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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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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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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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 #9818

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9818. 'Whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom' means who have Divine Truth inscribed upon them. This is clear from the meaning of 'the spirit of wisdom', when used in reference to those governed by celestial good, as Divine Truth, dealt with below. People are said to be filled with it when it is inscribed permanently on them. The situation is that those in the Lord's celestial kingdom are acquainted with truths not as a result of coming to know and consequently believe them, but as a result of inward perception; for they are governed by the good of love received from the Lord, and this good has all truths rooted within it. The actual good itself has been implanted in the will part of their minds, and truth springing from it in the understanding part. And with these people the will and understanding parts act altogether as one, quite differently from the way the two parts act with those who are in the spiritual kingdom. So it is that the understanding part of the mind in those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom serves to give them not a knowledge but a perception of truths. For the good implanted in the will presents itself - its inward nature and its outward form - in the understanding, and in so to speak blazing light there. For those people the outward form of the good and its inward nature is truth, which they do not see, but instead perceive from good. For this reason they never argue about truths; they so avoid it that whenever there is talk about truths they say Yes or No, and no more than that. For if they said anything more it would not come from good. These are the ones who are meant in Matthew,

Let your words be Yes, yes; No, no; anything beyond this is from evil. 1 Matthew 5:37.

The fact that those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom are like this, see 2715, 2718, 3246, 4448, 5113, 6367, 7877, 9166 (end), 9543. What the difference is between those who are in the celestial kingdom and those who are in the spiritual kingdom, see the places referred to in 9277.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9276)

[2] From all this people may now recognize what should be understood when it is said that Divine Truths have been inscribed upon someone. Many places in the Word use the term 'spirit', and when they use it in reference to a person his 'spirit' means goodness and truth inscribed on the understanding part of his mind and consequently on the life of that part of it. The reason why 'spirit', when attributed to a person, has this meaning is that inwardly a person is a spirit, indeed inwardly is in the company of spirits. See what has already been shown abundantly on this matter in the following places,

Spirits and angels reside with a person, and the person is governed by the Lord through them, 50, 697, 986, 2796, 2886, 2887, 4047, 4048, 5846-5866, 5976-5993.

A person is among spirits and angels such as he himself is like, 4067, 4073, 4077, 4111.

Every person has a spirit through which his body has life, 4622.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2886-2887, 4047-4048)

[3] From this one may know what 'spirit' means when used in reference to the Lord, namely that it is Divine Truth emanating from His Divine Good, and that when this Divine Truth flows in and is received by a person it is the Spirit of truth, Spirit of God, and Holy Spirit; for it flows directly from the Lord, and also indirectly through angels and spirits, see the places referred to in 9682. The fact that the Spirit of truth, Spirit of God, and Holy Spirit have this meaning will be seen further on below; for prior to that it must be shown that, when used in the Word in reference to a person, 'spirit' means goodness and truth inscribed on the understanding part of a person's mind and consequently means the life of that part of it. For there is the life of the understanding part, and there is the life of the will part. That of the understanding part consists in knowing, seeing, and understanding that truth is indeed truth and good is indeed good. But the life of the will part consists in willing and loving truth for truth's sake and good for goodness' sake. In the Word the life of the will is called 'heart', but that of the understanding 'spirit'.

[4] The following places in the Word show that this is so: In Ezekiel,

Make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:31.

And in the same prophet,

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

'A new heart' stands for a new will. and 'a new spirit' for a new understanding. In Zechariah,

Jehovah stretches out the heavens, and founds the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Zechariah 12:1.

'Stretching out the heavens and founding the earth' stands for the establishment of a new Church, this Church being meant by 'heaven and earth', see 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 3355 (end), 4535. 'Forming the spirit of man within him' stands for regenerating a person as to his understanding of truth and good.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)

[5] In David,

Create for me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from before You, and do not take the spirit of Your holiness from me. Bring back to me the joy of Your salvation, and let a generous spirit uphold me. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. 2 Psalms 51:10-12, 17.

'A clean heart' stands for a will that detests evils, which are forms of uncleanness; 'a steadfast spirit' stands for an understanding of and belief in truth; 'a broken spirit' and 'a broken heart' stand for a state of temptation and the consequent humbling of the life in both. The fact that 'spirit' means life is evident from every detail in these verses. Divine Truth, from which that life springs, is meant by 'the spirit of holiness'. In the same author,

A generation that did not make its heart right, nor was its spirit steadfast with God. Psalms 78:8.

