The Bible

 

Matthew 2 : Two Stories of Christmas

        

Study the Inner Meaning

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:

15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.

21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:

23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 113, 117, 1171, 1462, 1502, 1540, 2135, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 277, 503, 526, 913

Sacred Scripture 23

True Christian Religion 205


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 72, 242, 324, 422, 433, 448, 449, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 2, 41

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 14, 31, ...

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 4:19, 22

Numbers 23:22, 24:17

Joshua 5:14

2 Samuel 2

1 Kings 11:40

1 Chronicles 2

Psalms 72:10, 78:71

Isaiah 11:1, 40:11, 60:6

Jeremiah 26:21, 31:15

Hosea 11:1

Jonah 4:6

Micah 5:1

Word/Phrase Explanations

bethlehem
There is a strong relationship between Ephrath and Bethlehem in the Bible; they might be two different names for the same town, or it’s possible...

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

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

star
'Stars' signify the knowledge of truth and good. 'Stars' are frequently mentioned in the Word, and always signify goods and truths, but in an opposite...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

troubled
The Bible often talks of people being "troubled." The internal meaning is pretty straightforward; it indicates a state of spiritual turmoil, usually due to the...

chief priests
'The chief priests and scribes,' as in Matthew 20:18, signify the adulterations of good and the falsifications of truth.

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

said
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...

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

the least
'Tittle' or 'the least' in the Word represents heavenly things.

least
The idea of "least" is not addressed directly in Swedenborg, but a central idea is relatively clear from several references to Matthew 25:40: And the...

governor
"Rulers" or "governors" in the Bible represent the most basic, most essential true ideas that guide us in life, ideas that spring directly from the...

wise
'The learned,' or 'wise,' who 'shall shine as the stars,' are people who are in good.

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

went before
To "go before" in the Bible means either to lead or to prepare, depending on context. When it is said of the Lord or things...

joy
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...

mother
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,...

worshipped
'Worship,' as in Revelation 13:12, signifies acknowledging something to be sacred in the church.

opened
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

treasures
'Treasure,' as in Matthew 13:44, signifies divine truth in the Word.

gifts
The gift which Abraham gave to the sons of the concubines which he had, as in Genesis 25:6, signifies lots in the Lord's spiritual kingdom....

and frankincense
'Perfumes, ointment, and frankincense,' as in Revelation 18:13, signify spiritual aspects of worship.

frankincense
Frankincense was one of the three gifts presented by the wise men, sometimes called the magi, to Jesus. The three gifts - gold, frankincense, and...

and myrrh
In Genesis 37:25, 'spices, resin, and myrrh' signify interior natural truths joined to good in the natural level. Among the ancients, they used things with...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

way
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...

angel
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

arise
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

seek
The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

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

Fulfilled
When the Lord said that all things which were written concerning him were fulfilled, he meant that all things were fulfilled in their inmost sense.

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

mourning
'Weeping and wailing,' as in Revelation 18:15, signifies grief of the soul and heart, and so it has reference to the understanding and the will.

galilee
Galilee was the northernmost province of Biblical Judea, a hilly area relatively remote from the center of Jewish culture in Jerusalem and bordered by foreigners...

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

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.


 Adoration of the Wise Men
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Adoration of the Wise Men
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Angels in the Christmas Story
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Behold, the Star
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Birth of the Lord
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Childhood of Jesus
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Christmas Star
Gives directions for assembling four large triangles into a beautiful star. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Correspondences of Gold
Illustrations of three stories in the Word that mention gold. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Fall Down and Worship Him
Think about your day tomorrow, and prioritize your various activities by thinking about what the Lord wants you to do.
Activity | Ages over 15

 Five Christmas Scenes
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Flee to Egypt
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Flight into Egypt
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Flight into Egypt Silhouette
"Cut out the pieces to show the silhouettes of Mary and Joseph taking the young Child to Egypt, then assemble on a large piece of blue paper and add stars by using glitter or small star stickers. "
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Following the Star
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Follow the Star Dramatization
This simple dramatization of the story of the wise men following the star to find the baby Lord includes a script and an illustration of Mary, Joseph, and the young Child.
Activity | Ages 3 - 7

 Gifts for the Lord
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Gifts of the Wise Men
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 His Star Still Shines
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Jesus' Childhood
People are born without a set purpose and develop a purpose as they learn and choose a pathway. Jesus was born with an identity and a purpose; He had to discover His identity and become true to it.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Joy in the Coming of Our Lord
Like the star that led the wise men, the truth will lead us to the Lord and make us happy. But the real joy in our lives will be when we come to the Lord offering gifts to Him, as the wise men did.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Lacing Star
Print this star onto card stock, punch holes around the edge, then use yarn with sparkly (metallic) strands to “sew” around the edge of the star to make it sparkle.
Project | Ages 4 - 8

 Making Christmas Star Cookies
Ideas for decorating rolled cookies cut in the shape of stars. 
Project | Ages over 7

