< XV. Baptism ^ The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine ^ XVII. The Resurrection >

XVI. The Holy Supper

HD 210. The Holy Supper was instituted by the Lord, that by it there may be conjunction of the church with heaven, thus with the Lord: therefore it is the most holy thing of worship.

HD 211. But how conjunction is effected by it is not understood by those who do not know the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, since they do not think beyond the external sense, which is the sense of the letter. It is known from the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, what is signified by the "body" and "blood," and by the "bread" and "wine"; and also what is signified by "eating."

HD 212. In the spiritual sense, the Lord‘s "body" or "flesh," and the "bread," signifies the good of love; and the Lord’s "blood" and the "wine," the good of faith; and "eating" is appropriation and conjunction. The angels who are with the man who goes to the Sacrament of the Supper, understand those things in no other way, for they perceive all things spiritually. Hence it is, that the holiness of love and the holiness of faith then flow into man from the angels, thus through heaven from the Lord, and hence conjunction is effected.

HD 213. From these things it is evident, that when man partakes of the bread, which is the body, he is conjoined to the Lord by the good of love to Him from Him; and when be partakes of the wine, which is the blood, he is conjoined to the Lord by the good of faith in Him from Him. But it is to be known the conjunction with the Lord by the Sacrament of the Supper, is effected with those alone who are in the good of love and faith in the Lord from the Lord. With these there is conjunction by the Holy Supper; with others there is presence, but not conjunction.

HD 214. Besides, the Holy Supper includes and comprehends the whole of the Divine worship instituted in the Israelitish Church; for the burnt-offerings and sacrifices, in which the worship of that church principally consisted, in one expression were called "bread"; hence also the Holy Supper is its completion.


Since what is involved in the Holy Supper cannot be known unless it he known what its particulars signify, for they correspond to spiritual things, therefore some passages shall be quoted respecting what is signified by "body" and "flesh," by "bread" and "wine," and by "eating" and "drinking"; as also concerning the sacrifices, wherein the worship of the Israelitish church principally consisted, showing that they were called "bread."

HD 215. Of Supper. "Dinners" and "suppers" signified consociation by love (AC 3596, 3832, 4745, 5161, 7996). The "paschal supper" signified consociation in heaven (n 7836, 7997, 8001). "The feast of unleavened bread," or of "the passover," signified deliverance from damnation, by the Lord (AC 7093, 7867, 9286-9292, 10655); in the inmost sense, the remembrance of the glorification of the Lord‘s Human, because deliverance comes therefrom (AC 10655).

HD 216. Of Body and Flesh. The Lord’s "flesh" signifies the Divine good of His Divine love. that is, of His Divine Human (AC 3813, 7850, 9127, 10283). His "body" has a like signification (AC 2343, 3735, 6135). "Flesh" in general signifies the will or proprium of man, which regarded in itself is evil; but which when vivified by the Lord, signifies good (AC 148, 149, 780, 999, 3813, 8409, 10283). Hence "flesh" in the Word, is the whole man, and every man (AC 574, 1050, 10283). It is said here and in what follows, that these things signify, because they correspond; for whatever corresponds, signifies (AC 2896, 2979, 2987, 2989, 3002, 3225). The Word is written by mere correspondences, and hence its internal or spiritual sense, the nature of which cannot be known, and scarcely its existence, without a knowledge of correspondences (AC 3131, 3472-3485, 8615, 10687). Therefore there is a conjunction of heaven with the man of the church by the Word (AC 10687). For further particulars on this head see in the work on Heaven and Hell (HH 303-310), where it treats of the Conjunction of Heaven with the Man of the Church by means of the Word.

HD 217. Of Blood. The Lord‘s "blood" signifies the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine good of His Divine love (AC 4735, 6978, 7317, 7326, 7846, 7850, 7877, 9127, 9393, 10026, 10033, 10152, 10210). The "blood" sprinkled upon the altar round about, and at its foundation, signified the unition of Divine truth and the Divine good in the Lord (AC 10047). "The blood of grapes" signifies the truth of faith from the good of charity (AC 6378). "A grape" and "a cluster" signify spiritual good, which is the good of charity (AC 5117). "To shed blood" is to offer violence to the Divine truth (AC 374, 1005, 4735, 5476, 9127). What is signified by "blood and water" going out of the Lord’s side (AC 9127). What by the Lord‘s redeeming men by "His blood" (AC 10152).

