This manuscript needs minor editorial revisions to remove the appearance that the topic was given as doctrinal classes. For page 165 a single diagram of the ground plan of the tabernacle should be inserted.


PART ONE: GENESIS                                                 MS Page

Preface                                                        1

I       The Prehistoric Churches                            5

II        The History of Abram                                   18

III       The Story of Isaac                                   36

IV       Jacob's Sojourn in Syria                            47

V       Jacob's Home Journey                                   60

VI       Benjamin and Joseph                                   70

VII       Joseph's Rise to Power                                   81

VIII       Israel in Egypt                                          94


IX       The Oppression                                          106

X       The Exodus                                                 117

XI       Before the Mount of God                                   131

XII       The Law of God                                          137

XIII       The Judgments and the Statutes                     143

XIV       The Community of the Mind                            152

XV       The Tabernacle and the Priesthood                     163

XVI       The Tables of the Testimony                            174

APPENDIX - A list of the doctrinal topics
treated between the chapters of the Arcana              185

"Of the Lord's mercy I too have been permitted to see the Lord's Word in its beauty in the internal sense, and this many times: not as it is when the words are being explained as to the internal sense in detail, but with all things both in general and in particular brought together into a single series or connection, which one can call a seeing of a heavenly paradise from the earthly one."

Swedenborg, in Arcana Coelestia,





It is proposed in these pages to present a survey of the "Arcana Coelestia," the most comprehensive of all the logical works written by Emanuel Swedenborg, the Scribe of the Lord in His second advent.

In the New Church, the earnest reading of the Writings has always been recognised as a sign of spiritual vitality. Usually a New Church man will begin his study of the doctrines by reading some of the smaller and less monumental works, such as "Heaven and Hell," "The Heavenly Doctrine," "The Last Judgment," "Conjugial Love," the work "On Charity," the "Divine Love and Wisdom," the "Divine Providence," or the "True Christian Religion." He often believes that the Arcana Coelestia, running into twelve volumes, might well be left for riper years; although it was the first theological work which Swedenborg published.

The present treatment is addressed both to those who are reading the Arcana and those who are (so to speak) standing timidly on the side-lines but would be interested in a short summary of its contents so as to gain some perspective of its profound teachings. For it is a principle of order that a general view of a subject is useful before the particulars are entered into. Before such a perspective, particulars may cause confusion.

Our proposed review in no way pretends to cover all that the "Arcana" has to offer. It is only a very partial tasting of the subject-matter, and avoids being either a commentary or an interpretation. It simply aims to follow the biblical story and summarize the main treatments - especially to give an outline of the spiritual sense of the books of Genesis and Exodus as the "Arcana" reveals it.

Between the chapters, Swedenborg has placed various accounts of the conditions of the after-life in the heavens and the hells; the state of the earliest man; the laws obtaining in the spiritual world, and the peculiar faculties of spirits.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 3 Many doctrinal treatments are thus included - about the Word (with specific expositions of the spiritual meaning of Matthew 24 and 25); about the correspondences of the organs of man's body to the Grand Man of heaven; about the spirits which attend man, and the intercourse of the soul with the body. The general doctrine of charity and faith is given under many headings; and an account about spirits from other planets.

Our present survey omits all these doctrinal sections which can be read separately. It also omits the wealth of scripture passages which are adjoined to the exposition in order to confirm the correspondential or symbolic usage of the Hebrew words of the sacred text. It aims only to trace the continuous texture of the internal sense as given in the Arcana.

*       *       *       *       *

A few words may not be amiss about the work itself. It is amply clear, from evidence presented by the late Dr. Alfred Acton*), that Swedenborg commenced the writing of the Arcana about the first day of December, in the year 1748. The first volume was published in September 1749, and the final volume in 1756. The work was thus commenced in London after he had established himself in permanent lodgings. Here he remained to write and supervise the printing of the first volume. When this task was finished this he spent the fall and winter in Holland and in Aix-laChapelle preparing the second volume, and then returned to Stockholm where he spent the next seven years mainly on the completion of the manuscript of the Arcana which he sent to London to be printed.

* See "Introduction to the Word Explained," Bryn Athyn, Pa., 1927, pages 130-135

Swedenborg did not place his name on the title page.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 4 The work was published anonymously. It was mainly a revelation of the spiritual sense of the Word. Yet between the chapters, he interjects certain information which he had gathered from his intercourse with spirits and angels, and many doctrinal treatments of varied subjects. The title of the first volume thus reads, in free translation:

"The Heavenly Arcana which are in the Sacred Scriptures or in the Word of the Lord, disclosed .... together with memorable things which are seen in the world of spirits and in the heaven of angels."

The Latin word arcanum means something hidden in a strongbox or coffer (ark), and thus concealed, secret, private and inaccessible. Sometimes the letter of the Scriptures is compared in the Writings to such an ark or chest in which jewels and precious metals are stored. In the preface to the Arcana it is therefore noted that in the Old Testament and in its least expressions there are contained profound heavenly secrets relating to the Lord, to heaven, the church and the things of religion, which cannot be discerned from the literal sense. That this is really the case no one (it is stated) can possibly know except from the Lord. And Swedenborg then plainly announces: "Of the Lord's Divine mercy it has been granted me now for some years to be constantly and uninterruptedly in company with spirits and angels, hearing them speak and in turn speaking with them. In this way it has been given me to hear and see wonderful things in the other life which have never before come to the knowledge of any man, nor into his idea. I have been instructed in regard to the different kinds of spirits, the state of souls after death, hell or the lamentable state of the unfaithful, heaven or the blessed state of the faithful; and especia1ly in regard to the doctrine of faith which is acknowledged in the universal heaven..." (A 5).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 5 As to the Word, he shows that its letter taken alone is like a body without a soul.

It is clear from the preface that the work which follows is presented to the world as a new Divine revelation. And in later passages he explains that the internal sense given in the Arcana was "dictated" to him by the Lord out of heaven (A 6597e, cf AR 43e). Yet this dictation was not oral, but was a tacit dictate into the thought of his rational mind. In order to avoid ambiguity, the table of contents of the first volume opens with these words: "The Heavenly Arcana which have been unfolded in the Holy Scripture, or Word of the Lord are contained in the Explication, which is the INTERNAL SENSE of the Word." And a further statement follows one of the explications: "This then is the internal sense of the Word, its veriest life, which does not at all appear from the sense of the letter. But so many are its Arcana that volumes would not suffice for the unfolding of them. A few only are here set forth..." (A 64).

The first teaching, prefaced (in no. 14) to the expositions that follow, is the announcement that by the name 'LORD' used throughout the work, is meant the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, and He only; for He alone is acknowledged and adored in all the heavens as the God of heaven and earth.

With this brief introduction, we now proceed to a summary of the teachings of the internal sense of the books of Genesis and Exodus, which in the Arcana Coelestia are expounded chapter by chapter, phrase by phrase, and sometimes word by word.



*       *       *       *       *



The Six Days of Creation

The account of creation given in the opening chapter of Genesis, is not a description of the actual order of physical creation. It describes, when viewed as to its spiritual sense, the process of man's regeneration. (A 6-13). For man's state before reformation is like the earth - void and empty of spiritual life, and in thick darkness as to spiritual truth. The Divine mercy broods over the hidden remains which the Lord has stored up from infancy. Reformation begins when man becomes aware of the higher things of good and truth; its second stage is when he begins to distinguish between what he acknowledges and what he merely has learnt, while he still believes that what he thinks and does is from himself. The third stage (or "day") in his spiritual creation is the organization of his memory - while, in a state of commencing repentance, his self-conscious virtues spring up, like tender herbs upon a new-born land.

The appearance of love and faith in the internal man - as two great luminaries in his heaven - then enable him to distinguish between truth and falsity. And this causes spiritual things to be generated in his mind - as thoughts which spring from a living faith: and knowledges of the things of spiritual life arouse his affections, resembling the creation of fishes and birds on the fifth day of creation, and beasts and wild animals on the sixth. And when man then begins to act from love as well as from faith, he becomes (spiritually) a man, "Adam," created in the image of God, male and female, i.e., as to understanding and as to will.



It is by such a spiritual creation that man from natural becomes a spiritual, man. The process is attended by labor or temptation. Man thinks that the labor and victory were his; but on the seventh day it is the Lord who rests, for it was He that did the work. When this is recognized, the evil spirits depart, and man is introduced into Eden.

In the second chapter of Genesis the story of man's creation seems to be repeated in greater detail. But actually (in the spiritual sense) it is not a repetition, but a description of a new creation - whereby man from spiritual becomes celestial. And since this advance actually took place in the infancy of our race, the Arcana now begins to speak of it in terms of the most ancient church, whose rise and decadence is related as an, internal historical sense in the story of Adam in paradise.

The Garden of Eden

Adam, or the man of the celestial church was formed "dust of the ground," that is, formed through the regeneration of his "external man," which before was not "man." In the spiritual man, the natural degree is not perfected - for it is the last of man to become regenerated. Now Jehovah God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives" - endowing him with the celestial perception which from love gratefully recognizes the order of life. The intelligence of the celestial man is described as a "garden planted from the east," in which the "tree of lives" stood for a perception of love and the faith of love, or a certain internal sensation from the Lord as to whether a thing is true and good; and the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" meant a faith derived from what is of sensual experience or from scientifics.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 8 The men of the Most Ancient Church received their faith from revelations and actual speech with the angels.

The "Proprium"

But the posterity of that church increasingly desired something of their "own" - a "proprium," a greater assurance of self-life. Although well-disposed, men began to rely on themselves. They were indeed taught that all affections and thoughts are from the Lord- as Divine creations - but were allowed to estimate their quality and use: wherefore all the animals were brought before Man so that he could name them. Yet this was not enough. Man dreamed of virtues of his own. And so while Adam was in a deep sleep, the Lord took the rib next to his heart and built it into a woman. Man's proprium - that sense of self-life which he loved, but which was in itself almost devoid of what is spiritual - was vivified by charity and intelligence into a beautiful and lovely thing. Indeed, the heavenly marriage of faith and charity can exist in this vivified proprium - when a sense of responsibility is aroused.

This development of the proprium marked a decline. It meant that men increasingly preferred to live in their external man - close to the world of the senses - thus often confusing internals with externals. Yet innocence made even this more imperfect life a thing of beauty and peace.

The Fall

The third posterity of the Most Ancient Church began not to believe in things revealed unless they saw and felt that they were so. The "serpent" of sensual knowledge suggested that men should guide themselves, and then would become as gods, determining good and evil for themselves.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 9 The "woman" was tempted to eat of the forbidden tree of knowledge. The cupidity and phantasy of the "proprium" was enticed and the rational of man ("Adam") did not resist. Thus man's will was perverted. Yet shame remained, and a consciousness of thinking evil. So Adam and his wife made themselves girdles of fig-leaves. Innocence had departed, but natural good remained and this they soon employed to excuse and temper their evil. This perception of the need of natural good is now the only residue of the celestial in our race.

The state of this posterity was therefore one of natural good, and their evils - hiding within - came not from any love of possessions but from the love of self. Their sensual man, by aversion to the internal man, became by degrees, infernal. Therefore we read that Jehovah cursed the serpent and said that the Seed of the woman would one day crush its head. This was "the first prophecy of the Lord's advent into the world" (A 250, 1123).

Man's external mind now became inimical - an obstacle to regeneration. Spiritual life could be procured only through combats and anxieties, and reason would have to rule over the proprium. Mankind had no longer any right in Eden - could not rely on any perceptive wisdom. To prevent the profanation of what was holy the way to the tree of life - the perceptive acknowledgment of whatever is of love and faith - was in Providence blocked by man's own self-love and its insane persuasions which like the flame of a sword turned hither and yon to corporeal and earthly things. In general, man reverted to the state before regeneration - thus his external man became almost like a wild animal (A 306 cf. 272, 278). His will was utterly corrupted. He had lost all perception of truth, all knowledge of faith.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 10 Yet even such men were born with human faculties and in the possibility of salvation, if not in this life yet in the next. Indeed, they were driven out of Eden in order to be saved if possible; driven out, lest they should "insanely enter into the mysteries of faith" from their proprium and thus profane them, and indeed profane good seen from perception. (A 308, cf. 3399:3). The race became externalized by degrees, so that its very genius was changed.

But before this occurred, there was a real danger of profanation. Those descendants of the most ancient church in whom the "celestial seed" persisted, or with whom love ruled and unified their whole mind so that they could only think what their will favored, were such that "any falling away from truth and good" was most perilous, since then their whole mind "became so perverted as to render a restoration in the other life scarcely possible" (A 310).

The Heresies of the Most Ancient Church

The gradual degeneration of the Most Ancient Church is treated of the fourth and fifth chapters of Genesis, in an account of the various stocks which sprang from Adam. The falsification of the celestial doctrine (in which no other faith was acknowledged than the faith which is of love to the Lord and towards the neighbor) and the resulting heresies and sects, are described as descendants of Adam. First we read of Cain, the fratricide, who represented a separation of faith from charity; wherefore it is said that Cain slew his brother Abel and that he built a city of his own. His son Enoch and his descendants down to Lamech marked the gradual predominance of the understanding over the will, and the successive departures from true faith (A 398).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 11 But when the church of Cain's stock was vastated, a state of repentance is described, and the formation of a new church, called Seth and Enoch, which restored charity as the principal thing of faith. It was not a celestial church, but a "human spiritual" church! (A 439) Because of common characteristics, several churches were sometimes described by the same name (A 485). Thus we find another church named Seth, which, because it was "not very unlike" the Most Ancient Church in its "sixth day, was described as the last son of Adam. (A 484 ff). This "Seth" was less celestial and less perceptive than his parent church Adam; but it is said of one of his descendants, Enoch, that "he walked with God, and he was no more, for God took him." By this was meant that those of the church Enoch (which was among a few only) reduced to doctrinal form what had been matters of perception with the celestial church, and collected and preserved these things for posterity (A 520, 521,609, l068, 1241, 2722:6). This was the beginning of the written Word on earth, and included the traditions of church Cain (A 609, 1071, E 728:2, D 5999).

The Antediluvians

The remarkable ages of these patriarchs as "must appear to every one" should not be taken literally. When it is said that Methuselah - Enoch's son - lived 969 years, this merely describes a certain state and doctrine of the church (A 482, 515, 575). It is well to remember that "the nature of their ecclesiastical computation is now totally lost" (A 575). Although such heretical movements developed successively, many of them were contemporary. Some were of the direct racial stock of the Most Ancient Church; others were of relatively gentile stock, or in gentile states. With some the understanding had been developed as with Cain. There were also other churches, not described in the book of Genesis (A 640).



The seventh chapter of Genesis selects for contrast two extremes of these differing types. One is called the Nephilim - the "fallen ones." The other is called Noah, who represents the remnant preserved from destruction.

The Nephilim were those who had entirely given in to the enormous self-love of their perverse will, and in the course of time conceived direful persuasions, so that scarcely any "remains" could be insinuated and preserved in them by the Lord (A 560 ff.). Their understanding was thus in utter thraldom to their passions and ambitions. They were of "celestial seed" in this respect that their will and understanding were as a one. They were capable of receiving good "even to perception" (A 3399), but chose evil. They disdained to resist their evils by the understanding. Their unsurpassed arrogance and conceit were such that they claimed that whatever they thought was Divine and that they themselves were as gods. They made light of all things holy and true - to feed their own self-importance (A 581). Thus they immersed the goods and truths of faith into foul cupidities. It is this profane marriage which is described when it is said that 'the sons of the gods went in unto the daughters of men, and they bare unto them; the same became the mighty ones of an age, men of renown.'

Such gigantic and poisonous phantasies - which even take the power of thought away from others - have not existed before or since in any people. It was possible only in a race of peculiar celestial type, which had open intercourse with the other world and enjoyed an "internal respiration"


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 13 a breathing not controlled by the voluntary. They had no speech of articulate words (A 608, 1118, 1120), but communicated by facial expressions and other means. Yet as they became possessed of their evil persuasions their internal breathing gradually became impossible; those with whom the understanding could not gain some control of their breathing were then suffocated as it were of their own passions, and perished as a race. It was this destruction of the incorrigible remainder of the celestial race that is pictured in the Word as the suffocating Flood of Noah. Even their hells were closed off forever.

The Salvation of Noah

Under the name "Noah" the Word describes a new type of man with whom, a spiritual church could be upbuilt. Such men are described as having an external kind of respiration and a language of articulate words. They had no open communication with heaven, but had learnt to separate their understanding from that corrupted will. They had a kind of rational truth as well as natural good, and were thus able to be instructed by doctrines which had been preserved from the Most Ancient Church. The mode of Noah's salvation therefore describes the regeneration also of the man of today. It is therefore told that Noah, by Divine command, constructed an ark or boat in which he and his family found refuge from the great deluge. The ark signified the mind of the man of the new spiritual church; with whom the hereditary will was closed off or covered over, and the understanding received into itself goods and truths of every kind - like so many animals of all species, which entered in pairs.

The fountains of the great deep now broke out and the cataracts of heaven gushed forth for forty days, and all flesh died wherein was the breath of lives


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 14 that is, all of the most ancient race perished in these temptations, which invaded both their will and their understanding. But with the church Noah, the understanding was not inundated beyond repair. Its fluctuations and doubts are described by the tossing of the ark upon the waters, its salvation by the settling of it on mount Ararat; where Noah's sacrifice was perceived by Jehovah as an order of rest, and the Lord made a covenant in spiritual Charity, confirmed it by the token of the rainbow, which signified the conscience of the spiritual church.

The Ancient Church

By Noah was described the original nucleus of the Ancient Church - a salvable remnant of the most ancient race. It was among a few, and, having a heredity almost as vicious as that of the antediluvians, they could be made spiritual only to a small extent. Yet the influence of its doctrine spread to other races and nations of the ancient world, and these gentiles, when converted, are described as the "sons" of Noah - Shem, Ham, and Japheth - and constituted the Ancient Church (A 788).

It is notable that the church called Noah for a time succumbed to a desire to investigate the things of faith by reasonings, and to believe only that which it came to apprehend by sensual things, either of memory or of philosophy. This was done not from malice but from simplicity. Noah, after planting a vineyard, is thus said to have drunk to excess of the heady wine of his new truths, and be drunken. And Ham, one of the sons, saw his father lying naked in his tent and made sport of him, while Shem and Japheth took a garment and - charitably - covered him up.



Ham here represents those who are in faith separated from charity, and who therefore glory in the errors of others and delight in publishing them; while Shem and Japheth signify those in the faith of charity, who observe what is good in others, speak only well of them, seek to excuse what is evil and false when they find it, and try to emend it and put a good interpretation upon it. Such, it is said, are the angels. (A 1079).

For this reason Noah blessed Shem and Japheth, and cursed Canaan, the son of Ham, whom he prophetically condemned to become a servant unto the others.

The particular representations of these brothers, Shem, Ham and Japheth, is involved in the tenth chapter of Genesis where their posterities are listed. Actually, these descendants of Noah, from whom all the earth was overspread, were not individuals, but were the nations, cults or doctrinals that constituted the Ancient Church, and signify also the states of religious life found in every living church.

Thus Japheth and his progeny represent those who are in external worship corresponding to internal worship; who lived in mutual friendship and courtesy within which there is adoration of the Lord and love towards the neighbor. These are in relative ignorance and simplicity, and the sons of Japheth are therefore said to be dispersed among the isles of the gentiles. In ancient times there were many such nations.

Among the sons of Ham we recognize Mizrain or Egypt, as well as Ethiopia, Libya, and Canaan. Ham represented a faith separated from Charity, and a corrupt internal worship; and thus also those who are in interior knowledges, but who tend to reduce religion into an external without any internal, placing the formal as essential, and thus verging towards idolatry and - in the Ancient Church - towards what was magical and persuasive.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 16 Thus the hamitic peoples included Nimrod who founded Babel and Sumero-Accadia; and out of which went forth Asshur. Babel signified an external holiness with profane interiors springing from a worship of self. Asshur or Assyria represents reasonings about celestial and spiritual things, which gave birth to all manner of falsities and innovations and conceits. The Philistines are traced to Egypt and signify a religious knowledge reduced to a mere science. And the Canaanites stand for various idolatries.

Shem, on the other hand, represented the real quality of the Ancient Church, the Silver Age. Shem was the internal church, endowed with the wisdom of charity, and with intelligence, science, and the cognitions of good and truth. The sons of Shem included Aram (Syria) and also Asshur, here listed a second time; and among his descendants was Eber, who is the first actual person mentioned in the Word.

Eber (father of the Hebrews) has a name meaning 'transition' or 'passing over.' He was a reformer, the institutor of a kind of external representative worship which spread over many lands. The Hebrew Church served to hand on some remnant of the ancient truths concerning Jehovah, and is known as "the Second Ancient Church." It was characterized by authorizing the introduction of animal sacrifices, which were not employed in the original Ancient Church. But the burnt-offering of animals was now permitted because in process of time the Ancient Church had decayed and been adulterated by innovators even to the point of instituting human sacrifices, as among the Canaanites.

How the Ancient Church was corrupted is graphically told in the allegory of the Tower of Babel.



At one time "the whole earth was of one lip and their words were one." The Ancient Church was united by mutual love, mutual respect for the freedom of others. There was unity in diversity, for varieties of rituals and doctrinals were regarded like the many viscera and organs in man which all contribute to his perfection (A l285). The doctrine of charity caused all to act for the common good and to speak with one voice.

Yet as men travelled from the mountains of the east - from a state of love to the Lord - into the valley of Shinar, they fell into a profane and unclean worship. From ambition they made a city and a tower to make a name for themselves. In arrogance and pride they used the holy things of religion as a means to dominate, and to subdue those who had conscience (A l308). By constantly reflecting upon self, they absorbed all the delight of their neighbors (A 1316, 1321). Yet they built their tower of bricks for stones and bitumen had they for mortar. The cement of human charity was left out of the structure of their society, and self-interest alone took its place, to hold their falsities together. And thus the judgment came: their lip was confounded - their understanding confused; they scattered over the face of the earth and their city was left unfinished. All were at variance, none could agree on any doctrine. And the name of the city was called Babel.

It is here, in Shinar (or Chaldea), that we find the descendants of Eber - declining into utter idolatry. Among them, in Ur of the Chaldees, lived the family of Terah, in an external idolatry so gross that all internal worship was blotted out. Under such circumstances there could be no profanation of holy things.



And for that reason there could be a new beginning (of which we hope to speak next week). For Terah took his son Abram and Lot his grandson and Sarai, Abram's wife, and left Chaldea and settled in Haran in Syria. This represented an instruction in the external rites and traditions of the Second Ancient Church - externals which had once contained a true spiritual faith.

It was "the end of idolatry and the beginning of a representative church through Abram" (A 1375).



*       *       *       *       *




The first eleven chapters of Genesis, up to the mention of Eber and his descendants, are written in the ancient style of allegory, or in the form of "made-up history." But commencing with the story of Abram, the Word relates events which "occurred historically as they are written" (A 1403, 1540). Yet every word of the sacred record is spiritually significative, and the literal account contains a continuous internal sense which is quite concealed by the historicals (A 1401, 1409). "In the internal sense of the Word the Lord's whole life is described, such as it was to be in the world, even as to the perceptions and thoughts; for these were foreseen and provided because from the Divine" (A 2523).

It is notable that the internal sense of the first eleven chapters of Genesis are expounded as to the actual living states of regeneration of the Most Ancient Church and the Ancient Church. But since Abram and his descendants made no progress in regeneration; they became a merely representative church - prophetic of the Redeemer whose advent into the world could alone make possible the resumption of man's regeneration.

Before the eyes of spirits and angels, all the events in Abram's life and in the life of his family, represented as already done what the Lord would do when He became incarnate; and this to display to those in the other life how by successive steps the Lord was glorified, that is, how He defeated the hells, put off the human and put on the Divine, thus uniting the Human Essence with His Divine Essence (A 2523, 2788).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 20 In general, Abram represents the Lord as to His celestial man, Isaac the Lord as to His spiritual man, and Jacob the Lord as to His natural man. Every other person or thing mentioned also represents something in the Lord's human, and contributes to the description of the states which He underwent.

Abram's Call

The twelfth chapter concerns the Lord's state from earliest childhood up to adolescence - a progress from obscurity toward light. Jehovah's calling Abram to leave his father's house, signifies the very first mental advertence or conscious state of the Lord when born - a warning to recede from the merely corporeal and worldly things which belonged to His natural inheritance from the mother, and to seek the spiritual and celestial things which are represented in the land of Canaan.

Abram, with his wife Sarai and his brother's son, Lot, thus journey with their possessions into Canaan. But it is noted that 'the Canaanite' was then in the land: for the hereditary evils from the mother were lodged in the Lord's external man (A 1444).

Abram straightway built an altar to Jehovah who had promised the whole land to Abram's seed. Abram here represents the Lord as the only celestial man. Differently from men, the Lord, even in childhood, perceived "sensual truth," or truth in sensual things. This sensual truth was signified by "Lot." Sensual truth consists in seeing all earthly things as created by God, each for a Divine purpose, and in recognizing in all things a certain image of God's kingdom (A 1434). But His state was still obscure, although celestial things - like infantile "remains of love"


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 21 were insinuated into Him, both without knowledges and by means of knowledge (A 1450). We find that Abram travels towards the South-lands - i.e., towards greater light. But because of a famine, Abram seeks food in Egypt. For the famine was a scarcity of knowledge. This is the reason why Abram took his family down to Egypt, which signifies the science of cognitions or of religious truths.

The only know1edge which the Lord craved was cognition from the Word which was "open" to the Divine (A 1461). In this the Lord had to be instructed as are other men. But since the Lord's soul was the Divine itself, which is Love itself, there was already in Him a truth which does not come by instruction. This truth is signified by Sarai, Abram's wife. For it is adjoined to what is celestial, and flows instinctively from love itself, and looks always toward uses.

But it is easy, when one's thinking is immersed in the realm of knowledges or in the study of things of memory, to mistake a truth that flows from a perception of uses - a truth of the wisdom of love - for a mere matter of knowledge or information, and thus to harm the love itself. And for that reason it is provided that such a perception of uses (or such celestial truth) should in the conscious realm of the mind be treated simply as "intellectual truth."

Intellectual truth is from man's God-given faculty to recognize that a truth is true - recognize it not for its use, but for its beauty, its symmetry and clarity. Any man, good or evil, is capable of appreciating such truth, admiring it, and being charmed by its form and its high repute.

This was represented by Abram, who, fearing for his life if he introduced Sarai as his wife, said that she was his sister.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 22 For a 'sister' signifies 'intellectual truth' - truth for which one has affection and admiration, but no passion.

Yet, as might well happen in the ancient orient, Sarai (being a fair and charming woman) was taken to the court of Pharaoh, and Abram was favored as her brother and enriched.

Similarly, the Lord in His childhood received a wealth of knowledge as long as His lower mind mistook celestial truth for intellectual truth. (A 1484, 1495). Such knowledge - inspired by a hidden faculty of the soul and absorbed from a delight of learning truth through scientifics - gave the ability to think. But as soon as it had served its use, these instrumental knowledges began to perish - i.e., they perished in the memory and became a spontaneous part of the thought.

So it is said that Jehovah smote Egypt with great plagues because of Sarai, and Pharaoh - discovering the cause - sent her back to her husband, rebuking him for the deception which might have caused him to take her for wife. Pharaoh here represented the scientific, which might have done violence to celestial truth in the belief that it was meant merely as a thing for intellectual enjoyment and not for the uses of life.

The Separation of Lot

Abram now left Egypt. The Lord separated Himself from the realm of empty scientifics and entered into a state of greater light and wisdom. He returned into the celestial state of His childhood - a puerile state of innocence and holiness, but with a new discernment between wisdom and worldly knowledge (A 1557). Yet a second separation was necessary. For His external man was infested by hereditary evils which had begun to manifest themselves also as falsities (A 1573).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 23 This external man must be segregated, so that the Lord's internal man might advance into more profound perceptions of the Divine purpose.

We accordingly read in the thirteenth chapter that Lot - by whom was signified the external man - chose for his herding-grounds the deep fertile valley of lower Jordan near Sodom and Gomorrha, while Abram settled around Hebron, in the highlands.

Childhood Temptations

But it is told that the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. They were kept in submission by a confederacy of four kings of the East headed by Chedorlaomer. For twelve years they and the cities of the plain served under tribute. The thirteenth year they rebelled. And Chedorlaomer sent a punitive expedition which put down the uprising and carried loot and prisoners away - heading for Damascus. And along with other captives Lot was taken.

The kings of Sodom and the other cities of the plain represented evils of heredity in the Lord' s human - deepseated evils which were kept subdued during His childhood by means of "apparent goods and truths," which were signified by Chederlaomer and his armies. And these armies are said also to have overcome the ancient tribes of Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim and Horites - cavedwellers of the region. These were of the breed of 'Nephilim,' the giants of old, and signify the antediluvian hells which attack innocence and which the Lord fought and subdued in His infancy.

In childhood, hereditary evils and their falsities are kept subservient to various natural goods of infancy - to external virtues which appear genuine because associated with innocence.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 24 It was so also with the Lord. Yet by degrees the deeper hereditary evils assert themselves, breaking out into open rebellion, and the apparent virtues are then called out in force to control and dominate the whole external man, and become self-conscious and pretentious.

When the Lord - in these His childhood temptations - perceived in His interior man that His external man (signified by Lot) had been captivated and possessed by apparent goods and truths, which interiorly were not genuine, He sought to purify His external from anything of selfishness, merit, and pride which defiled it from heredity. Angels were present with Him in this battle (A 1705, 1754, 1755), to whose government the Lord gave over the evil spirits responsible for the temptation.

Abram, in order to rescue Lot, gathered his armed servants and neighbors and pursued after Chedorlaomer and forced him to disgorge his captives and his loot. And the priest-king of Salem, Melchizedek, blessed Abram on his return, to signify the conjunction of the Human Essence of the Lord as to His interior man with the Divine Essence - a conjunction effected by temptations and victories.

Such childhood temptations are also graphically represented in the fifteenth chapter by a dream which Abram had, in which he suffered the terror of a great darkness and was told by Jehovah how his seed would be a stranger in a land not theirs and would not return to Canaan until after four hundred years. All temptation involves uncertainty and despair as to the outcome. The Lord' s anxiety was not as to Himself, but as to what would become of the human race.

This was depicted in Abram's becoming despondent because he had no heir, no offspring. He - a shepherd king - would have to leave his great possessions to his steward. For Sarai his wife was barren.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 25 Yet Jehovah had promised him seed like the stars in the heavens.

In the internal sense, Abram's seed signified two things. It meant the rational mind which would be formed in the Lord's Human on earth. It also meant the church in the heavens and on earth, which would be constituted of all those who should be regenerated or conceived anew from the Divine seed of truth, and could thus be adopted as the children of God.

Sarai and Hagar

Sarai was called barren to represent that in the Lord's childhood His rational mind had not yet been formed, but only those Divine celestial "remains" which are its beginning. The Lord's internal man, which is signified by Abram, was indeed the Divine Celestial because united with Jehovah. The intellectual truth which was adjoined to His Divine Celestial, and signified by Sarai, was like a light which confers the faculty to understand and to know. But the rational with man cannot be born except from knowledges, or rather, from the affection of knowledges. Where there are hereditary evils, the rational could be born no other way.

