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John Chapter 3

    Chapter 3

THE INTERNAL SENSE.

  1. BUT there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
  2. He came to jesus by night, and says to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from god, for no one can do these miracles, which you do, except god be with him.

THAT some in the perverted church, in consequence of the miracles which the lord worked, seek conjunction with him, and acknowledge his doctrine to be divine, vs 1, 2.

  1. jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man [any one] be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of god,

To whom it is taught, that man cannot attain any perception of heavenly good and truth, except by regeneration, vs 3.

  1. Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be born, being old? Can he enter a second time into the womb of his mother, and be born?
  2. jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man [any one] be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of god.

This however is understood by those of the perverted church, according to a natural idea, and not according to a spiritual idea, and therefore they are further instructed, that regeneration is effected by a reception of the truths of faith in man's understanding, and by a love and life in conformity with those truths, vs 4, 5.

  1. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.
  2. Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born from above.

Because man is at first born merely natural, but has the capacity of afterwards becoming spiritual, by a life according to truths derived from the Word, and therefore he ought not to regard regeneration as a strange, or irrational operation, vs 6, 7.

  1. The wind blows where it wills, and you hearest the sound thereof, but you know not whence it comes, or whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the spirit.

Yet that scarcely any of the innumerable arcana of regeneration come to the knowledge and perception of man, vs 8.

  1. Nicodemus answered and said to him, How can these things be?
  2. jesus answered and said to him, Art you a teacher of Israel, and know not these things?

This cannot be comprehended by those of the perverted church, who are in the knowledges of external truth, when yet those knowledges ought to have conducted them to the apprehension of internal truth, vs 9, 10.

  1. Verily, verily, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and testify that which we have seen, and you receive not our testimony.
  2. If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

For the literal or external sense of the Word proceeds from, and is filled with, the interior things of the divine truth and wisdom, which things are rejected by those who remain in the love of mere natural things, and who, on that account, cannot comprehend celestial and spiritual things, vs 11, 12.

  1. And no one has ascended up to heaven except he who came down from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

For celestial and spiritual things can only be comprehended by those who receive into their minds and lives the divine truth, inasmuch as the divine truth alone comes down from heaven, and therefore is alone capable of elevating any into the things of heaven, vs 13.

  1. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
  2. That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

That this divine truth therefore assumed a sensual corporeal principle here on earth, to the intent that sensual corporeal men might have a divine object of faith presented to them, and being thus elevated to conjunction with that object, might be preserved from the defilement and death of merely sensual and corporeal life, vs 14, 15.

  1. For god so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

That this was effected from the divine love, to the intent that mankind might no longer continue immersed in mere natural love, but might be raised into the sphere of celestial and spiritual love, vs 16.

  1. For god sent not his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through him might be saved.
  2. He that believes in him is not judged, but he that believes not is judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of god.

Wherefore god assumed the Human [nature] to the intent that mankind might conjoin goodness and truth in their minds and lives, since a right faith in the Divine Humanity of the lord leads to such conjunction, whereas a want of that faith leads to separation, vs 17, 18.

  1. And this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, for their deeds were evil.
  2. For every one who does evil hates the light, and comes not to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

For the Divine Humanity of the lord is divine truth, and if divine truth be rejected in consequence of evil love, then nothing appertains to man but the false principle of evil, vs 19, 20.

  1. But he who does the truth, comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in god.

On the other hand, if divine truth be loved and obeyed, man is conducted to the lord's divine humanity, because he is willing to acknowledge that all the good which he wills and does is from that divine source, vs 21.

  1. After these things jesus came, and his disciples, into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
  2. And John also was baptizing in Enon, near to Salim, because many waters were there; and they came near, and were baptized.
  3. For John was not as yet cast into prison.

That when the lord had finished these sayings, he instructs the perverted church in the truths of purification, which truths also were taught in abundance by those who were principled in charity and faith, whilst they were in a state of freedom, vs 22, 23, 24.

  1. Then there was a question from the disciples of John with the Jews about purifying.
  2. And they came to John, and said to him, Rabbi, he that was with you beyond Jordan, to whom you bear witness, behold, he baptizeth, and all [men] come to him.
  3. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

Nevertheless these truths are received with doubt by those of the perverted church, and therefore it is taught that all purifying truth is from the Divine Truth, and thus that all wisdom, intelligence, reason, and science, are not of man, but of the lord in his divine humanity, vs 25, 26, 27.

  1. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the christ, but that I am sent before him.
  2. He that has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices with joy because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

And that the design of all representative truth is only to prepare mankind for the reception of the Divine Truth, that thus good and truth may be conjoined in the church, and the church may rejoice in being instructed concerning the precepts of faith, and in receiving them in faith and obedience, vs 28, 29.

  1. He must increase, but I must decrease.
  2. He who comes from above is above all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and speaks of the earth: he who comes from heaven is above all.

Thus the Divine Truth becomes all in all in the church, as being inmost truth, and all other good and truth only administer externally, vs 30, 31.

  1. And what he has seen and heard, this he testifies, and no one receives his testimony.
  2. He that has received his testimony has sealed, that god is true.

For the Divine Truth testifies concerning the lord, both as to his divine wisdom and divine love, and notwithstanding its being rejected by the generality of mankind, brings conviction along with it to those who receive it, vs 32, 33.

  1. For he whom god has sent speaks the words of god ; for god gives not the Spirit by measure [to him.]
  2. The father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.