HD 218. Of Bread. "Bread," when mentioned in relation to the Lord, signifies the Divine good of the Lord’s Divine love, and the reciprocal of the man who eats it (AC 2165, 2177, 3478, 3735, 3813, 4211, 4217, 4735, 4976, 9323, 9545). "Bread" involves and signifies all food in general (AC 2165, 6118). "Food" signifies every thing that nourishes the spiritual life of man (AC 4976, 5147, 5915, 6277, 8418). Thus "bread" signifies all celestial and spiritual food (AC 276, 680, 2165, 2177, 3478, 6118, 8410). Consequently, "everything which proceeds out of the mouth of God," according to the Lord‘s words (Matt 4:4; (AC 681). "Bread" in general signifies the good of love (AC 2165, 2177, 10686). The same is signified by "wheat," of which bread is made (AC 3941, 7605). "Bread and water" when mentioned in the Word, signify the good of love and the truth of faith (AC 9323). Breaking of bread was a representative of mutual love in the ancient churches (AC 5405). Spiritual food is science, intelligence, and wisdom, thus good and truth, because the former are derived from the latter (AC 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5410, 5426, 5576, 5582, 5588, 5655, 8562, 9003). And because they nourish the mind (AC 4459, 5293, 5576, 6277, 8418). Sustenance by food signifies spiritual nourishment, and the influx of good and truth from the Lord (AC 4976, 5915, 6277). The "bread" on the table in the tabernacle, signified the Divine good of the Lord’s Divine love (AC 3478, 9545). The "meal-offerings" of cakes and wafers in the sacrifices, signified worship from the good of love (AC 4581, 10079, 10137). What the various meal-offerings signified in particular (AC 7978, 9992-9994, 10079). The ancients, when they mentioned bread, meant all food in general (Gen 43:16, 31; Exod 18:12; Judges 13:15, 16; 1 Sam 14:28, 29; 20:24, 27; 2 Sam 9:7, 10; 1 Kings 4:22, 23; 2 Kings 25:29).

HD 219. Of Wine. "Wine," when mentioned concerning the Lord, signifies the Divine truth proceeding from His Divine good, in the same manner as "blood" (AC 1071, 1798, 6377). "Wine" in general signifies the good of charity (AC 6377). "Must" signifies truth from good in the natural man (AC 3580). Wine is called "the blood of grapes" (AC 6378). "A vineyard" signifies the church as to truth (AC 3220, 9139). The "drink-offering" in the sacrifices, which was wine, signified spiritual good, which is holy truth (AC 1072). The Lord alone is holy, and hence all holiness is from Him (AC 9229, 9680, 10359, 10360). The Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is what is called "holy" in the Word (AC 6788, 8302, 9229, 9820, 10361).

HD 220. Of Eating and Drinking. "To eat" signifies to be appropriated and conjoined by love and charity (AC 2187, 2343, 3168, 3513, 5643). Hence it signifies to be consociated (AC 8001). "To eat" is predicated of the appropriation and conjunction of good, and "to drink," of the appropriation and conjunction of truth (AC 3168, 3513, 3832, 9412). What "eating and drinking in the Lord‘s kingdom" signifies (AC 3832). Hence it is, that "to be famished" and "hungry," in the Word, signifies to desire good and truth from affection (AC 4958, 10227). The angels understand the things here spoken of according to their internal or spiritual sense alone, because the angels are in the spiritual world (AC 10521). Hence holiness from heaven flows in with the men of the church, when they receive the Sacrament of the Supper with sanctity (AC 6789). And thence is conjunction with the Lord (AC 3464, 3735, 5915, 10519, 10521, 10522).

HD 221. Of Sacrifices. "Burnt-offerings" and "sacrifices" signified all things of worship from the food of love, and from the truths of faith (AC 923, 6905, 8680, 8936, 10042). "Burnt-offerings" and "sacrifices" also signified Divine celestial things, which are the internal things of the church, from which worship is derived (AC 2180, 2805, 2807, 2830, 3519). With a variation and difference according to the varieties of worship (AC 2805, 6905, 8936). Therefore there were many kinds of sacrifices, and various processes to be observed in them, and various beasts from which they were (AC 2830, 9391, 9990). The various things which they signified in general, may appear from unfolding the particulars by the internal sense (AC 10042). What "the beasts" which were sacrificed signified in particular (AC 10042). Arcana of heaven are contained in the rituals and processes of the sacrifices (AC 10057). In general they contained the arcana of the glorification of the Lord’s Human; and in a respective sense, the arcana of the regeneration and purification of man from evils and falsities; wherefore they were prescribed for various sins, crimes, and purifications (AC 9990, 10022, 10042, 10053, 10057). What is signified by "the imposition of hands" on the beasts which were sacrificed (AC 10023). What by "the inferior parts of the slain beasts being put under their superior parts" in the burnt-offerings (AC 10051). What by "the meal-offerings" that were offered at the same time (AC 10079). What by "the drink-offering" (AC 4581, 10137). What by "the salt" which was used (AC 10300). What by "the altar" and all the particulars of it (AC 921, 2777, 2784, 2811, 2812, 4489, 4541, 8935, 8940, 9388, 9389, 9714, 9726, 9963, 9964, 10028, 10123, 10151, 10242, 10245, 10344). What by "the fire of the altar" (AC 934, 6314, 6832). What by "eating together of the things sacrificed" (AC 2187, 8682). Sacrifices were not commanded, but charity and faith, thus that they were only permitted, shown from the Word (AC 922, 2180). Why they were permitted (AC 2180, 2818). The burnt-offerings and sacrifices, which consisted of lambs, she-goats, sheep, kids, he-goats, and bullocks, were in one word called "Bread," is evident from the following passages:--

And the priest shall burn it upon the altar; it is the bread of the offering made by fire unto Jehovah (Lev 3:11, 16).

