The Bible


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


Study the Inner Meaning

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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

'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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

'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' signifies good or spiritual love.

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, 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,...

'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'...

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

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

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

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...

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

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,...

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...

'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...

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' denotes the forces or power of truth.

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...

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...

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.

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 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. 
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 For Reflection: Doubting Thomas
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An in-depth look at the internal meaning or representation of Mary Magdalene and her recognition of the Risen Lord. 
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 The Easter Story in John
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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 and Mary
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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 #183

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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183. These things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, signifies the Lord from whom are all the truths of heaven and of the church. This may appear from the fact that it is the Lord who is meant, because it is the Son of man who said these things, as well as those said to the angels of the other churches; and the Son of man is the Lord in respect to the Divine Human (see n. 63, 151). By "the seven spirits of God" all the truths of heaven and of the church are meant, because "the Spirit of God" in the Word signifies Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. "Spirit" is mentioned in many passages in the Word, and "spirit," when used in reference to man, signifies Divine truth received in the life, thus it signifies man's spiritual life; but in reference to the Lord, by "spirit" is meant the Divine that proceeds from Him, which is called by the general term Divine truth. But since few at this day know what is meant by "spirit" in the Word, I will first show by passages from the Word that "spirit," in reference to man, signifies Divine truth received in the life, thus man's spiritual life. But because there are two things that constitute man's spiritual life, namely, the good of love and the truth of faith, in many passages in the Word mention is made of "heart and spirit," and also of "heart and soul;" and by "heart" the good of love is signified, and by "spirit" the truth of faith; the latter is also signified by "soul," for this means in the Word man's spirit.

(References: Revelation 3:1; The Apocalypse Explained 63, The Apocalypse Explained 151)

[2] That "spirit," in reference to man, signifies truth received in the life, is clear from the following passages. In Ezekiel:

Make you a new heart and a new spirit; why will ye die, O house of Israel (Ezekiel 18:31).

In the same:

A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I give in the midst of you (Ezekiel 36:26).

And in David:

Create for me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in the midst of me. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart God doth not despise (Psalms 51:10, 17).

In these passages "heart" signifies the good of love, and "spirit" the truth of faith, from which man has spiritual life; for there are two things that make all of man's life, namely, good and truth; these two when united in man make his spiritual life.

(References: Psalms 51:10-12)

[3] As "heart" signifies good, and "spirit" truth, both received in the life, so "heart," in the contrary sense, signifies evil, and "spirit" falsity; for most expressions in the Word have also a contrary sense. In this sense "heart" and "spirit" are mentioned, in David:

A generation that doth not set its heart aright, neither is its spirit steadfast with God (Psalms 78:8).

And in Ezekiel:

Every heart shall melt, and every spirit shall faint (Ezekiel 21:7).

In Moses:

Jehovah hardened the spirit of the king of Heshbon, and confirmed his heart (Deuteronomy 2:30).

In Isaiah:

Conceive chaff, bring forth stubble; your spirit fire shall devour (Isaiah 33:11).

In Ezekiel:

Woe unto the foolish prophets that go away after their own spirit (Ezekiel 13:3).

In the same:

That which ascendeth upon your spirit shall never come to pass (Ezekiel 20:32).

[4] From this it is clear that the whole of man's life is meant by "heart and spirit;" and as his whole life refers itself to these two, namely, to good and truth, and in a spiritual sense to love and faith, so these two lives of man are meant by "heart and spirit." From this also it is that "heart and spirit" signify the will and the understanding of man; since these two faculties in man make all his life; nowhere else than in these has man life; and for the reason that the will is the receptacle of good and its love, or of evil and its love; and the understanding is the receptacle of truth and 1 its faith, or of falsity and its faith; and as has been said, all things with man refer themselves to good and truth, or to evil and falsity, and in a spiritual sense to love and faith (see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 28-35). In reference to man, "spirit" signifies truth or falsity, and man's life from one or the other; because by "spirit" is meant especially the spirit that is in man and that thinks, and it thinks 2 either from truths or from falsities. But as was said just above, there are two things that make the life of man, understanding and will; the life of the understanding is to think either from truths or from falsities, and the life of the will is to affect or inflame with love those things that the understanding thinks. These two lives of man correspond to the two lives of his body, which are the life of the respiration of the lungs, and the life of the pulse of the heart; it is by this correspondence that spirit and body with man are united (see above, n. 167; and in the work on Heaven and Hell 446-447).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 167)

[5] Because of this correspondence the word that means spirit in the Hebrew, as well as in many other languages, means wind or breath; so also to expire [to breathe out] is expressed by the term "to give up the spirit [breath, or ghost];" and this also in the Word; as in David:

I gathered in 3 their spirit, he expired (Psalms 104:29).

In Ezekiel:

The Lord Jehovih said to the dry bones, Behold I bring spirit into you, that ye may live; and the Lord Jehovih said, From the four winds come, O spirit, and breathe into these slain; and the spirit came into them, and they revived (Ezekiel 37:5, 9-10).

In Revelation:

The two witnesses were slain by the beast that cometh up out of the abyss; but after the three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them, so that they stood upon their feet (Revelation 11:7, 11).