For this reason Sarai is said to have offered Hagar, her Egyptian handmaid, as a concubine through whom she might give an heir to Abram.

The affection of knowing is pre-eminent among natural affections. It is through this (signified by Hager) that the rational mind finds its first embodiment. It is only a servant. Yet, when the rational is once conceived, the affection of knowing believes itself the real mistress and it begins to despise the intellectual truth which gives it all its power.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 26 Similarly Hager began to exult over her mistress Sarai, who therefore - quite properly - disciplined her. Hager, humiliated but rebellious, fled toward Egypt. On the way she stood hesitating, by a fountain of water; and an angel commanded her to return and be submissive. It was an instance of that self - compulsion, in which we find our deepest freedom (A 1937). Hager returned, and Ishmael was born.

The nature of the first rational (signified by Hager's son Ishmael) was described by the angel who said that Ishmael was to be a wild-ass man. For this first rational is ready to rebuke and to regard every one as in falsity, viewing all things from truth rather than from the end of good, and looking to knowledge apart from use. It is unable to explore itself, and needs therefore something higher to examine it and govern it (A 1949, 1954, 1964).

Therefore Abram was promised a second son, to be born of Sarai who was now very old, Abram's name changed to Abraham - father of a multitude. For by this was signified that the Lord would put off the finite Human and put on the Divine and infinite. In Him the Human would be made Divine and the Divine would be made Human. The effect of this glorification of the Lord would be an influx of the infinite and supreme Divine with men which could not possibly have existed otherwise (A 2034.)

The Three Angels

In the eighteenth chapter we read of three angels visiting Abraham. Abraham represents the Lord in His Human, who saw contained within Himself the Trine of Divine essentials - the Divine Itself which was His Soul, the Divine Human which was the Divine Form, and the Holy Proceeding which is His Spirit or Mind.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 27 Abraham now receives a definite promise of the birth of Isaac, a legitimate heir - who was to represent the Divine Rational. But Sarai (whose name had been changed to Sarah) laughs - for rational truth was as yet immersed in appearances and seemed unable to change its state so as not to think from appearances.

An angel of Jehovah lingers with Abraham to forewarn him that Sodom and Gomorrha are doomed for their wickedness. Abram's pleadings on behalf of Sodom depict the Lord's grief and intercession with Himself as to the salvability of men, so sunk in sensual states. It is made clear that even those who have not been in temptation or even in some combat can be saved, if, like children, they still have remains of ignorance - despite evils that may be present in their external life.

Destruction of Sodom

Yet Sodom is doomed. For when the angels make their visitation, only Lot and his family are able to receive them and even they can only be urged out of the city by something of force.

The nineteenth chapter, which tells that story, traces the decline of the spiritual church, which is signified by Lot. The Sodomites themselves represent the evil within such a church, and their powerful influence for wickedness. Lot's danger at their hands showed the imminent peril of those who were in something of charity yet only in an external worship; for they - like those in a consummated church - might readily perish by the evils which falsity engenders.

Lot refused to flee to the mountains, but pleaded to stay in a city ("Is it not a little one") at their foot. For the spiritual prefer to rely on the truth of faith rather than the good of charity (A 2428). And Lot's wife looked back with longing at the cities of the plain, burning with fire and brimstone; and was turned into a pillar of salt, to represent those whose truth has been vastated of all good.



Lot then took up his abode in a cave, which signifies that the declining church was in the good of falsity - in spurious good. And his incestuous progeny - named Moab and Ammon - represent the adulteration of good and the falsification of truth, which occur in many religions based on natural good and only external worship, where people despise others in comparison with themselves, but where the particulars that enter into the religious life are filthy, even if there is a general good which appears not unfavorable (A 2468).

Abraham and Sarah in Gerar

It is to be observed that the connection of the things spoken of in the spiritual sense cannot appear in its full beauty unless the idea of persons is removed from the thought. The letter must perish as the idea ascends and becomes spiritual (A 1756, 1874). This is illustrated in any attempt to trace the spiritual sense in the story of Abraham's sojourn in Gerar in Philistia.

Abraham moved his camp into Philistia to represent that the Lord was progressively instructed in the more interior doctrinals of charity and faith, and in the possible modes by which men might receive the doctrine of faith. This instruction took place by continual revelations and by perceptions and thoughts from the Divine in Himself; thus differently from what is the case with men (A 2500). Yet even with the Lord there had to be the knowledge from the Word of the cognitions of faith; and such knowledge was signified by Philistia.

But "the Lord possessed all truth previous to His instruction" (A 1469). Knowledges are only vessels of truth.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 29 The truth of celestial love came from the Lord' s soul - and it is signified by Sarah, Abraham' s wife. As a wife, Sarah represents spiritual truth from a celestial origin. But as before in Egypt, so now in Philistia, Abraham introduced Sarah as his sister. And by a sister is here signified rational intellectual truth, which is conceived from the influx of the Divine good into the affection of rational truths (A 2507, 2508).

The internal sense here relates the Lord's meditations on how the salvation of all men might be provided for. For He knew that Divine good, or celestial good (such as was represented by Abraham) would not be received among men of the spiritual genius who were infected by hereditary evil, unless spiritual truth with which celestial good is united could be presented before the rational in the form of appearances of truth. This was the reason why the Word was given, in which purely Divine things, which in themselves are such that they infinitely transcend man's apprehension, are set forth in natural and sensual imagery (A 2553, 2554).

The question then presented itself before the Lord, still in His boyhood (A 2588), whether the rational was to be consulted in the doctrine of faith, and whether - if-so - the Word might not perish. (A 2553e).

The picture of what would happen if man consults the rational in matters of doctrine, was seen in that Abimelech, the king of Gerar, who took Sarah into his harem. In a dream God warned Abimelech not to touch her because she was a man's wife. And Abimelech, restoring her, indignantly reprimands Abraham for what appeared as misrepresentation, and gives to Sarah's husband flocks and herds and a thousand of silver as a "covering of the eyes."

Abimelech herein represented the Lord's zealous concern lest the doctrine of faith (which in itself is the Word) should seek acknowledgment by looking to rational things.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 30 It is made clear that Doctrine is spiritual from a celestial origin, and that there is no other Divine doctrine than the Word (A 2533e); although in the Word it appears rational and even natural in accommodation to man (A 2516). Nothing doctrinal of faith can begin from man's rational or still less be constructed from it. The spiritual truth of doctrine must receive no taint from the rational (A 2533). The doctrinal things of faith are in their entirety from the Divine, which is infinitely above the human rational. (A 2519). If the rational were consulted as to its contents, the doctrine of faith would become null and void.

It should be observed that Abimelech represents the doctrine of faith looking to rational things in the Lord's mind. Sarah as 'sister' signifies these rational things, which - even in the Lord's mind, and in the Word - are not the spiritual truth from Divine celestial good, but are conceived by Divine celestial good and the affection of knowledges. With the Lord, as with all men of the spiritual church, the truth of the rational comes through the external man, and does not have spiritual truth for a mother (A 2557).

Abraham explains that Sarah really was his half-sister, the daughter of his father but not the daughter of his mother, and that she became his wife. For spiritual truth is conjoined with celestial good by the mediation of rationality (A 2558).

That Sarah was restored to Abraham therefore represented in the Lord a Divine marriage or union - a state of omniscience, not only of Divine celestial and spiritual things, but also of rational and natural things (A 2569). An abundance of rational truths were adjoined to good, and these rational truths are called a 'covering of the eyes' - or a clothing for spiritual truth.



It may seem a paradox that doctrine would become null and void if the rational is consulted, when yet it is enriched with goods and truths both rational and natural. But it is one thing to regard rational things from the doctrine, by first believing the Word from an affirmative principle and then confirming it by rational things; and quite another to refuse to believe in the Word until one is persuaded by rational things, or by sensual or philosophical proofs. For this negative attitude leads to all folly and insanity. "That is forbidden is to harden ourselves against the truths of faith which are of the Word" - as for instance against the primary commandment to love the Lord and have charity towards the neighbor (A 2588, 2568).

Isaac' s Birth and Ishmael' s Banishment

Abraham was one hundred years old when Sarah bore him a son, who was called Isaac. This represented that there was now a full state of union of the Lord's Divine with His Rational, or - what is the same - with His Human, for it is in the inmosts of the Rational that the Human begins (A 2106, 2194, 2636). Isaac thus represents a new state of the Rational, or a new Rational, which was born not from any natural affections of knowing but from the Divine marriage of Divine Good with Divine Truth.

At certain points of this exposition in the Arcana, it is observed that the internal sense concerns arcana concerning the Lord's glorification too profound for description, things which "cannot be illustrated by anything in this world. They are for angelic minds....." (A 2629). Yet that some idea may be obtained, the regeneration of man is used as a field of analogy, and the differences are pointed out. (Confer A 2643, 2657).



By regeneration, man also receives a "second" Rational, which is formed through affections of spiritual truth and good implanted by the Lord in a marvelous manner in the truths of the former rational. This second or spiritual rational acknowledges that good and truth are not from man, or his own, but are from the Lord; and thus it begins to feel delight in good and truth for their own sakes, disclaiming all merit. It is derived from good and regards all truth from good or use.

Man's first rational, signified by Ishmael, is procured through the experience of the senses, by reflection upon the needs of civil and moral life, and by means of the sciences and reasonings as well as by means of the knowledge of the Word and its teachings. When the second or regenerate rational is formed, it separates those things of the first rational which do not agree with it, and collect the other things, especially spiritual goods and truths, together into a new order. With man, each and all things of the Ishmael rational remain forever, even though they have been separated. But with the Lord, the first rational was utterly banished, so that at last nothing of it remained (A 2657).

This was represented by the fact that when Isaac had been weaned, Ishmael, the son of Hagar, was banished from the camp of Abraham, having been seen mocking. The weaning of Isaac also represented the separation of the merely human states of the rational.

The Rational with man is the first to be regenerated. Similarly, with the Lord, it was glorified before the natural degree, and was the means whereby eventually the Lord put off all that was merely human from the mother, so that He was no longer the 'Son of Mary' but - the Son of God not only as to conception but also as to birth;


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 33 indeed, at length He became no longer an organ receptive of life, but Life itself even as to the Human made Divine (A 2658). This further glorification is involved in the later accounts about Jacob and Joseph.

But it was with grief that Abraham supplied Hagar with provisions and sent her and her son out to fend for themselves. For they now represented those of the spiritual church who relied on the self-conscious strength of the natural rational and were thus left to their own proprium, supposing good and truth to be from themselves: and who therefore have to stray and wander about among the doctrinal things of faith.

Naturally, Hagar and Ishmael drifted towards Egypt - and in the wilderness an angel showed them a well of water in time to save their lives. The well signifies the Word, which is given to the spiritual church. Ishmael is said to have become a shooter of the bow, for a bow signifies doctrine, the weapon of the church militant (A 2702, 2710). With the spiritual, the will was so destroyed from birth as to be nothing but evil, and its salvation could only be accomplished by the doctrine of charity revealed by the Lord in His Human. With the spiritual, charity appears like an affection of good. But it is only an affection of truth or of doctrine. It is a good of faith based on knowledge (A 2088, 2718.)

In the sequence of the letter it appears as if those signified by Ishmael were rejected. Yet the angel of Jehovah saved them and provided for them. What is merely human was rejected from the Lord's mind when He made His Rational Divine. Yet the Lord provided that those men who become rational from truth - by way of the first rational - could become conjoined with His Human (A 2112).



Compact with Abimelech

Abraham, after his visit at Gerar, was given pasturage for his herds in Philistia (which then seemed to have extended far inland). To settle Abraham's ownership of a well, Abimelech and he made a solemn compact. This well at Beersheba signified the Word, which is to be acknowledged as doctrine from the Divine; and this although things of human reason are adjoined, so as to make it serviceable to the spiritual church.

The Sacrifice of Isaac

That Abraham sojourned long in Philistia, also signifies that the Lord adjoined to the doctrine of faith (which in itself is Divine) very many things from the science of human cognitions, as if weighing how far the religious ideas of men could by permission be tolerated and utilized for their salvation. And through this the Lord came into most grievous and inmost temptations. It is thus said that "after these things God did tempt Abraham," requiring him to offer up his only son, Isaac, as a burnt-offering on Mount Moriah, the same place where the Lord suffered at Gethsemane and on the cross. In the story we see Isaac patiently trudging up the mountain carrying the wood for the sacrifice. The spiritual idea within burnt-offerings was not destruction, but "sanctification" (A 2776, 2805).

Isaac - as before - represents the Divine Rational, but here the Divine Rational as to the "truth Divine in the Human Divine," i.e. the truth of the Divine Rational as it entered into the realm of the maternal human and its natural and rational appearances. The Divine Truth conjoined to Divine Good could not be tempted for it is infinitely above all appearances.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 35 But the truth Divine operating in the infirm human was in contact with all the evils and falsities of the hells (A 2795, 2814). This is meant when it is said that Abraham bound Isaac his son; it was as truth Divine bound in the fallacies of mankind that the Lord was tempted by the hells and rejected by men. It was as the Son of Man, not the Son of God, that He suffered the cross (A 2313).

Abraham, however, signifies here the Divine Good in the Rational. Therefore an angel stays Abraham's hand lest he hurt the lad. For what was to be represented by the sacrifice was not the annihilation of the Divine Rational, but the sanctification of those from mankind who are of spiritual genius and are entangled in natural knowledge as to the truths of faith and deprived of perception. This is described by Abraham's finding a ram caught by its horns in a thicket, and by its sacrifice in the stead of his son.

In the Lord, the union of the Divine Essence with the Human essence proceeded by stages as the Divine Rational descended into the world of human rational appearances and knowledges and reduced these into order. He did this in His own Human, and He did the same in the giving of the Hebrew law and the Christian doctrine of charity, which are couched in sanctified correspondences. He does the same when He regenerates man, by reducing the natural knowledges of man into correspondence and agreement with the goods and truths of his rational. Abraham was thus told that his seed would be like the stars of the heavens and as the sand of the seashore.

The spiritual among men can be sanctified and adopted only by the appearing of the Lord in His Divine Human in the rational appearances of doctrine - as Isaac unbound.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 36 For in the seed of Abraham should all the nations of the earth be blessed, even those who are outside of the church (A 2853).



*       *       *       *       *



The Burial of Sarah

Because the Arcana Coelestia, in giving the internal sense of the Scriptural narrative about the patriarchs, describe the states of the Lord on earth during His process of glorifying His Human, there are frequent shifts in the subject-matter to indicate the Lord's reflections as to the states of men and how they might be redeemed.

Such a shift occurs in the twenty-third chapter, which tells of the death and burial of Sarah. Sarah - married to Abraham - represented the Lord's Divine truth conjoined with His Divine good. Divine truth is eternal and cannot die. But Sarah died and as such could represent how the Divine truth expires in the church when this nears its consummation and end, i.e., when this truth is no longer received because there is no charity.

In reflecting on this, the Lord - even in His childhood - foresaw Divine truth would not find a lodging within those of the consummated church, but might be received among those in gentile states. This was represented in the Word by the concern with which Abraham bargains with Ephron the Hittite for a sepulchre. The Hittites were a friendly people and offered Abraham any sepulchre of theirs that he might choose. But Abraham wanted only the cave and field of Machpelah and insisted on paying for it, to which Ephron grudgingly consented, since he wished to give it as a gift.

The cave of Machpelah signified a state of obscurity in which there was but little of the church.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 38 In the angelic view, a burial signifies not death but resurrection; the burial of Sarah signified the resurrection of truth Divine among those who could be formed into a new spiritual church.

It might seem ungracious of Abraham that he insisted on paying for the field with silver. Yet this had to be done, to represent that the new church is redeemed by truth which is from the Lord and that it is not the men of the church that make possible the resurrection of Divine truth in a new form. So long as men desire that their reformation and preparation should be from themselves, they cannot receive truth from the Lord. It is difficult to make those of the spiritual genus understand that there is no salvation by their own merit. Hence it was necessary that Ephron and the Hittites should be paid silver for the field, to signify that those of a new spiritual church must ascribe to the Lord alone everything of regeneration, both as to quality and quantity, and as to all knowledges both interior and exterior. "The more interiorly any one acknowledges this, the more interiorly he is in heaven" (A 2974).

The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah

The glorification of the Lord's Human proceeded by degrees. The "human" of a man does not begin in his soul nor does it begin from his senses. The "human" begins in the inmosts of the Rational. And when this Rational in the Lord had been made Divine as to the good therein, it was represented by Isaac. Yet to be united with the Divine Itself, the Lord's Rational must also be made Divine as to truth.



Here we must note that the rational mind in every man is the master that disposes all things of the mind, arranging the lower things of the mind - such as the memory and the imagination - into order. But man's conscious life is conducted in the natural mind, amidst the sensual imagery of the memory. The natural mind consists of the outer or corporeal memory with its wealth of familiar knowledges; of the imaginative faculty (which is an interior sensual that is particularly vigorous in childhood and early adolescence); and of all the natural affections which are common to men and animals. The rational is quite distinct and more internal. Its contents of cognition and interior perceptive thought is not open before man on earth but is imperceptible - a realm of motives in which the things we love are inscribed upon an unconscious inner memory.

The natural mind is the focus of our life, and is the administrator or steward or servant which carries out the policies of the rational.

When therefore we read of Abraham sending his chief steward on an errand to Syria to find there a wife for Isaac, it is clear that This means that the Lord's natural was so ordered by the Divine Good as to select the proper truth which could be conjoined with His rational.

The Lord's Rational as to good (or 'Isaac'), was born and formed by an influx from the Divine Good conjoined to the Divine Truth. Divine truth - as Intellectual Truth (Sarah) - therefore indeed inhered in the Rational as an interior degree (A 3141). But as to its own truth, the Rational was to be instructed by the Divine through an external way, viz., through the natural, in the manner of men.

The Lord's "first Rational," signified by Ishmael, had been born from an affection of knowing or of scientifics (Hagar).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 40 But the truth of the "second" or Divine Rational (Isaac) was to come through an affection of truth from doctrinal things.

Doctrinal things enter the mind as information or knowledge, but become doctrinal by means of reflection (A 3052) and thus when they are believed (A 3057). They are learned partly from the doctrine taught by others, partly from the Word immediately, and partly by man's own study (A 3161). But as long as they are only in a man's memory, they are only truths in form, nor are they really appropriated to man. They become his only when he begins to love them for the sake of the life to which they point. Until then they remain in the natural degree of the mind. They can be raised into the rational mind only through the affection of truth, in which there is innocence.

It is this affection of truth that is signified by Rebekah, the sister of Laban. She comes into our narrative as a beautiful virgin, with a pitcher on her shoulder, standing by the well outside of the Syrian city. Abraham's steward meets her there and rewards her helpfulness with presents of a nose-jewel and two bracelets of gold; and he is then welcomed by Laban and her family and - in the name of Abraham - invites her to become Isaac's bride. Rebekah consents, and follows the steward on his return to Canaan.

The betrothal took place by proxy. For Abraham had exacted a solemn promise from his servant not to allow his son to marry a daughter of the Canaanites, nor to bring his son back to Syria. The meaning of this was, that although the Rational (Isaac) must be instructed by truths from the natural mind, yet the Rational must never be brought down to the level of the natural, but the truth was to be elevated from the natural into the rational mind and be separated from the natural realm of scientifics, or from the memory, and from the natural affections.



It is also to be noted that only such truth can be elevated from the natural realm of the mind into the Rational, as agrees exactly with the good of the Rational, or with the end and ruling love which dominates in the rational mind.

Therefore Abraham sent his servant to explore and make certain by various tests that the wife he brought back should be the one appointed by Providence.

The doctrine is given that the natural mind must be in a state of freedom in the matter of truths that are to be conjoined with the good of the Rational. Rebekah, her brother and her mother, all severally gave their consent. What appears as mere repetition in the literal story, becomes in the internal sense a careful recital of how the affection of truth is by degrees explored as to what it contained of innocence and charity, and how it is liberated from the things of natural affection which partake of inherited evils, and how the natural mind was enlightened.

Thus Rebekah and her damsels - the very next day - mount the camels and leave her mother's house. The scene thus pictured is significant. It describes the manner in which a man's interior character is formed - the way his rational is opened. For those truths which agree with our ends and purposes and go to form our inner convictions and ways of thinking, are "elevated" above the conscious realm of our natural life and knowledge and pass into the internal or rational mind. They become part of our interior memory, our inner nature, our spontaneous self, and "put on the very man" and "make his quality as to The human" (A 3108).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 42 Such truths are therefore said to vanish from the external man. The knowledge on which they rest no doubt remains in the memory and can be recalled. But the truth itself within the knowledge becomes imperceptible to the natural and is conjoined with the good of the Rational.

This elevation of truths thus form the character of the regenerating man. But there is a similar elevation of falsities with the evil man - falsities which enter as part of his subconscious reasonings and which thus become a spontaneous part of his life on which he does not reflect.

The series here developed in the Arcana treats of the Lord's glorification. It is stated that the Lord not only regenerated Himself but also glorified Himself - from His own power (A 3138, 3161). For the Soul of the Lord was Jehovah, the Divine Good united with Divine Truth; and this was the source of the Divine Rational good with which He now conjoined truth elevated from the natural Human.

This conjunction of truth with the Divine good of the Rational - which was infinite love towards the human race - did not occur once only or of a sudden, but took place continually throughout the Lord's youth and adult life until He was glorified (A 3200).

The conjunction of good and truth took place in the Rational, and therefore - while Rebekah's betrothal was held in Syria, her marriage took place in Canaan. As Isaac came to meet her, she covered her face with a veil. For she represented truth. Truth looks at good through appearances, which are gradually discarded. With men and angels, there is no truth so pure as to be devoid of appearances and limitations; but with the Lord - when truth was conjoined with Divine Rational good, it was itself made Divine and thus pure truth (A 3207).



It is stated in the Arcana that this conjunction of Divine Rational good with Divine Rational truth was not the real Divine Marriage itself. For the Divine Marriage is the reciprocal union of The Divine Essence with the Human essence (A 3211.)

Birth of the Divine Natural

To represent the nature of the Lord' s spiritual kingdom - which was distinctly established through the Advent of the Lord - it is told that Abraham "gave gifts" to the sons of his concubines and sent them away. On the other hand Isaac fell heir to all his possessions, to indicate that from the Divine Rational the celestial kingdom was instituted, for the 'celestial' is founded in the Rational.

The conception and birth of the Divine Natural is described in the internal sense of the story concerning Esau and Jacob, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah.

At this point the glorification of the Lord had proceeded so far that the Rational had been made Divine, after many combats of temptation. His Natural (i.e., the natural mind and body which He had by birth and growth in the world) had not been glorified. But now the birth of Esau and Jacob represents the gradual preparation of The Natural for union with the Divine. And the good of the natural is signified by Esau, while the truth of the natural is meant by Jacob.

It is of order that the Rational should receive truth before the Natural; even though the knowledges of truth first lodge in the memory of the natural man. The rational mind can see truths and also will them even while the natural mind refuses assent and resists. The natural, because it is in the shade of sensual appearances and has many cupidities of the loves of self and the world, and is liable to reasonings based on falsities impressed from infancy, receives truths with much greater difficulty, and much later, than does the rational man.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 44 The natural does not become receptive of good until its knowledges, or vessels, have been softened by temptations.

These temptations are represented by the rivalry between Esau and Jacob, who are said to have "struggled" even in the womb. Their rivalry was aggravated by the fact that Isaac loved especially Esau, the hunter, who represented the natural good of life from sensual and doctrinal truths; while Rebekah loved Jacob, the dutiful husbandman, who signified the doctrine of truth in the natural mind.

Natural good - signified by Esau, the elder brother - is twofold. It comes forth as instinctive or innate desires, inclinations, and appetites. Some of these are derived from the soul - and are an "involuntary" which flows in through heaven from the Lord. But other desires come from the heredity which man has from his parents, and are also "involuntary" or natural, rather than deliberate. Which of these two "involuntary" elements of man's life shall eventually prevail, depends on whether man suffers himself to be regenerated. But in the meantime, the involuntary from the Lord disposes and governs, and overrules many of man's own designs (A 3603).

From this we may see that Esau's character was uncertain impulsive and indeterminate, not as yet stabilized or directed. For all his personal charm and promise, he could not be relied upon - although Isaac, who loved him, saw his finer side.

Rebekah, who signifies the Divine truth of the Lord's Rational, relied on Jacob, who represents the doctrine of truth. Good sees the future, but truth sees the present.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 45 And in the present - before the good in the Natural has demonstrated its direction and character - the doctrine of truth becomes of the greatest importance, as the only guide and judge, the only hope.

Even natural good becomes weary from its irresponsible roamings and enhungered for any strengthening food that might be offered. It is anxious to be confirmed by any doctrine which appears as true. Thus Esau, weary from his hunting, asks Jacob for the red pottage which he had boiled up. Jacob's pottage of lentils signified doctrinal things as yet in chaos because simply amassed in the memory without that ordering which a love of use can bring. Natural affection - such as Esau represents - is often too weary from its worldly sports to be discriminating about doctrine. So when Jacob shrewdly bargains to exchange his pottage for Esau's birthright as Isaac's heir, Esau half frivolously agrees!

Good is prior to truth. Charity is prior to faith. Yet in appearance and in order of time, faith or truth takes the lead over a good or a love that has not made up its mind.

With the spiritual man, truth therefore gains the dominion at first. Actually this priority of truth is only apparent. "It is easy to see that nothing can possibly enter into man's memory and remain there, unless there is a certain affection or love which introduces it. If there is no affection or . . . love, there will be no observation," and thus no attention. "It is with this affection or love that the thing that enters connects itself, and being connected, it remains." Thus when a like affection returns, the thing is recollected in the memory. Similarly, when a memory is stirred up by an object seen or by some conversation, The affection which first introduced it also is reproduced (A 3336).

But the affection which at first brings things to our attention and holds them in our memory, is a delight in what pleases and benefits one - and in what leads to worldly honor or gain or to personal glory and reward after death!


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 46 Thus our affection of truth is enkindled at first from selfish or impure delights which we feel as "good." If this were not permitted, we would never learn the truths which in time may become the means of our regeneration (A 3330).

Yet the Lord has been laboring from man' s infancy to prepare for regenerate life. The Lord has instilled - in states of innocence - something of genuine affection and charity which is called "remains." This hidden good, which is not yet man's, cannot come forth while hereditary affections rule. But when truth has been learned and has taken a prior place, then the Lord can adjoin this affection of good to man's doctrinal truths, so far as evils are shunned. And by degrees man may then find the real usefulness of these truths, may come to love them and will them and live them. By a life according to truth he comes into the good of truth, and thus to the good of life. Then this good takes a prior place; affection again rules his mind; the order of his entire thinking is inverted, so that he looks from good upon the truth that formerly ruled, and judges of truths from a will of charity (A 3336, 3332).

It is by such a process that man's Natural is regenerated, and good and truth are reconciled and conjoined in his conscious mind. The life - stories of Esau and Jacob (which we propose to trace in succeeding chapters) depict this conjunction. Both of these brothers undergo a change of character. From bitter rivals they eventually become friends. And it is so in the natural mind of the regenerating man of the spiritual church. There is a constant rivalry and conflict between affection and thought, between what we feel as 'good' and what we realize as 'true.' And this struggle for predominance is the more disturbing because our impulses - though irresponsible and misleading - are not all evil or wrong.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 47 They have an element of good in them, answering to our bodily hunger and thirst. And our thought from doctrine is not always wholly true. It contains error and conceit and undue ambition: yet it must be given the priority for a season, the while it is tested and purified.

So it is with man. The Arcana treats of human regeneration to illustrate the process of the Lord's preparation of His Natural for glorification. His natural Human contained the same hereditary elements as man's natural, and must be reduced into order in the same manner. Yet the differences were that the Lord perceived all the states of His assumed heredity as not His own; that He "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4: 15); that in ordering and purifying those states He laid out the patterns for man's regeneration; and that in the final outcome He was not made new, as men are by regeneration, but made altogether Divine, even as to the very vessels of life (A 3318e).



*       *       *       *       *



Appearances of Truth

In the story of the Patriarchs, three incidents occur which are very similar and are of an unusual character. In each case, a wife was asked to represent herself as a 'sister,' on the plea that this would protect the life of her husband during their sojourn in a foreign land. In two cases, the alleged sister was taken into the court or harem of the king of the land, and the subterfuge thus nearly ended in disaster, although by Divine intervention it resulted in the husband's being favored and enriched. This occurred when Abram visited Egypt and later when he sojourned in Philistia. And now a similar incident is recited concerning Isaac when he abode for a time in Gerar with Rebekah his wife. But in this case, the stratagem was challenged by the king who looked out through a window and saw Isaac sporting with Rebekah. They were taken under the king's protection, and Isaac sowed in the land and became very wealthy.

The Arcana explains that the sojourn of Abram in Egypt represents how the Lord was instructed in knowledge during childhood, and Sarai's posing as a 'sister' portrays how the celestial truth which was within His soul must then appear as a merely intellectual faculty intended as a means to procure knowledge (Gen. xii). Abraham's later visit to Philistia represented the Lord's instruction in the doctrinals of charity and faith, and Sarah now appears as a sister to indicate that while Doctrine actually is spiritual from a celestial origin, and thus Divine, so that man' s rational is not consulted in its construction, yet it has to be accommodated to the rational mind and thus appears as rational truth until man reflects on its true origin (Gen. xx).



How this accommodation is effected is told in the twenty-sixth chapter of Genesis. It is now Isaac - who represents the Divine Rational - that goes to sojourn in Philistia. The internal sense shows that the Lord is Doctrine itself, or the Word, in which The infinite and incomprehensible wisdom of God is expressed and clothed in appearances of truth, which are called truths because they have Divine truths within them (A 3364).

Rebekah's being called a 'sister' thus signifies the manner in which Divine Truth could become perceptible to angels in heaven. Angels are finite beings and the finite cannot apprehend what is of the infinite. Therefore the Divine truth comes to their perception in the form of rational appearances, which are called spiritual truths, such as are present in the internal sense of the Word. The celestial, particularly, "perceive Divine good and truth in the rational, that is, in the rational things which when enlightened by the Divine of the Lord are appearances of the truth" (A 3394, 3368). Divine truths which are presented in rational form before the angels, become apparent in the lower heavens and in the world of spirits in natural forms, as in an image; thus by appearances of a lower degree.

But those who are spiritual, and not celestial, cannot understand that with a regenerated man Divine truth becomes rational truth, or is perceived in that form. Just as Abimelech, the king of Gerar, called Isaac to task, saying, "Surely she is thy wife, and how saidst thou then, She is my sister?" - so the spiritual type of man would say, If a truth is Divine, how could it possibly be rational?


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 50 or if in rational form, how could it be Divine? Many people believe therefore that Divine truth - in the Word should be accepted in simplicity, without any rational reflection, "not being aware that not anything of faith, not even its deepest arcana, is grasped by any man without some rational idea, and also a natural one . . ." Indeed, for one who is in the affirmative that the Word is to be believed, it would be hurtful to make no effort to understand its sayings: and by claiming that the understanding should be excluded from the mysteries of "faith," men might "take away from anyone his freedom of thought and even bind the conscience to that which is heretical in the highest degree, by dominating in this way both the internal and external things of a man" (A 3394).

