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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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

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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.

 Compare the Easter Story in 4 Gospels
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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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 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 #419

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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419. That the wind should not blow, signifies that the good be not injured, and the evil be not cast out before the day. This is evident from the signification of "wind," as meaning the Divine proceeding, which is Divine good united to Divine truth; therefore "that the wind should not blow" signifies that the influx might be moderate and gentle; "the wind not blowing upon the earth" signifies that the good may not be injured, and the evil cast out before the day, because the separations of the good from the evil and the casting out of the evil in the spiritual world are effected by various degrees of moderation and intensity of the Divine proceeding from the Lord as a sun. When this flows in moderately the good are separated from the evil, and when it flows in intensely the evil are cast out; and for the following reasons: when the Divine from the Lord flows in moderately there is everywhere tranquillity and serenity, wherein all appear such as they are in respect to the state of their good, for all then stand forth in light; consequently those who are in good from a spiritual origin are then separated from those who are in good merely from a natural origin; for the Lord looks upon those who are in spiritual good and leads them, and thus separates them. Those who are in good from a spiritual origin are those referred to in what follows where they are said "to be sealed on their foreheads," for they are spiritual, and are angels of heaven; but those who are merely in good from a natural origin are not good because they are not spiritual, for the good appearing with them is evil, because it has regard to self and the world as an end. Such do good in external form with reference to their own glory, honor, and gain, and not with reference to the neighbor's good, consequently they do good only that they may be seen of men. Those who are merely natural are those who are "not sealed," and who are afterwards rejected. But when the Divine from the Lord flows in intensely, the goods with the evils are dispersed, because these goods are in themselves not goods but evils, and evils do not endure the influx of the Divine. This causes the externals in such to be closed up, and when these are closed up the interiors are opened, in which there is nothing except evils and falsities therefrom; and this brings them into pain, anguish, and torment, on account of which they cast themselves down into the hells, where there are evils and falsities like their own.

(References: Revelation 7:1)

[2] When the influx of the Divine is intensified, which occurs when the evil are to be cast out, then lower down in the spiritual world a wind springs up that blows strongly like a storm or tempest; this wind is what is called in the Word "the east wind" (of which presently). The casting down of the evil is described also in the Word by violent and impetuous winds, by storms, and by tempests. "The wind of Jehovah" has a similar signification as "the spirit of Jehovah," for the wind of respiration is meant, which is also called spirit (or breath). On this account in the Hebrew and many other languages spirit is expressed by the same word as wind. This is why the greater part of mankind have no other idea of spirit and of spirits than of wind like the wind of respiration; and from this have come the notions in the learned world also that spirits and angels are like wind in which there is merely a vital principle of thought; and this is the reason also that so few of these allow themselves to be persuaded that spirits and angels are men, endowed with body, face, and organs of sensation, like men on the earth. "Wind" and "spirit," in reference to man, signify the life of truth, or a life according to the truths or precepts of the Lord, because respiration, which pertains to the lungs, corresponds to that life, while the heart and its motion corresponds to the life of good. For there are two lives, which should make one in man, the life of truth and the life of good; the life of truth is the life of man's understanding, while the life of good is the life of his will; for truths have their seat in the understanding because these constitute the understanding, while goods have their seat in the will because these constitute the will. "Soul and heart," in the Word, when mentioned together, have a similar significance.

[3] From this it can be seen what is meant by "the wind" and "the spirit of Jehovah," namely, the Divine truth, and by "the four winds," Divine truth united to Divine good. Since wind means the wind or breath of respiration, and it signifies Divine truth and spiritual life with those who receive it, so this wind is called also "the breath of the nostrils of Jehovah," and also "the breath of His mouth," and "breathing;" as can be seen from the following passages. In Ezekiel:

And I saw, and upon the dry bones, sinews and flesh came up, and skin covered them above, yet there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy about the spirit, prophesy, son of man, and say to the spirit, Thus the Lord Jehovih hath said, Come from the four winds, O spirit, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live (Ezekiel 37:8, 9).

