The Bible

 

John 20:19-31 : Christ Appears to the Disciples in an Upper Room, and Doubting Thomas

        

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19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 96, 2397, 2628, 2724, 2798, 2921, 3006, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 12, 81, 343, 520, 618, 839, 962

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 32, 120

Divine Love and Wisdom 383

Divine Providence 230, 324

The Lord 19, 20, 35, 41, 51

Faith 10

Heaven and Hell 287, 461

True Christianity 140, 146, 153, 188, 298, 303, 337, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 286


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 53, 102, 130, 183, 254, 365, 419, ...

Canons of the New Church 39, 43

Divine Wisdom 6

Miracles and Signs 18

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 5, 14, 64

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 43:23

Numbers 6:26

Psalms 22:17, 84:4

Word/Phrase Explanations

week
'A week' signifies state, and 'the seventh week,' a holy state. The ancients understood 'a week' to mean any period divided into seven, whether days,...

doors
In a general sense, doors in the Bible represent the initial desires for good and concepts of truth that introduce people to new levels of...

disciples
A disciple in Matthew 10:41 signifies charity and at the same time, faith from the Lord. It disciple signifies the truth of life, and a...

jews
It would be simple to think that when the Bible mentions "Jews" it is simply talking about the descendants of the tribe of Judah, the...

saith
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

glad
Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

Father
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

ghost
'The seven spirits' in Matthew 12:45 signify all falsities of evil, and as a result, a total extinction of goodness and truth. 'The seven spirits'...

remit
'To forgive seven times' signifies forgiving at all times.

retain
'To hold fast' signifies permanence in a state of good of love and faith up to the visitation.

twelve
'Twelve' and 'twenty-four' signify everything, and refer to truths.

seen
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

reach
The hand in the Bible represents power, which is easy to understand, so to reach out or stretch out the hand means to exercise power,...

answered
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

signs
'A sign' is mentioned in the Word in reference to the future, which constitutes revelation. This also refers to truth, when it constitutes testification. It...

written
If knowing what’s right were the same as doing what’s right, we would all be thin, healthy, hard-working, law-abiding, faithful to our spouses and free...

Might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

christ
Christ is one of the names of the Lord. It derives from Greek, and means "the anointed one," a King or Messiah. Christ as King...

Son of God
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

believing
The meaning of "believe" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but runs deeper than what appears on the surface. When in the Old Testament people...

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is 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.


 Compare the Easter Story in 4 Gospels
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Crucifixion Prophecies Fulfilled
Jesus could have saved Himself from the cross, but then He would not have been able to show us with the great miracle of His resurrection that the death of the body is not the end of life. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 3, for ages 8-9.
Religion Lesson | Ages 8 - 9

 Death and Resurrection
There is an old saying that no one can get out of this world alive! We must all die, and, sad as that eventuality may seem at the time, the only way we can make sense of it is by believing the Lord's words: those who believe in Him can never die. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

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Color and assemble a diorama showing Mary looking into the tomb and seeing the two angels. 
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The story of Easter morning teaches that the Lord Jesus, who came to earth and touched us with His great love and wisdom, is more than a man. He is our God.
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Make a miniature garden scene to illustrate the Easter story in the gospel of John.
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Read the story in the gospel of John (20:1-16) about Mary Magdalene seeing the Lord. Use the discussion questions to talk about this story. 
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 For Reflection: Doubting Thomas
Think about the development of your faith and how it might relate to the disciple, Thomas.
Activity | Ages over 15

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A picture of Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Lord, with native spring plants of the Holy Land 
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 Jesus' Final Words
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 Jesus' Words on the Cross
Jesus made seven statements from the cross. Discover how New Church teachings give insight into Jesus' message.
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 Looking into the Tomb
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 Mary Magdalene and the Risen Lord
This talk focuses on Mary Magdalene being the first person to see the Risen Lord in the garden on Easter morning. 
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 Mary Magdalene in the Garden
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Mary Magdalene Sees the Lord
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Peace Be with You
Heavenly peace transcends every idea of earthly happiness.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Adults: Joy Comes in the Morning
Activity | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Teens: Joy Comes in the Morning
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

