Commentary

 

The Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles      

By Joe David

The Last Supper, an 1896 work by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret.

The Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles

The Lord left his apostles with instructions and with great gifts. The instructions are listed in several distinct places, but the the gifts are more scattered, both in the four gospels and in the book of Acts later, being given as the apostles needed them.

First, about the apostles... just to clarify, here I'm referring to "the disciples" as including anyone who has followed along to hear the Lord, and "the apostles" to mean the twelve men that the Lord recruited specifically, as listed in Matthew 10, Mark 3, and Luke 6.

Who were the apostles? From the lists in Matthew and Mark, which are the same, we have: Simon (Peter), James and John the sons of Zebedee, Andrew (Peter’s brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew (the publican), Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, (as is Matthew, so they are brothers, too), Thaddeus, (also known as Libbeus), Simon the Canaanite (also called Simon the Zealot), and Judas Iscariot. Bartholomew is almost undoubtedly another name for Nathaniel, see John 1. The list in Luke includes another Judas, "Judas the brother of James" and doesn’t have Thaddeus.

The stories of how they were individually chosen differ, especially in the gospel of John, but that these twelve were appointed by the Lord is clear. A point of interest is that - other than Simon the Canaanite and Judas Iscariot they are all from towns around the sea of Galilee - and perhaps those two are as well. These twelve have their names inscribed on the twelve foundations of the walls of the holy city New Jerusalem, in Revelation 21:14 in which there are also the twelve gates. These men were chosen to represent all the different states of the natural human being that can be receptive of the Lord. They are from Galilee because Galilee represents that natural state of the human mind. The number twelve in the Word represents all possible states of mankind.

What is indicated here is that all people, everywhere, can be saved or regenerated if they repent and turn to the Lord in their lives. No one is "outside" of His reach. We are born natural, everyone is, but we are so formed that our minds can be raised to what is higher, called spiritual for our conceptions of Divine truth, or Celestial for our perceptions of Divine good. But we all start in a natural state and can only move upward by listening to the Lord’s teachings in His Word, and following Him as those Apostles did.

Not all of our natural states are states of good; they can be selfish, domineering, and cruel. But the Lord said that He came "not to save the just but to call sinners to repentance". Perhaps this is why Simon the Canaanite and Judas were two that He called. Simon is little known, but in some places in the Word, "Canaan signifies an external worship without a true internal worship". (See Arcana Coelestia 1060). Can the Lord work with that - with external worship that's internally barren? Yes, as a starting point. And, even Judas, who betrayed the Lord so terribly, we are told, repented of his betrayal of the Lord. (Matthew 27:3-5)

The Lord's Instructions to the Apostles

The two most comprehensive sets of instructions are in Luke 10:1-17 where seventy Disciples are sent out two by two, apparently to a specified list of cities that Jesus intends to visit, and then in Matthew 20:1-19 where the chosen twelve Apostles are sent out to all Israel. Later, as recorded in different epistles, the Apostles go out further, through a wide region.

The basic instructions were to preach that the kingdom of heaven is near, that all should be led to repent of their sins, and that all who wish should be baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles should not take any money or extra clothing along, and they were to depend entirely on the Lord’s providence with no doubt that they shall be welcomed, fed, and sheltered. If they were welcomed, they should stay and preach the good news about the risen Lord and His teachings, and if they were not, they should shake from their feet the dust of that place and go on to a place where they were welcome. See Matthew 10, 28, Mark 13, 16, Luke 9, 10:24.

There are several assurances for the twelve. The Lord has told them to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit is sent to strengthen them, and in John 20 where the ten are gathered it is said that He breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit". Also, in his long talk with them in John 14, 15, 16) He assures them that his crucifixion and death are necessary to his mission and they should even rejoice that it is coming. He shows them from scripture that it has all been prophesied from long ago, (see Mark 4:34) and that what seems to them a tragedy, is truly His glorification and the end of the work He came to do. They, His twelve, are in the same steam of providence and will be protected. "Don’t be anxious," He tells them, "I will put into your mouths what you are to say, I will bring into your memories the incidents to tell to the people".

Here is a listing of the chapters and verses in John where such things are said: John 14:1-3, 10, 16-18, 26-28, 15:11, 16, 26-27, 16:7, 13-15, 22, 26-27, 33. Or simply read the three chapters and pick out your favorites.

A marvelous gift is mentioned in Matthew 10:13, "But blessed are your eyes for they see and blessed are your ears, for they hear…".

In the book of Acts, the Lord vividly shows the apostles that when they speak in their Galileen dialect every listener will hear their words as his own language in his ears; not gibberish, but Arabic to the Arabs, Greek to the Greeks, and Latin to the Romans.

