The Bible

Genesis 12:1-8 : To a land that I will show you

Study the Inner Meaning

1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.

7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 1407, 1408, 1409, 1410, 1411, 1412, 1413, ...

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 413


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 440, 482, 796, 921, 1025, 1401, 1403, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 340, 750

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 49

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 4:26, 8:20, 11:27, 31, 13:4, 5, 7, 15, 17, 18, 15:7, 18, 17:1, 4, 8, 20, 18:1, 18, 21:33, 22:18, 24:1, 7, 35, 26:3, 4, 25, 29, 27:29, 28:4, 13, 14, 19, 33:18, 20, 34:30, 35:7, 12, 46:3, ...

Exodus 6:4, 17:15, 23:22, 24:4, 32:10

Numbers 24:9, 26:53

Deuteronomy 1:8, 11:30

Joshua 1:6, 7:2, 8:30, 22:10, 24:3

Judges 6:24

1 Samuel 7:17

2 Samuel 9, 24:25

1 Kings 18:32

2 Chronicles 20:7, 11

Ezra 3:2

Psalms 105:11

Isaiah 51:2

Jeremiah 3:18

Hosea 6:9

Zechariah 8:13

Acts of the Apostles 7:3, 4, 5

Galatians 3:8, 16

Hebrews 7:6, 11:8

Word/Phrase Explanations

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...

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...

Abram
Abram and Nahor taking to themselves wives, Sarah and Milcah (Gen 11:29), signifies marriages of evil with falsity in idolatrous worship. Abram, Nahor, and Haran,...

Country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

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...

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...

Shew
'Shew' signifies instruction to the life.

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

nation
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

Blessing
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving (Rev. 7.) signify divine spiritual things of the Lord.

curse
The Lord is love itself, and his love for us never wavers and never changes. What does waver and change is the degree to which...

Families
Families (Gen 8:19) signify goodnesses and truths arranged in man by the Lord, according to order. Families have respect to truths. (Nahum 3:4)

Earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

lot
On the most internal level, the stories of Abraham tell us about the Lord's development in his own childhood, with Abraham representing the Lord's spiritual...

Five
Five also signifies all things of one part.

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

Haran
'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis 11:28, signifies inward idolatrous worship. 'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis 12:5, signifies an obscure state. 'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis...

wife
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

Brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

son
Marriages in the Bible represent the union we all can have between the desire for good and the understanding of truth (or an understanding of...

substance
Substance' and 'treasures,' as in Jeremiah 17:3, signify the spiritual riches of faith, or the aspects of the doctrine of faith.

souls
The nature of the soul is a deep and complicated topic, but it can be summarized as "spiritual life," who we are in terms of...

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...

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.

Land of Canaan
The land of Canaan' in the Word, means love, and consequently, the will of the celestial self.

of Canaan
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

Canaan
Canaan signifies a worship in things external without internals, which arose out of the internal church corrupted, called Ham. Thus it is that Ham is...

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

Passed
'Passed' or 'expired' denotes the conclusion of whatever state is being discussed.

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

Sichem
'Sichem' or 'Shechem' means the celestial aspects of love.

Plain
'A plain' signifies good and truth in the natural self, because 'the people who dwell in plains,' or 'beneath mountains and hills' are in the...

Moreh
'Moreh' signifies the earliest moment of the Lord's perception.

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

altar
The first altar mentioned in the Word was built by Noah after he came out of the ark. On that altar, he sacrificed clean animals...

removed
As with many verbs, the meaning of "remove" in the Bible varies a good bit depending on context. It generally involves a separation of spiritual...

mountain
The Writings tell us that the Lord's love is the sun of heaven, and it is natural for us to look above ourselves to the...

bethel
When Jacob had his famous dream, of a staircase leading to heaven, he named the place "Bethel," which is Hebrew for "the house of God."...

Tent
'Tent' is used in the Word to signify the celestial and holy aspects of love, because in ancient time they performed holy worship in their...

West
'The west' signifies people in obscured good, and in an opposite sense, people in evil. 'The west' signifies the affection of truth.

Hai
Hai, or Ai, signifies light derived from worldly things.

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

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.


 Abraham and Lot
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Abraham and Sarah's Family
The Lord promises Abraham many descendants.
Story | Ages 2 - 8

 Abraham Leaves for the Promised Land
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 God’s Covenant with Abram
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

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

 The Call of Abram
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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

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

 The Tower of Babel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 You Shall Be a Blessing
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

Commentary

Finding Jesus in the Life of Abraham, Part 1: Beginnings

By Rev. Joel C. Glenn

Flight of a Honeybee, a 2010 photo by Jennifer Stein. See her work at familiarlight.com. All rights are reserved by the author.