In Luke:

Jesus, taking the hand of the dead girl, called, saying, Maiden, arise. Therefore her spirit came again, and she rose up immediately (Luke 8:54-55).

[6] When these passages are understood it can be seen what "spirit" signifies, when predicated of man, in many places in the Word, of which I will cite only these. In John:

Except one be born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the spirit (John 3:5, 8).

The Lord breathed on the disciples, and said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).

And in the book of Genesis:

Jehovah breathed into man's nostrils the breath of lives (Genesis 2:7);

besides other places.

(References: John 20:21-22)

[7] That "spirit," in the spiritual sense, signifies truth, and man's life therefrom, which is intelligence, is clear from the following passages. In John:

The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

In Daniel:

In him was an excellent spirit of knowledge and understanding. I have heard of thee that the spirit of God is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee (Daniel 5:12, 14).

In Moses:

Thou shalt speak to all the wise in heart, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom (Exodus 28:3).

In Luke:

John grew, and waxed strong in spirit (Luke 1:80).

And concerning the Lord:

The child Jesus grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was filled with wisdom (Luke 2:40).

[8] When it is known what "spirit," in reference to man, signifies, it can be known what it signifies when predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, to whom are attributed all things that a man has, as face, eyes, ears, arms, hands, as also heart and soul, and so also a spirit, which in the Word is called "the Spirit of God," "the Spirit of Jehovah," "the Spirit of His nostrils," "the Spirit of His mouth," "the Spirit of truth," "the Spirit of holiness," and "the Holy Spirit." That "spirit" means Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is plain from many passages in the Word. Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is "the Spirit of God," because from it men have all their life; and those who receive that Divine truth in faith and life have heavenly life. That this is "the Spirit of God" the Lord Himself teaches. In John:

The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life (John 6:63).

In Isaiah:

There went forth 4 a shoot out of the stock of Jesse; the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and intelligence, the spirit of counsel and of might (Isaiah 11:1, 2). In the same:

I have given My spirit unto Him: He shall bring forth judgment to the nations (Isaiah 42:1).

In the same:

He shall come like a flood; the spirit of Jehovah shall lift up a standard against Him (Isaiah 59:19).

In the same:

The spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon me, therefore Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor (Isaiah 61:1). In John:

He whom the Father hath sent speaketh the words of God, for not by measure hath God given the spirit (John 3:34).

These things are said of the Lord.

(References: Isaiah 11:1-2; John 16:13-14)

[9] That the Holy Spirit is Divine truth proceeding from the Lord can be seen in John:

I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go away I will send Him unto you. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He shall guide you into all truth; He shall not speak from Himself, but He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you (John 16:7, 13, 14).

That "the Comforter (Paraclete)" here is Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is plainly evident, for it is said that the Lord Himself spoke to them the "truth," and that, when He should go away, He would send the Comforter, the "Spirit of truth," who should "guide them into all truth," and that He would "not speak from Himself," but from the Lord. It is said "He shall take of Mine," because Divine truth proceeds from the Lord, and what proceeds is called "Mine;" for the Lord Himself is Divine love; and what proceeds from Him is Divine truth, thus it is His (see in the work on Heaven and Hell 139, 140, and the preceding numbers; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 307). "Being sent" and "sending" mean proceeding and going forth (see Arcana Coelestia., n. 2397, 4710, 6831, 10561); the same is meant here by "I will send Him to you." That "the Comforter" is the Holy Spirit is evident in John:

The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, He shall teach you all things (John 14:26).

(References: Heaven and Hell 139-140; John 16:13-14)

[10] In the same:

Jesus cried with a great voice, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This He saith of the spirit which they that believe on Him were to receive; the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).

It is clear from this that the Holy Spirit is Divine truth, proceeding from the Lord, which flows in with man, both immediately from the Lord Himself and mediately through angels and spirits; for the Lord says first, that "he who believes on Him, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water," and then that "He spake this of the spirit which they were to receive;" for "water" in the spiritual sense, signifies truth, and "rivers of living water," Divine truth from the Lord in abundance; the like is therefore meant by "the spirit which they were to receive." (That "water" signifies truth," and "living water" Divine truth," see above, n. 71.) And as Divine truth proceeds from the glorified Human of the Lord and not immediately from the Divine Itself, for this was glorified in Itself from eternity, so it is here said, "the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified." That to "glorify" is to make Divine, and that the Lord fully glorified His Human, that is, made it Divine by His last temptation and victory on the cross, see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 293-295, 300-306).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 71)

[11] It is greatly wondered at in heaven that the man of the church does not know that the Holy Spirit, which is Divine truth, proceeds from the Lord's Human, and not immediately from His Divine, when yet the doctrine received in the whole Christian world teaches that:

As is the Father so also is the Son, uncreate, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, God, Lord; neither of them first or last, nor greatest or least. Christ is God and man: God from the nature of the Father, and man from the nature of the mother; but although He is God and man, yet they are not two, but one Christ; He is one, but not by changing the Divine into the Human but the Divine took the Human to Itself. He is altogether one, not by a mingling of two natures, but He is a single person, because as body and soul are one man, so God and man is one Christ. (This from the Creed of Athanasius).

