"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of
Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out
against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’ But Jonah
arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down
to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and
went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of
Passages From The Writings
- "Those who were of the Jewish nation were commanded to teach the
Word to the nations round about, but they would not, and thus they kept
the Word among themselves alone."
"Now the word of the Lord came…"
- "Now" carries the meaning of presently, today, as soon as possible,
and immediately. In some instances, it is used in a sentence as an
admonition. AC 2838 informs us that "now" or "this day" signifies
the "perpetuity and eternity of a state." The Word of the Lord is not
for a passing moment. The Word is given for eternal uses.
- This phrase also calls our attention to the true Source of the
prophecy—the Lord. His word signifies communication and confirmation.
(AC 7406) His words signify a unity of doctrine (a unity of good and
truth). (AC 1288)
- To "come" (came) signifies to perceive or receive the Lord into the
intellect. (AC 2513) It also signifies judgment (AC 1311)
and a progression from what is external to what is internal. (AC
"…Jonah the son of Amittai…"
- The name Jonah means "dove." A "dove" represents the truths and
goods of faith with one who is to be regenerated. (AC 870) Also
recall that a "dove" descended at the Lord’s baptism, and these words
were heard: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
- Jonah signifies his nation in its self-love and falsities and
reflects its unwillingness to share the spiritual things of the Lord.
(AE 401 )
- Jonah "prophetically" describes the Lord’s temptations against the
hells. (AC 1691  and AE 538 )
- Jonah signifies the complete glorification of the Lord’s humanity.
(AE 706 )
Amittai’s lineage can be traced to the tribe of Zebulon.
His name means "truth." Let’s follow a bit of derived doctrine with the
- Zebulon signifies, in the highest sense, the Lord’s Divine Human and
in the spiritual sense the heavenly marriage of good and truth. (AC
- Can we safely bring these teachings with us when we consider the
words "son of Amittai" to mean that Jonah represents the "spiritual
progeny" of such truths?
"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out
- AC 3050 and AC 5605 explain that "arise and go" signifies
a call to elevate the external thoughts to be in harmony with more
- AC 1612 describes the idea of arising to mean surveying the
heavenly kingdom. Such an elevation would bring one into a state of
affection and charity for the Lord and the neighbor. (AC 2326)
- "Nineveh" signifies the falsities of doctrinal things derived from
reasoning that contrives and lead to an unenlightened understanding.
(AC 1184 and AC 1188 )
- "…the great city" signifies looking at everything doctrinal or
heretical. (AC 402) In Nineveh’s case, it would appear they had a
"great" number of things that were leading them to destruction. Nota
Bene: Think for a moment about the layout of a city. All its streets are
organized so that they will lead to some house, business, library,
hospital, church, etc. Therefore, this passage illustrates the great
devastation or errors the inhabitants of this "spiritual" city were
following. Human doctrinal errors were powerfully influencing and
misleading them in every aspect of their spiritual lives.
- "…cry out against it…" makes sense in light of the above concept.
Nineveh’s way of thinking from doctrine was misleading the people, and
they had to change to allow repentance, reformation, and regeneration to
come into their hearts.
- "…for their wickedness has come up before Me." Without
enlightenment, one might think this "coming up before Me" was like a
sudden or unexpected revelation to the Lord. The Lord saw it and knew
that it would happen before they falsified the truth. His Providence
sought to bend and moderate all things to good. In reality, it was now
time for Nineveh to come up before Him to see what falsity they were
"But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of
- Tarshish signifies doctrinal ritual. It represents external worship.
(AC 1152) Are we to picture Jonah justifying his flight from the
call of the Lord by the precedence of traditional "chosen race"
thinking? Certainly, passages (fallaciously understood) from the literal
sense must have come to his mind as a validation for running away.
- Apocalypse Revealed (AR) 796 defines what "from the presence of
the Lord" might mean. Let’s note "presence" in the positive sense. "The
acknowledgment and worship of the Lord, and the reading of the Word,
cause the presence of the Lord… these two together with a
life according to His commandments effect conjunction with Him." This
teaching opens a way for us to see what Jonah’s flight from the presence
of the Lord meant regarding the Word and his acknowledgment of the Lord.
"He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish…"
- We have no direct teaching to help us with the representation of
Joppa. We do know the word "Joppa" means "beauty" or "beautiful." Joppa
is located thirty-five miles northwest of Jerusalem.
- In biblical times, Joppa was a small, attractive seaport with a
natural breakwater of rocks that were parallel to the coastline,
somewhat like a cape. We make mention of this because it created a kind
of haven for the boats to enter and drop anchor in security.
- We do have a correspondence for "sea." It represents a collection of
knowledges and scientifics. (AC 28)
- "To go toward the sea" signifies the choice to follow scientifics
because a sea represents a collection of them. (AC 2702 )
- A port is a haven for ships. The Writings teach that a haven
signifies the state where memory-knowledges terminate and begin, and
where there are doctrinal things from the Word. (AC 6384 and 6385)
- To find a ship in the positive sense signifies looking for
knowledges of good and truth from the Word that will serve for the uses
of life. (AR 406)
- Jonah was headed for Tarshish so we get the hint that he wanted to
be in a place where "external worship prevailed…" (AC 1152)
Joppa, the beautiful, seems to imply that Jonah wanted something of
external reasoning to appear attractive and acceptable to him and his
peers. The interests and mission of the Lord were not part of his search
for a ship.
"… so he paid the fare, and went down into [the ship]…"
- To "pay" in the negative sense signifies to offer a substitute in
place of the former. (AC 9186)
- The word "pay" in Swedenborg’s Concordance is identified with
the word "hang." We read that hanging is an attempt to remain between
evil and good. (AC 2410)
- "Went" is the past tense of "go." Can we take from this (past tense)
a hint that what is happening in the present is a result of how Jonah
lived, progressed, and thought in
- Jonah’s going down into the ship seems to indicate that a spiritual
downfall or calamitous state was overtaking him.
"…to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the
- The "them" in this verse means the ship’s crew, a group of men, we
will see later, who worshiped all sorts of gods. It seems interesting to
note that Jonah was called to go save Nineveh. This call he deemed to be
contrary to his faith. Nineveh was full of gentiles. On the other hand,
he used "them" (gentiles) to save himself from the Lord. Isn’t life full
of inconsistencies and paradoxes?