'Heart that is not right' stands for a will that is not right, and 'spirit that is not steadfast with God' stands for an understanding of and belief in God's truth that are not steadfast.

[6] In Moses,

Jehovah God had hardened the spirit of Sihon king of Heshbon and made his heart obstinate. Deuteronomy 2:30.

Here also 'spirit' and 'heart' stand for the life in both parts, which is said to have been 'made obstinate' when the will has no desire to understand truth and good and put them into practice. In Ezekiel,

Every heart will melt, and all hands will hang down, and every spirit will shrink. Ezekiel 21:7.

Here the meaning is similar. In Isaiah,

Jehovah is He who gives soul 3 to the people on the earth, and spirit to those who walk on it. Isaiah 42:5.

'Giving soul to the people' stands for endowing with the life of faith, 'soul' meaning the life of faith, see 9050; and 'giving spirit' stands for providing with an understanding of truth. In the same prophet,

With my soul I desired You in the night; even with my spirit within me I waited for You early. Isaiah 26:9.

Here the meaning is similar.

[7] In the same prophet,

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

'Spirit' which fire will devour stands for an understanding of truth, and so for intelligence; 'fire' stands for a craving which, because it springs from evil, is destructive.

[8] In Ezekiel,

Woe to the foolish prophets, who go away after their own spirit! Ezekiel 13:3.

In the same prophet,

What comes up onto your spirit 4 will not ever be brought about. Ezekiel 20:32.

In Malachi,

Not one has done so, nor those remaining who had spirit. Why then is there one seeking God's seed? Therefore take heed through your spirit, to see that it does not act treacherously against the wife of your youth. Malachi 2:15.

In David,

Blessed is the person to whom Jehovah does not impute iniquity; only let there be no guile in his spirit. Psalms 32:2.

In Matthew,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3.

In the same gospel,

Jesus said to the disciples, Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is eager, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41.

In these places, as is plainly evident, 'spirit' is used to mean the actual life in a person. That the life of the understanding, or the life of truth, is meant becomes clear from the consideration that in the natural sense 'spirit' is used to mean human life and breath. And drawing breath, which is the work of the lungs, corresponds to the life of truth, which is the life of faith and consequently of the understanding, whereas the beating of the heart corresponds to the life of the will and so of love. For this correspondence of lungs and heart, see 3635, 3883-3896, 9300, 9495. All this makes clear what type of life is meant in the spiritual sense by 'spirit'.

[9] The fact that 'spirit' in the ordinary sense means human life and breath is clearly evident in David,

You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You gather up their spirit, they breathe their last. You send forth Your spirit, they are created. Psalms 104:29-30.

In the same author,

Answer me, O Jehovah. My spirit is consumed. Do not hide Your face from Me. Psalms 143:7.

In Job,

My spirit is consumed, my days are extinguished. Job 17:1.

In Luke,

Jesus took the dead girl's hand, saying, Girl, arise. Her spirit therefore returned, and she arose at once. Luke 8:54-55.

In Jeremiah,

Every person has been made stupid by knowledge; his graven image is a lie, and there is no spirit in it. Jeremiah 10:14; 51:17.

In Ezekiel,

He brought me out in the Spirit of Jehovah and set me down in the midst of the valley. And there the Lord Jehovih said to the dry bones, Behold, I am bringing spirit into you that you may live. Thus said the Lord Jehovih, Come from the four winds, O spirit, and breathe into these killed. And spirit came into them, and they were alive again. Ezekiel 37:1, 5, 9-10.

In the Book of Revelation,

The two witnesses were killed by the beast ascending from the abyss. But after three and a half days the spirit of life from God entered them, so that they stood on their feet. Revelation 11:7, 11.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 17:1; Ezekiel 36:1, 36:5, 36:9-10)

[10] From these places it is plainly evident that 'spirit' is a person's life. The fact that more specifically it is the life of truth, which is the life of the understanding part of a person's mind, and is called intelligence, is made plain in John,

The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. God is a Spirit, therefore those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:23-24.

In Daniel,

... that there was in him an excellent spirit, both of knowledge and of intelligence. Daniel 5:12, 14.

In Luke,

John grew and became strong in spirit. Luke 1:80.

And regarding the Lord, in the same gospel,

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

In John,

He whom the Father has sent speaks the words of God, for God has not given Him the spirit by measure. 5 John 3:34.

Here 'the spirit' stands for intelligence and wisdom; 'speaking the words of God' means declaring Divine Truths.

[11] From all this it may now be seen what 'spirit' means in John,

Jesus said to Nicodemus, Unless a person has been born from water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, but that which has been born from the spirit is spirit. John 3:5-6.

