Laborers in the vineyards

Spiritual Meaning of


 Laborers in the vineyards

The Lord’s parables of the laborers in the vineyards in like manner signified spiritual churches (Matt. 20:1-16; 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-16). Since the vine signifies the spiritual church, and the primary thing of the spiritual church is charity, in which the Lord is present, and by means of which He conjoins Himself with man, and Himself alone works every good, therefore the Lord compares Himself to a vine, and describes the man of the church, or the spiritual church, in these words, in John:–

I am the true vine and My Father is the husbandman every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, He will prune it, that it may bear more fruit; abide in Me, and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing; this is My commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you (John 15:1-5, 12)

from these words it is evident what the spiritual church is.

from AC 1069


Invited to the Supper

Spiritual Meaning of


 Invited to the Supper

In the Lord’s parable of those who were invited to the great supper:–

That one excused himself because he had bought five yoke of oxen, and must go to prove them (Luke 14:19).

Oxen signify in the Word natural affections, and five yoke of oxen signify all those affections or desires that lead away from heaven; heaven and the church in regard to spiritual nourishment or instruction are signified by the great supper to which they were invited.

AE 548

Good Samaritan

Spiritual Meaning of


 Good Samaritan

He who understands the internal sense of the Word is able to know why it was said by the Lord that the Samaritan bound up the blows, poured in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast. For by the Samaritan in the internal sense is meant one who is in the affection of truth, by binding up the blows is signified the healing of this affection when injured, by pouring in oil and wine is signified the good of love and the good of faith, and by setting him on his own beast is signified uplifting him by virtue of his own intellectual. Thus by these words is described charity toward the neighbor; naturally for man in the world, and spiritually for the angels in heaven; naturally in the sense of the letter, and spiritually in the internal sense. The reason why a Samaritan denotes one who is in the affection of truth, is that Samaritan in the Word signifies this affection. That oil denotes the good of love, (AC 886, 3728, 4582); also that wine denotes the good of faith, (AC 1798, 6377); and that a beast of burden denotes the intellectual, (AC 2761, 2762, 2781, 3217, 5391, 5741, 6125, 6401, 6534, 7024, 8146, 8148). In this manner spake the Lord; but few apprehend this, for they believe that such things were said merely for the sake of giving the parable the connection of a narrative; but in this case they would not be words from the Divine. All words from the Divine have within them such things as belong to the Lord, heaven, and the church, and this is the case in every jot (AC 9049).

from AC 9057


Concerning the oil and wine in the Lord’s parable about the Samaritan, in Luke:–

A certain Samaritan as he journeyed, and seeing him who had been wounded by thieves, was moved with compassion, wherefore coming to him he bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine (Luke 10:33, 34);

here pouring in oil and wine signifies that he performed the works of love and of charity. Oil denotes the good of love, (AC 886, 3728). The like was meant by the ancients pouring oil and wine upon a pillar when they sanctified it (Gen. 35:14); (AC 4581, 4582).

That wine signifies the good of mutual love and of faith, is plain also in John:–

I heard a voice out of the midst of the four animals saying, Hurt not the oil and the wine (Rev. 6:6);

where oil is the good of celestial love; and wine, the good of spiritual love.

from AC 6377


That the neighbor is according to the quality of the good, is plain from the Lord’s parable of the man who fell among thieves, whom, while half dead, the priest passed by, and also the Levite; but the Samaritan, when he had bound up his wounds and poured in oil and wine, set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him; and he, because he exercised the good of charity, is called the neighbor (Luke 10:29-37). Hence it may be known that they are the neighbor who are in good; whereas they who are in evil are indeed the neighbor, but in quite a different respect; and for this reason they are to be benefited in a different way.

from AC 6708

fig tree

Spiritual Meaning of

 Fig tree

In Matthew:–

Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh. So also ye, when ye see all these things, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:32-35).

The internal sense of these words is as follows.

Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh; signifies the first of a new church; the fig-tree is the good of the natural; her branch is the affection of this; and the leaves are truths. The parable from which they should learn is that these things are signified. He who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word, cannot possibly know what is involved in the comparison of the Lord’s coming to a fig-tree and its branch and leaves; but as all the comparisons in the Word are also significative (AC 3579), it may be known from this signification what is meant. A fig-tree wherever mentioned in the Word signifies in the internal sense the good of the natural (AC 217); that her branch is the affection of this, is because affection springs forth from good as a branch from its trunk; and that leaves are truths may be seen above (AC 885). From all this it is now evident what the parable involves, namely, that when a new church is being created by the Lord, there then appears first of all the good of the natural, that is, good in the external form together with its affection and truths. By the good of the natural is not meant the good into which man is born, or which he derives from his parents, but a good which is spiritual in respect to its origin. Into this no one is born, but is led into it by the Lord through the knowledges of good and truth. Therefore until a man is in this good (that is, in spiritual good), he is not a man of the church, however much from a good that is born with him he may appear to be so.

from AC 4230


In Luke:–When these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads. And He spake a parable: Behold the fig-tree and all the trees; when now they shall have shot forth ye see and shall know of your own selves that summer is now near. So ye also, when ye shall see these things coming to pass know that the kingdom of God is nigh (Luke 21:28-31; Matt. 24:32; Mark 13:28, 29). This treats of the consummation of the age, which is the Last Judgment, and the signs which precede are enumerated, which are meant by when all these things begin to come to pass; that a new church is then to begin, which in its beginning will be external is signified by Behold the fig-tree and all the trees, when they have shot forth. This parable or similitude was related because the fig-tree signifies the external church, and trees signify the knowledges of truth and good; the kingdom of God, which then is near, signifies the new church of the Lord; for at the time of the Last Judgment the old church perishes and a new one begins.

In Luke:–

Every tree is known by its own fruit; for from thorns men do not gather figs, nor from a bramble-bush gather they the grape (Luke 6:44; Matt. 7:16);

as fruit signifies the good of life, and the good of life is external good from internal, or natural good from spiritual, and as from this good man is known, so the Lord says, Every tree is known by its own fruit; from thorns men do not gather figs, nor from a bramble-bush gather they the grape, fig here meaning the good of the external or natural man, and the grape the good of the internal or spiritual man, thorns and bramble-bush mean the evils opposed to these goods.                                           from AC 403a

The Word of God

1. The Word of God

AC 1. From the mere letter of the Word of the Old Testament no one would ever discern the fact that this part of the Word contains deep secrets of heaven, and that everything within it both in general and in particular bears reference to the Lord, to His heaven, to the church, to religious belief, and to all things connected therewith; for from the letter or sense of the letter all that any one can see is that, to speak generally, everything therein has reference merely to the external rites and ordinances of the Jewish Church. Yet the truth is that everywhere in that Word there are internal things which never appear at all in the external things except a very few which the Lord revealed and explained to the Apostles; such as that the sacrifices signify the Lord; that the land of Canaan and Jerusalem signify heaven, on which account they are called the Heavenly Canaan and Jerusalem, and that Paradise has a similar signification.

AC 2. The Christian world however is as yet profoundly unaware of the fact that all things in the Word both in general and in particular, nay, the very smallest particulars down to the most minute iota, signify and enfold within them spiritual and heavenly things, and therefore the Old Testament is but little cared for. Yet that the Word is really of this character might be known from the single consideration that being the Lord‘s and from the Lord it must of necessity contain within it such things as belong to heaven, to the church, and to religious belief, and that unless it did so it could not be called the Lord’s Word, nor could it be said to have any life in it. For whence comes its life except from those things that belong to life, that is to say, except from the fact that everything in it both in general and in particular bears reference to the Lord, who is the very Life itself; so that anything which does not inwardly regard Him is not alive; and it may be truly said that any expression in the Word that does not enfold Him within it, that is, which does not in its own way bear reference to Him, is not Divine.

AC 3. Without such a Life, the Word as to the letter is dead. The case in this respect is the same as it is with man, who–as is known in the Christian world–is both internal and external. When separated from the internal man, the external man is the body, and is therefore dead; for it is the internal man that is alive and that causes the external man to be so, the internal man being the soul. So is it with the Word, which, in respect to the letter alone, is like the body without the soul.

AC 4. While the mind cleaves to the literal sense alone, no one can possibly see that such things are contained within it. Thus in these first chapters of Genesis, nothing is discoverable from the sense of the letter other than that the creation of the world is treated of, and the garden of Eden which is called Paradise, and Adam as the first created man. Who supposes anything else? But it will be sufficiently established in the following pages that these matters contain arcana which have never yet been revealed; and in fact that the first chapter of Genesis in the internal sense treats in general of the new creation of man, or of his regeneration, and specifically of the Most Ancient Church; and this in such a manner that there is not the least expression which does not represent, signify, and enfold within it these things.

