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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746

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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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Arcana Coelestia #1672

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1672. And the kings that were with him. That this signifies the apparent truth which is of that good, is evident from the signification of “kings” in the Word. “Kings,” “kingdoms,” and “peoples,” in the historical and the prophetical parts of the Word, signify truths and the things which are of truths, as may be abundantly confirmed. In the Word an accurate distinction is made between a “people” and a “nation;” by a “people” are signified truths, and by a “nation” goods, as before shown (n. 1259, 1260). “Kings” are predicated of peoples, but not so much of nations. Before the sons of Israel sought for kings, they were a nation, and represented good, or the celestial; but after they desired a king, and received one, they became a people, and did not represent good or the celestial, but truth or the spiritual; which was the reason why this was imputed to them as a fault (see 1 Samuel 8:7-22, concerning which subject, of the Lord’s Divine mercy elsewhere). As Chedorlaomer is named here, and it is added, “the kings that were with him,” both good and truth are signified; by “Chedorlaomer,” good, and by “the kings,” truth. But what was the quality of the good and truth at the beginning of the Lord’s temptations has already been stated.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1259-1260, Genesis 14:5)

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Arcana Coelestia 1723, 2015, 2466, 2504, 2509, 2567, 2761, 2781, 2826, 2830, 2832, 2851, 2906, 3009, 3105, 3353, 3355, 3365, 3488, 3703, 3708, 3863, 4402, 4575, 4691, 4728, 4763, 4876, 5023, 5038, 5044, 5313, 5321, 5323, 5619, 6015, 6125, 6148, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


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Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Arcana Coelestia #9807

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9807. 'And his sons' means Divine Truth emanating from Divine Good. This is clear from the meaning of 'sons' as truths, dealt with in 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, at this point Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Good, since they were Aaron's sons and Aaron as the high priest represented the Lord in respect of Divine Good, as shown immediately above. Truths are meant by 'sons' because everything in the internal sense of the Word is spiritual, and 'sons' in the spiritual sense are those who are born anew from the Lord, thus are in possession of truths springing from good, so that in the abstract sense - when the persons are not envisaged - 'sons' are the actual truths which spring from good. These truths therefore are what should be understood in the Word by 'the sons of God', 'the king's sons', and 'the sons of the kingdom'. They are also the sons of new birth or regeneration. Furthermore the truths and forms of good present with the person who has been regenerated or born anew from the Lord are exactly like families in wide and long lines of descent from the one same father. There are those which resemble sons and daughters, those which resemble grandsons and granddaughters, those which resemble sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, and so relationships belonging to many degrees, thus to many kinds. Truths and forms of good arranged like this are what sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, in short, relatives belonging to different degrees and therefore different kinds, denote in the spiritual sense. I have been shown by actual experience that spiritual generations follow one another in that kind of order. And at the same time I have been told that this being so the truths and forms of good with a person who has been regenerated follow in that kind of order, since the angelic communities in heaven are arranged in that way and the truths and forms of good present with a person correspond to those communities. Therefore also the person whose truths and forms of good possess that kind of correspondence is heaven in the smallest form it takes, 9279.

[2] Anyone who knows that truths are meant by 'sons' and forms of good by 'daughters' can see many arcana in the Word, especially the prophetical part, which would otherwise lie hidden from view. For example he can see what is meant specifically by the Son of Man, which the Lord often calls Himself in the Word, namely Divine Truth emanating from His Divine Human, as is clear from the places where that title appears. Let these be quoted, in order that at the same time it may be established that 'the Son' means truth, as in John,

The crowd said to Jesus, Why do you say, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man? Jesus answered them, The light is with you for a brief while longer. Walk, as long as you have the light, lest the darkness overtakes you. As long as you have the light believe in the light, that you may be sons of the light. John 12:34-36.

From these words it is evident that 'the Son of Man' has the same meaning as 'the light'; for when the crowd asked, 'Who is this Son of Man?' the Lord answered that He was 'the light' in which they should believe. 'The light' means Divine Truth, see the places referred to in 9548, 9684, and so therefore does 'the Son of Man'.

[3] In Luke,

Blessed are you when people will hate you on account of the Son of Man. Luke 6:22.

'On account of the Son of Man' is on account of Divine Truth, which emanates from the Lord. Divine Truth constitutes the all of faith in and love to the Lord; and 'being hated' on account of these is blessedness. In the same gospel,

The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see. Then they will say to you, Behold here! or Behold there! Do not go away or go in search. Luke 17:22-23.

'Desiring to see one of the days of the Son of Man' means desiring to see one of the states of truth that is authentically God's. The subject here is the end of the Church, when no faith exists any longer because there is no charity, at which time every truth that is genuinely God's is going to perish. And since God's truth is meant by 'the Son of Man' it says, 'Then they will say, Behold here! or Behold there! Do not go in search', which may be said of God's truth emanating from the Lord, but not of the Lord Himself.

[4] In the same gospel,

When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8.

That is, when God's truth is revealed from heaven there will be no belief in it. Here also 'the Son of Man' is the Lord in respect of God's truth, or God's truth emanating from the Lord, the Lord's coming being the revelation of God's truth at the end of the Church.

[5] In Matthew,

As the lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then the sign will appear, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory. Matthew 24:27, 30.

'The coming of the Son of Man' stands for the revelation of God's truth at the close of the age, that is, at the end of the Church. 'All the tribes of the earth' who will mourn then are all the truths and forms of the good of faith and love in their entirety that are derived from the Lord and so are offered to the Lord. 'The clouds of heaven' in which He is going to come are the literal sense of the Word, 'power and glory' being the internal sense, the subject of which at its inmost level is the Lord alone. For further explanation of these matters, see 4060.