'Being born from water' means [being regenerated] by means of truth, and 'being born from the spirit' means life from the Lord which comes as a result of this, called spiritual life. For the meaning of 'water' as the truth by means of which regeneration is accomplished, see 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8568, 9323. 'Flesh' however means the human proprium or selfhood, in which there is no spiritual life at all, 3813, 8409.

[12] Something similar is meant by 'spirit' and 'flesh' in the same gospel,

It is the Spirit which bestows life, the flesh does not profit anything. The words which I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life. John 6:63.

'The words' which the Lord spoke are Divine Truths, the life which comes as a result being 'the spirit'. In Isaiah,

Egypt is man (homo), not God, and his horses are flesh and not spirit. Isaiah 31:3.

'Egypt' stands for knowledge in general, 'his horses' for factual knowledge supplied from the understanding, which is spoken of as 'flesh and not spirit' when it does not have any spiritual life at all within it.

'Egypt' is knowledge, see the places referred to in 9340, 9391. 'Horses' are the power of understanding, 2761, 2762, 3217, 5321. 'The horses of Egypt' are known facts supplied from the understanding, 6125, 8146, 8148.

Anyone who does not know what is meant by 'Egypt', what is meant by 'his horses', and also what is meant by 'flesh' and 'spirit', cannot possibly know what these words [in Isaiah 31:3] imply.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2761-2762)

[13] Once people know what 'spirit' present in a person means they may know what is meant by 'spirit' when this term is used in reference to Jehovah or the Lord. Everything a human being has, such as face, eyes, ears, arms, and hands, also heart and soul, He is said to have. Thus spirit as well is attributed to Him, and in the Word it is called Spirit of God, Spirit of Jehovah, Spirit of His mouth, and Spirit of Holiness or Holy Spirit. The fact that the term is used to mean Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is clear from a large number of places in the Word. The reason why Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is meant by 'Spirit of God' is that all of a person's life comes from there, as does the heavenly life possessed by those who receive that Divine Truth in faith and love. The Lord Himself teaches in John that this is what 'Spirit of God' means,

The words which I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life. John 6:63.

'The words' which the Lord spoke are Divine Truths.

[14] In the same gospel,

Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his belly will flow rivers of living water. This He said about the Spirit which those believing in Him were to receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39.

'The Spirit' which those believing in the Lord were to receive from Him means the life coming from the Lord that is the life of faith and love, as is evident from the specific expressions used in these verses. For 'thirsting' and 'drinking' means the desire to know and understand truth; and 'rivers of living water' which will flow from the belly are God's truths. From this it is clear that 'the Spirit' which believers were to receive, also called 'the Holy Spirit', means the life brought by Divine Truth emanating from the Lord. This life, as stated just above, is called the life of faith and love, being the spiritual and heavenly life itself present in a person. The reason why it says 'the Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified' is that while He was in the world the Lord Himself taught Divine Truth; but when He had been glorified, which was after the Resurrection, He taught it through angels and spirits. That holy influence present with a person, emanating from the Lord through angels and spirits, whether in a discernible manner or an indiscernible one, is the Holy Spirit there. For in the Word Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is called that which is holy, 9680.

[15] This explains why the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth and why it is said that He would lead into all truth, that He would not speak on His own [authority], but speak what He hears from the Lord, and that He would receive from the Lord what He was to declare, John 16:13-14. It also explains why the Lord, when He was going to leave the disciples, breathed into them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit, John 20:21-22. 'Breathing' means the life of faith, 9229, 9281, so that the Lord's breathing into someone means imparting the ability to understand Divine Truths and thereby receive that life. So it is also that 'the Spirit', being a name derived from 'breathing', is a derivation also of 'blowing' and of 'wind'; and this is why the spirit is frequently called the wind. Breathing, which is the work of the lungs, corresponds to the life of faith, while the beating of the heart corresponds to the life of love, see 3883-3896, 9300, 9495.

[16] Something similar is meant by 'breathing into' in the Book of Genesis,

And Jehovah breathed into man's nostrils the soul of life. Genesis 2:7.

This is why in Lamentations 4:20 the Lord is called the Spirit of our nostrils; and since Divine Truth consumes and devastates the evil it says in David,

The foundations of the world were revealed at the blast of the Spirit of Your nose. Psalms 18:15.

And in Job,

By the breath of God they perish, and by the Spirit of His nose they are consumed. Job 4:9.

In David,

By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made, and all their host by the Spirit of His mouth. Psalms 33:6.

