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The Gate of the Year

     

By Rev. Emily Jane Lemole

"And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East."

by Minnie Louise Haskins
---

From a sermon by Rev. Emily Jane Lemole:

Readings:
Isaiah 26:1-4, 42:5-8
Matthew 7:7-14
Revelation 22:14
Arcana Coelestia 2851

We are standing at the Gate of the Year, a threshold to the unknown in many ways. “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

We read many passages from the Word and the Writings about gates. Gates provide a connection between what is inside and what is outside. They suggest a choice – whether to open or shut it – whether to come in or stay out.

A closed gate makes us hesitate and stop. In this Sufi saying the gates provide thoughtfulness and reflection about what we say:

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.
At the first gate, ask yourself, “is it true?”
At the second ask, “is it necessary?”
At the third gate ask “is it kind?”

How best to begin this New Year? There are the usual resolutions – to lose weight, be healthier, be more organized, and spend more time with loved ones. But there are deeper resolutions or intentions that are crying out for a new start, a fresh beginning.

Number 1: Putting God in the center of our lives – seeing the Lord Jesus Christ as the beginning, middle and end of our day. A good habit is to pray – a lifting up of our perspective – of our priorities – several times a day. Even the physical action of looking up and pausing can shift an annoyed, resentful mood into a moment of correction – a turnaround of most of what we fuss about.

"Sub specie aeternitatis" is a great reminder. Under the auspices of eternity – what matters? Not most of what worries and upsets us. In the long view, with God at the center, what really matters becomes evident and what doesn’t diminishes.

So how do we put our hand into the hand of God? How do we open the gates of our minds and hearts to all that is good and true, wise, kind and peaceful? How do we shut the door to selfishness, unkindness, resentfulness, ingratitude and violence? By what we do every day.

“The way we do anything is the way we do everything,” says Fr. Richard Rohr, the Franciscan priest.

What do we pay attention to and give our time to? What do we love?

A New Year seems a good time to take inventory, a reflection on last year, not so much what we have accomplished as who we are becoming. What matters most to us? What are our priorities? Or as Swedenborg would ask, What do we love? For we are what we love!

We learn that there are two gates that are in each of us:

1. The Gate to Heaven, surrounded by angels, leads to what is good and what is true.
2. And the Gate to Hell, surrounded by evil spirits, leads to what is evil and false.

These gates are in us. We get to choose, and what determines our choice? What we love!

Every year, every week, every day, every moment we have the freedom to choose who we are, what brings us pleasure, how we spend our precious time – what we love and how we love.

And let’s remember that if we don’t honestly like what we see in our inventory, we can repent! Turn around! Change our direction! Change our minds! Change our loves!

Swedenborg describes what we cannot see – our spiritual companions – the company we keep and are for the most part unaware of. Like guests, they come by invitation.

We are surrounded by spiritual guests, invited by our states of mind and heart: Through the Heavenly Gates come the angels and good spirits; from the Hellish Gates come the evil or bad spirits. My high school Latin teacher used to refer to these as the “Basement Boys”.

It is out of fashion today to speak of evil, guilt, repentance or hell. These terms have become obsolete, uncomfortable and ones we really don’t want to be reminded of. But from everything Swedenborg teaches, these are spiritual realities.

Evil is very much alive and well in our world (if one reads the papers and watches TV) and in each one of us, recognized with some introspection! When we honestly become aware of our own intentions and emotions, we know this!

Evil, with its twin, falsity, is everything that is against God, that is selfish, dishonest, greedy, mean and cruel. But evil can also appear with a deceptive face – we can justify our resentments, our ingratitude, our unforgiving stance. Sin means missing the mark, the mark being God. All that draws us away from God makes us miss that mark!

Guilt – a very necessary emotion that makes us want to repent – not to wallow in, but to lead us to repentance – to persuade us to change course!

And evil spirits – these are the very real spiritual companions that we are told are fighting for our attention, and in the end, for our spiritual life. We are in the balance. We are between two gates.

An ancient Buddhist proverb teaches: Everyone is given the key to the Gates of Heaven; the same key opens the Gates of Hell.” The key is what we love.