When Peter starts to preach to a gathering of sympathetic Jews he speaks clearly and unafraid, saying that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God and that people should worship Him openly and repent of how they might have felt earlier. Peter’s talk in Acts 3 and 4 is a bold and powerful one. No more hiding behind locked doors.

The early history of the Christian church shows just how well all this worked out. You know what? The Apostles preached to the peoples in the Near East 2000 years ago, and their preaching is just as relevant today as it was then: "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Being at hand has nothing to do with the date or the state of political history in the world, it has to do with the inside of your mind. The Lord is just as close to you now as He was then, and He never turns away, though we might turn away from him. Remember that He said "behold I stand at the door and knock and if anyone hears and opens the door He will come right in." This hasn’t changed nor will it ever change, but He leaves us in freedom to ignore His knocking, if that is what we want. We have to make the choice, but He is always ready if we choose to open the door.

The Bible

 

John 16:22

King James Version         

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22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

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Explanation of John 16      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Explaining the Inner Meaning of John 16

Verses 16:1, 2, 3. That through the power of divine truth there is protection in the time of persecution, when worship shall become merely external, through the extinction of all heavenly good and truth, resulting from the non-acknowledgement of the divinity of the Lord's humanity.

Verses 16:4, 5, 6. Which things are manifested to the understanding, to the intent that they may affect the will and love, and be thus acknowledged to be of divine prediction, in relation to a future state of the church, when the divine operation was no longer to be external, or by truth, but internal, or by good, of which state they, who are principled in truth, are not yet aware.

Verses 16:7, 8. For truth, in its external manifestation, must apparently be taken away, to the intent that it may be received again internally, and by such internal manifestation may remove from man the powers of evil and error, and establish in him the heavenly powers of good and truth.

Verses 16:9, 10, 11. All which evil and error result from the non-acknowledgement of the Lord's Divine Humanity, whilst the glorification of this humanity, together with the subjugation of the powers of darkness, constitute the all of good and of truth.

Verses 16:12, 13. Therefore a limit is set to the instruction of truth externally, but not to the reception of truth internally, because internal truth is in connection with divine good and truth, and thus leads man to depend on the Lord in all states of life.

Verses 16:14, 15, 16. For internal truth is the operation of the Lord's Divine Humanity, and thus the medium of communication with the divine truth in its union with the divine good, and therefore it succeeds the external manifestation of truth.

Verses 16:17, 18, 19, 20. This doctrine however, is with difficulty apprehended by those who receive truth only externally, until they are instructed that the external reception of truth leads man into spiritual temptations, and that by those temptations his state is inverted, and he is thus led to receive truth internally, or in its connection with the divine truth.

Verses 16:21, 22. For every state of spiritual temptation is attended with trouble, but when the temptation is past, the trouble is succeeded by joy, through the manifestation and operation of the divine truth.

Verses 16:23, 24. On which occasion, the guidance of external truth is no longer sought for, but the guidance of internal truth in connection with the Lord's Divine Humanity, which alone brings fullness of satisfaction.

Verses 16:25, 26, 27. Therefore the instruction of external truth must precede, and be succeeded by that which is internal, in which case the Lord in his Divine Humanity will be exalted as the supreme object of worship, who from mercy intercedes for all, and conjoins himself to all, who from love acknowledge him in that Humanity as the manifested Jehovah.

Verses 16:28, 29, 30. For the divine principle itself assumed the human, and became a man, and afterwards united the human essence to the divine, thus convincing, by the light of internal truth, all who are willing to be convinced, that the human essence of the Lord is divine.

Verses 16:31, 32, 33. Nevertheless the loves of self and of the world will operate to obscure this truth even with the well disposed, and therefore all such are instructed, that the acknowledgement of this truth leads to conjunction of life with the Lord, and that therefore whatever of temptation may arise from the above evil loves, they ought the more to confide in the Lord, who has subdued all infernal evils and falsities.

From Swedenborg's Works

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The Bible

 

Isaiah 66:14

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14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.

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Explanation of Isaiah 66      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 66

(Note: Rev. Smithson's translation of the Isaiah text is appended below the explanation.)

1. THUS says Jehovah: The heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is this house which you build for Me ? and where is this place of My rest?

VERSE 1. The "heavens" are things celestial and spiritual, consequently inmost things. both of the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, and of the Lord's kingdom in the earth, or in the church, and also with every individual man who is a kingdom of the Lord, or a church; consequently the "heavens" denote likewise all things appertaining to love and charity, and faith grounded therein, as also of things appertaining to internal worship, and in like manner all things appertaining to the internal sense of the Word; all these things are heavens, and are called "the throne of the Lord."