Finding Jesus in the Life of Abraham, Part 1: Beginnings

A Sermon by Pastor Joel Christian Glenn
30 April 2017

We all know that the Word, or the Bible, is about God. That’s not hard to believe. But shortly after His resurrection Jesus pushed this idea to another level. When He appeared to two disciples on the way to Emmaus, it says, “Beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). From this we can gather that all of the Scriptures are not just about God, but are about Jesus Himself. That’s a concept that is harder to grasp. Yes, there are the prophecies that are clearly about Jesus. But what about, say the story of Creation? Or the Exodus from slavery in Egypt? The many kings of Israel, both good and evil? Or all the many lists of laws and genealogies, are even those about Jesus?

The truth of the matter is that the whole of the Word is not just about Jesus, it is Jesus. Listen to these verses from the opening of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-4, 14)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That is a clear reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the eternal Word, the Word that is also embodied in the Word of God, our Old and New Testaments.

If you feel that it is hard to grasp how Jesus and the Word are one and the same, you are not alone. It is difficult to comprehend how a living, breathing, person and an apparently lifeless slab of paper can be one and the same. The Writings for the New Church acknowledge this difficulty and offer a way around it. This is from the Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture:

Few understand how the Lord is the Word, for it is generally supposed that the Lord, by means of the Word, can enlighten and teach people, and yet He cannot, on this account, be called the Word.

So as we’ve said, it makes sense that the Word is about the Lord, and it is the Lord’s way of teaching us, but that doesn’t mean He is the Word. The passage however continues:

It should be known, however, that every person is his own love, and consequently his own good and his own truth. A person is a person for no other reason than this, and there is nothing else in him that is a person. For the same reason that a person is his own good and his own truth, angels and spirits also are people; and for all good and truth proceeding from the Lord, is in its own form, a person. But the Lord is Divine Good itself and Divine Truth itself; thus He is Personhood Itself, from whom every person is a person. (Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 100)

There is a lot going on in that passage. What it all boils down to is a definition of humanity that transcends having a physical body, a definition that helps us see how a book and a person can be one and the same. As the passage said, a person is a person because of his loves, and therefore because of all his good and truth that stem from that love. In short, you are what you love, and what you love makes you human. Think of it this way: if we were to transplant your brain from your body into someone else’s, and this new person loved the same things you love and in the exact same way, and so behaved as you would behave, wouldn’t we say that it is still you, even though the body is completely different? Take that a step further and think of death. Even your brain will die, but your spirit, your spirit in which resides everything of your love, will carry on. Even though there will no longer be a shred of “you” left on this earth, you will still live on. So that’s what makes a person a person: the mind, especially the love within the mind.

If a person is a person because of what he or she loves and so thinks from that love, then anything that reveals our love or our thought reveals us. We know this instinctively from other books we encounter. Have you ever read a book that you loved immensely, and felt that in some way you were connected to the author, as if you understood each other even though you’d never met? I’m not just talking about biographies either. You can read a book that never once refers directly to its author and yet still feel connected. That can happen because the book is a kind of extension of the author, since it reveals the authors loves and ideas.

We now come to the Word. The Word, more than any other book on earth, reveals the mind of its Author. This is so deeply the case that we say that the Word is one and the same with its author, the Lord. Yet unlike with some books that engross us, the Word can feel like a tangled mess that reveals little about the true character of God, much less the inner workings of the mind of Jesus. I have here two images that can help us understand this. On one side there is a brain scan. On the other, an open copy of the Word. At first glance these pictures have little to do with each other. But think about what this brain scan really is. To you and I and most other people it reveals little. But to a trained doctor it would reveal a great deal about what is going on in a person’s mind at a given time. It is a snapshot into someone’s inner life, but one that we can only read if we have the proper training to understand it.

On the other hand we have a copy of the Word. As with the brain scan it reveals what is going on in someone’s mind at a given point. In this case it is the mind of the Lord that is being revealed. And like the brain scan, even though any particular story we might open up to reveals the Lord’s mind, we need the proper training to understand it. If we read this document correctly than we will discover the loving mind of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Every page, every sentence, contains insight into how He thinks and what it is that He loves and cares about. The purpose then of exploring the stories of the Word in light of how they reflect the life and mind of Jesus Christ is that we will then be better equipped to follow His example, not only following the path He set with His words and actions, but going deeper to follow the path He set in His mind.

With this in mind, over the next three weeks we will be looking to the story of Abraham. Even though Abraham lived thousands of years before Jesus was even born, his life perfectly reflects the inner life that Jesus experienced. When we can see this connection we will be better able to not only understand the Lord, but to understand how to model our lives on His. This week we will spend a short time getting a glimpse of how this works. Over the next two weeks we will go deeper into the story of Abraham and into the mind of Jesus. We begin with the first inkling that Abraham had that God had chosen him for a special purpose. As a side note, early on Abraham was known as Abram:

Now the LORD had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran….