Abimelech was indignant and afraid lest one of his people might take Rebekah and harm Isaac. He therefore commanded his people not to touch them. This, in the internal sense, represented "a decree from the Lord in the spiritual church that Divine truth and Divine good are not to be opened, nor even approached in faith, because of the danger of eternal damnation if they should be profaned." "No one is allowed to approach them with affection and faith, unless he be of such a character that he can continue in them to the end of his life. But they who profane are those who cannot be withheld from them" (A 3402). It is explained that therefore the Lord did not come into the world until not even natural good remained with the Jews; and that the reason why the arcana of the Word can now be revealed is because in the consummated church they are not interiorly acknowledged (A 3398).

This state is described when it is said that the philistines had filled up the wells that Abraham had dug - that is, those in the science of religious cognitions had obliterated the mainsprings of revelation with scholastic dust, so that no interior Things could be perceived.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 51 But Isaac re-opened these wells. The Lord opened up the truths which the Ancients had known - not only the truths concerning spiritual correspondences but the truths concerning charity and love. Several other wells were found or dug by Isaac's servants, over which they had to contend with the Philistines. One - a spring of living water - signified the Word as to its spiritual meaning. But finally another well was dug about which there was no contention. This was at Beer-sheba, and signified doctrine from the literal sense of the Word. For this is doctrine confirmed by the Divine authority of the Word. Through this even those of the external church can have conjunction with the Lord, as long as they do not deny the principal things of the internal sense; which are, the Divine Human of the Lord, love to Him, and love toward the neighbor; and that the Word is Divine in every detail (A 3454). For he who reads the Word with a view to becoming wise and seeking the good and the true, is protected against the danger of drawing heresies from the sensual appearances of the letter, if only he sees that the Word is the Divine doctrine itself and if - when he is at a loss - seeks understanding by a comparison of many passages (A 3360, 3464, 3436).

Essau' s Marriages

Genuine truths come from the Word, and are the spiritual sense shining through openly in the natural sense. But while a man is growing up, his natural good or native disposition inclines him to accept many teachings and ideas which are not from the Word - natural truths (both civil, moral, and religious) such as are circulating in the world outside of the Church and thus in the church universal, and among the gentiles.



This was represented in the biblical text by, now forty years of age, marrying two Hittite women. , the elder son of Isaac, stands for the natural or inborn good in which those are whose parents lived according to the doctrinal things of faith. This hereditary bent is called "the natural good of truth" (A 3469, cf 3459, 3463). The unfortunate part of such a natural good is that it indeed loves to be adjoined to truth, but cannot of itself discriminate what truth. Generally it is inclined to what is false as readily as to what is genuinely true (A 3463:2). For in this as in all natural good there is much that is of evil and falsity, and it desires no yoke about its neck (A 3470). It does not submit to discipline, but craves freedom. And while no one can be censured for this natural yearning, yet it often leads him into troubles and afflictions, and must be tempered by temptations before it can become a tool of rational life.

The sacred text expresses this when it records that the Hittite women whom Esau married "were bitterness of spirit to Isaac and Rebekah."

Jacob Supplants Esau

The subject is here the glorification of the Lord, and how He made His Natural Divine. The Divine Rational is here described as having already been made Divine, and the Divine good therein is represented by Isaac, and the Divine truth therein by Rebekah. But the Lord' s Natural (or the natural mind of His Human) was not yet glorified, nor in "correspondence" with the Rational; for there was in it still the heredity from Mary, His mother. In this Natural there were two elements, represented by Esau, the firstborn, and Jacob, his twin brother.

Because Esau was the firstborn he represented natural good, which is born with a man and therefore comes first;


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 53 while Jacob represents the natural as to truth, which is obtained later, by instruction. But Esau comes to represent more than connate good. For whatever is imbibed from infancy remains as a "good of life" - as skill, habit. It becomes spontaneous and facile, fluent and natural.

Now we are told that Isaac loved Esau. With the Lord, "Isaac" represented the Divine Rational as to Divine Good. What Divine Good recognized as lovable in the Natural was the good that was in the Natural Human from His 'Father' or from His Divine Soul as a paternal inheritance; for this 'good of the natural' was His very life (A 3518). But Divine Truth in the Lord's Rational recognized certain other elements in His natural Human, evil elements which came by inheritance from the mother, Mary. These were also involved in the signification of 'Esau.' Therefore it is said that Rebekah (Divine Truth) loved not Esau but Jacob. For Jacob signified truth in the Natural - or the doctrine of truth therein (A 3314.)

The Natural of the Lord could only be glorified by means of truths of good. For the good of infancy is devoid of knowledge or intelligence, and can become spiritually good only through truths - or through regeneration (A 3504). From His Divine good the Lord willed to procure these truths of good directly through the good of the Natural ('Esau'). But from His Divine truth He willed to procure them through another way - an alternative way, much longer and more laborious. For He perceived that as long as there were disorders and evils of heredity in the Natural, the influx of Divine good would be perverted (A 3509).

The natural good of the Lord's infancy was Divine from the Father but human from the mother. It had therefore to be reduced into order before it could receive the Divine good (A 3599).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 54 This could be done only by introducing truths through affections which were not in themselves good or genuine, but which in that state appeared as genuine.

This reversal or inversion of order is represented by Jacob being induced by Rebekah to assume the garments of Esau and give his father Isaac dainties from the domestic flock, pretending that they were samples of Esau's hunting; and this deception was practiced so that Jacob, not Esau, should be given the paternal blessing which was due to the firstborn.

Jacob, who thus supplanted Esau, represents a new order in the natural mind, by which natural truth, or the doctrine of truth, becomes the heir - the central hope around which the states of the mind must revolve, and the ladder by which the understanding may ascend.

Esau, in the meantime, though at first he harbors vengeance against his brother, becomes more amenable. When Isaac sends Jacob to Paddanaram (or Syria) to take a wife from Rebekah's kindred, Esau also goes to Ishmael and takes his daughter for his chief wife; which signifies that natural good was turning towards a truth of a more genuine origin (A 3686-3688).

The Dream of the Ladder

On the way to Syria Jacob passed the night at Bethel. He took a stone and used it as a pillow. And - in his dream - he saw a ladder above which the Lord was standing and on which the angels of God ascended and descended. Jacob's journey signified the progress of the mind from a moral life to a life of the good of doctrine. His sojourn in Syria was to represent how man acquires the truths of doctrine through various affections and states of a somewhat mixed character.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 55 But the dream of the ladder was a prophetic forecast of these stages of man's reformation. Such a prophecy is seen with every man in his education, for the truths he then learns are the means of his ascent; while in adult life he can descend upon them - by applying them. During regeneration, man repeats these stages, not in a dream, but in spiritual reality. And by those truths which were the truths of his infancy and childhood, the angels of God ascend with him from earth to heaven, while they descend by the truths of his adult age (A 3665, 3701).

Supremely, it was upon this ladder of human degrees that the affections and thoughts of our incarnate Lord ascended and descended, the while He explored and purged His Human of all the hidden evils and falsities that threaten and defile man's spirit. It is also told of man that he "has been so created that the Divine things of the Lord may descend through him down to the ultimates of nature and from these ultimates may ascend to Him; so that man might be a medium that unites the Divine with the world . . . and that so the very ultimates of nature might live from the Divine through man, . . .which would be the case if man had lived according to Divine order" (A 3702).

Jacob in Syria

The acquisition of the means of regeneration, which are the truths of love, is described by Jacob's twenty years of sojourn with Laban, in Syria. First he meets Rachel by the well. For the clear-eyed Rachel represents the love of truth for the sake of use, which must affect man, if the living water of truth is to be seen in the Word. But because the pure affection of interior truth is elusive and rare, and when a man believes that he has it, he finds on examination that he, in his search for truth, has had an eye also to honors, rewards, and praise;


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 56 therefore the story tells that Laban deceived Jacob and gave him the elder sister, Leah, for wife instead of Rachel. Leah was weak-eyed, and represents an affection of external truth.

Laban, who made Jacob serve seven years for Rachel, and then another seven, signifies those states of collateral external good which mediate in our acquisition of spiritual good. Children, the simple, and gentiles are especially in such "collateral good" - good which is useful in introducing genuine truths and goods but which contains many corporeal affections and is grounded in sensual ideas (A 3778).

The function of such "mediate" goods may be seen when we consider how the delight of a child in his toys prepares him for the age next following; and how a youth, by his games and sports, ambitions and dreams, is introduced into the knowledge, judgment, and responsibilities of adult life. These mediate goods are indeed external and corporeal and worldly; they are not genuine goods. Yet they are not evil, but partake both of the affections of the world and of the affections of heaven (A 4063.)

In man's regeneration, there are similarly mediate goods and rewards which make possible a gradual transition from man's evil proprial states to states of regenerate life; which sustain and house his spirit while he engages in the labors of the mind and the study of holy truths (A 3824, 3846, 3848). For any sudden changes of state would deprive man of all delight. The old man is not made new in a moment - as some believe - but through a course of years, nay, throughout his life-time; for lusts have to be quelled and extirpated and heavenly affections must be insinuated (A 4063).



The Sons of Jacob

Leah, who signified the affection of external truth, became the mother of six of Jacob's sons and of his daughter, Dinah. Four other sons were born of handmaids. And finally, Rachel bore two sons. The twelve sons of Jacob in general represented all the things of the church, or of the doctrine of faith and love (A 3858). Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah represented the four stages of regenerate life: Faith in the understanding, Faith implanted in the will as obedience, Charity or spiritual love, and Love to the Lord or celestial love. Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher, the sons of the handmaids, represented the means and modes of regeneration, which are Acknowledgment or the affirmation of internal truth, Temptation, Good Works, and Delight (A 3939). The second group of Leah's sons, Issachar and Zebulun, represent the means of conjunction, viz., Mutual Love and Conjugial Love.

But Jacob's only real love, which inspired him throughout his years of service with Laban, was Rachel. The only "heavenly marriage" or true conjugial in the natural mind is represented by the union of Jacob with Rachel (A 3952, 3969, 3971). Yet up to this point Rachel had been barren. At last "God remembered Rachel" and she bore a son whose name was called Joseph. Rachel, or the affection of interior truth is that whereby the natural good of truth - now signified by Jacob - or the life of the truth of doctrine in the natural mind, could be lifted up, purified, and made spiritual. And from this marriage of the interior truth with natural good is born the Spiritual signified by 'Joseph,' which is the good from which truth will spring (A 3969).



The Enrichment of Jacob

The Hebrew name 'Joseph' means 'addition' or 'gathering' or 'fructification.' After his birth, Jacob desired to return to Isaac his father. But Laban induced Jacob to stay on, asking him to set his own wages; for Laban's herds had vastly increased under Jacob's care. And Jacob then refuses any wages and asks only for the speckled and spotted of goats and the black among the lambs; with the miraculous result that the herds of Jacob are astonishingly increased at the expense of Laban's flocks. And then Laban's sons become envious, Jacob at last flees - by Divine command - taking his wives, his sons, and his great possessions along; and Laban pursues.

The spiritual significance of this ending of the sojourn, is that after there has been a marriage between the interior man ('Rachel') and the external man ('Jacob'), there is a fructification of good and a multiplication of truth. These genuine goods and truths come forth when man acknowledges that there is no good from himself or good gained by his own merit or labor. Jacob chose the black among the sheep, to signify that there is nothing but evil and falsity from one's proprium. Into this acknowledgment the Lord can insinuate innocence. Jacob chose the speckled of the goats to signify an acknowledgment that in man there is no pure good or pure truth with which evil and falsity is not mingled (A 3993, 3994). Only such states of humility and confession can be gathered up by the Lord and be separated from the self righteous "mediate goods" represented by Laban's own flock of supposedly "white" sheep.

And through this separation man becomes spiritual. It is to be noted that Jacob's representation has now changed.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 59 He no longer stands for 'the truth of the natural,' as at first. But by his life of use, he has put on the representation of 'the good of truth,' or the good of natural truth - a good of the natural which is now wedded to interior or spiritual truth. This good now comes to be the dominant thing in the natural mind. Truth no longer is prior, but good. Jacob, by his life, actually takes on more and more the representation of 'Esau' whose birth-right he had purchased.

Separation from Laban

There comes a time when the child must regretfully forsake his toys, and the youth his sports. In regenerate life, there are corresponding delights of worldly and corporeal things which serve to mediate and introduce genuine and selfless good, which do not look to rewards, but to uses; and these introductory pleasures tend to cling to us and are loath to let our spirits free. Laban pursues us - rebukes us, wants us to return to his patronage which was never disinterested. Laban wants to detain his daughters and grandchildren, playing upon their affections. Laban wants his teraphim, his household gods. Laban does not want to acknowledge that the flocks which the Lord gave to Jacob were not still really Laban's.

A change of state involves a change in the societies of spirits around us. In the life of regeneration, the spirits who were with us in the past cleave to us, do not wish us to leave. They wish to hold us in natural states, in the idea of merit and self-interest. And we must flee from these "mediate goods," and cut the bonds of affection that hold us. This is done when all good and truth - all the 'sons' and all the 'flocks and herds' - which we think we have obtained by our own labor and study, are realized as given to us by the Lord, for us to care for and cultivate and to bring into the Lord's kingdom where they may become a fruitful heritage to coming generations.



Thus it is in man's regeneration. In the glorification of the Lord's Natural, the "mediate goods," signified by Laban, also came to His perception. For He procured for Himself those goods and truths by which He made His Natural Divine by means, or by mediation of human states which were based on His heredity from the mother and were aroused by contacts with men, spirits, and angels which He - by His own power - summoned to Himself so far as they could be of service in revealing the nature of His human inheritance and thus the ways by which mankind could be regenerated. (A. 4065, 4075)

Yet the Lord took nothing of good or truth from men and nothing from angels. In conjoining His Natural with His Divine Rational He separated Himself from all human states and at last expelled them. But that this was not done at once is clear from the fact that Jacob's long journey* from Laban's house to the camp of Isaac had to be slow and gradual.

* The distance must have been considerably over four hundred miles.





Jacob Prepares to Meet

It was with grave forebodings that Jacob undertook to return to his father's house. Yet he did so with angelic encouragement. Combining boldness with prudence, he sent messengers to Esau in the land of Seir, south of the Dead Sea, asking That he might 'find favor' in the eyes of his brother. Immediately, Esau hastened to meet him, with a troop of four hundred men.

Jacob was much distressed, and divided his people into two camps, as a precaution against utter destruction. He sent ahead droves of four hundred and twenty goats and sheep and a hundred and ten cattle, as a present to his brother.

The spiritual significance of all this rests on the representation of Jacob as the Lord's Natural or external man, which was in the process of glorification. Jacob at first had represented the doctrine of truth in the Natural, while Esau represented the inborn heredities, or the Natural as to good, both human and Divine, and thus both inclinations derived from human evil and error and inclinations from the Divine Soul.

As the story develops, Jacob (taking on Esau's birthright and Esau's blessing) takes on something of Esau's representation as well. His arduous life in Syria causes him to represent the good of truth, but a good adjoined to mediate goods such as Laban signified. Yet that good was always centered around truth - i.e., it was in its essence truth come into life. It was not the Divine good which in the Lord was from the influx of His very Soul. Let us note that not only had Jacob changed in character, but also Esau.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 62 And Esau now comes to represent the Lord's Divine heredity - the influx of Divine good in the Natural.

It should be made clear that the object represented in Jacob's return to Isaac was the conjunction of the Lord's Natural with His Divine Rational. And such a conjunction could not take place until the truth Divine in the Natural had been reunited with the good Divine in the Natural. It was this reunion which is described when Jacob in fear and trembling humbles himself before Esau. For it involves that whatever function truth may have in human life, good must eventually be recognized as prior. Only so can truth and good be conjoined.

Jacob therefore addresses Esau as 'my lord.' In regenerate life, which commences with learning truth from a very impure and mixed affection, good begins to take the first place when man lives according to what he knows as true, and believes it to be good to do according to truth. This inversion is manifested when the affection of truth is more and more supplemented and enlightened by an affection of good. (A. 2243, 4245.)

The Arcana calls this cycle, represented by Jacob's emigration and return, a "circle of life" (A. 4247). What is insinuated through the senses seems to arouse knowledge and thought and enter the will, descending thence through the thought into act. There are many such "circles" in the mind itself and according to them human life is conducted. And it is stressed that it is always something of 'good' or affection, which produces those cycles, and dominates them.

Jacob's Wrestling

The subordination of truth to good is not effected without temptation. This is foreshadowed by 's hastening to meet Jacob with a retinue of four hundred men.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 63 It is more fully represented by Jacob's lonely vigil on the bluffs of the brook Jabbok, on the night when he had sent his wives and children across ahead. For there "a man wrestled with him until the dawn came." And when the man did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, and put it out of joint. But Jacob clung to the man, demanding that he bless him. Then the man changed Jacob's name to "Israel," saying, 'As a prince thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.' But the man would not give his own name.

It is intimated in the literal story that it was God with whom Jacob thus fought. The Arcana states that it was a spirit, indeed, a society of evil spirits, that appeared to wrestle with Jacob. Jacob did not undergo a spiritual temptation. Yet a resistance was offered by Jacob to these evil spirits, to signify that the Jews (who were the descendants of Jacob) were such that, despite being surrounded by evil spirits, they insisted on becoming a representative of a church. Jacob even procured the hereditary Divine blessing by deceit and bargained with God for earthly success. The Jews were such by hereditary nature and by choice that they would not admit regeneration (A. 4317). Yet they prevailed in their insistence on becoming the chosen people, and courted a special Divine blessing by cultivating a unique holiness in the externals of worship. (A. 4290, 4293.) By this there came about a communication with heaven, not with the Jews themselves, but with the holy in which they were when they followed the rituals prescribed for them and fulfilled the Mosaic statutes. Because they were so sensual, and ignorant of the spiritual significance of these holy things, they could not profane, and the holy in which they were could be lifted up into heaven (A. 4311).



By Jacob's thigh being put out of joint signified that with the Jews the conjunction between spiritual and natural love was impaired (A. 4230).

But there are various levels of meaning in the Sacred Scripture. There are degrees in the internal sense, answering to the three heavens. In the lowest heaven, the "internal historical sense" is often presented to the life, - a sense which concerns the spiritual and moral states of the nations mentioned in the Word, thus here the Jewish people. In the spiritual sense, presented in the second heaven, the subject is the regeneration of man and the kingdom of the Lord. In the highest, or celestial sense, which is for the inmost heaven, the subject is the Lord and His glorification. There is also the Divine sense itself of the Word, but this is perceptible only by the Lord.

The subject-matter of all the three angelic senses of the Word can however be communicated to man. (A. 4279). In the story of Jacob's wrestling the Arcana discloses not only the internal historical sense but also the celestial or supreme sense. With reference to the Lord, the wrestling signifies the Lord's temptation as to truth and as to the good from truth. And it is explained that the Lord admitted not only all the hells in succession but also the angels to tempt Him, in order to reduce all into order in the heavens and in the hells. (A. 4237). Thus in this case "it was the angelic heaven with which the Lord fought" and which was represented by the assailing spirit. So far as the angels were not in their proprium, so far they are in good and truth and so far they cannot tempt. But so far as their proprium was activated, they could induce upon the Lord's Natural Human an inmost temptation, which acts only upon ends and this with a subtlety which no man could possibly observe.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 65 For angels, although regenerate, still possess their evils and falsities from which the Lord withholds them. Moreover, they are finite and their minds are therefore in rational appearances such as clothe all finite ideas. And when the angels are left to their proprium, heaven is not willing to reveal its quality; wherefore Jacob received no answer when he asked of his assailant, 'Tell me, I pray, thy name!' (A. 4295, 4296.)

In the supreme sense, Jacob signifies the Lord's Natural which was being reduced into correspondence and thus glorified. But since the truth in the Natural had not yet complete power to conjoin itself to celestial-spiritual good, Jacob's thigh was put out of joint.

The change of state in the Lord' s Natural which took place because of His victory in these temptations is described by the words, 'Thy name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel.' By 'Israel,' the Prince of God, is signified "the celestial spiritual man which is in the Natural and indeed is natural."

These terms seem to discourage all understanding, especially since it is explained that although it is described as 'natural,' that which is here referred to is a quality which characterizes those who are in the externals of the second, or spiritual, heaven. It is therefore shown that all the "spiritual" angels in this middle heaven are celestial-spiritual men, being called celestial because they are in mutual love and being called spiritual because they have intelligence inspired by that love (A 4236). Yet 'Israel' signifies the spiritual man being formed in the Natural. For let us note that there is in man a Rational and a Natural. As soon as an end of good has been established in the Rational, man begins to be regenerated.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 66 But this regeneration is worked out in his Natural, or in his conscious natural mind. This is why Jacob labored twenty long years for Laban. For in the natural mind truths are gradually conjoined with goods. The light of heaven inflows into the things which are of the light of the world, and makes them to correspond: and thus first exterior truths are seen and then more and more interior truths (A 4402). These truths in the external man become the good of truth when they are lived. "Act precedes, man's willing follows; for what one does from understanding, he at length does from will, and at last takes it on as a habit" or a second nature. And only then is it implanted in his interiors; and he begins to perceive in it something of the blessedness of heaven (A 4402, 4353). The good of truth - at first cultivated by self-compulsion - thus becomes more and more spontaneous and effortless in its expression. This is later described by the reunion of Jacob with Esau, by whom such spontaneous natural good is signified.

It is therefore said that "the spiritual man is not the interior rational man, but the interior natural." (A 4402). Those who are celestial - as were all in the beginning - are regenerated by another, more direct way, for they "become rational from good" (A 2073), since they can receive the influx of Divine good in their will, and see truths from rational perception. The celestial man is therefore said to be 'from the Rational,' while the spiritual man is said to be 'from the Natural.' But it is clear from what soon follows that it is possible from being a spiritual man to become celestial, if progress continues.

Submission to Esau

The story of the reconciliation of Jacob and Esau is, in the internal sense, a review of states which now reach their culmination.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 67 It is a re-statement of the conjunction of natural Divine good (signified by Esau) and the good of truth which formally submits and as it were renounces its priority and thus is induced into natural Divine good. Therefore Jacob is not as yet called 'Israel.'

Jacob divided his family, placing the maidservants and their children first, then Leah and her offspring, then Rachel with Joseph. This precaution, dictated by dread, symbolizes the manner in which truths are introduced to good, or applied to life. First come general truths, respectively external and corporeal; then more particular truths pertaining to the natural mind; and last come more interior truths which contain "singulars" and belong to the rational mind. This is the order of man's education; and this is also the sequence of states when man's mind is rearranged and prepared for regeneration (A 4345).

Esau met these groups in their order. Always the good which inflows conjoins itself with the inmost in the natural. But this inmost is very external at first, and becomes - with each stage of life - more interior as more interior truths appear (A 4353).

After the two brothers had embraced and kissed, Jacob presses Esau to accept the generous droves of cattle which had been sent ahead. These droves also represent the special confirmatory truths which - as a sphere of associated ideas and affections - serve to introduce a truth when it is being implanted in good (A 4364).

Graciously accepting these gifts, Esau offers to escort Jacob's caravans and herds to their father's house. But Jacob declines, because the children were tender and there were sucklings among the herds which must not be overdriven.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 68 Here again we find intimation that in the Natural of the Lord there were truths not yet made Divine - though imbued with life.

The Massacre of Shechem

Jacob's journey was thus broken by several stops. One was at Shechem, where two of the sons of Jacob committed an atrocious massacre upon the population of the city, in revenge for the rape of their sister Dinah. What place could such a story have in the Divine narrative! Yet the character of Simeon and Levi is here openly revealed, and in the internal historical sense it relates how the posterity of Jacob was to extinguish with themselves all the truth of doctrine surviving from ancient times; for this truth, the doctrine of charity and mercy, was represented by the Hivites of the city.

The celestial sense of this chapter is not disclosed in the Arcana. Yet it is to be presumed that it concerns the Lord's reflections as to the permissions of evil. For the massacre of Shechem was permitted lest the Hivites, who were of the "church with the Ancients," a remote good remnant of the celestial church in the land of Canaan, should profane their truth by conversion to a mere representative of a church, like that of the sons of Jacob. As has been shown, the celestial way of salvation differs widely from that of the spiritual; and for the Hivites to accede to the merely sensual religion of Jacob would have endangered their souls. Their physical destruction was therefore their spiritual salvation. Yet this did not exculpate the sons of Jacob, but only illustrates the inward mercies of the Divine providence (A 4247, 4493).

Birth of Benjamin

Jacob's journey was broken at Bethel.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 69 There all strange gods, amulets, and earrings were renounced and buried under an oak, as Jacob formally confessed that God's part had been accomplished of the covenant pledged after the dream of the ladder. And Rebekah's old nurse died and was also buried there. All this served to represent the expulsion of hereditary evils from the Lord's Human. Hereditary evil is here represented as a nurse - because it feeds the natural man up to the first states of regeneration, even though it is concealed by states of innocence (A 4564).

The Lord's state at this point is described in connection with the altar Jacob now raised at Bethel. The Lord had made His Natural holy - which was to be done before He made it Divine (A 4559). And this progress is next described by which the Natural could advance towards conjunction with the Rational. For the Lord's glorification of His Natural proceeded from externals to interiors, even as is the case with man.

To indicate this progress it is said that Jacob and his family 'journeyed from Bethel and were still a little way to come to Ephrath,' which is Bethlehem, when Rachel died, giving birth to Benjamin, her second son.

By Ephrath and Bethlehem are signified the same as is represented by Benjamin - namely, a means or a medium through which one must advance, if from spiritual one is to become celestial (A 4535). For to climb up to higher things without an intermediate is impossible.

If we recall that Jacob signifies the External Natural and Israel signifies the Internal Natural, which is the spiritual man formed in the Natural; whereas Isaac, to whom Jacob was now returning, represents the Rational, and here the Lord's Divine Rational; it becomes clear that the intermediate by which there is an approach of the Natural to the Rational, must partake both of the Natural and of the Rational.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 70 And since the interior of the Natural is the spiritual, and the interior development of the Rational is the celestial; it may be seen that 'Benjamin' could be called 'the spiritual of the celestial' (A 4535).

The Arcana states that these things are so obscure to most people as to be scarcely intelligible, but that because they make up the internal sense of the Word they must be laid open. "The time will come when there will be enlightenment" (A 1402). The difficulties would seem to lie in the terminology. Yet the real reason for the obscurity lies not in the terms but in the fact that few are solicitous to understand the things of heaven, and still fewer are in genuine charity and thus the distinctions between spiritual states are not perceived (A 4286).





The Spiritual Significance of Benjamin

The teachings of the Arcana Coelestia distinguish within man's mind two discrete degrees, the Rational and the Natural. The Rational is able to regenerate first, in that it can conceive a good purpose or "an end" which is good and unselfish. This "end of good" in the Rational is derived from remains of celestial good especially implanted by the Lord in the innocence of infancy. The faculty to see truths comes from the celestial of innocence. Such celestial states are in general represented in the Lord by 'Abraham' and 'Sarah,' and the resultant states in the Rational are represented by 'Isaac,' and also by 'Rebekah' his wife. The Rational of man grasps at much which only later ages can fully realize. It forms ideals early in life, while our natural mind is still confused and disordered. It takes a life-time of regeneration for the Natural to cease its resistance and become conjoined to the Rational, so that the natural man can act from rational conviction and conscience with something of delight and freedom.

This regeneration of the natural man is described by the arduous life of Jacob and by his eventual return to his father's house. When the natural man is regenerated, something spiritual is developed within the Natural. This spiritual, with all its many states, is in general signified by the twelve sons of Jacob and especially by Jacob himself when his name has been changed to "Israel." Israel is the spiritual man - the conscience of truth.

Among the spiritual states that are born in the natural mind during regeneration, is one which is signified by 'Joseph.'


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 72 He was the first son of Jacob and Rachel, but spiritually he was really more a "son" of his grandfather Isaac. For he represents a state which partakes of the Rational more than the other states. It is not a state which one can discern in oneself, for like all things that make one with the rational or internal man it becomes entirely unconscious. It is a state which is proper to the more interior angels of the second or spiritual heaven - a state of mutual love and intelligence which is called "the celestial of the spiritual from the Rational," or simply the good of spiritual truth (A 4236).

It is notable that while the good which a man procures by obedience to a truth which he naturally perceives comes to a man's perception, because it is the result of a deliberate or conscious endeavor, yet spiritual truth - or truth in spiritual form - is beyond his conscious control, and still more elusive and undiscerned are the "internal good" or the affections and delights that come from it. Therefore the Arcana can only describe this internal good by a name - a term, the "celestial of the spiritual from the Rational." And for the same reason 'Joseph' was snatched away from his father Jacob and lived unbeknownst to his brethren in a foreign land (A 5327).

For this reason also, 'Joseph' is presently said to signify "the rational man" or "the internal man," since it is part of that of man's spirit which is imperceptible to the natural man.

But Joseph had a brother, Benjamin. The kinship by blood is insufficient to show their real relation. For Benjamin - motherless from birth - was a son as well as a brother to Joseph. In the internal sense, 'Joseph' may be considered as a state born within the Natural signified by 'Jacob'; and it was from this state that the new thing, signified by 'Benjamin,' was conceived. In the course of events the close relationship between Joseph and Benjamin is made clear.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 73 Not only were they both the sons of Rachel. But when Joseph was visited by his brethren, in Egypt, he could not reveal himself to then except after Benjamin had been brought to him. Benjamin therefore signifies that medium or intermediate by which the internal or rational man is to be conjoined with the external or natural man, and by which man from spiritual may advance to become celestial.

What is this medium? It is said to be "interior truth immediately dependent on the internal good which is 'Joseph'"; therefore it gave a clearer and keener perception than the truths represented by the brothers (A 5920). It is also said that this interior truth is a "new truth" when it presents itself in the Natural. And it is explained that this "new truth" is the only truth that makes a man "a church," for it is the kind of truth that springs from spiritual good (signified by 'Israel'); and the man who is in truths of faith from good is a church (A 5304, 5306, 5322).

It is therefore through this new truth, which is a keen perception of interior truths that comes from a life according to spiritual truth, that the spiritual states in the natural mind of man can become conjoined with the Rational. Jacob has returned to Isaac and is accepted as the heir. When the regenerating man comes to this point, his Rational comes to live in his Natural as in an embodiment. The Rational indeed has its distinct life still, yet it is received in the natural mind. And this is signified in the sacred narrative by the statement that Isaac died and was gathered to his people, and Esau and Jacob buried him. For the Rational as it were rose again - reincarnated in the good and the truth of the Natural.



The Descendants of Esau

The supreme sense of the story of Jacob traces certain steps in the glorification of the Lord's natura1 and its conjunction with the Divine Rational. In the thirty-sixth chapter of Genesis we find a list of names, giving the descendants of Esau, or 'Edom' It describes the various states of the Lord as to the Divine natural good in His Human, even to corporeal states which were the Divine. This natural good was the good derived from His Divine Soul - which was Jehovah; and it was therefore Divine by birth, although invested exteriorly by the inheritance from the mother which was gradually expelled. Since the derivations of these Divine states transcend even the understanding of the angels, these names of the Edomite genealogies are only explained most generally. The main teaching is that the Lord alone was born into good, or has good from Himself (A 4641, 4642, 4644).