But the "earth" denotes all inferior things corresponding to these internal or superior things, as inferior rational and natural things, whereof all things celestial and spiritual are predicated by reason of correspondence; these inferior things are such as are in the inferior heavens, and also in the church, and in external worship, and likewise such as are in the literal sense of the Word; in short, all things which proceed from internal things, and are fixed and exhibited in things external, as being things natural, are called "earth", and "the Lord's footstool."

What is meant by "heaven" and "earth", in the internal sense, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia 82; what by the "new heaven" and the "new earth", Arcana Coelestia 2117; and that man is a "little heaven", see Arcana Coelestia 911, 978. Arcana Coelestia 2162.

2. For all these things My hand has made; and all these things exist [by Me], says Jehovah: and to him will I look, even to him that is humble and of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at My Word.

Verse 2. As to "creation", and as to the end for which it exists, see Chapter 43:1, 7, the Exposition.

To him will I look, even to him that is humble and of a contrite spirit. - Good and Truth from the Lord can flow in into a humble and contrite heart, which acknowledges that in itself there is nothing but evil, and in the Lord nothing but Good; for in this acknowledgement there is the annihilation of self, thus a state of aversion and absence from self.

Thus they who are averse to all that is evil and false, because it is from themselves, and in the affection of all that is Good and True, because it is from the Lord, are in humiliation, and in a state of receiving Good and Truth from the Lord. A merely external humiliation is not the humiliation of acknowledgement, for the latter cannot exist without the correspondence of the external and internal, and thus, their conjunction. Unless a man humbles himself by acknowledging that he is nothing but evil, he is in merit and in self-righteousness; and as Good cannot then flow in, he cannot be withheld from the evils of his proprium.

The Lord requires humiliation and adoration, not for the sake of Himself, but for the sake of man, who is thus brought into a state of receiving Good, and of being separated from the love of self and its evils.

By "humbling himself" is denoted that a man ought to compel himself to submit to Divine Good and Divine Truth. Arcana Coelestia 3994. See also Arcana Coelestia 1937, 1947, 4956, 5420, 5758, 5957, 8263.

[To "tremble at the Lord's Word", is to come into this state of humiliation.]

3. He that slays an ox, smites a man; he that sacrifices a lamb, beheads a dog; he that makes an oblation, [offers] swine's blood; he that offers incense, blesses an idol: yea, they have chosen these things in their own ways; and in their abominations their soul delights.

Verse 3. To "slay or to sacrifice an ox", and to "smite a man", signify to worship God in externals, and nevertheless to reject all Truth; by "sacrificing an ox" is signified worship from those things which represented natural Good; for an "ox" denotes natural Good; and by "smiting a man" is meant to reject and to deny the Truth, "man", in the Word, denoting Truth.

To "offer incense", and to "bless an idol [or vanity]", signify to worship God from such things as represented spiritual Good, and notwithstanding, to love evil and the false, and to imbibe them; an "offering of incense" denoting worship from spiritual Good, and "vanity" [or an idol] evil and the false of evil. Apocalypse Explained 340.

He that sacrifices a lamb, beheads a dog; he that makes an oblation, [offers] swine's blood. - [It does not appear that Swedenborg has expounded, or even quoted these two clauses of the verse, but the following, we submit, is, from correspondence, the spiritual instruction they involve. To "sacrifice a lamb", is to worship from pretended innocence in the external form; but instead thereof to "behead (or to decollate) a dog", is to worship from selfish and sensual cupidities, denoted by a "dog". (See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 56:10.)

All those who, in the external form, worship under the semblance of innocence and piety, and yet, in the internal, cherish the filthy cupidities of whoredom, fraud, malice, etc., are guilty of this abominable profanity.

To "make an oblation", is to worship in the external form under the pretence of love to the Lord and to the neighbour, or from celestial Good, signified by an "oblation" or a "meat-offering"; (Arcana Coelestia 458) but instead thereof to "offer swine's blood", is to cherish in the heart the cupidities of avarice, (see Chapter 65:4, the Exposition), and the false principles, signified by the "blood", which are connected with these cupidities.

The inside must first be cleansed of these cupidities and evils, before a pure and an acceptable worship can be offered to the Lord, who says, "You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and the platter, that the outside of them may be clean also." Matthew 23:26.]

He that offers incense, blesses an idol. - To "offer incense" is to worship from spiritual Good, (Apocalypse Explained 491) which is love to the neighbour, or charity; [but by doing this in the external form, and, at the same time to "bless an idol", is to cherish what is evil and false in the internal, or in the heart. All who go to church to worship God, and, at the same time, do not in their daily life act justly with their neighbour, but cherish fraud, ill-will, malice, or some other evil in their hearts, instead of worshipping God, "bless an idol, or what is vain.]