Every decision we make feeds either our proprium (our unregenerate will) or feeds our "remains" – that inviolate treasure, a storehouse of all the good and true things we have experienced since before birth. Remains are our birthright, and we draw from it and add to it forever with true thoughts and good deeds.

Since the number one focus of most New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight (and I’m not against that, if needed) let’s try to use that concept for a spiritual weight loss – losing the burden of negative emotion, the bad habits of criticism, complaint, gossip, irritation, annoyance, being easily offended, anger – the list we know goes on and on. The diet for this weight loss is good thoughts, honest behavior, truthful intentions. Turning off the bad news, turning on the good news. Supporting a hopeful optimism that encourages others; kind acts that look for no return.

Think on these things, Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians.

“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8.

And the exercise required for this transformation of the soul’s health is spiritual practice – the exercise that brings the abstract into the real, the doing of what we say we believe. Perhaps this year we can embrace a spiritual exercise:

- Meditation
- Prayer
- Lectio Devina – slow, purposeful reading of Scripture and other Holy Books.

A dear friend of mine makes a habit of thinking about which type of spirits are influencing her, and then asking the Lord to send away the harmful influences, when there. Also, she has developed a practice of thanking the Lord for all good things when they happen.

We can open the Gates of Heaven. Angels can rush in at any time that we cause the gates to swing open by loving what is good, what is true, the Lord and one another. These choices open those gates.

We all need reminders to help us make the right choices. We forget so quickly and are distracted by the loud noise of our times. We are plugged into T.V., radio, our computers, phones and i-pads -- a secular culture that is immersed in what is natural, not spiritual. But it is not natural for us to turn away and turn toward God and the Heavenly gates. It is unnatural. It is spiritual. Here are a few reminders that I have found helpful.

SET A TIME FOR AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE LORD: Every morning and before bedtime are two commonly used times to reserve for the Lord. When feeling angry, raise your thoughts and vision upward, and ask for the angels at the gate for assistance. Try a phrase learned from one of our daughter’s friends: Bless and release! Work toward seeing God in everyone and in all things.

Let ugly states pass – bless your enemies, remembering that those who disagree or dislike us are likely our best spiritual teachers. We can see our response to them, usually a response that mirrors the behavior that irritates us. Love our enemies, we are told, as well as our neighbor.

We need to watch our thoughts.

From the Ancient Vedas:

"Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny."

Most important is to detect what we love, for that will determine which gate we hang around, and later, enter.

How auspicious it is that we have Holy Communion as we enter the New Year. What better way to begin, seeking first the kingdom of Heaven – putting what matters most into the forefront?

This is a beautiful prayer by Sister Joyce Rupp:

SACRED MYSTERY,
Waiting on the threshold
of this new year,
you open the gates
And beckon to me:

(You say) “Come! Come!
Be not wary of what awaits you
as you enter the unknown terrain,
be not doubtful of your ability
to grow from its joys and sorrows.

For I am with you,
I will be your Guide.
I will be your Protector,
You will never be alone.”

Guardian of this new year,
I set aside my fears, worries, concerns,
I open my life to mystery, to beauty,
to hospitality to questions,
to the endless opportunity
of discovering you in my relationships,
and to all the silent wisps of wonder
that will draw me to your heart.

I welcome your unfailing Presence
And walk with hope into this New Year.

---

“Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God.”

It really matters as we stand at the Gate of the New Year whose hand we will take – whose inspiration we will follow and whose influence may determine who we are becoming.

From Psalm 118:19-20:
“Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord,
By which the righteous shall enter.”

Amen!

De Bijbel

 

Isaiah 42:5-8

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5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

     

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Explanation of Isaiah 42      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 42

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

1. BEHOLD My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delights: I will put My spirit upon Him; and He shall bring forth judgment to the nations.

VERSE 1. Treating of the Lord, who is understood by "the Elect of Jehovah"; and whereas by "the Spirit of Jehovah which was put upon Him" is signified the proceeding Divine, therefore by "the soul of Jehovah which was delighted in Him" is signified the Divine Truth; for in this Divine the Lord was as to His Humanity in the world. Apocalypse Explained 750.