Which truth is from the lord's Divine Humanity, whose intelligence and wisdom are infinite, being in eternal union with the divine good, and thus possessing the all of that good, vs 34, 35.

  1. He that believes in the Son has eternal life; but he that disobeys the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of god abides on him.

Whosoever therefore receives truth from that divine humanity with a right faith, is made partaker also of the divine good, but whoever rejects it, can have no apprehension of that good, but remains in his own natural evils, vs 36.

Translation

1. BUT there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.

2. He came to jesus by night, and says to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from god, for no one can do these miracles, which you do, except god be with him.

3. jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man [any one] be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of god,

4. Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be born, being old? Can he enter a second time into the womb of his mother, and be born?

5. jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man [any one] be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of god.

6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.

7. Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born from above.

8. The wind blows where it wills, and you hearest the sound thereof, but you know not whence it comes, or whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the spirit.

9. Nicodemus answered and said to him, How can these things be?

10. jesus answered and said to him, Art you a teacher of Israel, and know not these things?

11. Verily, verily, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and testify that which we have seen, and you receive not our testimony.

12. If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

13. And no one has ascended up to heaven except he who came down from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

15. That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16. For god so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

17. For god sent not his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through him might be saved.

18. He that believes in him is not judged, but he that believes not is judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of god.

19. And this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, for their deeds were evil.

20. For every one who does evil hates the light, and comes not to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21. But he who does the truth, comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in god.

22. After these things jesus came, and his disciples, into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

23. And John also was baptizing in Enon, near to Salim, because many waters were there; and they came near, and were baptized.

24. For John was not as yet cast into prison.

25. Then there was a question from the disciples of John with the Jews about purifying.

26. And they came to John, and said to him, Rabbi, he that was with you beyond Jordan, to whom you bear witness, behold, he baptizeth, and all [men] come to him.

27. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

28. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, I am not the christ, but that I am sent before him.

29. He that has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices with joy because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

30. He must increase, but I must decrease.

31. He who comes from above is above all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and speaks of the earth: he who comes from heaven is above all.

32. And what he has seen and heard, this he testifies, and no one receives his testimony.

33. He that has received his testimony has sealed, that god is true.

34. For he whom god has sent speaks the words of god ; for god gives not the Spirit by measure [to him.]

35. The father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.

36. He that believes in the Son has eternal life; but he that disobeys the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of god abides on him.

exposition.

Verse 3. Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Every ( man ought to be reformed, and to be born anew or regenerated, that he may come into heaven, for no one can see the kingdom of God unless he be born again, John 3:3, 5, 6; man is born into sin, which has been increased in a long series from parents, grandfathers, and great grandfathers, and has become hereditary, and is thus transferred to the offspring; every man born into the world is born into so many evils, which have thus successively grown up, and hence it is that he is nothing but sin; wherefore unless he be regenerated, he remains wholly in sin. But to the intent that he may be regenerated, he ought first to be reformed, and this by the truths of faith; for he must learn from the Word, and from doctrine thence derived, what good is; the knowledges of good from the Word, or from doctrine thence derived, are called truths of faith, for all truths of faith spring forth from good, and flow to good, for they respect good as the end; this is the first state, and is called a state of reformation; into this state several, who are in the church, are introduced from infancy even to youth, but still few are regenerated, for several in the church learn the truths of faith, or the knowledges of good, with a view to reputation and honour, and also with a view to gain, as ends; when therefore the truths of faith have been introduced by those loves, man cannot be born again or regenerated, until those loves have been removed; to the intent therefore that they may be removed, man is let into a state of temptation, which is effected in this manner; those loves are excited by the infernal crew, for this crew is willing to live in them, but on this occasion are excited by the angels the affections of truth and good, which have been insinuated from infancy, in a state of innocence, and were afterwards interiorly stored up and preserved for this use; hence arises combat between evil spirits and angels, which combat is felt by man as temptation; and whereas on this occasion the contest is concerning truths and goods, the truths themselves, which had been before insinuated, are as it were exterminated by falses injected from evil spirits, so that those truths no longer appear; and as man in such case suffers himself to be regenerated, there is insinuated from the lord by an internal way the light of truth from good into the natural principle, into which light truths are remitted in their order. Thus it is with the man who is regenerating, but few at this day are admitted into that state. AC 5280.

The man of the church believes at this day, that any one may be received into heaven out of mercy, and there enjoy eternal blessedness, whatever his life has been, because it is supposed that nothing is necessary for the purpose except the act of admission; but he is much deceived, for no one can be admitted and received into heaven, unless he has received spiritual life, and no one can receive spiritual life, unless he be regenerated, and no one can be regenerated except by good of life conjoined to truth of doctrine, hence he has spiritual life; that no one can come into heaven, unless he has received spiritual life by regeneration, the lord manifestly declares in John, "Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of god ;" and again, "Verily, verily, I say to you, except a man be generated of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of god;" water denotes the truth of doctrine, and spirit denotes the good of life. By baptism no one enters in, but baptism is significative of regeneration, which the man of the church ought to remember. AC 5342.