As to the true nature of worship, signified by "incense", "sacrifices", etc., see Chapter 43:23; also Chapter 1:11-19, the Exposition.

In their abominations their soul delights. - "Abominations" signify infernal evils; also profanations of the holy things of the church; and especially the evils of murder, hatred, adultery, whoredom, theft, fraud, falsehood, and lies, etc., forbidden in the second table of the Decalogue. Apocalypse Explained 728, 821. See also Apocalypse Explained 827.

4. I will also choose their devices, and the things they dread I will bring upon them; because I called, and no one answered; I spake, and they did not hear: and they did evil in Mine eyes, and that in which I delighted not they have chosen.

Verse 4. Evil brings upon itself its own punishment, which, at the period of Judgment, breaks out and overwhelms the wicked. The punishment of evil was represented by this law of retaliation:

"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, burning for burning", etc. (Exodus 21:24, 25)

The punishment of retaliation comes from this law of order in heaven:

"All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, even so do you to them; this is the Law and the Prophets"; (Matthew 7:12) wherefore they who do good from good, or from the heart, receive good from others; and, on the other hand, likewise, they who do evil from evil, or from the heart, receive evil from others. Hence it is that every good has its own recompense adjoined to it, and every evil its own punishment. Arcana Coelestia 8214

Because I called, and no one answered; I spoke, and they did not hear, etc. - That to "call" and to "answer" denotes reciprocation, reception, and conjunction; but that to "call" and "not to answer" signifies non-reciprocation, non-reception, and non-conjunction, see Chapter 36:21, the Exposition.

5. Hear you the word of Jehovah, you that tremble at His Word! Your brethren that have bated you, and that have cast you out for My name's sake, have said, Let Jehovah be glorified! and we shall see your joy; but they shall be ashamed.

Verse 5. It does not appear that Swedenborg has quoted this verse, but from the internal sense in the margin, it would seem that the "brethren" here intended are those who, although out of the church, are nevertheless in charity, and of whom a church can consequently be formed. The reason why it is said that "they have hated and cast them out (the people of the Jewish church) for the Lord's name's sake", is, we apprehend, because the Gentiles had a great aversion to the Jews, as a people, on account of their arrogance and cruelties, as described by Swedenborg in the Exposition of verse 20. These "brethren" will say, "Let Jehovah be glorified! that we may see the joy of those who thus desire to see Jehovah glorified"; or, that the Lord should be acknowledged and worshipped; whilst the wicked, or "they who plot devices" (verse 4), and thus do evil, shall be "ashamed and rejected."]

That to be "ashamed" signifies to be averse to what is Good, and consequently to be in evil, see Chapter 24:2, the Exposition.

6. A voice of tumult from the city! a voice from the temple! the voice of Jehovah! rendering recompense to His enemies,

Verse 6. By the "city" is understood the doctrine of Truth; by "temple" the church, and by "the voice of Jehovah from the temple" Divine Truth itself. Apocalypse Explained 220.

7. Before she was in travail, she brought forth; before her pangs came upon her, she was delivered of a male.

Verses 7-11. These words treat of the advent of the Lord, and of the establishment of the church with the Gentiles. Their reformation and regeneration is described by "travailing", "bringing forth", and by being" delivered of a male", and by "coming to the birth", and by "generating"; for, as was said above, the man who is born anew, is, in like manner, as it were, conceived, carried in the womb, born, educated, and grows to adolescence, as from a father and mother.

By "Zion" and "Jerusalem" are here understood the church and its doctrine; and by "sucking", and by being "satisfied from the breast of her consolations", is signified to be fully instructed in Truths originating in Good from the delight of love, according to desire.

By the "one day", in which these things shall take place, is signified the advent of the Lord. Apocalypse Explained 721. See also Arcana Coelestia 264.

Verse 7. She was delivered of a male. - By a "son", in the Word, is signified the Truth of doctrine, also the understanding, and hence the thought of what is True and Good; but by a "daughter" is meant the Good of doctrine, and also the will, and hence the affection of what is True and Good; and by "a son a male" is signified Truth conceived in the spiritual man, and born in the natural. The reason is, because by "generations" and "nativities", in the Word, are signified spiritual generations and nativities, all which, in general, relate to what is Good and True; for nothing else is generated and born of the Lord as "Husband", and of the church as a "wife." Apocalypse Revealed 543.

8. Who has heard a thing like this? Who has seen things like these? Does the earth bring forth in one day'? Is a nation born at once? for as soon as Zion was in travail, she brought forth her sons.

9. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? says Jehovah: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut up [the womb]? says your God.