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Article | Ages over 15

 Quotes: I Am with You Always
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 Quotes: Joy Comes in the Morning
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Rabboni
An in-depth look at the internal meaning or representation of Mary Magdalene and her recognition of the Risen Lord. 
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 Remembering the Lord’s Resurrection
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 Resurrection and Glorification
When Jesus rose He left the tomb empty. Through overcoming temptations He had glorified His body, or made it Divine.
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 The Easter Story in John
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 The Easter Surprise
Surprise! Surprise! The Lord was alive and standing in front of Mary.
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 The First Easter
On the morning of the first easter, the Lord showed us that life goes on forever and that we never really die. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Introductory Level, for ages 5-6.
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 The Joy of Seeing the Risen Lord
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 The Lord Appears to His Disciples
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 The Lord Appears to the Disciples
Color the picture of the disciples and then insert the Lord through a slit in the page into their midst.
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 The Lord Appears to the Disciples
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
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 The Miracle of Easter
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 The Resurrection
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Resurrection
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 Resurrection (3-5 years)
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 The Resurrection (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Resurrection (9-11 years)
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Commentary

 

Two Meetings in Jerusalem after the Resurrection      

By Joe David

The risen Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room. 22.4.2010: Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Emilio Romagna, Italy.

Late on the first Easter Sunday, after the Lord had risen from the sepulcher, ten of the disciples gathered for the evening in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem (John 20). They were afraid and probably confused. Since their leader had been crucified by the Roman power, as organized by their own Jewish leaders, they feared that now his followers might also be hunted down and punished. They closed and locked the doors. Were any of the women there? The story does not say, but Peter and John were, who saw and talked with the angels that morning, and the stories of the women were known. Some time must have been spent wondering and perhaps arguing - was He really alive? How could they know it was really Him? This kind of thing, coming back to life after you’re dead, this doesn’t happen in this real world, there must be some mistake!

Then two of the followers, not of the twelve, but the two that had gone to the village of Emmaus, came in, excited and bursting with their news. They had seen Him! They had walked with Him for seven miles and He had told them wondrous things! They had only recognized Him when He broke bread and ate with them. "Don’t doubt us, it really was Jesus!"

And then as they all talked and argued, there He was, standing with them in the room. "Peace be unto you," He said, and He showed them His hands and feet and His side, where he was wounded. He calmed them, and told them that just as he had come down to mankind, so they must go out and teach to all people all the true things that He had taught in the years He was with them.

It was these truths about how to live one’s life that were saving, not the disciples themselves. These saving truths have the power to remit or retain sins, because they were from the Lord, the disciples only transmitted them from the Lord to those who would listen and take them to heart. Then He breathed on them - representing His holy spirit - so that they would not only want to pass these truths on to people, but would also be given the words to say whenever the times came. And then He was gone again.

Thomas was not there that night. We don’t know why. And Thomas, when he heard the story, just could not swallow it. "Except I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe", he said. (John 20:25.)

The next verse tells us that the next Sunday they gathered again, and that Thomas was present this time. As before, the Lord was suddenly there, saying again, "Peace be unto you", and then directly to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger… and reach hither thy hand… and be not faithless but believing". Now Thomas's response was, "my Lord and my God". It seems as if the Lord came this time just to convince Thomas, because it was Thomas who needed Him.

I think He does work this way. I am reminded of another story, from the gospel of Mark (Mark 9:17-27) where a father comes to Jesus with a young son who is possessed by a devil, and asks Jesus to cure him, and is asked in turn: "Do you believe I can do this?" In Mark 9:24 the father responds. Crying out, he said with tears, "I believe, help thou my unbelief."

I think many people have this conflict between lingering doubts and a desire to have the doubts taken away. If we carry on and make our decisions in life as if the doubts were indeed gone, then indeed they will lose their strength and actually will be gone.

These are the only details given of these two meetings in Jerusalem. Chronologically the next post-Easter stories are the ones that take place in Galilee.

John does go on to say at the end of his gospel "...many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God...." (John 20:30-31). Perhaps there were more post-Easter stories that weren't written down, but the ones we do have are strong. For the disciples who were involved, there was an unstoppable impact from the life and teachings of the Lord, and His crucifixion, and physical death, and now - in these stories - His resurrection. Hearing the Lord's charges to them, these Galilean fishermen and their colleagues launch out into the wide world, and work to achieve the Great Commission, enduring hardships and persecution, and succeeding - probably beyond their wildest dreams!

