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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #2405

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2405. That 'as dawn ascended' means when the Lord's kingdom draws near is clear from the meaning of 'the dawn' or morning in the Word. Since the subject in this chapter is the successive states of a Church, what happened in the evening, then what happened during the night have been referred to first. What took place when it was twilight comes now, and further on what took place after sunrise. Twilight is expressed here by 'as dawn ascended', which means the time when the upright are separated from the evil. This separation is described in the present verse to verse 22 as Lot being brought out together with his wife and daughters and being saved. The fact that separation takes place prior to judgement is clear from the Lord's words in Matthew,

Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Matthew 25:32.

[2] In the Word that period of time or state is called 'the dawn' because that is when the Lord comes, or what amounts to the same, when His kingdom draws near. It is similar with the good, for at that time something akin to early morning twilight or the dawn shines with them. This explains why in the Word the Lord's coming is compared to and also called 'the morning'. Its comparison to the morning is seen in Hosea,

Jehovah will revive us after two days, on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live before Him. And we shall know, and we shall press on to know Jehovah. As the dawn is His going forth. Hosea 6:2-3.

'Two days' stands for the period of time and the state which precedes. 'Third day' stands for judgement or the Lord's coming, and so for the approach of His kingdom, 720, 901 - a coming or approach which is compared to 'the dawn'.

[3] In Samuel,

The God of Israel is like morning light, [when] the sun rises on a cloudless morning; from brightness, from rain, grass comes out of the earth. 2 Samuel 23:4.

'The God of Israel' stands for the Lord, for no other God of Israel was meant in that Church, where every single feature of that Church was representative of Him. In Joel,

The day of Jehovah is coming, for it is near, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of cloud and gloom, like the dawn spread over the mountains. Joel 2:1-2.

This too refers to the Lord's coming and His kingdom. The words 'a day of darkness and thick darkness' are used because at that time the good are separated from the evil, as Lot was here from the men of Sodom; and after the good have been separated the evil perish.

(References: 2 Samuel 23:3-4)


[4] The Lord's coming or the approach of His kingdom is not compared to the morning but actually called such, as in Daniel,

The Holy One said, For how long is the vision, the continual [burnt offering], and the desolating transgression? He said to me, Up to the evening [when it is becoming] morning two thousand three hundred times, and the Holy One will be justified. The vision of the evening and the morning which has been told is the truth. Daniel 8:13-14, 26.

'The morning' here clearly stands for the Lord's coming. In David,

Your people are free-will offerings, in the day of Your power, in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the dawn You have the dew of Your nativity. Psalms 110:3.

The whole of this psalm refers to the Lord and His victories in temptations, which are meant by 'the day of power and the beauties of His holiness'. 'From the womb of the dawn' means Himself, thus the Divine Love from which He fought.

(References: Psalms 110:1)


[5] In Zephaniah,

Jehovah is righteous in the midst of her. He will do no wrong. In the morning, in the morning He will bring His judgement to light. Zephaniah 3:5.

'morning' stands for the time and the state when judgement takes place, which is the same as the Lord's coming, and this in turn is the same as the approach of His kingdom.

[6] Since 'the morning' meant these things, Aaron and his sons, to provide the same representation, were commanded to set up a lamp and tend it from evening till morning before Jehovah, Exodus 27:21. The 'evening' referred to here is the twilight prior to morning, 2323. For a similar reason it was commanded that the fire on the altar was to be rekindled every dawn, Leviticus 6:12; also that none of the paschal lamb and the consecrated elements of sacrifices were to remain until the morning, Exodus 12:10; 23:18; 34:25; Leviticus 22:29-30; Numbers 9:12 - by which was meant that when the Lord came sacrifices would come to an end.

(References: Leviticus 6:5)


[7] In a general sense 'morning' is used to describe both the time when dawn breaks and the time when the sun rises. 'morning' in this case stands for judgement in regard to the good as well as on the evil, as in the present chapter - 'The sun had gone forth over the earth and Lot came to Zoar; and Jehovah rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire', verses 23-24. It in like manner stands for judgement on the evil, in David,

In the mornings I will destroy all the wicked of the land, to cut off from the city of Jehovah all workers of iniquity. Psalms 101:8.

And in Jeremiah,

Let that man be like the cities which Jehovah overthrew, and He does not repent; and let him hear a cry in the morning. Jeremiah 20:16.

[8] Seeing that 'the morning' in the proper sense means the Lord, His coming, and so the approach of His kingdom, what else is meant by 'the morning' becomes clear, namely the rise of a new Church, for that Church is the Lord's kingdom on earth. That kingdom is meant both in a general and in a particular sense, and indeed in a specific sense, the general being when any Church on earth is established anew; the particular, when a person is being regenerated and becoming a new man, for the Lord's kingdom is in that case being established in him and he is becoming the Church; and the specific, as often as good flowing from love and faith is at work with him, for this is what constitutes the Lord's coming. Consequently the Lord's resurrection on the third morning, Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, embodies in the particular and the specific senses the truth that He rises daily, indeed every single moment, in the minds of regenerate persons.

(References: Genesis 19:15)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2441, 2540, 3171, 3458, 3579, 4240, 4275, 5740, 6073, 6442, 7681, 7860, 9299, 9387, 10134

Other New Christian Commentary

Christ's Resurrection 1

Resurrection of Jesus 1

Resurrection of the lord 1

Separation 1

Two days 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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.


 Easter: Matthew
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


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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