Verse 8. Where the reason of its being said, "Does the earth bring forth in one day? Is a nation born at once?" is, because the "earth" signifies the church.

By " bringing forth" and by "birth", and also by " generating" and "generation", in the Word, are signified spiritual births and generations, which are of Faith and of Love, thus reformation and regeneration.

What the "new heavens" and "new earth " signify, has been already explained. Apocalypse Explained 304. See also True Christian Religion 583.

10. Rejoice with Jerusalem, and exult in her, all you that love her: be exceedingly joyful with her, all you that mourn over her:

11. That you may suck, and be satisfied from the breast of her consolations; that you may draw forth [nourishment], and be delighted from the brightness of her glory.

12. For thus says Jehovah, Behold, I will spread over her peace like a river; and like a flowing stream the glory of the nations: and you shall suck; you shall be carried at the side; and on the knees shall you be caressed.

13. As a man whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and in Jerusalem shall you have comfort.

Verses 10-12. Here also by "Jerusalem" is understood the church as to doctrine, or, what is the same thing, the doctrine of the church; concerning the latter it is said - "Rejoice with Jerusalem and exult in her, all you that love her"; and concerning doctrine it is also said, "That you may suck, and be satisfied from the breast of her consolations; that you may draw forth [nourishment] from the brightness of her glory"; by the "breast of consolations" is signified the Divine Good, and by the "brightness or splendour of glory" the Divine Truth from which doctrine is derived.

That there shall be an abundance of all those things by virtue of conjunction with the Lord, is signified by "Behold, I will spread over her peace like a river; and like a flowing stream, the glory of the nations; and you shall suck"; - "peace" signifying conjunction with the Lord, and the "glory of the nations "the conjunction of Good and Truth thence derived; to "suck" denotes influx from the Lord; and a "river" and a "flowing stream "denote abundance.

That hence exist spiritual love and celestial love, by which conjunction with the Lord is effected, is signified by "You shall be carried at the side, and on the knees shall you be caressed;"-the "side" signifying spiritual love, and the "knees" celestial love; and to be "taken up and be caressed", is eternal felicity by virtue of conjunction.

That the "breasts" signify spiritual love and also the "side" or " breast", may be seen above, Apocalypse Explained 65; that the "knees" denote conjugial love, and hence celestial love, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia 3021 Arcana Coelestia 3021[1-8] Arcana Coelestia 3021[1-8] Arcana Coelestia 3021[1-8], 5060-5062.

That "glory" signifies Divine Truth, and intelligence and wisdom thence derived, may be seen above, n. Apocalypse Explained 34, 288; and that "nations" signify those who are in the Good of love, and, abstractedly from persons, the Goods of love, may also be seen above, Apocalypse Explained 175, 331.

Hence "the glory of the nations" is genuine Truth, originating in the Good of love, and consequently their conjunction. Apocalypse Explained 305. See also Chapter 60:15, 16, the Exposition.

14. And you shall see it, and your heart shall rejoice; and your bones shall bud forth like the herb: and the hand of Jehovah shall be made known to His servants; but He will be indignant against His enemies.

Verse 14. And your bones shall bud forth like the herb, etc. - As to the meaning of "flesh" and "bones", both in a good and in a bad sense, see Chapter 58:11, the Exposition.

15. For, behold, Jehovah shall come in fire; and like a whirlwind are His chariots: to recompense in the wrath of His anger; and His rebuke in flames of fire.

Verse 15. Like a whirlwind are His chariots, etc. - For what is said respecting "whirlwinds" and "storms", etc., at the time of Judgment in the world of spirits, see Chapter 17:13, the Exposition.

16. For by fire shall Jehovah contend, and by His sword, with all flesh: and many shall be the slain of Jehovah.

Verse 16. By a "sword", in this passage, is signified Truth combating and destroying; this destruction appears especially in the spiritual world, where they who are in falsities cannot sustain the Truth, but are in a state of anguish, as if they struggled with death, when they come into the sphere of light, that is, into the sphere of Divine Truth; and thus also they are deprived of Truths, and devastated. As most expressions in the Word have also an opposite sense, so likewise has the "sword", and in that sense it signifies the false combating against Truth, and destroying it. Apocalypse Explained 131.

17. They who sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one [tree] in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abominable thing, and the mouse; together shall they be consumed, says Jehovah.

Verse 17. That to "sanctify themselves in gardens", is to worship from intelligence self-derived, and thus from false doctrines, see just above, Chap 65:3, 4, the Exposition. "Behind one [tree] in the midst"; this "one in the midst." (whether it be a tree or an idol), implies the governing principle which rules in this perverted state of self-intelligence and of impure worship.