I will put [or give] My spirit upon Him. - The "Spirit of Jehovah upon Him [the Lord]" is the Divine Truth, consequently Divine Wisdom and Intelligence. The Divine Truth is also called "Judgment which He will bring forth to the nations." Arcana Coelestia 9818.

For the meaning of "Spirit" in its various senses, see Chapter 11:2, the Exposition.

2. He shall not cry, nor lift up His voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street:

Verse 2. [It does not appear that Swedenborg bas quoted this verse, but viewed in connection with the following, of which he has given full interpretation, it would seem to imply that the Lord in His Divine Human would teach the Truth from infinite Divine Love, thus most gently and softly, without compelling, or in any sense constraining, the freedom and rationality of the human mind, which, in all the operations of His Providence, are kept inviolate. Divine Providence 96.]

3. The bruised reed He shall not break; and the smoking flax He shall not quench: He shall bring forth judgment into truth.

Verse 3. Treating concerning the Lord. By His "not breaking the bruised reed" is signified that He will not hurt the divine Truth sensual with the simple and with children; by "not quenching the smoking flax" is signified that He will not destroy the divine Truth which begins to live from a little Good of love with the simple and with children; "flax" denoting Truth, and "smoking" its living from some little degree of love. Inasmuch as both, that is, the "reed" and the "flax", are significative of Truth, therefore it is also said concerning the Lord, that He shall bring forth judgment into truth", by which is understood that He will produce in them intelligence; "judgment" denoting intelligence. "Reed " also signifies sensual or ultimate Truth, such as has place also with natural men, even the evil, as in the same Prophet:

"The parched ground shall become a pool; and there shall be grass instead of the reed and the rush." (Isaiah 35:7) Apocalypse Explained 627.

4. He shall not extinguish, nor break it, until He has established judgment in the earth: and the islands shall wait for His law.

Verse 4. These words also treat concerning the Lord, and the New Church to be established by Him. By the "islands" are understood those who are only in Truths from the natural man, and consequently who are as yet remote from true worship; hence by its being said "until He has established judgment in the earth, and the islands shall wait for His law", is signified until He has given intelligence to those who are of the church, and knowledges of Truth to those who are more remote from the church; to "establish judgment." is to give intelligence, and to "wait for the law" is to give the knowledges of Truth; for the "earth" signifies those who are in the church, and, abstractedly, the church itself as to intelligence from spiritual Truths; and the "isiands " signify those who are remote from the church, and, abstractedly, the church as to the knowledges of Truth and Good, or the church as to the Truths of the natural man corresponding with spiritual Truths. Apocalypse Explained 406. See also Arcana Coelestia 1158; Apocalypse Revealed 84.

5. Thus says the God, [even] Jehovah, who created the heavens, and stretched them out; who spread forth the earth, and the productions thereof; who giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon:

Verse 5. By "creating the heavens, and stretching them out", and by "spreading forth the earth ", is signified to reform; by the "heavens" are signified both the heavens and the internals of the church; the internals of the church also are the "heavens" with the men who are therein. The "earth" signifies the externals of the church, which are said to be "spread forth and extended" when there is a multiplication of Truths derived from Good. That reformation by Truths is hereby signified, is evident, for it is said, "Who giveth soul [or breath] to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon." Apocalypse Explained 294.

By "creating the heavens" and by" spreading forth the earth and its productions", is signified to form the church, and to reform those who are therein; its "productions" are all things of the church. Apocalypse Explained 304.

To "give breath [or soul, animam] to the people", is to give the life of faith. Arcana Coelestia 9818.

6. I Jehovah have called You in justice; and I will hold Your hand, and will preserve You; and I will give You for a covenant to the people, for a light to the nations:

7. To open the blind eyes; to bring the bound out of prison; and from the prison-house those that dwell in darkness.

8. I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

9. The former things, behold! they are come to pass; and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I cause you to hear them.

