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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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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


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


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Arcana Coelestia #5620

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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5620. A little resin and a little honey. That this signifies the truths of good of the exterior natural and its delight, is evident from the signification of “resin,” as being the truth of good or truth from good (see n. 4748). The reason why “resin” has this signification is that it ranks among unguents, and also among aromatics. “Aromatics” signify such things as are of truth from good, especially if they are of an unctuous nature, and so partake of oil; for “oil” signifies good (n. 886, 3728, 4582). That this resin was aromatic, may be seen in Genesis 37:25; and for this reason also the same word in the original means balsam. That it was like an ointment or thick oil, is evident. This then is the reason why by “resin” is signified the truth of good which is in the natural, here in the exterior, because “resin” is put first and joined with “honey,” which is the delight therein. That “honey” denotes delight is because it is sweet, and everything sweet in the natural world corresponds to what is delightful and pleasant in the spiritual world. The reason why it is called its delight, that is, the delight of truth from good in the exterior natural, is that every truth and especially every truth of good has its own delight; but a delight from the affection of these, and from the derivative use.

[2] That “honey” is delight is evident also from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah:

A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel [God with us]. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good (Isaiah 7:14-15);

speaking of the Lord; “butter” denotes the celestial; “honey,” that which is from the celestial.

[3] In the same:

It shall come to pass for the multitude of milk that they shall yield, he shall eat butter; and butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land (Isaiah 7:22);

speaking of the Lord’s kingdom; “milk” denotes spiritual good; “butter,” celestial good; and “honey,” that which is from them, thus what is happy, pleasant, and delightful.

[4] In Ezekiel:

Thus wast thou adorned with gold and silver; and thy garments were of fine linen and silk and broidered work. Thou didst eat fine flour and honey and oil; so thou becamest beautiful very exceedingly, and thou didst prosper even unto a kingdom. With fine flour and oil and honey I fed thee; but thou didst set it before them for an odor of rest (Ezekiel 16:13, 19);

speaking of Jerusalem, by which is meant the spiritual church, the quality of which is described as it was with the ancients, and as it afterward became. Her being “adorned with gold and silver” denotes with celestial and spiritual good and truth; her “garments of fine linen, silk, and broidered work” denotes truths in the rational and in each natural; “fine flour” denotes the spiritual; “honey,” its pleasantness; and “oil,” its good. That such things as belong to heaven are signified by these particulars can be seen by anyone.

[5] In the same:

Judah and the land of Israel were thy traders, in wheat of Minnith, and pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm (Ezekiel 27:17);

speaking of Tyre, by which is signified the spiritual church such as it was in the beginning and such as it afterward became, but in respect to the knowledges of good and truth (n. 1201). “Honey” here also denotes the pleasantness and delight from the affections of knowing and learning celestial and spiritual goods and truths.

[6] In Moses:

Thou makest him ride on the high places of the earth, and he eats the produce of the fields. He maketh him suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flint of the rock (Deuteronomy 32:13);

here also treating of the Ancient spiritual Church; “to suck honey out of the rock” denotes delight from truths of memory-knowledge.

[7] In David:

I feed them with the fat of wheat, and with honey out of the rock I sate them (Psalms 81:16);

“to sate with honey out of the rock” denotes to fill with delight from the truths of faith.

[8] In Deuteronomy:

Jehovah bringeth me unto a good land, a land of rivers of water, of fountains and of deeps that go out from the valley, and from the mountain; a land of wheat and barley, and of vine and of fig and of pomegranate; a land of oil olive and of honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8);

speaking of the land of Canaan; in the internal sense, of the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens. A “land of oil olive and of honey” denotes spiritual good and its pleasantness.

[9] Hence also the land of Canaan was called:

A land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27; 14:8; Deuteronomy 26:9, 15; 27:3; Jeremiah 11:5; 32:22; Ezekiel 20:6).

In the internal sense of these passages by the “land of Canaan” is meant, as before said, the Lord’s kingdom; “flowing with milk” denotes an abundance of celestial spiritual things; and “with honey,” an abundance of derivative happiness and delights.

(References: Numbers 14:7-8)


[10] In David:

The judgments of Jehovah are truth, righteous are they together; more to be desired are they than gold and much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the dropping of the honeycombs (Psalms 19:9-10).