- Going toward Tarshish remember is a movement toward a place where
external worship prevails. Such an external worship leads one away from
the "presence of the Lord."
Putting It All Together
"Those who were of the Jewish nation were commanded to
teach the Word to the nations round about, but they would not, and
thus they kept the Word among themselves alone." (P&P)
With this guiding doctrine, we can pull the meaning of
Jonah’s flight from "the presence of the Lord" to a finer point. Jonah, or
the people of Israel, felt they knew better than the Lord what was to be
done with the Word and who should have it. This is a pretty heavy point to
mull over in our hearts and minds. The Lord loves everyone. He has no
favorites. He wants the "good news" of His Word to reach all people. The
care for souls and a life that leads to charity is a "mission statement"
the church needs to have as its collective goal. Exclusiveness is not a
right of birth or the merit of a chosen people.
Certainly, the New Church has a mission to perform. We
need to not only live the life of our doctrines but also to share our
gifts with the "nations round about." The message here is that we should
not seek out a beautiful (Joppa) "safe haven" to avoid "presence." Please
consider again that passage from AR 796 regarding the meaning of
"presence." How do we stay in the presence of the Lord? "…the
acknowledgment and worship of the Lord and the reading of the Word, [such
spiritual values] cause the presence of the Lord…"
To do less than this is an attempt to "pay" a fare that
leads to making substitutions or trying to walk a fine line between good
and evil. Such a philosophy of life will indeed have us "go to the very
bottom" of the ship of scientific reasoning and out of the light of the
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Jonah 1:1-3.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
1. How do you think we, as a church, can profit from
this lesson about withholding the Word from the nations round about?
2. Do you see any signs that we try to seek beautiful
"safe havens" when it comes to telling the story of the Lord’s Second
3. What "excuses" can you recall that Jonah might have
used to run away from his mission? Try to pick or mention those that
might have appeared valid to Israel.
4. How are we doing with the task of keeping the Lord’s
"presence" in the church? This question is not a chance to criticize so
much as a chance to take inventory.
5. What new insights were you able to glean from this
section of study?
6. Paradoxes are interesting to consider. Jonah’s
rejection of the gentiles and then his personal use of the gentiles seem
interestingly inconsistent, and yet I am sure we do similar things all
the time. How can we reflect on this paradox and learn from it?
7. Jonah fleeing toward Tarshish indicated that he
elected to pursue "external forms of ritual." There seems to be a lively
debate within our church regarding "traditional" versus "contemporary"
worship, or a service that combines elements of both. What is useful
about the various types of worship services? When is this debate healthy
or unhealthy? In some cases, it seems to foster an "us" against "them"
feeling. What might resolve this in a way that keeps us from pulling
away from one another or keeping the Word from anyone?
"But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and
there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to
be broken up. Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out
to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to
lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the
ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. So the captain came to him,
and said to him, ‘what do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God;
perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish."
Passages From The Writings
- "Knowledges (cognitions) began to perish with them, and yet they
"…the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea…"
- "Great" signifies the things of affection and love, and of thought
and faith. (AR 656)
- "Wind" signifies the dispersion of falsities. (AC 842, 7682)
"Wind" signifies the emptiness of mere (lifeless or useless) doctrine.
- The Lord sending the wind on the sea is not an act of vindictiveness
but an act of love. He wants to clear the mind and our memory-knowledges
of falsities and misconceptions. We need to hold this picture in our
hearts because the hells try to convince us that the Lord is aloof or
indifferent to our spiritual state or welfare.
"…there was a mighty tempest on the sea…"
- "Mighty" in the positive sense signifies the omnipotence of the Lord
and His Divine Human. (AC 6425)
- "Mighty" in the opposite sense signifies those who are consumed by
self-love. (AC 583)
- "Tempest" signifies the dispersion of truths with the evil. (AE
419 ) "Tempest" also signifies the dispersion of falsities and
evils, which destroy all the truths of the church. (AE 578 )
- Once again, we need to correct the appearance that the Lord is out
of control and angry. Instead, it is a plan of love and wisdom to free
the church and its resources so the church can effectively lead and
protect those in the church.
"…so that the ship was about to be broken up."
- AE 514 [1-2] gives us information that we can use in this verse
and others to follow. Ships signify doctrinal things; they represent the
Word and doctrine from the Word. "A ship’s ‘planks’, ‘oars’ and ‘mast’
signify the various things of which doctrine consists.
- Those who teach, lead, and rule, are meant by "‘pilot’
‘ship-masters," "rowers," and "mariners," and the doctrinals themselves
by its ‘wares,’…"
- "…the ship was about to be broken up." This breaking of the ship had
to happen. The Jewish Church was using the literal sense of the Word to
favor its external loves and tenets. Such a ship carried dangerous
cargo. (AC 10492)
"Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to
- "Mariners" represent those who are leaders or teachers in the
- Being afraid can mean several things. It can represent a "holy
fear," being afraid to do anything that would offend or hurt the Lord.
In the opposite sense, fear can represent a fear of losing control. The
Pharisees had this kind of fear when the Lord taught. They feared losing
control over the people. In this context, I think we can assume that
those in control of the church feared losing their place of authority
- Crying out is a common theme in the Word, and it applies to any
annoyance, noise, and occasion of disturbance. It can also signify
accusation. (AC 375) Every man crying "to his god" seems to
represent that they turned to the reasoning of falsities and evils that
resided in their selfhood. They had no clear vision of the Lord, so
where else could these "mariners" turn but to their lifeless, errant,
"… and they threw the cargo that was in the ship into the
sea, to lighten the load."
- Do we need much help in seeing what is represented here?
- Cargo or wares signify the doctrinal things of the church. The
mariners tried everything to lighten the load. The mariners made some
choices as to what doctrines in their ship were expendable.
- Did their choices ease the problem?
"But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the
ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep."
- Sleeping signifies being in an obscure state. (AC 5210) It is
a state when inattentiveness allows an individual to be unaware of
subtle falsities from hell entering the mind. Think about the parable
the Lord gave about the enemy sowing seeds in the wheat field while the
owner slept. (Matthew 13:25)
- The lowest parts of the ship communicate something of the corporeal
or worldly nature of people and their doctrine. One can almost picture
the stagnant water swishing around between the supporting beams, fallen
pieces of cargo mixed in the water, and a stench of decaying debris. Are
these things representative of what is meant by the "lowest parts of the
- The literal sense also conveys a lack of knowledge and concern about
the great wind and tempest going on above the lowest parts of the ship.