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South. (Genesis 12:1-4, 7-9)

Prior to the moment described here Abraham did not know of Jehovah in the slightest. He was in fact an idol-worshipper like most people of His day. Yet when he heard the call from the Lord he responded and moved with his family and everything he owned into a new land. This moment may not seem significant but it is the beginning of the epic saga of the Children of Israel, and the land to which the Lord sent Abraham would one day become the Kingdom of Israel. What began as the simple travels of one man from a faraway country into the heart of the Holy Land would lead to momentous things in the future. What we see here is simply the seed being planted, but a seed that would grow to become a great nation, a nation of which the Lord said it would become a blessing for all the nations of the earth. That is the reason that God called Abraham in the first place.

What can this simple beginning tell us about the mind of Jesus? Like the Kingdom of Israel, the great works that Jesus would do needed a beginning: a seed had to be planted that would grow into something greater. That seed was planted in Jesus early childhood. Just as Abraham was called to enter into the heart of what would become the earthly Kingdom of Israel, Jesus from the very beginning was brought to the heart of His own heavenly Kingdom. That heart, the heart and soul of heaven, is childlike innocence and love. Now as with Abraham, the journey does not end there: for Abraham, many centuries would pass before his people were a great nation. And for the Lord it would take years of temptation and struggle before He could fulfill His mission. But all of it, every last bit, stemmed from that first seed planted in childhood.

It might seem odd to think that everything the Lord needed to face the hells, to put them in their place, and to conquer them was established while He was still a little boy, but it is so. It is in fact the case for each of us that something essential to our life is planted within before we are even aware. Listen to this passage from the Teachings of the New Church that speaks to how powerful our childhoods are for our later lives:

The Lord had first of all to be endowed from infancy with the heavenly things of love - the heavenly things of love consisting in love towards Jehovah and love towards the neighbour, and in innocence itself present in those loves. From these, as from the very sources of life, flows every single thing, for all other things are simply derivatives. These heavenly things are implanted in a person primarily in the state of infancy through to childhood. (Secrets of Heaven 1450)

As a child Jesus received deep stores of love and innocence. This took place before He could even talk or conceptualize these things in His mind. They were simply blessings of love that would remain with Him for the rest of His life, and indeed, to eternity.

This stage of the Lord’s life was not trivial. Without these perfectly innocent and heavenly remains sitting at the core of His being He never would have been able to face the onslaught of hell later in life. That which would later give Him strength in temptation, even on the Cross itself, had been received in childhood innocence and stored away, hidden, until such time as it would be needed. Every loving word and parable, every miracle, every demon cast out and every sickness made well, all flowed from the fountain of love, a fountain established in His youth. We all know the power of little children and their heavenly innocence. There was never a moment that that innocence of infancy dissipated. We don’t often think of the fact that while that innocence recedes and is hidden, it never leaves us.

We all have those same heavenly remnants left over from our childhood. Before we were born the Lord was with us in the womb. He has blessed us, as Jesus was blessed, so that now we have all the innocence and power of a child. As does every human being you will meet. The boss who frustrates you to no end, the spouse that drives you crazy, the acquaintance you can’t stand, all were once little children that would have been beautiful to hold and love, that were beautiful and were held and were loved. None of that goes away. It is always there, part of you, making you who you are. And any time you make an effort to show true love, you are only able to do so because love was once the only thing you knew.

So what do we do with this information? Abraham heard the call of God and left his home to dwell in a new land. Jesus felt a call from deep within His soul and left his own desires to accept the heavenly love that was welling like a fountain within Him. Can we follow the example of both Abraham and Jesus? Will you answer the call? Will you remember when times are hard that once in this life all you knew was love? That deep within your heart beats the love and innocence of childhood? That every human you ever meet has that same source of love and innocence within them? And finally will you use that love to become a blessing to those around you? Jesus answered this call. He continues to answer this call. And He calls on us to do the same. Will you answer? Amen.
(Read the next sermon in this 3-part series, about Bargaining)

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Explained #340

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous    Next →

340. And blessing. That this signifies acknowledgment and glorification of the Lord on account of those things, and thanksgiving that from Him are all good and truth, and thence heaven and eternal happiness to those who receive them, is clear from the signification of blessing when it is said concerning the Lord, as denoting acknowledgment, here the acknowledgment that to Him belong Omnipotence, Omniscience, Providence, Divine good, and Divine truth, these being signified by His being worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, honour, and glory, and also glorification on that account. Moreover, blessing, when said of the Lord, signifies thanksgiving that from Him is all the good of love and the truth of faith, and thence heaven and eternal happiness to those who receive them. Because acknowledgment and glorification on account of those things, and also thanksgiving, are here signified by blessing, therefore, it is said, in the last place or as a fitting end, by those angels who glorified the Lord. Those things are signified by blessing when said of the Lord, because nothing is a blessing but what is given by the Lord, for that alone is blessed, because it is Divine and eternal, and contains in itself heaven and eternal happiness; all other things, which have not in themselves what is Divine and eternal, are not a blessing, although they may be so called (see the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 269, 270).

