Commentary

 

What the Bible Says about Being Born Again

     

By Rev. John Odhner

Photo by Jenny Stein

I was talking recently with someone who was looking forward to becoming a father. He asked me, "Is it hard to learn how to be a good father? How did you deal with that change in your life?"

"One of the nice things about becoming a father," I said, "is that it happened one step at a time. First we got engaged, and then some time later we got married. During that time, talking about parenting helped prepare me mentally. A few months after our marriage, my wife became pregnant, and then we still had nine months before our child was actually born."

"Of course, having a new baby was a big change, but still there were many parenting tasks that came later. For example, discipline wasn't an issue for the first year, and it was two years before we had to help our son learn to get along with his new baby sister. Being a good father all at once would be impossible, but the Lord gives us a chance to learn slowly."

Most changes in our lives are gradual. An inch of growth may take a child half a year. It can take several years to learn to speak a new language or play a musical instrument. Two people can be married in a day, but the actual marriage of minds takes decades to accomplish.

Changes in our spiritual life are also gradual. They take place one step at a time, and spiritual growth will be easier if we know that it does not take place in a moment. It is an ongoing process. Jesus said,

"Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)

Many passages in the Bible indicate that being born again spiritually will be just as much a step by step process as physical conception, gestation, birth, growth, and development. For example, Peter describes it in seven distinct steps:

"Add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control, and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness, to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love." Only by completing this process can we be sure to enter the Kingdom of God. (2 Peter 1:5)

One reason why being born again must be a gradual process is that it involves a complete change of character. Paul describes it this way:

"If any one be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:5)

Rebirth involves new knowledge, new habits, new activities, new loves, and new awareness of the Lord.

New Knowledge

Rebirth does not take place through a blind leap of faith, but through gradual education, study and enlightenment. Jesus said,

"If you continue in My Word, ...the truth shall make you free." (John 15:3)

Truth is the tool of change, the means to a new life. Jesus said,

"Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." (John 15:3)

Instead of accepting dogmas without question we must make sense of the truth in order to be reborn. Being "childlike" does not mean being childish in our beliefs.

"In malice be children, but in understanding be adults." (1 Corinthians 14:20)

In one of His stories, Jesus describes a good person as one "who hears the Word, and understands it, and also bears fruit." (Matthew 12:23)

Most important of all is the understanding of God. If God's nature is a mystery to us, we can hardly say that we are born again, or that we are His sons. (Compare John 15:15.)

Knowing God goes hand in hand with being born from Him. (1 John 4:7)

"The pure in heart shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)

When we are born again, God "shines in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6)

New Habits

Anyone who is in the habit of doing or thinking evil things is living the "old" life, and is incapable of the genuine goodness of the person who has overcome them.

"Can the leopard change its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil." (Jeremiah 13:23) "He who commits sin is the servant of sin." (John 8:34)

Receiving the new life requires fighting against the old habits.

"Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die? ...Turn and live!" (Ezekiel 18:21, 31-32.)

"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean, put away the evil of your doing from My eyes! Cease to do evil, learn to do good." (Isaiah 1:16.)

This kind of repentance cannot take place merely by praying for forgiveness. It requires a struggle, an ongoing battle to overcome the old ways of life. Paul called this a struggle between the "flesh" and the "spirit." (Galatians 4:29, Romans 8:7.)

It is a battle that requires our greatest effort -- "all your heart and all your soul and all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Eventually, through constant effort, God gives us such power over our habits that we no longer would think of doing something evil. When this time finally comes, we can be called "born again."

"Whoever is born of God does not commit sin.... He cannot sin, because he is born of God." (1 John 3:9)

"Whatever is born of God overcomes the world.... We know that whoever is born of God does not sin, but he who is born of God keeps himself and the wicked one does not touch him." (1 John 5:4, 18)

New Activities

Along with new habits come new activities. A person who neglects to be useful cannot be born again, and cannot go to heaven. Jesus indicated that some Christians would not be saved because they lacked good works.

"Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, ' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in the heavens." (Matthew 7:21)

In one of His parables, Jesus told of some people who would go into everlasting punishment, not because they had lacked faith, but because they had failed to help people who were in need. (Matthew 25:41-46)

After death, the Lord "renders unto everyone according to his deeds." (Matthew 16:27)

A person who is born again is concerned for others, and orients his life around the work he can do to help others.

"Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead... A person is justified by works, and not by faith alone." (James 2:17, 24)

To be born again, you must "bring forth fruits worthy of repentance." (Luke 3:8) Service and usefulness are marks of the new life.

New Loves

Even more than faith and more than works, the power that causes a person to be born again is love. Peter tells us that we are reborn by means of loving and for the purpose of loving others.

"Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, being born again...by the word of God." (1 Peter 1:22, 23)

John also makes it very clear that only those who love others can receive the new life:

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death." (1 John 3:14)

"Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love, does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)

New Awareness of the Lord

We must take it upon ourselves to have faith, to fight the evil impulses within ourselves, to serve others, and to love others if we wish to be born again. Yet in all these things we need also to realize that it is the Lord who is working within us.

"You have also done all our works in us." (Isaiah 26:12)

"There are many forms of work, but all of them, in all people, are the work of the same God." (1 Corinthians 12:6)

In the process of rebirth we come to realize that it is the Lord working within us that enables us to work, believe, struggle, and love. These abilities are His merciful gift. He says,

"I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you...and cause you to walk in my statutes." (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

Patience

In order to be reborn we must renew our knowledge, habits, actions, loves and relationship with the Lord. All this takes time, even a lifetime. Just as childbirth and growth require patience and endurance, so does being born again.

"In your patience you will possess your souls." (Luke 21:19)

"Whoever endures to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10:22)

God will give eternal life to those who seek it "by patient continuance in doing good." (Romans 2:7)

We cannot expect to be born again in a single moment. Again and again, the Bible advises steadfastness and endurance if we wish to gain the promise of heaven.

"It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." (Lamentations 3:26, 27)

For although it takes time, if we do our part, the Lord will certainly make it happen.

"Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." (Psalms 37:5, 7)

The Bible

 

Isaiah 26:12

Study the Inner Meaning

              

12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Isaiah 26      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 26

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

1. In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation shall He establish for walls and bulwarks.

Verse 1. In the Word. the things relating to the spiritual church are compared to a city, which has a wall, bulwarks, gates and bolts; and by the assaults of that city are described the assault of Truth by falsities on which account also a city signifies doctrinals, (see Arcana Coelestia 402, 2268) and a wall the truths of faith which, defend; and in the opposite sense, the falsities which are destroyed. That a wall signifies the truths of faith which defend, is evident from Isaiah 26:1:

"We have a strong city", etc.

Again,

"You shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. (Isaiah 60:18; see also (Jeremiah 20:5; Lamentations 2:8, 9)

That a wall, in the opposite sense, signifies the falsities which are destroyed, see a above, Chapter 25:12, the Exposition. Arcana Coelestia 6419.

In that day shall this song be sung. etc. - As to singing, when mentioned in the Word, see Chapter 12:2, the Exposition.

Verses 1, 2. We have a strong city; salvation shall He establish for walls and bulwarks. Open you the gates, that the just nation keeping fidelities may enter. - A "strong city" here signifies the doctrine of genuine Truth, which falsities cannot destroy; "walls and bulwarks" signify truths for defence; "gates" signify admission, as may be seen above, Apocalypse Explained 208; a "just nation keeping fidelities" denotes those who are in goods, and thence in truths. Apocalypse Explained 223.

2. Open you the gates, that the just nation keeping fidelities may enter.

3. [Him] whose mind is staid [on You], You will keep in perfect peace: because he trusts in You.

Verse 2. According to the sense of the letter, it is here understood that they who are "just and faithful" should be admitted into those cities; but according to the internal sense, that such should be admitted into the church. For" gates" signify admission; a "just nation", those who are in good; "keeping fidelities", those who are thence in truths. Apocalypse Explained 208.