In the church it is indeed known, that man must be born again, that is, regenerated, that he may enter into the kingdom of god ; this is known, because the lord has expressly said it in John 3:3, 5; still however it is known to few what it is to be born again, the reason is, because few know what good is and what evil; the reason why it is not known what good is and what evil, is, because it is not known what charity towards the neighbour is, for if this was known, it would also be known what good is, and from good what evil is, since all that is good, which comes from genuine charity towards the neighbour. But no one can be in this good from himself, for it is the very celestial principle which flows in from the lord ; this celestial principle is continually flowing in, but its reception is opposed by evils and falses; to the intent therefore that it may be received, it is necessary that man remove evils, and as far as he is able falses also, and thereby dispose himself to receive influx; when man, on the removal of evils, receives influx, he then receives a new will, and a new intellectual principle, being made sensible from the new will of delight in doing good to his neighbour without any view to himself, and apperceiving from the new intellectual principle, delight in learning what is true and good for their own sake and for the sake of life; inasmuch as this new intellectual principle and new will principle exist by influx from the lord, therefore he who is regenerated, acknowledges and believes that the good and truth with which he is affected are not from himself, but from the lord, also that whatever is from himself, or from the proprium, is nothing but evil. From these considerations, it is evident what it is to be born again, also what the new will-principle is and the new intellectual principle; but regeneration, by which man receives a new intellectual principle and a new will-principle, is not effected in a moment, but is effected from earliest infancy even to the last period of life, and afterwards in the other life to eternity, and this by divine mediums innumerable and ineffable; for man of himself is nothing but evil, which is continually exhaling as from a furnace, and continually attempting to extinguish the nascent good; to remove such evil, and in its place to inroot good, cannot be effected but through the whole course of man's life, and by divine mediums which are innumerable and ineffable; of these mediums scarcely any are known at this time, by reason that man does not suffer himself to be "regenerated, neither does he believe that regeneration is any thing, because he does not believe in a life after death; the process of regeneration, which contains things ineffable, for the most part constitutes angelic wisdom, and is such, that it cannot be fully exhausted by any angel to eternity; hence it is, that in the internal sense of the Word it is the subject principally treated of, AC 5354.

There are two states, into which man must enter, and through which he must pass, during the process of becoming spiritual; the first state is called reformation, and the second regeneration ; man in the first state from his natural principle looks to a spiritual one, and desires it; in the second state he becomes spiritual-natural; the first state is formed by truths, which must be truths of faith, by which he looks to charity; the second state is formed by the goods of charity, and from these he enters into the truths of faith; or what is the same thing, the first state is of thought from the understanding, but the second is of love from the will; when this latter state commences and advances, there is effected a change in the mind, for as much as a turning is effected, because in such case the love of the will flows in into the understanding, and acts upon and leads it to think in agreement and concord with its love: wherefore so far as the good of love in such case is the primary agent, and the truths of faith the secondary, in the same proportion man is spiritual, and is a new creature, and on this occasion acts from charity, and speaks from faith, and is sensible of the good of charity, and perceives the truth of faith, and is then in the lord, and in peace, and thus regenerated. The man, who in the world has entered upon the first state, may be introduced after death into the second; but he who has not entered into the first state, during his abode in the world, cannot after death be introduced into the second, thus cannot be regenerated. These two states may be compared with the progression of light and heat in the day during the time of spring, the first with twilight or the cock-crowing, the second with morning and day-dawn, and the progression of this state with the progression of the day to mid-day, and thereby into light and heat. They may also be compared with a crop of corn, which at first is grass, next grows into ears and. spikes, and afterwards produces grain in them. They may also be compared with a tree, which first grows out of the earth from a seed, afterwards becomes a stem, from which shoot forth branches, which branches are adorned with leaves, and next it bears blossoms, and from the inmost principle of these blossoms forms the rudiments of fruits, which, as they ripen, produce new seeds, as new offsprings. The first state, which is that of reformation, may also be compared with the state of a silkworm, when it extracts from itself and unfolds the stamina of silk, and after its industrious labour flies forth into the air, and nourishes itself not from leaves as before, but from juices contained in the flowers. TCR 571. In the same work are also proved the following articles:

  1. That unless a man be born again, and as it were created anew, he cannot enter into the kingdom of god, TCR 572 to 576.
  2. That new generation or creation is effected of the lord alone by charity and faith, as two mediums, whilst man cooperates, TCR 576 to 579.
  3. That inasmuch as all are redeemed, all may be regenerated, every one according to his state, TCR 579 to 583.
  4. That the work of regeneration resembles that of man's conception, of his being carried in the womb, being born and educated, TCR 583 to 587.
  5. That the first act of new generation is called reformation, which act is of the understanding, and that the second act is called regeneration, which act is of the will, and thence of the understanding, TCR 587 to 591.

That the internal man is first to be reformed, and by this the external, and that man is thus regenerated, TCR 591 to 596. That whilst this is effecting, combat arises between the internal and external man, and in this case he who conquers rules over the other, TCR 596 to 601. That the regenerate man has a new will and a new understanding, TCR 601 to 607. That the regenerate man is in communion with the angels of heaven, and the unregenerate man is in communion with the spirits of hell, TCR 607 to 611. That so far as man is regenerated, so far sins are removed, and that this removal is what is meant by the remission of sins, TCR 611 to 615. That there can be no regeneration without free-will in spiritual things, TCR 615 to 618. That there can be no regeneration without truths, by which faith is formed, and with which charity conjoins itself, TCR 618 to 621; see also the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, 173 to 187.

