From Swedenborg's Works

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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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 6398, 6949

Other New Christian Commentary

Serpent 1

Cockatrice 1

The Bible

Revelation 20:2

English: King James Version

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← Revelation 20:1    Full Chapter    Revelation 20:3 →

2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Apocalypse Revealed 841, 842


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 251, 482, 2575, 8715

Apocalypse Revealed 559, 562, 840, 856, 864, 960


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 536, 538, 581, 714, 740, 1232

Spiritual Experiences 674

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 3:1

Word/Phrase Explanations

Hold
'A hold,' 'a den,' or 'dungeon,' as mentioned in Revelation 18:2, signifies hell, because people who are there are in confinement.

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

dragon
In the Hebrew language, the same word is used for both 'whale' and 'dragon,' and both have a similar spiritual significance, as in Jeremiah 51:34.

serpent
Serpents in the Bible represent reasoning that is based on what we know through our senses. This is the lowest and most outward mode of...

Satan
In the Word, 'Satan' 'the devil,' and 'the prince of the world,' signify hell. In the Word, 'Satan' 'the devil,' and 'the prince of the...

Bound
Being bound, as in Genesis 42:16, denotes to be separated, for he who is kept b. is separated, viz., from the spiritual good, which is...

thousand
As children, most of us at some point frustrated our mothers into using the phrase “if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand...

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 by following this link.


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Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

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Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

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Color picture of the judgment described in Revelation 20.
Picture | Ages up to 14

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Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Judgment and the Holy City
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Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

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Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Judgment and the Holy City (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Judgment and the Holy City (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The White Throne and the Book of Life
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10


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