AC 5. That this is really the case no one can possibly know except from the Lord. It may therefore be stated in advance that of the Lord‘s Divine mercy it has been granted me now for some years to be constantly and uninterruptedly in company with spirits and angels, hearing them speak and in turn speaking with them. In this way it has been given me to hear and see wonderful things in the other life which have never before come to the knowledge of any man, nor into his idea. I have been instructed in regard to the different kinds of spirits; the state of souls after death; hell, or the lamentable state of the unfaithful; heaven, or the blessed state of the faithful; and especially in regard to the doctrine of faith which is acknowledged in the universal heaven; on which subjects, of the Lord’s Divine mercy, more will be said in the following pages.

2. The Lord

AC 14. In the following work, by the name Lord is meant the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, and Him only; and He is called “the Lord” without the addition of other names. Throughout the universal heaven He it is who is acknowledged and adored as Lord, because He has all sovereign power in the heavens and on earth. He also commanded His disciples so to call Him, saying,

“Ye call Me Lord, and ye say well, for I am” (John 13:13).

And after His resurrection His disciples called Him “the Lord.”

AC 15. In the universal heaven they know no other Father than the Lord, because He and the Father are one, as He Himself has said:–

I am the way, the truth, and the life. Philip saith, Show us the Father; Jesus saith to him, Am I so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me (John 14:6, 8-11).

3. Styles of the Word

AC 66. There are in the Word, in general, four different styles. The first is that of the Most Ancient Church. Their mode of expression was such that when they mentioned terrestrial and worldly things they thought of the spiritual and celestial things which these represented. They therefore not only expressed themselves by representatives, but also formed these into a kind of historical series, in order to give them more life; and this was to them delightful in the very highest degree. This is the style of which Hannah prophesied, saying:–

Speak what is high! high! Let what is ancient come out of your mouth (1 Sam. 2:3).

Such representatives are called in David, “Dark sayings of old” (Ps. 78:2-4). These particulars concerning the creation, the garden of Eden, etc., down to the time of Abram, Moses had from the descendants of the Most Ancient Church.

[2] The second style is historical, which is found in the books of Moses from the time of Abram onward, and in those of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the Kings. In these books the historical facts are just as they appear in the sense of the letter; and yet they all contain, in both general and particular, quite other things in the internal sense, of which, by the Lord’s Divine mercy, in their order in the following pages. The third style is the prophetical one, which was born of that which was so highly venerated in the Most Ancient Church. This style however is not in connected and historical form like the most ancient style, but is broken, and is scarcely ever intelligible except in the internal sense, wherein are deepest arcana, which follow in beautiful connected order, and relate to the external and the internal man; to the many states of the church; to heaven itself; and in the inmost sense to the Lord. The fourth style is that of the Psalms of David, which is intermediate between the prophetical style and that of common speech. The Lord is there treated of in the internal sense, under the person of David as a king.

The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth

7 Days of Creation in Genesis

The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth



From the literal meaning of the first chapters of Genesis, no one realizes that it refers to anything besides the creation of the world, the Garden of Eden which is called “Paradise,” and Adam, the first human to be created. Who thinks anything else? However, these things contain details that have never been revealed until now. . . . In this inner meaning, the first chapter of Genesis is about new creation of a human being.
In other words, it is about our rebirth.

It is a wonderful story to start out with in the Bible. You know how there is often a preface in a book, and the preface will tell you what the book is going to tell you. They always told us that in school: when you write a paper, first you tell them what you’re going to tell them, then you tell them, then you tell them what you told them. The Creation story is God telling us what he’s going to tell us in the whole Bible. He is summarizing the entire Bible, which is really, Swedenborg tells us, about our own spiritual growth. It’s about our process from when we first start to awaken spiritually to the time when we become angels in heaven. The Creation story is a wonderful summary, in just a little over one chapter, of the whole Bible story.

Briefest Summary:

Stages: External representation

Spiritual State: Internal

Initial state: without form and void Prior to rebirth: no spiritual form
First state: light and darkness Knowing that the good and the true are something higher.
Second state: heavens and earth Distinguishing those spiritual things from God (in the internal man), from those of oneself (in the external)
Third state: tender grass, tree bearing fruit Acting from knowledge, not from the heart
Fourth state: sun and moon Love and Insight begin in the internal
Fifth state: whales of the sea, birds of the heavens Actions to confirm oneself in truth and good: deep principles & rising thoughts
Sixth state: living soul, beast, ‘image of God’ Actions from insight, and hence from love: alive at last – ‘spiritual’
Seventh state: day of rest Actions from love, and hence from insight: ‘celestial’