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Arcana Coelestia #251

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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251. The reason why the “serpent” means all evil in general, and specifically the love of self, is that all evil has had its rise from that sensuous part of the mind, and also from that memory-knowledge [scientifico], which at first were signified by the “serpent;” and therefore it here denotes evil of every kind, and specifically the love of self, or hatred against the neighbor and the Lord, which is the same thing. As this evil or hatred was various, consisting of numerous genera and still more numerous species, it is described in the Word by various kinds of serpents, as “snakes” “cockatrices” “asps” “adders” “fiery serpents” “serpents that fly” and “that creep” and “vipers” according to the differences of the poison, which is hatred. Thus we read in Isaiah:

Rejoice not thou, whole Philistia, because the rod which smiteth thee is broken, for out of the serpent’s root shall go forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a flying fire-serpent (Isaiah 14:29).The “serpent’s root” denotes that part of the mind, or that principle, which is connected with the senses and with memory-knowledge [est sensuale et scientificum]; the “cockatrice” denotes evil originating in the falsity thence derived; and the “flying fire-serpent” the cupidity that comes from the love of self. By the same Prophet also similar things are elsewhere thus described:

They hatch cockatrice’s eggs, and weave the spider’s web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and when it is crushed there cometh out a viper (Isaiah 59:5).

The serpent described here in Genesis is called in the Revelation the “great and red dragon” and the “old serpent” and also the “devil and satan” that “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:3, 9; 20:2), where, and also in other places, by the “devil” is not meant any particular devil who is prince over the others, but the whole crew of evil spirits, and evil itself.

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 6398, 6949


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

The Bible

 

Revelation 12:3

King James Version         

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3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Apocalypse Revealed 536, 537, 538, 539, 540


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 251, 257, 2584, 2832, 3300, 5268, 10071, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 10, 101, 270, 305, 438, 473, 532

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 76

Conjugial Love 79

Divine Providence 310

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 44

Doctrine of Life 61

Doctrine of Faith 58


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 316, 364, 555, 559, 577, 675, 706, ...

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 32

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Bible Word Meanings

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...

Seven heads
'The seven heads of the dragon, and of the beast rising out of the sea,' as mentioned in Revelation 12:3, and 8:3, signify insanity arising...

ten
Most places in Swedenborg identify “ten” as representing “all,” or in some cases “many” or “much.” The Ten Commandments represent all the guidance we get...

upon
'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...

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.


 A Great Wonder in Heaven
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angels War with the Dragon
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Banner: Michael Fighting the Dragon
Make this banner as a New Church Day decoration for your home.
Project | Ages 11 - 17

 Behold, the Great Red Dragon! (sheet music)
Song | Ages 4 - 14

 Behold the Great Red Dragon Song with Hand Motions
Song | Ages 3 - 10

 Celebrating New Church Day
The story of the woman clothed with the sun pictures the birth of the New Church into the world.
Story | Ages 2 - 7

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

 Costume Suggestions for Dramatizing Revelation 12
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Crown of Stars
Suggests several ways to make a crown of stars.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Crown of Twelve Stars Snowflake Pattern
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Dramatize the Woman Clothed with the Sun
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Egg Carton Dragon Puppets
Younger children might enjoy making one of the dragon's heads from an egg carton. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Given Two Wings of a Great Eagle
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 How to Make a Dragon Piñata
Make a dragon piñata and fill it with small wrapped candies and/or little toys. Let children of all ages take turns "fighting" the dragon, using a wooden sword (or heavy stick). 
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Make a Dragon with Wooden Beads
Use pipe cleaners and wooden beads to make a red dragon with 7 heads. 
Project | Ages 6 - 10

 Make a Sun Cake
Serve this special cake to your family at a New Church Day celebration! 
Project | Ages over 4

 Memory Verse: Visions in Heaven
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Michael and His Angels Fight the Dragon
Color picture of Revelation 12.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 Michael Fights the Dragon
Color picture of the great red dragon and Michael from Revelation 12.
Picture | All Ages

 Michael Fights the Dragon
Color, cut out and assemble this complex project showing Michael protecting the woman clothed with sun from the dragon.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Michael's Army Faces the Dragon's Army
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Michael's Shield
Make a shield that can represent Michael fighting against evil and false ideas. A smaller shield could also be worn as a badge.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Michael Striking the Dragon
A dramatic image of Michael fighting the great red dragon.
Coloring Page | Ages 6 - 12

