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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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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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Inbound References:

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

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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.
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Arcana Coelestia #2803

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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2803. That the Divine Truth is the “son,” and the Divine Good the “father,” is evident from the signification of a “son,” as being truth (see n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2633); and of a “father,” as being good; and also from the conception and birth of truth, which is from good. Truth cannot be and come forth [existere] from any other source than good, as has been shown many times. That the “son” here is the Divine Truth, and the “father” the Divine Good, is because the union of the Divine Essence with the Human, and of the Human Essence with the Divine, is the Divine marriage of Good with Truth, and of Truth with Good, from which comes the heavenly marriage; for in Jehovah or the Lord there is nothing but what is infinite; and because infinite, it cannot be apprehended by any idea, except that it is the being and the coming forth [esse et existere] of all good and truth, or is Good itself and Truth itself. Good itself is the “Father,” and Truth itself is the “Son.” But because as before said there is a Divine marriage of Good and Truth, and of Truth and Good, the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father, as the Lord Himself teaches in John:

Jesus saith unto Philip, Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me ? Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in me (John 14:10-11).

And again in the same Evangelist:

Jesus said to the Jews, Though ye believe not Me, believe the works; that ye may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father (John 10:36, 38).

And again:

I pray for them for all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and that they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee (John 17:9-10, 21).

And again:

Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; if God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself. Father, glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee (John 13:31-32; 17:1).

[2] From this may be seen the nature of the union of the Divine and the Human in the Lord; namely, that it is mutual and alternate, or reciprocal; which union is that which is called the Divine Marriage, from which descends the heavenly marriage, which is the Lord’s kingdom itself in the heavens—thus spoken of in John:

In that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (John 14:20).

And again:

I pray for them, that they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us, I in them and Thou in Me; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:21-23, 26).

That this heavenly marriage is that of good and truth, and of truth and good, may be seen above (n. 2508, 2618, 2728, 2729 and following numbers).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2728-2729; John 17:20-23)


[3] And because the Divine Good cannot be and come forth without the Divine Truth, nor the Divine Truth without the Divine Good, but the one in the other mutually and reciprocally, it is therefore manifest that the Divine Marriage was from eternity; that is, the Son in the Father, and the Father in the Son, as the Lord Himself teaches in John:

And now O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thyself, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was (John 17:5, 24).

But the Divine Human which was born from eternity was also born in time; and what was born in time, and glorified, is the same. Hence it is that the Lord so often said that He was going to the Father who sent Him; that is, that He was returning to the Father. And in John:

In the beginning was the Word (the “Word” is the Divine Truth itself), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-3, 14; see also John 3:13; 6:62).

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Arcana Coelestia 2813, 2824, 3004, 3061, 3077, 3211, 3255, 3373, 3703, 3704, 3956, 3960, 4060, 4180, 4334, 4434, 4462, 4765, 4781, 4809, 5376, 5515, 5902, 6041, 6050, 6371, 6418, 6432, 6433, 7605, 7839, 8127, 8273, 8281, 8571, 8573, 8705, 8809, ...

Heaven and Hell 86

The White Horse 1, 11, 14

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 25, 201, 260, 263, 302, 303, 305


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 32, 200, 242, 254, 900


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Apocalypse Explained #64

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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64. Clothed with a garment down to the foot. That this signifies Divine truth proceeding from Him, is evident from the signification of garments, as being truths which invest good (concerning which see Arcana Coelestia, n. 1073, 2576, 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216, 9952, 10,536). Mention is here made only of a garment reaching to the foot, which is a general covering; by which, as the Lord is treated of, is therefore signified in general all Divine truth. But as the Lord is here described as to the Divine Human, which in this case is the Son of man appearing in the midst of the lampstands, and it is said that He was "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle," and afterwards that "His face shone as the sun in his power," I desire to give the explanation of what is related in the Evangelists concerning the Lord when He was transfigured, where some similar expressions occur; and then of what is said concerning the soldiers dividing His garments, and casting lots upon His vesture.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1073, Arcana Coelestia 2576, Arcana Coelestia 5248, 5319, Arcana Coelestia 5954, Arcana Coelestia 9212, Arcana Coelestia 9216, Arcana Coelestia 9952, Arcana Coelestia 10536; Revelation 1:13)


[2] Concerning the Lord's transfiguration it is thus written: Jesus took Peter, James, and John into an exceedingly high mountain, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became white as the light. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matt. xvii. 1-5; Mark ix. 2-8; Luke ix. 28-36). The reason why the Lord took Peter, James, and John, was, that they represented the church as to faith, charity, and the works of charity. He took them into a high mountain, because by mountain is signified heaven. His face shone as the sun, because the face signifies the interiors, which, being Divine, shone as the sun; for the sun is the Divine love. His garments became white as the light, because garments signify Divine truth proceeding from Him; the same is also signified by light. Moses and Elias appeared, because they both signify the Word, Moses the historical Word, and Elias the prophetical Word. A bright cloud overshadowed them, because a bright cloud signifies the Word in the letter, in which is the internal sense. The voice out of the cloud said, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him, because a voice out of a cloud signifies Divine truth from the Word, and beloved Son, the Lord's Divine Human; and because Divine truth, and therefore all the truth of the church, is from Him, it was said out of the cloud, "In whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."