4. Trust you in Jehovah for ever: for in Jah Jehovah is the rock of eternity:

Verse 4. Here "Jehovah" and "Rock" are mentioned, because by "Jehovah" is understood the Lord as to Divine Good, and by "Rock" the Lord as to Divine Truth. Apocalypse Explained 411.

In Jah, Jehovah, etc. - As to the specific meaning of "Jah", see above, Chapter 12:2, the Exposition.

The Rock of eternity. - For the signification of "Rock", as applied to the Lord, see above, Chapter 16:1, the Exposition.

5. For He has humbled those that dwell on high; the lofty city, He has brought her down: He has brought her down to the ground; He has levelled her with the dust.

Verse 5. For He has humbled those that dwell on high, etc.

- See Chapter 2:12-17; 14:13, the Exposition. To "bring down to the ground and to level with the dust", denotes a state of condemnation, [or an entire separation from heaven.] Arcana Coelestia 258.

"Dust" denotes what is damned; and the reason is, because [in the spiritual world] the places where evil spirits are, appear as earth, and indeed as uncultivated and dry ground, under which are certain hells. That earth is what is called "damned earth", and the "dust" there signifies what is damned.

Occasionally it has been given me to see, that the evil spirits there shook off the dust from their feet when they were desirous to damn anyone. Hence then it is, that by "dust" is signified what is damned; and by "shaking off dust", damnation. It was in consequence of this signification that the disciples were commanded by the Lord to "shake off the dust from their feet", if they were not received. Arcana Coelestia 7418.

6. The foot shall trample upon her; the feet of the afflicted, the steps of the needy.

7. The way of the just is uprightness: the path of the just is straight; You make it level.

Verse 6. Your are called "poor" who have not the Word, and thus know nothing concerning the Lord, and yet desire to be instructed. Arcana Coelestia 9209.

[Their "trampling upon the lofty city", signifies that such as are in simple good, and desire to be instructed in truths, will rise above false doctrines which originate in self-intelligence.]

8. Yea, as to the way of Your judgments, O Jehovah, we have waited for You; to Your name, and to the remembrance of You is the desire of our soul.

Verse 8. In many passages in the Word it is said, "For the sake of the name of Jehovah", "for 'the sake of the name of the Lord", "for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ", "that the name of God should be sanctified", and such like. They who do not think beyond the sense of the letter, are of opinion that name alone is understood, whereas name is not understood, but all that by which the Lord is worshipped, all which has relation to love and faith; hence by the "name" of the Lord, in the Word, are understood all things of love and of faith by which He is worshipped, but in this case the acknowledgement of the Lord, and of the knowledges of truth which respect Him, because this is said to those who only study knowledges. The reason why by the "name" of Jehovah, or of the Lord, is not understood the name itself, but all things of love and faith, originates in the spiritual world. In that world the names used on earth are not pronounced, but the names of the persons spoken of are formed from the idea of all things which are known concerning them, which things are summed up into one expression. Such is the pronunciation of names in the spiritual world; whence it is, that names in that world, as well as all other things, are spiritual; nor are the names of the Lord and of Jesus Christ pronounced there as on earth, but instead of these names, a "name" is formed from the idea of all things which are known and believed concerning Him, which idea is from all things of love and of faith in Him. The reason is, because these things in the complex are the Lord with them; for the Lord is with everyone in the goods of love and of faith which are from Him; this being the case, the quality of every one is there immediately known, as to his love and faith in the Lord, only from pronouncing in a spiritual expression, or a spiritual name the Lord or Jesus Christ. Hence also it is, that they who are not in any love or in any faith towards Him, cannot name Him, that is, form any spiritual "name" concerning Him. From these considerations it is now manifest whence it is that by the "name" of Jehovah, of the Lord, or of Jesus Christ, in the Word, is not understood the name, but all of love and of faith by which He is worshipped. Lest, therefore, the opinion should prevail which obtains among many, that the name alone of Jesus Christ, without love and faith in Him, thus without knowledges by which love and faith exist, contributes somewhat to salvation, I am desirous to adduce a few passages from the Word, where it is said "For the sake of His name", and "in His name", from which they who think more deeply may see that name alone is not understood, as in the following:

"Jesus said, You shall be hated by all for My name's sake." (Matthew 7:22; 24:9, 10) "'Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20) "As many as received Him, to them He gave power, that they might be the sons of God, believing on His name", (John 1:12) "When Jesus was in Jerusalem, many believed on His name", (John 2:23). Apocalypse Explained 102.