Could Jonah have been so unaware of the roll and pitching of the boat?
"So the captain came to [Jonah]…"
- A "captain" signifies memory-knowledges serving a person’s rational
and disposed to make faith the essential of the church. (AC 2719)
A captain is an officer. AC 8141 illustrates the point that
falsities both in general and in particular need to be "reduced into
order under generals." This is a subtle point that requires some
thought. Are general evils easier to amend than particular evils?
"What do you mean, sleeper?"
- Jonah is being asked what he thinks he is doing to be sleeping at
such a time. The Lord uses questions to get the process of reflection
working. AC 1913 and 2693 teach us that the Lord questions
us so that comfort might come and give relief from trouble.
- The problem first must be identified. Sleeping has to be replaced
with wakefulness. Darkness cannot continue. Bring the Lord into your
life, and light comes to show what "you mean."
"Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider
us, so that we may not perish."
- A call to reconnect with the Lord. A call for reconciliation. A hope
that the Lord’s mercy will save. As the "gentile" sailor said these
words, there was doubt in his mind about the outcome. We don’t know how
these words affected Jonah’s heart, but we can evaluate and discuss how
they affect our hearts.
- Arising is the best way of sharing. Elevation of state is primary.
Keeping our eyes on the Lord’s way gives a clearer perception of help
and rescue from peril.
Putting It All Together
"Knowledges began to perish with them, and yet they lived
Human beings are unaware of the decline of truth. They are
unconcerned about the inferior quality of their truth, but the Lord
begins the process of dispersion and restoration. His wind, an act of
love, comes with a great force and blows away the smog and deadly
encircling falsity within the church. The Lord wants to cause the
"mariners," the teachers and leaders, to feel fear. They need the Divine
challenge to see clearly. They need to jettison the wares of falsity to
lighten the load. How did the Lord say it? "Come to Me, all you who labor
and are heavy laden …take my yoke…and learn from Me…My yoke is easy and My
burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
The Lord gives us the mirror of His Word to look at
Jonah’s apathy. He gives us a contrast to illustrate this matter of
sleeping while the ship is near its breaking point. The phrase "they lived
unconcernedly" elicits a question that must be answered: Am I so lethargic
that I don’t care about the well being of my doctrinal ship? Is my ship of
doctrine sound, or is it at the point of breaking up?
The mariners did their best to lighten the load. Jonah
slept through the beginning phase of the spiritual restoration. The Divine
questions come to help and comfort. Sleeper, what do you think? Did your
plan to escape the mission of the Lord work? Look at the disorder it
brought. Turn to prayer. Petition your God. Can we attain "presence" with
the Lord again?
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Jonah 1:4-6.
Questions to Stimulate Reflections
Many of the questions we need to consider may be found in
the above summary section. Please consider them, and then ask yourself a
question: Am I like or unlike Jonah with my choices in developing a
presence with the Lord? Can you look back and see some tumultuous turning
point in your life where you woke up in "the lowest parts of the ship"?
Please consider this point in your discussion. Over the
years, actions that once shocked people have ceased to evoke the same
concern. For example, look at the progression of adultery. In earlier
times, it brought public disgrace. The word "adultery" sent shivers down
people’s spines. Offenders were stoned, put in stocks, or branded for
life. Today, we use softer words to describe adultery such as "an affair,"
"a tryst," or "a moment of intimacy between two consenting adults."
Something seems to be lost. National indignation is no longer aroused by
this offense. We carry many "wares" in the boat of scientific cognitions.
Should any of them be jettisoned from the boat? Is the Lord’s mighty wind
going to shake and break such a boat? Our church has a high incidence of
divorces. I have no idea how many of these can be traced to adultery. In
the courts, a "no fault" divorce is possible. In contrast, the church can
appear insensitive and behind the times when it does not condone divorce.
Do we go to safe havens to avoid issues? Do we "pay" to find
substitutions? How will we help our children in our church schools so they
can read and listen to Conjugial Love or discuss related issues
without feeling a judgment is being made on a parent or family member?
"And they said to one another, ‘come, let us cast
lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.’
So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him,
‘Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your
occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of
what people are you? So he said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew; and I fear
the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’"
Passages From The Writings
- "The nations perceived that the state of the church was perverted
among themselves, because of the loss of knowledges (cognitions) among
the Jews, and that the latter were unwilling to impart them to others
outside of themselves."
- "…nations were distinguished by the gods on whose name they called,
and the Hebrew nation by Jehovah…." Jonah 1:9 is cited as an
example of this teaching. See AC 1343 [2-4] for a fuller
"And they said to one another…"
- "They" refers to the "mariners" or "sailors" who represent those who
teach, lead, and rule, or govern and are like "pilots" of a ship of
doctrine. (AE 514 )
- "Sailors" also signify those in the church, who contribute and are
called laymen. (AR 767)
- Saying "one to another" signifies a desire for mutuality. (AC
8461) What does that mean? They were seeking an explanation that
made sense of why the sudden wind and tumultuous seas were beating upon
"Come let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause
this trouble has come upon us."
- In the Old Testament, drawing lots was a common method among the
nations of solving exceptional problems. In Numbers 26:55 and
Joshua 14:2, "lots" were used to apportion newly conquered land
among the tribes of Israel. Lots were also drawn to detect a guilty
person who broke laws (Joshua 7:14 and I Samuel 14:42) and to
determine which goat should be sacrificed on the Day of Atonement as the
sin offering (Leviticus 16:7-10) Lots were cast to choose the
first king of Israel. (I Samuel 10:20-21) Priests, singers, and
gatekeepers to serve in the temple were assigned or chosen by lot. (I
Chronicles 24:5; 25:8, and 26:13) Casting lots also settled who
would provide wood for the temple.
Nota Bene: The use of lots was not considered
magic. It was seen as a way to cast things "before the Lord our God" so
that He could reveal the way choices should be made.