This "one thing in the midst" has its origin either in the love of self, - and is, therefore, either the love of dominion and power and pre-eminence, - or in the love of the world; and is, consequently, the love of opulence, and the pride and conceit of one's own intelligence. It is said to be "in the midst", because whatsoever is in the centre, universally governs, as one king in his kingdom.

What the "eating of swine's flesh and of the abominable thing" signifies, may be seen above, Chapter 65:4, the Exposition.

As to the "mouse", which was unclean, (Leviticus 11:29) and which signifies the cupidities of the sordidly avaricious, see Arcana Coelestia 938, 1514.

To cherish these cupidities is, in the language of correspondences, signified by "eating mice", which was forbidden as an abomination in the Lord's sight.]

18. For I [know] their works and their thoughts: and [the time] shall come to gather all nations and tongues together; and they shall come, and shall see My glory.

Verses 18, 19. These words are said concerning the Lord, and concerning the New Church to be established by Him, consequently concerning the "new heavens" and the "new earth", as is evident from verse 22 of this chapter.

By "gathering together all nations and tongues", is signified the same as by "gathering together the elect from the four winds"; (Matthew 24:31) to "gather together" signifies to call to Himself those who are His; "nations" denote those who are in Good, and "tongues" those who are in life according to doctrine; to "come" and to "see the glory of the Lord", is to be illustrated in Divine Truth, and to be thence in the fruition of heavenly joy; for the "glory of the Lord" signifies the Divine Truth, and illustration and joy therefrom.

To "set a sign upon them", signifies to distinguish and separate them from the evil, and to conjoin them to the good. Apocalypse Explained 427. See also Apocalypse Revealed 347.

19. And I will set a sign upon them, and those that escape I will send to the nations; to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow; to Tubal, and Javan, and the islands afar off; to those who have not heard My fame, and who have not seen My glory: and they shall declare My glory among the nations.

Verse 19. "Those that escape" signify remains or remnants. (See above, Chap, 1:9, the Exposition.) "Tarshish" signifies those who are in external worship [but from somewhat of an internal principle]; "Pul and Lud, drawing the bow", signify those who are in the knowledges of Truth, namely, from the Lord, by charity, and thus by faith, by means of reason and science, as in Ezekiel:

"They of Persia, of Lud, and of Phut, were in thine army, your men of war; they banged their shield and their helmet in you; they set forth your comeliness"; (Ezekiel 27:10) where the subject treated of is concerning Tyre.

"Lud" and "Phut" denote knowledges, which are said to be "in an army", and are called "men of war", because they serve to defend Truths, and are a support to reason, which is also understood by "hanging up the shield and the helmet." That by "Phut'" are signified the exterior knowledges of the Word, may be seen above, Arcana Coelestia 1166.

By "drawing the bow", as said of those who are meant by "Tubal" and "Javan", is signified to teach doctrine. Arcana Coelestia 1231.

[By these words are therefore implied that the "remains", or those who escape at the period of Judgment, will be sent to those who can instruct them in Truths from the Word, and initiate them into the externals of a true worship.]

20. And they shall bring all your brethren, from all the nations, an offering to Jehovah; upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters; upon mules, and upon dromedaries; to the mountain of My holiness, to Jerusalem, says Jehovah: like as the sons of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of Jehovah.

Verse 20. This passage treats concerning the establishment of the New Church by the Lord; wherefore it is not understood that "they shall bring their brethren upon horses, and in chariots, and in liners, upon mules, and upon dromedaries, into Jerusalem", but that all who are in Good are to be instructed in divine Truths, and being thereby made intelligent and wise, are to be introduced into the church; for by "brethren" are signified all who are in Good; by "horses" is denoted the understanding of Truth, by "chariots" the doctrine of Truth, by "litters the knowledges of Truth, by "mules" the internal rational [principle], which is spiritual, and by "dromedaries" [or swift beasts] the external rational [principle], which is natural; by Jerusalem is signified the church, where is the doctrine of Truth which is called "the mountain of holiness" from the love of Truth. Apocalypse Explained 355.

By "horses", "chariots", "litters", "mules", and "dromedaries" in the spiritual sense , are understood things appertaining to doctrine, and thence to the church; for the subject here treated of is concerning the New Church to be established by the Lord.

By "horses" are signified intellectual things, by "chariots" doctrine", by "litters" doctrinals of Good, by "mules" rational things, and by "dromedaries" likewise things rational as to Good.

By the "brethren", whom they shall bring, are signified all who are in the Good of charity; and by "Jerusalem, the mountain of holiness", is signified the church in which charity reigns. Apocalypse Explained 1155. See also Apocalypse Explained 175.

As the sons of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel, etc. - As to the meaning of "vessels", see Chapter 52:11, the Exposition. "An offering in a clean vessel" is representative of sincere and holy worship: See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 18:7.