Verse 4. Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be born when he is old? &c. That Nicodemus understood natural generation instead of the spiritual generation of which the lord spoke, is evident, wherefore the lord teaches him concerning regeneration, that it is effected by truths from the Word and by a life according to them, which is signified by being generated of water and the spirit, for water, in the spiritual sense, denotes truth from the Word, and spirit denotes life according to truth; that man is born natural, and is made spiritual by a life according to truths from the Word, is signified by that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is generated of the spirit is spirit; that the natural man, unless he be made spiritual, cannot be saved, is understood by these words, unless a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of the heavens. AE 710.

In other passages of the Word, where mention is made of being with child, of bringing forth, of begetting and generating, the spiritual sense of the terms is not explained, and yet by them is understood spiritual parturition, birth, nativity, and generation, inasmuch as the Word in the letter is natural, but in its bosom is spiritual; the reason why to bring forth, signifies to bring forth spiritually, is, because the man who is regenerating, is in like manner as it were conceived, carried in the womb, born and educated, like a man conceived of his father, and carried in the womb and born of the mother, and afterwards educated. AE 721.

Verse 5. Except a man be generated of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. By water is here meant the spiritual principle of faith, and by spirit its celestial principle, thus baptism is a symbol of man's regeneration from the lord by the truths and goods of faith; not that regeneration is effected by baptism, but by the life signified in baptism, into which life Christians must enter, who have the truths of faith, because they have the Word. AC 2702.

To be generated of water denotes by the truth of faith; and to be generated of spirit denotes by the good of love. AC 9454.

By water in this passage, as in other passages in the Word, is signified truth in the natural or external man, and by spirit truth derived from good in the spiritual or internal man. TCR 144.

The reason why no one can enter into the kingdom of god, unless he be generated again is, because man hereditarily from his parents is born into evils of every kind, with the faculty that by the removal of those evils he is capable of becoming spiritual, and unless he become spiritual, he cannot come into heaven; from natural to become spiritual is to be re-born or regenerated. But that it may be known in what manner man is regenerated, these three things are to be considered, namely what the quality of his first state is, which is a state of damnation; what the quality of his second state is, which is a state of reformation; and what the quality of his third state is, which is a state of regeneration.

He who does not know that the lord, both in the prophetical books and in those of the evangelists, spoke by correspondences, consequently that in the Word there is an internal sense, cannot in any wise know what is understood by the lord's words in John, "Verily, verily, I say to you, except any one be generated of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of god ; that which is born of the flesh is flesh; but that which is generated of the spirit is spirit. The wind blows where it wills, and you hearest its voice; but you know not whence it comes, and whither it goes: so is every one that is generated of the spirit," John 3:5, 6, 8. If these words be unfolded by correspondences, it is evident what their sense is; for they contain the arcana of heaven. From correspondence water denotes the truth of faith, which in the natural man comes to manifest perception. Spirit denotes the divine truth, which flows in from the lord through man's internal principle into his external or natural principle, whence the man who is regenerating has the life of faith; flesh denotes the proprium of man, which is nothing but evil; the wind blowing where it wills signifies that the lord, by divine truth derived from mercy, gives new life; hearing its voice signifies that those things come to perception in the external or natural man; voice denotes what is announced from the Word; by not knowing whence it comes and whither it goes is signified, that man does not know in what manner regeneration is effected, for it is effected by innumerable and ineffable arcana from the lord. AC 10240.

Verse 6. That which is born of the flesh, &c. By flesh in the supreme sense is signified the divine proprium of the lord, which is his Divine Human [principle] thus the good of his love towards the universal human race; hence flesh, in a sense relating to man, denotes the proprium vivified from the proprium of the lord, that is, the proprium of the lord belonging to man, thus the good of love to him: but in the opposite sense, flesh denotes the proprium of man, thus the evil of self-love, and hence the lusts or cravings of that love. It is from this ground that flesh and spirit in the Word are opposed to each other, as in John, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is generated of the spirit is spirit," John 3:6; again, "It is the spirit which vivifies, the flesh profits nothing," John 6:63; in which passages flesh denotes the proprium of man. AC 8409. By spirit is signified life from the lord, and by flesh life from man; life from the lord is the life of love and of faith to him from him, and life from man is his proprium. AC 10283.

Verse 8. The spirit [or wind] blows where it wills, &c. Inasmuch as man is regenerated by a life according to divine truth, and all divine truth, by which man is regenerated, proceeds from the lord, and flows in with man when he is ignorant of it, hence it is said, the wind blows where it wills, and you hearest its voice, but knows not whence it comes and whither it goes. Thus is described the life of the spirit of man which he has by regeneration; wind denotes the divine truth by which that life is produced; in what manner it flows in from the lord, man is altogether ignorant during his abode in the world, inasmuch as he then thinks from the natural man; he only perceives somewhat which flows in from the spiritual man into the natural; this therefore is what is understood by the words, you hearest its voice, and know not whence it comes and whither it goes. AE 419. See also AC 6686, 8286.

Verse 8. The wind blows where it wills, &c. That the arcana of regeneration are innumerable, inasmuch as regeneration continues during the whole life of man, but that scarcely any of those arcana come to the knowledge and perception of man. This is understood by the lord's words, "The wind blows where it wills, and you hearest the sound thereof, but know not whence it comes and whither it goes; so is every one that is born of the spirit." Heavenly Do100:186.