Joseph Envied By His Brethren

Esau dwelt in Mount Seir. But Jacob "dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings." And Jacob gave to Joseph, the son of his old age, a coat of many colors. It is mentioned that Joseph brought to his father an evil report of the doings of his older brethren. Their envy of him increased when he told them of his dreams - that their sheaves bowed down to his sheaf and that the sun and moon and eleven stars bowed themselves before him.

Joseph, in this chapter (Gen. xxxvii), stands for the Divine Spiritual which proceeds from the Divine itself and which is here described as the Divine which makes the second heaven - the internal of which had previously been represented by 'Joseph.' Now, however, it is the reception of this Divine Spiritual in the Church which is described as the Lord foresaw it through the human states that revealed themselves before Him while on earth.



Nothing spiritual, or - what is the same - nothing of Divine truth, can reach human minds except through the acknowledgment of God as Divinely Human. The "supreme doctrine" of the church, to which all other truths must bow, is the doctrine that the Lord's Human is Divine. But the minds of men are averse to acknowledge this doctrine; and the jealousy of the brethren towards Joseph was paralleled by the pronouncements of various councils in the Christian Church which effectually denied that the human of the Lord had been made Divine, but fostered the idea that His human nature from Mary was still retained, and that He ascended with a man's soul and the lacerated body of a man, to join a trine of eternal Divine "Persons."

Then Joseph came to the brethren in the field, they plotted to kill him. Reuben's intercession for Joseph's life, and their consequent decision to sell him - at Judah's suggestion - for silver to the Ishmaelites, was significant. For what profit would there be to preach Christianity to the simple unless some idea of His Divinity be preserved as a matter of form? Thus the truth was kept alive, while faith became perverted. The doctrine of the Lord was violated and - like Joseph's tunic, dipped in blood - defiled by notions about a bloody atonement, about a trine of Divine 'persons,' and about an unglorified Christ. The learned of the Christian world, more and more, historical interest.

Where falsity is, evil follows. The thirty-eighth chapter of Genesis therefore describes how Judah married a Canaanitish woman and how later his daughter-in-law, Tamar, went to the desperate extreme of playing the harlot in order to raise up seed to Judah.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 76 This represents that the Jews would receive no internal truth unless it was persuaded that it came from themselves (A 4911). In general this is the state of a consummated church. Yet the general series of the internal sense points to a state in the Lord's maternal heredity, since it was from Judah's adultery with Tamar that the tribe of Judah and the house of David originated; and the exposal by the Lord of the hereditary evils of the worst of nations made possible the Lord's victory over the hells.have sold the truth of the Lord's Divinity into Egyptian slavery - relegating the doctrine among ancient superstitions or treating it as of only

Joseph in the House of Potiphar

The Midianitish merchants who lifted Joseph out of the pit represented those who are in the truth of simple good and could therefore attach value to the doctrine of the Lord' s Divinity and deliver it from utter extinction. The truths of simple good are "interior natural truths" or conclusions of common sense which need to be corrected and made sound by knowledge of the genuine church. But in confirming a doctrine by scientifics, however, men are wont to be seduced by appearances and to reduce the sublimest teaching into terms of exact 'scientifics.' And thus they may consign even the doctrine of the Lord to an obscure position in the memory, selling Joseph to Potiphar, the prince of Pharaoh's guard.

Potiphar represents those interior concepts which are used to interpret the scientifics of the church. Among such interior natural truths are the science of correspondences, the doctrines of man as a Microcosm, and of the Grand Man, and of Degrees, and many other philosophical doctrines which touch upon spiritual things. Such concepts were used in the Ancient Church and have been handed down through the ages in more or less contorted forms.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 77 But Potiphar made Joseph the overseer of his household - which signifies that the interior things of the Natural were being made new - or, in the Lord, glorified. In the course of the glorification of the Lord's Human, the Rational itself was first made Divine and then the Natural was by degrees also glorified. As the Natural was being conjoined with the Divine Rational, certain intermediate states came into being which answered to the various developing interiors of man' s mind and to the various degrees of the second or spiritual heaven. The inmost of these states was "the celestial of the spiritual" which is called "Joseph." This acts as man's internal and inflows with regenerating power into the Natural. And with the Lord, the influx of this Celestial from the Rational into the Natural was not only to reorder and govern the scientifics there but to glorify His Internal Man, until it has all power even in the Natural. Only by its presence and operation in the natural mind can the conscience of the internal man regenerate the conscious externals of man's thought and reorder his memory, in the order of which man's eternal character is fixed. Similarly, Joseph had to be brought down into Egypt, in order that the destinies of Israel might be fulfilled.

At first a state of contentment follows in the natural mind: "Jehovah blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake." But Potiphar's wife sought to seduce Joseph, and - when rebuked - seized Joseph's garment and held it as a witness against him. The wife of Potiphar here represents the hidden lusts and the malice that are present in hereditary natural affections which appear as virtues until they are antagonised. When a spiritual conscience refuses to pander to the vanity of such merely natural good as inborn pity or soft-heartedness that utterly fails to distinguish right from wrong, man is accused by evil spirits of having a lack of charity;


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 78 because some of the ultimate truths of the Word do indeed seem to teach an indiscriminate kindness even to the evil. And he then stands defenceless, his garments left behind. His conscience is deprived of its freedom! Joseph is cast into prison.

Joseph in Prison

It was by similar temptations that the Lord displaced the inherited 'natural goods' derived through the mother by the Divine natural good which He had by conception from Jehovah. The state of temptation is described as a prison; and here is meant the state of the 'lower earth' in the spiritual world - where those who are bound by falsities remain in a condition of arrested development. Yet there is always some governing truth in which man has been confirmed from the Word which is stirred up by Divine influx and which rules and governs the thoughts and raises him up when he falls into doubts or despair. This governing truth was represented by the governor of the prison, who favored Joseph and made him the superintendent of the prison.

The Egypt of Joseph's time represented the natural mind in a state of reformation. The king signified the interiors of the Natural which had been made new - these interiors being especially such abstract concepts of knowledge as are rationally ordered in the interior realm of man' s memory (A 5094). But the exteriors of the Natural were still not in correspondence, but were in a disorderly state. These exteriors, or sensuals, of the Natural were represented by Pharaoh's chief butler and court baker who had been thrown into prison. Each of these functionaries had a prophetic dream which Joseph interpreted for them. The butler dreamt of a vine with three branches and of sweet grapes which he pressed into Pharaoh's cup.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 79 But the baker dreamt of carrying on his head three perforated baskets and of birds which ate the bakemeat out of the basket on his head. As Joseph had foretold, the butler was restored and the baker was hung. In the internal sense, however, the butler represents the sensual things that are subject to the understanding - which are liable to fallacies and the illusions of the senses. Such fallacies must indeed be rejected (A 5077, 5034). Yet external sensation is necessary to life, to thought, and to salvation. And after suitable amendment by rational thought (as represented by Joseph's admonitions) and after proper discipline when it tries to overstep its functions and dogmatise about the truth of what it senses, it can resume its use of serving as a mirror to represent interior things - and as a plane from which the interior natural (at the prompting of the Rational) can call forth sound conclusions. Thus the things which enter through the senses are reduced to order, and man can become rational (A 5119, 5125 - 5128).

It is different with the sensuals of the will, signified by the baker. For by these sensuals of man's voluntary are understood the lusts of the flesh and the evil delights into which the inflowing life is turned where there is no conscience. The native will of man is beyond redemption and can in no wise be converted into a new will. The new will must have another origin, and indeed in the rational, thus in the understanding from the Lord.

Man's interiors, which receive the influx of life from the Lord, are represented by the three baskets which the baker carried on his head. In general, these interiors are: the interior Rational, in which are the angels of the celestial heaven; the exterior Rational, which answers to the middle heaven; the interior Natural,* in which the good spirits of the lowest heaven are;


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 80 and, finally, the exterior Natural which is the sensual signified by the baker and the butler. Through these degrees the celestial and spiritual from the Lord flows to give life; and the life is qualified according to the receiving form. If, on any of these degrees, there is no reception or response, the life is simply transmitted down to the lowest degree, or the Sensual; and in the sensual things of the will life is appropriated and sensed as enjoyments of self-love and worldliness, or as the evil delights of revenge, hatred, cruelty, adultery, or avarice, or as mere voluptuousness and love of luxury.

* The term is here used in a general sense.

This evil state is what is symbolized in the baker's dream, when it is said that the baskets on his head were perforated - that is, full of holes, as if it could not hold the food placed in them. The doctrine is that it is needful that each degree of the mind be well terminated and made distinct, if it is to form a plane or receptacle of the Divine good that inflows through the soul and through heaven. These "terminations" make man's interior degrees into responsive planes which as it were catch and hold the influx of life before it is perverted in the sensual will, and be snatched away by falsities of evil, even as the birds ate up Pharaoh's bakemeats (A 5145.)

The Arcana explains that the degrees within man's will are 'terminated' by internal bonds, which are affections of truth and good such as make up the various planes of man's conscience. All who have conscience are saved. The degrees of conscience are built up as man is regenerated. And this is done through the understanding of truth and good; and this in turn rests upon the ultimate of knowledge, such as is gained through the sensuals signified by Pharaoh's butler.



Hence we read that it was through this butler that Joseph was eventually released from his confinement and elevated to become the great power behind Pharaoh's throne. In the course of the Lord's glorification, He utterly rejected from His natural man the sensual and evil voluntary which He had from the mother, and in its place He procured a new will in the Natural from the Divine good by means of the intellectual. This new will was signified by 'Joseph' who became the real ruler in Egypt.

The supreme sense within the story of the Butler and the Baker is therefore an account of how the Lord glorified His very corporeal human. Man cannot regenerate as to his material body, nor as to his external sensual life (A 5079). "The earthly corporeal is no longer of any use to him when he is in another world where there are other functions and other powers and abilities" for which the nature of his spiritual body is adapted. Therefore "no man rises again in the body with which he was clothed in the world; but the Lord alone so arose, and this because He glorified His body, or made it Divine, while He was in the world." He "made the very corporeal in Himself Divine, as well its sensuals as their recipients; wherefore He rose again from the sepulchre with His body..." (A 5078).

It is thus clear that in the glorification of the Lord's Natural He did not reject the body, with its senses; for this was the ultimate Human which He glorified and made Divine. But what He rejected was the affections and desires of the sensual will and the fallacious conclusions to which the Sensual was liable (A 5094).



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The Mode of the Lord's Glorification

The story of Joseph, with his extraordinary shift of fortune when from a slave in a dungeon he was suddenly elevated to be the virtual ruler of the greatest empire on earth, has generally been recognized among Christians as a prophetic forecast of the Lord's life on earth - in that the Lord from a state of rejection and humiliation rose from the grave into Divine majesty. The parallel is drawn only as to external events. But the Arcana Coelestia relates the mental states by which the Lord "made His Human, and here especially His Natural, new and at length Divine" (A 5249), and how He thus "not only regenerated Himself but also glorified Himself" (A 3133).

Specifically, "Joseph" represents the "internal man" of the Lord's Human, while Pharaoh and all the Egyptians represent various elements in His natural or external man, which is represented to be in a state of order or reformation. As to His internal man the Lord suffered temptations which are signified by Joseph's being thrown into prison. And through these temptations He attained to the foresight of how His Natural should become glorified, by the provision of a new will also in the Natural, procured through the understanding of the natural man after the sensual will, or the evil hereditary from the mother, had been utterly destroyed. That the hereditary inclinations of the old will were thus totally rejected, is described by the baker of Pharaoh being condemned to death. But by Pharaoh's butler being restored to favor is signified that the sensual things of the understanding, through which knowledges are acquired, were retained to serve. It is explained that the Lord had a Divine voluntary (or will) which was from conception and was the Divine good itself;


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 83 but that He had also the voluntary which was from the mother, and it was this that was evil and had to be rejected. "And in its place a new one was to be procured from the Divine voluntary by means of the intellectual..." (A 5157).

The Dreams of Pharaoh

It was therefore the butler of Pharaoh which proved to be the humble means of Joseph's rise to power. The occasion was furnished by certain dreams which disturbed Pharaoh's slumber - dreams which neither the magi nor the wise men of Egypt could interpret. At his butler's suggestion, Pharaoh then sent for Joseph. The king had dreamt that seven thin and "evil" kine devoured seven fat kine, and that seven bad ears of corn consumed seven other well-filled ears. The natural prophecy involved was now interpreted by Joseph to mean that after seven years of plenty there would come seven years of famine and want. But the spiritual meaning of the seven evil kine was unholy falsities such as dissipate holy truths of charity and faith from the interiors of man's memory, in the early states of regeneration before those truths have been conjoined to good. The seven bad ears of corn, on the other hand, signify useless knowledges which threaten to drive out the knowledges of the church from the external memory (A 5207, 5212, 5217).

The threat of such spiritual famine and devastation stirs the interior Natural of the regenerating man, and fills it with anxiety; even as Pharaoh was troubled, facing possible disaster to his whole realm. It is easy to perceive that there are falsities which can obscure the light of truth and as it were exterminate it. It is not so easily understood what is meant by useless knowledges.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 84 The Arcana explains that "knowledges of no use are those which have no other purpose than glory or pleasure; ... because they do not benefit the neighbor" (A 5214). It is such knowledges that crowd out and lay waste the useful knowledges of the memory.

There is a Providence which directs the successive unfolding of the states of man's mind. In childhood and adolescence, not only are those hidden and interior states called "remains" implanted, but many knowledges and truths are procured, introduced by worldly and corporeal loves (A 5270). These truths, as man matures, are actually elevated into the interior natural, where he sees truths of faith in something of rational light; and thus he comes into a state of "reformation." "Into this state are introduced most of those who are in the church, from infancy to early manhood; and yet few are regenerated; for most in the church learn the truths of faith or the knowledges of good for the sake of reputation and honor, and also for gain..." (A 5230).

But with those "few" who can be regenerated and who are in an affection of learning, the truths of faith are greatly multiplied - as were the harvests of Egypt during the seven years of plenty (A 5376). For their needs are foreseen by the Lord, even as Joseph provided ahead for the lean years. These lean and dangerous years come to every man. But those who reflect upon their wrong-doing and feel anxiety over their evils, become conscious of the spiritual famine that is overtaking them as they come near to the point where regeneration begins. They sense the fact that many truths were introduced into their minds by worldly and selfish affections - with which the truths themselves, when their real bearing is understood, cannot be conjoined. And it seems then as if they were deprived of those truths - since the truths seem too abstract and impracticable to be of use.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 85 Such a man comes into a state of desolation and unfruitfulness - seven years of famine.

Yet those truths which he knows and acknowledges from his own insight and by his own thought, are not really lost. In the Lord's providence they are merely withdrawn into the interiors. This is meant when it is said that Joseph was made the all-powerful agent of Pharaoh and - during the seven plentiful years - gathered up all the food in the land of Egypt and put it into storage in the centers of the cities, in quantities too great to number.

The food thus gathered up signifies the truths which man has adjoined with goods, as when he finds enjoyment in doing some good or service to the neighbor apart from any thought of self-profit. Such truths as he then perceives invite a spiritual light, and are stored up interiorly within man's abstract doctrinal concepts, or - as the Arcana puts it - in the interiors of the interior natural; which is signified by "in the midst" of the cities. Cities represent doctrines, and thus abstruse ideas which enter the mind not as sensual pictures but as rational concepts, and which then lodge in an interior realm of the natural memory to serve as a basis for more interior speculation. And those things there which are illumined by the light of heaven are called "spiritual things" or truths adjoined to good and can serve as spiritual food. These spiritual things are identified with spiritual 'remains' and are said to consist of nothing but "correspondences" with the societies of the second heaven. It is this heaven which is opened to man's spirit when he is regenerated or closed when he does not suffer himself to be regenerated (A 5344, 5328e).



Birth of Joseph's Sons

It was during the years of plenty that Joseph married the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, and his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were born. Manasseh means 'forgetfulness,' and signifies a new voluntary in the Natural, which wipes out the remembrance of hereditary evils. Ephraim means 'fruitfulness,' and signifies a new intellectual (or a new understanding) in the Natural, with a consequent multiplication of truth from good; which clearly refers to those remains of truth which were being stored up in the early states of regeneration.

The Years of Famine

But soon the famine commenced, and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. The internal sense here rests only lightly upon the historical sense of the letter. For - contrary to the appearance - regeneration advances even during states of spiritual famine, and goods are multiplied when there is no longer any obvious multiplication of truths. And good needs truth. The people cry to Pharaoh for bread (A 5365).

It is in such states of desolation that the hunger for truth is most keenly felt. The truths of good are then successively and by slow degrees let back into the Natural - to be there conjoined with good; but only according to man's current needs.

The Ten Brethren Taken For Spies

It must here be noted that the famine extended to many lands, and also to Canaan. Jacob sent the ten half-brothers of Joseph down to Egypt to buy corn, but did not send Benjamin. And when Joseph saw his brethren without Benjamin he made himself strange to them and accused them of coming to spy out the land; he then made Simeon remain as a hostage, until they could prove their statements by bringing Benjamin down with them.



Joseph's hidden intention to seek a reconciliation with his family is clear from his actions. With reference to man's regeneration, 'Joseph' represents the internal man which must become the master of the natural mind. More particularly, he represents that interior conscience which is formed in the unconscious depths of the rational mind on the basis of childhood 'remains' of spiritual good. This conscience of the internal man exerts a hidden rule over the interior and exterior Natural, even as the unseen soul orders and organizes man's mind and body and provides for all his needs; and even as Joseph acted as the real power behind Pharaoh's throne, and also caused all the Egyptians to obey him.

Something of the reformation of the Natural was described by the life of Jacob in the house of Laban and by his return to Isaac. But as man grows, especially in understanding, his natural knowledge increases and the Natural has to become regenerated as to all that widening field of the memory which is signified by Egypt. The conscience formed in the internal man acts secretly to reduce the memory to serve its purposes. Yet man's conscious life all along is conducted on various levels in the Natural. Jacob and his ten sons are carrying on their arduous life, unconscious of Joseph and Joseph's plans.

By Jacob and his sons are particularly represented the doctrinal ideas of man's natural mind, ordered by the kindly government of "the good of truth" which man deliberately cultivates. (A 5505, 5401) But states arise in the mind when doctrinal ideas are not in accord with the inner conscience that should enlighten them. And lest the mind then remain in a constant internal dissension and in danger of famine and spiritual death, there must be a reconciliation between doctrine and conscience.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 88 The natural man thinks that this can be done simply by more knowledge, or by confirming doctrine by scientifics or by whatever knowledge is available in the church; in other words, by seizing upon scientifics to sustain one's faith in the doctrinal opinions of others, i.e. in the doctrine of the church, the doctrine currently taught in the church. This is implied by the command of Jacob to his ten sons: Go down to Egypt and buy us food that we may live!

But Joseph would not recognize his brethren. He gave them food to take home; yet he also caused them to search their hearts and humble themselves. For he accused them of being 'spies' and threatened them with death. By this is described a peculiar temptation.

A man is a 'spy' in a spiritual sense when he is content, in adult life, to confirm things taken from others whether they be true or false, and does so merely from a desire to win honor or gain and not from any affection of truth; and who therefore has no real faith in his heart, although he may so persuade himself that he seems to believe. If he is such, he looks for nothing but faults in those who are in truth from affection. He may champion his adopted doctrine without caring whether it be true or false, and may ridicule and condemn the veriest truths if in any other church than his own! (A 5432)

Before one's doctrinal interpretations - learned from others - are confirmed by the literal text of Revelation, our conscience must prompt us to explore the Word to see whether these hear-say doctrines are indeed the doctrines of the Divine Teacher, whether they are truths taught by God in His Word. Every man must indeed first procure doctrine from the mouth and pen of others, for until his rational mind has grown mature he lacks the judgment to draw what he needs directly from the fountain-head of Revelation and to form his own doctrine of life therefrom.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 89 But only after he has consulted and searched the Word from an affection of truth can he confirm what he has learnt and appropriate truths as from the Divine and as of his own faith (A 5402, 5432e).

Yet this cannot be done, unless the proper state be present in the mind. And until it is present man comes into a state of temptation, fear, and despair. This lacking element is represented by Benjamin. If Benjamin were only there, Joseph's longing heart could be satisfied. As it was, Simeon had to remain as a hostage, while the nine brethren were sent home. Simeon signified faith in the will, or the obedience to hearsay doctrine; which must be suspended in order that man may be spiritually free to think from the Word itself. And Joseph secretly had the silver they had brought to buy grain put back in their bags. On their way home, this was discovered, to their great distress, for they feared that they would now be taken for thieves. The significance of this was that spiritual food is procured without any prudence of man' s part and that men must not claim for themselves the truth and good which are of conscience (A 664, 5758).

The famine compelled Jacob to allow Benjamin to go with the brethren on a second foraging trip to Egypt. And when Joseph saw Benjamin among the brethren who now bowed down before him, he made them a feast. Then he sent them on their journey back. But first their silver was put in their bags and in Benjamin's bag was secreted Joseph's own silver cup. Joseph's servants were then sent to search their baggage for the cup which - to the consternation of the brothers - was found in Benjamin's bag. Brought back like thieves, in ignominy, the brothers pleaded for Benjamin whom Joseph condemned to become his slave.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 90 When Judah offered to take Benjamin's place, Joseph could no longer contain himself, but revealed himself before them.

Benjamin, who was the unconscious center of this drama, represents the state in which the conscience of the internal man and the doctrinal things of the natural man can be reconciled. This mediating state is termed "the spiritual of the celestial." It is essentially an indescribable (A 5411) affection for good and truth and for what is just and right which is devoid of the thought of self. It is felt as a satisfaction and blessedness that comes from heaven and tinges all that he thinks and does (A 5639). When it is associated with doctrinal thought, it takes form as a new kind of truth, which originates in spiritual good and is therefore keenly perceptive of the interior burden and purpose of doctrine. This truth from charity or good is the only truth that really makes man to be of the church rather than merely in it (A 5804, 5806, 5822, 5920). It is the medium by which the Divine mercy which operates through the conscience of the internal man can be received in the natural thought and make doctrine spiritual (A 5816).

It should therefore be clear that it is only in this state that the internal man and the external man can be conjoined, and that man's doctrinal convictions can be purified, clarified, and humbled, so as to recognize the voice of conscience as their own brother and master.

Israel moves to Egypt

'Joseph' represents 'the celestial of the spiritual,' which is the mutual love or charity which is in the spiritual heaven or the spiritual degree of the mind and which acts in the Natural as an interior dictate of conscience.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 91 The gulf which exists between this state in the internal man and the doctrinal ideas of the natural man is crossed in that state which is meant by 'Benjamin'; but it cannot be permanently bridged except by that which is represented by 'Israel.' Israel signifies the good of natural truth, or the good that is acquired by a life of self-compulsion, obedience, holy study, and temptation - a good consciously acquired through truth. This good is called 'spiritual good,' but it is an earlier and thus a lower spiritual good than that which is signified by 'Joseph'; and at the stage here described it is represented as failing, as sorrowful, as famished. Hence Joseph's first question was, 'Is my father still alive?' and his concern was to send the brethren back to bring Israel down to live in Egypt, in Goshen, where his herds might graze on the fat of the land.

After a man's dogmatic opinions have been mellowed by experience and have been brought into attunement with the internal motive of charity; and after man has - in the state described by Benjamin - searched the Word itself and seen the new truths of charity as the Lord's own teachings rather than that of men; then man is free to confirm his doctrines by the scientifics of the church, and by the doctrines of philosophy and by natural truth of every sort and field (A 6047). Then too he is led to see and profit by the practical effects of charity in the ordering of natural uses. The brethren, and Israel, may profit by Joseph's prudence. Yet Joseph warns his people not to yield to the enticements of Egypt, but to ask Pharaoh for a dwelling-place apart, in Goshen. For the truths of the church - as opposed to the world's knowledge - have good as their end: the sons of Israel were shepherds; and shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians.



The Subjection of Egypt

The descent of Israel and his sons into Egypt suggests the general necessity that the truths of the church must clothe themselves in knowledge. Our spiritual reflections and perceptions would soon vanish away unless invested in natural ideas. Only through knowledge can truths become prolific and produce new states. Unless the truths of spiritual doctrine be introduced into the statements and phrases of the letter of the Scriptures, the literal sense might easily be perverted and lead man away into various heresies; whereas if truths from the internal sense are insinuated into the expressions of the letter, these biblical sayings become pellucid vessels which cause all discrepancies to vanish (A 6071).

The land of Goshen, where Israel dwelt, sustained by Joseph's bounty, signified the inmost of the spiritual within the natural mind: where new perceptions of spiritual truths are nurtured in a state untroubled by the stress of time or the prejudices of personal considerations or worldly fears (A 6104).

But in the rest of Egypt there was desolation. Joseph compelled the starving Egyptians to become the serfs of Pharaoh in return for bread. At first they gave up their silver, next their horses and cattle, finally their bodies and lands. It is notable that the vastation here pictured in the internal sense seldom occurs with any man until after death (A 6109). For only after death are the externals of the regenerating man reduced into utter submission to the internal man. How completely the external man is then reduced into correspondence is here suggested. All knowledges which are not imbued with falsity or evil, all states of intelligence and good, and all the receptacles in the natural man, renounce their proprial freedom and acknowledge themselves as subject to the decision of the internal man.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 93 By such vastations, the natural memory of the regenerating spirit is reordered, so that all things become confirmatory to the general doctrines of the church. The population of Egypt was removed by Joseph into the cities, and a fifth of the yield of their lands came to the crown. The "fifth" signified those states of good and truth which are elevated into the interior memory and are preserved as "remains," lest they be mixed with evils and perish when man comes into worldly states; and which are later let down again to vivify the conscious natural mind so far as man is regenerated. The "four fifths" which the people kept for themselves, signify those good states by which man is sustained during his natural life but which are not appropriated interiorly as parts of his character, but are "used up" in the business of living.

The paternalistic autocracy which Joseph imposed upon Egypt may seem repulsive as a social system. Then administered by ignorant men, such a regime could bring only temporary and apparent relief. But the government of the Lord, who is infinitely wise and merciful, is fortunately absolute. It demands of men entire self-renunciation. "In order to render any one blessed and happy, the Lord desires total submission, that is, that he be not partly his own and partly the Lord's." For no man can serve two masters (A 6138).

The Glorification of the Lord's Natural

The Arcana explains that the story of Joseph in its supreme sense treats of the process by which the Lord glorified the natural and sensual degrees of His Human. But in the actual exposition of the literal sense the Arcana treatment seems to dissolve into a description of the regeneration of man's Natural. The reasons are various.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 94 One is that in themselves the states of the Lord were unique and mostly above comprehension (A 5332). Another reason - somewhat paradoxically - is found in the fact that the modes by which the Lord ordered and subdued the human states of the natural man in Himself, prior to their entire removal, corresponded to the modes by which He regulates and subdues man's natural affections and leads him to become spiritual.

The Lord thus visualized in Himself all the states of human regeneration. Unless the Lord had done this, and in doing it had disclosed the true order both of glorification and of regeneration before the angelic hosts and the spirits who attended Him, no man or spirit of the "spiritual" genius or the "spiritual" church - that is, no man whose will was pervert from heredity - could possibly have been saved. For the heavens must be ordered according to this truth which proceeded from the Divine Human, if they are to serve the Lord as media in regenerating men on earth. Regeneration is the introduction of man's spirit or mind into angelic societies. Without the mediation of such societies there can be no spiritual thought and indeed no rebirth of man's spirit. Before the Advent the angels of the Lord's spiritual kingdom and all spirits of the spiritual genius were in a state of arrested development. It was to present the order of the Lord's glorification and man's regeneration before the angels, that the Messianic prophecies were given after the fall of the most ancient church and that the Hebrew Word was written in such a way that the internal sense might describe the successive steps of how the Lord put off the maternal human and put on the Divine (A 2523). Yet when perception failed among the spiritual, the power of such prophecy waned. And the Lord had to come to unite His Human Essence with His Divine Essence and by this restore to the spiritual angels and to men on earth the ability to understand and perceive what is good and true (A 2776).



*       *       *       *       *


The Lord did not only regenerate His Human, but He also glorified Himself (A 3138). His work of redemption necessitated the union of His Human to the Divine. It is this unition which is represented in the story of Joseph, in its supreme sense. Joseph here represents "the Lord's internal Human before it was fully glorified" (A 5417). This was called "the celestial of the spiritual from the natural" (A 5307), or the good of truth in the rational. With angels and regenerate men, there may be born a state of such description, which answers to the internal of the spiritual heaven and is based on the exterior rational. With men, this state acts as the internal of conscience, which is formed from truths of doctrine that are lived from affection and are then perceptible only as a vague affection, a leading as of conscience.

But with the Lord, "the celestial of the spiritual" which was His internal human was a "good of truth" in which the Divine itself was present as a Soul. It is described as the "receptacle of the Divine itself," or as "the first clothing of the Divine itself in the Lord" (A 5331, 5689, 5417). And since the Divine could be thus received only in truth that was from the Divine, it is this holy truth that is signified by Joseph, of whom Pharaoh said, 'Shall we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?' The Lord while in the world was this truth from the Divine (A 5307, 5417). Yet it is spoken of as a receptacle or recipient vessel, (A 5417), and as a medium of Divine proceeding, which is clothed by that which belongs to a lower sphere (A 5689, 5822). It is identified as the very "Human in which the Divine itself could be and which could be put off when the Lord made all the Human in Himself Divine" (A 5331).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 96 For then the Lord would put off everything finite, and would "transcend" every limited concept of truth and become the Divine good itself and one with Jehovah even as to His Human (A 5307).

The Lord alone had a good of truth in which was the Divine itself (A 5331, 5346); because He was conceived of Jehovah, which is the infinite Divine love. This was the reason why He could glorify His Human and make it Divine even as to the natural and sensual. The manner in which this was done is briefly suggested in the Arcana exposition of the story of Joseph in Egypt. It could not be done without the intermediation signified by Benjamin's coming to Egypt.

It was previously shown that Benjamin, the unconscious reconciler of Joseph and his brethren, signified that state of spiritual perception in which the doctrinal opinions which are entertained in the natural mind can be humbled and purified and thus harmonized with the voice of conscience, so that the internal man is conjoined with the external (A 5639, 5688, 5822). It was also suggested that if one is "from spiritual to become celestial" one must advance through this intermediate state, called 'Benjamin' (A 4585:5). This state is actually dependent upon the prior state called 'Joseph,' since it derives its essence from the interior conscience which lodges unseen in the rational. The Arcana therefore teaches that 'Benjamin' represents 'the spiritual of the celestial,' which here means the truth that proceeds from conscience.

But in the Lord's internal man there was a celestial or a 'good of truth' in which was the Divine itself; and the spiritual from that celestial therefore also contained the Divine (A 5689).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 97 And it is definitely stated that while this spiritual of the celestial (signified by Benjamin, last of the twelve sons of Israel) can be born with man only after there has been a regeneration of the natural, yet the Lord, alone of all men, was born a spiritual-celestial man. And while all men whatever born natural, with the faculty of becoming either celestial or spiritual by regeneration, the Lord was born such that there was a conjunction of truth to good in His Natural. Thus He had in His Natural from birth a desire for good and a longing for truth, differently from man who is born ignorant of truth and desirous of evil (A 4592, 4594; AE 449:3). Because Benjamin signified the spiritual of the celestial, the Lord was born in Bethlehem which had a similar representation, and was located at the tribal boundary of Benjamin. The place 'Bethlehem' of course existed (even if not so called) ages before Benjamin was born, but Benjamin, born in the neighborhood, as it were took over its representation for the purposes of the internal sense of the Word.