The “judgments of Jehovah” denote truth Divine; “sweeter than honey and the dropping of the honeycombs” denotes delights from good and pleasantnesses from truth. Again:

Sweet are Thy words to my palate, sweeter than honey to my mouth (Psalms 119:103); where the meaning is similar.

[11] The manna that Jacob’s posterity had for bread in the wilderness is thus described in Moses:

The manna was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like a cake kneaded with honey (Exodus 16:31);

as the manna signified the truth Divine that descends through heaven from the Lord, it consequently signified the Lord Himself as to the Divine Human, as He Himself teaches in John 6:51, 58; for it is the Lord’s Divine Human from which all truth Divine comes, yea, of which all truth Divine treats; and this being so, the manna is described in respect to delight and pleasantness by the taste, that it was “like a cake kneaded with honey.” (That the taste denotes the delight of good and the pleasantness of truth may be seen above, n. 3502)

[12] As John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, which is the Divine truth on earth, in like manner as Elijah (n. 2762, 5247), he was therefore the “Elijah who was to come” before the Lord (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:10-12; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:17); wherefore his clothing and food were significative, of which we read in Matthew:

John had his clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loin; and his meat was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6).

The “clothing of camel’s hair” signified that the Word, such as is its literal sense as to truth (which sense is a clothing for the internal sense), is natural; for what is natural is signified by “hair,” and also by “camels;” and the “meat being of locusts and wild honey” signified the Word such as is its literal sense as to good; the delight of this is signified by “wild honey.”

[13] The delight of truth Divine in respect to the external sense is also described by “honey” in Ezekiel:

He said unto me, Son of man, feed thy belly and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. And when I ate it, it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness (Ezekiel 3:3).

And in John:

The angel said unto me, Take the little book and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. So I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; but when I had eaten it my belly was made bitter. Then he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings (Revelation 10:9-11).

The “roll” in Ezekiel, and the “little book” in John, denote truth Divine. That in the external form this appears delightful, is signified by the flavor being “sweet as honey;” for truth Divine, like the Word, is delightful in the external form or in the literal sense because this admits of being unfolded by interpretations in everyone’s favor. But not so the internal sense, which is therefore signified by the “bitter” taste; for this sense discloses man’s interiors. The reason why the external sense is delightful, is as before said that the things in it can be unfolded favorably; for they are only general truths, and general truths are susceptible of this before they are qualified by particulars, and these by singulars. It is delightful also because it is natural, and what is spiritual conceals itself within. Moreover, it must be delightful in order that man may receive it, that is, be introduced into it, and not be deterred at the very threshold.

[14] The “honeycomb and broiled fish” that the Lord ate with the disciples after His resurrection, also signified the external sense of the Word (the “fish” as to its truth and the “honeycomb” as to its pleasantness), in regard to which we read in Luke:

Jesus said, Have ye here anything to eat? They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb, and He took them and did eat before them (Luke 24:41-43).

And because these things are signified, the Lord therefore said to them:

These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me (Luke 24:44).

It appears as if such things were not signified, because their having a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb seems as if fortuitous; nevertheless it was of providence, and not only this, but also all other, even the least, of the things that occur in the Word. As such things were signified, therefore the Lord said of the Word that in it were written the things concerning Himself. Yet the things written of the Lord in the literal sense of the Old Testament are few; but those in its internal sense are all so written, for from this is the holiness of the Word. This is what is meant by His saying that “all things must be fulfilled which are written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Him.”

(References: Luke 24:41-44)


[15] From all this it may now be seen that by “honey” is signified the delight that is from good and truth, or from the affection of them, and that there is specifically signified external delight, thus the delight of the exterior natural. As this delight is of such a nature as to be from the world through the things of the senses, and thereby contains within it many things from the love of the world, the use of honey in the meat-offerings was therefore forbidden, as in Leviticus:

No meat-offering which ye shall bring unto Jehovah shall be made with leaven; for there shall be no leaven, nor any honey, from what ye burn with fire to Jehovah (Leviticus 2:11); where “honey” denotes such external delight, which, because it contains in it what partakes of the love of the world, was also like leaven, and was on this account forbidden. (What “leaven” or “leavened” means may be seen above, n. 2342)

(References: Genesis 43:12; Luke 24:41-44)

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Arcana Coelestia 6857, 7643, 8056, 8522, 9372, 9780, 10137, 10530

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 47, 121, 196


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Apocalypse Explained 513


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Isaiah 7:14-15

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14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

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Explanation of Isaiah 7      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 7

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

1. AND it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Retzin, king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up against Jerusalem to besiege it; but they could not prevail against it.