Verse 12. If I have told you earthly things and you believe not, how shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things? The case herein is this: Divine truth is not received by any one unless it be accommodated to the apprehension, consequently unless it appear in a natural form and aspect; for human minds at first only comprehend terrestrial and worldly things, and nothing at all of spiritual and celestial things; wherefore if spiritual and celestial things were nakedly exposed, they would be rejected as if they were nothing, according to the lord's words in John, "If I have told you earthly things and you believe not, how should you believe if I told you of heavenly things?" Still less did they believe who lived before the lord's coming, and who at length were in such blindness, that they knew nothing, because they desired to know nothing, concerning a life after death, concerning the internal man, concerning charity and faith, and concerning any thing celestial; they rejected those things, because they held them in aversion; for they who regard terrestrial and worldly things as ends of life, that is, who love them above all other things, hold spiritual things in aversion, and almost abhor the very name of them; the case is nearly similar at this day. The learned men of the world indeed believe, that they would more willingly receive the Word, if heavenly things had been nakedly exposed, and if it had not been written in such simplicity; but they are very greatly deceived, for in such case they would have rejected it more than the simple, and would have seen in it no light, but mere thick darkness; for such darkness is induced by human erudition with those who trust to their own intelligence, and extol themselves on that account above others. AC 8783; compare also what is said on the subject at AC 2553.

Verse 13. And no one has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. From these words it is evident that the Son of Man is the divine truth in the heavens; for this divine truth descends and thus ascends, since no one can ascend into heaven, unless the divine truth descended into him from heaven, for influx is divine, but not contrariwise; inasmuch as the lord is that truth, therefore he calls himself the Son of Man who is in the heavens. AC 9807.

Verses 14, 15. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that every one who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life. That the brazen serpent represented the lord as to the external sensual, or natural principle, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, AC 197; that faith in the lord was represented by the revival of those who saw or looked upon that serpent, the lord himself teaches in John, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that every one who believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life." AC 3863.

That the brazen serpent represented the lord may be seen, John 3:14, 15; that it also represented protection, is evident; for healing by looking on the serpent, which was on the sign, signified healing from evils of the false by looking on the lord from a principle of faith. AC 8624.

The Divine Natural [principle] of the lord was signified by the brazen serpent commanded to be set up by Moses in the wilderness, by looking on which all were healed who were bitten of serpents, Numb 21:6, 8, 9; that it signified the Divine Natural [principle] of the lord, and that they are saved who look to that principle, the lord himself teaches in John, As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up, &c. The reason why that serpent was made of brass is, because brass signifies the natural principle as to good. AR 49. That brass signifies natural good may also be seen in Isaiah 60:17; Jer 15:20, 21; Ezek 27:13; Deut 8:7, 9; 33:24, 25. AR 775.

The sensual things, which are the ultimates of the life of man, are signified by the fiery flying serpents sent amongst the people, who were desirous to return into Egypt; but healing from the bite of such serpents, by the Divine Sensual [principle] of the lord, is signified by the brazen serpent set upon a sign, at the sight of which they revived, Num 21:5-9: it is called the Divine Sensual [principle] of the lord, because the lord, when he was in the world, glorified, that is, made his whole Human [principle] divine, as may be manifest from this consideration, that he left nothing in the sepulchre, and that he said to the disciples, A spirit has not flesh and bones as you see me have, Luke 24:39, 40. The ultimate sensual principle, which the lord also glorified or made divine, is signified by the brazen serpent set on a sign; by such a sign the lord was represented before the Israelitish and Jewish people, because they were merely sensual, and the sensual man cannot elevate his thought, when directed to the lord, beyond and above the sensual principle; for every one looks at the lord according to the elevation of his understanding, the spiritual man to the Divine Rational [principle] and so forth. From these considerations it is evident, that by the brazen serpent is also signified the sensual principle, but the sensual principle glorified, or the Divine [principle] of the lord. AE 581.

Verses 15, 16. That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Inasmuch as acknowledgement of the lord is the first of all principles of spiritual life, and the most essential principle of the church; and inasmuch as without it no one can receive from heaven any thing of the truth of faith and of the good of love, therefore the lord also often says, that he who believes in him has eternal life, and he who does not believe has not life, as John 3:14, 15, 16, 36; 5:39, 40; 6:28, 29, 30, 34, 35, 40, 47, 48; 7:37, 38; 8:24; 11:25, 26; 20:30, 31. But he also teaches at the same time, that they have faith in him, who live according to his precepts, thus that life thence derived should enter faith. AC 10083.

That the acknowledgement of the essential Divine [principle] in the Human [principle] of the lord is an essential of the church, and hence an essential of its worship, is grounded on this consideration, that the salvation of the human race depends on the union of those principles; to effect that union also the lord came into the world; therefore the whole Word in its inmost sense treats of that union, and the rituals of the church established amongst the sons of Israel represented and signified it. That the salvation of the human race is from that source, consequently that that acknowledgement is an essential of the church and its worship, the lord teaches in many passages, as in John, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life, 3:15, 16. AC 10370.

Verse 18. He that believes not is judged already, because he. has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. By the name of God is signified every thing in one complex by which god is worshiped, consequently the all of faith and love. See Exposition of chap. 2:23.