Now as the Divine and the Human of the Lord are not two, but a single person, and are united as soul and body, it may be known that the Divine which is called the Holy Spirit goes out and proceeds from His Divine through the Human, thus from the Divine Human; for nothing whatever can go forth from the body except from the soul through the body, since all the life of the body is from its soul. And since "As is the Father so is the Son, uncreate, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, God and Lord, and neither of them is first or last, nor greatest nor least," it follows that the proceeding Divine, which is called the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Divine Itself of the Lord through His Human, and not from another Divine that is called the Father; for the Lord teaches that the Father and He are one, and that the Father is in Him and He in the Father (see below, n. 200. But the reason why most of those in the Christian world think otherwise in their hearts, and thence believe otherwise, is, the angels said, because they think of the Lord's Human as separate from His Divine, although this is contrary to the doctrine which teaches that the Divine and the Human of the Lord are not two persons, but a single person, united as soul and body. That this should be the doctrine of the whole Christian world was provided by the Lord, because it is the essential of the church, and the essential of the salvation of all. But they have divided the Divine and the Human of the Lord into two natures, and have said that the Lord is God from the nature of the Father, and man from the nature of the mother, because they do not know that when the Lord fully glorified His Human He put off the human from the mother, and put on a Human from the Father (according to what is shown in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 295. That this distinction was made in a certain council by those who were there, for the pope's sake, that he might be acknowledged as the Lord's vicar, see Arcana Coelestia 4738).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 200)

[12] That the "Spirit of God" is Divine truth, and thence spiritual life to the man who receives it, is further evident from these passages. In Micah:

I am full of power with the spirit of Jehovah and of judgment (Micah 3:8).

And in Isaiah:

I will pour out waters upon him that is thirsty, and streams upon the dry ground, and My spirit upon thy seed (Isaiah 44:3).

In that day shall Jehovah Zebaoth be for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for might to them (Isaiah 28:5-6.

In Ezekiel:

And ye shall know that I will put my spirit in you that ye may live (Ezekiel 37:14).

In Joel:

I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and upon the menservants and upon the maidservants (Joel 2:28).

In Revelation:

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).

Since the "Spirit of God" signifies Divine truth, it is called:

The spirit of the mouth of Jehovah (Psalms 33:6);

The spirit of His lips (Isaiah 11:4);

The breath of God and the spirit of His nostrils (Lamentations 4:20; Psalms 18:16; Job 4:9).

In Matthew:

John said, I baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that cometh after me, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11).

In the spiritual sense, "to baptize" signifies to regenerate; the "Holy Spirit" is Divine truth, and "fire" Divine good. (That to "baptize" signifies to regenerate, see above, n. 71; and that "fire" signifies the good of love, n. 68)

(References: Acts of the Apostles 4:9; Ezekiel 37:13-14; Joel 2:28-29; Psalms 18:15; The Apocalypse Explained 68, 71)

[13] From this it can now be seen what is meant by the words of the Lord to His disciples:

Go ye, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

Here "the Father" is the Divine Itself, "the Son" is the Divine Human, and "the Holy Spirit" is the proceeding Divine which is Divine truth; thus there is one Divine, and yet there is a trine. That this is so the Lord teaches in John:

Henceforth ye know the Father, and have seen Him. He that seeth Me seeth the Father. I am in the Father, and the Father in Me (John 14:7, 9-10).

[14] Since the proceeding Divine, which is Divine truth, flows in with men immediately, as well as mediately through angels and spirits, it is believed that the Holy Spirit is a third person, distinct from the two called Father and Son. But I can affirm that no one in heaven knows any other Holy Divine than the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. And since Divine truth is also communicated to men mediately through angels, it is said in David:

Jehovah God maketh His angels spirits (Psalms 104:1, 4).

These passages have been cited that it may be known that "the seven spirits" signify all the truths of heaven and of the church from the Lord. It is made still more manifest that "the seven spirits" are all the truths of heaven and of the church, from these passages in Revelation:

The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne are the seven spirits of God (Revelation 4:5).

And further:

In the midst of the elders a Lamb standing, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (Revelation 5:6).

It is plain that the spirits here are not spirits, from the fact that the "lamps" and the "eyes of the Lamb" are called spirits. "Lamps" signify Divine truths, and "eyes" the understanding of truth; and when predicated of the Lord, His Divine wisdom and intelligence (see above, n. 152.


1.  The Latin has "or," but the context requires "and."

2.  The Latin for "thinks either" has "either thinks either."

3.  For "I gathered in" the Hebrew has "thou gatherest in. "

4.  For "there went forth," the Hebrew has, "There shall go forth," as found in Arcana Coelestia 2826, 9818; Apocalypse Revealed 46, 962.


(References: Ezekiel 37:13-14; Joel 2:28-29; John 20:21-22; Psalms 51:10-12; Revelation 3:1; The Apocalypse Explained 152)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 181, 204, 230, 274, 318, 343, 665, 684, 831, 922

Other New Christian Commentary

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