What is here signified by "the dry bones" was told in the preceding article, namely, those who have no spiritual life, or no life through Divine truth. The breathing in of this life by the Lord is signified by "Prophesy about the spirit, and say to the spirit, Come from the four winds, O spirit, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." Here "spirit" evidently means the breath of respiration, for there were sinews, flesh, and skin, but as yet no breathing; therefore it is said, "Say to the spirit, Breathe upon them." From this it can be seen that this "spirit" or "wind" signifies spiritual life. That common breathing was not meant is evident from its being said that "these dry bones were the house of Israel," meaning that the house of Israel was without spiritual life; and from its being said of them afterwards, "I will put My spirit in you, that ye may live, and I will place you in your own land that ye may live" (5 Ezekiel 37:14); which signifies that they are to be regenerated that a church may be made of them. Regeneration is effected by a life according to Divine truth, from which is spiritual life; and "to bring them back to the land" signifies that they may become a church, the land of Canaan signifying the church.

(References: Ezekiel 37:8-9)

[4] In Moses:

Jehovah God breathed into his nostrils 1 the soul of lives, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

Here, too, in the sense of the letter, the wind of breathing is meant, as it is said He "breathed into his nostrils;" but spiritual life, which is the life of intelligence and wisdom through Divine truth, is evidently meant, since it is said that He breathed into him "the soul of lives," and that thus man became "a living soul;" "the soul of lives" and "a living soul" meaning spiritual life; for man without that soul is called a dead man, although in respect to the body and the senses he is alive. This, too, makes evident that "soul," "spirit," and "wind" in the Word mean spiritual life.

[5] In John:

Jesus said to the disciples, Peace be unto you; as the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit (John 20:21, 22).

The Lord "breathed on them, and said to them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit," signifies the like, as Jehovah "breathed into Adam's nostrils the soul of lives" namely, spiritual life; for the Holy Spirit signifies Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, from which is spiritual life. That they should teach Divine truth from the Lord is signified by "as the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you;" for the Lord when He was in the world was Divine truth itself, which He taught from His Divine good which was in Him from conception. This Divine is what the Lord here and in other places calls "the Father;" and because when He went out of the world He united Divine truth to Divine good that in Him they might be one, and because thenceforth Divine truth proceeds from Him He said, "as the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you."

That the wind of respiration signifies spiritual life comes from correspondence (see Arcana Coelestia 3883-3896). The quality of all in the spiritual world is known from their respiration merely. Those who are in the life of the respiration of heaven are among the angels; but those who are not in that respiration, if they come into heaven, are unable to breathe there, and are therefore in anguish like that of suffocation (respecting which see also Arcana Coelestia 1119, 3887, 3889, 3 892, 3893). From this correspondence the term, "inspiration" is derived, and the prophets are called "inspired," and the Word is said to be "Divinely inspired."

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3892-3893; John 20:21-22)

[6] From all this it can be seen what is signified by the Lord's words in John:

Except one be born of the water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it willeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is everyone that is born of the spirit (John 3:5 (John 2:5), 7, 8).

"To be born again" means to be regenerated; and as man is regenerated by a life according to Divine truth, and all Divine truth through which man is regenerated proceeds from the Lord, and flows into him he knows not when, so it is said, "The wind bloweth where it willeth, and thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth," thus is described the life of man's spirit, which he has by regeneration, "wind" meaning the Divine truth through which he has that life. So long as he is in the world man is utterly ignorant of how Divine truth flows in from the Lord, for he then thinks from the natural man, and merely perceives a something that flows in from the spiritual man into the natural; this therefore is what is meant by "thou hearest the voice thereof, but knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth." The "water" of which man is born signifies truth from the Word, and the "spirit" a life according to it. (That "water" signifies truth, see above, n. 71)

(References: John 2:7-8, 3:7-8, John 3:8; The Apocalypse Explained 71)

[7] In Lamentations:

The breath [spiritus] of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was taken in their pits; of whom we had said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations (Lamentations 4:20).

