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 Christian Religion 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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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:




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Genesis 43:23

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the first
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first
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day of
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Week
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doors
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shut
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disciples
When we read the Gospels and see Jesus addressing the disciples, we assume His words are meant for us as well. And indeed they are!...

fear
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jews
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came
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midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

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
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hands
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Side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

Glad
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

the Lord
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father
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send
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holy
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sins
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remit
'To forgive seven times' signifies forgiving at all times.

retain
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one
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twelve
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called
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see
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hand
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Put
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believe
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eight
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days
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reach
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my lord
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God
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blessed
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many
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signs
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written
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christ
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son
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son of god
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life
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name
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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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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

 

Arcana Coelestia #6674

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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6674. 'Of whom the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah' means the nature and state of the natural where that factual knowledge resided. This is clear from the meaning of 'the name' as the essential nature, dealt with in 144, 145, 1896, 2009, and also the state, 1946, 2643, 3422, 4298. For the names contained in the Word all serve to mean different realities, each name embodying in a nutshell all the characteristics, thus the nature and state of that reality to which it refers. Here therefore the names Shiphrah and Puah mean the nature and state of the natural where true factual knowledge resides since this is the reality to which those names refer, as is evident from what appears immediately before this in 6673. A person who is unaware of the fact that a name serves to mean the nature and state of the reality to which it refers can only think that no more than the name is meant when that name is mentioned.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 144-145)


[2] Thus he can only think that when the Lord speaks of His name no more than this is meant, when in fact what is meant is the essential nature of the worship of Him, that is to say, every aspect of faith and charity through which He is to be worshipped, as in Matthew,

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

Not the name is meant here, but worship flowing from faith and charity. In John,

As many as received Him, to them He gave power to be sons of God, to those believing in His name. John 1:12.

Here also 'name' is used to mean faith and charity from which the Lord is worshipped. In the same gospel,

These things have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:31.

Here the meaning is similar.

[3] In the same gospel,

If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:13-14.

And elsewhere,

Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give it to you. John 15:16-17; 16:23-24.

The real meaning here is not that they were to ask the Father in the Lord's name, but that they were to ask the Lord Himself. For no access lies open to Divine Good, which is the Father, 3704, except through the Lord's Divine Human, as the various Churches also well know. This being so, asking the Lord Himself is a request made in accordance with the truths of faith; and if the request is indeed made in accord with them it is granted, as He Himself also says in the place in John quoted immediately before - If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. This matter is made even clearer by the fact that the Lord is meant by Jehovah's 'name', when mentioned as follows in Moses,

I send an angel before you to guard you on the way. Take notice of His face, and hearken to His voice, and do not provoke Him, since My name is in the midst of Him. Exodus 23:20-21.

(References: John 14:14, 15:16)


[4] In John,

Father, glorify Your name. A voice came from heaven, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again. John 12:28.

In the same gospel,

I have manifested Your name to the men (homo) whom You gave to Me out of the world. I made known to them Your name, and I will make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them. John 17:6, 26.

From these quotations it is evident that the Lord's Divine Human is Jehovah's name or whole essential nature. Consequently all Divine worship begins in the Divine Human; and the Divine Human is what one is to worship, for by worshipping this one worships the Divine Himself, no thought of whom can otherwise be formed. And if no such thought can be formed, there can be no communion with Him either.

[5] The truth that the Lord's 'name' is everything constituting the faith and love through which He is to be worshipped is still further evident from the following places: In Matthew,

You will be hated by everyone for My name's sake. Matthew 10:22.

In the same gospel,

He who receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Matthew 18:5.

In the same gospel,

Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields, for My name's sake, will receive a hundredfold. Matthew 19:29.

In the same gospel,

They shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Matthew 21:9.

In Luke,

Truly I tell you; for you will not see Me until [the time] comes so that you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Luke 13:35.

In Mark,

Whoever gives you drink from a cup of water in My name because you are Christ's, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward. Mark 9:41.

In Luke,

The seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are obedient to us in Your name. Jesus said to them, Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are obedient to you, but rejoice rather that your names have been written in heaven. Luke 10:17, 20.

'Names written in heaven' are not those people's their faith and charity.

[6] Much the same is meant by 'names written in the Apocalypse,

You have a few names also in Sardis, who have not soiled their garments. He who conquers will be clad in white garments and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; and I will confess his name before the Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:4-5.

Like wise in John,

The one entering by the door is the shepherd of the sheep; he calls his own sheep by name. John 10:2-3.

In Exodus,

Jehovah said to Moses, I know you by name. Exodus 33:12, 17.

In John,

Many believed in His name, seeing His signs which He did. John 2:13.

(References: John 2:23)


[7] In the same gospel,

He who believes in Him is not judged: but he who does not believe is judged already because he has not be lifted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18.

In Isaiah,

They will fear the name of Jehovah from the west. Isaiah 59:19.

In Micah,

All the peoples walk in the name of their God and we will walk in the name of our God. Micah 4:5.

In Moses it says they were to worship Jehovah God in the place which He would choose and in which He would put His name. Deuteronomy 12:5, 11, 14. Similar phrases occur in Isaiah 18:7 and Jeremiah 7:12, and in many other places besides these, such as Isaiah 26:8, 13; 41:25; 43:7; 49:1; 50:10; 52:5; 26:16; Ezekiel 20:14, 44; 36:21-23; Micah 5:4; Malachi 1:11; Deuteronomy 10:8; Revelation 2:17; 3:12; 13:8; 14:11; 15:2; 17:8; 19:12-13, 16; 22:3-4.

(References: Deuteronomy 21:5, 21:11, 21:14; Isaiah 62:2; Jeremiah 23:27, 26:16; Revelation 14:10)


[8] The fact that Jehovah's name means everything involved in the worship of Him, thus in the highest sense everything that goes out from the Lord, is clear in the Blessing,

Jehovah bless you and keep you;

Jehovah make His face shine upon you and be merciful to you;

Jehovah lift up His face upon you and give you peace.

So shall they put My name upon the sons of Israel. Numbers 6:23-27.

From all this one may now see what is meant by the following commandment in the Decalogue,

You shall not take the name of your God in vain, for Jehovah will not hold him innocent who has taken His name in vain. Exodus 20:7.

One may likewise see what is meant in the Lord's Prayer by hallowed be Your name, Matthew 6:9.

(References: Exodus 1:15)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 6752, 6795, 6877, 6887, 7167, 7194, 7456, 7550, 8274, 8520, 8587, 8650, 8882, 8938, 9310, 9429, 9674, 9842, 10217, 10329, 10562, 10615, 10646, 10683

The White Horse 1


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 102

Other New Christian Commentary

Explanation of Matthew 21:22 1

Ask 1

Name 1

Puah and Shiprhah 1

Shiphrah and Puah 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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


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