The sons of Aaron shall be holy unto their God, neither shall they profane the name of their God; for the offerings of Jehovah made by fire, the bread of their God, they do offer. Thou shalt sanctify him, for he offered the bread of thy God. A man of the seed of Aaron, in whom there shall be a blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God (Lev 21:6, 8, 17, 21).

Command the sons of Israel, and say unto them, My offering, My bread, for My sacrifices made by fire for an odor of rest, ye shall observe, to offer unto Me in its stated time (Num 28:2).

He who shall have touched an unclean thing shall not eat of the holy things, but he shall wash his flesh in water; and shall afterwards eat of the holy things, because it is his bread (Lev 22:6, 7).

They who offer polluted bread upon My altar (Mal 1:7).

Hence now, as has been said above (n. 214), the Holy Supper includes and comprehends all of the Divine worship instituted in the Israelitish Church; for the burnt-offerings and sacrifices in which the worship of that church principally consisted were called by the one word "bread." Hence, also, the Holy Supper is its fulfilling. From what has been observed, it may be seen what is meant by bread in John:--

Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave them not that bread from heaven, but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven, for the bread of God is He who came down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. They said unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst He that believeth on Me hath eternal life. I am the bread of life. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven; that anyone may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone shall eat of this bread, he shall live forever (John 6:31-35, 47-51).

From these passages, and from what has been said above, it appears that "bread" is all the good which proceeds from the Lord, for the Lord Himself is in His own good; and thus that "bread and wine" in the Holy Supper are all the worship of the Lord from the good of love and faith.

HD 222. To the above shall be added some particulars from the Arcana Coelestia (AC 9127): "He who knows nothing of the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, knows no other than that `flesh and blood,‘ when they are mentioned in the Word, mean flesh and blood. But in the internal or spiritual sense, it does not treat of the life of the body, but of the life of man’s soul, that is, of his spiritual life, which he is to live to eternity. This life is described in the literal sense of the Word, by things which belong to the life of the body, that is, by `flesh and blood‘; and as the spiritual life of man subsists by the good of love and the truth of faith, therefore in the internal sense of the Word the good of love is meant by `flesh,’ and the truth of faith by `blood.‘ These are understood by `flesh and blood,’ and by `bread and wine,‘ in heaven; for `bread’ means altogether the same there as `flesh,‘ and `wine’ as `blood.‘ They who are not spiritual men, do not apprehend this; let such abide therefore in their own faith, only believing that in the Holy Supper, and in the Word, there is holiness, because they are from the Lord, although they may not know where that holiness resides. On the other hand, let those who are endowed with interior perception, consider whether `flesh’ means flesh, and `blood,‘ blood, in the following passages. In the Apocalypse:--

I saw an angel standing In the sun, and he cried with a great voice, saying unto all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of Kings, and the flesh of commanders of thousands, and the flesh of the mighty, and the flesh of horses and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all, free and bond, small and great (Rev 19:17, 18).

Who can understand these words, unless he knows what `flesh,’ `kings,‘ `commanders of thousands,’ `the mighty,‘ `horses,’ `them that sit on them‘, and `freemen’ and `bondmen,‘ signify in the internal sense? And in Ezekiel:--

Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Say to every bird of heaven, and to every beast of the field, Gather yourselves together and come; gather yourselves together from every side to My sacrifice that I sacrifice for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood; ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth; and ye shall eat fat to satiety, and drink blood even to drunkenness, of My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you: thus shall ye be satisfied at My table, with horse and chariot, with the mighty, and with every man of war; thus will I give My glory among the nations (Ezek 39:17-21).

This passage treats of the calling together of all to the kingdom of the Lord, and in particular of the establishment of the church with the Gentiles; and `eating flesh and drinking blood,’ signify to appropriate to themselves Divine good and Divine truth, thus the holiness which proceeds from the Lord‘s Divine Human. Who cannot see, that `flesh’ does not here mean flesh; nor `blood,‘ blood; as when it said, that `they should eat the flesh of the mighty,’ and `drink the blood of the princes of the earth‘; and that `they should drink blood even to drunkenness’; also that `they should be satisfied with horses, with chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war‘? What `the birds of heaven’ and `the beasts of the field‘ signify in the spiritual sense, (HH 110). Let us now consider what the Lord said concerning His flesh and His blood, in John:--

The bread which I will give, is My flesh. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day; for My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. This is the bread which came down from heaven (John 6:50-58).

`The flesh’ of the Lord is the Divine good, and His `blood,‘ the Divine truth, each from Him, is evident, because these nourish the spiritual life of man; hence it is said, `My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed,’ and as man is conjoined to the Lord by the Divine good and truth, it is also said, `Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life‘; and, `He dwelleth in Me and I in him’; and in the former part of the chapter:--

Labor not for the food which perisheth, but for that food which endureth to eternal life (John 6:27).

`To abide in the Lord‘ is to be in love to Him," the Lord Himself teaches in (John 15:2-12).

Previous: XV. Baptism Up: The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine Next: XVII. The Resurrection