"The anointed of Jehovah" here means the Lord in respect to Divine truth, for "the anointed of Jehovah" has a similar signification as a king. (That a "king" signifies in the highest sense the Lord in respect to Divine truth, see above, n. 31; and "the anointed of Jehovah" the same, n. 375.) This is why it is said "the breath of our nostrils, of whom we had said, Under his shadow we shall live;" for "the spirit and breath of the nostrils" signifies in the highest sense Divine truth, as has been said above. That Divine truth perished through falsities of evil is signified by "was taken in their pits;" "pits" meaning the falsities of evil.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 31, The Apocalypse Explained 375)

[8] Again in Lamentations:

Jehovah Thou hast heard my voice; hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry (Lamentations 3:56).

"To hide the ear at the breathing and at the cry" signifies at worship, confession, and prayers, which are from truths and from goods; for all worship, confession, and prayer must be from truths and goods; to be heard they must be from both; if they are from truths alone they are not heard, because there is no life in them; the life of truth is from good. "Breathing" is here predicated of truths, and "cry" of goods (that "cry" is predicated of goods will be seen elsewhere).

[9] In Moses:

Everything that had in its nostrils the breath of the spirit of lives, of all that was on the dry land, died (Genesis 7:22).

What these words signify in the sense of the letter everyone can see, namely, that all things upon the earth were destroyed by the flood, thus all men then living, except Noah and his sons; but what these words signify in the spiritual sense may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia 805, 806, where they are explained), namely, that "the breath of the spirit of lives in the nostrils" means spiritual life, which those had who were of the Most Ancient Church; for "the flood" signifies the end of that church and the Last Judgment, which took place when everything of the church was extinct. In David:

They have ears but they hear not; neither is there any breath [ventus] in their mouth (Psalms 135:17);

"no breath in their mouth" signifying that there was no truth in the thought, for "mouth" signifies thought.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 805-806)

[10] In Jeremiah:

The wild asses pant for breath like whales; their eyes were consumed because there was no herb (Jeremiah 14:6).

"To pant for breath like whales" signifies that there is no truth to be imbibed; "because there was no herb" means because there is no truth in the church. As the evil are cast down by a more powerful influx of Divine truth and good proceeding from the Lord as a sun, as has been said above, so the casting down of those who are in the falsities of evil is described also by "the breath of the nostrils of Jehovah." As in Isaiah:

Topheth is prepared of old; the pile thereof is fire and much wood made ready; the breath of Jehovah like a brook of brimstone doth kindle them (Isaiah 30:33).

In David:

The channels of waters appeared, and the foundations of the world were disclosed, at the rebuke of Jehovah, at the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils (Psalms 18:15).

In Moses:

By the breath of Thy nostrils the waters were heaped up; Thou didst blow with Thy wind, the sea covered them (Exodus 15:8, 10).

And in Job:

Plotters of iniquity, by the blast of God they perish, by the breath of His nostrils are they consumed (Acts of the Apostles 4:8, 9).

In all these passages "the blast," "the breath," and "the breathing of the nostrils of Jehovah" means the Divine proceeding, which disperses and casts down the evil when it flows in intensely and strongly; but respecting this influx more will be said in what follows, where "tempests," "storms," and "the east wind" are treated of.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 4:8-9; Jeremiah 14:5-6; Job 4:8-9)

[11] Again, that "the wind of the earth" also signifies the Divine proceeding is also from correspondence with the winds in the spiritual world; for there exist winds in the spiritual world also, and these arise from the determining of Divine influx, and arise in the lower parts of the earth there. In the heavens rarely any other than gentle winds are perceived; but with those who dwell lower down, upon the lands, winds are frequent, for they grow stronger as they descend; their direction is from the quarters into which the Divine inflows, especially from the north. Because the winds there are from a spiritual origin they also signify spiritual things, in general Divine truth, from which they exist. As in David:

Jehovah layeth the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He maketh the clouds His chariot; He walketh upon the wings of the wind; He maketh His angels winds, His ministers a flaming fire (Psalms 104:3, 4).

