord on account of liberation from damnation.

feast of
'The feast of weeks' signifies the implanting of truth in good.

Passover
'The Passover,' in Exodus 12, 27, signifies the presence of the Lord and His liberation from damnation of the people of the spiritual church. 'The...

Resources for parents and teachers

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


 A Child Is Born
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Adoration of the Shepherds
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Adventus Domini
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel Appears to the Shepherds
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angelic Appearances at the Time of the Advent
A sermon about the angel Gabriel's appearances to different people and how this pictures aspects of the preparation we must do for the Lord's birth in our own lives. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Angel of the Lord
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angels and Stars at Christmas Time
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Angel with Shepherds
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Anna and Simeon
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Anna and Simeon
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 A Sign to the Shepherds
An in-depth sermon exploring the internal meaning of the Lord's birth on earth and the circumstances surrounding it.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Baby Jesus
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Baby Jesus and Shepherd
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Baby Jesus in a Manger Scene
A simple representation of the nativity which shows the baby Lord, Mary, Joseph, and two sheep. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Baby Lord with Sheep Trip-tych
When finished, the triptych pictures sheep on either side of the baby Lord in the manger.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Behold His Glory
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Birth of the Lord
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Born in a Stable
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Born in the City of David
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Christmas Candles
A family article on how beautiful candles at Christmastime can remind us of the "glory of the Lord" that shone around the angel who appeared to the Shepherds on the first Christmas.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Correspondences of Light
Illustrations of three stories in the Word that talk about light. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Do Not Be Afraid
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Dramatize the Story of the Lord's Birth
Dramatize the story of the shepherds while someone reads the story from the Word.
Activity | Ages 4 - 10

 Five Christmas Scenes
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 For Unto You Is Born This Day
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 For Unto You Stained Glass Window
A lovely picture drawn in the style of a stained glass window.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Glory, Peace and Good Will
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Glory to God
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Glory to God in the Highest
Beautiful coloring page of the angels appearing to the shepherds.
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Glory to God in the Highest
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Glory to God (join 2 pages together)
Join two coloring pages to make a larger version of this project, showing the angels appearing to the shepherds.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Good Tidings of Great Joy
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Heavenly Host of Angels Mobile
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Host of Angels Stenciled Wall Hanging
Use the stencil to create lovely wall hanging of the host of angels.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Immanuel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 In a Manger
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 In Your Hearts Make Speedy Room
Let us be like the shepherds and the wise men by making sure that there is room for the Lord in our minds and in our hearts. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Jesus Amazes Scholars
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jesus Amazes the Scholars
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jesus at Twelve Years Old
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jesus' Childhood
People are born without a set purpose and develop a purpose as they learn and choose a pathway. Jesus was born with an identity and a purpose; He had to discover His identity and become true to it.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Jesus in the Temple
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jesus with Scholars at the Temple
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Joy in the Coming of Our Lord
Like the star that led the wise men, the truth will lead us to the Lord and make us happy. But the real joy in our lives will be when we come to the Lord offering gifts to Him, as the wise men did.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Joy to the World the Lord Is Born
Article | Ages 7 - 14

 Looking for the Lord
Simeon was a wise, old man who had been looking for the Lord. Would he have recognized the Lord, had he not been looking for Him? What are some ways that we can look for the Lord? 
Activity | Ages over 15

 Mary and Joseph Travel to Bethlehem
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Mary and the Baby Lord
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Memory Verse: Glory of the Lord
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Unto Us a Child Is Born
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Mother and Child
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Nativity
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 No Room at the Inn
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 No Room in the Inn
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 Our Innocent Reception of the Christmas Story
All the particulars of the Christmas story are designed to raise our thoughts to the Lord as God-Man.
Article | Ages over 18