Verses 17, 19. For God sent not his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world by him may be saved. This is the judgement, that light is come into the world, &c. As to what concerns judgement, it is twofold, namely from good, and from truth; the faithful are judged from good, but the unfaithful from truth; that the faithful are judged from good, is manifest in Matthew 25:34-40; and that the unfaithful are judged from truth, is manifest from verses 41 to 46 of the same chapter; to be judged from good is to be saved, because they who are so judged have received good; but to be judged from truth is to be damned, because they who are so judged have rejected good; good is of the lord, and they who acknowledge this in life and faith are of the lord, wherefore they are saved; but they who do not acknowledge in life, consequently not in faith, cannot be of the lord, thus neither can they be saved: therefore they are judged according to the actions of their life, and according to thoughts and ends, and when according to these, they must needs be damned, for the truth is, that man of himself does, thinks, and intends nothing but evil, and of himself plunges into hell, only so far as he is withheld thence by the lord. So the case is in respect to judgement from truth, the lord in no case judges any one except from good, for he is willing to lift up all men whatever into heaven, yea, if he was able, even to himself; for the lord is mercy itself and good itself; mercy itself and good itself cannot in any wise damn any one, but it is man who damns himself, because he rejects good; in proportion as man, during his life in the body, has shunned good, in the same proportion he shuns it in the other life, consequently he shuns heaven and the lord ; for the lord cannot dwell except in good; he dwells indeed in truth, but not in truth separate from good. That the lord does not damn any one, or judge him to hell, he himself says in John 3:17, 19. AC 2335. See also the Treatise on the lord, 25.

By judgement is signified arrangement, the reason of which signification is, because divine truth does not judge any one, but flows in and arranges that it may be received; from reception judgement is afterwards effected according to the laws of order, and this is meant by the judgement of the lord, Matt 25:31 to the end; John 5:22, 26, 27, 30; 9:39. That this is meant, is manifest from the lord's words, where he says that he judges no one, John 3:17-21. AC 8685.

Few at this day know what is meant by the Last Judgement. It is generally supposed that it is to be accompanied with the destruction of the world; and it is hence conjectured, that this terrestrial globe is to perish by fire, together with all things that exist in the visible world; and that then, for the first time, the dead shall rise again, and shall undergo their judgement; when the wicked are to be cast into hell, and the good to ascend into heaven. These conjectures are grounded in the prophetical parts of the Word, where mention is made of a new heaven and a new earth, and also of the New Jerusalem; mankind not being aware, that the prophetical parts of the Word, in their internal sense, have a totally different signification from what appears in the literal sense; and that by heaven, or the sky, is not meant heaven or the sky, nor by earth the earth, but the church of the lord in general, and with every individual in particular. By the last judgement is meant the last time of the church; and also, the last time of every one's life. To speak of it, first, as denoting the last time of the church. It was the last judgement of the most ancient church, or that before the flood, when their posterity perished, whose destruction is described by the flood. It was the last judgement of the ancient church, or that after the flood, when almost all who belonged to that church became idolaters, and were dispersed. It was the last judgement of the representative church which succeeded among the posterity of Jacob, when the twelve tribes were carried away into captivity, and dispersed amongst the nations; and afterwards when the Jews, after the coming of the lord, were driven out of the land of Canaan, and scattered over the face of the whole earth. The last judgement of the present church, which is called the Christian church, is what is meant, in the Revelation of John, by the new heaven and the new earth.

That the last time of the life of every man, when he dies, is to him the last judgement, is not unknown to some, but still few believe it. Nevertheless it is a certain truth, that every man rises again after death into another life, and undergoes his judgement. This judgement is thus accomplished. As soon as his corporeal organs grow cold, which happens a few days after his decease, he is raised again of the lord by celestial angels, who are at first attendant on him; but in case he be such that he cannot remain with them, he is then received into the care of spiritual angels; and successively afterwards into the care of good spirits. For all who come into the other life, be they who they may, are welcome guests who meet a kind reception. But as every one's desire follows him, he who has led a wicked life cannot abide long with the angels and good spirits, but successively separates himself from them, repeating these separations till he comes among spirits whose life is similar and conformable to that which he had while in the world. It then appears to him as if he was in his former bodily life, and, in fact, his present life is a continuation of his past. From this life his judgement commences. They who have led a wicked life, in process of time descend into hell: and they who have led a good life, are by degrees elevated by the lord into heaven. Such is the last judgement of every individual person; of which we have spoken from experience in the first part of this work: see AC 168189. As to what the lord spoke concerning the last times, saying, that then the sea and the waves shall roar, the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, with several other particulars; Matthew 24:7, 29; Luke 21:25; they all, both in general and in particular, signify the state of the church, in regard to what it would be at the time of the Last Judgement. By the sea and the waves roaring, nothing else is signified, than that heresies and controversies, in general within the church, and in particular in every individual, would be thus noisy and outrageous: by the sun nothing else is meant than love to the lord and towards our neighbour; by the moon, faith; and by stars, the knowledges of faith; which in the last times would thus be darkened, would not give light, and would fall from heaven, that is, would vanish away. The like is said by the lord in Isaiah 13:10, Also, by nation rising up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, nothing else is meant than evils rising against evils, and falsities against falsities, &c. There are reasons, replete with arcana, why the lord thus spoke in this style. That seas, the sun, the moon, the stars, nations, and kingdoms, have such a signification, I know of a certainty; and it was shown in the first part of this work.* AC 21172120.

* But concerning the Last Judgement see the work, expressly on that subject, entitled the "Last Judgement, and Babylon Destroyed."