21. And of them will I also take for priests and for Levites, says Jehovah.

Verse 21. What "priests" and "ministers" signify, see Chapter 61:6, the Exposition. "Levites" and the "tribe of Levi" signify the church as to its charity and good works; for every "tribe" has its own particular signification. The reason why the "tribe of Levi" signifies [in a good sense] good works is, because spiritual love, or charity, consists in performing Goods, which are good works. Essential charity, viewed in itself, is the affection of Truth and Good, and where that affection is, there is a life according to Truths and Goods; for affection, without a life according to the Truths and Goods with which it is affected, has no existence. If such affection be supposed to exist and to be present, it is a natural affection, and not a spiritual one. These two affections differ in this, that natural affection has for its end self and the world, therefore the Truths and Goods with which a person is then affected he loves for the sake of his own fame, and to obtain honour and gain; in which case the life according to doctrinals is only assumed from self for the sake of appearance, and so it is pretended and inwardly hypocritical; but spiritual affection has for its end the Lord, heaven, and life eternal, which it regards in the Truths and Goods, thus it loves Truths and Goods spiritually; and when this affection has place with man, he then loves to think those things and to will them, consequently to live according to them.

To live according to Goods and Truths is understood in the Word by "doing", and the life itself by the "deeds" and "works" which are so often mentioned in the Word.

These, therefore, are what were represented and signified by "Levi" and his "tribe" in the church with the Jews. Inasmuch as this affection is the very essential principle of the church, therefore the "tribe of Levi" was made the priesthood; and therefore "the staff of Levi in the tent of the assembly blossomed with almonds"; and therefore to that "tribe" was given an inheritance, not in the same manner as the rest, but amongst each of them.

Inasmuch as most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so have "Levi" and his "tribe"; and in this sense "Levi" signifies the evil of the falsity which is opposite to the Good of Charity, consequently no charity towards the neighbour. This is signified by "Levi", in the prophecy of Israel concerning his sons, in Genesis 49:5-7; this opposite principle is also understood by the "Levite", in theLord's parable concerning him who was wounded by thieves. (See Luke 10:29-37.) Apocalypse Explained 444.

22. For like as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall stand before Me, says Jehovah: so shall stand your seed and your name,

Verse 22. Speaking of the Lord, and of the salvation of the faithful by Him. The New Church from Him is understood by "the new heavens and the new earth", - by the "new heavens" the internal church, and by the "new earth" the external church. That divine Truth and its quality shall continue, is signified by "so shall stand your seed and your name", "seed" denoting divine Truth which also is the Truth of doctrine from the Word, and "name" is the quality thereof; that by "name" is signified the quality of a thing and state, may be seen above, n. 148. Apocalypse Explained 768. See also Chapter 65:17, 18, the Exposition.

23. And it shall be, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to bow down before Me, says Jehovah.

Verse 23. By "month" or "moon" is signified man's state of life as to Truth. He who thinks that man does Good which is acceptable to the Lord, and which is called spiritual Good, If there are not in him Truths from the Word, is much mistaken. Goods without Truths are not Goods, and Truths without Goods are not Truths in man, although they are Truth in themselves; for Good without Truth is like the voluntary principle of man without understanding, , which voluntary principle is not human, but is like that of a beast, or like that of an image which an artist causes to operate; but the voluntary principle, united with its intellectual principle, becomes human according to the state of the understanding by which it exists; for every man's state of life is such, that his will cannot do anything but by his understanding, neither can his understanding, think anything but from his will.

It is the same with Good and Truth, because Good is of the will, and Truth is of the understanding. From these considerations it is evident that the Good which the Lord produces in man, is according to the state of the Truth in man, from which the understanding is formed. The reason why this is signified by "the Tree of Life yielding its fruit according to every month"; is, because by "month" is signified the state of Truth in man.

That by all "times" and "seasons", as hours, days, weeks, months, years, ages, are signified states of life, may be seen, Apocalypse Revealed 476, 562.

The reason why "months" signify states of life relating to Truth, is, because by "months" are signified times determined by the moon, and by the "moon" is understood the Truth of the understanding and of faith.

The like is also signified by "months" in the following passages:

"Blessed of Jehovah is the land of Joseph, with the precious things of the produce of the sun, and with the precious things of the produce of the months", (Deuteronomy 33:13, 14)

By reason of the signification of "month" or "moon", sacrifices were offered at the beginning of every month or new moon. (Numbers 29:6; Isaiah 1:14) Apocalypse Revealed 935.

24. And they shall go forth, and shall see the carcases of the men who have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence unto all flesh.

Verse 24. What is signified by a "carcase", see Chapter 34:3, the Exposition.