VERSE 1. All "wars", although they are of a civil nature, are representative in heaven of states of the church, and are correspondences thereto. Such were all the wars which are described in the Word, and such also are all wars at this day. The wars described in the Word are those which were carried on by the children of Israel with various nations as with the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Philistines, the Syrians, the EgyptIans, the Chaldeans, the Assyrians; and when the children of Israel, who represented the church, departed from their precepts and statutes, and fell Into the evils which were signified by those nations (for each particular nation with which the children of Israel waged war signified some particular kind of evil), then they were punished by that nation. For example, when they profaned the holy things of the church by foul idolatries, they were punished by the

Assyrians and Chaldeans, because by "Assyria and Chaldea" is signified the profanation of what is holy. What is signified by "the wars with the Philistines may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning Faith 50-54. Similar things are represented by wars at this day, wherever they are; for all the things which are done In the natural world correspond with spiritual things in the spiritual world, and all spiritual things concern the church. It is not known in this world which kingdoms in Christendom represent the Moabites and Ammonites, which the Syrians and Philistines, and which the Chaldeans and Assyrians, and the others with whom the children of Israel carried on wars nevertheless there are kingdoms in Christendom which represent those people. But what is the quality of the church upon earth, and what are the evils into which it falls; and on account of which it is punished with wars, cannot at all be seen In the natural world, because in that world appear externals only which do not constitute the church but it is seen in the spiritual world, where internals appear which do constitute the church, and there all are conjoined according to their various states. The conflicts of those in the spiritual world correspond to wars, which on both sides are, governed correspondentially by the Lord according to His Divine Providence. Divine Providence 251.

Kings of Judah and of Israel. - For the signification of "kings", when mentioned in the Word, see above, Chapter 1:1, the Exposition.

The Lord was called a "Man of war", and "Jehovah Zebaoth" or Jehovah of armies, from this circumstance, that when He was in the world, He alone, that is, of Himself, fought against the hells and subdued them. Hence it is the Lord who alone fights for man, and protects him, when he is assaulted by the hells, and this continually, especially in temptations, which are spiritual combats. In the Word, where mention is made of "war", in the internal sense, is meant spiritual war, which is against falsities and evils, or what is the same thing, which is against the devil, that is, the hells. (See Arcana Coelestia 1664, 2686)

The subject concerning the wars, or combats of the Lord against the hells, is treated of, in the internal sense, both in the histories and prophecies of the Word; in like manner concerning the wars and combats of the Lord for man. Amongst the ancients with whom the church of the Lord was, there was also a Word both historical and prophetical, which at this day is not extant. The historical Word was called The Book of the Wars of Jehovah, and the prophetical Word was called Enunciations [of Jehovah]. This Word is mentioned in Moses. (Numbers 21:24, 27)

That by the expression moshlem, "enunciations" or "proverbs", at verse 27, are signified prophetical declarations, is evident from the signification of that expression in Numbers 23:7, 18; 24:3, 15. By the "Wars of Jehovah" are there meant the Lord's combats and victories, when He was in the world, against the hells; and also His perpetual combats and victories afterwards for man, for the church, and for His kingdom. For the hells continually desire to raise themselves up, inasmuch as they breathe nothing else but dominion; but they are repressed by the Lord alone. Their attempts to climb upwards appear as ebullitions [or bubblings up], and as ejections [or heavings] of the back by man; but as often as they attempt this many are cast down more deeply thither. Arcana Coelestia 8273.

2. And when it was told to the house of David, that Syria did rest upon Ephraim; his heart, and the heart of his people, was moved, as the trees of the forest are moved before the wind.