Verse 19. And men loved darkness rather than light, &c. The lord calls himself the light, because he was the divine truth itself when in the world; hence by light is signified the lord as to divine truth, and also divine truth from the lord ; and whereas darkness is opposed to light, by the darkness which men loved more than light is signified the infernal false principle, which is the false of evil; that it is the false of evil which in this passage is signified by darkness, is manifest from its being said, because their works were evil, since from evil works or from evils of life exists the false of evil; for as good conjoins to itself truth, so evil conjoins to itself the false, inasmuch as one is of the other. AE 526.

Light denotes truths, and darkness denotes falses; light also denotes the lord, because from him is all truth; darkness denotes the hells, because thence is every thing that is false. AC 1839.

Verse 21. But he that does truth comes to the light, &c. Charity alone does not produce good works, still less faith alone, but charity and faith together do produce; the reason is, because charity without faith is not charity, neither is faith without charity faith; wherefore charity alone is not given, nor faith alone, hence neither can it be said that charity by itself produces any good works, nor faith by itself; the case herein is similar as with will and understanding, for will alone is not given, consequently neither does it produce any thing; nor is understanding alone given, nor is it productive, but all production is effected by both together, and thus by understanding grounded in the will; the reason why the case is similar is, because the will is the habitation of charity, and the understanding is the habitation of faith; the reason why faith alone is still less productive is, because faith is truth, and its operation is to do truths, and these illuminate charity and its exercises; that they illuminate, the lord teaches, where he says, "He who does truth comes to the light, that his works may be made manifest, inasmuch as they are worked in god," John 3:21; wherefore when man does good works according to truths, he does them in light, that is, intelligently and wisely. TCR 377.

From these considerations it is evident, that truths are the means by which the good of love exists, and becomes something; consequently, that good loves truths that it may exist. Hence in the Word by doing truth is understood to make good to exist. This is meant by doing truth, John 3:21; by doing the Lord's sayings, Luke 6:47; by doing his precepts, John 14:24; by doing his words, Matt 7:20; by doing the Word of God, Luke 8:21; and by doing statutes and judgements, Levit 17:5. This also is meant by doing good and producing fruit, for good and fruit is that which exists. Doc. of Life, 39.

Verse 27. John answered and said, A man cannot take any thing, except it be given him from heaven. That wisdom, intelligence, reason, and science, are not of man, but of the lord, is clearly manifest from the things which the lord taught, as in Matthew, where the lord compares himself to a householder, who planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and let it out to husbandmen, Matt 21:33; and in John, "The Spirit of Truth shall lead you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatever things he shall hear, he shall speak; he will glorify me, because he will take of mine, and will announce it to you," John 16:13, 14; again, "A man cannot take any thing, unless it be given him from heaven," 3:27. AC 124.

In the church there is not any other truth given than what is of the lord; the truth which is not from him is not truth, as is also manifest from the Word, and thence from the doctrine of faith; from the Word in John, "A man cannot take any thing, unless it be given him from heaven," John 3:27; and in another place, "Without me you cannot do any thing," John 15:5; and from the doctrine of faith, teaching that the all of faith, that is, all truth is from the lord. AC 2904.

That man cannot do good, which in itself is good, except from the lord, he himself teaches in John, "Abide in me, and I in you, for without me you cannot do any thing," John 15:4, 5; and again, "A man cannot take any thing, unless it be given him from heaven." TCR 439.

Verse 29. He that has the bride is the bridegroom, &c. The bride denotes the truth which is of the faith of the church, and the bridegroom denotes the good which is of the love of the church, each from the lord ; thus they denote the man of the church, with whom good is conjoined with truths. AC 9182.

But the friend of the bridegroom which stands and hears him, &c. By hearing is signified to receive in the memory and to be instructed, also to receive in the understanding and to believe, and likewise to receive in obedience; and to hear a voice denotes to be instructed concerning the precepts of faith, and to receive them in faith and obedience. A. C. 9311.

Verse 32. And what he has seen and heard that he testifies, &c. The divine truth proceeding from the lord is called a testimony from this circumstance, that it testifies concerning the lord, as appears from the words of the lord himself in John, "He who comes from heaven is above all; what he has seen and heard, this he testifies." AC 9503.

Verse 34. For he whom God has sent, &c. In the Word it is sometimes said of the lord, that he was sent by the father, but in all cases by being sent is signified in the internal sense to go forth, as in John, "They have received and known truly, that I came forth from you, and they have believed that you have sent me" John 17:8; the same is the signification of being sent in this passage. AC 2397.

For God gives not the spirit by measure, By the spirit which god gives, is signified the divine truth, and thence intelligence and wisdom; by not giving it by measure is signified above all quantity and quality of men, consequently what is infinite, for the infinite belonging to the lord has not quantity and quality, inasmuch as quantity and quality are properties of what is finite, for quantity and quality determine what is finite, and terminate it; but what is without termination is infinite; from which consideration it follows, that measure also here signifies quality, since not by measure signifies without predication of quality. AE 629.

Spirit here denotes intelligence and wisdom; to speak the words of God denotes divine truths. AC 9818.

Verse 35. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. That the things which are in the heavens and in the earths are the lord's, is manifest from very many passages in the Word, as well from those which are in the Old Testament, as from these in the evangelists, Matt 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 3:34, 35; 17:2; Matt 28:18; and whereas the lord rules the universal heaven, he rules likewise all the things which are on the universal earth, for he who rules one rules all, inasmuch as from the heaven of angels depends the heaven of angelic spirits, from this the world of spirits, from this again the human race; and in like manner all things which are in the world and nature are dependent on the heavens, for without influx from the lord through the heavens, nothing at all would exist and subsist which is in nature and her threefold kingdom. AC 2026.