But while Benjamin was the medium uniting Joseph with the ten brethren, the family of Joseph could not be near him unless his father Israel was willing to come to Egypt. So in the Lord's glorification, it was by means of the introduction of the spiritual good acquired in the Natural into the truths of natural knowledge, that there could be a conjunction of His internal celestial with the spiritual of His natural man (A 5879). But this celestial internal which is signified by Joseph is the celestial of the spiritual degree, or His Divine Spiritual, which could thus communicate its glory to all the states of the Natural. The second or spiritual, heaven is therefore continually referred to in the story of Joseph. For the Lord came on earth for the sake of those who are of the spiritual genius, and the first objective of His advent was to establish on its own firm basis the spiritual kingdom of heaven which is centered in the second or spiritual heaven.



A Shift in Series

The Arcana, at this point, departs from any attempt to present systematically or continuously the process of the Lord's glorification. For, as we have found, human minds can scarcely follow even so far with any sense of reality, for even the parallel story of regeneration here verges towards interior states that lose themselves in the impenetrable depths of the mind.

Yet the internal sense is not interrupted, on any plane. It would now treat, supremely, of the glorification of the Divine Celestial, which is no wise intelligible to man, since it is not describable in the form of ideas, but only in the form of affections. Here and there, through the rest of the many volumes of the Arcana, the tracing of phases of the Lord's glorification is resumed, giving new glimpses of the relation of His Human to the Divine within.

In the three remaining chapters of Genesis, however, the internal series that is expounded has to do principally with the church.

Ephraim and Manasseh Blessed

When Joseph was told that his ancient father was sick, he and his two small sons paid him a visit, that they might receive the patriarchal blessing. But contrary to custom the blind patriarch deliberately reversed his two hands so that Ephraim, the younger, who represented the new understanding in the natural, would be blessed with his right hand, as if he were the firstborn. This was done to represent that in the spiritual church, faith is given a place prior to charity, although when man is enlightened he perceives that good is prior to truth.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 99 Truth is given preference in the spiritual church because the new will (signified by Manasseh) can only be implanted through truths of faith (A 6222). It is explained that the old hereditary will is so depraved with our race that "now there are few with whom there is any soundness in the voluntary part, thus few who can become celestial men but many who can become spiritual" (A 6296).

That the spiritual genius would be prevalent in our present-day races seems to be remotely involved in the prophecy of Jacob, later literally fulfilled, that Ephraim would become greater than Manasseh. Ephraim and Manasseh were however both adopted as on a par with Jacob's own sons, because Ephraim and Manasseh together signified the new spiritual states in the interior natural which stem from spiritual good. Joseph's later issue - of which we never hear - was to have been counted as Joseph's own and would have represented celestial states pertaining to the rational. The rational consists in inwardly seeing and perceiving that good is good - and that truth is truth, but such celestial perception is not directly given with our race, and the "celestial" must therefore develop within the spiritual. Hence Joseph had no later offspring, and the representation of the celestial heaven and the celestial kingdom was eventually assigned to the tribe of Judah (A 6236, 6240, 4592:2, 4605:2).

The celestial signified by Judah is present as a promise and a qualifying element throughout man's regeneration. But it does not come into its own unless man is regenerated fully, or until his celestial degree is opened within the rational; which is signified by the kingdom of Judah established by the line of David.



In the meanwhile man's progress is dependent on the tribe of Levi (as represented in Moses), and on the tribe of Ephraim (as represented by Joshua). Levi signifies spiritual love, or charity. Ephraim, with whom we are now concerned, signifies "the intellectual of the church." "The intellectual of the church is to perceive from the Word what the truth of faith is and what the good of charity is." It consists in man's perceiving this "while he reads the Word and carefully compares one passage with another." But it is possible only with those who are being regenerated, and are enlightened - enlightened not from mere scientifics or by the dictate of science and philosophy, but "from the dictate of the Word in its spiritual sense," which is the doctrine of love and charity. This doctrine is seen by those who are in the affection of good and truth (A 6222).

Again, we are warned that enlightenment is not a mere skill in persuasively confirming the tenets held in the church, nor in being dexterous in either defending or confuting heresies; for such skill is only ingenuity, not intelligence or wisdom. The intellectual of the church, which (like Ephraim) can receive into itself the blessing of Israel, or of spiritual good, is "to perceive, before any tenet is confirmed, whether it be true": and then - if it is true - to confirm it (A 6222, 6500). It is obvious that the progress and safety of the spiritual church depend on such an "intellectual," especially among the clergy and those responsible for doctrinal instruction.

The blessing of Israel is the affection of charity. This is felt by man "as tranquillity and blessedness in doing good to his neighbor without any regard for recompense." This is the internal of the church.



Israel's Death-bed Prophecies

As his death was approaching, Israel gathered his sons about him for a final blessing. Israel's blind eyes saw clearly into the future of the tribes represented by his twelve sons. In a natural sense, his dying predictions were destined to be fulfilled only in some respects. But in the spiritual sense they describe the various states of the church as to good and truth, and also refer to the dangers which await the church.

Thus some of the sons are not blessed, but rebuked, by the dying father. Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are condemned for their sins. "I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel," he says. For they here represent a pervert faith which is separated from charity, and which must therefore be expelled from the spiritual man. Many types of states and people are pictured and characterized in symbolic language: Zebulon would dwell at the haven of ships, to signify those who are useful in propagating doctrine yet lack illustration. Issachar is called a bony ass and a servant to tribute; representing those who at first "dispense good only to those who can offer recompense, and pass by the rest who are in the greatest need" (A 6389). Dan is called a judge, but also a serpent by the way; for he represents such as are in truths yet are liable to false reasonings because good does not lead them. Gad signifies those who are in good works from truth only and are lacking in judgment, and it is therefore said 'A troop shall ravage him.' Asher describes those who have contentment of mind from good affections, and he is therefore promised the dainties of kings. Naphtali is called 'a hind let loose,' to describe those who, after temptations, enjoy a new freedom of the natural affections. And those who are in eagerness to deliver the good from the evil are likened to Benjamin, who is pictured as a wolf dividing his prey.



But the two sons who are dwelt on at greatest length are Judah and Joseph, whose descendants were later to dominate the kingdoms of Judah and Israel respectively. Judah here signifies the celestial church, or the celestial degree of the mind, the opening and development of which is at this point envisioned as the ultimate goal of regeneration. Joseph signifies the spiritual church, or the spiritual degree of the mind.

The Sceptre of Judah

Judah is described as a lion's whelp rising from its prey. For a lion, because of its innate strength has the significance of the good of celestial love; and its young signifies innocence, which implies power over the hells. The celestial power of innocence is seen in the disarming quality which is present in little children, but also in those who are very wise and who seem to be beyond temptation and are no longer susceptible to be deceived by appearances.

But the prophecy concerning Judah is particularly applied, in the Arcana, to the celestial kingdom of heaven. For the angels of that kingdom, before the Advent of the Lord (when heaven consisted for the most part of those who were celestial*), enjoyed a peculiar power in that the Lord governed men and spirits, and indeed the entire "spiritual kingdom," by a transflux of His Divine through that celestial heaven (A 6371). The Divine itself, in its Esse or very Being, is invisible and incomprehensible. But by His "transflux" through heaven He could present Himself as Divine Man, when He spake the Word - or when in the act of revealing the Divine truth. And it is taught that this transflux through heaven was then the Divine Human (A 6280, 3061, 6720, 6831).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 103 The Lord then also appeared in human form as an Angel - the "Angel of Jehovah" before those with whom He spake (A 6331).

* A 4180.

This Divine transflux through heaven was received by the celestial immediately in their will, as good, or as the impelling Divine law of life impressed upon their very being (A 6720). But those who were spiritual (and this includes the prophets on earth) perceived it only when some angel was infilled with the Divine, his own proprium being put to sleep, and thus appeared before their spiritual eyes, as a Human representative of the Divine (A 1745:3, cf 6000:7).

The transflux through the celestial kingdom is therefore called "the Divine Human before the Advent" (A 6720, 6280, 5110). It was the infinite Jehovah "clothed with a Human" or present in the Grand Man of heaven as a pervading Soul (A 3061). And it was this Divine Human in heaven that the Lord "put on" when, at His advent, He glorified His earth-born human and made it Divine. The glorified Human of the Lord, the Arcana states, is the same as the Divine Human before the Advent, or as the Divine transflux through heaven; wherefore the Lord could say, "Before Abraham was, I am" (A 6831, 5110, 4637).

Yet so far as angels and men were concerned, it was not the same. For the Divine Human in the heavens could affect only the celestial. Those of spiritual genius could be affected only through the understanding, and their understanding could be taught by no influx from within but only from without. Thus they were dependent upon the celestial for their entire instruction or for all revelation of Divine things. They could see the Lord only in the Representative Human, or as imaged through angels. And even celestial angels are not "pure," not perfect. When man removed himself from good, that kind of mediate revealment of the Divine was not altogether effective and could not always keep the spiritual kingdom in order, nor keep the spirits of hell from gaining dominion over souls that came from the world.



These are the reasons why Israel prophesied of Judah: "The sceptre shall not be removed from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come..." Shioh is a name for the Lord as Redeemer, and means Pacifyer. The peculiar power of the celestial kingdom was to be preserved until the Lord could come. And until then, also, the spiritual kingdom was to remain attached to the celestial as an external, which is here called a 'lawgiver,' since it administered the representative laws, or truths based upon representative rituals and symbolic prophesy (A 6371-6373).

To distinguish the Divine Human before the Advent (which is described as a transflux through the celestial kingdom from the Divine Human which the Lord entered into by glorification in the world, the Arcana calls the former Divine Human "the Human Divine" (A 6371).* And it is said that by glorification the Lord "put on" the very Divine which is meant by the Divine transflux through heaven and thus took over the power formerly lodged in the celestials. Therefore "this Human Divine ceased when the Lord Himself made His Human in Himself Divine." Not that the Divine transflux ceased in heaven; but by birth and by the expulsion of all merely human heredity, the Divine Human became "an Essence by itself," visible and, in its manifestations, no longer dependent on either angelic or human intermediations. It is therefore said to be a one with the Divine itself in a way not possible as long as angels served as the only means of presenting the Divine Man. (A 3061, 6000:7).

* Compare what is taught in DLW 233 as to the "Divine Natural" which before the Advent was only "potential."



The Blessing on Joseph

It was by the advent and glorification of the Lord that the means were provided for the salvation of the spiritual. For the good of the spiritual church is impure and redemption must therefore come through the good of truth, or the "celestial of the spiritual" signified by Joseph. By the good of truth, the good of faith in the Lord, charity can be established; and it is possible for the spiritual kingdom even to rise above charity into the good of mutual love which is of the celestial kingdom; and thus these two kingdoms may be intimately conjoined, although they are founded on two entirely distinct modes of regeneration (A 6435). Israel therefore said to Joseph, "The blessings of thy father shall prevail above the blessings of my progenitors even to the desire of the everlasting hills."

The Burial of Joseph

The death of Jacob marks the spiritual stage when charity, beginning as an act of self-compulsion, passes over into a spontaneous love, no longer infested by self-conscious reflections on one's merit.

But the book of Genesis concludes with an account of Joseph's death and embalmment in Egypt. Joseph, who represents the height of the of the spiritual man, also comes to represent - in a new series - the Ancient Church, the spirit of which passed away in the course of ages, leaving only a body of dead customs, legends, and rituals. It was around these dead bones of the Ancient Church that the tribes of Israel were to build up their representation of a church; even as they carried the mummy of Joseph with them into the land of Canaan.

Each consummated church or merely natural state of man is characterized by these same symptoms.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 106 The likeness of religion remains, in ritual, in the celebration of sacred festivals, in public opinion, and in morals But the vital breath, the understanding of spiritual uses, has departed. The spiritual things of conscience are withdrawn from men but they remain with angels, awaiting the time when they may again safely return to earth; and they are concealed as celestial arcana within the literal sense of the Scripture, awaiting the time when they may again be perceived in spiritual light.

And now the spiritual sense is unfolded. Swedenborg closes the exposition of the internal sense of Genesis with the words: "It has been dictated to me from heaven" (A 6597).



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Review of Genesis

In order to give a background for the study of the volumes which explain the book of Exodus, it is necessary to remind ourselves of the series of the internal sense in Genesis. The opening chapters treat of the pre-historic churches - the Most Ancient Church, pictured as the celestial garden of Eden; the Ancient Spiritual Church described under the figures of Noah and his sons, saved from the Flood; and the Hebrew Church, which was founded by Eber. The story of Abram, Isaac, and Jacob then follows. It is explained as a prophecy of the life of the Lord born into the world. The three patriarchs represent His Divine Celestial, His Divine Spiritual, and His Divine Natural, and the Arcana is principally occupied in following the inner history of His glorification. This reaches its climax in the story of Joseph who was sold by his brethren and yet rose to become the power behind the throne of Pharaoh and was instrumental in bringing his family down into Egypt. The glorification of the Lord even as to the sensual and corporeal degrees of His Human is recounted in connection with the dreams of the butler and baker of the king of Egypt. "He made the very corporeal in Himself Divine, as well its sensuals as their recipients; wherefore He rose again from the sepulchre with His body..." (A 5078).

But while the general features of the process whereby the Lord made His Human Divine are explained as mirrored in the story of the patriarchs and of Joseph, it is again and again pointed out that the details of this process can be understood only by angels, and can be seen by men only in an image. Parts of the story are therefore explained in the Arcana only as to the spiritual sense or in relation to man's regeneration, or in respect to the states of the church and its redemption from the hells.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 108 Into this series, the truths about the Lord's glorification enter only as occasional outcroppings of a deeper layer of meaning.

Egyptian Bondage

At the close of the book of Genesis, the outline of the Lord's glorification-process has seemingly been completed - up to the end of His life. Remotely, there is a parallel to be drawn between Joseph's death and embalmment and the close of the Lord's life. We find that the descendants of the sons of Israel gradually sink into a condition of virtual bondage under a new dynasty of Egyptian kings who did not know Joseph. It is as if the whole of Israel now came to represent a captive church - or to signify those multitudes of souls from the ancient church who before the Lord's coming were to come under the domination of the hells and were held captivated by various falsities so that they could not find their way to heaven. Such spirits were confined to a spiritual underworld - a "lower earth," often symbolically referred to as 'the pit' or 'the grave.'

It was to liberate and save such souls that the Lord came on earth. For they were of a spiritual genius, in that their will was evil from heredity, and their only hope of reformation lay in being instructed in truth, so that a new will could be formed in their understanding. This was feasible so long as the Church on earth was in a true faith; but when the Ancient Church declined from true worship and fell into idolatry and turned away from the doctrine of charity, these spirits had no means of salvation. For they had no inborn perception of what is good and true, but only a conscience that was formed from the teachings of their religious leaders. They became a prey to any false dogma - became tools of unscrupulous spirits.



The spirits in the "lower earth are thus being infested by evil spirits; they are surrounded by unjudged hells - hells which have not yet disclosed their evils fully. And such hells are now signified by the new Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

Egypt, in a good sense, signifies the natural memory with its wealth of knowledge or scientifics. This was the reason why the Lord as a child was brought down to Egypt and why Abraham and Sarai visited Egypt. This was also the reason why Jacob and his family moved down to Egypt under Joseph's protection. For the sons of Israel signify spiritual truths which - during regeneration - must be insinuated into scientifics or into truths of experience. Spiritual faith is sustained by being confirmed from one's own experience - one's own reading of the Word, one's own natural knowledge - lest it remain simply a second-hand faith, a historical, or traditional, faith.

But if one becomes immersed into knowledge only, in the realm of the memory; if one treasures only one's own experiences, and believes only what one's senses feel or touch: then "Egypt' becomes an alien task-master, lording it over one's religious faith. 'Egypt' then comes to represent those infesting hells which may hold us back from spiritual progress.

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It is on this note that the book of EXODUS opens. The Israelites are being oppressed, compelled to pay tribute in making bricks for Pharaoh' s vast building projects. If one's spirit is oppressed - held captive by false principles, worldly ambitions, or vain persuasions all that one accomplishes turns out to be mere "bricks" - false, artificial, catering to temporalities, destined to crumble eventually. Indeed it is such tasks that the world - as our taskmaster - constantly and impatiently demands of us.



Spirits confined in the "lower earth" are not evil, but cherish a hope for heaven. They are in truths of faith, and in something of the good of faith. And because they love the truths they know, they come into states of great confusion, dejection and grief because of the falsities that evil spirits constantly insinuate from all sides. There are so many worldly states in them that their power to oppose falsities is weak. Yet their truths of faith are steadily multiplied, and are confirmed; even as the children of Israel grew from a mere tribe of seventy people into twelve tribes counting into hundreds of thousands.

Pharaoh feared the growing strength of the Israelites. He proposed to prevent any male children from surviving. But the story does not indicate that he had any success. And it has ever been so, that faith has prospered and been confirmed during states of persecution and martyrdom.

Moses is raised up

The object of the Lord's incarnation was the redemption and salvation of "the spiritual" who were in the state described as "the lower earth." This could be done only by the Lord revealing His Divine Human to men, spirits, and angels, in the form of Divine truth, or Divine law - a revelation of the inner spirit of the Word with its doctrine of love and charity. But this Divine law cannot become effective except so far as it is received by the Church; and this reception is gradual. It is as if the Divine truth was born in the Church or - what is the same - in the mind of the regenerating man, and afterwards must grow by successive stages into its full stature until its authority and leadership is at last recognized.

In the book of Exodus, this law Divine is represented by Moses, who was born from the house of Levi, was put into an ark of bulrushes, and was found and adopted by an Egyptian princess.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 111 The seed of Divine truth is received as a truth which springs from good, it is nurtured in the mind among many good states to which, however, there adhere many evils and falsities. It is discovered - as if abandoned - by man's curiosity or love of knowing (which is here meant by the daughter of Pharaoh) and watched over by rational truths of the church (signified by Miriam, the sister). It is nursed by good affections insinuated into it from the Church around man.

And the truth Divine in the understanding and memory of man by degrees grows by knowledges from the Word in its literal sense - even as Moses was taught in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. But in the meantime man's mind is infested by all manner of falsities, derived from sensual appearances and from the perverted knowledge of the worldly-wise. From his early perception of truth Divine, that is, revealed truth, man begins to discriminate quite clearly between the truth of the church and the falsities of other religions. Thus Moses, angered when he saw an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, killed the assailant and hid him in the sand. But as yet man cannot settle questions of difference about doctrinal views within the church. This was indicated when Moses saw two Hebrews quarreling and rebuked the one in fault. For he was met with the challenge, Who set thee up for judge... Wouldst thou kill me as you killed the Egyptian?!

Moses then flees for his life to the land of Midian. Truth seeks a refuge from falsities in states of simple good. It becomes conjoined with this good, even as the priest of Midian gave him as wife one of his seven daughters whom Moses assisted at the well. For forty years Moses lived with Reuel the priest, who is later called Jethro; and it is noted in the Arcana that he was there instructed in truths from a church not his own - which may mean truths from the Ancient Word (A 6796).



The Call of Moses

The king of Egypt died - but the persecutions continued. And God saw the burdens of Israel. While Moses was feeding the flocks of Reuel on Mount Horeb - the mount of God - the angel of Jehovah spoke to Moses from a bramble bush that was on fire yet was not consumed; and called him to lead his people out of Egypt.

The "burning bush" represented how the fire of the infinite Divine love - which in itself would consume every finite receptacle - could yet abide in the Human of the Lord as a Divine Soul; and how the finite Divine wisdom could similarly be based in the sensuous ultimates of the literal sense of the Word, through which God could commune with men (A 6832, 6834, 6849). Moses was therefore commanded to put off his shoes from off his feet, for the soil on which he stood was holy ground. This was to indicate that the Divine must not be thought of from the sensual things of the world that adhere to human thought.

It is to be noted that the Human of the Lord "was not Divine from birth, but that He made it Divine by His own power" (A 6716). Moses, standing before the fiery bush, represented the Human of the Lord as to the law Divine, but this truth Divine in His finite consciousness was as yet remote from the Divine Soul because associated with the heredity from the mother. (A 6866). And the Human was therefore in a state of humiliation before the Divine while receiving the Divine command. We read elsewhere that the Lord received continual revelations from His Divine Soul which was Jehovah. And it was in this state of Divine enlightenment that the modes of redemption were made clear. Moses was told of the purpose of Jehovah - that the people of Israel were to be led into a land flowing with milk and honey.

The promised land of Canaan where Abraham and Isaac and Jacob had once sojourned but which was now occupied by Canaanites and Perizzites and other idolatrous tribes, represented heavens once peopled by good souls from the Ancient Spiritual Church.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 113 In the course of centuries the Ancient Church had decayed - their doctrinals had been distorted and falsified; and these spiritual heavens had been filled with external spirits who became a prey to deceivers and magicians - and thus they were turned into fictitious heavens, ruled over by evil spirits who maintained themselves by external devices and false doctrines. It is explained that before the Advent the Divine passing through the heavens could not reach the spiritual because their doctrines were so mixed with falsities (A 6854); and thus they could not maintain the uses of their destined heaven. And wherever uses are neglected, evil or abuse steps in. These heavens were thus usurped by evil spirits, while the good had to be reserved or detained in the "lower earth": even as the Israelites had found an asylum in Goshen, brought there by reason of famine. Canaan had become well nigh forgotten (A 6858).

But with the Coming of the Lord on earth these disorders were corrected. It is this that is prophesied by Moses being sent to bid Pharaoh to let the people go. Moses here represented the holy proceeding of Divine truth from the Lord's Human. The Human of the Lord was first to be made Divine truth - which is the same as the law Divine; and afterwards He was to glorify the Human completely, by a union with the Divine good, which is Jehovah. By the Divine truth the Lord would disperse infesting falsities and order all things in the heavens and the hells. The spiritual heavens were to be ordered most distinctly in correspondence to the affections in the Lord's Human. And the hells were to be distinguished so that the opposition of each evil to some heavenly good or some heavenly society could be clearly discerned. Unless this were done, man could not be in freedom. For there is no freedom possible in confusion or in disorder. But where there is order there is also freedom and illustration - and, among spirits, an equilibrium between heaven and hell.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 114 Redemption does not mean salvation but liberation; here a liberation of those infested by false scientifics - so that they might be able to see that a thing is true before they confirm it (A 6864, 6865).

It was with a vision of the promised land that Moses was to inspire his people. But who was this tutelary God in whose name Moses was to speak? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been known as 'Shaddai'? (A 7193, 1992) Now the Lord revealed His name to Moses as Jehovah, as He had been known in the Ancient Church. 'I am who I am... Say unto the sons of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." This name signified the Divine Esse and Existere, Creator and Redeemer, the "Father" and the "Son," the Divine Human. This had also been signified by the burning bush. It was from the glorified Human of the Lord that the redeeming Divine truth could proceed - as the Holy Spirit which would lead unto all truth. This sending out of the Holy Spirit was possible only after the Lord's Human had been glorified - thus after the fire of Divine love had totally purified the human assumed from Mary and could be present in its own Divine ultimates - revealed in an ultimate Divine form which was not consumed by its presence.

Moses thus came to represent Divine truth proceeding from the Divine Human. It was this truth which could redeem the spirits of the lower earth and the minds of the men of the consummated church (here signified by Egypt), and thus be the means of establishing a new spiritual heaven and a new spiritual church (A 6895). Historically viewed, this new church was the Christian Church of apostolic times.

Moses and Aaron

But Moses here represents Divine truth proceeding immediately from the Lord. And the Arcana reveals that such immediate truth is not heard, cannot be received, is not accommodated to angels or men.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 115 This is indicated by Moses' objecting that he was not a man of words, not e1oquent, but heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue; for he stammered (A 6982 et seq.). The Divine proceeds from the Sun of heaven as truth, but, being immediately from the Infinite, it cannot be received by any living or organic finite substance, thus not even by any angel. Yet the Lord has created "successive" or substantial accommodations which appear above the heavens as two radiant belts or girdles of flame encompassing the spiritual Sun. But even so, the truth so mediated is above angelic consciousness: only through a third successive could the Divine truth be even partly received in the highest angelic heaven, the heaven of innocence and wisdom. By means of further accommodations, the Divine truth is then adapted for action and reception in the lower heavens and in the natural realm of man's sensual and corporeal which receive the influx last. All these successive creations are formations from the first and only substance, and as the influx passes down, its action becomes on the way relatively more general, more gross and obscure. But besides this mediate influx, the Divine truth also flows in immediately into each and all things, holding all the successives in order (A 7270).

The Divine truth proceeding immediately is signified by Moses. He represents the Divine sense and the infinite apprehension of the Word and of the order in created things. This truth or Divine law becomes perceptible only so far as it passes through heaven, and so puts on a form adapted to angelic perception. All that the Lord effects in heaven and throughout creation is due to this secret influx (A 7004). It enters man's soul and gives him the faculties of freedom and reason. It may enter man's will and is then felt as an influx of good, or as a state of affection (A 7056). But when this order is revealed in terms of angelic and human life, then it becomes intelligible and expressible by speech. It can then be described in doctrinal ideas, among the angels, and among men it can at least be described symbolically, that is, through natural things which correspond to spiritual ideas.



This intelligible and humanized form of truth is called mediate truth. The truths of doctrine from the Word, and the literal sense itself, are thus called Divine truth proceeding mediately from the Lord. And within it, of course, is the Divine truth that no one can apprehend, because it proceeds immediately (A 7009).

Moses was not a man of words. But his brother Aaron was appointed to be his spokesman, his "mouth," to plead with Israel and to demand liberty from Pharaoh. Aaron was therefore brought into the wilderness to meet Moses. This meeting is of paramount spiritual importance. For Aaron represents the Word in its outer perceptible form as Divine truth mediated and accommodated in human appearances, the written Word of revelation in its literal veilings of history and doctrine. Such truth can be accepted by any man merely because it is the traditional belief of his church and is taught by learned and enlightened men. Such truth existed with the prophets of Israel, who received dictation from spirits, without having any perception of spiritual ideas. Alone, such mediate truth is only hearsay; and while man is thereby held in a salvable state if he is in simple obedience yet it has no power to redeem man's soul from spiritual captivity. Indeed, it may become mere idolatry, as we see from a later incident, when Moses was detained on Mount Sinai and Aaron made the people dance about a golden calf.

To become a power for redemption, Moses and Aaron must act together. Aaron must meet Moses and be instructed of him. The Word and the doctrine must testify to the law Divine that is secretly operating as the inner order in heaven and the world and immediately inflows and governs all things. If a man has an affection of truth - a love which results from the immediate influx of Divine truth into the will - an affection of knowing truth for the sake of truth (not reputation) and for the sake of life (not selfish gain), then he is also given a perception whether what he is taught is true:


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 117 and he would then see in the Word and in the doctrine innumerable details from the spiritual sense of which the Word is the "mouth"; and he would then perceive a presence of the Lord in the Word. Aaron and Moses would then embrace and kiss each other. The mediate influx through the understanding would meet the immediate influx of truth through the will.



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The Plagues on Egypt

The first joint task of Moses and Aaron was to gather the elders of Israel together, and by miracles convince them of their Divine commission. The chief delusion which they had to dissipate was the persuasion that they could hope for no improvement on the miserable life they led in Egypt.

Having convinced the elders, Moses and Aaron next went to Pharaoh and demanded in the name of Jehovah that the people be permitted to go to sacrifice to their God in the wilderness. But the only result was that Pharaoh made their burdens heavier, demanding that they provide the same tale of bricks but find the straw for themselves.

'Straw' signified the lowest type of knowledge - what we might call the connecting 'facts' by which the data of each science are held together into a theory. The spiritual environment of a consummated church tends to compel men to think along with the falsities of the world and to confirm its theories and fall in with its attitudes. The demands of the world become increased, their falsities more brazen and insistent. There is no spiritual freedom to develop a truly regenerate life, unless these who wish to worship according to their own conscience separate themselves from the old Church in life as well as in thought. And when this proves difficult it is a cause for deeper despair, for a growing fear of opposing the powers of the world.

The infestations here described must be distinguished from spiritual temptations. Temptations - with attendant anguish of conscience - come to those who are in "the good of charity" and in a state of greater freedom. But those who are only in "the good of faith" or in obedience of faith because it is so commanded are - especially after death, in "the lower earth" - infested by evil spirits who inject falsities and by these seek to refute truths.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 119 In short, such infestation comes to those in historical faith - yet it serves to confirm whatever truths they have and to multiply the truths of their faith as they defend them. Those who are in that faith develop a certain militant solidarity in face of persecutions, and receive a sustaining influx from heaven (A 7474).

The redemption from infestations is possible only by a series of Divine miracles. For although man feels - while on earth - that his changes of state and mental moods all depend on earthly circumstances, yet in reality his whole life is ruled from the spiritual world. Although he is free in his particular decisions, yet his general moods are determined by the groups of spirits among which his affections have lured him. Contrary to these spirits he cannot think. They pull his heart strings and immerse his spirit into their alien delights. They insinuate an exquisite torture of mind. And man's prudence is usually quite helpless in its attempts to shake off such oppressing moods as hold him and for some time color his whole attitude to life. Yet as long as he lives on earth, the infestation by falsities is not so manifestly felt. For either a man's mind shakes off a falsity, or it adheres in it. But it is different after death. There evil spirits actually keep the thought of a novitiate spirit as if bound in the falsity (A 6757).

And man's release can come only by the Lord's intercession. Those who are in the good of faith are not infested by pagans or outright unbelievers; but by spirits and men who profess to have faith but do not live the life of faith and therefore evade the truth by turning it into subtle but obstinate falsities such as 'death-bed repentance' or 'predestination' or 'faith alone,' or who rely for salvation on merely moral and natural good or else on mere rituals. In the providence of the Lord, there must be a judgment on such falsities, so that the malevolence inwardly within them may be manifest: for in reality these falsities are not merely intellectual errors but are sustained by an influx of subtle evil from the hells. The judgment proceeds by definite stages, traces of which we can indeed observe in the present-day Christian world. By successive steps, the judgment of infesting spirits in the other life proceeds in like manner.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 120 It is caused by the presence of Divine truth, which acts as a ferment; and this Divine truth is signified by Moses and Aaron who boldly appear before Pharaoh and demand a hearing. The miracles of Moses in Egypt, and the ten plagues which at last frightened Pharaoh to let the people go, describe how the infesting spirits are gradually stripped of truth and pretense, and how their inward evil is laid bare, until naked passions overthrow the restraints of reason. What is here spoken of is the inner state of a consummated church in process of judgment; which the Apocalypse describes as "the great city which spiritually is called Sodam and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified" (Rev. xi 8).