 Memory Verse: The Guiding Star
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Pop-up Crèche Card for Christmas
A lovely project to color and assemble. Designed by Eudora Sellner Walsh.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Quotes: Prophecies of the Advent
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: The Guiding Star
Teachings from the Lord's Word for Christmas about the guiding star.
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Unto Us a Child Is Born
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Using Our Talents
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Scroll of Angelic Appearances in Christmas Story
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Show and Tell the Gifts of the Wise Men
Read about the three gifts in Matthew 2. Then show everyone some gold, frankincense and myrrh. Discuss ways we can give these symbolic gifts to the Lord.
Activity | All Ages

 Signs at Christmas
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Star of Wonder
Four ways to picture the star in the dark of night.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Star Out of Jacob
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Star Out of Jacob with Quote
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Story of the Wise Men Scene Boxes
Paint four sides of a box to show 4 different scenes from the story of the wise men.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Story of the Wisemen Stained Glass Windows
Make stained glass windows depicting the star of wonder, the three wise men following the star or the wise men presenting their gifts before the Lord.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Strange Gifts
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Christmas Star
As we think about stars at Christmas time, let us invite the Lord into our hearts and minds so that His Christmas star will light the way to heaven for us.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Flight into Egypt
Angels came to Joseph in a dream to help protect the baby Lord. Angels can help protect us too. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 1, for ages 6-7.
Religion Lesson | Ages 6 - 7

 The Gold of the Wisemen
Gold stands for loving the Lord. This was the first gift that the wise men gave the Lord because it is essential for worshiping the Lord. You can give the Lord the gift of spiritual gold - the gift of love. 
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Guiding Star [salt crystal star]
Paint a beautiful guiding star and then use salt crystals on wet paint to make a starry sky for the background.
Project | Ages over 7

 The Innocence of Love
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord Come into the World
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Lord Comes into the World (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord Comes into the World (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Lord Comes into the World (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Murder of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt
Within each one of us the Lord’s wonderful Providence keeps what is most important safe from harm. In time, this protection makes it possible for us to prepare ourselves to become angels in heaven.
Worship Talk | Ages 15 - 17

 The Slaughter of the Innocents
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Star of Bethlehem
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Three Gifts of the Wise Men
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Visit of the Wise Men
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Visit of the Wise Men (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Visit of the Wise Men (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Visit of the Wise Men (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Wise Men
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Wise Men
Two project ideas for picturing the wise men.  
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 The Wise Men
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Wise Men
The wise men brought gifts to the baby Lord. How are we to search for the Lord? What gifts should we bring Him?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Wise Men
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Wise Men
A story for young children with color illustrations.
Story | Ages 4 - 10

 The Wisemen Diorama
Print this project onto thick paper (such as cover stock). Then color the wise men, the camels, and the background scene of Bethlehem and assemble a diorama with the wise men looking at the star. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Wisemen Present Gifts
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Wisemen Rejoice to See the Star
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Wise Men Worship the Lord
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Three Christmas Initial Letters
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Three Christmas Scenes
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Three Kings from the East
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Three Wise Men
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?
Lesson and activities comparing what the Lord wills to what He permits so that people can be free to make heavenly or hellish choices in their lives.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Why the Lord Was Taken into Egypt
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Wise Men Follow the Star
At the time of the Lord’s birth a beautiful star appeared in the night sky. It was a star of heavenly light and only people whose spiritual eyes had been opened could see it. Far away from Bethlehem, in the land to the east, this special star was seen by some wise men. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 2, for ages 7-8.
Religion Lesson | Ages 7 - 8

 Wise Men from the East
Presents a dramatic word-picture of the wise men's journey and a message for us all: If you wish to be wise, and to be made happy with an exceeding great joy, follow the Lord's star.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Wisemen See Star
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Wisemen's Gift Ornaments
Make ornaments for your tree by printing pictures of wise men's gifts on stiff paper (such as cover stock). Then color the gifts, cut them out, and display on your tree.
Project | Ages up to 10

Commentary

 

Two Stories of Christmas      

By Rev. Peter M. Buss Sr.

Joseph and Mary arrive in Bethlehem, by William Brassey Hole

There are two stories of Christmas. We usually blend them into one chronological account, but they are very distinct. One appears in the Gospel of Matthew, 1:18-25, 2:1-23, and the other in Luke 2: 6-20.

Matthew tells the story from Joseph’s point of view. The angel appears to him, telling him not to fear to take Mary as his wife, even though she is expecting a Child. He names the child. The wise men appear, and then Joseph is warned to flee to Egypt, and told to return when Herod died.

Luke is Mary’s story - in fact, she alone could have recounted these things to Luke. The story of Zacharias and Elisabeth; Mary’s visit to Elisabeth; the birth of John; the angel appearing to Mary, the birth of Jesus, and the tale of the shepherds all speak of Mary’s part in this event.

There are remarkably consistent differences in the accounts. In the Matthew story the angel always appears in a dream, and he gives commands. “Do not be afraid to take to yourself Mary your wife.” “Call His name Jesus.” “Do not return to Herod” was the command to the wise men. “Arise, take the young child and Mary his mother, and flee into Egypt.” “Return, for they are dead who sought the young Child’s life.” Specific commands, which Joseph and the wise men obeyed.