'The Word of Jehovah' is Divine Truth, as is 'the Spirit of His mouth'. The fact that the Lord is that Word is clear in John,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made though Him. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1-3, 14.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 4:9; John 1:1, 1:3)

[17] The fact that Divine Truth, from which heavenly life comes to a person, is the Holy Spirit is further evident from the following places: In Isaiah,

There will come forth a shoot from the trunk of Jesse, and the Spirit of Jehovah will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and intelligence, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of Jehovah. Isaiah 11:1-2.

These words refer to the Lord, in whom there is Divine Truth. Consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence is called 'the Spirit of Jehovah', and in these verses 'the Spirit of wisdom and intelligence, counsel, strength, and knowledge'. In the same prophet,

I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth judgement to the nations. Isaiah 42:1.

These words too refer to the Lord. 'The Spirit of Jehovah' upon Him is Divine Truth, and consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence. Divine Truth is also called 'judgement', 2235.

[18] In the same prophet,

He will come like a rushing 6 river; the Spirit of Jehovah will place a sign on Him. Isaiah 59:19.

In the same prophet,

The Spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon Me, therefore Jehovah has anointed Me to bring good tidings to the poor. Isaiah 61:1.

This too refers to the Lord. Divine Truth, which was in the Lord when He was in the world, and which He was then, is meant by 'the Spirit of Jehovah'.

[19] The fact that 'the Spirit of Jehovah' means Divine Truth and consequently heavenly life that comes to the person who receives that Truth is further evident from the following places: In Isaiah,

... until the Spirit is poured out on us from on high; then the wilderness will become a ploughed field, then judgement will dwell in the wilderness. Isaiah 32:15-16.

The subject here is regeneration. 'The Spirit from on high' is life from the Divine; for the promises that 'the wilderness will become a ploughed field' and that 'judgement will dwell in the wilderness' mean the presence of intelligence where none existed previously, thus new life there.

[20] Something similar occurs in Ezekiel,

... in order that you may know that I will put My Spirit in you, in order that you may live. Ezekiel 37:14.

In the same prophet,

I will no longer hide My face from them, because I shall pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel. Ezekiel 39:29.

In Joel,

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; and on men servants and women servants in those days I will pour out My Spirit. Joel 2:28-29.

In Micah,

I have been filled with strength by 7 the Spirit of Jehovah, and with judgement and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. Micah 3:8.

In Zechariah,

The horses going out into the north land have caused My Spirit to rest on the north land. Zechariah 6:8.

In Isaiah,

I will pour out waters upon the thirsty land, and streams upon the dry. I will pour out My Spirit upon your seed. Isaiah 44:3.

In these places it is evident that 'the Spirit of Jehovah' means Divine Truth and the life of faith and love which come through that Truth. It flows in directly from the Lord, also indirectly from Him through spirits and angels, see 9682 (end).

(References: Ezekiel 37:13-14)

[21] Something similar occurs elsewhere in Isaiah,

On that day Jehovah Zebaoth will be a crown of adornment and a tiara of beauty for the remnant of His people, and a Spirit of judgement to him who sits in judgement, and strength to those ... Isaiah 28:5-6.

'A crown of adornment' stands for the wisdom that comes with good, 'a tiara of beauty' for the intelligence that comes with truth, and 'a Spirit of judgement' for Divine Truth, since 'judgement' is spoken of in reference to truth , 2235, 6397, 7206, 8685, 8695, 9260, 9383.

[22] In the same prophet,

The angel of Jehovah's face 8 delivered them; because of His love and His pity He redeemed them. But they rebelled, and exasperated the Spirit of His holiness; consequently He was turned by them into an enemy. He put the Spirit of His holiness in the midst of them. The Spirit of Jehovah led them. Isaiah 63:9-11, 14.

'The Spirit of holiness' here is the Lord in respect of Divine Truth, thus Divine Truth which comes from the Lord; 'the angel of His face' is the Lord in respect of Divine Good, for 'Jehovah's face' is love, mercy, and good. In the Book of Revelation,

The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10.

'The testimony of Jesus' is Divine Truth that comes from Him and has regard to Him, 9503.

[23] In David,

Jehovah God makes His angels spirits, 9 and [His] ministers flaming fire. Psalms 104:4.

'Making angels spirits' stands for making them recipients of Divine Truth; 'making them flaming fire' stands for making them recipients of Divine Good or Divine Love. In Matthew,

John said, I baptize you with water for repentance. But He who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11.