Verse 6. These words are said of the Lord, who is called "the Covenant of the people, and the Light of the nations", because a "covenant" signifies conjunction, and "light" Divine Truth; by "peoples" are understood those who are in Truths, and by "nations" those who are in Goods, as may be seen, Apocalypse Explained 175, 331. To "call Him in justice" signifies that He may do justice by separating the evil from the good, and by saving these and condemning those; to "hold by the hand" and to "preserve [or guard] You" signifies to sustain by Divine Omnipotence, which the hells cannot resist; and by Jehovah "doing this" is signified the Divine in the Lord. Apocalypse Explained 701.

A "covenant", when mentioned in the Word, has the following significations. I. The Lord Himself is called a "Covenant", because conjunction [which is signified by a "covenant"] is from Him with Himself, by the Divine which proceeds from Him. II. The Divine Proceeding, which is the Divine Truth, thus the Word, is the covenant, because that conjoins. III. The precepts, judgments, and statutes given to the sons of Israel, were to them a covenant, because by them there was then conjunction with the Lord. IV. Moreover, whatsoever coujoins is called a covenant. All these significations of a "covenant" may be seen explained and confirmed in Apocalypse Explained 701.

Verses 6-8. These words treat concerning the Lord, that He is Jehovah, and that from Him is all wisdom, and nothing from man. That the Lord is Jehovah, is evident, for it is said that "Jehovah called Him in Justice", and also "I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another." That from Him is all wisdom which is of the life, is signified by "opening the blind eyes", and by " bringing the bound out of prison, and from the prison-house those that dwell [or sit] in darkness"; that nothing of wisdom is from man, is signified by "nor My praise to graven images." Arcana Coelestia 8869

These things are said concerning the Lord, and concerning the establishment of a church from Him amongst the nations. That they who were before in ignorance should then understand Truths, is signified by the "blind eyes" which He shall open; and that they should be led out from ignorance and from falsities, is denoted by "He shall bring the bound out of prison." That the Divine Itself would assume the Human, is understood by these words:

"I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another." Apocalypse Explained 239.

To "open the blind eyes" is to instruct those who as yet are ignorant of Truths but who, nevertheless, desire them; such persons are signified by the "nations." Apocalypse Explained 152.

Verses 6, 8. The "covenant of the people" and the "light of the nations" is the Lord with respect to the Human; and because this was from Jehovah, and made a One with Him, it is said, "I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not gIve to another"; that is, to no other than to Himself. To "give glory" is to glorify, or to unite to Himself. Doct. of Lord, 30.

10. Sing unto Jehovah a new song; His praise from the end of the earth: you that go down upon the sea, and the fulness thereof; you islands, and the inhabitants thereof.

Verses 10, 11. Treating concerning the advent of the Lord and concerning the establishment of the church with those who were out of the church, or with those who had not the Word, and to whom the Lord was not before known. To "sing a new song" signifies confession from joy of heart; and for "the end of the earth to sing His praise" signifies the confession of those who are remote from the church, - the "earth" denoting the church, and the "end of the earth" denoting where what appertains to the church terminates. By "the desert and the cities thereof, which shall lift up their voice", are signified those with whom there is not Good, because there is not Truth, which nevertheless they desire; "the inhabitants of the rock" signify the Good of faith, and "the head of the mountains "the Good of love appertaining to them; to "sing" and to "shout" signify consequent confession from joy of the mind and the heart. Apocalypse Explained 320.

Verses 10, 12. These words signify the worship of the Lord by those who are remote from the church, and, in an abstract sense, the worship of the natural man from Truths and Goods. To "sing a song" and to "praise" signifies worship from a glad mind: the "end of the earth" denotes those who are in the ultimates of the church, and, in an abstract sense, the ultimates of the church; "the sea, and the fulness thereof", signify the natural man and all things which are therein; "the islands, and the inhabitants ithereof", are the Truths and Goods of the natural man, - the "islands" the Truths thereof, and "inhabitants" the Goods thereof. By "let them give glory to Jehovah, and declare His praise in the islands", is signified worship from internals and externals; to "give glory" denotes worship from internals, and to " declare praise" worship from externals, for externals" declare", and "islands" are the Truths of the natural man from which such worship is performed. Apocalypse Explained 406.

It should be known that by the "end" [or the extremity] of heaven is not understood the extremity of space, but the state of what is Good and True; for in heaven there is no space, but the appearance thereof according to the state of what is Good and True. Arcana Coelestia 9666.

