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 drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 329, 412, 661, 725, 865

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

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

Bible Word Meanings

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...

"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...

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.

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...

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,...

"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...

To command is to give an order that something must be done, and is directed to an individual, or a group. It is an imperative,...

'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...

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...

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...

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...

'A harvest' symbolizes the state of the church with respect to Divine truth. The reason is that a harvest yields the grain used to make...

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...

To gather, as in Genesis 6:21, refers to those things which are in the memory of man, where they are gathered. It also implies that...

To gather, as in Genesis 6:21, refers to those things which are in the memory of man, where they are gathered. It also implies that...

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...

The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

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...

Leaven' signifies evil and falsity, which should not be mixed with good and true things. In Leviticus 2:11, it says, 'no meat offering which ye...

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

In the Word, "beginning" doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a spiritual...

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...

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.

When the Bible speaks of "Jehovah," it is representing love itself, the inmost love that is the essence of the Lord. That divine love is...

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

'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...

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...

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...

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



Three Feasts      

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

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


Mark 10:8

King James Version         

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8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

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Explanation of Mark 10      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Explaining the Inner Meaning of Mark 10

Verses 1, 2. That the LORD, as to His Human principle, arose out of scientifics into the goods and truths of the church, that He might restore them to order.

Verses 3-9. Teaching from the Word that all marriages on earth are grounded in the heavenly marriage of good and truth, which marriage requires that every truth shall have its proper good, and every good its proper truth, and that the understanding of truth ought to be separated from what is evil and false, that it may be conjoined to the will of good, so that both together may be made one good.

Verses 4, 5. And although the external of the Word appears to teach otherwise, yet this is merely in accommodation to the natural mind, which is not qualified to receive a purer law.

Verse 9. Which purer law originates in the union of the Divine Love and Wisdom, and therefore ought to be regarded as sacred and inviolable.

Verses 10-12. For the order of GOD requires that the understanding of truth shall not in any wise separate itself from its proper will of good, so long as that will abides in good, and does not decline to evil, and that the will of good, in like manner, shall not separate itself from its proper understanding of truth.

Verses 13-16. The same order also requires that the goods and truths of innocence be ascribed to the LORD, because heaven consists in the acknowledgement, that those goods and truths are from the LORD, and that He is in them.

Verses 17-20. No one therefore can enter into heaven unless he acknowledge the LORD, even as to His Human [essence], to be the GOD of heaven, and that from Him proceeds every good which is good, and unless he also live according to the precepts of the Decalogue, by shunning as sins the evils which are there forbidden.

Verse 18. For the LORD alone is good, and the Source of good.

Verse 19. And His precepts teach that man ought not to adulterate the goods of the Word, nor to destroy in himself the life of love and charity, nor to ascribe that life to himself, but to the LORD alone, nor to call anything good or true but what is of the LORD, thus that he should not rob the LORD of His glory, but should rather respect and exalt in himself the Divine Love and Wisdom above every other good and truth.

Verses 20, 21. Yet these precepts cannot be fulfilled until man removes his heart from the love of riches, acknowledges the LORD to be the Only GOD, and endures temptations.

Verses 22, 23. Which things appear grievous to those who abound in the knowledges of truth separate from the life of good.

Verses 24, 25. Therefore those knowledges, when so separated, are rather hindrances to the attainment of conjunction with the LORD, since it is contrary to Divine order, that sciences or knowledges of themselves, separate from the life of love and charity, should enter into heaven.

Verses 26, 27. Nevertheless they are not hindrances, if the Divine Truth be respected and exalted.

Verses 28-30. For all who reject their hereditary evils and falsities, through faith in and love to the LORD'S Divine Human principle, shall receive, through temptations, spiritual and celestial things, together with eternal conjunction with the LORD in the good of His love.

Verse 31. But they, who place merit in their own works, instead of ascribing it to the LORD, cannot attain such conjunction.

Verse 32. They, too, who are principled in the goods and truths of the church, are perplexed and troubled in their own minds about the process of regeneration.

Verses 33, 34. Until they are instructed that by a similar process the LORD glorified His Humanity, and therefore suffered Himself to be treated by the perverted church as His Word had been treated, through the perversion and destruction of its truth.

Verses 35-41. They, also, who are principled in charity and the works of charity, cannot separate, for a time, the love of dominion from those heavenly gifts, until they are instructed that they ought to prepare themselves to follow the LORD in the regeneration by temptation-combats, that so they may be fitted for conjunction with Him, since none can be great in heaven but through such preparation.

Verses 41, 42. For they who are unprepared reject heavenly good, by seeking to be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Verses 43-45. Whereas they ought rather to make themselves the least, since heavenly joy consists in serving others from love, or in doing good for the sake of good, after the LORD'S example.

Verse 46-52. Who, out of pure mercy, imparts spiritual understanding to the ignorant.

Verse 47. If they ask it of Him from a right faith in the Divinity of His Humanity.

Verse 48. And are the more urgent to receive in proportion as they meet with opposition to their desires.

Verses 49, 50. For in such case the Divine Mercy is the more excited, and with it the consolation of hope, inclining all who wish to understand the truth to lay aside their natural prejudices, and elevate their minds to the LORD'S Divine Humanity.

Verse 51. They are taught also to explore the end or intention they have in view, when they seek the knowledge of the truth.

Verse 52. Thus their understandings are opened to the light of truth by communication with the LORD'S Divine Humanity.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 162, 3875, 4434

Conjugial Love 50

Heaven and Hell 372

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 79, 555, 725

Divine Wisdom 3

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 2:24

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.

 As a Little Child
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Baptizing a Baby
This illustrated talk gives children a lovely introduction to baptism. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Correspondences of Children
Illustrations of three times children are mentioned in the Word. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 How to Strengthen Your Marriage
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Little Children
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

 Little Children in Heaven
The Lord loves little children. When they die, He takes them straight to heaven to be cared for by angel mothers.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Memory Verse: Children in Heaven
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Obeying the Lord
We really come to belong to the Lord by wanting Him to lead and teach us and by obeying what He commands.
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 10

 Prayers for Children: Baptism
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Prayers for Teens: Love of Children
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Quotes: Children in Heaven
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: The Love of Children
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Kingdom of Heaven
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Little Children
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord Our Heavenly Father
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord with Children Diorama
Make figures for the Lord and several children out of pipe-cleaners, then set them up in a diorama.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The True Way to Heaven
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14