Verse 2. Syria did rest upon Ephraim. - The understanding of the Word, both true and false, is described in the prophetic writings, particularly in the prophet Hosea, by "Ephraim"; for the understanding of the Word in "the church is signified in the Word by "Ephraim." Inasmuch as the understanding of the Word constitutes the church, therefore Ephraim is called

"a dear son, and a pleasant child"; (Jeremiah 31:20)

"The first-born"; (Jeremiah 31:9)

"The strength of the head of Jehovah"; (Psalm 60:7; 108:8)

"A mighty man"; (Zechariah 10:7)

"filled with the bow"; (Zechariah 9:13)

and the children of Ephraim are called "armed and shooters with the bow" (Psalm 78:9), for by a "bow" is signified doctrine derived from the Word combating with falsities.

For the same reason also, "Israel set his right hand upon Ephraim, and blessed him"; and he was also "accepted in lieu of Reuben"; (Genesis 48:5, 14) and for the same reason, "Ephraim, with his brother Manasseh, under the name of their father Joseph, was exalted by Moses, in his blessing of the children of Israel, above all the rest." (Deuteronomy 33:13-17)

But the state and nature of the church, when the understanding of the Word is destroyed, is also described in the writings of the prophets by "Ephraim", particularly in Hosea; as in these passages:

"Israel and Ephraim shall fall in their iniquity; Ephraim shall be desolate; Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment." (Hosea 5:5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14)

"O Ephraim, what shall I do unto you? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away." (Hosea 6:4)

"They shall not dwell in the land of Jehovah, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria." (Hosea 9:3)

The "land of Jehovah" is the church:

"Egypt" is the scientific principle of the natural man; and "Assyria" is reasoning founded on it; therefore it is said that "Ephraim shall return into Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria."

"Ephraim feeds on wind, and follows after the east wind; he daily increases lies and desolations; he makes a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt." (Hosea 12:1)

To "feed on wind", to "follow after the east wind", to "increase lies and desolations", is to falsify truths, and so to destroy the church.

The same is also signified by the "whoredom of Ephraim", for "whoredom" signifies the falsification of the understanding of the Word, that is, of its genuine truth, as in these passages:

"For now, O Ephraim, you committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled." (Hosea 5:3)

"I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel; Ephraim has committed whoredom there, and Israel is defiled." (Hosea 6:10)

"Israel" means the church itself, and "Ephraim" the understanding of the Word, which determines the state and quality of the church; wherefore it is said "Ephraim committeth whoredom, and Israel is defiled." But as the church amongst the children of Israel and Judah was totally destroyed by falsifications of the Word, therefore it is said of Ephraim, "I will give you up, Ephraim, I will deliver you up, Israel, I will make you as Admah, I will set you as Zeboim." (Hosea 9:8)

Now since the prophet Hosea, from the first chapter to the last, treats of the falsification of the genuine understanding of the Word, and of the consequent destruction of the church, therefore he was commanded, for the purpose of representing that state of the church, to "take unto himself a wife of whoredoms, and children of whoredoms"; (Hosea 1:2) and again, - to "take to himself an adulteress." (Hosea 3:1)

We have quoted these passages for the sake of showing and proving from the Word that the quality of the church is always determined by its understanding of the Word; and that it is excellent, and precious if its understanding be grounded on the genuine truths of the Word, but that it is destroyed, yea, filthy, 'if it be grounded on truths falsified. True Christian Religion 247.

3. And Jehovah said to Isaiah, Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct of the upper-pool, at the highway of the fuller's field;

4. And you shalt say unto him, Take heed, and be still: fear not, neither let your heart be faint, because of the two tails of these smoking firebrands; for the burning wrath of Retzin and of the Syrian, and of the son of Hemaliah.

5. Because Syria has devised evil against you; Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah,

6. Saying, "We will go up against Judah, and harass it; and we will make a breach into it for ourselves; and we will set a king to reign in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:

Verse 3. The upper pool. - The "pools" in Jerusalem signified truths such as are in the exterior and interior senses of the Word. Apocalypse Explained 453.

Verse 4. By "Retzin and Syria" is signified the rational principle perverted, and by "the son of Remaliah, the king of Israel", who is also called Ephraim, is signified the intellectual principle perverted; the intellectual principle, signified by "Ephraim, king of Israel", has relation to the Word; and the rational principle, signified by "Retzin and Syria", has relation to sciences which confirm, for man, in order to have the understanding of the Word, must also have rationality; and when these two principles are perverted, they look only downwards to the earth, and outwards to the world, as sensual men do who are in the falsities of evil; hence they are called "tails"; a "smoking firebrand" signifies the concupiscence of the false, and thence wrath against the truths and goods of the church. Apocalypse Explained 559. See also Arcana Coelestia 6952.