"Waters," "clouds," and "wings of the wind," signify Divine truth in ultimates, such as is the truth of the sense of the letter of the Word; because this is in ultimates, it is said "He layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters, He maketh the clouds His chariot, He walketh upon the wings of the wind;" "waters" meaning truths in ultimates, likewise "clouds," and "the wings of the wind" and "chariots" meaning the truth of doctrine; "He maketh His angels winds, and His ministers a flaming fire," signifies that He makes them to be receptions of Divine truth and Divine good; "angels" mean those who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom, and because such are recipients of Divine truth it is said "He maketh them winds;" while "ministers" mean those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom, and as these are recipients of the Divine good it is said "He maketh them a flaming fire;" "a flaming fire" signifying the good of love and the truth therefrom. (That those who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom are recipients of Divine truth, and those who are in the celestial kingdom recipients of Divine good, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 20-28; that angels are called "angels" from reception of Divine truth, see above, n. 130, 412; and that ministers are called "ministers" from the reception of Divine good, see also above, n. 155; and that "fire" signifies the good of love, n. 68)

(References: Psalms 104:3-4; The Apocalypse Explained 68, The Apocalypse Explained 130, The Apocalypse Explained 155, The Apocalypse Explained 412)

[12] In the same:

Jehovah bowed the heavens, He came down, and thick darkness was under His feet; and He rode upon a cherub, He did fly, and was borne upon the wings of the wind (Psalms 18:9, 10).

Jehovah "bowed the heavens, He came down," signifies visitation, which precedes the Last Judgment; "thick darkness under His feet" signifies the falsities of evil in lower things; "He rode upon a cherub, He did fly, and was borne upon the wings of the wind," signifies omnipresence with the Divine, "the wings of the wind" meaning Divine truth in ultimates (as above).

(References: Psalms 18:9-10)

[13] In Jeremiah:

The Maker of the earth by His power, He prepareth the world by His wisdom, by His intelligence He stretcheth out the heavens; at the voice that He uttereth there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He maketh the vapors to go up from the end of the earth; He maketh lightnings for the rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of His treasuries (10 :12, 13; 51:15, 16).

And in David:

He maketh the vapors to go up from the ends of the earth; He maketh lightnings for the rain; and He bringeth forth the wind out of His treasuries (Psalms 135:7).

This describes in the spiritual sense the reformation of man and the establishment of the church. Because of that reformation and establishment the Lord is called "the Maker of the earth," and elsewhere "the Former" and "Creator;" "earth" meaning the church. The Divine good, by which reformation is effected, is signified by "He prepareth the world by His wisdom;" "world" means the church, and is predicated of good. The Divine truth, which is also a means, is signified by "at the voice that He uttereth there is a multitude of waters in the heavens;" "the voice that He uttereth" signifying the influx of Divine truth, and "the multitude of waters in the heavens" reception; "waters" meaning truths. Ultimate truths, which are the knowledges from the sense of the letter of the Word, are signified by "the vapors from the ends of the earth;" spiritual truths therefrom are signified by "lightnings for the rain," "lightnings" called from the light of heaven, and "rain" from influx; thus reformation through Divine truth from the Lord is signified by "He bringeth forth the wind out of His treasuries." This is the meaning of all these things in the heavens.

(References: Jeremiah 10:12-13, Jeremiah 51:15-16)

[14] In David:

He casteth forth His hail like morsels; who can stand before His cold? He sendeth His word, He melteth them; He maketh His wind to blow, the waters flow. He declareth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and His judgments unto Israel (Psalms 147:17-19).