The rod of Aaron was turned into a serpent to signify that the power of the literal sense had been perverted into sensual fallacies - a thing which the magicians of Egypt unwittingly confirmed by doing the same with their own rods! When the waters of the river were turned into blood - a similar falsification of truth was signified. Then the land was filled with croaking frogs to symbolize the reasonings of false dogmatists. But Aaron smote the dust with his rod, and it became lice - a miracle which the magicians could not imitate: to signify untold minor evils and cupidities - loathsome and sensual - which infest mankind without any censure from natural men, and which only the revealed truth can expose as such.

Persuasive truth is of little value. Miracles produce only a temporary and compelled belief, devoid of rational strength or broad horizons and lacking deeper insight. This was the reason why the magicians were permitted to reproduce some of the Divine miracles, - to "do likewise with their incantations!" This is done daily in the spiritual Egypt of our own day - in the realms of science and invention and rationalistic philosophy. But the world cannot judge itself except as to externals - it is too selfsatisfied to recognize "The signs of the times." Only the miracle of Divine revelation can show up the interior evils that plague our race


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 121 the noisome fly, the pestilence on man and beast, the boils, the hail on all who do not heed, the consuming locust swarms, the utter spiritual darkness that descends upon the mind that thinks only from the light of the world.

And when these evils are unheeded, the firstborn of man and of beast must die. The 'firstborn' of the church, the heir of the Spirit, is Charity, love to the neighbor. But the first-born of 'Egypt' is the principle of salvation by 'faith alone.' This must be seen as 'dead faith,' as mere knowledge or profession in the memory.

The Lord' s justice demands that no evil spirit is condemned "until he knows and is inwardly convinced that he is in evil and that it is utterly impossible for him to be in heaven." (A 7795). The power to pretend good is therefore taken away by degrees, and after many warnings.

Hence it was that at midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land, from the son of Pharaoh to the firstborn of the maid behind the mill-stone; that Pharaoh in fear urged Israel to leave Egypt; and that the Israelites asked of their Egyptian neighbors 'vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments' - spoiling the Egyptians.

The spoiling of the Egyptians (in itself, and with the people of Goshen, an act of avarice and guile) is spiritually significant of the transfer of the real truth of which a consummated religion had been the custodian, to a new church which appreciates its worth. It was so that the Christians seized upon the Old Testament as their rightful heritage, seeing the worth of its prophetic meaning to which the Jews had been blind. It is so also that the New Church - in the Egyptian darkness of the present day - appropriates the Scriptures of both Testaments in which every sentence is a precious vessel for spiritual and celestial truths, and borrows even the natural truths of the world's science to clothe its spiritual teachings.



The Passover Feast

The night of judgment over Egypt became for Israel the day of liberation, to be observed by all future generations. In that night, each household of Israel was to take a lamb without blemish, kill it, and strike the blood on the door-posts and lintel of their house, and - in haste, girded for the flight - eat the roasted meat together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

This feast of the Passover is often compared to the sacrament of the Holy Supper which the Lord instituted before His passion. As in the Passover lamb no bone was permitted to be broken, so with the Lord crucified His bones were not broken (A 8005, 9164). But the Arcana shows that in both these feasts it is the Lord in His glorified Human which is represented. It is frequently stated that the liberation of the spirits who had been preserved and detained in the "lower earth" in the spiritual world occurred when the Lord rose from the dead (A 9229e and nine references; A 8018, 7931). Indeed, until then there was not any force sufficient to withhold the faithful from falsities (A 6945). Peter, in one of his epistles wrote that "Christ ... being put to death in the flesh, was quickened by the Spirit, by which He also went and preached unto the spirits in prison" (I Peter iii 18, 19). This descent of the Lord to Hades, or the lower earth, was taught in the Apostle's Creed; and it was symbolized in the Gospel which tells that many of the saints were raised and after the Lord's resurrection came forth out of the tombs and appeared to many in the holy city (Matt. xxvii. 52, 53; A 8018).

It was this redemption of "the spiritual" that was signified by the Israelites being led out of Egypt by Moses. And the mighty force by which it was accomplished is described by the feast of the Passover.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 123 The lamb that was eaten signified Innocence - by which the Lord is present in man, in every kind of good. Innocence inflows from the Lord mediately by the inmost heaven into the spiritual good of the second heaven, and disposes all the societies of the second heaven in order according to their various goods, signified by the tribes and homes of Israel. The protective effect of the blood sprinkled on door-posts and lintels was that of the holy truth which springs from the good of innocence and must qualify the introductory truths through which man's natural mind has been initiated into religious life. To eat the flesh of the paschal lamb means to appropriate or receive the innocence by which man's proprium is vivified. And the bread had to be unleavened, to signify that there must be no fermenting falsity in the good - that is, there must be an end or intention of pure good in the reception that commences the new state with man Yet, since much of ignorance and uncontinued error is necessarily present with man, the Lord accepts such errors as truths so long as the intention is innocent (A 7887, 7902, 7909). To represent that man has no pure good and can appropriate the good of innocence only by means of temptations, it was commanded that the flesh should be eaten with bitter herbs (A 7854).

It is to be noticed that this order of heaven which is represented by the Passover feast was to protect Israel from the death that stalked through Egypt on that night. Innocence, and the order into which it disposes the mind, is the only thing that can protect man from evil and falsity. And this order is the same that is previously described in the Arcana as spiritual 'remains,' which are defined as "correspondences" communicating with the societies of the second heaven - the heaven that is opened when man is regenerated and is closed if man does not suffer himself to be regenerated (A 5344). It was this second, or spiritual heaven that was established by the Lord at His, first advent, for the salvation of those who are called "spiritual." The institution of the Passover as "a statute forever" represented this new order "which has been in heaven from the time when the Lord from His Divine Human began to dispose all things in heaven and on earth, which was immediately after the resurrection" (Matt. xxviii 18).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 124 According to the former order the Lord had "disposed all things through heaven," which was only effective in saving the celestial. But when His Human was made Divine "there was such an accession of strength that those were raised up into heaven who before could not be raised, and also that the evil receded on all sides and were shut up in their hells" (A 7931).

The reason why Israel was redeemed from Egypt by a succession of miracles and not because of any action of their own was to signify that redemption - or the balancing of spiritual forces around a man - is a purely Divine work. The Passover feast - as later the Holy Supper - was to be a constant reminder of this fact. With those of the spiritual church "this truth must remain fixed in their minds: that their salvation ought to be accepted as solely from the Lord. The perception of this truth is of conscience," which is formed from childhood and has ripened into faith. To act according to truths of conscience causes these truths to be inscribed in the interior memory and become as it were spontaneous and innate and interiorly perceived (A 7935).

The Exodus

The liberation of spirits from the 'lower earth,' the 'pit,' the 'grave,' or 'Hades,' (such as Swedenborg often witnessed in connection with another 'last judgment'), is a work purely Divine. But salvation is not assured by a mere 'liberation.' The freedom given by the Lord must be used by man, must be turned into constructive channels. And only by facing up to temptation can man make his liberty his own. The man of faith must turn his back on Egypt and its worldly states and bravely set forth upon his journey, facing temptations as yet unknown and unsuspected. He renounces a merely worldly prudence and with fervent, desperate zeal commits his fate into the hands of God.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 125 Before him shines the vision of a new heaven - a promised land of freedom, peace, and plenty such as he once glimpsed in the innocent dreams of childhood.

Thus we find the people of Israel swarming out of the province of Goshen with their kneading troughs with fresh dough hurriedly thrown on their shoulders; herding their flocks and cattle along the sandy wastes, the pack animals carrying tents and the most precious of their acquisitions, and even the embalmed bones of Joseph which were to be buried in the center of their promised land. From seventy souls they had grown into a host of about six hundred thousand, not counting children and a great mixed multitude of servants and refugees of alien breed. These aliens represented gentiles who are also redeemed from various kinds of spiritual bondage at the time of a general judgment, members of the Church Universal who have lived together in obedience and mutual charity, although in ignorance of the Word.

Since Abram's visit in Egypt four hundred and thirty years had passed, since Jacob two hundred and fifteen (A 7985, 1647, 2959, 1502). The four hundred and thirty years signified the Lord's life-time; for Abram's call represented the Lord's incarnation and the Exodus His resurrection. But the same period also signified the duration of the vastations which the spiritual had undergone in the 'lower earth,' and the fulness of remains instilled the while. The number four hundred and thirty indeed stands for that "measure of life" which man makes for himself in his life on earth - as a faculty for receiving either good and truth or evil and falsity. This is the measure which for every man is filled in the other life but is never surmounted (A 7984).

By the Way of the Wilderness

The shortest way from Goshen to Canaan was through the land of the Philistines - by the much travelled highway along the Mediterranean Sea.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 126 It was dotted by garrisons, patrolled by chariots and horsemen. But God led Israel instead by the way of the wilderness, a longer, more arduous route. Aside from natural reasons - that Israel would likely turn back if they saw war - there was a spiritual reason. For the Philistines represented the state of "faith alone - a mere intellectual interest in religious truth. This is easy to gain, but it does not lead to Canaan. It leads back to Egypt, to the falsities engendered by pride in truths that lodge in the memory alone The man who has been released from infestations of falsities cannot be brought into heaven at once, but must first be purified in the fires of temptation. And temptations come not as outward assaults, but from within, with anguish of conscience and a sense of self-condemnation (A 7474), whereby truths of faith may be conjoined with good and thus confirmed as man's own (A 8099).

The Crossing of the Sea Suph

It is a matter of doctrine that those of the spiritual church in both worlds could not sustain any temptations or resist the falsity of evil until after the Lord had glorified His Human and in this was present with them (A 8159). Natural anxieties and states of melancholy may come to any man (A 8164). But spiritual temptations come only upon those who are in a state of' spiritual freedom, and who then from love feel great concern at the accusations which evil spirits insinuate. Conscience is then troubled, because such a man knows his weakness. He comes into despair of salvation. He feels that he is losing both faith and charity, and might just as well never have learnt the truths of charity if he cannot find the strength to live according to them.

It is this despair that is pictured when the Israelites find themselves hemmed in between the Sea Suph and the horses and chariots of Pharaoh which are sent out in belated pursuit. And the panic stricken people cry to Moses with bitter humor, 'Were there no graves in Egypt, that thou hast taken us to die in the wilderness?'



The galloping hosts of Pharaoh and the forbidding waters of the Sea Suph - "the sea of weeds," wrongly translated 'the Red Sea' - signify much the same thing: falsities of evil which threaten to overwhelm man's spirit. They represent the visible powers of the world and the unknown powers of hell. They come upon man's vacillating mind with crushing logic which ridicules his attempt to go counter to the multitude, when it is much easier to confess defeat. Science, they say, with all the laws of probability, and experience arrayed into formidable statistics, combine with obvious self-interest to show that man is only a pawn of circumstances, and must not entertain the hope of establishing a kingdom of God on earth. A life of charity is impossible in the world.

But Israel was urged by Moses to go forward, and the Lord would fight their battle. The rod of Moses was held out, and the waters parted before a strong east wind. The angel of God marched before them and the pillar of cloud came between them and their pursuers. The chariot wheels of the Egyptians stuck in the mire as the sea came back in mighty tides to engulf horses and men.

Here the Arcana points out that the power of Truth is irresistible. Those who are in truth have such power in the spiritual world that they can pass through the hells without fear. Yet men so often think that truth from the Divine is a mere matter of thought, devoid of substance or real essence; "but on the contrary it is the veriest essentiality from which are derived all the essences of things in both worlds, the spiritual and the natural" (A 8200). Truth is reality itself, bound to be vindicated in time. It is law in all its forms. And in hell the law prevails that the evil which spirits intend to others will inevitably return to curse them. For the evil reject the law of Divine mercy - the golden rule of heaven - and thus avert Divine protection from themselves, and become the victims of revenge and constant retaliation (A 8223, 8232).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 128 Even in hell, no tyrants can last for long, for all aspire to lordship.

Thus Israel in the morning found their drowned foes scattered on the shore; suggestive of how the hells are scattered - invisible even to their nearest society, although clearly seen by those in heaven whenever the Lord so pleases; to the end that the efforts of the hells - in their mutual enmity - should never be united nor destroy each other, but be ruled by angelic moderators (A 8237).

The Song of Moses

The man of the spiritual genius, or - as he is called - the man of the spiritual church, can be saved only through an elevation of his understanding to internal things, so that the thought of heaven and eternal life may become a vessel in which a spiritual desire, indeed, a new will may be born.

This is reflected in the triumphal Song of Moses after the deliverance from the Sea of Suph. In this he speaks of the Lord leading His people up to the mountain of His inheritance. It is notable that spirits being prepared for heaven are first of all initiated into choirs of thought and speech and into gyres of common uses, in which every fibre of their being trembles in gladness of heart because of their redemption from death (A 8261). Angelic speech, we are told, is always harmonious and falls into rhythmic cadences. Its object is to elevate the thought beyond notions of space and time and worldly impatience, to a new vision of heaven as the goal of one's desire. Thus to think is difficult for the natural man who believes that beyond space and time there can be nothing except emptiness! (A 8325)

And this leads to new temptations. The water of truth is found bitter and undelightful uncongenial to our accustomed natural thought. This would be due to our lack of an affection of good. For it is good, or a state of affection, that arouses an appetite for spiritual ideas, even as a man can digest natural food better in congenial company or among those he loves (A 8349, 8352).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 129 Hence Moses was able to heal the bitter waters of Marah by casting in a certain kind of wood into the spring. For 'wood' corresponds to good.

The Heavenly Manna

Yet this good, miraculously supplied, was but of temporary help. Israel was marching deeper into the wilderness, and their supplies of food became depleted. Then the Lord answered the murmurings of the people by sending bread from heaven: in the evening quail from the sea lighted on the camp ready for slaughter, to provide flesh to eat, and with the morning dew came 'manna' - a mysterious honey-like substance which melted when the sun grew hot.

The Arcana explains that during regeneration the life of man's old proprium must die - must expire because deprived of its delights which please the flesh and the lower mind (A 8403, 8413). But hereditary evils manifest themselves by successive stages, and the natural man comes into many temptations. To compensate, there must be provided new and spiritual delights for states of illustration - but also concordant delights for the natural man. For man's spirit has alternating states of morning and evening, of enlightenment and obscurity. Even the angels must by turns be remitted into the state of their natural affections, the delights of their natural man in which they were on earth, so that internal things may be accommodated and received with delight in their external man also. Such external delights correspond to spiritual good and have this within them.

But the morning dew signifies the 'truths of peace' which dawn on man when He has inmost confidence in the Lord and has no solicitude about things to come to disquiet him (A 8455). Then appears the hidden manna which feeds his spiritual life - an amazing, seemingly impossible interior delight which transcends all worldly goods. It is called "the good of truth." It is a delight in the uses to which truth leads.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 130 It is the germ of a new will, a new will of good formed in the understanding.

But this 'good of truth' which comes by influx from heaven, is a delicate, evanescent state! It is so exactly proportioned to man's state that it can never be hoarded or preserved, but must come fresh, like the manna every morning. It is the 'daily bread' for which we pray and which is given to those who seek the 'truths of peace' when meditating on the Word with trust in Divine providence. Such, though they may also prudently plan for the morrow, do not think of the future with solicitude. "Their spirit is unruffled whether they obtain the objects of their desire or not; and they do not grieve over the loss of them, being content with their lot. If they become rich they do not set their heart on riches; if they are raised to honors, they do not regard themselves as more worthy than others; if they become poor, they are not made sad; if their circumstances are mean, they are not dejected. They know that for those who trust in the Divine providence all things advance toward a happy state to eternity, and that whatever befalls them in time is still conducive thereto" (A 8478.)

Yet with the heat and burden of the day, (which comes from man's self-conscious merit, impatience, and solicitude), the 'good of truth,' like the manna, melts away and cannot be recovered. "The good of truth cannot long abide pure" with the man of the spiritual church (A 8487). Unless the Lord suffered it to be tempered by means of natural desires and aspirations, it would soon become dry and loathsome. Even the angels, therefore, have their evening states, in which they in a manner glory in their successes and delight in the magnificence of their home or society, and perhaps dream of doing grand things. These homely delights are ultimate planes for heavenly good and - although partaking of proprium - are not 'concupiscences' or lusts; for in some measure they agree with heavenly, good, and correspond. In them the soul is rested for new uses on the morrow; even as Israel was strengthened by the eating of quail as well as manna, knowing that both were from the Lord.



No manna fell on the Sabbath, and the rain of manna entirely ceased after the Israelites entered Canaan (A 8539). For the 'good of truth' is procured by means of truth while the spirit of man is as yet a nomad, subject to temptations. And this truth comes to man with the immediate Divine authority of the Word, as was symbolized by Moses when at the Lord's command he brought water out of the rock at Horeb (A 8582).





On the Way to Sinai

The Israelites were introduced by stages into their function of representing a spiritual church. The release from Egyptian bondage made them represent souls newly redeemed from the "lower earth" of the spirit-world. Their miraculous crossing of the Sea Suph represented the victory of such souls over the falsities that had infested them. The manna that fell from heaven signified the states of "the good of truth" which sustain those of the spiritual church during their periods of temptations - states of a spiritual delight born from a trust in the Lord that leaves no room for solicitude, but which is tempered by alternate "evening-states" and more external delights.

But the state which Israel represents at this point is one of considerable vacillation. Continually the people murmur and complain - and with some cause, for they found no water. Moses was thus commanded on one occasion to strike the rock at Meribah, and lo, water sprang forth. This was to signify that the spiritual man in this state cannot recognize truth from any perception, but feels sure that it is true only if he sees that it comes directly from the Word of the Lord - who is the Rock from which Moses called forth water. Truth is seen not from any inner comprehension but is accepted simply on the authority of the Scriptural or doctrinal statement.

When this is the case there is necessarily much vacillation and evil spirits are given an opportunity to attack man's affections. Their attacks are subtle and timed to surprise man in his moments of weakness, when they secretly insinuate falsities of interior evils which are disguised by seemingly honorable behavior (A 8593).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 133 This is what is meant when it is said that the Israelites were attacked by Amalekites - a warlike desert tribe which often fell upon peaceful caravans. These spirits seek to pervert the conscience by bending it to accord with a man's depraved natural leanings. If they could accomplish this, it "would be all over" with the man of the spiritual church. But Israel, led by Joshua, was victorious over Amalek as long as Moses held his hands aloft, and therefore Aaron and Hur, his two brothers, seated Moses on a rock and upheld his hands. For these 'Amalekite' spirits can only succeed if we let our hands fall from the spiritual uses that are ours. The direct teachings of Revelation, which are signified by Moses, must be upheld and explained by the doctrine taught in the Church - a doctrine of mediate truth represented by Aaron and Hur (A 9424, 8603).

Jethro's Advice

At last - in the third month - Israel arrived at Mount Sinai where they were to sacrifice to Jehovah their God on the mountain where Moses had received his Divine commission. Here the people would be ordained as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." They would be given a code of Divine precepts and enter into a solemn covenant with Jehovah their God, that they might then go to possess the land promised to their fathers.

But before God could speak to them, they must come into a state which could correspond to the order of heaven. And heaven derives its order not from truth but from good - from love and charity. As long as a man acts from truth and duty or from authority alone, rather than from affection and pleasure, he is like a man who has sent his wife away. And indeed Moses, before the exodus, had sent Zipporah his wife to her father Jethro's house. But now Jethro brings her back, with their two sons, as Israel encamps at the mount of God.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 134 The ancient Jethro was a priest and a patriarch in his own right, and with Zipporah and her sons he represents Divine goods in their order, interior and exterior. Having been joined by his wife, Moses now begins to represent a man acting not from truth alone, but from affection - or from good.

It is the wise Jethro who brings the solution to the predicament in which Moses found himself.* For Moses sat as the sole judge in Israel; and the people stood about from morning till evening waiting for his decisions. This situation threatened to wear out both Moses and the people. It meant government by command, without opportunity for adequate explanation or for intelligent co-operation. Such is the case in the Church, when men act only from obedience to the direct commandments of the Word, and simply confirm what they learn without any perception of its real truth or use or value. The Arcana calls this state one of 'immediate influx of truth Divine,' when only truth is perceived, not good (A 8701). The Word then becomes authority indeed, but not "revelation" (A 8694).

* Jethro was a wise man, probably of descent from the Hebrew church in Syria, and it seems probable that it was through him that Moses had become acquainted with surviving parts of the Ancient Word, such as the story of Creation and the account of the Flood.

The advice of Jethro was that Moses should appoint subordinate judges - princes of thousands, princes of hundreds, princes of fifties, and princes of tens - and himself only act as a last court of appeals. This division of responsibilities allowed a government of freedom and of conscience, and a greater cooperation. The new order signified a new state, in which an affection was aroused which longed for truth for the sake of a good life, and in which this good began to reorganize the mind. In such a state there comes enlightenment and perception when the Word is read. The Word becomes a 'revelation' to man. A revelation which is not possible except to those who are in good and from this in an affection of truth. The revelation which these enjoy is not a manifest one, but neither is it totally hidden:


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 135 for it is a certain consent from within - a warm recognition that a thing is true; and this makes the mind serene and at rest (A 8694).

Moses followed the advice of his father-in-law. And the Arcana tells that similarly the Lord allows the angels to have functions and offices in successive subordination: not because He needs their aid, but because thereby they can enjoy the happiness that flows only from responsibilities for uses. For something of the Divine of use is adjoined to the functions of angels and men to give grace and dignity to human life (A 8719).

If the truth Divine flowed in with man immediately from the Divine, and not also mediately through heaven, man could be led only by truth and not by good; and thus the Lord could never dwell with man, for the Lord dwells only in good (A 8721). It is only by virtue of the presence with man of angelic spirits that he can be inspired by affections accommodated to his state. The angelic affections, so far as they come from the angels themselves, are not actually goods, but they serve to introduce goods and truths which are from the Lord (A 8728).

Preparation for receiving revelation

The ordering of Israel's government was representative of a state in which man can be led by the Lord through affections of good. This new good is at first without truths, and is compared to a wilderness, because while there is knowledge of doctrine in the memory, such known truths have not yet affected and qualified the good; and good without truths is spiritually uncultivated, like fallow land.

Therefore the Lord explains to Moses that He has borne His people "on eagle's wings" and brought them unto Himself, that they might hear His voice.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 136 The spiritual church must be raised into heavenly light by means of rational truths (A 8764). It is to become 'a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,' a spiritual church from the good of truth and from the truth that is inspired by good.

But Jehovah also told Moses, "Behold, I come unto thee in the thickness of a cloud that they may hear when I speak unto thee." Moses here represents the truth Divine in heaven - as it is in the internal sense. This is hidden from men - and would be rejected and spurned if set forth nakedly. It must be accommodated to man's apprehension by being shrouded "in a form most natural" (A 8780-83). Such accommodations by natural correspondences are especially characteristic of the Word of the Old Testament (A 8781). But the internal sense, here, does not treat of the external form of the various revelations among themselves, but of the fact that any Divine revelation, whether the Old Testament, the New Testament, or the Heavenly Doctrine, is shrouded by dense appearances and sensual ideas if a man is in the love of self and the world and reads it with the inner desire for reputation, gain, or dominion. For he then sees nothing in them except what confirms his own ideas or his own doctrinal position, whether these be true or false. Only those who are in an affection of truth from good have their internal sight opened and enlightened when reading the Word. Only they can receive 'revelation' inwardly in themselves.

Even the plain doctrine of the Writings is "hid from the wise and revealed unto babes." Those are much mistaken who believe that they would "receive the Word more readily if heavenly things were set forth nakedly and if it were not written so simply." The internal of the Word is rejected by so many because few are willing to know about charity and faith and are averse to truths about eternal 1ife (A 8783).



Yet a warning is given. To the man of the spiritual church revelation can be given from the Word so far as he is in the good of truth. But let him not confuse this with celestial perception! Let him not rely on perceptions which spring from his own hereditary will: for that will is perverse beyond mending.

Moses must set bounds around the mountain, lest the people or the common priests so much as touch it. Only Moses, and Aaron - representing intermediaries who were in a common perception of celestial good and could receive something of an influx from the inmost heaven, were allowed to come up, when the trumpet sounded long. "The extension of the life of those who are of the spiritual church" must be no further than into "the spiritual spheres of good" or into the second heaven, not to the third. For by inserting himself into celestial societies, or claiming celestial qualities, from cupidities of pride or envy or self-confidence, his spiritual eyes would be blinded and his affections destroyed as if by fire, and his faith and happiness would perish (A 8794-8801).

Instead, the people must wash their garments and be sanctified; to signify that man's interiors must be veiled over, if the Lord is to withhold them from evils. For the old will must be separated so as not to appear. It contains from heredity the undisclosed, slumbering evils of many past generations, which would be aroused by an adventurous approach to celestial good (A 8806, 8945).





The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments which God spake from Mount Sinai, signify all the truths Divine which are to be implanted in the good of truth with those who are of the spiritual church. These truths are for angels as well as for men (A 8899). But in the heavens they assume a spiritual form, on earth a natural form. The ten precepts were not entirely unknown among the nations, for they contain mostly laws recognized as wise from natural light. But to Israel they were given in a holy form, promulgated by the Lord Jehovah speaking "out of fire which burned even to the heart of heaven" (A 8859, 8862).

The Arcana Coelestia does not - like the True Christian Religion - treat of the literal sense of the ten commandments and of their broader natural and moral implications; but it gives their spiritual sense in a series applied to man's regeneration. This spiritual sense is for those who are in heaven, but also for those who are in the world as far as they are as to their spirits in heaven, that is, so far as they are in states of charity and faith (A 8859, 8912e). Others can indeed read and learn the spiritual sense as it is now presented in the Writings, but cannot see the applications to their own lives, though they may believe that they are in light. The revelation from Sinai was speech of the Lord "from heaven": and "heaven" is not a place on earth or in the sky, but heaven is where the Divine is present in charity and faith. It is through this spiritual state that the Lord's will can be revealed to man's heart, by a living voice out of the Word - a voice which can be heard ever more distinctly as man learns to obey it.

In regard to the order of the Commandments, we are told that the first commandment surpasses the rest in holiness, because it reigns universally in all the rest as a governing motive and love; and the rest are arranged in the order of their holiness (A 8864, 8899). The prefatory sentence is, "I am Jehovah thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." By this name - Jehovah - is meant the Lord in His Divine Human who universally reigns in everything of good and of truth - even in every state of content or happiness with men and spirits though we are not aware of it (8865) - and who liberates from hell. It is because He governs that human life can be preserved on earth. And then follows the first precept, "Thou shalt have no other gods before My face."

"Gods" signify 'truths' or, in the opposite sense, 'falsities.' 'Truths' must not be thought of from any other source than the Lord. By 'other gods' is meant "truths in which the Lord is not." The Lord is not in the truths which a man knows when the man denies Him or claims good or truth or righteousness to be from himself.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 139 The Lord is not in truths taken from the Word and explained to favor self-rule or selfish gain. Such truths, though in themselves true, are not truths in the man, but become dead and perverted into falsities. They become "graven images," because made in the image of self-intelligence, which man then worships.

The people of our civilization feel little temptation to bow down to graven images. Yet if we make a pretense of charity or of faith, or dissemble by counterfeiting what is of love and charity, or what is of civil and moral good and truth, or what is of sensual and corporeal use, we are making a likeness of what is in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth! (A 8871-2) To those who do this the Lord appears as a jealous God, the source of evil and falsity, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons unto the third and fourth (generation). In one sense, this refers to the accumulation of hereditary evils in the world, which appear to condemn men, but actually do not. The spiritual sense, however, refers to the fact that in an evil man iniquity engenders a multiplying brood of falsities which he confirms and by this is conjoined to hell. But it is added that the Lord "shows mercy unto thousands" of them that love Him and keep His commandments. For to those who will receive, He continually gives an unlimited faculty to enjoy the good of love and its delights (A 8876-8881).

To take the name of the Lord in vain signifies a profanation of truth and good, which takes place if truth is turned into evil; or if truth is believed but man nonetheless lives in evil, thereby conjoining good with evil so that they cannot be dissolved except by a tearing asunder of his whole spiritual life. This cannot be forgiven, for by it man renounces the means of salvation: as he does also if he derides and blasphemes the Word and the teachings of faith. For these are the Lord's "name" since they describe His qualities (A 8882).

Therefore the spiritual man must "remember the Sabbath day." The Sabbath signifies the union of the Divine and the Human in the Lord, and also the conjunction of the Divine Human with the heavens, and so the marriage of good and truth.

These things must be perpetually in the thought - as what reigns universally, even when he is meditating on other things or is engaged in business affairs. That which so rules, as an inner end, is insinuated into the will, or his inmost. Before the Sabbath can thus be kept holy, man must do his six days of labor in combat against evils and falsities - laboring as if of himself. The Sabbath of spiritual rest comes with the realization that it is the Lord who labors for man's salvation, when in six days He made the heavens and the earth. Then heaven can fill man's mental household with peace and an inner blessedness, so that even the stranger within his gates - that is, the occasional thought which might occur to his mind - may not disturb his state of inward worship (A 8885ff).



In this connection the Arcana shows that the six days of creation, mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis, cannot refer to the creation of the universe: "for such things are there described as may be known from common sense not to have been so"; as that there were days before the sun and moon had been made, etc., and that the woman was made from a rib and that a serpent spake to her. Yet the ancients framed this history according to their custom from a thought more interior than that of present-day men, that they might have communion with the angels (A 8891).

The Sabbath thus looks to the heavenly marriage of the Lord and the Church. And the next commandment exhorts us to 'honor father and mother,' which spiritually means to love the Lord and His heavenly kingdom, or what is the same, to love good and truth. Honor without love is refused in heaven (A 8897). By 'mother' is meant the Lord's kingdom and also the Church (in its inmost aspect as the 'Bride' of the Lord), because it is the Divine truth which makes the Church, and this is the nourishing mother of our souls.

The next commandment, 'Thou shalt do no murder,' or 'Thou shalt not kill,' forbids us to take away the spiritual life of any one, or to extinguish faith and charity or hold the neighbor in hatred. Hatred breathes nothing but murder -in the world the murder of his body, in the other life the murder of his soul.

How the soul may perish is indicated in the next precept, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' Spiritual adultery is the breaking up of the marriage of the will and the understanding, by the perversion of the doctrine of faith and charity, the upsetting of the laws of order by adulterating goods and falsifying truths, especially by an abuse of the Word. Israel is often accused in the Word of spiritual whoredom when they sacrificed to idols. The reason why, by very many, at this day, adulteries are no longer held as crimes but are made light of, is because the church is at an end. Where there is no heavenly marriage of good and truth, conjugial love cannot find any home (A 8904).

It is in the nature of man's evil proprium to misappropriate the things that belong to the Lord and to attribute them to one's self. Thus spiritual theft is committed - theft from the Lord! One can also steal the spiritual goods of another - of the neighbor. The wealth or riches of the spirit of man are knowledges of good and truth and other things that contribute to man's spiritual life. To deprive a man of such things - on which his faith and life and use depend - is spiritual theft, and this is effected by man's evil states, as by pride of self-intelligence, by self-merit, by mental cruelty, or by a love of dominating. But spiritual theft is especially done when man forgets that "all things of faith and charity are from the Lord alone, and absolutely nothing from man." To attribute to one's self, or to men, what is from the Lord alone, is therefore shunned in heaven as a sin (A 8906).