"Retzin, king of Syria", denotes here the knowledges of evil; for "Syria", in a good sense, means the knowledges of good; thus in the opposite sense the knowledges of evil. the "son of Remaliah the king of Samaria" signifies the knowledges of the false; the latter and the former are "tails", because lowest principles; "smoking firebrands" denote wrath, Arcana Coelestia 6952.

As to the meaning of the "tail", see a fuller Exposition below, Chapter 9:13, 14, also at Chapter 19:15.

By "Aram", or Syria, are signified the knowledges of good. "Aram", or Syria, signifies also in an opposite sense the knowledges of good perverted, according to what is usual in the Word, where the same expression is frequently applied in such a twofold signification. That "Aram" is thus used in two senses may be seen in Isaiah 7:4-6. Arcana Coelestia 1232.

7. Thus says the Lord Jehovih, It shall not stand, and it shall not be.

8. For the head of Syria shall be Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Retzin; and within threescore and five years Ephraim shall be broken, that he be no more a people.

9. And the head of Ephraim shall be Samaria, and the head of Samaria, Remaliah's son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.

10. And Jehovah spake yet again to Ahaz, saying,

Verse 7. Lord Jehovih. - See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 3:15, and note.

Verse 8. For the head of Syria shall be Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Retzin, etc. - "Damascus" was the principal city of Syria, as appears from Isaiah 7:8; by which is signified nearly the same as by Syria. The last border of the land of Canaan, but beyond Dan, is signified by "Damascus", as in Amos 5:26, 27. The border of the holy land, or of the Lord's kingdom, towards the north, is also called the "border of Damascus." (Ezekiel 47:16) Arcana Coelestia 1715.

11. Ask you a sign from Jehovah your God; ask it either in the depth [beneath], or in the height above.

12. And Ahaz said, I will not ask; neither will I tempt Jehovah.

13. And Isaiah said, Hear you now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that you should weary my God also?

Verses 11, 14. Ask you a sign, from Jehovah your God, etc. - The reason why these things were said to Ahaz, king of Judah, is, because the king of Syria and the king of Israel made war against him, even unto Jerusalem: on whose side also was the tribe of Ephraim: but still they did not prevail, by reason that the "king of Syria" there represented the external or natural [principle] of the church, the "king of Israel" the internal or spiritual [principle] thereof, and "Ephraim" the intellectual [principle]; but in this case those three principles, namely, the natural, spiritual, and intellectual, perverted, which were desirous to assault the doctrine of Truth, signified by the "king of Judah and Jerusalem", wherefore they did not succeed. But in order that Ahaz might be assured of their attempt being in vain, it is said to him that be might "ask a sign", that is, a testification that he might be assured; and option was given him whether it should be from heaven or from hell, which was signified by "the depth beneath" or in "the height above"; for the king was evil; but whereas "Jerusalem", by which is signified, the doctrine of Truth from the Word, was not to be destroyed by such before the advent of the Lord, therefore a miraculous sign was given to him, testifying concerning that subject, that is, that "a virgin should conceive, and bring forth a Son, whose name should be IMMANUEL", or God with us. That that church should afterwards be destroyed follows in that chapter. Apocalypse Explained 706.

14. Wherefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son; and she shall call His name IMMANUEL.

Verse14. A virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and she shall call His name IMMANUEL. - That by "the Child born and the Son given, here and in chapter 9, is understood the Lord as to the Divine Human is evident; [see Matthew 1:23] and that the Lord as to that [principle] also is God, thus that His Human is Divine, is manifestly declared for it is said, that "His name shall be called God, God-with-us, the Father of Eternity."

Besides these passages, many others might also be adduced to confirm that the Lord by Father, in the Word, meant His own Divine Principle, which was the life or soul of His Human and not another [Person] separate from Himself; neither could He mean any other; hence the Divine and. Human in the Lord, according to the doctrine received in the Christian world are not two but one Person, altogether as soul and body, as is expressed in clear terms in the Athanasian Creed; and whereas God and Man in the Lord, are not two, but one Person, and so united as soul and body, it follows that the Divine [Principle] which the Lord had from conception was what He called Father, and the Divine Human what He called Son, consequently, that each was Himself Apocalypse Explained 852.

15. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good:

16. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good, the land, whose two kings you abhorrest, shall be forsaken.

17. But Jehovah shall bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon your father's house, days such as have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed, from Judah, namely the king of Assyria.

Verses 14-16. That the "Son whom a virgin shall conceive and bear, and whose name shall be called GOD-WITH-US", is the Lord as to His Human, is manifest. The appropriation of divine good spiritual and natural, as to the Human, is understood by "butter and honey shall He eat; divine good spiritual by "butter", and divine good natural by "honey", and appropriation by "eating"; and inasmuch as it is known how to refuse, or to reprobate evil, and to choose good in proportion as Divine Good spiritual. and natural is approprIated, therefore it is said that "He may know to refuse or to reprobate evil and choose good." That the church was deserted and vastated as to all Good and Truth by scientifics falsely applied, and by reasonings thence derived, is signified by the "land which they shall abhor, being then deserted by or from before her two kings"; the "land" signifies the church; the desertion thereof is understood by being "deserted and abhorred"; and the "two kings", who are the king of Egypt and the king of Assyria, signify scientifics ill applied, and reasosings thence derived; the king of Egypt those scientifics, and the king of Assyria those reasonings. That these are the kings who are here understood is evident from what presently follows in the same chapter, verses 17, 18, where Egypt and Assyria are mentioned; these things also are what principally devastate the church. Apocalypse Explained 617. See also 619.

That the "left" signify remains, see above, Chapter 1. 9, the Exposition.

Verse 16. By "the land being forsaken is signified the church, or the true doctrine of faith. Arcana Coelestia 566.

That these things are said of the Lord and of His coming is known. The "butter and honey which He shall eat" signify the goods of love; "butter" the good of celestial and spiritual love, and "honey" the good of natural love. By these things is understood that the Lord would appropriate to Himself the Divine, even as to His Humanity. To" eat "signifies to appropriate; that "the land would be forsaken or deserted before He knew to refuse evil and to choose good", signifies that nothing of the church would remain upon the earth, when He should be born; and because those, where the church was, rejected all divine Truth, and perverted all things of the Word, and explained them to favour their own purposes of self-love, wherefore it is said of the land, that is, the church, "which you abhorrest before her two kings"; "kings" signify the Truths of heaven and the church; "two kings", the Truth of the Word in its internal or spiritual sense, and the Truth of the Word in its external or natural sense. "Milk" (in verse 22), signifies Truth by which is Good; and because "butter" is Good thence derived, it is said that "of the abundance of milk [which the young cow and the two sheepwould give] everyone left in the midst of the land should eat" which signifies that all Truth should be of Good, [that is, derived from Good and Influenced by it.] Apocalypse Explained 304.

18. And it shall be in that day, that Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the extremity of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria:

19. And they shall come, and they shall rest all of them on the rivers of desolation, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on the thickets, and on all the courses.

Verses 18, 19. Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the extremity of the rivers of Egypt, etc. - Thus is described the church vastated by scientifics falsely applied, and by reasonings thence derived, whereby the knowledges of truth from the good are perverted. The "fly in the extremity of the rrvers of Egypt signifies the false in the extreme parts or principles of the natural man. The extremes of the natural man are what are called things sensual, for the natural man is interior, middle, and exterior; the interior communicates with the spiritual man by means of the rational principle, but the exterior communicates with the world by the bodily senses, and the middle depends upon the senses of the body, and thence derives all that belongs to it; the falsities which are therein, and thus derived, are 'signified by "the fly in the extremity of the rivers of Egypt"; but by "the bee in the land of Assyria" are signified false reason!ngs thence derived; for by "Assyria" is signified the rational principle, and by "Egypt", the scientific principle of the natural man; and inasmuch as the rational principle derives all that it has from the scientifics of the natural man, hence the reasonings thereof are signified by "bees"; because bees suck out and derive their store from the flowers, as the rational [principle] of man does from the scientifics of the natural; here, however, by "bees" are signified false reasonings, because the rational principle collects what belongs to it from scientifics falsely applied. The reason why these things are likened to "flies" and "bees" is also grounded in correspondence, for, in the spiritual world, there appear flying insects of various kinds, but they are appearances from the ideas of the thoughts of spirits; and amongst the noxious are flies and bees of such a kind. The flies in "the extremity of the rivers of Egypt" derive their correspondence from their birth being from the filth of rivers. It is said that "they shall come and rest in the rivers of desolations, and in the clefts of the rocks", and thereby is signified that the falsities originating in scientifics and in reasonings thence derived, shall reside where there are no truths, but a faith originating in the false; "the rivers of desolations" denoting where there are no truths, and "the clefts of the rocks" denoting where is the faith of what is false it is also said "in all shrubs and in all courses", and thereby is signified that the knowledges and perceptions of truth are falsified by them; the "shrubs" denote the knowledges of truth, and "courses or ducts", perceptions which are falsified when the falsities above mentioned flow in. No one could see the arcana contained in these words, except from the internal sense, and at the same time from seeing and knowing what is in the spiritual world. Apocalypse Explained 410. See also Arcana Coelestia 7441.

