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.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #1060

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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1060. Verse 18 And Noah's sons who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan.

'Noah's sons who went out of the ark' means those who constituted the Ancient Church, 'who went out of the ark' meaning those who had been regenerated. 'Shem' means the internal Church, 'Ham' the corrupted Church, 'Japheth' the external Church. 'Ham was the father of Canaan means that from the corrupted Church arose worship in external things devoid of internal, which worship is meant by Canaan.

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

The Bible

 

Luke 9

King James Version         

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1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.

4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.

5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.

6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;

8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.

9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place.

13 But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people.

14 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company.

15 And they did so, and made them all sit down.

16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.

17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.

18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;

22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.

27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.

28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:

31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.

33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.

34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.

35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

37 And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.

38 And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.

39 And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.

40 And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.

41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.

42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.

43 And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,

44 Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men.

45 But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.

46 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.

50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.

53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.

58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

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Explanation of Luke 9      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1-2. That the goods and truths of the Church have power imparted from the Lord, to rule over all evil and false principles from hell, and to announce the Lord's advent, and to remove spiritual disorders.

Verse 3. Under this condition, that they acknowledge all to be from the Lord alone, and nothing from themselves.

Verses 4-5. And that they enjoy heavenly consociation with those, who receive the Lord in faith and love, but denounce eternal misery on those who reject Him.

Verse 6. Thus they proclaim the Lord's advent, and remove evils and falsities.

Verses 7-9. That they who are in evils and falsities are instructed concerning the Lord, that He is the Word which they had rejected, therefore they are desirous to acquire knowledge of Him.

Verse 10. And that they who are in goods and truths make confession to the Lord of the effects of the power they have received from Him, and are afterwards let into temporary desolation.

Verse 11. Nevertheless they who are in the affection of good and of truth adhere to the Lord more closely, and are instructed by Him concerning His coming, and thus delivered from their natural disorders.

Verses 12-13. And in states of spiritual obscurity and distress, the Lord provides for their support, by the communication of good and truth from Him self, notwithstanding the apparent impossibility of such provision.

Verses 14-16. Yet not until inferior goods and truths are brought into right arrangement, and communication is opened through benediction from the Divine Good.

Verse 17. On which occasion, heavenly good and truth are appropriated in all fullness.

Verses 18-19. That they who are of the Church ought to enquire concerning the Lord's Human principle, so as not to confound it with that of other men.

Verse 20. Because the faith of the Church teaches, that the Lord's Human principle is the eternal Word, consequently Divine.

Verse 21. Which truth the Church at that time was not in a state to receive.

Verse 22. They are therefore instructed concerning the Lord's temptations, and the glorification thereby of His Human principle.

Verse 23. And taught the necessity of opposing the suggestions of self-love, and of enduring temptations, and of acknowledging the Lord by obedience to His precepts.

Verse 24. Since by so doing they would attain conjunction of life with the Lord, which is a good infinitely greater than any temporal good whatever.

Verse 26. Whereas if they reject the Lord and His precepts, they separate themselves eternally from Him, and from all heavenly good and truth.

Verse 27. That they who are principled in faith, in charity, and the works of charity, no longer experience separation of life from the Divine Being, but behold heaven, continually open through the Lord's Divine Human principle.

Verses 28-29. And being elevated into interior truths of good, behold that principle as the supreme good and supreme truth.

Verses 30-31. Thus as the all of the Word both historical and prophetical, since both the historical and prophetical Word testify to the glorification of the Lord's Human principle through temptation-combats.

Verse 32. This glorification however cannot be seen in a natural state of mind, but in a spiritual state.

Verse 33. In which spiritual state it excites an ardent desire of the reception and accomplishment of the whole Word.

Verses 34-35. Accordingly they who are elevated into such a spiritual state are instructed from the letter of the Word, that the Lord's Divine Human principle is the Divine truth itself, and the one living source of all truth in the Church.

Verse 36. And that thus the Lord is the whole of the Word.

Verses 37-39. And to be adored as the sole power of deliverance by such as are in evils and falsities.

Verse 40. Who cannot be delivered by any goods and truths but such as are in connection with the Divine Good and truth of the Lord's Divine Human principle.