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #102

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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102. And for My name's sake hast toiled, is the acknowledgment of the Lord and of the knowledges of truth that have respect to Him. This is evident from the signification of "the name" of Jehovah, or of the Lord, as being, in the highest sense, His Divine Human (see Arcana Coelestia 2628, 6887), and in a relative sense, all things of love and faith by which the Lord is worshiped, because these are things Divine that proceed from His Divine Human (n. 2724, 3006, 6674, 9310). This is evident also from the signification of "toiling," as being to strive with mind and zeal that these things may be known and acknowledged; for this is signified by "toiling" when it is said of those who apply themselves to the knowledges of truth and good. From this it follows that "for My name's sake hast toiled" signifies the acknowledgment of the Lord, and of the knowledges that have respect to Him. The knowledges that have respect to the Lord are all things that are of love and faith. In many passages of the Word it is said, "for the sake of Jehovah's name," "for the sake of the Lord's name," "for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ," that "the name of God should be sanctified," and the like. Those whose thoughts do not go beyond the sense of the letter suppose that the name alone is meant; but what is meant is not the name, but everything whereby the Lord is worshiped; and all of this has relation to love and faith. Therefore by "the Lord's name" in the Word all things of love and of faith by which He is worshiped are meant; here the acknowledgment of the Lord and of the knowledges of truth that have respect to Him, because this is said to those who are only zealous about knowledges.

(References: Revelation 2:3)


[2] That "Jehovah's name" or the "Lord's name" does not mean the name itself, but all things of love and faith, is from the spiritual world. There the names used on the earth are not uttered; but the names of the persons who are spoken of are formed from the idea of all things known about them combined into a single word. In this way names in the spiritual world are expressed; consequently names there, like all the other things, are spiritual The names "Lord" and "Jesus Christ," even, are not uttered there as on the earth, but in place of those names a name is formed from the idea of all things known and believed respecting Him; and this idea is made up of all things of love to Him and faith in Him. This is because these in the complex are the Lord in them; for the Lord is in everyone in the goods of love and of faith that are from Him. As this is so, the quality of everyone there, in respect to love to the Lord and faith in the Lord, is immediately known if he only utters "Lord" or "Jesus Christ" by a spiritual expression or spiritual name; and for the same reason also, those who are not in any love to Him or faith in Him are unable to speak His name, that is, to form any spiritual name of Him. From this it is now clear why by the "name" of Jehovah, of the Lord, or of Jesus Christ, name is not meant in the Word, but everything of love and of faith whereby He is worshiped.

[3] Lest, therefore, the opinion that is entertained by many should prevail, that the mere name Jesus Christ, without love to Him or faith in Him, thus without the knowledges by which love and faith exist, contributes something to salvation, I will introduce some passages from the Word in which the expressions "for His name's sake" and "in His name" are used, from which those who think more deeply may see that name alone is not meant:

Jesus said, Ye shall be hated of all for My name's sake (Matthew 10:22, 24:9, 10).

Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).

As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God; even to them that believe in His name (John 1:12).

When Jesus was in Jerusalem many believed in His name (John 2:23).

He that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God (John 3:17, 18).

These are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in His name (John 20:31).

Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord (Matthew 21:9; 23:39; Luke 13:35; 19:35).

Everyone that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or fields, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundred-fold, and eternal life (Matthew 19:29).

(What is here signified by "houses, brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, and fields," which are to be left for the name of the Lord, see Arcana Coelestia 10490.)

Jesus said, Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that I will do (John 14:13, 14);

"to ask in My name" is to ask from love and faith.

Many shall come in My name, saying, I am He; go ye not therefore after them (Luke 21:8; Mark 13:6);

"to come in My name" and "to say that I am He" is to proclaim falsities and to say that they are truths, and thus to lead astray. The like is signified by saying that they are the Christ, when they are not, in Matthew:

Many shall come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and shall lead many astray (Matthew 24:5, 11, 23-27);

for by "Jesus" is meant the Lord in respect to Divine good; and by "Christ" the Lord in respect to Divine truth (Arcana Coelestia 3004-3005, 3009, 5502), and by not being Christ, truth not Divine, but falsity.

(References: John 3:17-18, 14:13-14; Luke 19:38; Matthew 24:9-10)


[4] The "name of the Lord," in the New Testament means the like as the "name of Jehovah" in the Old, because the Lord there is Jehovah. Thus in Isaiah:

And in that day shall ye say, Confess ye to Jehovah, call upon His name (Isaiah 12:4).

In the same:

O Jehovah, we have waited for Thee; to Thy name and to Thy memorial is the desire of our soul. By Thee will we make mention of Thy name (Isaiah 26:8, 13).

In the same:

From the rising of the sun shall My name be called upon (Isaiah 41:25).

In Malachi:

From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name is great among the nations; and in every place incense is offered unto My name; for My name is great among the nations (Malachi 1:11).

In Isaiah:

Everyone that is called by My name I have created for My glory, I have formed him (Isaiah 43:7).

In Micah:

All peoples walk in the name of their god, and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God (Micah 4:5).

In Moses:

Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that hath taken His name in vain (Deuteronomy 5:11).