This, too, is a description of reformation, but in respect to the natural man. Here knowledges and cognitions which are in man before reformation are signified by "hail like morsels; who can stand before His cold?"-for man before reformation is utterly frigid, and that coldness is also plainly felt when the Divine flows in out of heaven; and as such coldnesses are dissipated by the reception of Divine good and Divine truth, thus by reformation, it is said, "He sendeth His word, He melteth them; He maketh His wind to blow, the waters flow;" "word" signifying Divine good united to Divine truth, "wind" Divine truth, and "the waters flow," the reception of truth; and this being the signification of these words it is added, "He declareth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and judgments unto Israel;" "Jacob" and "Israel" signifying the church, "Jacob" the church that is in good, and "Israel" the church that is in truths; "statutes and judgments" mean external and internal truths which are from good.

[15] In the same:

Praise Jehovah, fire and hail, snow and vapor; stormy wind doing His word (Psalms 148:7, 8).

"Fire and hail, snow and vapor, and wind," evidently signify something different from these, for why should it be said of such things in the Divine Word that "they praised Jehovah?" But "fire and hail, and snow and vapors" signify the delights of the loves of the natural man, and its knowledges and cognitions; for these are "fire and hail, and snow and vapor" before man is reformed and made spiritual, the sphere of life of such when it flows out from them, presenting in the spiritual world appearances like these; and the worship of the Lord from these things is signified by their "praising Jehovah," "to praise" meaning to worship; "stormy wind" signifies Divine truth in respect to reception; it is therefore said "stormy wind doing His word;" "doing His word" signifying to receive into life the things of doctrine.

(References: Psalms 148:7-8)

[16] As all things in the Word have also a contrary sense, so has "wind," and in that sense it signifies falsity, as in the following passages. In Isaiah:

Behold they are all iniquity, their works are nothing; their molten images are wind and a void (Isaiah 41:29).

"Wind and a void" mean the falsities of evil and the evils of falsity; "wind" meaning the falsities of evil, and "a void" the evils of falsity; for where there is a void and emptiness, that is, absence of good and truth, there are evil and falsity; "wind" signifies where there are falsities, as is evident from its being said "they are all iniquity, their works are nothing;" also from its being said "their molten images are wind and a void," for "molten images" signify such things as man hatches out of self-intelligence, and these are all falsities and evils. In Jeremiah:

And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them (Jeremiah 5:13).

"Prophets" signify those who teach truths, and in an abstract sense the truths of doctrine, here the falsities of doctrine; falsities are signified by "wind;" therefore it is added, "the word is not in them," "word" signifying Divine truth.

[17] In the same:

I will scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness (Jeremiah 13:24).

"The wind of the wilderness" signifies where there is no truth, and therefore falsity, for "wilderness" in the Word signifies where there is no good because there is no truth. In the same:

The wind shall feed all thy shepherds, and thy lovers shall go into captivity (Jeremiah 22:22).

"Shepherds" in the Word signify those who teach the good of life and lead to it, which is done by means of truths; but here "shepherds" mean those who do not teach the good of life, still less lead to it, because they are in falsities; this is meant by "the wind shall feed all thy shepherds;" "wind" meaning the falsity which they seize upon and love; "the lovers" who shall go into captivity, signify the delights of the loves of self and the world, and thence the delights of the evil; "lovers" meaning such delights, and "captivity" detention in the hells.

[18] In Hosea:

Ephraim feedeth on wind, and pursueth the east wind; every day he multiplieth lying and devastation, and they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried down into Egypt (Hosea 12:1).