 Michael—The Great Prince
The name Michael is actually a question, meaning, literally, “Who is like God?” The answer to this question can help us fight against the dragon.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 New Church Day
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 New Church Day Felt Puppets
Make finger puppets such as the ones pictured here as a gift for young children.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 New Church Day Representation
Suggests ways to use a doll to make a display of picture the woman clothed with the sun
Project | Ages 4 - 17

 Picture the Woman Clothed with the Sun
Use crayons and watercolors (wax resist method) to show the woman clothed with the sun.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Quotes: Visions in Heaven
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Spiritual Warfare
Article | Ages over 15

 Stars
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 The Beauty of the New Church
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Birth of the New Church
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Coming of the New Church
Prophecies helped prepare people for the Lord’s birth on earth, and prophecies would also help prepare the way for His second coming. The Lord called His disciple, John, to serve as a revelator, opening his spiritual eyes and telling him: “Write the things which you have seen...and the things which will take place after this” (Revelation 1:17-19). Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 6, for ages 11-12.
Religion Lesson | Ages 11 - 12

 The Great Red Dragon
Color picture of the great red dragon sweeping the stars from the sky with his tail.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Great Red Dragon
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Meaning of the Woman Clothed with the Sun
Of all the books of the Word, the book of Revelation is perhaps the least understood. The Heavenly Doctrine, revealed through Emanuel Swedenborg provides the key to unlock Revelation.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Number Seven in the Word Crossword Puzzle
Discover stories that include the number seven in the Word.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13

 The Number Twelve in the Word Crossword Puzzle
Discover times when the number twelve appears throughout the Word.
Activity | Ages 9 - 13

 The Woman and the Dragon
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 Woman and the Dragon (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Woman and the Dragon (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Woman and the Dragon (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Woman Clothed with the Sun
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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

 The Woman Clothed with the Sun and Her Baby
Have you ever seen a newborn baby? When they first come into the world they are helpless. Someone older and wiser must watch over them and feed them.
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 The Woman Clothed with the Sun and Her Child
Color picture of the woman surrounded by the sun, standing on the moon and holding her child up to God.
Picture | All Ages

 The Woman Clothed with the Sun and Her Child
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Woman Clothed with the Sun is Given Eagles' Wings
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Woman Clothed with the Sun, Michael and the Dragon
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Woman Flees into the Wilderness
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Woman, Michael, and the Dragon Stained Glass Window
Instructions for making a "stained glass window" with waxed paper, glue, and colored tissue paper.
Project | Ages 4 - 17

 The Woman with Her Son
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Woman with Sun, Moon and Stars
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Vision of Woman Clothed with the Sun
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Visions of Heaven
While the disciple John was on the isle of Patmos, he saw special visions that showed him how a New Church—a new kind of Christianity—would begin.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 When Am I Like…?
An activity to help us think about when we are like the woman, Michael, or the dragon.
Activity | Ages over 15

 Wings of an Eagle
Explore ways that we can develop a spiritual perspective on what is good and true - the wings of an eagle.
Activity | Ages over 15

 Woman Clothed with Sun Stained Glass Window
Beautiful "stained glass" window of the woman clothed with the sun, to color and display.
Project | Ages 4 - 17

 Woman Clothed with the Sun
The Woman would not have been able to fight against the dragon by herself, but the Lord was ready to help. He sent His guardian angels to protect the Woman and her precious Baby. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 1, for ages 6-7.
Religion Lesson | Ages 6 - 7

 Woman Clothed with the Sun Candle Holder
Make a beautiful stand to put in front of a candle or on a window sill so that the woman clothed with the sun is lit up from behind.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Yes, There Are Dragons
Article | Ages 15 - 17

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #3300

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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3300. 'And the first came out, ruddy all over, like a hairy garment' 1 means good constituting the life of natural truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'coming out' as being born, from the meaning of 'ruddy' as good constituting the life, dealt with below, and from the meaning of 'a hairy garment' as the truth of the natural, also dealt with below. His being 'the first' means that in essence good is prior, as stated above in 3299. It is also called 'a hairy garment' so as to mean that good was clothed with truth as in a thin casing or body, as also stated above in 3299. In the Word 'a tunic' means nothing else in the internal sense than something that clothes another thing, and that also is why truths are compared to garments, 1073, 2576.