In the same:

Jehovah separated the tribe of Levi, that they should minister and bless in the name of Jehovah (Deuteronomy 10:8).

In the same:

They shall worship Jehovah in one place, where He shall place His name (Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 13, 14, 18, 26; 16:2, 6, 11, 15, 16).

"Where He shall place His name" means where there shall be worship from the good of love and the truths of faith. This was done at Jerusalem; and therefore by "Jerusalem" the church in respect to doctrine and worship is signified (see in the small work on The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 6).

(References: Deuteronomy 12:13-14, 16:15-16)


[5] Since by the "name of Jehovah" or the "name of the Lord" is signified in the spiritual sense all worship from the good of love and the truths of faith, therefore in the highest sense by "name of Jehovah" is meant the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, for the reason that from His Divine Human everything of love and of faith proceeds. That by "name of Jehovah," in the highest sense, the Lord is meant, is evident in John:

Jesus said, Father, glorify Thy name. There came a voice out of heaven, saying, I have both glorified and will glorify again (John 12:28).

In Isaiah:

I will give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the nations. I am Jehovah, this is My name, and My glory will I not give to another (Isaiah 42:6, 8);

the coming of the Lord is here treated of. In Jeremiah:

Behold the days come that I will raise unto David a righteous shoot, and He shall reign as King, and this is His name, by which they shall call Him, Jehovah, our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5, 6).

From this it is clear what is meant in the Lord's prayer by the words:

Hallowed be Thy name (Matthew 6:9);

namely, that the Divine Human of the Lord is to be accounted holy, and to be worshiped.

(References: Jeremiah 23:5-6)


[6] As this is meant by "the name of the Lord," the meaning of the following passages can be seen. In John:

The shepherd of the sheep calleth his own sheep by their name (John 10:3).

In Luke:

Rejoice that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).

And in Revelation:

Thou hast a few names in Sardis (Revelation 3:4).

He who does not know what "name" signifies in the Word cannot possibly know how these words are to be understood, in Matthew:

He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous one in the name of a righteous one shall receive a righteous one's reward; and whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold [water] in the name of a disciple only, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward (Matthew 10:41, 42).

"To receive a prophet in the name of a prophet," "a righteous one in the name of a righteous one," and "to give drink in the name of a disciple," signifies to love truth for the sake of truth, good for the sake of good, and to exercise charity from the faith of truth; for by "prophet" is signified truth, by "righteous one" is signified good, and by "disciple" good from truth; and "to give to drink of cold [water]" is to exercise charity from obedience; "in the name" of these is for the sake of what they are, thus for their sake. Who could ever understand these things unless he knew what "name" signifies?

(References: Matthew 10:41-42)


[7] To love and to do truth for the sake of truth, and good for the sake of good, is to have affection for truth and good for their sake, and not for the sake of one's own reputation, honor, or gain. Such affection of truth and good is a truly spiritual affection; but the affection of truth and good for the sake of one's own reputation, honor, or gain, is a merely natural affection. And as those who love truth and good for the sake of truth and good, or because they are truth and good, are in the spiritual affection of truth and good, therefore it is said that they shall receive "a prophet's reward" and "a righteous one's reward;" which means that they are in the spiritual affection of truth and good, and this affection has reward in itself, because it has heaven in itself. (That the happiness of heaven is in the affection of loving and doing truth and good, without regard to reward as an end, thus for the sake of truth and good, see Arcana Coelestia 6388, 6478, 9174, 9984. That "prophet" signifies one who teaches truth, thus also, in the abstract, truth that is taught, see n. 2534, 7269. That a "righteous one" signifies the good of love to the Lord, n. 2235, 9857. That "disciple" signifies good from truth, which is the good of charity, n. 2129, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397. That "to give drink" is to instruct in the goods and truths of faith, and thus to exercise charity, n. Arcana Coelestia 3069, 3772, 4017, 4018, 8562, 9412; and that "name" signifies the quality of a thing, n. 144, 145, 1754, 1896, 2009, 3237; hence "the name of Jehovah," or "the name of the Lord," signifies every quality by which He is worshiped, n. Arcana Coelestia 2724, 3006, 6674, 9310).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 144-145, 4017-4018; Luke 19:38; Revelation 2:3)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 94, 122, 135, 148, 151, 175, 205, 224, 295, 313, 340, 383, 411, 453, 532, 676, 695, 696, 778, 798, 841, 892, 943, 1039, 1046, 1098

Other New Christian Commentary
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 Lord's Names
The Lord's names reveal aspects of His qualities. We can be linked to Him through baptism in His name.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.


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