20. In that day the Lord shall shave with a hired razor, by those beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.

Verse 20. Treating of the state of the church in its end, when the Lord was about to come.That reasonings grounded in falsities would then deprive the men of the church of all wisdom and spiritual intelligence is described by the above words; the reasonings are signified by "the king of Ashur in the passages of the river", that is, Euphrates; the deprivation of essential Wisdom and intelligence thence derived, is signified by the hairs of the head and of the feet being shaved by a hired razor", and by the "beard being consumed" for by "hairs" are signified natural things into which spiritual things operate and into which they close, wherefore they signify, in the Word, the ultimates of wisdom and intelligence; the "hairs of the head", the ultimates of wisdom; the "beard", the ultimates of intelligence; and the "hairs of the feet", the ultimates of science; when these ultimate things do not exist, things prior cannot exist, as when there is no basis to a column, or foundations to a house. That they who have deprived themselves of intelligence by reasonings from fallacies and from falsities, appear in the spiritual world as bald, may be seen above, n. 66. Apocalypse Explained 569.

21. And it shall be in that day, that a man shall keep alive a young cow, and two sheep; .

22. And it shall be, that for the abundance of milk which they shall produce, he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land.

Verse 21. That "pasture", on which sheep and oxen feed, denotes Good and Truth which recreate and sustain the soul or spirit of man, is plain from the Lord's words in John 10:9, there "pasture" signifies the goods and truths pertaining to those who acknowledge the Lord and seek life from Him alone. Thus to "find pasture", signifies to be taught, illustrated, and nourished in divine Truths. Arcana Coelestia 6078. See also Apocalypse Revealed 914.

Because a shepherd signifies one who leads to the good of charity by the truth of faith, in the supreme sense a "Shepherd" denotes the Lord Himself. (John 10:11) Arcana Coelestia 6426.

Verse 22. The abundance of milk which they shall produce etc. - Treating of the New Church to be established by the Lord; and by "butter and honey" is signified spiritual and natural good, and by "eating" is signified to appropriate, as above; by" milk" is signified what is spiritual from a celestial origin, from which those goods are. Apocalypse Explained 617.

"Milk" signifies the truth by which is good, and inasmuch as butter signifies the good thence derived, therefore "for the abundance of milk shall everyone eat butter that is left in the midst of the land" signifies that all Truth shall be of or from Good. Apocalypse Explained 304.

23. And it shall be in that day, that every place, where there were a thousand vines for a thousand pieces of silver, shall be for briers and thorns.

24. With arrows and with the bow shall they come thither; for the whole land shall become briers and thorns.

Verses 23, 24. Describing the church vastated as to all Truth and Good. The quality of the church before, when genuine truths, which are truths from good, were in abundance, is described by there being a "thousand vines for a thousand pieces of silver"; a "thousand vines " denoting truths from good in abundance, and a "thousand pieces of silver" denoting their very high estimation as being genuine; "silver" signifies truth and a "thousand" signifies many, consequently, abundance. But what became the quality of the church when it was vastated as to all Truth and Good is described by these words :

"With the arrows and with the bow shall he come thither because, the whole land is a place of briers and thorns"; the "arrows" denote falsities destroying truths, and the "bow" is the doctrine of the false; a "place of briers" signifies the false from evil, and a "place of thorns", the evil from the false; the "land" is the church. Apocalypse Explained 357.