Verses 41-42. To effect which connection, the Lord assumed the Human principle, and endured temptations, that thus they who desire to be delivered from evils and falsities may come to Him, and thereby be separated from infernal association.

Verses 43-45. Mankind therefore ought to consider well the nature and necessity of the Lord's temptations, which is a subject hid from the apprehension of the mere natural man, who is afraid to explore it.

Verses 46-48. For the natural man is concerned only about self-exaltation, when yet he ought to be concerned principally about humility and innocence, since the Lord, with all His Divine Good, is ever present with the humble and innocent, and thus exalting them.

Verses 49-50. And also conjoining Himself with all those, who, through His Divine power, oppose evil in themselves.

Verses 51-53. That as the period of the Lord's glorification approaches, He is intent on the concerns of the Church, but is rejected by those who are of the perverted spiritual Church.

Verses 54-56. Yet He bears all with patience, being influenced only by the Divine love of saving mankind.

Verses 57-58. So that a strong desire is excited in some to believe in Him, and keep His precepts, when yet the Word at that time had no place with the Jews, because they did not acknowledge Him.

Verses 59-60. But adhered to self-hood, which yet, in respect to the Lord, is as one that is dead, to one that is alive.

Verses 61-62. Thus they had recourse to the doctrinals of faith, instead of abiding, as they ought to have done, in the good of love and charity.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1594, 1748, 2019, 2135, 2397, 2535, 2576, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 24, 45, 54, 79, 166, 373, 458, ...

Doctrine of the Lord 19, 20, 24, 27, 35, 42, 48

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 98

Doctrine of Life 99

Heaven and Hell 180

Interaction of the Soul and Body 6

True Christian Religion 113, 261, 342, 572, 776, 777


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 36, 64, 83, 100, 195, 196, 200, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 98

De Domino 68

Justification 0

Spiritual Experiences 5632

Marriage 113

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 3, 5, 13, 14, 27, 64, ...

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



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Deuteronomy 34:5

1 Samuel 9:13, 26:8

2 Samuel 19:23

1 Kings 20

2 Kings 1:10, 12, 2:11

Psalms 78:8, 17

Bible Word Meanings

twelve disciples
'The twelve disciples' of the Lord represent the whole church, regarding everything related to faith and charity, the same as the twelve tribes of Israel.

twelve
'Twelve' signifies all aspects of faith. This has been unknown to the world until now. Nevertheless, this is the constant significance of 'twelve,' anywhere it...

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

power
Power,' as in Revelation 4, signifies salvation, because all divine power regards this as its final purpose. A person is reformed by divine power, and...

authority
Power,' as in Revelation 4, signifies salvation, because all divine power regards this as its final purpose. A person is reformed by divine power, and...

over
'Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

cure
'Healing' signifies reformation by truth derived by good. 'Healing in his wings,' as mentioned in Malachi 3:20, signifies reformation by divine truth from good.

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

sick
'The sick,' as in Matthew 25:35, signify people in evil, and those who acknowledge that in themselves there is nothing but evil.

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...

bread
The idea of a “loaf” in the Bible is very closely tied to the idea of “bread,” and is often used to mean bread: Jesus...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

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

healing
'Healing' signifies reformation by truth derived by good. 'Healing in his wings,' as mentioned in Malachi 3:20, signifies reformation by divine truth from good.

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...

john
Jesus as a man in the Bible represents Divine Truth, the pure and perfect expression of the Lord's infinite love. That truth is contained within...

risen
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...

hear
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...

see
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...

To
'To jubilate' or 'make a joyful noise' signifies worship from the delight of good.

Bethsaida
Bethsaida (Mark 8:22) signifies condemnation from non-reception of the Lord.

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

healed
'Healing' signifies reformation by truth derived by good. 'Healing in his wings,' as mentioned in Malachi 3:20, signifies reformation by divine truth from good.

multitude
'A multitude' relates to truths.