11. Let the desert lift up [its voice], and the cities thereof; the villages which Arabia doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing; let them shout from the head of the mountains.

12. Let them give glory to Jehovah; and declare His praise in the islands.

Verse 11: By the "desert" is signified an obscure principle of Truth; by "the cities thereof" are understood doctrinals: and by the "villages", natural knowledges and scientifics. By "Arabia" is signified the natural man, for "an Arabian in the desert" is the natural man; by the "inhabitants of the rock" are meant the Goods of faith, or those who are in the Goods of faith: and by "the head of the mountains" is signified the Good of love to the Lord. Hence it is manifest that confession and glad worship originating in the Good of love in such things as are mentioned, are here signified by every single thing in its order; for to "shout from the head of the mountains" denotes worship from the Good of love.Apocalypse Explained 405.

These things are said concerning the church with those who are remote from the Truths of the church, because they are natural and sensual; their state of ignorance is understood by the "desert", and their joy from the preaching and knowledge of the Truth is meant by their " lifting up their voice", etc. Arcana Coelestia 730.

13. Jehovah shall go forth like a Hero; like a Man of wars shall He stir up zeal: He shall cry, yea, He shall shout; He shall prevail against His enemies.

Verse 13. The Lord is called a "Man of war" chiefly from this circumstance, that whilst in the world, He alone, that is, from Himself fought against the hells, which then, for the most part, were opened, and which attacked and endeavoured to subdue all that came into the other life. The reason why the diabolic crew, that is, the hells, were then raging about in this manner [in the world of spirits] was, because the Divine passing through heaven, which before the coming of the Lord was the Divine Human, did not prevail against evils and falsities, which had so immensely increased; wherefore it pleased the Divine to assume the Human and to make it Divine, and then, at the same time, by combats admitted into Himself, to cast down that diabolic crew into the hells, to shut them up therein, and to subject them to the heavens; and at the same time also to reduce the heavens into order. From these combats the Lord was first called a "Man of war"; and afterwards, because He had thus conquered the hells, and had been made "Justice", He from His divine power protects men, and this continually, and. especially in the combats of temptations. Arcana Coelestia 8273.

As to "wars", when mentioned in the Word, see Chapter 7:1, and especially below, Chapter 63:1-5, the Exposition.

Concerning "the zeal of Jehovah", see Chapter 9:7, the Exposition.

In respect to "ternptations", and their necessity in effecting man's regeneration, see Chapter 43:2, the Exposition.

14. I have long been silent; I have been still, and refrained Myself: now I will cry out like a woman in travail; I will destroy and swallow up at once.

Verse 14. [These words imply the Lord's divine forbearance and long-suffering until the period of Judgment comes, when its effects are denoted by "I will destroy and swallow up at once"; and the pain which those will suffer on being deprived of the possession in their external man of those Goods and Truths which they had assumed for the purpose of selfish ends, as of honour and gain, is denoted by "the crying out as of a woman in travail." As to this latter clause, see-Chapter 13:8, the Exposition.]

15. I will lay waste the mountains and the hills, and dry up all their herbs: I will make the rivers islands; and I will dry up the pools.

Verse 15. By "laying waste or devastating the mountains and the hills" is signified to destroy all the Good of love to the Lord, and of love to the neighbour; by "drying up all the herbs" is meant thence to destroy all Truths, - "herb" denoting Truth springing from Good. By "making the rivers into islands, and drying up the pools", is signified to annihilate all the understanding and perception of Truth; "rivers" signifying intelligence which is of Truth, "islands" where there is no intelligence, and "pools" the perception of Truth. The understanding of Truth is from the light of Truth, but the perception of Truth is from the heat or Love of Truth. Apocalypse Explained 405.

Inasmuch as most things in the Word have an opposite sense, so "islands", in that sense, signify the falsities opposite to the Truths which are in the natural man. In this sense "islands" are mentioned in the above passage. Apocalypse Explained 406.