(References: Revelation 5:12; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 269-270)


[2] That blessing, when it is mentioned in the Word, signifies such things, is evident from the passages there understood in the internal sense. But first some passages shall be adduced, in which blessed and blessing are spoken of Jehovah, that is, of the Lord, and where it is said, blessed be God, in order that it may be seen that these signify acknowledgment, glorification, and thanksgiving, that from Him are all good and truth, and thence heaven and eternal happiness to those who receive them. In Luke:

"The mouth" of Zacharias "was opened and he spake, blessing God." And he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and made redemption for his people" (i. 64, 67, 68).

Zacharias said this when, filled with the Spirit, he prophesied concerning the Lord; and by blessing God, and by, "blessed be the Lord God of Israel," are signified glorification and thanksgiving that He delivers and frees from hell those who receive Him. It is, therefore, also said, "for he hath visited and made redemption for his people Israel." By redemption is signified liberation from hell, and by His people are signified those who are in truths from good, thus those who receive Him. That by redemption is signified liberation and deliverance from hell, may be seen above, n. 328; and that by people are signified those who are in truths from good, may be seen above, n. 331.

(References: Luke 1:64, 1:67-68, 1:68; The Apocalypse Explained 328, 331)


[3] In the same:

Simeon took the infant Jesus in his arms, "and blessed God; and said, Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples" (ii. 28-31).

Here, to bless God manifestly means, to glorify and give thanks that the Lord came into the world to save all who receive Him; therefore he calls the Lord the salvation which his eyes saw, which is prepared for all people. They are called His people who are in truths from good, thus who thereby receive Him, as was said above.

(References: Luke 2:28-31, 2:28, Luke 2:30-31; Matthew 5:28)


[4] In David:

"They have seen thy goings, O God. The singers went before, the players on instruments after, in the midst of the virgins playing with timbrels. Bless ye God in the congregations, the Lord from the fountain of salvation" (Ps. lxviii. 24-26).

To bless God in the congregations, the Lord from the fountain of salvation, signifies to glorify the Lord from spiritual truths, which are truths from good. By congregations in the Word are signified the same as by people, namely, those who are in spiritual truths, and, abstractedly, those truths themselves; and by the fountain of salvation is signified spiritual good, because thereby is salvation. Spiritual good is the good of charity towards the neighbour, and spiritual truth is the truth of faith from that good. (That congregations in the Word are predicated of spiritual truths, may be seen, n. 6355, 7843.) Because by blessing in the congregations is signified glorification from spiritual truths, and by blessing from the fountain of salvation is signified [glorification] from spiritual good, therefore God is said of the former, and Lord of the latter; for God is mentioned in the Word, where truths are treated of, and Jehovah and Lord, where good is treated of. That glorification is meant by blessing, is clear from what immediately follows after these words, "The singers went before, the players on instruments after, in the midst of the virgins playing with timbrels," by which glorification is signified from spiritual truths and goods (as may be seen above, n. 323, 326).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6355, Arcana Coelestia 7843; Psalms 68:24-26; The Apocalypse Explained 323, The Apocalypse Explained 326)


[5] In the same:

"O sing unto Jehovah a new song; sing unto Jehovah, all the earth. Bless his name; proclaim his salvation from day to day. Recount his glory among the nations" (Ps. xcvi. 1-3).

That to bless Jehovah here denotes to glorify Him, and to give thanks unto Him, is plain; and because all glorification of Him is from spiritual truths and from spiritual good, therefore, it is said, "bless his name, proclaim his salvation from day to day"; name also is said of truths, and salvation of good. To sing a song signifies to glorify from those truths and from that good, as may be seen above, n. 323, 326.

(References: Psalms 96:1-3; The Apocalypse Explained 323, 326)


[6] In Moses:

Jehovah chose the sons of Levi, "to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of Jehovah" (Deut. x. 8; xxi. 5).

Because the sons of Levi were appointed for Divine worship, and all Divine worship takes place from spiritual good and the truths thence, therefore, it is said that Jehovah chose them "to minister unto him, and to bless in his name"; and by ministering is signified worship from spiritual good, and by blessing is signified worship from spiritual truths. That to minister is said of worship from good, may be seen above, n. 155.

(References: Deuteronomy 10:8, 21:5; The Apocalypse Explained 155)


[7] In David:

"O Jehovah, thou hast prevented the King with the blessings of good; thou hast set a crown of pure gold on his head. Thou layest glory and honour upon him. For thou placest upon him blessings for ever" (Ps. xxi. 1, 3, 5, 6).