In the Luke story the angel is actually seen, and carries on conversations with both Zacharias and Mary. An angel choir appears to the shepherds. What is surprising is that no actual commands are given. Zacharias is told that his prayer will be answered, and he will have a son. Mary is told she will be with child of the Holy Spirit, and she willingly accepts it. The shepherds are told the tidings of great joy, but it is they who say, one to another, “Let us now go, even to Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”

Another amazing difference is the presence of Herod and his people in Matthew. He is shown in his wickedness and deceit, pretending to wish to worship Jesus while plotting to kill Him. He uses his counselors, none of whom are interested in the actual birth of the Christ, though they now know that a star has heralded His birth. Then there is the terrible story of Herod’s murder of the little ones around Bethlehem.

None of this appears in Luke. There is just a glancing reference: “There was in the days of Herod the king of Judea......” What a different tone, therefore, appears in Luke. It is one of peace and rejoicing, of wonder and gratitude, spoken from the heart by Zacharias, by Mary, and by Simeon. By contrast, Matthew tells of Joseph’s sadness and thought of putting Mary away privately, of Herod’s treachery and the sin of infanticide. And Matthew tells also how futile were Herod’s efforts, for the angel of the Lord provided that Joseph brought the infant Lord safely out of his reach.

So what are these two stories telling us about our lives, here, today? They speak of how the Lord is born in our minds and hearts. Let us leave Zacharias and Elisabeth and John out of this sermon. John represents repentance, and his birth precedes the birth of Jesus. But after we have repented of our sins, then the Lord Himself comes to be born in us. That birth is the implanting within us of charity - the ability to love others unselfishly. It is this birth which makes us into angels, which puts the stamp of eternal love in our hearts, which causes us to be “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

When charity begins to become felt in us we respond in two distinct ways. Matthew tells how our understanding reacts to His coming. Luke speaks of how His birth receives a response in the new will which the Lord is creating in us.

Joseph seems to represent the good of truth. He was a carpenter, working with tools of iron on wood to shape it, and his very act pictures the efforts of the human understanding, taking the truths of revelation and working to apply them to a life of goodness.

Joseph at first feared that Mary had been unfaithful to him, and that the child was conceived of a man. When we have done the deeds of repentance, and the Lord begins to create this wonderful, heavenly love inside of us, we too will doubt. How can I, a person who has been selfish up to date, how can I feel these tender, loving thoughts towards others? How can I be moved to do kind deeds with no thought of reward? I must be deceiving myself. This is just human-born selfishness under another guise.

But an angel of the Lord told Joseph that this birth was unique in all of history. The angel represents an insight from within, the presence of the Lord within the truths that we have learned, which gives us assurance that indeed unselfish love can be ours. The Word has promised that it will be so. Don’t doubt it. You can be a truly loving, unselfish, caring person. And when you feel this love inside of you, call it by its proper name. Call it “Jesus,” which means, “Jehovah is the Savior.” Realize that this is salvation come into your heart.

Joseph obeyed the angel. We need to believe that charity can be ours, and unite ourselves to the innocent love for the truth (which is what Mary represents).

Then, when this beautiful charity blossoms in our hearts, new truths come to herald that birth. The wise men had studied the Word, knew that a star would appear when the Christ was born, and took a long journey to find Him. The truths they represent, learned because we are moved to study and reflect on His Word, are the ones that tell us how to live the life of love. They are conscious truths, and they spur us to action.

The wise men gave three gifts to Jesus, and for two thousand years they were the last people on earth to know why these gifts, and no others, were suitable. For there are only three things we can give to the Lord, only three things we can withhold. Myrrh represents obedience; frankincense, love to others; and gold, love to the Lord Himself. We can withhold these from the Lord and He cannot make us give them to Him. When moved by charity, we plan to offer Him the only gifts which we can possibly give - the offerings of a grateful heart to obey, to love His children, and to love Him.

But the Matthew story contains Herod also. Within each of us there is a powerful love of self, and all sorts of false and horrible thoughts are tied to it. Through this love the hells seek to kill our unselfish instincts. They use deceit, they even use the truths of the Word (as Herod did when seeking to know where Christ should be born). For much of our lives we have given a fairly free rein to our selfish impulses. They don’t relinquish their kingship over us without a struggle. The story of Herod speaks of the plots of the hells to destroy our love for others, and of how the Lord protects us. When we obey the commands of His Word our love grows, quietly and secretly, in a safe place where Herod cannot find it.

So we come to the gospel of Luke. Why is Herod not mentioned there? It is in the Lord’s amazing mercy that there are times when selfishness seems to be a distant memory. We know it’s there - “In the days of Herod the King,” Luke says. We know that battles lie ahead, but there are moments when we see the joy of life, and these feelings give us an inner reason to fight for heaven. When you first fall in love, you feel only unselfish love for that person. At times you read the Word, and feel in its pages the certainty of the Lord’s love, and its promise of a heaven, a life of charity, just for you!