9. With my soul have I desired You in the night; yea, with my spirit within me in the morn have I sought You: for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn justice.

10. Though mercy be shown to the wicked, he will not learn justice: in the land of uprightness he will act perversely, and will not regard the majesty of Jehovah.

11. O Jehovah, Your hand is lifted up, but they will not see: they shall see, and be ashamed at the envy of the people; yea, the fire of Thine, adversaries shall devour them,

Verse 9. By "night" is signified a state when there is no light of Truth, (see above, Chapter 15:1, the Exposition), and by "morning" a state in which there is the light of Truth. This state is from love, but that, when there is not yet love; wherefore by "the soul which desired Jehovah in the night" is signified a life which is not yet in the light of Truth; and by "my spirit within me have I sought Jehovah in the morn", a life which is in the light of Truth. Hence it follows "When Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn justice", by which is signified that the church from the Lord is in Truths, and by truths in Good; the "earth" signifies the church as to Truths, and the "world" the church as to Good; for "judgment", in the Word, is said of Truth, and "justice" of Good; and also "inhabitants" signify the men of the church who are in the goods of doctrine, and thence of life. That "judgment", in the Word, is said of Truth, and "justice" of Good, see Arcana Coelestia 2235, 9857; and that to "inhabit" signifies to live, and hence "inhabitants" those who are in the good of doctrine, and thence of life, see Apocalypse Explained 133, 479, 662. Apocalypse Explained 741.

"Soul", in this passage, stands for the affection of Truth and "spirit" for the affection of Good. Arcana Coelestia 2930.

Verse 11. They shall see, and be ashamed at the envy [or hatred] of the people; yea, the fire of Thine adversaries shall devour them.

The destruction of the evil, who are here understood by the "people" and by "adversaries", is described by "fire" and by "hatred" [or envy]. Apocalypse Explained 504.

12. O Jehovah. You will ordain peace for us: for all our works You have wrought in us.

Verse 12. Inasmuch as peace is from Jehovah, that is, from the Lord, and in doing good from Him, therefore it is said:

"Jehovah will ordain peace for us, for You have wrought all our works in us." Apocalypse Explained 365.

13. O Jehovah, our God! other lords besides You, have had dominion over us: by You only will we celebrate Your name.

Verse 13. To "celebrate" and to "call upon the name of Jehovah", is to worship Him from the goods of Love, and from the truths of Faith. Arcana Coelestia 2009.

["Other lords" are various kinds of evils, such as those represented by the Babylonians, which have the dominion over man when he is not in love to the Lord and his neighbour, or when he does not in his life celebrate the Lord's name,]

14. They are dead, they shall not live; the Rephaim shall not arise: therefore have You visited and. destroyed them, and made all remembrance of them to perish.

Verse 14. The Rephaim stand for the posterity of the most ancient church, which was before the flood, who were also called "Nephelim" and "Enakim." (See Arcana Coelestia 567, 581, 1673) "You have visited and, destroyed or extinguished the Rephaim", means the last time of that church, and also their being cast into hell; concerning which, see Arcana Coelestia 1265-1272. Arcana Coelestia 6588.

The Rephaim shall not arise, etc.

- As to the "Rephaim", see above, Chapter 14:9; 17:5, notes.

15. You have added to the nation, O Jehovah; You have added to the nation; You art glorified: You have far removed all the extremities of the earth.

Verse 15. The "nation" to which Jehovah has added, signifies, those who are in the good of love, whom He has addicted to Himself; the "extremities of the earth" which He has removed, signify falsities and evils which infest the church, from which He has purified them. Apocalypse Explained 304.