16. And I will lead the blind in a way which they have not known; and through paths which they have not known will I make them go: I will make darkness light before them; and crooked things into straightness. These things will I do unto them, and will not forsake them,

Verse 16. In this passage "darkness" signifies the falsities of ignorance, such as formerly existed, and at this day exists with the upright nations or Gentiles. These falsities are altogether distinct from the falsities of evil, for the latter contain in themselves evil, because they are from evil, whereas the former contain in themselves Good, for they have Good for an end; wherefore they who are principled in these falsities can be instructed in Truths, and also when they are instructed they receive Truth in the heart, by reason that the Good, which is in their falsities, loves the Truth, and also conjoins itself with the Truth, when it is heard. The case is otherwise with the falsities of evil; these are averse from, and spit out, all Truth, and this for no other reason than because it is Truth, and thus does not agree with evil. "Darkness" also signifies in the Word mere ignorance arising from the deprivation or Truth, as in David. (Psalm 18:28; 139:11, 12) "Darkness" also signifies natural lumen, for this, in respect to spiritual light, is as darkness; wherefore also the angels, when they look down into the natural lumen of man, such as is in the natural thought of rnen, regard it as darkness, and the things which are in it as in darkness. This lumen is signified by the "darkness" in Genesis 1:2-5; and inasmuch as the literal sense of the Word is natural, therefore this also in the Word is called a "cloud", and also "darkness", in respect to the internal sense, which is the light of heaven, and is called "glory." Apocalypse Explained 526.

17. They shall be turned backward, they shall be greatly ashamed who trust in the graven image, who say unto the molten image, You are our gods!

Verse 17. What is meant by "going backward", see Chapter 1:4, the Exposition. ln respect to "graven and molten images", or "idols", see Chapter 2:20; 40:18-20; 41:7, the Exposition.

18. Hear, O you deaf! and look, you blind, that you may see!

Verse 18. The "deaf" are those who do not perceive what is True, and who hence do not obey it; thus, abstractedly, "deafness" signifies the non-perception of Truth, and hence non-obedience. Thus to be "deaf" signifies these things, is because the "hearing" corresponds both to perception and to obedience, to perception, because those things which are heard are inwardly perceived; and to obedience, because hence it is known what should be done. That this is the correspondence of "hearing" and also of the "ear", may be seen, Arcana Coelestia 3809, 4052-4660; hence it is evident what is signified by the "deaf." In the Word, by the "deaf" are also understood the Gentiles, who do not know the Truths of faith, because they have not the Word, and therefore cannot live according to them; when, however, they are instructed, they receive these Truths, and live according to them. These are understood in Isaiah:

"Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened; and the ears of the deaf unstopped." (Isaiah 35:5)

Again,

"Hear, O you deaf! and look, you blind, that you may see!" (Isaiah 42:18)

"In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book", etc. (Isaiah 29:18)

Again,

"Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears", etc. (Isaiah 43:8, 9)

Here by the "deaf" are understood those who, by the coming of the Lord, could come into a state of receiving the Truths of Faith, that is, of perceiving them and of obeying them. The same are understood by the "deaf" whom the Lord cured. (Mark 7:31-37; 9:25)

Because the "deaf" in a good sense] signify such persons, it was forbidden those, with whom the representative church was established, to "curse the deaf", and to "cast a stumbling-block before the blind.' (Leviticus 19:14) Arcana Coelestia 6989.

19. Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Angel whom I have sent? who is blind as He who is perfect, and blind as the Servant of Jehovah ?