- In the New Testament, lots appear in several important places. Roman
soldiers cast lots for the Lord’s garments. (Matthew 27:35; Mark
15:24; Luke 23:34, and John 19:24) When the disciples sought a
replacement for Judas, they cast lots and the "lot of succession" fell
on Matthias. Acts 1:26 reports the results of that "lot."
- Therefore, it should not surprise us that this method was used to
determine who among the people on board the ship had transgressed
against the will of the Lord.
- AC 376  gives a clue to the meaning of "casting lots" upon
people. It means or signifies "to dissipate the truths of the church,
‘to cast a lot’…on people signifies the church in relations to truths,
thus…the truths of the church…" This quote seems to agree with the
description of the internal sense in P&P.
- New Church history has a "drawing of lots" story as well. For an
interesting account of the selection of the first New Church ministers,
read C.T. Odhner’s book Robert Hindmarsh, pages 17-24. The
basis for believing in "lots" is drawn from True Christian Religion (TCR)
696  and SE 4008. Here is a summary of their reasoning:
Use of lots appeared to be supported by the disciples use of them "…to
fill the vacant place of Judas; and by the teaching in the True
Christian Religion, n. 696, concerning the immediate guidance of the
Divine Providence in the drawing of lots."
"…the lot fell on Jonah."
- Do these words convey something of the hope that there would be
"immediate guidance of the Divine Providence" in the calming of the
The Five Questions Posed to Jonah
- The mariners asked Jonah five questions. Let us consider them, one
at a time.
"Then they said to [Jonah], ‘Please tell us! For whose
cause is this trouble upon us?’
- This question deals with many issues: Blame, responsibility,
identifying the root of the problem, and seeking to find a remedy.
- To the evil, it appears that the Lord and His truth cause the
trouble. (AR 696) When temptation enters our lives, a degree of
labor and strife disturbs us. The Lord allows the pain and discomfort of
temptation so that we will spend some "quality time" attempting to find
answers that will give us a sense of "the power of conquering." (AC
- At first, we tend to deny our involvement in bringing any of this
trouble on ourselves. It is always someone else who caused our spiritual
affliction. This question, posed by the ship’s crew, seems to focus our
thinking on "for whose cause is this trouble upon us?"
"What is your occupation?"
- Occupation, toil, work, labor, deeds, uses, ways, and practices are
all words we might research for help with our derived doctrinal study.
- Pharaoh’s question to Joseph’s brothers, "What are your works?",
signified an inquiry about their "goods," "services," and "uses": all of
these are works (goods) for "the neighbor, for our country, for the
church, for the Lord’s kingdom." (AC 6073)
- "All good things that take form in act are called uses; and all evil
things that take form in act are also called uses…all good things are
from the Lord and all evil things from hell…" (DLW 336) Can we
hear a Divine question being posed here for the purpose of stimulating
reflection on the source of our "occupation"?
"And where do you come from?"
- Would it be accurate to assume they wanted to know something of his
- AC 4651 lists names of people. Following the list of names, we
have this explanation: "…‘according to their families, according to
their places, in their names,’ signifies the doctrinal things of good
from them, and their rise, state, and quality; …[names] signify the
principal doctrinal things; ‘according to their habitations in their
land’…[their] truths and goods…"
- Can we apply the above quote to the mariners’ question? Were they
seeking insight into the "rise," "state," and "quality" of Jonah’s
doctrinal good and truth? In more modern terms, were they trying to see
what he was "made of"?
"…and what is your country?
- "One’s own country is the neighbor according to its goods,
spiritual, moral, and civil." (Doctrine of Charity 83)
- AC 4651 teachings apply to this question when we focus on the
meaning of "places."
"And of what people are you?"
- In the Word, when "a ‘city’ is mentioned instead of a family, and
‘people’ instead of nation, truth is signified which is of faith."
(AC 2943 )
- Were they asking Jonah this question to see what truths he followed
or practiced in matters of faith?
Jonah’s Answers to the Five Questions
"So [Jonah] said to them, ‘I am a Hebrew; and I fear the
Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’"
- Why did Jonah say he was a Hebrew? Why not "I am Jewish"?
- Jonah’s response to the mariners, on the surface, seems historically
self-evident. He was telling them that his background could be traced
to Eber or Heber. But from the internal sense, one discovers that
this simple statement carries a depth of meaning that requires some
background knowledge of the Word and a degree of concentration and
organization to fully understand. Following is an attempt to bring
some of the facts to the forefront.
- When other nations were worshipping many gods, Eber and those who
made up that Hebrew nation "with unanimity acknowledged the Lord, and
called Him Jehovah…" (AC 1343)
- In the Word, we find numerous passages where this quote is used:
"The Lord God of the Hebrews sent me to you…" (Exodus 3:18;
Exodus 7:16; Exodus 9:1, 13; and Exodus 10:3
are but a few examples of the use of this phrase.)
- Why would Moses announce this to the Egyptians? "…the descendants of
Jacob in Egypt lost [their unanimous acknowledgment of the Lord. Moses
himself was called to] instruct first of all that Jehovah was the God of
the Hebrews, and the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob…[and]…the
second essential of the worship of the Hebrew nation consisted in
sacrifices…" (AC 1343 [4-5])
- AC 1702 and 1703 repeat a phrase we must pay attention
to: "‘Hebrews’ are mentioned in the Word when anything of service
[servitude] is signified, of whatever nature it may be…"
- AC 8974 states that "Hebrew is predicated of those things which
are of the church, and of those things which are of some service…"
- Servitude needs to be adjoined with affection: "…[he who] does good
from obedience only and not from affection which is of love,
cannot be regenerated…" (AC 8974)
- The opening paragraph of the above number begins with this teaching:
"…‘a Hebrew servant,’ signifies those within the church who are in the
truths of doctrine and not in good of life according to them…"
- Can we go back and draw some "general" ideas to provide a basis for
deeper "particulars"? Heber as a church had unanimity about the Lord.
With the passing of time, that unanimity and love for the Lord
dissolved. The descendants of Jacob forgot. Moses did not know who the
great "I Am" was. The Lord taught Moses again. Moses received two
lessons to teach to the people: the identity of the Lord God of the
Hebrews and the sacrifices that were to be offered to Him. Before these
things were completed, the Hebrews had to serve the Egyptians. They were
called out of that bondage.
- Jonah, on the other hand, seems to represent, once again, a period
of regression in the Jewish church. As a "Hebrew" in servitude to the
Lord, he was going through the motions of serving. His refusal to answer
the Lord’s call to help Nineveh clearly shows that he did not serve from
affection or love for the Lord. Instead, he offered greater service to
self-prudence than to the Lord’s will. Jonah, in common with the people
of his church, felt he knew best who should hear and have the Word. In
light of this lesson, his identification with his Hebrew heritage seems
strikingly shallow and in immediate need of review and rededication.
"And I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea
and the dry land.
- AC 2826 tells us that what "fearing God" signifies "may be seen
from a great many passages" in the Word. "The ‘fear of God’ signifies
worship, and indeed worship either from fear, or from the good of faith,
or from the good of love; worship from fear when the non-regenerate,
worship from the good of faith when the spiritual regenerate, and
worship from the good of love when the celestial regenerate are treated
of." Without making a spiritual judgment, it would appear that Jonah’s
remark probably illustrates the fear of God as illustrated by the
- "…the God of heaven…" "In the Word the Lord is sometimes called
‘Jehovah,’ and sometimes ‘God,’ and always for a secret reason in the
internal sense. Where love or good, and the celestial church, are
treated of, He is called ‘Jehovah;’ but when faith or truth, and the
spiritual church, are treated of, He is called ‘God’, and this
constantly…" (AC 2001, emphasis added)
- "…who made the sea and dry land." "It is a very common thing in the
Word for ‘waters’ to signify knowledges, and consequently for ‘seas’ to
signify a collection of knowledges. (AC 28) "Dry land" signifies
"the external man". (AC 27)
Putting It All Together
P&P points us to the essence of this section. The
children of Israel were experiencing the "loss of knowledges." They were
forgetting the Lord, His teachings, His mission. The Lord of the Hebrews
was becoming "invisible." What is invisible does not fall into an idea of
thought. It is quite difficult to love that which is invisible to us.
Consider this teaching in Heaven and Hell (H&H) 82: "Those [who
extinguish the divine light from heaven] by self-intelligence prefer an
invisible God; while those that have extinguished it by a life of evil
prefer no God."
Things that we don’t love soon pass from our care and
attention. The goal or mission of the New Church is to make that which is
invisible visible once again. How will we go about cooperating with this
vital spiritual process?
When we lose something, how do we go about finding the
lost article? We usually begin by retracing (literally or mentally) our
steps. We ask ourselves where we last had, used, or saw the missing thing.
Asking the right questions sometimes can help us go back and find the
thing that’s missing.
We see a similar process happening in the story of Jonah,
and the questions the mariners ask contribute to this reflective process.
The five questions start out with "who," "what," "where," "what," and
Jonah’s responses to the questions are true. He is a
Hebrew. His God is the God of heaven, the sea, and the dry land. He claims
that he "fears" the Lord, but it all seems so superficial and rote. If he
really feared the Lord, he would have taken the missionary journey to
Nineveh. If he really feared God, he would never have imagined he could go
in the opposite direction of his use.
Let this feeling about Jonah expand, not in a
self-righteous vein but to the end that we might look for and resist the
same tendencies in ourselves. If we see them, we confront ourselves and
learn how these tendencies fail to meet our standards of acceptable
thought and action. When we talk about shunning evils as sins, we need
some specifics to consider. Do we lightly assume our New Church heritage
and talk a good line but lack enthusiasm for the uniqueness of the Divine
tasks laid before us?
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Jonah 1:7-9.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- How would you go about checking up on yourself to see what kind of
"loss of knowledges" you have had? More to the point, what kind of
teachings help make the Lord visible to you and bring Him nearer to your
heart? How do the Writings make the invisible visible again?
- Recall the quote from H&H 82. What thoughts do you have about
it? What makes the Lord seem invisible or absent to some people?
- Consider the five questions posed to Jonah: What issues did they
help you focus on?
- What about casting lots? Were you aware of their use in the Old and
New Testaments? Were you aware of their use in the ordination of our
first New Church ministers? That story about Hindmarsh is quite
interesting. Have you ever read it?
- How far might we trust or follow the use of lots today? What is your
point of view about playing the lottery? Could Divine Providence be
involved in "games of chance"? How might this be used or abused?
- "I am a Hebrew" has many passages and applications to consider. A
book could be written on just these words. We tried to shorten the
overview so as to not overwhelm the mind. It is all there for someone to
explore and research. There are many secrets to be unfolded. Anyone
interested in picking up the challenge to go forward with this research?
"Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to
him, ‘Why have you done this?’ For the men knew that he fled from the
presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him,
‘What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?’—for the sea
was growing more tempestuous. And he said to them, ‘Pick me up and
throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I
know that this great tempest is because of me.’ Nevertheless the men
rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea
continued to grow more tempestuous against them."
Passages From The Writings
- "[The gentiles] should reject those things which were from the
Jewish nation, because they were falsified, so that [the gentiles] might
"Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to
- AC 2543 explains a passage from Genesis 20:9 regarding
the meaning of the words "the men feared greatly." "‘Fearing,’ or
‘fear,’ like all emotions, though in appearance simple, involves in
itself many things, namely, in worldly matters the loss of life, of
reputation, of honor, and of gain; and in heavenly matters the loss of
what is good and true, and of the life thence derived. As fear involves
these things it also involves aversion to whatever endeavors to destroy
them; and this the more in proportion as the man is in affection of what
is good and true."
- That same passage has a wonderful quote about the Lord’s aversion
for the contrary things hell sought to put in His way. The Lord had a
"zeal" for doctrine that it might "be free from contamination…"
- This same number explains that "men signify rational things and
memory-knowledges, or all intellectual things whatever…"
- To understand the phrase "…and said to Jonah," we need a brief
reminder of the problem to which that "fear" or "zeal" held an aversion.
Jonah (the object of the aversion) signifies the unwilling attitude of
his nation to spread, or share, the faith of the Lord. (AE 401 )
The mariners asked Jonah two more questions: "Why have
you done this?" and "What shall we do to you that the sea may be
calm for us?"
- These two questions stimulated Jonah to think, to soul search and
reflect on his misguided actions. A passage in SE 734 offers an
insight into the importance of such moments of self-reflection from the
Word, as opposed to allowing others to do the reflecting for us. When
others reflect for us, "[we] remain in [our] phantasies…and [then we]
consider truth to be falsities, because [we] judge from [our] phantasies…"
The first question is direct and personal. "Why have you done
this?" Such a question moved Jonah away from tradition and what others
said or believed. He had to become accountable for his own decisions.
- The first question posed by the mariners seems to go to motive.
They wanted to know his reasons, his principles, or his intentions.
Truly, they wanted to know what was in his heart. "I have seen many who
place all worship in oral and outward piety, while in their actual life
they gave no thought to the Lord’s commandments in the Word, believing
that what is sincere and right, just and equitable, must be done not
from regard to religion, thus from a spiritual motive, but merely
from regard to civil law and also to moral law, that they might appear
sincere and just for the sake of reputation…believing that this would
take them into heaven before others." (AE 325 )
- The second question posed by the mariners seems to go to the issue
of consequences. They wanted Jonah to get help from the Lord so
the Lord’s corrective action would overcome the "stormy" nature of his
consequences. He especially needed to make amends for his poor decision
to turn away from the calling of the Lord.
- Let’s look at several teachings in the Writings that speak to this
point. "Every smallest fraction of a moment of a person’s life entails a
chain of consequences extending into eternity…and since the Lord foresaw
from eternity what man was going to be like in the future and even into
eternity it is clear that providence is present in the smallest
individual things, and…is governing him and diverting him so that he may
be such, this being achieved by constant re-shaping of his freedom."
(AC 3854 ) In SE 4091, we read "…consequences are never
removed except through the bond of conscience, and thus by a thorough
repentance…in order to the receiving of faith from the Lord."
"For the [mariners] knew that [Jonah] fled from the
presence of the Lord, because [Jonah] had told them."
- "Fleeing" has several meanings. AC 4114 uses the word
"separation." It is an attempt to distance oneself from someone or
- "Fleeing" as described in AC 4537 indicates a purposeful
decision to place truth over good.
- When Moses "fled" from Pharaoh, it represented the Word separating
itself from falsities. (AC 6770)
- We then have to consider what Jonah’s fleeing from the presence of
the Lord means. He indeed separated himself from the Lord. Jonah’s mind
was set, closed to the influx of the Lord. He placed the
tradition-derived truths or concepts of the church above the
Lord’s love for all people. Jonah’s flight illustrated how active
falsity was in separating itself from the Word of the Lord.
- A plus, if you can call it that, was that Jonah was "up front" about
what he was doing. Jonah told the mariners.
"What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for
us?—for the sea was growing more tempestuous."
- These words carry some exciting meanings and applications. To follow
all of the points would necessitate a fuller text than we can offer in
this study guide format. We could turn to Psalm 107:25 and 29 and
read, "For [the Lord] commands and raises the stormy wind…He calms the
storm, so that the waves are calm." We could turn our thoughts to
Mark 4:39 and read, "Jesus awoke and rebuked the wind, and said unto
the sea, ‘Be quiet, be still.’ And the wind ceased, and there was a
- AC 5725 gives us an insight as to why "deluges" occur in our
lives. "When a person who has led a good life is taken back into his own
selfhood, and so into the sphere that emanates from the life properly
his own, it seems like a deluge. Caught in this deluge he is annoyed and
angry, has unpeaceful thoughts and wildly evil desires…But when a person
is kept within the sphere emanating from the life he has received
through regeneration from the Lord...he is, so to speak, in a calm and
sunny, cheerful and happy place, and so is far removed from annoyance,
anger, unpeacefulness, evil desires, and the like."
- AC 3696 describes the inevitability of "storms" in our life. As
a person "advances in years or grows up," he or she often relinquishes
trust in the Lord, and life consequently moves into states that are not
serene. Evils and falsities will "emerge and show themselves, and these
trouble [the person], so much so at length that he undergoes temptations
and trials from the devil’s crew who try all the time to
destroy…his…state of life."
- "The sea was growing more tempestuous…" AE 514 [22-23] helps
us understand the meaning of the tempestuous seas. "…lusts of every kind
rise up therefrom into the natural man, these…are signified by ‘the wind
and the waves of the sea,’ and hell itself is signified by the ‘sea’ in
the spiritual sense….This [the Lord’s calming of the wind and sea] could
not have been said to the wind and the sea unless hell had been meant
thereby, from which arise the tempestuous emotions of the mind from
"And [Jonah] said to them, ‘Pick me up and throw me into
the sea; then the sea will become calm for you."
- The key to understanding the spiritual sense of this passage seems
to appear when we note that to lift up signifies to "gather together."
(AR 707) To pick up or lift signifies to elevate the intelligence
and to think from higher principles. (AC 2789) In short, Jonah’s
words represent a call to the gentile state to gather together the
falsities (in this instance, the falsities of the Jewish Church) so they
might be rejected. Falsities have to be removed from the ship of
doctrine. When that task is accomplished, the seas once again will
become calm, serene, and peaceful.
"For I know that this great tempest is because of me."
- Is this confession of Jonah’s (Israel’s) commendable? Is he finally
coming to his senses and admitting that he was wrong and he now is ready
to change? Or is it a "forced" confession based on the hard and
dangerous facts at hand? The boat was nearing the breaking point. He was
cornered and questioned by the seamen who had an idea he was the one
responsible for the tempestuous waves. Was he sorry for what he had
caused or was he sorry that he got caught in the act of rebellion? Is
Jonah truly ready to sacrifice himself for the safety of these gentile
- Jonah represents the Jewish church. Is there a change occurring here
that will bring them to a point of joyfully sharing the Word of the Lord
with Gentile nations?
"Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but
they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against
- AE 514  teaches us that those who are "pilots,"
"ship-masters," "rowers," and "mariners" represent those who teach,
lead, and rule. With this insight, we can see that the mariners rowing
hard to return to land indicates that they tried to solve the problems
of the tempestuous sea on the merit of their own prudence.
- TCR 68 announces that people who think that they can fight
against evil on their own are as helpless as "a fish against the ocean,
then a flea against a whale…then a locust…against an elephant, or a fly
against a camel." A lone person has no chance of being on solid ground
to fight against evil. Unless people approach the Lord, they will "be
driven about by evils, one after another, as a skiff at sea is driven by
the storms." (TCR 68)
Putting It All Together
P&P summarizes this section with this admonition:
"[The gentiles] should reject those things which were from the Jewish
nation, because they were falsified…"
Can you, in your heart and mind, picture something
of the magnitude of the Lord’s zeal to preserve and protect the purity and
correctness of His doctrine? When the Lord sees His church in harm’s way,
He doesn’t respond with an impetuous "rush to judgment" attitude. Instead,
His eyes look to eternal uses and salvation. When the Lord speaks to us,
He does so in measured and accommodated ways so we can grasp and use His
truth. He misses nothing. An amazing amount of zeal flows from Him into
the smallest particles of creation. Like little listening threads, they
lead us to the Lord and the vitality of eternal life.
How important are we to the Lord? Let’s consider this
reflection offered in TCR 766: "The Lord is present with every man,
urging and pressing to be received…"
He came to stop and correct the effects of the gross
falsities of hell. He came to bring light to all who were lost in the
darkness of spiritual ignorance. He came to clear away the lifeless forms
of boring and useless tradition. He admonished the Scribes and the
Pharisees for substituting their tradition for the Lord’s teachings, or
holding their own laws to be more important than the Word of the Lord. So
His work involved saying to them: "You have it heard that it was said to
those of old…but I say to you..." (Matthew 5:21-22) He told them
they strained out gnats but swallowed camels. (Matthew 23:24)
Let’s begin reflecting on why the Lord would urge the
gentile mariners to "reject those things which were from the Jewish
nation…" Are these words a historical condemnation of Judaism? That is not
likely. Instead, they are a condemnation of spiritual attitudes that
permeate attitudes of all nations and churches that turn away from Him.
Consider this teaching from AE 412 :
- "…the Jewish nation…was such that it looked to externals only, and
to internals not at all; and to look at externals and not at the same
time internals, or at externals without internals, is like looking at
the image of a man that is without life; but to look at externals and at
the same time internals…is like looking at a living man…"
AC 10566 summarizes the things a church, or
individual, has to correct or overcome to become a living vessel that is
worthy to serve the Lord:
- Holding the church in low regard. "Israel thought nothing of the
- Thinking "only of the possessions of the land…"
- Desiring "eminence over others."
- Believing that "there were many gods."
- Worshiping "Jehovah merely on account of the miracles, and not
because He alone was God."
Jonah, therefore, is a representative of all
stubborn and unwilling spiritual attitudes that pervade a heart and mind
unwilling to serve the Lord. Jonah’s life is a correspondential story of
the danger and foolishness of a self-made fantasy world. To break the mold
of that fantasy, we have the recorded words of the mariners asking
questions: "Why have you done this?" "What shall we do to you…?" The
heading of TCR 525 begins with these words (emphasis added):
"Recognition of sin and the discovery of some sin in oneself is the
beginning of repentance." TCR 528 expands on the process of
- Examine yourself.
- Recognize and acknowledge sins; make a true confession apart from
moroseness and blaming others.
- Pray to the Lord (supplicate the Lord’s help).
- Begin a new life.
Jonah begins the process of repentance by confessing his
transgressions. He admitted that the tempestuous seas were due to him.
Will he follow through with the rest of the steps of repentance?
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Jonah 1:10-13.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- The mariners experienced fear. What kind of fear? Was it merely for
their lives, or were they fearful of losing their "affection of what is
good and true"?
- What would you say we fear the most: other people’s opinion of us,
or the Lord’s opinion of us?
- Self-evaluation is hard work. SE 734 reminds us that we have
to do it for ourselves. If others think for us, we "remain in our
phantasies" and "consider truth to be falsities." Hell tries to think
for us. Hell pushes its morose qualities into reflection. It tends to
"muddy" the water with the great blame game. Hell encourages us to trace
the fault to others and excuse ourselves as helpless pawns in an unfair
life. How can we do a fair self-examination in a constructive way?
- Can we see that "the Jewish nation" is not just the Jewish nation?
The faults, the mistakes they made have to be shunned in the New Church,
too. We cannot afford to be an external church without an internal. Why?
AE 412  gives us our answer.
- What "listening threads" do you have reaching out in all directions,
like a spider’s web, so you can with great sensitivity feel and respond
to the Lord’s zeal for doctrine?
- Active participation in the process of spiritual growth is so much
healthier than passively resisting the Lord. When do you feel a positive
push to be more active in the ways of the Lord?
- One last question to consider. Did the rowing of the mariners to
save Jonah touch some kind of responsive chord? They tried to clear up
the problem with their own prudence. Ever done that? How did the quote
(in the Derived Doctrine section) from TCR 68 help you rethink
the role of human prudence in repentance?
"Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We
pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do
not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it
So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea,
and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord
exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows."
Passages From the Writings
- "They prayed unto the Lord for salvation, which was effected for
them, when the falsities from the Jewish nation had been removed."
"Therefore [the mariners] cried out to the Lord…"
- AR 885 offers us this insight into the meaning of crying out:
"…be it known, that ‘a cry,’ in the Word, is said in reference to every
affection that breaks forth from the heart, wherefore it is a voice of
lamentation, of imploring, of supplication from grief, of entreaty, of
indignation, of confession, yea of exultation."
- AC 7119 indicates that "crying" signifies "strong thought…with
full intention of doing…" a worship that is worthy and honoring to the
"We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for
- It is a self-evident truth that purposeful wrongs cannot be
committed with impunity. Redress is necessary. In the minds of many,
Divine forgiveness is not gratuitous. There must be some penalty. For
the children of Israel, a sin against God especially had to be atoned
for by offering a "sacrificial lamb." The blood of the spotless animal
had to be sprinkled on "holy vestments" with the hope that this would
secure the Lord’s forgiveness. In the Old Testament, propitiation
was meticulously offered by the priest in order to win, or secure,
divine favor. Many other nations at that time also believed in the
concept of propitiation.
- In the epistles of the New Testament, there is a great emphasis on
teachings that the Lord, as God’s Son, came to offer Himself as the
great Propitiation to appease God’s wrath. The epistles are used
to support a fervent belief that a penalty for the sin of Adam (original
sin) had to be paid. Unless propitiation was made, no one had a chance
of being saved. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and thus secured our
salvation. Without the Lord taking on the sins of the world, no one
could have been saved.