[6] Something similar occurs elsewhere in the same gospel,

I say to you, Hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated on the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven. Matthew 26:64.

And in Luke,

Hereafter the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God. Luke 22:69.

'The Son of Man' stands for Divine Truth emanating from the Lord. 'Sitting at the right hand of power' stands for the reality that in Him there is almighty power; for Divine Good exercises its almighty power through Divine Truth. The declaration that 'hereafter they would see this' means that Divine Truth would be in its almighty power, when the Lord in the world had overcome the hells and restored to order everything there and in the heavens, as a result of which those who received Him in faith and love could be saved, see 9715.

'Sitting at the right hand' means almighty power, see 3387, 4592, 4933 (end), 7518, 8281, 9133.

All the power good possesses is exercised through truth, 6344, 6423, 8304, 9327, 9410, 9639, 9643.

Actual Divine power consists in Divine Truth, 6948.

'The clouds' in which the Son of Man, that is, Divine Truth, will come are the Word in the letter, Preface to Genesis 18, and 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343, 6752, 8443, 8781; and 'the glory' is Divine Truth itself as it exists in the internal sense of the Word, Preface to Genesis 18, and 4809, 5922, 8267, 9429.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[7] All this now makes clear what the following words in the Book of Revelation mean,

I saw, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud one was sitting, like the Son of Man, having on His head a crown of gold. Revelation 14:14.

And in Daniel,

I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of the heavens One like the Son of Man came. Daniel 7:13.

In John,

The Father has given Him [authority] to execute judgement also, because He is the Son of Man. John 5:27.

The basis on which all judgement is executed is truth, and this explains why it says that [authority] to execute judgement has been given to the Lord because He is the Son of Man. 'The Son of Man', as has been stated, is Divine Truth; 'the Father' from whom that Truth springs is Divine Good, 2803, 3704, 7499, 8328, 8897. The fact that 'executing judgement' rests with Divine Truth explains why it says that when the Son of Man comes He will sit on the throne of His glory, Matthew 19:28; 25:31, and that the Son of Man will repay everyone according to his deeds, Matthew 16:27.

[8] In Matthew,

He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the seed are the sons of the kingdom, the tares are the sons of the evil one. Matthew 13:37-38.

'The good seed' is God's truth, therefore it says that 'the Son of Man' sows it. 'The sons of the kingdom' are God's truths in heaven and in the Church. For 'son' means truth, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, and in the contrary sense falsity, which is also meant by 'son of the evil one'; and 'the kingdom' means heaven, and also the Church.

[9] In John,

No one has gone up into heaven except Him who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in the heavens. John 3:13.

From these words it is evident that 'the Son of Man' means Divine Truth present in the heavens. This Truth comes down from there and then goes up, for no one can go up into heaven unless Divine Truth has come down into Him from heaven; the flow starts from God, not from the opposite direction. And since the Lord is that Truth He calls Himself 'the Son of Man who is in the heavens'. In Matthew,

The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Matthew 8:20.

'The Son of Man' stands for Divine Truth; 'having nowhere to lay His head' stands for the fact that at that time there was no place for Him anywhere, that is, with any person.

[10] The declarations that the Son of Man is about to suffer and will be killed, in Matthew 17:12, 22; 20:18; 26:2, 24, 45; Mark 8:31; 9:12, 31; and elsewhere, imply that this was how Divine Truth was treated, and therefore how the Lord was treated since He was Divine Truth itself, as He also says in John, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. John 14:6.

In Jeremiah,

No man (vir) will dwell there, nor will any son of man stay in it. Jeremiah 49:18, 33.

And in the same prophet,

Not a man (vir) will dwell in the cities, nor will any son of man pass through them. Jeremiah 51:43.

Anyone who has no knowledge of the spiritual sense of the Word will suppose that 'the cities' here is used to mean cities, and 'a man' and 'son of man' to mean a man and a son, and that the cities would be made so desolate that no one would be there. But it is the state of the Church so far as the teaching of truth is concerned that is being described. For 'cities' are the doctrinal teachings of the Church, see 402, 2449, 3216, 4492, 4493; 'a man' is the Church's truth itself joined to good, 3134, 7716, 9007, 'son of man' accordingly meaning truth.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493; Matthew 17:22-23, 17:23, 26:24-25)


[11] Since 'son of man' meant Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, the prophets too through whom it was revealed were called sons of man, as Daniel and Ezekiel were - Daniel 8:17; Ezekiel 2:1, 3, 6, 8; 3:1, 3-4, 10, 17, 25; 4:1, 16; 8:5-6, 8, 12, 15; 12:2-3, 9, 18, 22, 27; and in many other places.

[12] The majority of expressions in the Word have also a contrary sense, and this applies equally to the meaning of the expression son of man, which in that contrary sense is falsity opposed to truth, as in Isaiah,

What are you that you are afraid of man (homo), [who] dies, and of the son of man, [who] is given grass? Isaiah 51:12.

'Grass given to the son of man' is factual knowledge that gives rise to falsity. In David,

Do not put your trust in princes, in the son of man who has no salvation. Psalms 146:3.

'Princes' are primary truths, 2089, 5044, and so in the contrary sense primary falsities, while 'the son of man' is falsity itself.

(References: Exodus 28:1; Matthew 17:22-23, Matthew 26:24-25)

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Arcana Coelestia 9811, 9818, 9930, 9946, 9954, 9960, 9990, 10000, 10012, 10015, 10017, 10019, 10033, 10053, 10067, 10082, 10095, 10099, 10106, 10239, 10278, 10283, 10402, 10494, 10540, 10545, 10651, 10652


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 32, 166, 195, 242, 375, 502

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.


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Daniel stood up for his beliefs while captive in Babylon. Can you be true to your beliefs when talking to others about your faith?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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