"Ephraim" signifies the intellectual of the church; "Assyria" reasoning, and "Egypt" the knowing faculty (scientificum); therefore "Ephraim feedeth on wind, and pursueth the east wind," signifies that the intelligent in the church imbue themselves with falsities which altogether disperse truths; "wind" meaning falsity, and "east wind" falsity drying up and dispersing truths. Because of this signification of "wind" and "east wind" it is added, "every day he multiplieth lying and devastation;" "lying" meaning falsity, and "devastation" the dispersion of truth; "they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried down into Egypt," signifies that by reasonings from knowledges (scientifica) falsely applied they pervert the truths and goods of the church; "to make a covenant with Assyria" signifying to reason from falsities and to destroy truths, and "to carry down oil into Egypt" signifying to destroy the good of the church by knowledges [scientifica]; for he who is in principles of falsity applies to them the knowledges [scientifica] he has imbibed from childhood, since his understanding sees nothing else. For the understanding is formed either of truths or of falsities; if of truths, man sees truths, if of falsities he sees falsities; he sees them in the natural man, in the memory of which knowledges [scientifica] have their seat; and from these he selects such as favor his principles, and those that do not favor them he either perverts or rejects.

[19] In the same:

Ephraim is joined to idols. Their wine is gone; in whoring they have committed whoredom; they are given up to love; her shields give disgrace. The wind hath bound her up in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices (Hosea 4:17-19).

"Ephraim" signifies the church in respect to the understanding of truth; here that it has no understanding of truth but of falsity; the falsities of the church are signified by "idols;" which makes clear what is signified by "Ephraim is joined to idols;" "the wind in its wings" signifies reasoning from fallacies, from which are falsities. (What the rest signifies see above, n. 283, and 376, where it is explained.)

Wind in the wings (Zechariah 5:9);

has a similar meaning. In Jeremiah:

Their camels shall be for prey, and the multitude of their cattle for a spoil; and I will disperse them to every wind, them that are the cut off of the corner (4 Jeremiah 49:32).

"To disperse them to every wind" signifies into every falsity and evil when truths and goods are destroyed. (The rest may be seen explained above, n. 417

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 283, The Apocalypse Explained 376, The Apocalypse Explained 417)

[20] In Ezekiel:

A third part thou shalt disperse to the wind, and I will draw out a sword after them (Ezekiel 5:2, 12).

This is said of the hairs of the head and of the beard, which the prophet, by command, shaved off with a razor; and those hairs signify the ultimate of truth in the church, for the whole heaven and the whole church are before the Lord as one man; whence all things of heaven and of the church correspond to all things of man, both to those without man and to those within him (on which correspondence, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 87-102); therefore the hairs of the head and of the beard, as they are the ultimate things of man, correspond to the ultimates of truth and good. The ultimates of truth and good are such as are the ultimate truths of the sense of the letter of the Word. That these ultimates were perverted, falsified, and adulterated by the Jews is signified by what is here said of the hairs of the prophet's head and beard. "A third part thereof he should disperse unto every wind" signifies the destruction of all truth; and because when truth is destroyed mere falsities are seized on, it is added, "I will draw out a sword after them;" "sword" signifying the destruction of truth by falsity (see above, n. 131. Unless this signification of "hairs" is known, who could understand what is involved in the command to the prophet that "he should shave off the hairs of his head and of his beard, and a third part he should burn in the midst of the city, a third part he should smite with a sword round about it, and a third part he should disperse unto every wind, and that a sword should be drawn out after them"?

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 131)

[21] That this signifies the falsification of truth by the Jews is clearly evident from what follows in the same chapter, where among other things it is said:

This is Jerusalem; she hath altered My judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and My statutes more than the lands that are round about her (Ezekiel 5:5, 6).

In the same:

All his bands I will disperse unto every wind; and I will draw out the sword after them (Ezekiel 12:14).

This has a similar signification. In Matthew:

The rain descended and the winds blew and beat upon that house, yet it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock (Matthew 7:24, 25, 27).