Selfishness seems far off. You know it will come back, but right now you know that there is a life beyond selfishness. There truly is a greater love that leaves self behind, and at times, at oh-so-precious times, you are allowed to feel it. The Lord touches our hearts, and the best image of that is Christmas night in the stable in Bethlehem.

In our peaceful states there is Mary, the innocent affection for truth. We often call it idealism. It is a deep-seated conviction about the highest ideals in life. We see deeply into the Word, see the values it teaches, we want a value system that will last for all time. We want the Lord to be our God, the God of our hearts and minds. In our innocent times we just don’t question these things, we long for them. Mary, betrothed, and longing for marriage, represents this innocent love, longing to experience the full heavenly marriage of good and truth, to make ideals work.

Mary went to Bethlehem, for that little town represents new truth, the truth of the internal sense of the Word. To go from Galilee to Bethlehem is to go upward, into the deeper regions of our minds, and experience that love which is the birth of the Lord in us. It is to feel, in the living waters of the Word, that we do love others, and this love is “God with us.”

Yet the inn at Bethlehem had no room for the infant Jesus. Many spiritual truths in our minds have languished, and lost their meaning. Other needs have crowded them out, even falsified them. There are many places in our minds where we know the truth, but that knowledge is full of earthly concerns which take the joy, the wonder out of it.

In His mercy the Lord prepares other places in our minds. The spiritual manger stands for lower truths, simple ideals long held precious. For example, you have truths in your minds about how to care for infants and how to teach little children about the Word and how to care for the needs of the elderly or those who are hurting. You understand these truths. A manger, where horses feed, represents such an understanding.

And you have simple, innocent ideas in your minds also which are, as it were, wrapped around charity. These truths tell you that certain things hurt others, that certain things, said with gentleness, touch their hearts. These truths tell you when to deal gently with others, and when to be firm but loving at the same time. They are simple ideas from the Word, first truths, which keep charity warm in your heart. “....and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger.”

How beautiful is the story of the shepherds. They too represent interior truths, long held, which through the night of our selfish lives have kept us turning towards good values. They kept watch over our spiritual flock, our valuable feelings, even though we have often been selfish and uncaring. These values are called forth, and respond with joy when love is born in our hearts.

The story of Luke is one of a free response to the Lord and His creation of heaven in our minds. It is full of joy. Zacharias prophesied, with a heart full of gratitude. Mary’s soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. Simeon gave thanks because he had seen the Lord’s salvation, prepared for all people. The shepherds returned, praising God for all that they had seen.

When you feel heartfelt gratitude in your lives because of a special love the Lord has granted you, - why then, stop, stand still, lift up your heart and rejoice in that moment. And know this: that if you persist in following Him, that special love will become your heaven. It will be a love born of no human father. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you, and that holy love growing in you is indeed born of God.

Two stories of Christmas. Both so beautiful. The Lord gave each to us that we may see with our understandings, and feel in our hearts the wonder of this holy birth. They are secret stories, scarce felt because of the noisy pressures of worldly life, but revealed in all their wonder for the New Church. The spiritual Joseph and wise men are conscious, understood truths which are obeyed, and bring deep joy to the human mind. The spiritual Mary and Bethlehem and the manger and the swaddling cloths and the shepherds represent affections for deep ideals, and for practical ideas. These find inner happiness and peace when He comes to us.

For the greatest event in human history was the birth on earth of God Himself. And the greatest event in anyone’s life is when there is born to you the love from God that will never die. This is truly the spirit of Christmas.

(References: Matthew 2; The Apocalypse Explained 706)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #448

Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead translation)      

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448. Of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand sealed, signifies the conjunction with the Lord of those who are in the second heaven. This is evident from the representation and consequent signification of "Joseph" and his tribe, as being the spiritual of the Lord's kingdom and church; here "Joseph" signifies the conjunction with the Lord of those who are in the second heaven, because "Joseph" signifies the spiritual kingdom of the Lord, and this kingdom constitutes the second heaven. For there are two kingdoms of which heaven consists, the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom; the celestial kingdom consisting of those who are in the third or inmost heaven, and the spiritual kingdom of those who are in the second or middle heaven. The conjunction with the Lord of those who are in this heaven is signified by "Joseph," because "Joseph" signifies this heaven and because this fourth class of the tribes treats of the conjunction with the Lord of all who are in the heavens and who come into the heavens, and this conjunction is signified by "the tribe of Zebulun," the first tribe of this class; for the first tribe of each class and series indicates the subject treated of in what follows, and the tribes that follow continue the same subject in general; here, therefore, conjunction. This is why "the tribe of Zebulun" signifies the conjunction with the Lord of those who are in the third heaven, "the tribe of Joseph" the conjunction with the Lord of those who are in the second heaven, and "the tribe of Benjamin" the conjunction with the Lord of those who are in the first heaven.

(References: Revelation 7:8)


[2] That "Joseph" in the Word represented and thence signifies the Lord in relation to the Divine spiritual, and in a relative sense the spiritual kingdom, can be seen from all that is related and told of him in the Word, both in the histories and prophecies. In the historical Word it is said of Joseph:

That he dreamed a dream that eleven sheaves came round about his sheaf, and bowed themselves down to it; also that the sun and the moon and eleven stars bowed themselves down to him (Genesis 37:4-11).