That in the heavens no other Divine [Being or principle] is acknowledged and worshiped, but the lord as to the Divine Human [principle] may be manifest from the lord's words in the evangelists, as from the following, "All things are delivered to me by the father," Matt 11:27; "The father has given all things into the hand of the Son," John 3:34, 35; "The father has given to the Son power over all flesh," John 17:2; see also John 15:5; 17:11; Matt 28:16. AC 10067; see also AC 3704.

Verse 36. He that believes on the Son has eternal life, &c. The very essence and life of faith is the lord alone, for he who does not believe in the lord cannot have life, as it is written in John, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who believes not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of god abides on him." AC 30.

Hence may appear what the lot of those is in the other life, who are born within the church, and still in heart deny the lord, whatever may be their quality as to moral life; by abundant experience also it has been given to know, that such cannot be saved, as the lord likewise openly teaches in John 3:36. AC 10112.

The reason why an acknowledgement of the divine [principle] itself in the Human [principle] of the lord is an essential of the church, and hence an essential of its worship, is, because the salvation of the human race depends solely on that union; for the sake of effecting that union also the lord came into the world; therefore likewise the whole Word in the inmost sense treats of it, and the rituals of the church established among the sons of Israel represented and signified it. That the salvation of the human race is from that source, the lord teaches in several passages, as in John, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who believes not the Son, shall not see life," where the Son denotes the Divine Human [principle] of the lord. The reason why they have not eternal life who do not acknowledge the lord from a principle of faith, is, because the whole heaven is in that acknowledgement. AC 10370.

They who are born within the church ought to acknowledge the lord, his Divine [principle] and his Human, and to believe in him and love him, for from the lord is all salvation: this the lord teaches in John 3:36. AC 10817; see also the Treatise on the lord, 55.

The anger of God abides on him. When anger is attributed in the Word to jehovah, it does not denote anger, but the opposite to anger, thus mercy. That jehovah has not any anger, is evident from this consideration, that he is love itself, good itself, and mercy itself, and anger is an opposite, and also is an infirmity, which cannot be predicated of god ; wherefore when anger in the Word is predicated of jehovah, or the lord, the angels do not perceive anger.but either mercy, or the removal of evil from heaven. The reason why anger is attributed to jehovah or the lord in the Word, is, because it is a most general truth that all things come from god, thus both evils and goods; but this most general truth, which is intended for infants, for children, and the simple, ought afterwards to be illustrated, namely by showing that evils are from man, but that they appear as if they were from god, and that it is so said to the intent that they may learn to fear god, and not perish by the evils which they do, and that afterwards they may love him, for fear must precede love, to the intent that in love there may be holy fear; for when fear is insinuated into love, it becomes holy from the holy principle of love, and in such case it is not a fear of the lord's anger and punishment, but lest they should act against essential good, because this will torment the conscience. Moreover the Israelites and Jews were driven to observe the statutes and precepts in the external form by punishments, and hence they believed that jehovah was angry and punished, when yet they themselves induced such things by their idolatry; hence by anger, wrath, fury, fire, are meant the punishments and damnations into which man casts himself, when into evils. That punishment and damnation are signified by anger, appears from John 3:36. AC 6997.

translator's notes and observations.

Verse 3. Except a man be born from above, &c. What is here rendered from above is expressed, in the common version of the New Testament, by the term again, but in the original Greek the term is arudtv, which means literally from above, and thus expresses the important and edifying idea, that man's new birth is from a principle or power superior to himself.

Verse 5. He cannot enter into the kingdom of God. It was said at verse 3, "He cannot see the kingdom of god ;" but here it is said, "He cannot enter into the kingdom of god ;" plainly pointing out a distinction between seeing and entering into, seeing having relation to the birth of truth in the understanding, and entering into having relation to the good of truth, or the conjunction of truth with its good, in the will and life.

Verse 11. We speak that which we have known, and testify that which we have seen. It is remarkable that in this verse the lord speaks in the plural number, whereas in the next verse he speaks in the singular. In this verse therefore he makes a distinction between speaking and testifying, also between knowing and seeing, because speaking and knowing relate more to the good of his divine love, whilst testifying and seeing relate more to the truth of his divine wisdom, thus both expressions taken together relate to the divine and heavenly marriage, which is manifested in every part of the sacred volume. But to show that this marriage existed in himself, and thus that in speaking in the plural number he had respect to those two divine principles existing in himself, he in the next verse speaks in the singulAR number, If I have told you earthly things, &c.

Verse 34. for God gives not the spirit by measure. In the common version of the New Testament, it is here added in italics to him, as if the immeasurable gift of the spirit was confined to the only-begotten son, but in the original Greek there is no such limitation, and therefore we may conclude that every gift of the Divine Spirit to every one is immeasurable.

Verse 36. He that believes on the Son has eternal life, but he that disobeys the Son, &c. What is here rendered disobeys is rendered believes not in the common version of the New Testament, but the original Greek is apeithei, which properly signifies to disobey, or to be disobedient to, thus inculcating the edifying lesson, that it is not simply unbelief, or a mere dissent in the understanding, which condemns man, but a disobedient will, or a will not inclined to accede to divine testimony, by loving and doing what it requires.

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