By the King here is not meant David, but the Lord, who is called King from the Divine Spiritual which proceeds from His Divine Human. And because blessing signifies acknowledgment, glorification, and thanksgiving, that all good and truth, and thence heaven and eternal happiness, are from Him, it is hence plain what is signified by, "Thou hast prevented the King with the blessings of good," and by, "thou placest upon him blessings for ever." Blessings of good signify truths from good; a crown of pure gold signifies the good from which these are; honour and glory signify the Divine good and the Divine truth. (That by David in the Word is meant the Lord, may be seen above, n. 205, similarly by king, in the Psalms, n. 31; that by the crown of kings is signified the Divine good, n. 272, similarly by gold, n. 242; and that by honour and glory are signified the Divine good and the Divine truth, n. 288.)

(References: Psalms 21:1, 21:3, 21:5-6; The Apocalypse Explained 31, The Apocalypse Explained 205, The Apocalypse Explained 242, 272, The Apocalypse Explained 288)


[8] From these considerations it is evident what blessed signifies when said of the Lord, as in the following passages:

The disciples cried with a great voice, "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Luke xix. 37, 38).

The multitude cried, "Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. xxi. 9; Mark xi. 9, 10; John xii. 12, 13).

Jesus said, "Ye shall not see me henceforth, until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. xxiii. 38, 39; Luke xiii. 35).

"The High Priest asked Jesus, Art thou then the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" (Mark xiv. 61).

Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, signifies glorified, because from Him are all Divine truth and Divine good. The name of the Lord signifies everything by which He is worshipped; and because all that has reference to the good of love and to the truth of faith, therefore, these things are signified by the name of the Lord. (That the Lord's name signifies everything by which He is worshipped, may be seen above (n. 102, 135, 148, 224); and that the Lord is called Lord from the Divine Good, in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 4973, 9167, 9194).)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4973, Arcana Coelestia 9167, 9194; John 12:12-13; Luke 13:35, 19:37-38, 19:37, 19:38; Mark 11:9-10, Mark 14:61; Matthew 21:9, 23:39; The Apocalypse Explained 102, The Apocalypse Explained 135, 148, The Apocalypse Explained 224)


[9] In Moses:

Melchizedek blessed Abram, and said, "Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be the most high God, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand" (Gen. xiv. 18-20).

Here it is said, "Blessed be the most high God, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand," and it signifies that glorification and thanksgiving are His on that account. Those, therefore, who receive Divine good and Divine truth from the Lord, are called

"Blessed" (Ps. xxxvii. 22; cxv. 15; Matt. xxv. 34).

(References: Genesis 14:18-20; Matthew 25:34; Psalms 37:22, Psalms 115:15)


[10] That by blessing when said of man, is meant nothing else but the reception of Divine truth and Divine good, because in them are heaven and eternal happiness, is evident from the following passages:

In David:

"The clean in hands and the pure in heart shall bear the blessing from before Jehovah, and justice from the God of our salvation" (Ps. xxiv. 4, 5).

He that is clean in hands signifies those who are in truths from faith, and the pure in heart those who are in good from love; concerning such it is said that they shall bear the blessing from before Jehovah, and justice from the God of salvation, and by bearing the blessing is signified the reception of Divine truth and by bearing justice the reception of Divine good. That justice is predicated of good, may be seen above, n. 204; and in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 2235, 9857.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2235, Arcana Coelestia 9857; Psalms 24:4-5; The Apocalypse Explained 204)


[11] In Moses:

"Thus shall ye bless the sons of Israel, Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee; Jehovah make his faces to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; Jehovah lift up his faces upon thee, and give thee peace. Thus shall they put my name upon the sons of Israel; and I will bless them" (Num. vi. 23-27).