16. O Jehovah, in distress have they sought You; they poured out supplication when Your chastisement was upon them.

17. As a woman that is pregnant, when her delivery approaches, is in pain and cries out in her pangs; thus have we been before You, O Jehovah.

18. We have been pregnant; we have been in pain; we have, as it were, brought forth wind: we have not wrought deliverance for the land; neither have, the inhabitants of the world fallen.

19. Your dead shall live; My dead body; they shall arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust! for your dew is as the dew of herbs; and the earth shall cast forth the Rephaim.

Verses 16-19. These things are said of the last times of the church, when falsities and evils so far increase, that men cannot be reformed and regenerated; this state is understood by the "chastisement of Jehovah" upon them. That then the perception and acquisition of any degree of Truth is effected with difficulty, is signified by "a pregnant woman, who draws near to her delivery, crying out in her pangs." That in the place of truths they imbibe vanities, in which there are no truths, is signified by "We have been pregnant; we have been in pain; we have, as it 'were, brought forth wind"; "wind" denoting such vanities. That no uses of life are from them, is signified by "We have not wrought deliverance for the land." That still, when the Lord should come, they should be taught and regenerated by truths from Him, is signified by "Your dead shall live", and by the things which follow. Apocalypse Explained 721.

Verse 19. [We have given the exact rendering of this verse from the Hebrew, without any interpolation in italics, as in the Bible version. The passage does not teach as demonstrated in the note, that the dead bodies of men will rise again; but by these words is meant that at the Lord's coming, all, though dead as to the real principles of the church, in whom there are any "remains" of Goodness and Truth, will be raised up at the time of Judgment. They are called Your dead, that, is the Lord's dead, because they are amongst the dead of a consummated church, in which, nevertheless, there is always a remnant that can be saved; and they are called the Lord's dead body, (for the pronouns "Your", and "My" evidently relate to the Lord), To indicate, that a consummated church is, as it were, a "dead body"; (Matthew 24:28) and it is called "My dead body", to intimate that though the church, which is called "the Body of Christ, is dead or consummated, there are, nevertheless, some amongst them who have "remains" of Goodness, which can be restored, when instructed in Truths to spiritual life. These "remains" are meant by "they shall arise", which being in the plural involves those of the consummated church, or of the "dead body", who can thus be saved.

The "dead" in the first clause of the verse, are those who, although in falsities, can have them dispersed, and receive Truths", which is to "live"; and those of the "dead body who shall arise, are such as have been in the evils of false principles or doctrines, but not in evil intentions, and who are, therefore, reclaimable by vastations. (See above, Chapter 24:22, the Exposition.) A fulfilment of this divine prophecy may be seen at the Lord's resurrection, when He arose with his whole natural Body complete, but which was then "no longer material but Divine-Substantial." (Doctrine of the Lord 35, ) "having rejected by burial the residue of the Human from the mother", (Doctrine of the Lord 16, at the end), and consequently everything that was material, infirm, and finite. In this Glorious Body "He ascended far above all heavens, that He might fill all things."

The Lord clearly points out the difference between His own resurrection in a Divine-Natural Body, and the resurrection of all other men in a spiritual body only, when He says, "Behold My hands and My feet, , that it is. I Myself; handle Me, and see; for a spirit [who is a man, risen from, the dead] has not flesh and bones [that is, a natural body] as you see Me have." (Luke 24:39)

Those, then, who think that because the Lord arose as to His natural Body, therefore, all others will also arise as to their natural bodies, are much mistaken, and do not think according to the Truth. All others arise like Lazarus and the Rich Man in the Parable, immediately after death, in their spiritual bodies; and not, as is commonly supposed, at some future period, in their natural bodies. Now, as a consequence of the Lord's resurrection, "many bodies of the saints who slept arose, and came out of the graves, and went into the holy CIty. (Matthew 27:52, 53).

This was an event which took place not in the natural world, but in the world of spirits; and the "graves" out of which they came were the places of vastation in the lower earth of that world; for the places where such spirits are detained until they are finally delivered from vastations appear, from correspondences, like pits, graves, and prisons. (See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 24:22.)