'Baptizing' means regenerating; 'with the Holy Spirit' means doing so through Divine Truth; and 'with fire' means springing from the Divine Good of Divine Love. For the meaning of 'baptizing' as regenerating, see 5120 (end), 9088; and for that of 'fire' as the Divine Good of Divine Love, 4906, 5215, 6314, 6832, 6834, 6849, 7324.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4849)

[24] In Luke,

If you, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? Luke 11:13.

'Giving the Holy Spirit' means enlightening with Divine Truth and endowing with life from that Truth, which is the life of intelligence and wisdom. In the Book of Revelation,

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

And in addition,

In the midst of the elders [there was] a Lamb standing, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Revelation 5:6.

It is self-evident that the word 'spirits' in these places is not used to mean spirits, since they say that the lamps and the Lamb's eyes are the spirits of God . For Divine Truths are meant by 'lamps', 4638, 7072; the understanding of truth is meant by 'the eyes', or Divine Intelligence and Wisdom when the expression refers to the Lord, 2701, 4403-4421, 4523-4534, 9051; and the power of truth derived from good is meant by 'horns' 2832, 9081, 9719-9721. From all this it is evident that Divine Truths are meant by 'the spirits of God'.

[25] When people know therefore that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, which is real Holiness, they may know the Divine meaning in the Word wherever the terms 'Spirit of God' and 'Holy Spirit' are used, as in the following places: In John,

I will ask the Father to give you another Paraclete, to remain with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and remind you of all that I said to you. John 14:16-18, 26.

And in another place,

When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from the Father, He will bear witness to Me. And you will bear witness. John 15:26-27.

And in yet another place,

I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. If I do not go away the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go away I will send Him to you. John 16:7.

[26] From these places it is again evident that the Divine Truth which emanates from Divine Good, or from the Father, is the Paraclete and Holy Spirit. This also explains why He is called 'the Spirit of truth', and why it is said that He will remain in them, teach them all things, and bear witness to the Lord. In the spiritual sense 'bearing witness to the Lord' means teaching about Him. The reason why [in the first of these quotations] it is said that the Paraclete, who is the Holy Spirit, is sent in the Lord's name from the Father, then [in the second] that the Lord Himself will send Him from the Father, and after this [in the third] that the Lord will send Him, is that 'the Father' means the Divine [Being] Himself within the Lord, so that the Father and He are one, as the Lord teaches explicitly in John 10:30; 14:9-11.

[27] In Matthew,

Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy of the Spirit will not be forgiven people. If anyone speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the one to come. Matthew 12:31-32.

'Speaking a word against the Son of Man' takes place when a person goes against God's truth that has not yet been implanted in or inscribed on his life; for 'the Son of Man' is Divine Truth, see above in 9807. But 'speaking a word against the Holy Spirit' takes place when a person goes against Divine Truth, especially Divine Truth concerning the Lord, that has been implanted in or inscribed on his life. Speaking against or denying that Truth when it has formerly been acknowledged is profanation; and profanation is such that it completely destroys a person interiorly. This is why it says that this sin cannot be forgiven. What profanation is, see 3398, 3898, 4289, 4601, 6348, 6960, 6963, 6971, 8394, 8882, 9298.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6959)

[28] And in the same gospel,

Jesus said to the disciples, Go and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19.

'The Father' is the Divine [Being] Himself, 'the Son' is that Divine [Being] Himself in a human form, and 'the Holy Spirit' is the emanation from the Divine [Being], so that there is one Divine [Being] yet still a Trinity. The truth that the Lord is the Divine [Being] Himself under human form is His own teaching in John,

From now on you know the Father and have seen Him. He who sees Me sees the Father. I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. John 14:7, 9-10.


1. or from the evil one

2. The Latin means God does not despise but the Hebrew means O God, You will not despise

3. or breath

4. i.e. What you have in mind

5. Swedenborg here follows the Latin version of Sebastian Schmidt. The Greek means He who God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the spirit by measure.

6. literally, narrow

7. literally, with

8. i.e. presence

9. or makes winds His messengers


(References: Exodus 28:3)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9819, 9820, 9857, 9932, 9954, 9956, 10053, 10069, 10098, 10111, 10128, 10149, 10240, 10267, 10276, 10302, 10306, 10330, 10570

Heaven and Hell 86

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 209, 306

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 10, 24, 27, 108, 375

Other New Christian Commentary

Explanation of Matthew 5:3 1

Spirit 1

Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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 Jesus' Final Words
After the crucifixion Jesus appeared to His disciples, offering reassurance of His continued presence and commissioning them to love and follow Him.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

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