From these words unfolded by the internal sense it is evident what blessing involves in summary; namely, that Jehovah, that is, the Lord from the Divine love, flows in with Divine truth and with Divine good with those who receive Him. The Divine love, from which the Lord flows in, is meant by the faces of Jehovah; the Divine truth, with which the Lord flows in, is meant by, "Jehovah make his faces to shine upon thee"; and the Divine good, with which He flows in, is meant by, "Jehovah lift up his faces upon thee"; protection from evils and falsities, which otherwise would take away the influx, is meant by, "keep thee and be gracious unto thee"; heaven and eternal happiness, which the Lord gives by His Divine truth and His Divine good, are meant by, give thee peace; communication and conjunction with those who receive Him, are meant by, "Thus shall they put my name upon the sons of Israel," the name of Jehovah signifying the Divine proceeding which, in general, is called Divine truth and Divine good, and the sons of Israel signifying those who are of the church, thus who receive [the Lord], concerning whom it is therefore said, and "I will bless them." That this is the internal or spiritual sense of these words is evident from this fact, that by the faces of Jehovah is signified the Divine love, by making them to shine is signified the influx of Divine truth, and by lifting them up the influx of Divine good; that these things may be better understood it shall be explained whence these significations arise. The Lord appears to the angels in heaven as a sun, for it is His Divine love which thus appears; this, therefore, is meant by the face of Jehovah; the light which thence proceeds is the Divine truth, this therefore is what is meant by making His faces to shine; the heat also which thence proceeds is the Divine good, this therefore is what is meant by lifting up His faces, for by lifting up is signified to reveal Himself, which is effected from the Divine good by means of the Divine truth. (That the Lord appears to the angels in heaven as a sun, and that such appearance is that of His Divine love, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 116-125; and that the light thence is the Divine truth, also that the heat thence is the Divine good, n. 126-140. That peace signifies the celestial delight which inmostly affects every good with blessedness, and that it thence signifies heaven and eternal happiness, may be seen in the same work, n. 284-290; and that the sons of Israel signify those who belong to the church, consequently, the church, in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 6426, 8805, 9340.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6426, Arcana Coelestia 8805, Arcana Coelestia 9340; Heaven and Hell 116-125; Numbers 6:23-27; The Apocalypse Explained 126-140, The Apocalypse Explained 284-290)


[12] In Ezekiel:

"I will give them the circuits of my hill [as] a blessing, and I will send down the rain in its time, there shall be rams of blessing; then the tree shall give its fruit, the earth shall give its produce" (xxxiv. 26, 27).

He who sees the Word merely in its natural sense, believes that such things only as are mentioned in that sense are meant by blessing, namely, that rain shall be given to make fruitful the gardens and fields, and so that the tree shall give its fruit, and the earth its produce; but it is a spiritual blessing which is meant, for by rain is signified everything Divine which flows in with man from the Lord out of heaven; that truths shall produce good, and that good shall produce truths, is signified by, the tree shall give its fruit, and the earth its produce. The earth denotes the church, as does also a garden in which there are trees; by these, and by the circuits of My hill which I shall give as a blessing, are signified the internal and external with the men of the church; a circuit signifies what is outside or below, and hill signifies what is within or above, specifically, where there is charity, for this is within. (That a hill signifies where charity is, may be seen, n. 6435, 10,438.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6435, Arcana Coelestia 10438; Ezekiel 34:26-27)


[13] In David:

"Blessed is every one that feareth Jehovah, that walketh in his ways. Thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands; blessed art thou, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house; thy sons like olive plants around thy tables. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed that feareth Jehovah. Jehovah shall bless thee out of Zion; that thou mayest see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel" (Ps. cxxviii).

Here also by, to be blessed, is not meant to be blessed naturally, as that [a man] should eat the labour of his hands, that his wife should be fruitful, that many sons should be about his tables, and that this should be in Zion and in Jerusalem; but to be blessed spiritually is meant. For by them that fear Jehovah, are meant those who love to do His precepts; therefore it is said, blessed is he that feareth Jehovah, and walketh in His ways; to walk in His ways signifying to do His precepts. By the labour of his hands which he shall eat, is signified the study of the life according to them. By the wife by the sides of his house, is signified the affection of spiritual truth in all things that he thinks and does; therefore it is also said, "as a fruitful vine," for by a vine is signified the spiritual church from the affection of truth. By the sons around his tables are signified the truths of good thence; tables denoting instructions; therefore it is also said, "like olive-plants," the plants signifying truths, and the olives goods. By Zion is signified heaven whence those things are, and by Jerusalem doctrine. Hence it is evident what is signified by Jehovah shall bless thee out of Zion, that thou mayest see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. By peace upon Israel is signified all spiritual good in general and in particular, Israel denoting the church.

(References: Psalms 128)


[14] In the same:

"As the dew of Hermon that descendeth upon the mountains of Zion; for there hath Jehovah commanded a blessing, life even for evermore" (Ps. cxxxiii. 3).

The marriage of good and truth is here treated of, and their fructification and multiplication. The latter and the former are signified by, the dew of Hermon that descendeth upon the mountains of Zion, the mountains of Zion signifying where the goods of celestial love are; therefore it is also said, "there hath Jehovah commanded a blessing, life even for evermore."

(References: Psalms 133:3)


[15] In Moses:

"If ye hearken to these judgments, to keep and do them, Jehovah thy God shall keep the covenant and the mercy; and he will love thee, and bless thee, and will bless the fruit of thy belly, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy new wine, and thine oil, the young of thy oxen, and of the rams of thy flock. Thou shalt be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. And Jehovah will take away from you every disease, and all the evil sicknesses of Egypt, which thou hast known, he shall not lay upon thee; but will put them upon all that hate thee. And thou shalt consume all the peoples whom Jehovah thy God shall deliver to thee; thine eye shall not spare them" (Deut. vii. 12-16).