"The rain descended and the winds blew" signifies temptations, and consequently falsities rushing in; for spiritual temptations are nothing else than infestations of the mind by falsities and evils, so here, too, "winds" signify falsities. (The rest may be seen explained above, n. 411

(References: Ezekiel 5:5-6; Matthew 7:24-25; The Apocalypse Explained 411)

[22] It has been said above, that in the spiritual world, as in the natural world, strong winds and tempests spring up; but the tempests in the spiritual world spring from the influx of the Divine into the parts below, where those are who are in evils and falsities; as that influx descends from the heavens towards the lands that lie below, it becomes more dense and appears like clouds, and with the evil, dense and dark according to the quantity and quality of the evil. These clouds are appearances of falsity from evil, arising from the spheres of their life; for round about every spirit and angel there is a sphere of life. When from the Lord as a sun the Divine is sent forth powerfully and flows into these dense and dark clouds, a tempest arises which is perceived by spirits there in like manner as tempests on the earth are perceived by men. It has at different times been granted me to perceive these tempests and also the east wind by which the evil were dispersed and cast into the hells, when the Last Judgment was in progress. From this it can be seen what "tempests," "storms," and "violent winds" signify in the following passages. In Isaiah:

Thou shalt disperse them, that the wind may carry them away and the tempest scatter them (Isaiah 41:16).

In Jeremiah:

Behold, 2 the tempest of Jehovah has gone forth in wrath, a whirling tempest; it shall hurl itself upon the head of the wicked (Jeremiah 23:19; 30:23).

In David:

I will speed my escape from the rushing wind, from the tempest (Psalms 55:8).

In the same:

O my God, pursue them with Thy tempest, and affright them with Thy storm (Psalms 83:13, 15).

In Ezekiel:

I will make a wind of tempests to break through in My wrath, and in Mine anger there shall be an overflowing rain, for a consummation (Ezekiel 13:13).

In Jeremiah:

Evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest shall be stirred up from the sides of the earth (Jeremiah 25:32).

In Isaiah:

Thou shalt be visited of Jehovah of Hosts with tempest, storm and with the flame of a devouring fire (Isaiah 29:6).

In Amos:

I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with a tempest in the day of storm (Amos 1:14).

In Nahum:

Jehovah hath His way in the storm and in the tempest (Nahum 1:3).

In Zechariah:

The Lord Jehovih shall blow with the trumpet, and shall go with tempests of the south (Zechariah 9:14).

In David:

Upon the wicked a wind of storm, the portion of the cup of the wicked (Psalms 11:6).

In the same:

Our God shall come, and shall not be silent; about Him the tempest shall blow violently (Psalms 50:3).

In Hosea:

They sow the wind, therefore they shall reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).

In these passages "tempest" and "storm" signify the dispersion of falsities and evils, because those who are in the falsities of evil are cast down into hell by a tempestuous wind.

[23] In David:

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do work in many waters. And He spake, and maketh the wind of the tempest to stand, and He raised up its waves on high. He made the tempest to stand still, that their waves might be hushed (Psalms 107:23, 25, 29).

This treats of temptations and of the deliverance from them. "The wind of the tempest," and thus "the waves of the sea lifted up," signify temptations; and as spiritual temptations come through falsities breaking into the thoughts, which is the source of remorse of conscience and grief of mind and spirit, these are signified by "the wind of the tempest stood, and He raised up its waves on high;" deliverance from them is signified by "He made the tempest to stand still, that the waves might be hushed."

[24] The same is signified by these words in Mark:

There arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was now filling. But Jesus was in the stern, slumbering on a pillow; and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Carest Thou not that we perish? And He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Be still, be dumb. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm (Mark 4:37-39).

And in Luke:

As they sailed Jesus fell asleep; and there came down a storm of wind on the lake, and they were filling 3 [with water], and were in danger; and coming to Him they awoke Him, saying, Master, Master, we perish. And having awakened, He rebuked the wind and the raging of the sea; and they ceased, and there was a calm (8 :23, 24).