This means in the nearest sense that his brethren and parents were to come into Egypt and there do homage to him as the lord of the land; but in the spiritual sense it signifies that the church which was represented by Jacob and his sons would submit itself to the Lord; for "Joseph," as was said, represents the Lord in relation to the Divine spiritual, and in a relative sense the Lord's spiritual kingdom in heaven and on earth. The Lord's spiritual kingdom on earth is the spiritual church; this church is what is meant in the internal sense by Jacob and his sons when they were in Egypt.

(References: Genesis 37:5-11, Genesis 37:9)


[3] Afterwards by "Joseph" the establishment of a church that was to be represented by the sons of Israel is described; and this also is why Joseph was carried down into Egypt, and obtained dominion over the whole land, and invited thither his father and brethren, and supported them; and so long as he was lord of the land, the land of Egypt represented the spiritual church in the natural, and Jacob and his sons the spiritual church; but the representation of the spiritual church in the natural by Egypt was ended when Moses was born and he began to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. (These things, as they are many and various, are explained in the Arcana Coelestia.)

[4] The representation of the Lord in relation to the Divine spiritual, and thence the representation of the Lord's spiritual kingdom, is contained in these words in Moses (which may be seen explained in Arcana Coelestia, n. 5306-5329):

And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Shall we find one like this man, in whom the spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as, God hath made thee to know all this, there is no one so intelligent and wise as thou; thou shalt be over my house, and upon thy mouth shall all my people kiss; only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from upon his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen, and put a necklace of gold upon his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had, and they cried out before him, Bow the knee; and he set him over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, besides thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt (Gen. 41:38-44).

[5] Since it is said that "Joseph" in the highest sense represents the Lord in relation to the Divine spiritual, it shall first be told what is meant by the Lord's Divine spiritual. Heaven is divided into two kingdoms, one of which is called the celestial kingdom, and the other the spiritual kingdom. The Divine Itself proceeding from the Lord makes heaven, and the Divine proceeding from the Lord is Divine good united to Divine truth. All those in heaven who receive more of Divine good than of Divine truth constitute the Lord's celestial kingdom, while all who receive more of Divine truth than of Divine good constitute the Lord's spiritual kingdom; therefore the Divine of the Lord that is received by the angels in the Lord's celestial kingdom is called the Divine celestial, and the Divine of the Lord that is received by the angels in the Lord's spiritual kingdom is called the Divine spiritual. But it is to be known that the Divine proceeding from the Lord is so called from its reception, and that there are not two Divines, a celestial and a spiritual proceeding; for the Divine good, which from reception is called the Divine celestial, and the Divine truth, which from reception is called the Divine spiritual, proceed so united as to be not two but one. (These things may be seen more fully explained in the work on Heaven and Hell 20-28 where The Two Kingdoms into which the Three Heavens are Divided are treated of; also n. 13, 133, 139, which treat of the Divine proceeding, which is the Divine good united to Divine truth, and that they are two only in the recipients.)

[6] That the Lord in relation to the Divine spiritual and thence the spiritual kingdom is signified by "Joseph" can be seen also from the following passages. In the blessing of the sons of Israel by their father:

The son of a fruitful one is Joseph, the son of a fruitful one by a fountain; the daughters (she walketh upon a wall), and they shall embitter him and shall shoot at him, the archers shall hate him; and he shall sit in the strength of his bow, and the arms of his hands shall be strengthened by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob; thence is he the shepherd, the stone of Israel; from the God of thy father, and He shall help thee; and with Shaddai, and He shall bless thee with blessings of heaven from above, with the blessings of the deep that lieth below, with blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of thy father shall prevail over the blessings of my progenitors, even to the desire of the hills of an age; they shall be for the head of Joseph, and for the crown of the head of the Nazirite of his brethren (Genesis 49:22-26).

"The son of a fruitful one is Joseph" signifies the Lord's spiritual kingdom and spiritual church, and in the highest sense the Lord in relation to the Divine spiritual; "the son of a fruitful one by a fountain" signifies the fructification by truths from the Word, the "son of a fruitful one" meaning the fructification by truths, and "fountain" the Word; "the daughters (she walketh upon a wall)" signifies to combat by truths that are from good against the falsities that are from evil, a "wall" meaning truth defending; "they shall embitter him" signifies resistance by falsities; "and shall shoot at him" signifies that they will fight from falsities; "and the archers shall hate him" signifies with every hostility from the falsities of doctrine; "darts" and "arrows," and thence "the throwers of darts" and "archers," signifying combat from truths against the falsities of doctrine, but here from the falsities of doctrine against truths; "and he shall sit in the strength of his bow" signifies to be kept safe by the truths of doctrine combating against falsities, "bow" meaning doctrine; "and the arms of his hands shall be strengthened" signifies the potency of the powers of combating; "by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob" signifies by the omnipotence of the Lord's Divine Human; "thence is he the shepherd, the stone of Israel," signifies that all spiritual good and truth in the kingdom is therefrom; "from the God of thy father" signifies that he was the God of the ancient church; "and with Shaddai" signifies the Lord as Benefactor after temptations; "and He shall bless thee with the blessings of heaven from above" signifies with goods and truths from within; "with blessings of the deep that lieth below" signifies with the knowledges of truth and good and with corroborating knowledges [scientifica] from without; "with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb" signifies the spiritual affections of these and conjunction; "the blessings of thy father shall prevail above the blessings of my progenitors" signifies that the church that is signified by "Joseph" is from spiritual truth and good; "even to the desire of the hills of an age" signifies from mutual celestial love; "they shall be for the head of Joseph" signifies these things in respect to interiors; "and for the crown of the head of the Nazirite of his brethren" signifies also in respect to exteriors. (For further explanation of this see Arcana Coelestia 6416-6438.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6416)