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...

loaves
The idea of a “loaf” in the Bible is very closely tied to the idea of “bread,” and is often used to mean bread: Jesus...

fishes
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

Five thousand men
Five thousand men besides women and children, as in Matthew 14:15, 21, signifies all who are of the church in truths from good; men, those...

sit
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

filled
'To be satiated,' as in Revelation 19:21, signifies being nourished by lusts, and taking them in with delight.

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

praying
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

asked
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

say
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...

answering
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

john the baptist
Jesus as a man in the Bible represents Divine Truth, the pure and perfect expression of the Lord's infinite love. That truth is contained within...

peter
Peter – born Simon, son of Jonah – is certainly one of the Bible's most important figures, second only to Jesus in the New Testament....

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...

tell
'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

son of man
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

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

scribes
'A scribe,' as in Isaiah 33:18, denotes intelligence. 'A scribe,' as in Matthew 23, signifies the Word from which doctrine is derived.

third
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

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

save
To be saved or rescued means getting true ideas that we can hold to even in the face of a storm of false thinking. Sometimes...

gain
Gain denotes every false principle derived from evil, which perverts the judgment of the mind.

world
The term "world" has both general and more specific meanings in the Bible, including the relatively literal sense of the natural, physical world. In more...

ashamed
On a natural level, there are a variety of things that can cause shame. We might be ashamed of physical weakness or ugliness; we might...

glory
Glory, wisdom, and thanksgiving signify the Lord's divine spiritual principle. Honor, virtue and might signify his divine celestial principle, as in Revelation 7:12.

angels
"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...

truth
There's a great deal of talk in Swedenborg about "truth" as a concept – it's how we learn the Lord's will, what we must seek...

taste
Our five senses correspond to spiritual affections, or the attraction we feel toward spiritual things. The sense of taste, according to the Writings, corresponds to...

sayings
'Sayings' denotes persuasion. 'Sayings,' when related to Jehovah, signify informing or instructing.

james
James' denotes faith, charity, and the goods of charity.

into a mountain
'To be taken up into a mountain,' as in Revelation 21:10, signifies being taken up into the third heaven, because it says 'in the spirit.'...

pray
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

prayed
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

raiment
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

white
'White' relates to truths, because it originates in the light of the sun.

moses
Moses's name appears 814 times in the Bible (KJV), third-most of any one character (Jesus at 961 actually trails David at 991). He himself wrote...

saw
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...

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

make
'Make mention' denotes communication.

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

entered
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

alone
To be alone in the Bible represents being free of evil and false influences. That's why the Lord seeks solitude to pray, and why 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...

company
A company, congregation, and a multitude, in the Word, are predicated of truths.

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

spirit
'The seven spirits' in Matthew 12:45 signify all falsities of evil, and as a result, a total extinction of goodness and truth. 'The seven spirits'...

long
'Long' and thence to prolong, refer to good.

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

wondered
In Revelation 13:3, 'all the world wondered after the beast,' signifies that faith alone was gladly received and became the doctrine of the whole church.

Every one
The phrase “Every one,” where it occurs in Genesis 20:7, signifies every thing or all things.

all things
The Lord is life itself, is the Creator of the universe, and is the source of life on an ongoing basis. So in a literal...

sink
The spiritual meaning of "sink" is relatively easy to see: It means to descend into lower spiritual states, especially into states where false reasoning and...

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

answered
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

messengers
"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...

samaritans
'The Samaritans,' in Luke 10, means the Gentiles in charity towards their neighbors. 'The Samaritans' signify the Gentiles or nations which would receive doctrine from...

ready
In general, when something is "prepared" in the Bible it means that it is in the proper spiritual order, which happens when our hearts and...

turned
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

goest
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...

air
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

plough
'To plough,' as in Isaiah 28:24, signifies implanting truth in 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.


 Feeding the 5000
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Feeding the Five Thousand
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 People Follow the Lord
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Plow Your Field
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Apostles Are Sent Out
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 Feeding the Multitude Diorama
Color the background scene, the figure of the Lord, and the boy carrying a basket of bread and fish. Cut out the figures of the Lord and the boy, and then assemble the diorama.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord's Teachings Are Spiritual Food
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Transfiguration
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Transfiguration: A Wonderful Vision
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Transfiguration: One Lord, Two Prophets, Three Disciples
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14


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