(References: Luke 9:28-36; Mark 9:2-8; Matthew 17:1-5)


[3] That the Divine Human of the Lord was thus seen, is clear, because the Divine itself cannot appear to any except by means of the Divine Human; this the Lord teaches also in John:

"No one hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath brought him forth to view" (i. 18).

And in another place:

"Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape" (John v. 37).

(That such things are signified by these words in the Evangelists, is evident from Arcana Coelestia, where it is shown that, in the Word by Peter, James, and John are signified faith, charity, and the works of charity, n. 3750, and above, n. 9; that by a high mountain is signified heaven, n. 8327, 8805, 9420, 9422, 9434, 10,608; that by face are signified the interiors of the mind, n. 1999, 2434, 3527, 4066, 4796, 5102, 9306, 9546, and by the face of the Lord, mercy, peace, and every good, n. 222, 223, 5585, 9306, 9546, 9888. That by the sun is signified Divine love, see n. 2495, 4060, 7083, and in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 116-125. That by garments, when the Lord is treated of, is signified Divine truth, see n. 9212, 9216; that the same is signified by light, see n. 3195, 3222, 5400, 8644, 9399, 9548, 9684, and in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 126-140. That Moses and Elias signify the Word; that Moses does so, see Arcana Coelestia, n. 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 9372, 10,234; and that Elias does, see n. 2762, 5247. That clouds signify the Word [in the letter], see above, n. 36; that beloved Son is the Divine Human of the Lord is evident.) From the signification of the Lord's garments, as being Divine truth, it may be known what is signified by the soldiers dividing the Lord's garments among them, and casting lots upon His vesture, concerning which it is thus written in John,

"The soldiers took his garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also his coat; now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not divide it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my garments among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did" (xix. 23, 24).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 222-223, Arcana Coelestia 1999, 2434, 2495, Arcana Coelestia 2762, 3195, 3222, 3527, 3750, 4060, 4066, Arcana Coelestia 4796, 5102, 5247, Arcana Coelestia 5400, 5585, 5922, Arcana Coelestia 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7083, 7089, 7382, Arcana Coelestia 8327, 8644, 8805, Arcana Coelestia 9212, Arcana Coelestia 9216, Arcana Coelestia 9306, 9372, 9399, 9420, 9422, 9434, 9546, 9548, 9684, Arcana Coelestia 9888, Arcana Coelestia 10234, Arcana Coelestia 10608; Heaven and Hell 116-125, 126-140; John 1:2, John 1:18, 5:37, 19:23-24; The Apocalypse Explained 8-9, 36)


[4] He who does not know that in every particular of the Word there is an internal sense, which is spiritual, cannot see any arcanum in these things; he only knows that the soldiers divided the garments and not the coat, and he perceives nothing more than this, when, nevertheless, there is not only a Divine arcanum contained in this circumstance, but also in every particular of the things recorded concerning the Lord's passion. The arcanum which is contained in this circumstance is, that the Lord's garments signified Divine truth, thus the Word, because the Word is Divine truth; the garments which they divided, the Word in the letter, and the coat, the Word in the internal sense. To divide them, signifies to disperse and falsify; and soldiers signify those who belong to the church, who fight for Divine truth; wherefore it is said, "These things therefore the soldiers did." It is therefore clear, that by these words in the spiritual sense, is meant, that the Jewish Church dispersed the Divine truth which is in the sense of the letter; but that they could not disperse the Divine truth which is in the internal sense. (That the Lord's garments signified Divine truth, thus the Word, was shown above; that His coat signified Divine truth, or the Word, in the internal sense, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 9826, 9942; that to divide is to disperse and separate from good and truth, thus to falsify, may be seen, n. 4424, 6360, 6361, 9094. That soldiers signify those who belong to the church, in this place to the Jewish church, who fought for Divine truth, is evident from the spiritual sense of warfare and of war; that war signifies spiritual combats, which are those of truth against falsity, may be seen, n. 1659, 1664, 8295, 10,455; it is therefore said concerning the Levites, whose function was to deal with the things of the church, that they should go out to the warfare, and should serve in the warfare, by exercising the ministry in the tent of the assembly (Numb. iv. 23, 35, 39, 43, 47; viii. 23, 24).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1659, 1664, Arcana Coelestia 4424, Arcana Coelestia 6360-6361, Arcana Coelestia 8295, Arcana Coelestia 9094, Arcana Coelestia 9826, Arcana Coelestia 9942, Arcana Coelestia 10455; John 1:2; Numbers 4:23, 4:35, 4:39, 4:43, 4:47, 8:23-24; Revelation 1:13)

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Apocalypse Explained 60, 67, 195, 375, 401, 412, 519, 594, 627, 631, 637, 717, 951, 1007, 1222

Other New Christian Commentary

Soldiers 1

Incorporating the New 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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 Layers of Meaning
The Lord can speak to everyone--children, adults and angels--through the Word because it contains infinite layers of meaning.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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