[7] In the blessing of the sons of Israel by Moses:

Of Joseph he said, Blessed of Jehovah be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that lieth beneath, and for the precious things of the increase of the sun, and for the precious things of the produce of the months, and for the firstfruits of the mountains of the east, and for the precious things of the hills of an age, and for the precious things of the earth and of the fullness thereof; and the good pleasure of him that dwelleth in the bush; they shall come to the head of Joseph, and to the crown of the head of the Nazirite of his brethren (Deuteronomy 33:13-16).

This describes the Lord's spiritual church with those who are in the doctrine of truth from the Word, and in a life in accordance with it, "the land of Joseph" signifying that church; "to be blessed for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that lieth beneath," signifies from Divine truths from the Word in the spiritual man, and from the influx of the spiritual man into the natural; "the precious things of heaven" meaning Divine spiritual truths or truths in the spiritual man; "dew" signifying influx therefrom, and "the deep lying beneath" signifying the natural man in which are the knowledges of truth and good for perception, and confirming knowledges; "for the precious things of the increase of the sun, and for the precious things of the produce of the months," signifies from the truths flowing forth from the Lord's celestial kingdom, and from the truths flowing forth from the Lord's spiritual kingdom; "the precious things of the sun" meaning truths from the celestial kingdom; "the precious things of the months" truths from the spiritual kingdom, and "increase" and "produce" the things that flow forth; "for the firstfruits of the mountains of the east and for the precious things of the hills of an age," signifies genuine truths such as were in the Most Ancient Church, and such as were in the ancient church, "the mountains of the east" signify the Most Ancient Church which was in love to the Lord; that church is described by "the mountains of the east" because "mountain" signifies love, and the "east" the Lord; "the hills of an age" signify the Ancient Church, which was in charity towards the neighbor; that church is described by "the hills of an age" because "hills" signify charity towards the neighbor. (That such is the signification of "mountains" and "hills," see above, n. 405.) "And for the precious things of the earth and of the fullness thereof" signifies the external spiritual church, which is with those who live according to the knowledges of truth and good; the "earth" meaning that church, and "fullness" the knowledges in the external man; "and the good pleasure of him that dwelleth in the bush," signifies the Lord in respect to the Divine spiritual, that all these things are from Him; "they shall come to the head of Joseph, and to the crown of the head of the Nazirite of his brethren" signifies in respect both to interiors and to exteriors (as above).

(References: Deuteronomy 33:13-17; The Apocalypse Explained 405)


[8] In Zechariah:

And I will make the house of Judah mighty, and I will save the house of Joseph; and they shall be as the mighty Ephraim, and their heart shall be glad as if with wine (Zechariah 10:6, 7).

"The house of Judah" here means the church that is in love to the Lord, which is called the celestial church; and "Joseph" means the church that is in the good of charity and in the truths of faith, which is called the spiritual church; because the truths of that church have power from good, it is said, "they shall be as the mighty Ephraim," for "Ephraim" signifies truth from good in the natural man, which truth has power; the joy of such from truths is signified by "their heart shall be glad as if with wine," "wine" signifying truth from good.

(References: Zechariah 10:6-7)


[9] In Ezekiel:

Jehovah said, Son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions; then take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and of all the house of Israel; and then join them for thee one to another into one stick, that the two may be one in thy 1 hand. I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and of the tribes of Israel his companions, and I will add them upon the stick of Judah, and will make them into one stick, and they shall be one in My hand. And I will make them into one nation in the land, in the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be for a king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore at all (Ezekiel 37:16-22).

Here, too, "Judah" signifies the celestial church which is in the good of love, and "Joseph" and "Ephraim" signify the spiritual church which is in the good of charity and in the truths of faith. That these two churches will be one church with the Lord, as good and truth are one, is meant by "I will make them into one stick, and they shall be one in My hand. And I will make them into one nation in the land; and one king shall be for a king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore." (But this also may be seen explained above, n. 433.)

(References: Ezekiel 37:16-17, Ezekiel 37:19, 37:22; The Apocalypse Explained 433)


[10] In David:

O God, Thou hast with Thine arm redeemed Thy people, the sons of Jacob and of Joseph (Psalms 77:15).