20. Seeing many things, but You observest not; opening the ears, He hears not.

Verses 19, 20. These words are spoken of the Lord, who is treated of in the whole of this chapter, and is here called a "Servant" as to His Divine Human, because He served His Father by "doing His will", as He frequently declared, whereby is understood that He reduced to order all things in the spiritual world, and, at the same time, taught mankind the way to heaven. It is therefore the Divine Human which is understood by "My Servant, whom I uphold; and Mine Elect, in whom My soul delights"; and it is called "Servant" from Divine Truth, whereby those things were effected, and "Elect" from Divine Good. That He had Divine Truth whereby He effected all things, is understood by "I will put My spirit upon Him, and He shall bring forth judgment to the nations; the "spirit of Jehovah" is the Divine Truth, and to "bring forth judgment to the nations" is to instruct. The reason of His being called "blind" and "deaf" is, because the Lord is as if He did not see and perceive the sins of men, for He leads men gently, "bending and not breaking", and so withdrawing them from evils and leading them to Good; wherefore neither does He chastise nor punish, as if He saw and perceived. This is what is understood by "Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Angel?" "Blind" and "Servant" being mentioned with relation to Divine Truth, and "deaf" and "Angel" with relation to Divine Good; for "blind" has relation to the understanding, and thence to perception, and "deaf" has relation to perception, and thence to the will. By these words, therefore, is understood that the Lord appears not to see, although the Divine Truth is His from which He understands all things, and that He appears not to will according to what He perceives, although the Divine Good is His from which all things are possible to Him. Apocalypse Explained 409.

21. But Jehovah was well pleased on account of His justice; He has magnified the law, and made it honourable.

Verse 21. He has magnified the law, and made it honourable [or rather illustriousJ. - [It does not appear that Swedenborg has quoted this verse, but it implies, we apprehend, that the Lord, by the glorification of His Humanity, has filled the "Law", that is, the Word, with a greater abundance of His divine "spirit and life." See John 10:10; also Isaiah 30:25, 26, the Exposition.]

22. But this is a people spoiled and plundered; all their young men are taken in the snare, and are hidden in the prison-houses: they are become a prey, and there was none to deliver; a spoil, and no one said, Restore.

23. Who is there among you that will give ear to this; that will hearken, and attend to it, for the aftertime?

Verse 22. All their young men are hidden in the prison-houses, etc. "Young men", in the internal sense, are the Truths of faith, which are said to be "hidden" and to "become a prey", when they are no longer acknowledged. Arcana Coelestia 5037 Arcana Coelestia 5037[1-6].

As to "young men", both in a good and in a bad sense, see above, Chapter 31:8, the Exposition.

24. Who has given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the plunderers? Is it not Jehovah; He against whom we have sinned; in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law' they would not obey?

25. Therefore poured He out upon them the burning of His angel, and the violence of war: and it kindled a flame round about Him, yet He did not regard it; and it burned Him, yet He did not lay it to heart.

Verse 24. That to "walk" signifies to live, and, when predicated of the Lord, Life itself, is from appearances in the spiritual world, where all walk according to their life, the evil in no other ways than such as lead to hell, but the good in no other ways than in such as lead to heaven; wherefore all spirits are known there from the ways wherein they walk. There actually appear also ways, but to the evil no other than ways to hell, and to the good no other than ways to heaven, by which means everyone is brought to his own society. From this circumstance it is, that to "walk" signifies to live. Concerning these "ways" and "walking" therein, in the spiritual world, see what is said in the work on Heaven and Hell 195, 479; and in the small work on the Last Judgment 48. Apocalypse Explained 97.

Verses 2, 1, 25. "The heat [or burning] of His anger" signifies repugnance against the false of evil. "Jacob" here [meaning those "who have sinned against Jehovah"] stands for those who are in evil, and "Israel" for those who are in the false of evil. "Wrath" [or burning, excandescentia] and "anger" [ira] are often mentioned in the Word, but in the internal sense they do not signify wrath and anger, but that which is repugnant; and this because whatsoever is repugnant to any affection produces wrath or anger, so that in the internal sense these things are only repugnances; it is called "wrath" because it is repugnant to Truth, and "anger" because it is repugnant to Good. But, in the opposite sense, "wrath" is that which is repugnant to the false and its affection, that is, to the principles of the false; and "anger" that which is repugnant to evil and its cupidity, that is, to the love of self and of the world, and in this sense "wrath" is properly wrath, and "anger" is properly anger; but, when they are predicated of Good and Truth, "wrath" and "anger" are then properly zeal, which, because in the external form it appears similar to "wrath" and "anger" in a bad sense, it is hence, in the literal sense, also so called. Arcana Coelestia 3614.

In respect to "anger", when ascribed to Jehovah, see above, Chapter 1:24; 9:12, 17, 21, the Exposition.