This miracle of the Lord, like all the rest, involves arcana of heaven and interior things of the church. The difference between Divine miracles and those not Divine is that Divine miracles also signify Divine things, because the Divine is in them, while miracles not Divine signify nothing, because there is nothing of the Divine within them; and moreover, in the description of the Divine miracles in the Word, and in every particular thereof, there is a spiritual sense. This miracle involves spiritual temptations; "a great storm of wind, so that the waves beat into the boat, and it was filling," signifies such temptations; and that when they were in extreme fear, "Jesus awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Be still, be dumb; and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm," signifies deliverance from temptations. Moreover, every single word here contains a spiritual sense; but this is not the place to unfold it particularly, but only to note that the "storm" and "tempest of wind" signify temptations, for these are irruptions of falsities, or inundations of the mind by falsities. This, too, is plain from the rebuke of the wind and the waves, and from the words of the Lord to the sea, "Be still, be dumb," as if He were speaking to those things or those persons that induce temptations.

(References: Luke 8:23-24)

[25] Furthermore, the winds that spring up in the spiritual world appear to arise there from different quarters, some from the south, some from the north, and some from the east; those from the south disperse truths with such as are in falsities, and those from the east disperse goods with such as are in evils. The winds disperse these because the winds spring from a powerful and strong influx of the Divine through the heavens into the parts below, and where the influx enters it fills truths and goods, that is, it fills the minds and spirits of those who are in truths and goods with the Divine; therefore those, the interiors of whose mind and spirit consist merely of falsities and evils, while exteriorly truths are mixed with falsities and goods are mixed with evils, cannot endure such influx from the Divine, consequently they withdraw into their falsities and evils which they love, and reject the truths and goods, which they do not love except for the sake of self and appearance.

[26] This makes clear what effect is there produced by the wind coming from the east, which is called "the east wind," namely, that with the evil it disperses all the goods and truths which they presented in external form before the world, and all the truths which they talked about for the sake of appearances. This is why withering and drying up are ascribed to that wind, "withered" signifying where there is no good, and "dried up" where there is no truth, as can be seen from passages in the Word where that wind is mentioned. As in Ezekiel:

Behold the vine planted, when the east wind shall touch it, in drying up shall it not dry up? (Ezekiel 17:10).

In the same:

The vine was plucked up in Mine anger, she was cast down to the earth, and the east wind withered her fruit; and the rods of her strength were broken and withered (Ezekiel 19:12).

In Hosea:

Ephraim, fierce among his brethren; an east wind shall come, the wind of Jehovah coming up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up; he shall plunder the treasure of every vessel of desire (Hosea 13:15).

In Jonah:

And it came to pass when the sun arose that God prepared a scorching east wind (Jonah 4:8).

[27] Moreover, the east wind also destroys all things where the evil are, their lands, their habitations, and their treasures (as may be seen in the little work on The Last Judgment 61); it destroys because the lands, habitations, and treasures in the spiritual world are correspondences; therefore when these perish the things that correspond also perish; on this account, when a land in that world on which the evil dwell is destroyed there rises up the aspect of a new land for the good. Because there is such a force in the east wind in the spiritual world, so for the sake of the correspondence:

An east wind was brought by which the waters of the Red Sea were dried up (Exodus 14:21);

And that brought on the locusts (Exodus 10:13);

It is called a hard wind (Isaiah 27:8);

A wind that broke the ships of Tarshish (Psalms 48:7);

A wind that broke Tyre in the heart of the seas (Ezekiel 27:26);

And that scattered enemies (Jeremiah 18:17).


1.  Photolithograph has "soul," for "nostrils." Elsewhere Swedenborg has "nostrils," as in AC 94, 3623, 8286, etc.

2.  Photolithograph has "out of," Hebrew "behold."

3.  Photolithograph has "it was filling."


(References: Jeremiah 14:5-6; John 3:7-8; Revelation 7:1)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 415, 425, 426, 489, 493, 497, 518, 625, 654, 657, 665, 681, 687, 849, 850, 1082

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