By "their worm dying not", is signified the false principle of evil which is in the good derived from man's selfhood, which false principle is compared to a "worm", because their effects are similar; for the false principle corrodes, and thereby torments. There are two things which make hell, as there are two things which make heaven; - the two things which make heaven are Good and Truth, and the two things which make hell are evil and what is false. Consequently those two things in heaven are what make happiness there, and the two things in hell are what make torment there. Torment in hell, derived from the false principle, is compared to a "worm", and torment from evil is compared to "fire", as in Isaiah 66:24; and in Mark:

"Where their worm dieth not, and their fire shall not be quenched." (Mark 9:44, 46, 48) Arcana Coelestia 8481.

Their fire shall not be quenched. - All love in the spiritual world, when it is excited, appears at a distance like fire; within the hells like a burning fire; and without, like the smoke of a burning fire, or like the smoke of a furnace. Apocalypse Explained 422.

Infernal spirits are not in any material fire, but in spiritual fire, which is their love, wherefore they do not feel any other fire; concerning which, see Heaven and Hell 566-575.

In respect to "fire", in a bad sense, as signifying the evil of lusts and cupidities arising from the love of self and of the world, see Chapter 9:17-19; 33:11, 12, 14, the Exposition.

---
Isaiah Chapter 66.

1. THUS says Jehovah: The heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is this house which you build for Me? and where is this place of My rest?

2. For all these things My hand has made; and all these things exist [by Me], says Jehovah: and to him will I look, even to him that is humble and of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at My Word.

3. He that slays an ox, smites a man; he that sacrifices a lamb, beheads a dog; he that makes an oblation, [offers] swine's blood; he that offers incense, blesses an idol: yea, they have chosen these things in their own ways; and in their abominations their soul delights.

4. I will also choose their devices, and the things they dread I will bring upon them; because I called, and no one answered; I spake, and they did not hear: and they did evil in Mine eyes, and that in which I delighted not they have chosen.

5. Hear you the word of Jehovah, you that tremble at His Word! Your brethren that have bated you, and that have cast you out for My name's sake, have said, Let Jehovah be glorified! and we shall see your joy; but they shall be ashamed.

6. A voice of tumult from the city! a voice from the temple! the voice of Jehovah! rendering recompense to His enemies,

7. Before she was in travail, she brought forth; before her pangs came upon her, she was delivered of a male.

8. Who has heard a thing like this? Who has seen things like these? Does the earth bring forth in one day? Is a nation born at once? for as soon as Zion was in travail, she brought forth her sons.

9. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? says Jehovah: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut up [the womb]? says your God.

10. Rejoice with Jerusalem, and exult in her, all you that love her: be exceedingly joyful with her, all you that mourn over her:

11. That you may suck, and be satisfied from the breast of her consolations; that you may draw forth [nourishment], and be delighted from the brightness of her glory.

12. For thus says Jehovah, Behold, I will spread over her peace like a river; and like a flowing stream the glory of the nations: and you shall suck; you shall be carried at the side; and on the knees shall you be caressed.

13. As a man whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and in Jerusalem shall you have comfort.

14. And you shall see it, and your heart shall rejoice; and your bones shall bud forth like the herb: and the hand of Jehovah shall be made known to His servants; but He will be indignant against His enemies.

15. For, behold, Jehovah shall come in fire; and like a whirlwind are His chariots: to recompense in the wrath of His anger; and His rebuke in flames of fire.

16. For by fire shall Jehovah contend, and by His sword, with all flesh: and many shall be the slain of Jehovah.

17. They who sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one [tree] in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abominable thing, and the mouse; together shall they be consumed, says Jehovah.

18. For I [know] their works and their thoughts: and [the time] shall come to gather all nations and tongues together; and they shall come, and shall see My glory.

19. And I will set a sign upon them, and those that escape I will send to the nations; to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow; to Tubal, and Javan, and the islands afar off; to those who have not heard My fame, and who have not seen My glory: and they shall declare My glory among the nations.

20. And they shall bring all your brethren, from all the nations, an offering to Jehovah; upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters; upon mules, and upon dromedaries; to the mountain of My holiness, to Jerusalem, says Jehovah: like as the sons of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of Jehovah.

21. And of them will I also take for priests and for Levites, says Jehovah.

22. For like as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall stand before Me, says Jehovah: so shall stand your seed and your name,

23. And it shall be, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to bow down before Me, says Jehovah.

24. And they shall go forth, and shall see the carcases of the men who have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be an abhorrence unto all flesh.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 66


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 149, 3812

Apocalypse Revealed 880

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 100

Doctrine of the Lord 64

True Christian Religion 782

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