That "fire" is anger from the affection of evil, is because anger is thence derived: for when that which a man loves is impugned, a fiery principle bursts forth, and as it were burns. Hence it is that anger is described in the Word by "fire", and it is said to burn, as in Isaiah 42:25; Psalm 18:8. Arcana Coelestia 9143.

---
Isaiah Chapter 42

1. BEHOLD My Servant, whom I uphold; Mine Elect, in whom My soul delights: I will put My spirit upon Him; and He shall bring forth judgment to the nations.

2. He shall not cry, nor lift up His voice, nor cause it to be heard in the street:

3. The bruised reed He shall not break; and the smoking flax He shall not quench: He shall bring forth judgment into truth.

4. He shall not extinguish, nor break it, until He has established judgment in the earth: and the islands shall wait for His law.

5. Thus says the God, [even] Jehovah, who created the heavens, and stretched them out; who spread forth the earth, and the productions thereof; who giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk thereon:

6. I Jehovah have called You in justice; and I will hold Your hand, and will preserve You; and I will give You for a covenant to the people, for a light to the nations:

7. To open the blind eyes; to bring the bound out of prison; and from the prison-house those that dwell in darkness.

8. I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

9. The former things, behold! they are come to pass; and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I cause you to hear them.

10. Sing unto Jehovah a new song; His praise from the end of the earth: you that go down upon the sea, and the fulness thereof; you islands, and the inhabitants thereof.

11. Let the desert lift up [its voice], and the cities thereof; the villages which Arabia doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing; let them shout from the head of the mountains.

12. Let them give glory to Jehovah; and declare His praise in the islands.

13. Jehovah shall go forth like a Hero; like a Man of wars shall He stir up zeal: He shall cry, yea, He shall shout; He shall prevail against His enemies.

14. I have long been silent; I have been still, and refrained Myself: now I will cry out like a woman in travail; I will destroy and swallow up at once.

15. I will lay waste the mountains and the hills, and dry up all their herbs: I will make the rivers islands; and I will dry up the pools.

16. And I will lead the blind in a way which they have not known; and through paths which they have not known will I make them go: I will make darkness light before them; and crooked things into straightness. These things will I do unto them, and will not forsake them,

17. They shall be turned backward, they shall be greatly ashamed who trust in the graven image, who say unto the molten image, You are our gods!

18. Hear, O you deaf! and look, you blind, that you may see!

19. Who is blind, but My Servant? or deaf, as My Angel whom I have sent? who is blind as He who is perfect, and blind as the Servant of Jehovah ?

20. Seeing many things, but You observest not; opening the ears, He hears not.

21. But Jehovah was well pleased on account of His justice; He has magnified the law, and made it honourable.

22. But this is a people spoiled and plundered; all their young men are taken in the snare, and are hidden in the prison-houses: they are become a prey, and there was none to deliver; a spoil, and no one said, Restore.

23. Who is there among you that will give ear to this; that will hearken, and attend to it, for the aftertime?

24. Who has given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the plunderers? Is it not Jehovah; He against whom we have sinned; in whose ways they would not walk, and whose law' they would not obey?

25. Therefore poured He out upon them the burning of His angel, and the violence of war: and it kindled a flame round about Him, yet He did not regard it; and it burned Him, yet He did not lay it to heart.

From Swedenborg's Works

Belangrijkste verklaring(en) van Swedenborgs werken:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 42


Andere referenties door Swedenborg met betrekking tot deze tekst:

Arcana Coelestia 25, 212, 666, 2383, 3195, 5037, 6804, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 48, 99, 210, 254, 483, 529, 629, ...

Doctrine of the Lord 6, 30, 38, 49

Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 86

Doctrine of Life 60

Heaven and Hell 129

True Christian Religion 82, 251, 285, 730, 773, 780


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 102, 152, 175, 239, 294, 304, 331, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 23

De Domino 39

Marriage 82

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 17

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Resources for parents and teachers

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 By a Way They Did Not Know
Two fun activities inspired by these words in Isaiah 42: “I will bring the blind by a way they did not know. I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make the darkness light before them, and crooked places straight.”
Activity | Ages 3 - 7

 Gentle Leading
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Holy Is His Name
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 The Lord God Jesus Christ
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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