 Our Savior
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Picture of the Angels Appearing to the Shepherds
Explains how you can depict this story with oil pastels on dark paper.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Pop-up Crèche Card for Christmas
A lovely project to color and assemble. Designed by Eudora Sellner Walsh.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Presentation at the Temple
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Presentation at the Temple
Because he was such a good man, the Lord opened Simeon's spiritual eyes so that he could see immediately that this baby was the Lord come to earth. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 3, for ages 8-9.
Religion Lesson | Ages 8 - 9

 Quotes: Glory of the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Prophecies of the Advent
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Unto Us a Child Is Born
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Scroll of Angelic Appearances in Christmas Story
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Shepherd and Lamb Stained Glass Window
Use the pattern to make a window showing a shepherd looking upward.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Shepherding Our Children
As parents we have the opportunity and the responsibility to do what shepherds are meant to do for our children--our flock.
Article | Ages over 18

 Shepherd Ornament
Use pipe-cleaners, a wooden bead (for the head), polyfill, and fabric to make this shepherd boy.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Shepherds Coming to See the Baby Lord Diorama
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Shepherds in the Same Country: Raising Our Children in Cooperation with the Lord
If we are blessed to be parents, the Lord has entrusted us with human lives who may become angels in heaven.
Article | Ages over 18

 Shepherds Visit Baby
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Shepherds Watching Their Flock
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Shepherds with Flock at Night
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Signs of the Lord’s Birth
Things that are precious must be protected. We wrap them up, we put them into a strong box or in a locked room. Nothing could be more precious than the infant Savior who was born that first Christmas.
Worship Talk | Ages 15 - 17

 Simeon
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Simeon and Anna
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Simeon and Anna Witness
Simeon and Anna were led by the Spirit into the temple to witness baby Jesus. What is Jesus' birth in our lives? How and where can we witness it?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Simeon and the Baby Lord
Simeon had waited every day in the temple, patiently for many years, for he had been told that he would not “see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 Simeon Holds the Infant Lord
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Simeon: Just and Devout, Waiting
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Simeon Prophesies
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Simeon's Blessing
Simeon's blessing on the baby Lord from Luke 2 in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

 Standing Sheep
Use the pattern to cut out a paper sheep, then add some fluffy cotton to the sides.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Star Out of Jacob
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Suddenly, a Multitude
The great God of the universe took on a human nature and came down into His creation.
Worship Talk | Ages over 15

 Swaddling Clothes
A family talk describing what swaddling clothes are and how they were used in Biblical times to keep babies safe and warm.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Angels Bring Good News
A poem about the shepherds in the Christmas story.
Activity | Ages 4 - 12

 The Angels Rejoice
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Birth of the Lord
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Birth of the Lord
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Birthplace of the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Boy Jesus Amazes the Scholars
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Glory of the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Herald Angel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Joy of the Angels at the Lord’s Birth
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Light Shineth in Darkness
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Lord Is Born
Just like the shepherds, the Lord wants you to know about this beautiful story, too.
Story | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord’s State at Birth
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Savior and the Shepherds
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Shepherds Come
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Shepherds Visit
The Word is the story of ourselves. What are our "sheep", "shepherds", and the miracle of the Lord's birth in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Spread of the Lord's Word
We can be like the shepherds and others who have spread the good news as we learn about the Lord and find ways to tell people. Maybe this Christmas you can share your enjoyment of the story of the Lord’s birth with a friend or neighbor. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 5, for ages 10-11.
Religion Lesson | Ages 10 - 11

 They Came With Haste
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 They Found Him in a Manger
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Those Who Saw the Lord
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Three Christmas Initial Letters
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Three Christmas Scenes
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Turned Away from the Inn
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Unto You Is Born This Day
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Where Can We Find the Lord?
There was no room for the Lord in the inn so the Lord was born in a stable and laid in a manger. Fold a piece of paper in half and picture the Lord in a manger on one half. On the other half, show where we can find the Lord—in His Word. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Where The Lord Was Born
This family talk explains why the Lord wasn’t born in a special place where all the important people could find Him and why the shepherds were the first people to see the Lord. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Wrapped in Swaddling Clothes
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Young Jesus Amazes the Scholars
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6


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