25. But as to all the mountains which are weeded with the mattock, thither shall not come the fear of briers and, of thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of the ox, and for the treading of sheep.

Verse 25. The mountains which are weeded with the mattock, etc. - By "the mountains which are weeded with the mattock" are signified those who do good from the love of good; that the false and the evil shall not be with them, but good, as well natural as spiritual, is signified by "there not coming thither the fear of the briers and thorns, but it shall be for the sending forth of the ox and the treading of the sheep", or thither shall the ox be sent, and there the sheep shall tread; the "ox" signifying natural good, and the "sheep" spiritual good. Apocalypse Explained 304.

---
Isaiah Chapter 7

1. AND it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Retzin, king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up against Jerusalem to besiege it; but they could not prevail against it.

2. And when it was told to the house of David, that Syria did rest upon Ephraim; his heart, and the heart of his people, was moved, as the trees of the forest are moved before the wind.

3. And Jehovah said to Isaiah, Go out now to meet Ahaz, you, and Shearjashub your son, at the end of the aqueduct of the upper-pool, at the highway of the fuller's field;

4. And you shalt say unto him, Take heed, and be still: fear not, neither let your heart be faint, because of the two tails of these smoking firebrands; for the burning wrath of Retzin and of the Syrian, and of the son of Hemaliah.

5. Because Syria has devised evil against you; Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah,

6. Saying, "We will go up against Judah, and harass it; and we will make a breach into it for ourselves; and we will set a king to reign in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal:

7. Thus says the'Lord Jehovih, It shall not stand, and it shall not be.

8. For the head of Syria shall be Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Retzin; and within threescore and five years Ephraim shall be broken, that he be no more a people.

9. And the head of Ephraim shall be Samaria, and the head of Samaria, Remaliah's son. If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.

10. And Jehovah spake yet again to Ahaz, saying,

11. Ask you a sign from Jehovah your God; ask it either in the depth [beneath], or in the height above.

12. And Ahaz said, I will not ask; neither will I tempt Jehovah.

13. And Isaiah said, Hear you now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that you should weary my God also?

14. Wherefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son; and she shall call His name IMMANUEL.

15. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good:

16. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good, the land, whose two kings you abhorrest, shall be forsaken.

17. But Jehovah shall bring upon you, and upon your people, and upon your father's house, days such as have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed, from Judah, namely the king of Assyria.

18. And it shall be in that day, that Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the extremity of the rivers of. Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria:

19. And they shall come, and they shall rest all of them on the rivers of desolation, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on the thickets, and on all the courses.

20. In that day the Lord shall shave with a hired razor, by those beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.

21. And it shall be in that day, that a man shall keep alive a young cow, and two sheep; .

22. And it shall be, that for the abundance of milk which they shall produce, he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land.

23. And it shall be in that day, that every place, where there were a thousand vines for a thousand pieces of silver, shall be for briers and thorns.

24. With arrows and with the bow shall they come thither; for the whole land shall become briers and thorns.

25. But as to all the mountains which are weeded with the mattock, thither shall not come the fear of briers and, of thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of the ox, and for the treading of sheep.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 7


Other references to this text:

Arcana Coelestia 680, 2184, 5620, 10154, 10819

Apocalypse Revealed 598, 613

Doctrine of the Lord 6, 19

True Christian Religion 82

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 284


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 304, 617, 619, 706, 852

On the Athanasian Creed 23, 29

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 60

De Domino 39

Marriage 82

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Bible Word Meanings

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

sign
'A token,' as in Genesis 9:12, 13, 17, signifies causing it to be.

virgin
In the Word, the words 'virgin' and 'girl' are used, although the word translated 'girl' rarely occurs in the original language. In Exodus 2:8, 'a...

son
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

call
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

butter
Butter (Isa. 7:14, 16) signifies the Lord's celestial principle, and honey that is derived from thence. Butter of the herd (Deut. 32:13) signifies the celestial...

honey
'Honey' signifies the delight derived from good and truth or from the affection thereof, and specifically the external delight. Thus it signifies the delight of...

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

evil
'Wickedness' signifies evil, and 'iniquity' signifies falsities.

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

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 The Prophet Isaiah
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 Vision of the Lord
Project | Ages 11 - 17


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