To bear false witness - or literally, to 'answer against thy neighbor the witness of a lie' - is to call good 'evil' or 'evil' good. ' Those who are ruled by the love of self or the love of the world and thus aim for eminence or worldly gain, do not hesitate to lie or to pervert justice. Their understanding is indeed able to see what is just, but is not willing to acknowledge it and finally becomes blind and shameless. When those who in the world are unjust in civil matters, come into the other life, they become equally callous in calling spiritual good 'evil' and evil 'good' (A 8908).

All the evils forbidden in the preceding commandments are warned against in the last two precepts, 'Thou shalt not covet!' This is added to show that the love of self and the world must not become of the will. Evil and falsity do not defile a man so long as they enter only into man's thought. For in the thought they may be considered, judged, and rejected and sent back to hell from whence they stemmed. But if man, in his understanding and from his freedom, approves of what he knows as evil, defending it and holding it allowable, he receives it into his will and appropriates it; and he is then imputed with that evil. For the will - not the thought - is the man himself (A 8910). There is nothing real in man's actions except his will, just as there is nothing essential in motion except endeavor or conatus (A 8911).

To covet means to lust after something not one's own. Concupiscences or lusts are the derivations or ramifications of an evil love. The neighbor's house means all good in general. His wife means all truth in general. A manservant signifies the affection of spiritual good, the maidservant the affection of spiritual truth. An ox corresponds to an affection for natural good, an ass for an affection for natural truth. None of these must be 'coveted' or taken away from our neighbor or be harmed in any way. (This last commandment, therefore, teaches us the subtle virtue of appreciation, and bids us protect the spiritual freedom of others.)

So far as man has received the good of truth and is inspired by it - sustained by the heavenly manna - so far he can discern the interior evils and insidious infringements on the freedom and spiritual goods of the neighbor which are described in the spiritual sense of the Decalogue. He is then withheld from such evils and made ready to have interior truths implanted in his good of faith to make this permanent.

But when he is not in any spiritual good the commands of God seem empty of practical meaning and impossible to obey, and therefore they excite only awe and terror - like a trumpet voice thundering out from the flame and smoke of Mount Sinai. Therefore the people cried out to Moses not to let the Lord speak to them, lest they die. But Moses assured them that God had only done this to test them. So also is the man of the spiritual church tempted and tested - for he must know what the quality of heavenly life is, even if he can only aspire to it from afar, and gain it by slow degrees.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 142 Only so can he be prepared to see his vision of the promised land upon which his heart must be fixed if he is to stand up against the trials of the wilderness journey of earthly life. The ideals of heaven must ever appear as unattainable in their fulness: yet as man progresses in the life of repentance they can be brought nearer to realization.

Accommodated Truth

As a matter of fact this is why truth must be accommodated to men's states, as it is in the literal sense of the ten commandments. The Lord appeared to Israel in a cloud of thick darkness, which signified that the spiritual sense was not perceived by the Israelites. For their character was such that they could not possibly understand or obey the spiritual laws contained in the interior sense of the law given from Sinai. Yet they could obey the commandments not to worship other gods or make idols. They could refrain from blasphemy, from murder and stealing and lying. And through this they had their chance of salvation.

The Lord accommodates His commandments to all men, and limits their responsibility to their various capacities. Thus the spiritual church - or those who, like our present-day race, are born with a will that is corrupt from heredity - must be regenerated in a different way than those of celestial genius, and must be saved by having a new will implanted in their understanding by means of the truths of faith from the Lord (A 8806). Nor can they aspire to insert themselves into celestial societies without danger to their spiritual life (A 8797). But by cultivating the spiritual good received through truths they can be saved (A 8794).

From these teachings we may understand why the Lord, having spoken the ten commandments with living voice from Sinai, gives an additional warning to the Israelite - "Thou shalt not go up by steps unto Mine altar, lest thy nakedness be uncovered upon it. " By this is meant that if man is raised into a sphere of good higher than the degree of good in which he is, the evils of his loves and the falsities therefrom will be made manifest. His defilements, his inner faults which he as yet has no power to remove, will confront him, and become apparent also to others. Something similar occurs often on earth, when we come among people whose social standards are higher or whose skills surpass our own awkward efforts. We become self-conscious, embarrassed, or shamed. And in the other life, a spirit who has prematurely insisted on entering heaven, will thus feel himself as if changed into a wild beast or a bird of night, or as if stripped of his garments. And he is then relieved to be able to return to a lower sphere, where the evils which stood out so prominently in the light of heaven, are no longer apparent (A 8945, 8946).



All this explains the necessity of the Divine truths of the internal sense being accommodated in the external form of ten commandments which required the shunning of certain evil acts, acts which yet are the symbolic forms of all the interior evils of the hells which lie latent in human minds.





The ten commandments recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus, are among the "open" truths of the Old Testament. They are the foundations of law in all Christian countries even as they were in Israel.

But in the chapters that follow, other laws are listed most of which seem somewhat strange to us, since they are adapted to the needs and standards of the ancient East. The ten commandments prescribe the ultimates of spiritual charity, the forms of behavior basic to Christian life. But the laws which now follow were accommodations to the state of the Israelites, and the spiritual sense does not shine out in them but is thickly covered over and concealed.

These laws were known as "judgments" and "statutes. " The judgments had to do with the regulations of civil life and the punishment of offenders and criminals, the treatment of slaves and strangers, rules for compensations for injuries to men or cattle, for just trade practices, for kindness to widows and to the poor; as well as enactments about marriage and sex relations in a polygamous nation, and prohibitions against witchcraft and rebellion. But the statutes were concerned with ceremonies and observances directly relating to religious life, such as the giving of tithes, the celebrating of feasts, keeping the Sabbath and offering sacrifices.

The question is why such laws should be included in the Word of God; why they should be called "most holy" in their context in Scripture; and what the angels see in them. It is obvious that "the man of the Christian Church is not bound to observe in their external form those things which are called 'judgments' and 'statutes.'" But the Arcana reveals that in their internal form these laws reveal the duties of spiritual life, and that when these chapters are read by a Christian, the Divine things that are within them and that were represented "are perceived in the heavens and fill the angels with what is holy; and at the same time, by influx from the angels, they fill the man who reads" with this holy sphere, "especially if he himself then thinks of the Divine things that are within them (A 8972).

Now here is a remarkable fulfilment of the promise of the Lord that in the New Church He will make all things new! When the laws of the representative church are read, there is "an influx of holiness and a perception of it, " with those who are in the life of faith and charity. And so far as the spiritual sense is known, the many questions of spiritual justice and spiritual equity can be answered which so often confuse our relations to our neighbor. Indeed, the civil state of Israel - the camp in the wilderness or the settlements in Canaan - is a remarkable picture of the conditions of our own minds. And in order to know ourselves - recognize the many elements that strive and labor within our thoughts and affections


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 145 we must study the spiritual significance of the masters and slaves, the priests and sorcerers, the herdsmen and thieves, the men and women, who mingle in a life of diverse activities - in constructive uses of home or field or in crimes and violence - and come to see the inner justice within the judgments of Israel.

The Hebrew judgments, in their internal meaning, treat of the consequences, to our spiritual life, when we injure or destroy in ourselves or in others, truths which belong to faith or good affections and uses that are of charity (A 8970). And the teachings which are given in the Arcana are revelations of what the Lord thought in His Human on earth during the process of His glorification, about various human states such as are here described. For inmostly, the Word treats of nothing else than the Lord and His thoughts while in the world.

The Law of the Hebrew Servant

The judgments open with certain laws about the treatment of slaves. A Hebrew faced with utter poverty could sell his son or daughter - or himself - into slavery to some other Israelite. But the Divine law prescribed that in the seventh year he should be released and become a free man. If he came in with a wife, his wife also would be freed (Exod. 21: 1-3).

They who are in the good of charity and corresponding truths of faith are free men, and of the internal church, and are masters of their own lives since they act from an established love, an inner charity, and are led in freedom to do good (A 8974). But those who are in the faith of their church, yet have no established love of good, are not in freedom. They do good only from obedience, not from any spiritual affection or delight. They may - in this state - have no delight at all, but obey merely from necessity or fear. Such can be reformed, and saved, by a life of obedience, and the truth they have is confirmed in their minds without much exertion on their part. But - let us note this - they cannot be regenerated. The Lord's foresight of this is expressed in the rule that a Hebrew slave - or shall we call him an indentured servant - is to be released after six years.

If such a man was married when entering servitude, he could take his wife with him when the day of release arrived. His wife, also a slave, would represent certain natural and selfish affections which make the life of reformation easier and more pleasant. And he would certainly retain such natural delights after the labors of reformation have confirmed him in the truths of the church. It is notable that some people have a natural relish for study and reflection and intellectual pursuits, and others do not. Some Hebrew servants are married and some are not (A 8977, 8979).

But what makes man a servant in a spiritual sense is that even if he has faith in the doctrine of his church he is not in the corresponding good, that is, not in spiritual good but in natural good.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 146 Hence it is that in the other life such cannot be admitted further into heaven than to the entrance of it, or into those provinces which correspond to the skin and the coverings that surround each organ of the body (A 8980).

The life of reformation means of course the effort to shun evils when they clearly appear. And this combat is made easier in the sphere of the church and especially in the companionship of others who have a spiritual charity or "spiritual good." The supporting sphere of the internal church aids the weaker brethren - those of the external church who cannot be their own masters - to live morally and keep from becoming estranged. It keeps them in the desire to be servants of the church rather than be the servants of sin!

Such are described by slaves who are given a wife by the master, and who would have to leave this wife and their children born in slavery, when his term of servitude was over. The wife provided by the master represents the "borrowed state" of spiritual good or spiritual usefulness with its delights, which comes to a man from others, and which is really not conjoined with him as his own but only "adjoined" while he is in states receptive to it.

The Arcana explains the workings of this law by examples. They who have been in the externals of the church from infancy, but "have thought little about eternal life, thus about the salvation of their soul, but only about worldly life and its prosperity, and yet have lived a good moral life and have also believed in the truths of the doctrine of their church: when they come to more adult age, cannot be reformed otherwise than by an adjoining of spiritual good when they are in combat. Still they do not retain this (spiritual) good but only confirm the truths of their doctrine by means of it." For the worldly loves in which they have indulged from infancy, are repugnant to spiritual loves. In fact it is only when their worldly loves have a set-back - as in states of sickness, misfortune, fear, or anxiety - that they can be affected by the sphere of spiritual good; and then only somewhat superficially, as to their understanding rather than as to their will (A 8981).

This is pictured by a marriage which is dissolved because it is not really a marriage. Yet if a slave at the end of the sixth year decides that he loves his master, his woman (which the master had given him), and his children, he could decide to remain in perpetual servitude. The master would then bring him to the door post of his tent or house and bore through his ear with an awl, to represent the servant's willingness always to hearken to the master's commands (A 8990). The Arcana shows that those who are not in any spiritual good of their own, can find a place in heaven - not indeed in the spiritual or the celestial heaven where are "the regenerate," but in the natural heaven, among those who are called "reformed"; provided only that they have become habituated to doing what is good from obedience.



A daughter sold into servitude by an Israelite was protected by special laws. She represented an affection of truth from natural delight, or a love of truth for the sake of honor or gain (A 8993). A woman represents an affection of truth. It is noted that women - good women - are not affected with knowledge but with the truths and goods themselves which they hear or perceive in others. "They who are in spiritual perception love women who are affected with truths, but do not love women who are in knowledges (scientiis); for it is according to Divine order that men should be in knowledges but women solely in affections; and thus that women should not love themselves from knowledges but should love men, whence comes the conjugial. . ." But it is different with those of the Lord's celestial kingdom where husbands are in affection while wives are in knowledges of good and truth (A 8994).

A maidservant represents here an affection of truth from a natural delight, which is basically selfish and worldly. This affection can be adjoined to spiritual truth as to a master who married her. If she proves displeasing, she must not be sold to a strange people, but must go free; or if married to his son, must be treated as a daughter. The Arcana especially comments on this law as showing that marriages between those who are of the church and those outside of the church are in heaven not accounted as genuine but as impious (nefandis) since conjugial love originates in the marriage of good and truth, and this is destroyed where consorts "are of unlike heart from unlike faith" (A 8998). And in its spiritual meaning, an affection of the truth of the church, even when attended with worldly loves, vanity, pride, or self-advantage, must be respected as if genuine, and not alienated - not sold to a strange people.

Law Against Manslaughter

The law of charity demands that one shall do no injury to the truth of one's own faith or to that of another, for this would lead to a loss of his spiritual life. When truth is lost, good "falls to the ground." If it is done with malice and deceit from an ardor to deprive the neighbor of eternal life, such an act causes one's own damnation, even if one hypocritically excuses one's self by one's religion. A deliberate murderer - even if he took refuge at the altar of God - should therefore be taken away and put to death (A 9014). But there are cases of manslaughter which are either accidental or at least not committed with malice aforethought. In such a case the Hebrew code provided places of refuge - and (later) cities where the slayer might find asylum until he could be given a fair trial and the mitigatory circumstances be brought out, so that he may be judged by the higher justice of charity.

For in spiritual life we all must take refuge in the charity and patience of others as a court of last appeal. We do many things which hurt others - harming their endeavor to progress spiritually.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 148 We may do this ignorantly, by rash or unwise words or by misplaced zeal, without any intention to injure any one's spiritual life. But especially is this done by those who are completely convinced in some heretical falsity, who may argue against truths of faith from conscientious zeal. It may also be done from impulsive passions which at times swamp man's reason, before they can be examined and curbed. In such cases there is no premeditated evil, and thus no effort to defend the evil by perversion of the truth (A 9009ff).

There were many crimes for which the death penalty was exacted by the Hebrew law. To steal a man and sell him as a slave was such a crime, for this signified a deliberate application of a truth to evil. To curse or to strike one's father or mother was another; for it meant a profane denial of the Lord and His kingdom, which results in spiritual death (A 9021). Sorcery or witchcraft, incest, and sacrifice to another god than Jehovah, were capital offences. But in general, the law of Sinai prescribed the death penalty only to those who took a human life deliberately or were morally responsible for the loss of a life due to criminal negligence. This was in keeping with the general principle of Retaliation, which demanded punishment in exact proportion to the injury done by the crime.

A difference was however drawn between free men and slaves. When two freemen disputed and fought with rock or fist and one was injured, the smiter had to indemnify the wounded one, and was responsible for his recovery. For in the church men are responsible lest any truth be invalidated. Yet statements in the letter of the Word are often seized upon to invalidate some truth of doctrine. For doctrine in many cases departs from the literal sense, and arises from an unfolding or explanation of the contradictions in the letter. If a doctrinal truth has been as it were injured and set aside, it must be healed by an explanation of the appearances of the letter or by doctrine drawn from the literal sense so as to display the genuine truth.

If a master smites his servant and kills him, there is the penalty of death. For the servant signifies scientific truth from the sense of the letter, and if this truth be extinguished, faith in the Word also perishes (A 9034). But if the servant survives the beating for some days, the Hebrew law remitted any punishment, on the ground that the loss of a slave is after all sufficient penalty for the master. Here the slave "bought by silver" represents truths which are not real truths but are acquired by self-intelligence - and if after full examination they are found not to be taught in the Word, a man may reject them with impunity (A 9039).

On the other hand, the truth of faith and the affection of truth in the natural and sensual degree of man is of no use to the spiritual man if they can no longer see to discriminate between falsity and truth. And this is signified by the law that if a master knocks out a servant's eye or tooth, the servant is set free (A 9061f).



The Law of Retaliation

All the Hebrew judgments were given by Divine sanction. And while we may regard many of them as crude and barbaric, a closer examination shows that they were designed to restrain the wild passions of a nomad people by regulations of a moral type. There was a sense of justice and discrimination evoked by each ordinance. And the Arcana states that these sanctified laws of Israel "flow from the internal truths which are of order in the heavens" (A 8072).

This is clear from the familiar Law of Retaliation which required "soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand...wound for wound..." In the spiritual world there is the law that 'he who does good to another from the heart, receives the like good. Consequently he who does evil to another from the heart, receives the like evil" (A 9049). These laws in the other life are not learned from books or stored up in the memory, but are written on the hearts of all spirits. And the Lord formulated the same when He said, "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets" (Matt. 7:12).

But while the laws of order in heaven are truths from good, the laws of hell are truths separated from good, for in hell Divine good is not received. The justice and order in the hells is therefore like the law of retaliation, which is more generally described in the book of Leviticus:

"He that smiteth the soul of a beast shall restore it, soul for soul. If a man causeth a blemish in his neighbor, as he hath done so shall it be done to him: breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth... He that smiteth a beast shall restore it; and he that smiteth a man shall be killed" (Lev. 24: 18-21).

In His Sermon on the Mount, the Lord stated that He had come not to destroy the law but to fulfil it. Yet He appears to nullify the ancient law when He said: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, Resist not evil. But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also... Love your enemies, ... do good to them that hate you..." The Arcana explains that the Lord here spoke of the life of heaven, not the life of the world, and that He used such words as heavenly men, not worldly men, could understand. In spiritual life, those who are in truth and good are protected by the Lord, so that no evil can harm them even during persecutions and they need not resist evil, for it judges itself. But this is the case when man has already shunned his own evils as infernal so that they are viewed with aversion (A 9049:6). That the law of retaliation and self-defence are not entirely abrogated in the world, in civil society or in the relationship of nations, is sufficiently clear from the need of discipline and for protection against crimes by graded penalties. But in civilized countries these punishments - which the Writings call 'indirect acts of kindness' - are under stricter control by the civil authorities and take less symbolic forms.



It should be observed that the retaliations prescribed in this chapter concern a specific situation, having to do with the harm that might come to a pregnant woman when two men are fighting and she is jostled or hit so that the infant is born prematurely. If no harm is done to the infant, the one responsible is let off with a fine. But if any actual injury is suffered, the law of retaliation is to go into effect in all its dramatic detail.

The internal sense here has of course to do with spiritual birth, which is called regeneration. The new thing which is to be brought to birth is spiritual good or spiritual use, which is conceived in the rational mind by the truth of the Word. This truth is at first stored up in the memory but is called forth into the rational as into a womb. The good of this truth - good which is kindled by truth - is the beginning of man's spiritual life and as it develops in man's rational it awaits the time when man's natural or external mind is able to receive it and become compliant; that is, the time when spiritual good can be born - and enter into his life. Not until the natural has become receptive of the good of the rational can man become a new, or regenerate man (A 9043).

Spiritual life suffers if the good of the rational is prematurely born, or born in a wrong order. And this is why the Word so often speaks of how gently and tenderly those must be led who are with young, and in this case how severe penalties must be exacted on one who hurts a pregnant mother.

The Goring Ox

The wealth of Israel lay in its herds and flocks. The whole activity of the people at this stage centered around their livestock, and many laws were made to adjust disputes arising from the ownership of cattle.

If an ox would fatally gore a man or woman, the ox had to be stoned and its flesh was not to be eaten. Yet the owner was acquitted of blame unless the ox had been known to be dangerous and yet had not been confined. In the latter case even the owner was killed with the ox. Sometimes the owner could redeem his life by paying a large fine. If it was a slave which was gored by the ox, the owner of the animal had only to pay thirty shekels of silver to the slave's master.

If an ox or ass fell to its death into an open pit, the man who dug the pit had to pay for it. If one man's ox hurt another man's ox, so that it died, the live ox was sold and the profit divided, and the dead ox was also divided.

In all these cases, the vicious ox represented an evil affection in man's natural mind. Such brutal impulses may come from hereditary evils. And if such evil injure the truth of faith or the good of faith, it must be condemned - even like the ox had to be stoned to death and its flesh could not be eaten, since such evil must not be appropriated but rejected. Yet hereditary evil does not condemn a man.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 151 And if man has not been instructed so as to realize how evil such impulses are, he is not blamed for evil intent. On the other hand, if an evil affection has existed for some time and man is aware of its vicious quality, without mastering it, then man is condemned, for he has given silent approval to it (A 9075).

If an evil affection or lust destroys states of natural good or moral truth in man's natural mind - destroys virtues not connected with his religious conscience but serviceable to it - the penalty is less, but the evil must still be shunned. Even so, the goring of a slave by an ox was considered a lesser offence (A 9081).

But oxen were usually not vicious, but domesticated and useful, and as such they signified goods and truths in the natural mind - such as the moral virtues and needed natural incentives - which it makes possible to accomplish the world's work. To pervert or injure such simple virtues by deceitful falsehoods is like digging a pit for our ox to fall into. The state can be amended only by instruction so that man can recognize what is deceitful and false. The penalty for an open pit was therefore a fine of silver, which signifies truth (A 9088). For only if a man knows that a thing is evil and false can the Lord inflow with power to amend it (A 9088).

In regard to the law that when one ox gores and kills another, the live one is sold and the profit divided, the Arcana states that the spiritual sense here contains much that is hardly comprehensible to men on earth! Yet we can know that the two oxen signify natural and worldly affections stemming from inborn selfishness. And if the internal bonds of conscience in a man are not effective a natural affection can turn into a ferocious passion and run wild in the imagination, killing off some useful and peaceful desire. Such a wild ox must of course be sold; and the money divided to even up the loss if no real blame is attached to the owner. In the same way, a rampant lust or passion cannot be allowed in the mind. And the many ideas inspired by contending affections will also be dissipated. For in the long run the general affection which dominates in a good man cannot tolerate contradictory thoughts (A 9094, 9096). (And now some words in conclusion!)

These laws about cattle, in their spiritual sense, all describe how the regenerating man should govern the affections of his natural mind - the every day mind we use in this world - and how we can make amends for the damage they do when evil disturbs its order. We must realize that among our mental possessions which are sometimes snatched away by marauding evils injected by evil spirits, there are many precious virtues, both spiritual and natural. And we are then as a consequence left to suffer hard things before they can be restored. We may even come into states of temptation, before our peace of mind is regained.



This is involved in a law which ordains that a cattle thief must make amends by repaying five oxen for an ox or four sheep for a sheep. In the spiritual sense the theft of a sheep means an alienation of an interior good, which belongs to a man's spiritual life. Such good, or charity, if it exists in a man, is in the interior mind and cannot come to man's sensation in this life although it can be perceived as "a contented mind" - that is, a mind contented in the Lord's truth and provisions. When evil - especially in temptations - takes away such a state of interior contentment and gratitude, it may seem as if it could never return. Yet the fact is that it can be restored fully and completely. For although interior good can be snatched away it is really never lost, for its abode is in man's interiors where evil has no power to destroy "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through nor steal." The theft of a sheep was therefore amended by a fine of four sheep; and this because 'four' in the symbolic language of the Word means "full conjunction" after temptation (A 9103).

No man or spirit can permanently harm the soul or spiritual mind of another. But it is quite another matter in the case of the natural mind. Here men can do permanent injury as well as give assistance to their neighbor. The Hebrew law therefore provided that whoever stole an ox must repay five oxen. Five, strangely enough, signifies in spiritual terms, less than four! Five signifies something of 'remains,' and even 'a sufficiency,' or 'much' but never fullness. We can never make up fully any hurt we may have caused to the natural minds or natural affections of others. We cannot make up to our children the impairments due to our neglects or mistakes, witting or unwitting. We so easily injure each other - steal good natural delights from others by injecting evil delights; and even regeneration cannot fully restore the damage, for at best the injuries remain as scars which have grown callous (A 9103). Yet we can compensate richly, in many ways. And as parents we must not forget that the vicious ox must not be tolerated in ourselves or our children. But we must leave the other oxen to graze and grow up as calves of the stall. The compensation for our mistakes will come when we lead the young to influences which are not from our own proprium but are from the Word and Doctrine of the Lord, and when we uphold ideals that are higher than our own faulty attainments.



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It is important to realize that all the transgressions against the neighbor which take place in the community of the church or in civil society, originate as states of mind; or, to be specific, as states in the natural mind of those concerned. Civic justice seeks to prevent such transgressions by imposing penalties for evil doing. But the church is concerned with the reformation and regeneration of men and thus with the causes of evil in the natural mind.

The natural mind is a community composed of affections, thoughts, cognitions and knowledges. It is perfectly pictured in the desert - life of the Israelites as this is described in the Word. The "judgments" given by the Lord for the people can thus reveal the spiritual justice by which the elements of our minds may be reduced into spiritual order. For if we do an evil or approve it, we are not only affecting others but we are harming states of faith and charity in our own mind (compare AC 9149e).

In the literal sense of chapters XXI to XXIV of the book of Exodus, we read of various civil judgments and religious statutes; after which a promise of Divine protection is given, and a narrative of how Moses ascended Mount Sinai to remain there with God for forty days. In the spiritual sense, however, these chapters tell us how to restore the mind when truths of faith have been injured or goods of charity destroyed, and how instruction should take place in the church, and the falsities of evil shunned. It then shows how truths and goods can be implanted so that there can be true worship of the Lord, so that His redemptive power can bring about the state of regeneration, and the internal quality of the Word can be seen.

Robbery Within the Mind

A good intention or a good thought can be snatched away by some false excuse that comes from a hidden evil. This may be like a robbery by night which is unnoticed. For evil spirits inflow secretly, and if so they are punished and man is not at fault. But if man is conscious of his false excuse (as if the robbery occurred in daylight) the man is guilty and responsible: he himself is the thief (A 9124-9137).

Man can by negligence let his anger, selfish appetites, envies and lusts loose to break down and damage the uses of the church within him. It is as if he let his cattle roam into his neighbor's fields or vineyards, or by carelessness let his field fire catch the brambles and burn up the standing corn. Who should pay, if not he himself? (A 9138-9148)



We are entrusted with spiritual riches which are not ours, spiritual truths stored up in the things we learn in the church. Again, these things may be stolen away by worldly states which come upon us and cause us to neglect and forget these precious means to spiritual life. The Hebrew law was that if a man lost entrusted silver or vessels or cattle, and no thief be found, his premises must be searched, and the decision of liability be left to God (A 9149ff). The good thoughts and delights that are lost in the scuffle of natural life may be recovered owing to the marvelous law of the association of ideas; by which we recall truths when by searching our heart we come back into the state of good or use with which those truths are consociated (A 9154).

Disorderly Relations Among Mental States

For goods and truths are conjoined in our minds as if they were in a marriage relation. And even as in human society there are unlawful relations between the sexes, when there is no internal conjunction of minds and spirits such as is signified by a betrothal, but only an external attraction and seduction because of beauty or pleasure: so - in the mind - there may occur an illegitimate union of some truth with a desire for honor or gain or merely intellectual pleasure, such as when a man learns the truths of the church merely for the sake of the natural enjoyment of learning (A 9182).

The only way by which order can be restored is by regeneration, here signified by a legal marriage with the enticed virgin or at least by the payment according to the dowry of virgins. For note this, that an affection of truth must not be treated as anything but genuine even if it contains worldly motivations of self-advantage, since it can become genuine when the order of the mind is inverted and the worldly element of the affection is put into a subordinate place (A 9184ff).

The law of Israel was, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." There is sorcery in our minds, also. Sorcery of the spirit comes about when something of the church is conjoined to the persuasive falsities of self-love. Such a conjunction is profane. There are many within the church who cannot be withheld from such profanation, because, while they imbibed things of the church from infancy and made them of their faith, they afterwards made light of them when adults and seized upon falsities instead, thus extinguishing their spiritual life so far (A 9188).

Observe that it is the falsities that spring from evils that condemn a man. Thus, in commenting on the law that he that sacrificed to gods other than Jehovah alone should be devoted to destruction, it is noted that this refers to the 'worship of falses from evil' - a form of self-worship. Yet it is said that "they who are in truths that are not genuine and they who are in falsities are often saved," and also that "they who are in genuine truths are often damned."


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 155 Gentiles are welcomed in heaven - even those who had sacrificed to other gods than Jehovah. For they are often in "falsities which come forth from good" - falsities not of evil but of simplicity and ignorance. And those of the church are not saved because they have genuine truths, but because they live according to doctrine.

Therefore the next law ordains, that the Israelite should not afflict or oppress the stranger, the widow, or the fatherless. For these represent states which are open to receive instruction or willing to be led to good (A 9196ff).

Instruction Within the Church

"The internal of charity and mercy consists in clearly discerning who and of what quality those are to whom good is to be done, and in what manner it is to be done to each one" (A 9209). This is the wisdom of life - to make charity discriminate, so that a real good will result. And the charity of the church is to instruct and give spiritual aid. It was represented among the Israelites by 'lending' to the needy. To borrow is to seek instruction. Truths which we learn from others are 'borrowed states' which are not really our own (A 9174). But when we instruct our brethren we must not act as 'usurers' and do so to enhance our own reputation or for the sake of gain or to obtain dominion over others. In other words, we must not use persuasion of the possessive sort that binds them to us and does not allow them freedom to take back their own ideas which they may have temporarily pawned or given us in pledge while pondering the instruction which we gave. Supposing that we have to shatter some cherished illusion held by another, or explain away some favorite idea which he has held, we must take care not to do so violently, and reduce him to a state of despair. We cannot enter his home and demand his pledge, for it may be his garment and the only covering in which he sleeps (A 9213). If we teach a revolutionary interior truth, we must also explain the appearance - and show why it is necessary.

Attitude to the Word and the Doctrine

In all instruction the main thing to be shunned is anything that blasphemes the Word or the primary doctrines of the church. For "thou shalt not curse God nor execrate a prince of thy people." But all the goods and truths of faith must be ascribed as from the Lord. Hence the Israelites were told to dedicate the first fruits of their corn and wine and even the firstborn of their sons, to the Lord. And the same with all cattle (A 9221ff).

The Attitude of the Church towards Falsities

All falsities of evil are to be abhorred by the church.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 156 To hearken to falsities or confirm ill will is to "raise a report of vanity" (A 9248). "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people" (Lev. 19:16). Gossip is against charity. And note that our thoughts can whisper evil amongst themselves against what is good and true. Our thoughts can also consociate with falsities and hearken to the promptings of ill will, thus consenting to evil so as to partake of it in intention. This is forbidden in the commandment, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (A 9251). Following a mob is to be ruled by passion rather than reason - whether it be a rabble of angry people or a horde of false reasonings. To think that a thing is true or right because a mass of people believe it, or because it is the fashion in thinking, is of course a fatal fallacy.

Those who are of the church must shun evils and the falsities which favor their evils. But there are falsities which are due to ignorance. The test of such falsity is usually this, that those who are in false beliefs merely because they are too simple or too ignorant are eventually willing to be instructed in the truth. Those who are in evil, however, cannot be so instructed. Their falsities are hard and unbending and cannot be dissipated. The law of Israel was therefore, 'Thou shalt not overrate a poor man in his strife.' We cannot compromise in our opposition to falsities, whoever holds them. If a poor man arouses our pity - for we incline to take the side of the 'under-dog' - that does not mean that he is in the right (A 9253f).

But if we meet the ox or ass of an enemy going astray, it is our Christian duty to bring it back. What is here called 'an enemy' refers to gentiles and others who are outside of the church; whom we should not regard as foes. They should be instructed and led, if possible, to Christian good. The 'ox' and 'ass' signify the good and truth of the external man - the virtues of subordination and obedience and simple charity such as exists with many in every religion - virtues which sometimes stray far afield into vicious practices as into so many pitfalls. A man of Israel had to give assistance when he found the ass of his hater lying under its burden - and even so we must help to remove the burden of falsity which lies heavy upon a man's conscience if it does not agree with the good of the church (A 9257f).