By all these words spiritual things are meant, thus spiritual blessings; the sense of the letter which is natural, and for those who are in the natural world, and thence in a natural idea, involving and signifying those things; therefore, from the spiritual sense of the Word it is evident what is meant by being blessed in general and in particular. By the fruit of the belly and by the fruit of the earth, by the corn, the new wine, and the oil, by the young of the oxen, and of the rams of the flock, are meant the multiplications of truth and the fructifications of good, thus spiritual blessings. (What is signified specifically by each may be seen in various places in the Arcana Coelestia, and in the explanations of this prophetic book.) There shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle, signifies the multiplication of truth and the fructification of good in the internal and the external man; and by Jehovah taking away from them every disease, and all the evil sicknesses of Egypt, is signified the removal of all evils and falsities; the evil sicknesses of Egypt denoting the falsities arising from evils in the natural man. The haters, upon whom Jehovah will put them, denote those who are against the goods and truths of the church. The dispersion of the evils and falsities that are opposed to the truths and goods of the church, is signified by, thou shalt consume all the peoples whom Jehovah thy God shall deliver to thee; and the continual shunning of them by, thine eye shall not spare them. That by these things those who do the Lord's precepts are blessed is meant by, "If ye hearken to these judgments, to keep and do them, Jehovah thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy; He will love thee, and bless thee." Covenant and mercy denote a conjunction from love by them; conjunction by good is meant by the covenant, and by, He will love thee; and conjunction by truth thence is meant by mercy, and by, He will bless thee.

(References: Deuteronomy 7:12-16; Luke 9:12-17)


[16] In the same:

"He shall bless thee with blessings of heaven from above, with blessings of the deep that lieth under, with blessings of the breasts and of the womb" (Gen. xlix. 25).

These things are said of Joseph, by whom is here signified the Lord's spiritual kingdom; and by the blessings of heaven from above are meant the multiplications of truth from good in the internal or spiritual man; by the blessings of the deep that lieth under, are meant the multiplications of truth from good in the external or natural man; and by blessings of the breasts and of the womb, are signified spiritual and celestial goods.

(References: Genesis 49:25)


[17] In Joel:

"Who knoweth? Let him return, and it will repent" Jehovah God "and he will leave behind him a blessing, a meat-offering and a drink-offering unto Jehovah our God" (ii 14).

Because by blessing is signified spiritual blessing, which in general has reference to good and truth proceeding from the Lord, and given to man, it is therefore said, he shall leave behind him a blessing, a meat-offering, and a drink-offering from our God. The meat-offering, which was bread, signifies good, and the drink-offering, which was wine, signifies truth, both from the Lord, for it is said, from our God.

(References: Joel 2:14)


[18] In Isaiah:

"In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt into Assyria, that the Assyrian may come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, that the Egyptians may serve with the Assyrian. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land; whom Jehovah shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance" (xix. 23-25).

By Israel, Assyria, and Egypt, are signified the three things that are with the men of the church, namely, the Spiritual, the Rational, and the Scientific; by Israel the Spiritual, by Assyria the Rational, and by Egypt the scientific. Inasmuch as the whole Rational of man is formed by scientifics, and both are from the spiritual part which is from heaven from the Lord (for all understanding of truth and all application of knowledges to truths are thence), it is therefore said that there shall be a highway from Egypt into Assyria, that Assyria may come into Egypt and Egypt into Assyria; and that the Egyptians may serve with the Assyrian; and afterwards, that Israel shall be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land. The midst signifies the inmost from which the rest, or from which the whole is derived (as may be seen above, n. 213); and the land, the church where these things are; and because it is the Spiritual from which the Rational and the Scientific are applied to genuine truths, therefore Israel is called the inheritance, or the heir of the house who possesses all things; and Assyria, the work of My hands, because the Rational is thence formed; and Egypt is called a blessed people, because, in the Scientific, as in their ultimate, all things are together; from these considerations also it is evident that by a blessing in the Word is meant a spiritual blessing.

(References: Isaiah 19:23-25; The Apocalypse Explained 313)


[19] In Zechariah:

"As ye were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I liberate you that ye may be a blessing" (viii. 13).

These things are said concerning the devastated church, and concerning the church to be established by the Lord. The house of Judah and the house of Israel signify the church, here in both senses. The church devastated is called a curse, because therein are evil and falsity; but the church to be established is called a blessing, because therein are good and truth.

(References: Zechariah 8:13)


[20] In David:

"Salvation unto Jehovah, thy blessing upon thy people" (Ps. iii. 3).

The blessing of Jehovah upon His people signifies the influx and reception of good and truth; those are called the people of Jehovah who are in spiritual good (see above, n. 331).