Their coming forth out of these places by the power of the Lord's resurrection, would appear in that world like coming forth out of graves, - as from a state of spiritual death to a life of righteousness in heaven. These were "the spirits to whom the Lord went after His crucifixion to preach", (1 Peter 3:19), and who, by the power of His Resurrection, through the full glorification of His Humanity, were raised up by Him from these places of vastation, and received up into heaven. See Apocalypse Explained 659, 89; Arcana Coelestia 2915, 8018, 9229; also Apocalypse Revealed 845.]

Your dead shall live, etc.

- Here the resurrection of the dead is treated of, namely; of those who arise in the life of the body, and at the same time concerning those who arise after the life of the body; for it is a law that he who, in the life of the body, arises [to spiritual life], will also arise after the life of the body [to spiritual or heavenly life]. The resurrection, like the kingdom of God Messiah; begins in man whilst he lives in the body, for he is [then] prepared for life, and he enters into it whilst he lives in the world; the death of the body is only a continuation of the heavenly life. (Swedenborg's Notes on Isaiah, p. 70.)

The earth shall cast forth the Rephaim [or giants]. - What is meant by being "cast out of the sepulchre", see above, Chapter 14:10; 20, the Exposition.

20. Come, O My people; enter into your chambers, and shut your doors after you: hide yourself for a little while, for a moment, until the indignation be overpast.

Verse 20. It was a customary form of speech amongst the ancients to talk of "entering into a bedchamber", and also of "shutting the door" on the occasion, when they meant to do anything which should not appear. This form of speech was derived from significatives in the ancient church, for by "house", in the spiritual sense, they understood a man, (Arcana Coelestia 3128); by the "closets" and the "bedchambers" they understood the interiors of man; hence to "come or enter into the bedchamber" was significative; therefore mention is made of it in the Word throughout, as in Isaiah:

"Come, O My people! enter into your chambers, and shut your doors after you", etc.

That to "enter into the chambers", in this passage, does hot denote entering into chambers, is very manifest, but to keep themselves in secret and in themselves.

And in Ezekiel:

"He said unto me, Have you seen, O son of man what the elders of the House of Israel are doing in the darkness, a man [vir] in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, Jehovah doth not see us." (Ezekiel 8:12)

To "do in darkness, a man in the chambers of his imagery"; denotes inwardly in themselves in the thoughts; the interiors of their thought and affection were represented to the prophet by chambers, and were called "the chambers of imagery."

And in Moses:

"Abroad the sword shall bereave, and from the chambers terror, both the youth and the virgin, the suckling with the man of old age." (Deuteronomy 32:25)

The "sword" denotes vastation of truth, and the punishment of the false, Arcana Coelestia 2799; "terror from the chambers" denotes the interiors of man; that "chambers"; in this passage, do not mean merely chambers, is also evident.

So in David:

"Who waters the mountains from His chambers", (Psalm 104:13)

To "water the mountains", in the spiritual sense, is to bless those who are principled in love to the Lord and in love towards the neighbour: that "mountain" denotes the celestial principle of love, see Arcana Coelestia 795, 1430, 4210; hence "from His chambers" denotes from the interiors of heaven.

So in Luke:

"Whatsoever things you have said in darkness, shall be heard in light; and what you have spoken into the ear in chambers, shall be preached on the tops of houses"; (Luke 12:3)

where "chambers" also denote the interiors of man, that is, what he had thought, what he had intended, and what he had attempted.

And in Matthew:

"When you prayest, enter into your chamber, and shut your door; and pray in secret." (Matthew 6:6)

To "enter into the chamber, and pray", denotes not apparently; for this was said from what is representative. Arcana Coelestia 5694. See also 7353.

Shut your doors after you, etc.

To "shut the door after you, until the indignation be overpast", signifies to have no communication with evils, which are denoted by "indignation" or anger, as may be seen, Arcana Coelestia 3614, 5034, and in many other places. Arcana Coelestia 8989. See also Chapter 9:12, 17, 21, the Exposition.

