Jonah Table of  Contents

Main Table of Contents


Minor Prophets: Major Messages

Chapter One of Jonah

Jonah 1:1-3

"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 the Lord."

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."

Derived Doctrine

"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 5202)

"…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." (Matthew 3:17)
  • Jonah signifies his nation in its self-love and falsities and reflects its unwillingness to share the spiritual things of the Lord. (AE 401 [36])
  • Jonah "prophetically" describes the Lord’s temptations against the hells. (AC 1691 [5] and AE 538 [11])
  • Jonah signifies the complete glorification of the Lord’s humanity. (AE 706 [6])

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 following teachings:

  • Zebulon signifies, in the highest sense, the Lord’s Divine Human and in the spiritual sense the heavenly marriage of good and truth. (AC 3960-61)
  • 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 against it…"

  • AC 3050 and AC 5605 explain that "arise and go" signifies a call to elevate the external thoughts to be in harmony with more interior things.
  • 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 [2])
  • "…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 following.

"But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."

  • 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 [15])
  • 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 the past?
  • 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 Lord."

  • 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 Lord’s sun.

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 Coming?

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?

Jonah 1:4-6

"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 lived unconcernedly."

Derived Doctrine

"…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. (AE 811)
  • 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 [22]) "Tempest" also signifies the dispersion of falsities and evils, which destroy all the truths of the church. (AE 578 [17])
  • 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 his god…"

  • "Mariners" represent those who are leaders or teachers in the church.
  • 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 and power.
  • 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, idolatrous prudence?

"… 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 ship"?
  • 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 unconcernedly." (P&P)

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?

Jonah 1:7-9

"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 explanation.

Derived Doctrine

"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 [2])
  • "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 their ship.

"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 [24] 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 [5] 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 great storm?

The Five Questions Posed to Jonah

  • The mariners asked Jonah five questions. Let us consider them, one at a time.

Question One

"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 8670)
  • 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?"

Question Two

"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"?

Question Three

"And where do you come from?"

  • Would it be accurate to assume they wanted to know something of his "habitation"?
  • 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"?

Question Four

"…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."

Question Five

"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 [2])
  • 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 "non-regenerate."
  • "…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 "what."

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

  1. 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?

  2. 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?

  3. Consider the five questions posed to Jonah: What issues did they help you focus on?

  4. 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?

  5. 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?

  6. "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?

Jonah 1:10-13

"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 be saved."

Derived Doctrine

"Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to [Jonah]…"

  • 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 [36])

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 [5])
  • 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 [3]) 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 something.
  • "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 great calm."
  • 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 various cupidities."

"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 seamen?
  • 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 them."

  • AE 514 [2] 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 [14]:

  • "…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 church."
  • 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 repentance:

  • 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

  1. 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"?

  2. What would you say we fear the most: other people’s opinion of us, or the Lord’s opinion of us?

  3. 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?

  4. 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 [14] gives us our answer.

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

Jonah 1:14-16

"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 pleased You.’

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."

Derived Doctrine

"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 Lord.

"We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for [Jonah’s] life…"

  • 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 doctrines.
  • 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 Jonah’s sin?

"…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 after regeneration.
  • "…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 [2] 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 [15])
  • 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 order.

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

  1. 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 instance.)
    • 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?

    1. 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?

    2. 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?

    3. 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.

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