(References: Psalms 3:8; The Apocalypse Explained 331)


[21] In Moses:

"I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, that thou mayest become a blessing. I will also bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. xii. 2, 3).

In the same:

"All the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him" (Gen. xviii. 18).

These things are said concerning Abraham, and by him, in the highest sense, is meant the Lord, and, in a respective sense, the Lord's celestial kingdom, and the celestial church. Hence it is evident what is signified by I will make thee into a great nation, and I will bless thee, that thou mayest become a blessing, namely, that therein shall be Divine good and Divine truth; a great nation being said of Divine good (see above, n. 331), and a blessing of Divine truth. I will bless them that bless thee, signifies that Divine truth shall be with those who receive it, and the falsity of evil with those who do not receive it. In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him, signifies that from the reception of Divine truth and Divine good they have heaven and eternal happiness. The families of the earth signify those who are in truths from good, families denoting truths, nations denoting goods. Blessing signifies that hence they have heaven and eternal happiness.

(References: Genesis 12:2-3, Genesis 18:18; The Apocalypse Explained 331)


[22] The same is signified by the blessing of Israel and Jacob. In the same:

"Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee" (Num. xxiv. 9).

And in the same:

"And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and shall spread itself towards the west, and towards the east, and towards the north, and towards the south; and in thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. xxviii. 14).

By Israel and Jacob also, in the highest sense, the Lord is meant, and, in the respective sense, the Lord's spiritual kingdom and the spiritual church; by Israel that church internal, by Jacob [that church] external. By the seed that shall be as the dust of the earth, and which shall spread itself towards the west, the east, the north, and the south, is signified the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and received by those who belong to that church; the fructification of good thence is signified by its spreading itself towards the west and the east, and the multiplication of truth thence is signified by its spreading itself towards the north and the south. (That those quarters have such significations, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 141-153.)

(References: Genesis 28:14; Heaven and Hell 141-153; Numbers 24:9)


[23] That the Lord blessed the bread, the wine, the fishes which He gave to the disciples and to the people (Matt. xiv. 15, 21, 22; xv. 32; xxvi. 26, 27; Mark vi. 41; viii. 6, 7; xiv. 22, 23; Luke ix. 16; xxii. 19; xxiv. 30), signified the communication of His Divine, and thus conjunction with them by means of goods and truths, which are signified by bread and wine, and also by fishes; bread and wine signify goods and truths in the spiritual man, and fishes signify goods and truths in the natural.

(References: Luke 9:16, Luke 22:19, 24:30; Mark 6:41, 8:6-7, Mark 14:22-23; Matthew 14:15, 14:15-21, 14:19, 14:21-22, 15:32, 15:32-38, 15:36, Matthew 26:26-27)


[24] In Isaiah:

"He shall call his servants by another name; he who blesseth himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by the God of truth; because the former distresses shall be delivered to forgetfulness " (lxv. 15, 16).

By blessing himself is signified self-instruction in Divine truths, and the application of them to life. The reason why this is signified by swearing, is, because an oath, in the internal sense, signifies confirmation in oneself, and conviction that it is so, and this is effected from good by means of truths; truths are confirmed and proved with man only from good. A new church is here treated of; and by calling by another name is signified its quality as to truth and good.

(References: Isaiah 65:15-16)


[25] In Jeremiah:

"Swear by the living Jehovah, in truth, in judgment, and in justice; the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory" (iv. 2).

The same is here signified by swearing and blessing themselves; the nations which shall bless themselves in Jehovah signify those who are in good.

(References: Jeremiah 4:2)


[26] By blessing, in the opposite sense, is signified to love evil and falsity, and to imbibe the same. As in Isaiah:

"He who slayeth an ox smiteth a man, he who offers frankincense blesseth vanity; they have also chosen these things in their own ways" (lxvi. 3).

To slay or sacrifice an ox, and to smite a man, signify to worship God in externals, and yet to reject all truth. By sacrificing an ox is signified worship from those things which represented natural good, for an ox denotes natural good; and by smiting a man is signified to reject and deny the truth, man in the Word denoting truth. To offer incense and to bless vanity, signify to worship God from such things as represented spiritual good, and yet to love evil and falsity, and to imbibe them; an offering of incense denoting worship from spiritual good, and vanity denoting evil and the falsity of evil.

(References: Isaiah 66:3; Luke 1:68, Luke 2:28, 2:30-31; Psalms 21:1; Revelation 5:12)

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 334, 344, 365, 439, 465, 625, 657

Other New Christian Commentary

Bless 1

Blessing and righteousness 1

Blessings of the breasts 1

To 1

Olives 1

Plants of olives 1

Vanity 1

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.


 The Blessings and Responsibilities of Family
To build a home in the real sense, married partners must work together and individually toward this highest of human loves-work for it daily by resisting evils that weaken marriages.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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


Translate: