Prophecies About Jesus      

By Joe David

By Meister des Ludwig-Psalters [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Currently at Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

For Christians, Christmas time is one of the most sacred, most joyous celebrations of the year. What about for people who are thinking about it, but who aren't sure about the whole "reason for the season"? What do we really know about what happened in Judea, 2000 years ago?

We're going to try to approach this topic from a neutral standpoint, and see where that leads us.

It's well-established that Jesus existed. He was physically, historically real. There is voluminous evidence from Christian sources, of course. Jesus Christ was also mentioned in non-Christian historical documents that have survived from that period. He's referred to twice by Josephus, the Jewish historian, in his work "Antiquities of the Jews" published in 93-94 AD. Tacitus, the Roman historian, writing in around 116 AD, also refers to "Christus" being put to death by the Romans under Pontius Pilate.

Was Jesus special? Even skeptics would need to wonder why and how this man from a small village in Galilee could launch a religion which would become the biggest, most influential one for at least the next two millennia of human history.

One of the intriguing things about Jesus is that his birth and life seem to have fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament, which date back to the time of Moses - at least 1500 years BC, and to far older stories in an oral tradition. Those prophecies existed in texts written long before the Christian Era started.

What were some of those prophecies? There are many of them! Swedenborg lists some here, Doctrine of the Lord 6. In this article, we're just going to focus on a few of them.

In this very early prophecy, it's indicated that the Messiah would be born as the son of a woman:

"And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life, and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3:14-15. This is confirmed in the story in Matthew 1:20.

In Micah, much later in the Bible, we read that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, in Judea:

"But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."
Micah 5:2. This is confirmed in the story in Matthew 2:1, and Luke 2:4-6.

In Isaiah, we read that the Messiah would be born to a virgin:

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14. This is confirmed in the story in Matthew 1:22-23, and in Luke 1:26-31.

Lineage was an important factor, too. At least 5 forefathers of the promised Savior are named. First, he was prophesied to come from the line of Abraham, the progenitor of many of the peoples of the modern Middle East, including the Jews, the Arabs, the Lebanese, the Druze, and others. See Genesis 12:3, and Genesis 22:18. This prophecy is confirmed in Matthew 1:1, and Romans 9:5.

In the next generation, prophecy stated that the Savior would be descended from the line of Isaac, one of Abraham's two sons. See Genesis 17:19, and Genesis 21:12. This is confirmed in Luke 3:34.

For the third generation, the Word states that the Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. It's prophesied in Numbers 24:17, and confirmed in Matthew 1:2.

For the fourth generation, attention focuses on the tribe of Judah, who was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel). See Genesis 49:10, and then Luke 3:33, and Hebrews 7:14.

Many generations later, in the second book of Samuel, and again in Isaiah, there are prophecies that the Messiah would be heir to King David's throne. Read 2 Samuel 7:12-13, and Isaiah 9:7. Then see Luke 1:32-33, and Romans 1:3.

There are many more prophecies, and we will look at more of them in a future article. But, to summarize these ones that we've just listed, what would Old Testament readers in the time of Caesar Augustus be expecting?

In Bethlehem, a virgin would bear a son. He would be descended from Abraham, through the line of Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and David. That's the way the story runs, in the Gospels.

It's clear that the Old Testament wasn't altered to suit the "facts on the ground". The prophecies are already there in pre-Christian scrolls. That leaves two possibilities:

1) Scenario A: The New Testament could have been written to twist the facts to match the old prophecies. Faithful Jews were awaiting the Messiah; they would have wanted to find matching stories. In this scenario, Jesus could have been just a regular man, but a standout leader and teacher and healer. He was so inspiring that his apostles endured hardship and death to spread what became a global religion. The stories about him were exaggerated or modified to help match the prophecies.

2) Scenario B: The Old Testament text contains deep inner meaning, and its prophecies were actually prophetic and true. The facts of Jesus' birth and life and ministry actually did match and fulfull the prophecies. In this scenario, Jesus was truly a miracle baby.

Which scenario is right? In both, there's a recognition that the teachings of Jesus contained wisdom, and that there is great value in them. In New Christian thought, the choice is for Scenario B -- that Jesus really was the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, or Savior.

This of course requires some level of belief in miracles - prophecy, fulfillment, the virgin birth, angels bearing tidings, healings, feeding the multitudes. Can miracles really happen? Is it scientifically possible? Maybe they can... maybe as science advances, we will begin to understand those boundaries better.

At some level, don't most of us believe in miracles -- in the miracle of the very existence of the universe, and of living organisms that can reproduce, and of human life, and of love?

How to end this article? The whole subject of miracles needs more thought. And, here it is, December 22, and... instead of getting more analytical, I find that right now I just want to "be" in the holy days of Christmas.

If you're feeling skeptical, have a look at Arcana Coelestia 2568, and Arcana Coelestia 2588. They offer an interesting perspective!


One source for this article was "100 Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus: Messianic Prophecies Made Before the Birth of Christ", by Rose Publishing.

(References: Teachings about the Lord 6)

The Bible


Luke 3:33

English: King James Version         

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33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda,

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Explanation of Luke 3      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1-2. When the remains in the Lord's human principle were opened to the Divine, it then became subject to temptation combats, on which occasion an assault is made by infernal spirits on the Divine love of saving mankind communicated to the human principle.

Verses 3-4. Under which assault it is suggested, that truth alone is sufficient for man's spiritual nourishment, from whatever source it be derived.

Verses 5-9. And that the love of the world is one principal source of human happiness.

Verses 9-13. Also the love of self.

Verse 13. That these temptation-combats were continued to the latest period of the Lord's life in the world.

Verses 14-15. That when the Lord's Human principle, through temptation-combats, was brought to a fuller union with the Divine, it became the medium of communicating truth to the Church in a greater abundance.

Verses 16-20. As had been predicted.

Verses 18-19. In agreement with which prediction, the poor in spirit were to receive from the Lord the knowledge of the Eternal Truth; they who were made sensible of their natural defilements were to be purified; they who were under the dominion of false persuasions were to be liberated; they who were in ignorance were to be instructed; they who had transgressed were to receive remission; and all were to hear the glad tidings of the Lord's Advent.

Verses 20-23. That the accomplishment of this prediction is at first received with joy.

Verses 23-28. Until declaration is made, that none can receive the eternal truth but those, who are in the love of it from a for principle of good, and who also are sensible that of themselves they are defiled with all false principles.

Verses 28-29. On which occasion, violent opposition is excited in the thoughtless and impenitent, attended with a total rejection of all truth and an attempt to destroy it.

Verse 30. Insomuch that the truth was entirely hid from them.

Verses 31-36. Nevertheless its Divine power was felt by others, and confessed even by the infernals, who yet are not allowed to declare it, but compelled to retire to their own kingdom.

Verses 36-37. Since this was one great end of the revelation of truth in the person of jesus Christ to remove the powers of darkness from mankind.

Verses 38-39. And to deliver from the love of evil all those who are in the affection of truth.

Verses 40-41. Also to liberate, and render receptive of good and truth, those who are infested with falsities.

Verses 40-44. With which view the truth at times hides itself, that so a stronger affection may be excited towards it, and it may be manifested in every direction.

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

  Spiritual Topics:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 29:35, 38:29, 46:12

Numbers 2:3

Ruth 4:17

1 Chronicles 1

Word/Phrase Explanations

Phares,' which means 'breach,' in Genesis 38:29, signifies the apparent separation of truth from good.

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.

 Baptism of the Lord
Use felt tip markers to draw a picture of John baptizing the Lord in the Jordan River. Then dip a paintbrush in water and go over the picture to give the effect of watercolor. 
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 John the Baptist Prepares the Way
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 The Baptism of Jesus
Connect the dots to make the dove appear in this picture of the Lord's baptism.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Years Have Their Beginnings
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #2588

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2588. 'Abraham's wife' means, in order that spiritual truth might be joined to celestial good. This is clear from the representation of 'Sarah when a wife' as spiritual truth joined to celestial good, dealt with in 1468, 1901, 2063, 2065, 2172, 2173, 2198, 2507, and from the representation of 'Abraham' as celestial good joined to spiritual truth, dealt with in 2010, 2172, 2198, 2501. Whether you say spiritual truth and celestial good, or whether you say the Lord, it amounts to the same, for the Lord is truth itself and good itself, and also the marriage itself of truth and good and of good and truth. These matters may indeed be seen from the explanation given, yet as they belong among those things that are obscure at the present day, let them be illustrated so far as possible. The subject here is the doctrine of faith, about which doctrine the Lord thought when He was a boy; that is to say, He gave thought to whether it was permissible to enter into that doctrine by means of rational conceptions and in that way form ideas for Himself regarding it. This way of thinking was a product of His love and concern for the human race, who are such that they do not believe anything which is not grasped in a rational manner by them. But He perceived from the Divine that one ought not to enter into doctrine that way, and therefore He revealed such doctrine to Himself from the Divine and at the same time also all things in the universe that are subordinate to it, that is, all things of a rational kind, and all those of a natural kind.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2011, 2172-2173)

[2] People's attitudes to matters of doctrine regarding faith have been spoken of above in 2568. There it was stated that there are two basic attitudes of mind from which people think, the negative and the affirmative; also that they think from a negative attitude who believe nothing unless they are convinced by rational considerations and by facts, and indeed by sensory evidence, whereas those people think from an affirmative attitude who believe that things are true because the Lord has said so in the Word and who thus have faith in the Lord. People who adopt the negative attitude towards the truth of anything in the Word say in their hearts that they are willing to believe when persuaded on rational grounds and by facts. But these are such as never believe, not even indeed if they were convinced by means of the evidence of their own physical senses of seeing, hearing, and touch; for they would always be producing new reasonings against such things, and in so doing they would at length completely destroy all faith and at the same time would turn the light of the rational into darkness, because they would turn it into falsities. People however who adopt the affirmative attitude, that is, who believe that things are true because the Lord has said so, are being confirmed all the time by rational considerations and by facts, and even by sensory evidence, and their ideas are being enlightened and are strengthened by these; for light comes to man through no other channel than the rational ideas and the factual knowledge which he possesses. This is so with everyone. With those who have the affirmative attitude of mind doctrine is certainly living, and of them it is said that they are healed and give birth. But with those who have the negative attitude doctrine certainly dies, and of them it is said that the womb is completely closed. All this shows what it is to enter the doctrine of faith by means of rational ideas, and what it is to enter into rational ideas from the doctrine of faith.

[3] Let these differences be illustrated by examples: The Word teaches that the first and foremost matter of doctrine is love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour. People with the affirmative attitude towards this are able to enter into whatever things of a rational, factual, and indeed sensory kind they please, each according to his ability, knowledge, and experience. Indeed the more they do so the more they are confirmed, for the whole natural order is full of what is confirmatory. But people who deny this first and foremost teaching, and who wish first of all to be convinced by means of factual and rational considerations that a thing is true, never allow themselves to be convinced because they deny in their hearts and are all the time taking their stand on some other basic idea which they believe to be essential. In the end through confirmations of that idea these people so blind themselves that they cannot even know what love to the Lord is and what love towards the neighbour is. And because they confirm themselves in notions contrary to such love they at length also confirm themselves in the idea that no other kind of love can exist that has any delight in it except self-love and love of the world. And this they do to such an extent - if not in doctrine yet in the lives they lead - that they embrace hellish love in place of heavenly love.

[4] But with those who as yet have adopted neither a negative attitude nor an affirmative one but are in a state of doubt that precedes either of these, the position has been stated above in 2568. There it was shown that those who incline towards a life of evil fall into the negative attitude, whereas those who incline towards a life good are brought into the affirmative one. Take a different example: One of the leading ideas of the doctrine of faith is that all good comes from the Lord and all evil from man or self. People with the affirmative attitude that this is so are able to confirm themselves by many rational ideas, and by facts, such as that no good can possibly flow in except from Good itself, that is, from the fountain of good, and so from the Lord, and that good cannot have its first beginnings anywhere else. Such people find these ideas enlightened for them by all things which are truly good within themselves, within others, within society in general, and indeed within the whole of creation. But people with the negative attitude confirm themselves by everything they can possibly think of in ideas to the contrary, so much so that at length they do not know what good is. And disputing among themselves as to what the highest good is, they are profoundly ignorant of the fact that it is by means of celestial and spiritual good from the Lord that every type of good beneath it is made living, and that the delight flowing from it is truly delight. Some also imagine that if good does not come from themselves it cannot possibly come from any other source.

[5] Take another example: Those who are governed by love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour are able to receive the truths of doctrine and to have faith in the Word, but not so those leading a life of self-love and love of the world. Or what amounts to the same, those governed by good are able to believe but not those governed by evil. People with the affirmative attitude of mind are able to confirm this in countless ways - with rational ideas and factual knowledge. With rational ideas they are able to confirm that truth is compatible with good but not with evil, and that as all falsity resides in evil it is also the product of evil, and that if any people governed by evil nevertheless possess any truth, this is on their lips, not in their heart. And with factual knowledge they are able to confirm from many points of view that truths put evils to flight and that evils detest truths. But people with the negative attitude confirm themselves in the idea that everyone, irrespective of what he is like in character - even if he leads a life for ever hating, taking delight in revenge, and practicing deceit - is able to believe as others are able to do so. Yet while holding to this idea they themselves totally reject goodness of life from doctrine, and having rejected it believe nothing whatever.

[6] To make the matter plainer still, take yet another example: Those who adopt the affirmative attitude that the Word has been written in such a way as to have an internal sense that is not apparent in the letter are also able in many ways to confirm themselves through rational considerations, such as the following,

By means of the Word man has a link with heaven.

Correspondences exist of natural things with spiritual, though the spiritual are not very apparent.

The ideas which belong to interior thought are completely different from the material ideas which fall into the words of spoken language. While man is in the world he is able to be in heaven (for he has been born for life in both places) through the Word which is intended for both places.

With some people a certain Divine light flows into the things of the understanding and into the affections when the Word is being read.

It is necessary that something be written which has come down from heaven and thus that the nature of its existence in its origins cannot be the same as its existence in the letter.

It cannot be holy except from a certain holiness which it has within it.

A person with the affirmative attitude is also able to confirm himself by means of certain facts, such as the following,

In former times people were living in an age of representatives. The writings of the Ancient Church contained such representatives, and those of many authors among the gentiles were composed of them, so that in the Churches that style of writing was regarded as being holy, and among the gentiles as being learned (books by many of those authors could also be mentioned).

But people who adopt the negative attitude, though they do not deny all these considerations and facts, nevertheless do not believe them. They persuade themselves that the Word is such as it exists in the letter, where indeed it presents a worldly appearance, but is nevertheless spiritual. They do not have any interest however in where that spiritual element lies, but for a multitude of reasons still want it. And that of which they are persuaded they are able to confirm in many ways.

[7] To present this matter in a way that can be grasped by ordinary people, let the following known fact serve as an example: Those with the affirmative attitude that sight does not belong to the eye but to the spirit which sees objects in the world by means of the eye as an organ of its own body can find confirmation of this fact in many ways. For instance, those people may find confirmation of it in their hearing of words spoken by another, in that these spoken words ally themselves to a certain interior sight, into which those words are converted - something that could not possibly occur but for the existence of that interior sight. These people may also find confirmation of the same in the consideration that whatever they think about is seen with an interior sight, by some more clearly and by others more obscurely, as well as in the consideration that the things produced by their imagination are not unlike actual objects of sight. They may find a further confirmation in the consideration that unless it were the spirit within the body that saw the things taken in by the eye as the organ of sight, the spirit would be unable to see anything in the next life, when in fact it is destined to behold countless and astonishing sights which the eye of the body cannot possibly see. In addition confirmation may be found by these people by reflecting on how in dreams, especially those of the prophets, many things have likewise been seen, yet not with the eyes. Finally, if trained in philosophy, a person may find confirmation in the consideration that things which are more exterior cannot enter into those that are more interior, just as that which is compound cannot enter into that which is simple, so that things of the body cannot enter into those of the spirit; only the reverse is possible. Besides these many other confirmations might be introduced, till at length a person is persuaded that sight belongs to the spirit, and not to the eye except from the spirit. But people with the negative attitude either speak of everything of this kind as that which is natural and physical, or else they speak of it as that which is imaginary. And when they are told that a spirit possesses and enjoys far more perfect sight than man does in the body, they laugh at the idea and dismiss it as nonsense, for they believe that they will be living in darkness when they are deprived of the sight of the eye. But in fact quite the reverse is the case in that they then dwell in the light.

[8] These examples show what it is to enter into things of a rational and factual nature from truths, and what it is to enter into truths from things of a factual and rational nature. The first method of approach is according to order, but the second is contrary to it; and when a person acts according to order he is enlightened, but when he acts contrary to order he is made blind. This makes plain how important it is for people to know and believe truths, for truths enlighten man, but falsities make him blind. Truths open up to the rational a vast and practically unlimited field, whereas falsities provide scarcely any such opening up at all, though this is not very evident. The reason why angels have so much wisdom is that they are enveloped in truths, truth being the light itself of heaven.

[9] Those who have made themselves blind through refusing to believe anything which they do not perceive with the physical senses, till at length they have no belief at all, were in former times called 'serpents belonging to the tree of knowledge'. For they reasoned much from things as perceived by the senses and from the resulting illusions which man accepts and believes all too easily, and by such reasoning they led very many astray, see 195, 196. In the next life they are easily distinguished from other spirits by the fact that in everything which is a matter of faith they reason whether it is so. And if it is demonstrated to them a thousand times, and then another thousand, that it is so they still advance doubts of a negative kind against every confirmation that is offered, and this they would go on doing for ever. They are so blinded therefore that they are lacking in common sense, that is, they are unable to grasp what good and truth are. Yet every one of them imagines that he is wiser than anyone else in the whole universe, making wisdom consist in being able to dispose of what is Divine and to derive the origin of things from what is natural. Many who have been considered wise men in the world are pre- eminently such as these; for the more anyone with the negative attitude of mind possesses talent and knowledge, the more insane he is, more so than all others. But the more anyone with the affirmative attitude possesses talent and knowledge the wiser he is able to become. One is not by any means forbidden to develop the rational by means of factual knowledge, but one is not allowed to use it to harden oneself against the truths of faith which belong to the Word.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 195-196)

[10] Much concerning these matters occurs in the internal sense of the Word, especially in prophetical sections, where the subject is Asshur and Egypt, for 'Asshur' means reasoning, 119, 1186, and 'Egypt' knowledge, 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462.

People who wish to enter into matters of doctrine regarding faith and into Divine things by means of things of a factual and of a rational nature, and who are consequently of unsound mind, are referred to in Isaiah as follows,

I will confound Egypt within Egypt, and they will fight every one against his brother, and every one against his companion, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of Egypt will be emptied out in the midst of it, and I will swallow up his plans. The waters from the sea will fail, and the river will be parched and dry; and the streams will depart, and the rivers of Egypt will diminish and become parched. Reed and rush will wither away. Every seed of the river will be dry. Jehovah has mingled in the midst of her a spirit of perversity, and they have made Egypt err in all its work, as a drunken man errs in his vomit. Isaiah 19:2-3, 5-7, 14.

In the same prophet,

Woe to the rebellious children, who depart to go down into Egypt but have not asked at My mouth, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. And the strength of Pharaoh will be shame for you, and trust in the shadow of Egypt ignominy. Isaiah 30:1-3.

In the same prophet,

Woe to those who go down into Egypt for help and rely on horses and trust in chariots because they are many, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel and do not seek Jehovah. And Jehovah will stretch out His hand; he who gives help will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all be destroyed together. And Asshur will fall by a sword, not of man; and a sword, not of man, will devour him. Isaiah 31:1, 3, 8.

In Jeremiah,

My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hollow out pits for themselves, broken pits which do not hold water. Is not Israel a slave? If he is a home-born [servant], why has he become a prey? Are you not bringing this on yourself by forsaking Jehovah your God at a time when He is leading you in the way? And now, what have you to do with the way to Egypt, to drink the waters of Shihor, or what have you to do with the way to Asshur, to drink the waters of the River? O generation, see the Word of Jehovah! Have I been a wilderness for Israel? or a land of darkness? For what reason have My people said, We will be our own masters, we will not come to You any more? Why do you go off so forcefully to change your way? You will also be put to shame by Egypt, as you were put to shame by Asshur. Jeremiah 2:13-14, 17-18, 31, 36.

In the same prophet,

Hear the word of Jehovah, O remnants of Judah, Thus said Jehovah Zebaoth, the God of Israel, If you surely set your faces to come into Egypt, and you enter to sojourn there, then it will be, that the sword of which you are afraid will overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine of which you are terrified will cleave to you there in Egypt, so that you die there. And all the men (vir) who have set their faces to come into Egypt to sojourn there will die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, and none of them will survive or escape from before the evil which I am bringing over you. Jeremiah 42:15-17, and following verses.

In Ezekiel,

And let all the inhabitants of Egypt know that I am Jehovah, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. When they grasp you with the hand, you will be broken, and you will tear for them every shoulder; and when they lean on you you will be broken, and you will make all their loins to be at a stand. Therefore thus said the Lord Jehovih, Behold, I am bringing a sword over you, and I will cause man and beast to be cut off from you; and the land of Egypt will be a desolation and a waste, and they will know that I am Jehovah, for [Egypt] has said, The river is mine, and I made it. Ezekiel 29:6-9, and following verses.

In Hosea,

Ephraim was like a silly dove. They called on Egypt, they went away to Asshur. When they go I will stretch My net over them. Woe to them, for they have strayed away from Me! Hosea 7:11-13.

In the same prophet,

Ephraim feeds the wind, and pursues the east wind. All the day long he multiplies lies and devastation and they make a covenant with Asshur, and oil is carried down into Egypt. Hosea 12:1.

In the same prophet,

Israel has committed whoredom beneath its God. You have taken delight in hiring yourself out on every threshing-floor. Ephraim will return to Egypt, and in Asshur they will eat what is unclean. For behold, they have gone away on account of the devastation, Egypt will gather them, Moph 1 will bury them; the nettle will possess their precious things of silver, the thorn will be in their tents. Ephraim has been stricken, their root has dried up, they will bear no fruit. Even when they bring forth I will slay the beloved fruits of their womb. My God will cast them away because they have not hearkened to Him, and they will be wanderers among the nations. Hosea 9:1, 3, 6, 16-17.

In Isaiah,

Woe to Asshur, the rod of My anger, and he is the staff, in their hand, of My indignation! He does not think what is right and his heart does not consider what is right, for it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few, for he says, Are not my princes at the same time kings? I will visit upon the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Asshur, for he has said, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have intelligence, and I will remove the boundaries of peoples and will plunder their treasures, and as a powerful man will cast down the inhabitants. Therefore the Lord, the Lord Zebaoth, will send leanness among his fat ones, and instead of his glory a burning of fire will be kindled. Isaiah 10:5, 7-8, 12-13, 16.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165)

[11] In all these places 'Asshur' means reasoning, as has been shown, 'Egypt' and 'pharaoh' mean knowledge, and 'Ephraim' the understanding part of the mind. These and many other places elsewhere describe what man's rational comes to be like when he reasons about the truths of faith from the negative attitude of mind. Similar teaching is embodied in the incidents recorded in Isaiah 36, 37, when the Rabshakeh was sent from the king of Asshur and spoke out against Jerusalem and king Hezekiah, and the angel of Jehovah at that time struck down in the camp of the king of Asshur one hundred and eighty-five thousands. Those descriptions mean the disarray into which all that constitutes man's rationality is thrown when he reasons against Divine things, however much he may seem to himself at that time to be wise.

[12] Such reasoning is also referred to in various places as 'whoredom committed with the sons of Egypt and with the sons of Asshur', as in Ezekiel,

You committed whoredom with the sons of Egypt, your neighbours, great in flesh, and multiplied your whoredom. And you committed whoredom with the sons of Asshur, and were still not satisfied. Ezekiel 16:26, 28; 23:3, 5-21.

See 2466.

[13] People however who enter into things of a rational and factual kind from the doctrine of faith and by so doing are made wise are referred to in Isaiah as follows,

On that day there will be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to Jehovah at its border; and it will be for a sign and a witness to Jehovah Zebaoth in the land of Egypt, for they will cry out to Jehovah because of the oppressors, and He will send a saviour and prince to them, and He will deliver them. And Jehovah will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know Jehovah on that day and will offer sacrifice and minchah, and will make a vow to Jehovah and perform it. Isaiah 19:18-21.

In the same chapter,

On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Asshur, and Asshur will come into Egypt, and the Egyptians will serve Asshur. 2 On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Asshur, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom Jehovah Zebaoth will bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Asshur the work of My hands, and Israel My heritage. Isaiah 19:23-25.

This is referring to the spiritual Church, of which Israel is the spiritual element, Asshur the rational, and Egypt the factual. These three constitute all the intellectual powers of that Church, which come in that order one after another. This explains why it is said, 'On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Asshur', and 'blessed be Egypt My people, Asshur the work of My hands, and Israel My heritage'.

(References: Isaiah 19:19-21)

[14] In the same prophet,

It will be on that day, that a great trumpet will be blown, and they will come - those who are perishing in the land of Asshur, and those who are outcasts in the land of Egypt - and they will bow themselves down to Jehovah on the holy mountain, in Jerusalem. Isaiah 27:13.

In the same prophet,

Thus said Jehovah, The labour of Egypt, and the wares of Cush and of the Sabaeans, men of stature, will come over to you and will be yours. They will follow after you and bow down to you. To you they will make the supplication, God is with you only; and there is no other besides God. Isaiah 45:14.

'Cush and the Sabaeans' are cognitions, 117, 1171. In Zechariah,

Egypt will go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Jehovah Zebaoth. Zechariah 14:17-18.

In Micah,

As for me, I look to Jehovah, I wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. The day for building your walls, this is the day; and they will come even to you from Asshur and the cities of Egypt even to the River. Micah 7:7, 11-12.

[15] In Ezekiel,

Thus said the Lord Jehovih, At the end of forty years I will gather Egypt from the peoples among whom they were scattered, and I will bring back the captivity of Egypt. Ezekiel 29:13-14.

In the same prophet,

Behold, Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon, beautiful in its branches, and a shady forest, and lofty in height, and its trunk among entangled boughs. The waters caused it to grow, with its streams going around the place of its planting, and he sent out his lines of water to all the trees of the field. Therefore its height was made higher than all the trees of the field, and its branches were multiplied, and its branches were made long by many waters. In its branches all the birds of the air made their nests, and under its branches every wild animal of the field gave birth, and in its shadow dwelt all great nations. And it became beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches, for its root was in many waters. The cedars did not hide it in the garden of God, the fir trees were not equal to its branches. No tree in the garden of God was equal to it in its beauty. I made it beautiful in the mass of its branches, and all the trees of Eden which are in the garden of God envied it. Ezekiel 31:3-9.

Here the Most Ancient Church, which was celestial, is described as to the nature of its rational and so of its wisdom and intelligence, for that Church used to look at things below from those which were Divine. Thus it looked at truths from goods themselves, and then from truths at what was subsidiary to these. By 'Asshur' and 'a cedar' are meant the rational, by 'entangled boughs among which were its branches' is meant factual knowledge, by 'streams' and 'waters' are meant spiritual goods, among which was its 'root', by 'the height and the length of the branches' the extent of it, by 'the garden of God' the spiritual Church, and by 'the trees of Eden' perceptions. This and the other places quoted above show what man's rational is like and what his factual knowledge is like when they are subordinate to Divine truths and serve these by confirming them.

(References: Ezekiel 31:3-8)

[16] The fact that things of a rational and factual kind serve people who have the affirmative attitude of mind as a means for making them wise was represented and meant by the command to the children of Israel to seek from the Egyptians the loan of vessels of gold and vessels of silver, and clothing, Exodus 3:22; 11:2; 12:35-36. Something similar is meant by what is said in various places in the Word about their possessing the goods, houses, vineyards, and olive-groves, and many other things, of the nations, and also by references to the very gold and silver itself seized from the nations becoming holy, as in Isaiah,

Jehovah will visit Tyre, and she will return to hiring herself out as a harlot, and will commit whoredom with all the kingdoms of the earth on the face of the ground. And its merchandise and its harlot's hire will become holy to Jehovah; it will not be stored or hoarded, for its merchandise will be for them that dwell before Jehovah to eat to satisfaction and for ancient clothing. Isaiah 23:17-18.

'The merchandise of Tyre' stands for cognitions, 1201, which to those with the negative attitude of mind are like 'a harlot's hire' but to those with the affirmative attitude are like that which is holy. Something similar is also meant by the Lord's words,

Make friends for yourselves out of the mammon of unrighteousness, so that when you fail they may receive you into eternal habitations. If then you have not appeared faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true? Luke 16:9, 11.


1. i.e. Memphis.

2. The Hebrew of this text in Isaiah may be read in two different ways - serve Asshur or serve with Asshur. Most English versions of Isaiah prefer the second of these.


(References: Exodus 12:36; Genesis 20:18)

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