"The sons of Jacob and of Joseph" mean those who are in the good of life according to their religious principles; for "Jacob" means in the Word the external church which is with those who are in the good of life; and "Joseph" here means Manasseh and Ephraim, for it is said "Thou hast redeemed the sons of Joseph," by whom those are meant who are in good and truth in respect to the external man, thus in respect to life. (That Manasseh and Ephraim, the "sons of Joseph," have this signification, see above, n. 440.) "To redeem them with His arm," signifies to save them by omnipotence, for those who had been such were saved by the Lord through His coming into the world, and could not have been saved otherwise.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 440)


[11] In Obadiah:

In Mount Zion there shall be escape, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall be heir to their inheritances; and the house of Jacob shall become a fire and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, that they may kindle them and devour them, that there be no residue of the house of Esau (verses 17, 18).

"Esau and his house" mean those who believe themselves to be intelligent and wise not from the Lord but from self; for in the eighth verse of this chapter it is said "I will destroy the wise out of Edom, and the intelligent out of the mount of Esau," [Obadiah 1:9], meaning those who from the letter of the Word have confirmed themselves in such things as favor their own loves. "The house of Jacob and the house of Joseph" mean such as are in the good of life according to the truths of doctrine, "the house of Jacob" meaning those who are in the good of life, and "the house of Joseph" those who are in the truths of doctrine; "Mount Zion," where there will be escape and holiness, signifies love to the Lord, from whom is salvation and from whom is Divine truth; "the house of Jacob shall be heir to the inheritances of the house and mountain of Esau," and "the house of Jacob shall be to him a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame," signifies that in place of those meant by "Esau" those will succeed who are in the good of life according to the truths of doctrine. In the spiritual world this so occurs, that those who have been in pride from self-intelligence, and have confirmed themselves from the Word in such things as favor the loves of self and the world, occupy certain tracts and mountains, and make for themselves a semblance of heaven, believing that heaven belongs to them more than to others; but when the time has been fulfilled they are cast out of their places, and those succeed them who are in the good of life according to the truths of doctrine from the Lord. (See respecting this in the small work on The Last Judgment.) This makes clear what is signified in the internal sense by "the house of Jacob shall be heir to their inheritances, and shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble."

(References: Obadiah 1:8, 1:17-18)


[12] In Amos:

Who play upon the psaltery, and devise for themselves instruments of music like David; who drink out of bowls of wine, and anoint themselves with the firstfruits of the oils, but are not grieved over the breach of Joseph (6 :5, 6).

This treats of those who counterfeit good affections in externals, and bring together for confirmation many things from the Word, and yet are interiorly evil. To counterfeit good affections in externals is signified by "playing upon the psaltery, devising for themselves instruments of music, and anointing themselves with the firstfruits of the oils;" to bring forth many things from the Word for the sake of appearance is signified by "drinking out of bowls of wine;" that they have no regard for the truths of doctrine of the church, even though the church should perish by falsities, is signified by "they are not grieved over the breach of Joseph," "Joseph" meaning the spiritual church, which is with those who are in the truths of doctrine.

(References: Amos 6:5-6)


[13] In David:

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that sittest upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh stir up Thy might, and come for salvation to us (Psalms 80:1, 2).

Here, too, "Joseph" signifies the spiritual church, which is with those who are in truths from good, that is, in the truths of doctrine also as to life. What "Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh," here mean may be seen above n. 440.

(References: Psalms 80:1-2; The Apocalypse Explained 440)


[14] In Amos:

Thus said Jehovah unto the house of Israel, Seek ye Me, and ye shall live; lest He fall like fire upon 2 the house of Joseph, and He shall devour and there shall be none to quench. Hate evil, and love good, and place judgment in the gate; it may be that Jehovah the God of Hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph (Amos 5:4, 6, 15).

"The house of Israel" signifies the spiritual church, and "the house of Joseph" that church in respect to the truths of doctrine. That truths of doctrine will perish unless they are in the affection of truth and good and a life according to them, is meant by "lest He fall like fire upon the house of Joseph;" and "Jehovah will be gracious to his remnant" means that He will preserve with them the remaining truths of doctrine, provided they live according to the goods and truths from the Word, which is meant by "hate evil and love good, and place judgment in the gate."

[15] In David:

Lift up a psalm, and strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. Sound with the trumpet in the new moon, in the fixed time at the day of our feast. For this was a statute of Israel. He appointed a testimony for Joseph, in His going out against the land of Egypt; I heard a lip that I knew not (Psalms 81:2-5).