- Nota Bene: Such teachings are not supported by New Church
- Is the fear of the mariners justified in light of the long history
and acceptance of propitiation? Did they see themselves as possible
sacrifices to appease the wrath of the Lord? Did they see themselves as
hapless victims necessary to secure Divine favor and atonement for
"…do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord,
have done as it pleased You."
- Can we hear their argument? We are innocent. We had no part in this
turbulent storm of trouble. You, meaning the Lord, started all of this.
This pleased You. Please leave us out of it. They leave out of their
prayerful argument Jonah’s transgressions. Isn’t this typical? It’s
always the Lord’s fault when human prudence examines culpability.
"So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and
the sea ceased from its raging."
- "‘To be lifted up’ or ‘to be elevated’ is to advance toward the
interior things; for what is elevated or high is predicated of…interior
things…for heaven is in the interior things." (AC 5124)
- When Abraham "cast out" Hagar and Ishmael from his presence, AC
2657 explains, the "casting out" signifies that the "things of the
merely human rational should be banished…" With every person being
regenerated, there are two rationals: one before regeneration and one
- "…they threw [Jonah] into the sea, and the sea ceased from its
raging." To bring this passage into our understanding, let’s first focus
on the raging sea. AC 2832  describes surging seas as
representative of heresies and controversies in an uproar.
Could this derived teaching be representative of Jonah’s thinking? He
imagined that the church and its knowledge were exclusively for the
Jewish people. He resisted carrying the Word to the gentiles. So the
roaring of the waves signified the heresies within the externals of the
church. AR 402 and AE 511 describe the "sea" as being
knowledges in general that were lacking any internal foundation.
- Any and all controversies and heresies have to be cast out of the
church for it to come to any state of peace or calmness. Heresy in the
New Church will be subdued by the Lord. When the "first rational" was
cast out, the "second rational" had a chance to be formed. This is
described in the words "the sea ceased from its raging."
"Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a
sacrifice to the Lord and took vows."
- This fear of the Lord has a positive spiritual meaning. In the
spiritual sense, this pictures the human understanding coming to have a
great affection (positive fear) for the Lord’s truth. (AE 328 )
- Offering a sacrifice to the Lord represents the following things:
AC 4210 says it signifies worship coming from the good of love.
AC 5998 teaches us that a sacrifice represents worshiping the Lord
from charity. AC 8088 says that sacrificing is to see that real
faith of charity is from the Lord. Sacrifice involves a willingness to
give up one’s proprium to be obedient to the Lord.
- To take vows represents a willingness to rely on the Lord and to
have a heart that acknowledges the necessity of the Lord’s Providence
directing our life. Please read all of AC 3732. This number has
much more on the meaning of "taking a vow."
Putting It All Together
P&P sums this section up with the teaching that
salvation comes through prayer and the shunning of evils and falsities as
sins against the Lord. Other passages from the Writings extol the virtue
of periodic, wholesome, and realistic self-examination. Self-examination
is best when it is free from self-pity and a morose attitude. When an evil
or sin is found, we need to make a confession of our guilt, supplicating
the Lord for help with a desire to live a new life in harmony with Divine
Let’s consider for a moment the thoughts that are present
in the first rational: There is a desire there to blame the Lord
for our turmoil; we feel as though the Lord is picking on us unfairly; and
we look for the easy (propitiatory) way to appease the "wrath of the
Lord." Casting all of our sins on the Lord and walking away with little or
no regenerative struggle on our part sounds good. Doctrine does not
support this attitude. Until we elevate our minds to higher truths and
fight with the Lord’s spiritual truths, we will miss the essence of
repentance, reformation, and regeneration. The Lord wants us to seek out
His truth and do battle against our proprial inclinations.
The second rational, when freed of heresies and
controversies in the proprium, experiences an inner calm. How do we get to
the second rational? We pray for help. We turn over to the Lord our
resistive nature. The second rational flourishes when our thinking is
based on the ways of the Lord. Instead of allowing historical tradition to
think for us, we turn to the Word for guidance. With these intentions, we
will take a "vow" to rely on, obey, and implement the eternal ends of the
Lord. With a song in our heart, we promise "all that the Lord has spoken
we will do and hear." The second rational is lifted up, and higher goals
and priorities inflow when the resistive Jonah nature is thrown overboard.
Doesn’t the goal of the lifted "second rational" sound
stronger and more dynamically cooperative with the Lord than "dumping"
(propitiatory idea) all our sins on the Lord and walking away with little
or no responsibility?
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Jonah 1:14-16.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- Our lesson from P&P claims "Salvation comes through prayer."
Are you clear on how we are to pray and what prayer is? The Lord’s
disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. They were taught the
Lord’s Prayer. Is that prayer to be our model? Are prayers to be well
thought out or can spontaneous prayers be as effective when we call out
in a moment of need? How many kinds of prayers are there?
- Prayers taken from the Word. (The prayers of the Psalms, for
- Prayers for spiritual ends as described in Divine Providence
(DP) 214, 215, and 219.
- Prayers for the spiritual good of others.
- Prayers for the church.
- Prayers for what we need.
- Prayers for revelation.
- Prayers during and after the shunning of evils.
- Prayers to help us carry out a Use.
- Perpetual prayers "when we are in the life of charity, although
not with the mouth, but of the heart." (AE 325)
- Prayers to help us through periods of temptations.
- Prayers while we read and acquire truths from the Word.
Note we have left prayers of intercession off the
list. Why? Do these kinds of prayers need to be included in our
list? Does the Lord wait for us to band together to hold up a name
before He acts to heal, comfort, or change something in someone’s
life? Are our prayers effective in the removal of drug addiction,
cancer, alcohol, or mental problems?
- The steps of repentance are: self-examination, make ourselves
guilty for our sins, supplicate the Lord for help, and seek to begin a
new life. Do these steps involve making sacrifices? Do we have to
offer up a "propitiatory" sacrifice to appease the Lord?
- Does "casting our sins upon the Lord" sound appealing? Fighting to
change our lives seems threatening and painfully time consuming. The
Lord knows our sins. He knows where and how to remove them from our
lives. Why not let Him do it all for us?
- The first rational and second rational—can you think of ways to
illustrate the difference between them? How about this natural idea
(from I Corinthians 13) as a starter: "When I was a child, I
spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but
when I became a man, I put away childish things." Carry this imagery
along now in spiritual matters.