[2] The reason why 'ruddy' or 'red' means good constituting the life is that all good flows from love, and love itself is celestial and spiritual fire. Love is also compared to and actually called fire, see 933-936, as well as being compared to and actually called blood, 1001. Because both fire and blood are red, good that flows from love is meant by 'ruddy' and 'red', as may also be seen from the following places in the Word: In the prophecy of Jacob, who by then was Israel,

He will wash his clothing in wine and his garment in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be redder than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk. Genesis 49:11-12.

This refers to Judah, who is used here to mean the Lord, as may be clear to anyone. 'Clothing' here and 'garment' are the Lord's Divine Natural. 'wine' and 'the blood of grapes' are the Divine Good and Divine Truth of the Natural - Divine Good being spoken of as 'eyes redder than wine', and Divine Truth as 'teeth whiter than milk'. It is the joining together of good and truth within the Natural that is described in this fashion.

[3] In Isaiah,

Who is this who is coming from Edom, red as to his clothing, and his clothes like his that treads in the winepress? Isaiah 63:1-2.

Here 'Edom' stands for the Divine Good of the Lord's Divine Natural, as will be evident later on. 'Red as to clothing' is the good of truth, and 'clothes like his that treads in the winepress' the truth of good. In Jeremiah,

Her Nazirites were brighter than snow, they were whiter than milk. They were ruddier in body 2 than rubies, polished like sapphire. 3 Lamentations 4:7.

'Nazirites' represented the Lord's Divine Human, in particular the Divine Natural, and so the good of the latter was represented by their being 'ruddier in body than rubies'.

[4] Because 'red' meant good, in particular the good of the natural, the Jewish Church - in which every single thing was representative of the Lord, and from this of His kingdom, and consequently of good and truth which are the source of the Lord's kingdom - was therefore commanded to have a covering for the tabernacle of red-rams' skins, Exodus 25:5; 26:14; 35:5-7, 23; 36:19. That Church was also commanded to prepare the water for making atonement from the ashes of the red heifer that had been burnt, Numbers 19:2 and following verses. Unless the colour red had been a sign of something heavenly in the Lord's kingdom, it would never have been commanded that the rams should be red and that the heifer should be red. The fact that they represented sacred things anyone acknowledges who considers the Word to be sacred. Because the colour red had that meaning, therefore also the coverings of the Tabernacle were interwoven with, and had loops made of, scarlet, purple, and violet yarn, Exodus 35:6.

(References: Exodus 35:7; Numbers 19:9)


[5] Seeing that almost everything also has a contrary sense, as often stated, so too has 'red'. In the contrary sense 'red' means evil that is the outcome of self-love, the reasons for this being that the desires belonging to self-love are compared to and actually called fire, 934 (end), 1297, 1527, 1528, 1861, 2446, and are likewise compared to and actually called blood, 374, 954, 1005. Consequently 'red' in the contrary sense means those things, as in Isaiah,

Jehovah said, Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow. Though they are red as crimson, 4 they will be as wool. Isaiah 1:18.

In Nahum,

The shields of the mighty men of Belial have been made red, the mighty men are in crimson!; enveloped in the fire of torches are the chariots on the day [of preparation]. Nahum 2:3.

In John,

Another sign appeared in heaven, Behold, a great fiery-red dragon having seven heads, and on his heads seven jewels. Revelation 12:3.

In the same book,

I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; to him a crown was given; he went out conquering and to conquer. Then there came out another horse, fiery-red; and he who sat on the horse was permitted to take peace away from the earth, and so that men would slay one another. Therefore to him was given a great sword. After that a black horse came out, and at length a pale horse, whose name is death. Revelation 6:2-8.

-----
Footnotes:

1. The Latin word is tunica, which is discussed in 4677.

2. literally, bone

3. literally, sapphire their polishing

4. literally, purple

-----

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1527-1528; Exodus 35:5; Genesis 25:25; Revelation 6:2, 6:4-5, 6:8)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 3305, 3313, 3317, 3319, 3320, 3322, 3332, 3336, 3469, 3494, 3537, 3679, 3812, 4234, 4239, 6379, 9340, 9407, 9467, 9471, 9865, 9873


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 67, 364


   Swedenborg Research Tools

Related New Christian Commentary

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


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