To "lift up a psalm, to strike the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery," signifies confession from spiritual and celestial truths and the delights of the affection of truth and good (see above, n. 323, 326); "sound with the trumpet in the new moon, in the fixed time for the day of our feast," signifies worship from the delight of these affections; "for this was a statute for Israel, and He appointed a testimony for Joseph," signifies that these things were for the new church instituted among the sons of Israel which was in the truths of doctrine; "in His going out against the land of Egypt; I heard a lip that I knew not" signifies when the old church was destroyed, which had come to be in falsities of doctrine, "a lip that I knew not" signifying falsities of doctrine; for "Egypt," when Joseph was lord there, represented the church that is in the cognitions of truth and good, and in confirming knowledges (scientiae); but when the sons of Israel began to be hated and ill-treated, "Egypt" represented the church destroyed, in which are mere falsities, for it is said that:

There arose a new king over the Egyptians who knew not Joseph (Exodus 1:8);

and consequently the Egyptians with Pharaoh, who pursued the sons of Israel, were drowned in the Red Sea.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 323, 326)


[16] That "Joseph" means in the highest sense the Lord in respect to the Divine spiritual, is evident also in David:

Joseph was sold for a servant; his foot they hurt with a fetter, his soul came into the iron; until the time that his word came, and the saying of Jehovah explored him. Then the king sent and loosed him; the ruler of the nations let him go free. He set him as a lord to his house and ruler over all his possessions, to bind his princes according to his will, and that he might instruct his elders. Then Israel came into Egypt, and Jacob became a sojourner in the land of Ham (Psalms 105:17-23).

How the Lord was received when He came into the world, and how He was tempted and then became Lord of heaven and earth, and subjugated the hells, reduced the heavens to order and established the church is described by the story of Joseph; how He was received and tempted is described by "he was sold for a servant, his foot they hurt with a fetter, and his soul came into iron;" "he was sold for a servant" signifying that the Lord was held in low esteem; "his foot they hurt with a fetter" signifying that He was as it were bound and in prison because there was no longer any natural good; "his soul came into the iron" signifying that it was so because there was no longer any natural truth but only falsity. The Lord's conquering the hells through Divine truth from 3 His Divine is described by "until the time that his word came, and the saying of Jehovah explored him;" "his word" signifying Divine truth, and "the saying of Jehovah" Divine good from which is Divine truth. That the Lord thus acquired power over all things of heaven and earth for His Human from His Divine is described by "the king sent and loosed him, the ruler of the nations let him go free; he set him as a lord to his house, and ruler over all his possession;" the "king who sent," and the "ruler of the nations who let him go free," signifying Divine truth and Divine good which were in Him and from Him, "king" Divine truth, and "ruler" Divine good; for the Lord is called "King" in the Word from Divine truth, and "Lord" and "Ruler" from Divine good.

The "house over which he was set" signifies heaven and the church in respect to good, and "possession" heaven and the church in respect to truth. This has a similar signification as the words of the Lord Himself, that all things of the Father are His and all His are the Father's; and that all power over heaven and earth was given to Him (John 17:10; Matthew 28:18). That the Lord from His Divine withholds the heavens from falsities and keeps them in truths, and thus gives them intelligence and wisdom, is described by "he bound the princes according to his will, and that he might instruct his elders," "princes" signifying those who are in truths, and "elders" those who are in intelligence and wisdom. That the Lord then established the church on the earth is meant by "then Israel came into Egypt;" "Israel" signifying the church, for the establishment of the church by the Lord was represented by the sons of Israel coming into Egypt, as also by the Lord's being carried into Egypt when He was an infant (Matthew 2:14, 15; Hosea 11:1). That all things of the church then perished is meant by "Jacob became a sojourner in the land of Ham;" "Jacob" signifying the church with all who are in the good of life, and "the land of Ham" signifying the church destroyed.

(References: Matthew 2:14-15)


[17] Here and elsewhere in the Word "Israel and Jacob" do not mean the sons of Israel and the posterity of Jacob, but all those with whom is the church, wherever they were and wherever they are; as "Judah" in the Word does not mean the Jewish nation, but the church consisting of such as are in love to the Lord (of which above, n. 433). For with the sons of Israel or the posterity of Jacob there was no church, but the church was merely represented; therefore they signify all who are of the church, and this not only in the prophecies of the Word but also in its histories, as has been shown in what precedes. So, too, "Joseph" and his tribe do not mean Joseph and his tribe, but in the highest sense the Lord in respect to the Divine spiritual, and thence in a relative sense the Lord's spiritual kingdom in the heavens and on the earths, likewise the things that constitute that kingdom, which are the truths of doctrine.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 433)


[18] In Ezekiel there is a description of a new spiritual church to be established by the Lord, and this church with its doctrine is meant by "the new city, the new temple, and the new earth," therefore it is said:

This is the border unto which ye shall inherit the land, according to the twelve tribes of Israel, to Joseph cords [portions] (Ezekiel 47:13).

"Joseph" signifies the spiritual church, and "cords" signify conjunction, and preaching from that tribe to the rest, and from the rest to it; and "the twelve tribes of Israel" signify all things of that church.

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Footnotes:

1.  Photolithograph has "my," the Hebrew "thy."

2.  Photolithograph has "devour," the Hebrew "fall upon" (invadat) is found in AC 3969.

3.  Photolithograph has "and."

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(References: Deuteronomy 33:13-17; Ezekiel 37:16-17, Ezekiel 37:19, Ezekiel 37:22; Genesis 37:9; Revelation 7:8)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 483, 538, 577, 625, 654


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


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