21. For, behold, Jehovah cometh forth from His place to visit, for his iniquity, the inhabitant of the earth: and the earth shall disclose her bloods, and shall no longer cover her slain.

Verse 21. Speaking of the day of visitation or of judgment, when the iniquities of all shall be discovered, which is understood by "Then the earth. shall disclose her bloods, and shall no longer cover her slain." The "earth" signifies the church, in this case, the evil therein; "bloods" denote evils which have destroyed the goods thereof; and the "slain" denote falsities which have destroyed the truths thereof. Whether it be said that the "slain" signify falsities, or those who are in falsities, it amounts to the same, inasmuch as they are in falsities, and falsities in them; and the falsities in them are what destroy. Apocalypse Explained 315.

The earth shall disclose her bloods, and shall no longer cover her slain.

- By the "bloods" which the earth shall disclose, are signified all the falsities and evils which have destroyed the truths and goods of the church; the "earth denoting the church where those things are; by the "slain" are signified those who perish by them. That the "slain" signify those who have perished by falsities and evils, may be seen above, Apocalypse Explained 315. Apocalypse Explained 329.

Temptation is here treated of, which appears like "indignation"; for the Lord, in temptation, visits the iniquity of a man, that it may be taken away, for all [evils] are then manifested, and they come forth [to the perception of man], which is here expressed by "disclosing or revealing bloods", and by " not concealing the slain." (Swedenborg's Notes on Isaiah, p. 71.)

---
Isaiah Chapter 26

1. In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation shall He establish for walls and bulwarks.

2. Open you the gates, that the just nation keeping fidelities may enter.

3. [Him] whose mind is staid [on You], You will keep in perfect peace: because he trusts in You.

4. Trust you in Jehovah for ever: for in Jah Jehovah is the rock of eternity:

5. For He has humbled those that dwell on high; the lofty city, He has brought her down: He has brought her down to the ground; He has levelled her with the dust.

6. The foot shall trample upon her; the feet of the afflicted, the steps of the needy.

7. The way of the just is uprightness: the path of the just is straight; You make it level.

8. Yea, as to the way of Your judgments, O Jehovah, we have waited for You; to Your name, and to the remembrance of You is the desire of our soul.

9. With my soul have I desired You in the night; yea, with my spirit within me in the morn have I sought You: for when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn justice.

10. Though mercy be shown to the wicked, he will not learn justice: in the land of uprightness he will act perversely, and will not regard the majesty of Jehovah.

11. O Jehovah, Your hand is lifted up, but they will not see: they shall see, and be ashamed at the envy of the people; yea, the fire of Thine, adversaries shall devour them,

12. O Jehovah. You will ordain peace for us: for all our works You have wrought in us.

13. O Jehovah, our God! other lords besides You, have had dominion over us: by You only will we celebrate Your name.

14. They are dead, they shall not live; the Rephaim shall not arise: therefore have You visited and. destroyed them, and made all remembrance of them to perish.

15. You have added to the nation, O Jehovah; You have added to the nation; You art glorified: You have far removed all the extremities of the earth.

16. O Jehovah, in distress have they sought You; they poured out supplication when Your chastisement was upon them.

17. As a woman that is pregnant, when her delivery approaches, is in pain and cries out in her pangs; thus have we been before You, O Jehovah.

18. We have been pregnant; we have been in pain; we have, as it were, brought forth wind: we have not wrought deliverance for the land; neither have, the inhabitants of the world fallen.

19. Your dead shall live; My dead body; they shall arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust! for your dew is as the dew of herbs; and the earth shall cast forth the Rephaim.

20. Come, O My people; enter into your chambers, and shut your doors after you: hide yourself for a little while, for a moment, until the indignation be overpast.

21. For, behold, Jehovah cometh forth from His place to visit, for his iniquity, the inhabitant of the earth: and the earth shall disclose her bloods, and shall no longer cover her slain.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 26


Other references to this verse:

Apocalypse Revealed 306


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 365

Scriptural Confirmations 6, 68

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