Falsity is often quite persuasive, as when it promises worldly advantages - whether wealth or rank or fame or anything else that flatters the natural man. Therefore Israel was told, Accept no gift; for a gift blinds them that see and perverts the words of the just (A 9265f).

The church has a deep responsibility to those who desire instruction. But the most important duty is not to let evils of life infest them, especially not evils from the proprium of the men of the church. 'Thou shalt not oppress a sojourner: for ye know the heart of a sojourner, seeing ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt' (A 9268f).



Conversion of Truths of Doctrine into Truths of Life

The judgments, so far given, were civil laws. Now are added the so-called Statutes, which were religious ordinances of various kinds. In the internal sense they described how the man of the church can make truths of doctrine into truths of life. This is described not in mere metaphors and comparisons but in real correspondences (A 9272).

Thus when Israel was charged that they should work their land for six years and in the seventh year let it lie fallow, this was not only a wise method of farming, but was the ultimate form of a spiritual law. 'Sowing a field' signifies the teaching and learning of the truths and goods of faith in the church. And the reaping of the produce signifies appropriation, which comes to pass when truths of doctrine become truths of life, or become the goods of truth, uses inspired by instruction.

Thus it is the work of the church that is here described - or more properly, the work which the Lord accomplishes through His specific church. Some of this is effected through the conscious labors of men who work in His fields and His vineyard. They teach from the Word, they learn the doctrine, they establish the uses of the church in the home, the school, the community, as well as performing the duties of their calling or office in the sincerity, justice, and faithfulness which doctrine demands. They do this with conscious effort and responsibility, as of their own power and according to their own judgment and varying abilities. This is what is meant by the six years of sowing and reaping (A 9272). And in that work a man employs his external mind, which is in the image of the world, a mind which is gradually opened and developed by instruction and training and by the practice of his uses. The six years of labor are also attended with anxiety and temptation, since he is acting on his own responsibility and each detail is decided by his own considered judgment. He feels as if the outcome of his work - both sowing and reaping - depended solely on himself.

The Seventh Year

But there is work going on of which man is not conscious. The Lord does not rely merely on what men consciously undertake. He makes the corn grow by secret ways. And in witness of these invisible uses which the Lord performs, the Sabbath - or the seventh day - was ordained as a day in which men should do no work but remember the Lord's works. Similarly, the seventh year was to be a year of rest, when the fields were left fallow. What grew of itself was to be left for the poor among the people and the animals of the field.

There are some profound truths involved in this provision. The seventh year stood for a state in which the man of the church was no longer led by truths of doctrine as before, but in which such truths were so thoroughly implanted in the life that the Lord could lead him by good or from the heart's affection (A 9274).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 158 And he would then enjoy a rest, a tranquility and a peace of mind which came from a full reliance on the Lord and on His provisions; without taking anxious thought for the morrow. But the Sabbath year meant something more. For its produce - grown without man's labor - was left to the needy of the people and to the beasts of the field.

The Arcana explains that it is an error to think that human life could exist on earth without any connection with heaven (A 9276). Indeed, "it is provided by the Lord that there should always be a church on earth in which the Lord has been revealed by Divine truth from Him; which Divine truth on our earth is the Word." Without this the human race would perish, like a man whose heart and lungs cease to move. The conjunction of heaven with the human race is maintained through those in the specific church who are in the good of charity and in internal truths, and through these with the gentiles and the spiritually poor who yet long for instruction; and through these with those who are in the enjoyment of external truth (A 9276).

This dependence of the church universal on the functioning of the specific church is a Divine provision. It is not a use consciously performed by the church. It is performed in the Sabbath year - so far as man forgets himself and his own toil and remembers the Lord. It is a secret operation effected by means of the Word when read by man in a Sabbath state of reverence. "By means of the Word alone," we read, "is there a connection of heaven with man" (A 9280).

The Three Feasts

Three annual feasts were ordained for the remembrance of the Lord and His redemption and to describe, in the form of rituals, the life of regeneration.

The feast of the Passover celebrated the deliverance from Egypt. This signified a purification from falsities, and therefore no leaven or yeast was used in the bread eaten for that week. Unleavened bread signified good purified from falsities.

The feast of First fruits looked forward to the time when Israel would occupy its promised land and signified the implanting of truth in good. It was to be held when the first sheaf of harvest was reaped, and this sheaf was to be waved by the priest before the Lord. Until this was done, nothing of the new harvest was to be eaten; for the waving of the sheaf signified that truths, ordered and arranged by doctrine, are quickened into good by the Lord, before man can appropriate them (A 9295).



But the third feast was that of Ingathering, when Israel dwelt in booths or tabernacles made of palms and willows, and worshipped in joy with gratitude for the year's abundance of corn and wine and oil (A 9296).

The booths used in this feast signify the new understanding which is formed out of the ideas that are called forth out of the memory - and implanted in the good of use which the Lord instills through the truths of doctrine which are the seeds sown in the spring of life. But it is noted in the Arcana that the seed of truth could never have sprouted in man unless the Lord had implanted also the good of innocence in which He dwells with man - the celestial remains of infancy which make the beginning of a new will that can increase "according to his life of innocence with his companions and according to his life of good behavior and obedience toward his parents and masters" and finally according to his life of repentance and regeneration (A 9296).

Thus the three feasts mark the stages of man's spiritual life, whereby the Lord may become continually present in the truths of faith - which is represented by the requirement that every male Israelite must appear before the Lord three times a year (A 9297). And this regeneration is to be ever progressive: the law, seemingly out of place, is here added: "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk." We must not return to discarded states. If we attain something of the innocence of wisdom, we must not return into the innocence of childish ignorance! (9301).

A Promise of the Regenerate State

The twenty-third chapter of Exodus closes with a prophecy. The Lord would send an Angel before the Israelites to bring them into their inheritance, and He would send hornets before them to drive out the idolatrous nations. But these nations would be destroyed or driven out, not all at once but little by little as Israel increased, until the bounds of Israel would reach from sea to sea (Exod. 23: 20-33).

The 'Angel' signifies the Lord in His Divine Human who guards the church from the falsities of evil as long as the church complies with His law from faith and love.

It was because Israel could serve only as the representative of a church that they were permitted to act according to their nature and destroy and pillage the Canaanites. This was permitted also because the Canaanites were in abominable forms of worship, including human sacrifice and licentious orgies, and so came to represent the falsities which hide or excuse evil (A 9320). Israel, when obedient to their covenant, represented a spiritual church, and it was promised them that the Lord would then bless their bread and their water and that none would be barren or diseased, but live to a good age.



This - in the spiritual sense - describes the state of man after regeneration had well commenced. No mention is here made of the Israelites having to fight the occupants of the land, but it is said that the Angel of Jehovah would send a dread before them and hornets would go before to drive out the nations. For in the state of regeneration evil is abhorred and evil spirits turn back because the heavenly sphere of truth from good is felt by them like infesting torture (A 9333).

But the mind of man is such that he cannot be purified of his evils suddenly. For all the states of man's thoughts and intentions from childhood on are preserved and linked together so intricately that one cannot be taken away suddenly unless all are removed together with it, and man's life would then utterly perish. Since man is full of evils and falsities, these can be removed only by successive and orderly implantations of goods and truths. For falsities are only removed by truths, and evils by goods. If this is not done "little by little" and according to order, falsities which favor evil loves will flow in and possess man. Thus a man cannot in a moment of sudden conversion, be changed into a regenerate man either through an act of faith or by a miracle of mercy (A 9334-9336).

The Israelites would drive out the nations only so far as they were strong enough to inherit the various parts of the land and make good use of it. And this was not achieved until the days of Solomon, when the power of Israel reached from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and from the deserts of the South even to the Euphrates. This promised extension of their domain was spiritually significant of the regeneration of man's natural mind (A 9340f). It is said that "it is man's natural which first receives truths out of the Word from the Lord," but that it is the last to be regenerated. The rational mind is first regenerated; and later by a slow process of displacement the natural comes into correspondence with heaven (A 9325). Then Israel will have dominion over the nations.

Present Functions of Ancient Laws

From a bare summary of the judgments and statutes of the Hebrews, we may see that in these scattered laws there is an internal series describing the laws of progressive regeneration; which in itself testifies to the Divine sanctity of the Word. Indeed each of these laws contains an important rule of life for the man of the New Church to ponder. "Each and all things therein are holy because they are holy in their internal form; nevertheless some of them are abrogated as to use at this day where the church is, which is an internal church. Some of them however are such that they serve a use if people are so disposed; and some of them ought to be wholly observed and done" (A 9349).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 161 All are equally holy. And indeed every syllable of the original text involves what is holy which becomes perceptible to the angels of the inmost heaven. The literal sense is in no way annulled by the spiritual sense, but is rather confirmed so that each word is given weight and holiness from the spiritual sense within which is in closest conjunction therewith.

The ten commandments are not for time but for eternity. "Let men beware and not regard the laws of life as abrogated" (A 9211:2). Even some of those judgments which are no longer obligatory may have a place in a code of justice if a people so rules. So for instance the law of retaliation is present in part wherever murder is a capital crime. Christian nations until recent times recognized a dowry or settlement as a prenuptial covenant. Sabbath laws, the proclamation of a Harvest Festival, and laws about usury are still features of modern life. And in certain cases those are not permitted to enter our land who 'serve other gods,' that is, whose political or moral creed is considered subversive, as is the case with polygamists and anarchists.

It is inevitable that national laws will change, according to the needs of the times. But the laws of justice are ever the same, and are based not only on a common perception but on the revealed Word of God. The laws of spiritual justice are the internal sense of the Holy Scriptures.

The Word and its Quality

"The Word is more than any doctrine in the world and more than any truth in the world" (A 9372:5). For it contains all doctrine and all truth. In this inclusive sense the Word is represented by Moses, who was bidden to call Aaron and Nadab and Abihu and seventy elders of Israel and then himself alone come up near unto Jehovah. Aaron specifically represents the external sense of the Word, his two sons represent doctrine drawn from the internal sense and from the external sense, and the elders represent the chief truths of the church. Apart from Moses, these men could not ascend the mount of God. For - as the Arcana explains in connection with the twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus - the literal sense and all the doctrine drawn from the Word cannot serve for conjunction with the heavens apart from the Word taken as a whole! (A 9379, 9380, 9410)

Moses, who in everything he now did represented the Word in general or in its whole complex, including its internal or heavenly sense, is therefore described as announcing all the judgments to the people and as writing down all the words of Jehovah, and also as building an altar below the mount and raising twelve pillars according to the number of the tribes, sacrificing bullocks, putting the blood into basins and sprinkling half of it on the altar. All this was to represent how the Word, the Divine truth, is to be impressed or written on man's life or interior memory and, like the blood collected in the basins, be contained in the external memory.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 162 Taking the book of the covenant which he had written, Moses read it to the people, whereupon he took the remaining half of the blood and sprinkled it on the people, to signify 'a conjunction of the Lord in His Divine Human with heaven and the earth' by means of the Word (A 9381-9400).

The blood of the covenant thus signified "the Word on this earth without which there would be no conjunction of heaven . . , with man."

Seeing the God of Israel

And now follows a remarkable event. For after this preparation Moses, Aaron, his two sons, and the seventy elders go up the mount; and "they saw the God of Israel . . . and did eat and drink"! What they saw was of course the angel of Jehovah, for no one can see God and live. Yet the Lord after the advent is visible in His Divine Human as revealed in the Word; and it is this coming of the Lord in the Word, to those who are in doctrine from the Word and who are in good from truths, that is here signified. They saw the God of Israel "and under His feet as it were the work of a sapphire stone and as it were the substance of heaven for clearness" (A 9403-9408).

That which was under His feet signified the ultimate or natural sense of the Word, now translucent from the internal sense, even as the spiritual meanings shine through the heavens to men who are in enlightenment. For such "when they read the Word see the Lord . . . This is effected in the Word alone, and not in any other writing whatsoever" (A 9411).

Moses among the Clouds

The Arcana reveals that Moses, at this point, takes on a somewhat different representation. He now represents the Word as to its holy external which mediates with heaven. He is therefore told to come up into the clouds that covered the top of the mount, to receive from Jehovah the tables of stone and the law written thereon - the law which signified the heavenly doctrine. And Aaron and Hur are made responsible for the people in the camp.

Aaron and Hur here represent doctrine drawn from the external sense of the Word - doctrine which should support the hands of Moses, or support the Word in its externals.

It is indeed of order in the church that doctrine should be collected from the Word, but in a state of enlightenment from the Lord. Such genuine doctrine is from the spiritual sense shining through the letter. It supports the Word and unfolds its appearances, explaining its apparent contradictions. But when the interiors of the Word, or the genuine truths there, are no longer seen but vanish as it were behind the clouds, men begin to separate the letter from the spirit and "superadd things from their proprium."


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 163 They as it were make idols of their own to worship under the name of Jehovah. This - as is shown in a later chapter of the book of Exodus - occurred with Aaron, who was prevailed upon to make a golden calf for the people to adore (A 9424).

But at first Aaron was faithful to his trust. And therefore we read that the glory of the Lord abode on mount Sinai and the cloud covered it for six days and a devouring fire was seen at the head of the mount as Moses ascended it to remain there for forty days and nights. And it is revealed that when a man "is in the genuine doctrine of the church as to faith and as to life" he can even while on earth be in the internal sense of the Word. "For by that doctrine the internal sense . . . is then inscribed on both his understanding and his will."

Yet "the Word in the letter is Divine truth in the ultimate of order." Man is in the ultimate of order, in which interiors terminate and rest, as a house on its foundation. "All who are in heaven are instructed by the Lord from truth Divine which is with man, thus from the Word. " "This is the reason why it is always provided by the Lord that there should be a church on earth, in which Divine truth may be in its ultimate. This is an arcanum as yet known to no one . ." "Let all therefore beware lest they do injury to the Word in any way. For they who do injury to the Word do injury to the Divine itself" (A 9430).



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The Lord's Dwelling Place

It is proposed here to give an account of the teachings of the Arcana concerning the Tabernacle of Israel.

A full account of the Tabernacle already exists in the book by Bishop de Charms, The Tabernacle of Israel.

Our purpose is however different, for we endeavor to follow the text of the Arcana only, to outline the series of the internal sense, and this brings in the institution of the Priesthood before the description of the Altar of Incense and the Laver; and the real reason for this is that the spiritual purpose of the text is not to describe the tent in which Israel worshipped, but the mode by which the Lord can prepare a place in our minds where He can be present to guide us.

It was said by Solomon, when he, many centuries later, had built a magnificent temple for Jehovah, 'But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded' (I Kings 8:27).

The Lord is omnipresent in all the immeasurable expanses of His creation as well as in every puny creature; even as the soul of man is present throughout the body and in every part of it. The very universality of the soul's presence renders it imperceptible, so that some men even doubt that they have a soul! Yet let us note that the soul prepares for itself, in the inmost recesses of the brain, a special organic habitation where its presence can become in a manner recognizable and where its miraculous powers are revealed as human consciousness - as a mind that claims dominion over the body's many parts.

It was in a parallel way that the Lord from eternity who is Jehovah, the invisible Esse of life, prepared for Himself a habitation of flesh in the womb of the virgin, in order that He, though always omnipresent in the universe and ruling all by His laws of spirit and of nature, might also reveal His Divine Person in visible fashion, reveal the Divine Rational Mind and become present among men to teach them the laws of life. To do this He assumed a human body and, having purified it from all taint of heredity, glorified it and made it purely Divine. This is what is meant in the Apocalypse when it is said, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people and God Himself shall be with them, their God" (Exod. 21:3).



The Lord therefore 'spake of the temple of His body.' For inmostly, by the tabernacle of Israel and by the temple of Jehovah, is meant the Divine Human of the Lord. But since man is created in the image of God, the tabernacle also reflects the form of the mind of man, when, by regeneration, it is fitted as a dwelling place of the Lord, or as a place in which man can meet His Maker and commune with Him.

In explaining the internal sense of chapters XXV to XXXI of Exodus, the Arcana Coelestia therefore describes how man's mind is to be prepared so that it can receive not only the universal presence but the particular presence of the Lord, which is the presence of the Divine Human (TCR 719).

The Offerings for the Tabernacle

It was during the forty days that he was in the mount that Moses was given the directions for making the Tabernacle.

The first command which Moses received was to call for a free-will offering from the people of supplies for making the tabernacle: for gold, silver, copper; for linen of several colors, for goat's wool, skins of rams and kids; for shittim wood; for oil of olives and spices; and for onyx stones and other precious stones. "Let them make for Me a sanctuary," the Lord said. "According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the dwelling, and the pattern of all the vessels thereof, even so shall ye make it."

Since the tabernacle was to represent heaven, it was also a correspondential picture of a genuine church, the worship of which is patterned upon heavenly life (A 9481). Worship must be offered in utmost freedom: what is compelled by others is devoid of that essence of love and humility which can alone reach to the Lord because it comes from the Lord. Hence nothing contributes to the church spiritually that is not done willingly, as of one's own power. The spiritual states which enter into worship and instruction and upbuild the church in men are indeed all from the Lord, yet they must be felt by man as his own, and offered back for the Lord's use (A 9459ff). The twelve things required are all listed in our text as forms of good and truth, internal and external (A 9463ff). And it is notable that, being spiritual, they come not from the natural world but from sources in the spiritual world, from the Lord through the mediations of the heavens.

General Plan of the Tabernacle

It is necessary here to anticipate the detailed Arcana treatment and describe the general form and correspondence of the whole structure of the tabernacle. It was a rectangular tent made of boards of wood, covered by four layers of curtain.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 166 It stood in an enclosure or court. It was placed so that the entrance to the court and also to the tent faced the east. The court was surrounded with spaced pillars between which curtains were suspended.

The tent was divided into two rooms. The innermost - the holy of holies - was ten cubits (c. 15 feet) square and ten cubits high - thus a perfect cube. The outer room - the holy place - was twice as long. In the holy of holies was placed an ark or box which was to contain the tables of the Testimony, and on top, a lid with two golden cherubim. In the holy place a table of showbreads was to be placed on the north and a candlestick on the south. The two rooms were to be separated by a veil hung on four posts and the entrance to the tent from the east was covered by another hanging suspended from five posts.

In the court, which was 100 cubits in length and 50 in width, stood the altar for burnt offerings, and the copper laver, a large container of water. In the holy place, just in front of the veil, was the golden altar, meant burning of incense.

The ark with its precious content signified the presence of Jehovah. The holy of holies represented the inmost or celestial heaven and the inmost degree of the human mind. The holy place signified the spiritual or middle heaven and also the spiritual mind of man. The court represented the natural heaven, and thus the natural degree of the mind (A 9455, 9592, 9594, 9711f). With this general picture before us, let us inquire into some of the detailed statements.

The holy of holies was to the west, the door of the tent being to the east. This orientation is somewhat surprising, since it was the custom in ancient times to face east when addressing the Deity in prayer, and our own churches are usually so built that the sanctuary is in the east (H 119; A 9642e). The only explanation which has been offered is that the earthly Tabernacle was a mirror-image of that which Moses saw in heaven. All things of Jewish worship were prophetic of the Lord who was to come. The gates of the court looked east-as it were to welcome Him. And the Lord enters into heaven through the good of love, or from the east (compare A 9668). The Tabernacle and its furnishings were the shadow cast by this coming event. And when He came, as we recall, He taught in the temple; and then, at His death on the cross, the age of prophecy and mere representation was finished; and, to signify His union with Jehovah His soul, the veil in the temple rent in twain.

The Ark

The ark in particular signified the inmost heaven, where the Lord inflows immediately. For the Lord's presence is by means of His Divine truth, proceeding.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 167 And this is meant by the law, written on the two tables contained in the ark (A 9485ff). The ark was therefore regarded as most holy, and its presence caused many miracles. The wood out of which the ark was constructed was shittim wood - and this signified the good itself of the Lord's justice and merit - good which could be ascribed to no man. But this wood was to be overlaid with pure gold, because all things of the inmost heaven are to be founded on good, even the externals of heaven being sensual good, good clearly appearing before the senses.

The ark had two gold covered poles by which it was to be carried. These were permanently fitted into golden rings at the sides of the ark. The Arcana shows that these things signify the power of the Divine sphere in the ultimates or boundaries of heaven. In the natural world ultimate boundaries have to do with spaces, and are typified by the natural atmospheres which surround man and hold his substance together by their pressure. But in the spiritual world that which bounds, encloses and contains heaven is the Divine good conjoined with Divine truth (A 9499). This "operates around an angel and contains him in its form and power." From this Divine sphere heaven 'came into existence and was created,' and through the same sphere it is preserved.

This protection is further represented by the 'propitiatory' or 'mercy- seat' of pure gold, placed as a lid on the ark. For two 'cherubim' of gold adorned the mercy-seat and spread protecting wings over it - to indicate that only through the good of love is it possible for finite beings to approach the Lord (A 9509f).

What the particular form of these cherubim was is not made clear. They were not images to be worshipped. They were not likenesses of anything in heaven above or in the earth beneath. They were not angels nor men. When mentioned in the Word they are differently described. In the garden of Eden were cherubim with the flame of a sword to guard the way to the tree of life. In Ezekiel's vision were seen living creatures, with wings and four faces each and wheels with eyes, while other prophets saw cherubim or seraphim of other composite shapes, animal and human. The cherubs on the ark apparently had human faces (E 280:16) and wings that met over the mercy-seat (A 9509). The general meaning of cherubim is the merciful accommodation of Divine truth so that angels and men may hear and receive. But this is possible only where celestial good and spiritual good are conjoined - wherefore Jehovah promised to meet and speak to His people, or to Moses and Aaron, "from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim" (A 9523).

The Table of Shewbread and the Lampstand

The table on the north in the holy place was of shittim wood covered with gold and signified a receptacle of celestial things - namely the good of love and of faith and the happiness that they bring about.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 168 Again, the gold means an extension of the Divine sphere of good which encompasses and protects heaven. Like the ark and the holy of holies, the table for show-breads "described the inmost or third heaven as to reception of good from the Lord" (A 9543).

For this table there were to be made golden dishes, spoons, covers and bowls, for on it were to be set out bread of a special sacred recipe, francincense, and (presumably) wine or oil (Lev. 24: 6, 7, Numb. 4: 7, 8). The various vessels signify cognitions of celestial good and truth. The 'bread of faces' represented the Lord as the Bread of Life and thus all spiritual food which brings innocence, peace and joy to man and angel (A 9545).

On the south side of the holy place there was to be a lampstand of beaten gold, to represent the spiritual heaven which comes from the truth of faith. This truth is to give light, a light that arises from celestial good (A 9548). From this lampstand the holy place takes on the representation of the spiritual kingdom or heaven. It had three branches on each side, and thus accommodated seven lamps. It was wrought with a design of pomegranates and flowers, which signified knowledges of good and truth. And it was provided with tongs and snuffers of gold, which meant the purification of the internal man and the discharge of what is unclean or superfluous into the natural (A 9572).

The Coverings of the Tabernacle

The second or middle heaven is represented especially by the holy place. This heaven is from those who live a life in accordance with the truths of faith from the Word and the goods of charity from that faith. These truths are signified by the curtains or hangings which covered the Tabernacle. The inmost covering was fine linen twined of blue, purple, and scarlet; and it had figures of cherubim woven into it. This means interior truths which are of the new intellectual formed during regeneration. The next curtain was of goat's wool - to signify an external derived from external celestial good, which means truths relating to more external life and thought. And over this curtain was one made of joined ram skins and a final one of kid skins. These latter had the meaning of truths about moral and civil life (A 9632).

To support this weight of material, walls were made of numerous upright boards joined together by poles or bars running lengthwise through gold rings fastened to the boards. Boards and poles were made of shittim wood and overlaid with gold; and each board was resting in a base of silver. Altogether this was to represent that all the truths of faith of heaven are upheld by the Lord by the good of His own merit and rests on truth (A 9634ff).



The obvious practical reason for such a construction of the Tabernacle was that Israel was as yet a nomadic people, and had to move all its sacred possessions from place to place.

The Veil before the Ark

The holy of holies was in total darkness, separated from the outer room by a linen veil with cherubim inwoven. This was hung on four pillars, totally hiding the ark so that only the protruding staves were noticeable. This veil represented angelic societies which intermediate between the celestial and the spiritual and at the same time serve as guards lest spiritual good and celestial good should be commingled or confused. In the inmost sense it represents the finite medium uniting Divine truth and Divine good in the Lord before His full glorification; and this was the veil which was rent away at His crucifixion, when He had rejected all merely human heredity and Divine truth and Divine good were united in an absolute union (A 9670). This same unition was prophetically enacted by Aaron, when - once a year - he entered the holy of holies to perform the rite of expiation.

The veil also represented a medium for the mediate influx of the Lord through the celestial heaven into the spiritual, or through love to the Lord into love to the neighbor.

The covering for the door of the Tabernacle represented a medium uniting the middle heaven with the first or ultimate heaven signified by the court. And note that the pattern of this outer veil or hanging was not inwoven but embroidered; which signifies truth which is not of the intellectual but consists in cognitions or in the knowledge of doctrinals of the church (A 9688).

The Altar of Burnt Offerings

It is to be observed that Moses was given directions for making the ark and other furnishings before he was instructed about the tent itself. In a similar way he is now instructed how to make an altar for burnt offerings before the court in which it is to be placed is mentioned.

The frame of this altar was to be made of shittim wood overlaid with copper, and to have a grill or grating of copper reaching over and around the sides (A 9715, 9726). The altar itself in the supreme sense represents the Lord, and in a respective sense, the worship of the Lord. It was four square, to signify what is just, and the copper means natural or external good which characterizes man's life especially in this world.

The lowest degree of man's mind is called the sensual, because it receives the experiences of the sense-organs and as it were sifts and separates these sensations before presenting them to the understanding.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 170 If the sensual is regenerated, it admits nothing but what is good and true and useful, and rejects what is false or wrong. But at the present day, the Arcana testifies, this degree is scarcely with any one regenerated. Regeneration begins in the rational, and the sensual with its appetites, delights and deceptive appearances, is the last of man to be regenerated. It was this sensual that was signified by the copper grating of the altar (A 9726 ff).

Man's worship does not consist only of attending religious services and uttering formal prayers. It pervades all the acts of his life, all his uses to the neighbor. The sacrifices at the altar of burnt offerings therefore include his whole mental life with its succession of ideas of thought, which employ the knowledges of his experiences for the shifting needs of the moment. But as his life progresses and his uses take new forms, much of what he had learnt and stored in the external memory becomes obsolete and useless and - if constantly before the consciousness - it would clog his thinking much as the ashes of a fire would accumulate and deaden the flames. What happens in the mind is that useless knowledge is forgotten or becomes automatic and unconscious. And the real fruit or essence of that knowledge is as it were distilled into rational and spontaneous ideas that are taken up to form an interior memory which makes a one with one's life and deeper perceptions.

This was the spiritual significance of the pans and shovels which the priests must use to remove the ashes under the altar (A 9723). In man's spiritual life, the knowledge of the means and methods by which one's moral and civil graces are acquired and our convictions become formed, begin to perish from the memory and ascend - like the sweet odors of a sacrifice - to form the spontaneous perceptions of conscience.

The Court

The altar was to be surrounded by a court. The external of each heaven is what is called the ultimate or first heaven, or the natural heaven, which serves as a forecourt to the Lord's kingdom (A 9741). This corresponds in man to his natural mind. The court of the Tabernacle had a fence of curtains which signified the intellectual things of that mind - all its width of knowledge, its scope of experience. The gate signifies a guard which prevents merely worldly things to enter which might disturb the worship and the uses to which man has dedicated his mind (A 9763).

The Garments of Aaron

Now the subject changes. Moses is bidden to provide olive oil for the lamp of God and to provide that Aaron and his sons shall forever be responsible to keep its flame alight. Oil meant the good of charity and faith which is to feed the intelligence and wisdom of the spiritual heaven and the spiritual church (A 9778).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 171 And to set Aaron and his sons apart, "garments of holiness for glory and for beauty" must be prepared for them by men filled with the spirit of wisdom (A 9818).

To serve in the priestly office signified to represent the Lord in the uses of salvation. And the garments of Aaron spiritually represented the truths which proceed from Divine good or mercy and thus also the things pertaining to the spiritual kingdom of heaven (A 9809, 9814).

Aaron's garments were very distinctive. He was to have an ephod or cassock of linen with two shoulder pieces adorned with onyx stones on which the names of the twelve tribes were engraved. It had gold strands inwoven in it and gold chains. The stones were called 'stones of remembrance' and seemed to stand for the interior memory on which man's life is secretly inscribed (A 9841f, 9849).

On the breast, Aaron wore a golden 'breastplate of judgment,' on which twelve differently colored precious stones were inset in four rows of three, ranging from flaming red through blue to white. The stones were also called 'Urim and Thummim' and were used to give responses from the Lord by the flashing of the light from the stones while Aaron heard also answers in an audible voice (A 9905, 9857). The Arcana also states that when the Word in its ultimate literal sense is consulted by those in truths from good, there is an inner dictate which gives man a response of enlightenment.

Aaron also wore a robe of blue which signified mutual love or the external good from the innocence of wisdom (A 9912), and on its skirts were hung pomegranates and bells of gold - bells which could be heard tinkling while Aaron, unseen, was ministering in the Tabernacle. This represented that all the doctrinals of the church must be from an interior knowledge of good. And it also suggests that the preaching of doctrine in the church should be such that the Divine source of the teaching should be perceived (A 9921ff).

On Aaron's headdress or mitre of linen was to be fastened a plate of gold with the engraving, Holiness to Jehovah, as a sign that all the falsities and evils of those who are in good will be removed so as not to appear, and this from Divine mercy (A 9937ff).

Besides this, an inner tunic of linen lace was to be worn by Aaron to signify the inmost truths of the spiritual kingdom, which tell of celestial love (A 9942).

Induction into the Priesthood

The introduction of Aaron and his sons into the office of the priesthood was done by an elaborate ritual consisting of anointing and investment and a series of sacrifices.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 172 For by it was to be represented an aspect of the glorification of the Human of the Lord. But in a relative sense, man's regeneration is here described. For the order in which the Lord glorified His Human is the very order of heaven, and when the regenerating man is brought into the order of heaven, he is in the Lord and the Lord in him (A 9987e).

In order to signify that in man's regeneration there must be a purification of the natural man, a bullock was to be brought up to be sacrificed. Two rams were next brought, and a basket of unleavened loaves and wafers, to represent the internal things of the mind which must enter man's conscious life to be purified (A 9990ff).

Aaron and his sons were then washed and invested, and the ceremony of 'filling their hands' began (A 10019). Aaron laid his hands on the bullock and it was slain and all the blood was poured out at the base of the altar. The fat alone, with the kidneys, was burnt as a sacrifice; the rest was brought outside the camp and there burnt as refuse. The ram is next slain and its blood sprinkled on the altar. The animal was cut up, the entrails and legs washed, and so offered as a whole burnt offering (A 10,000-10,053).

The bullock that was refused, except for the blood and the fat, signified the evil of former loves with their falsities which are to be rejected (A 10035ff). The blood represented all the truths in the sensual man, as those in his memory. The fat meant various kinds of good in the external man.

The whole burnt offering of the first ram was significant of the Lord's complete glorification which the Arcana frequently describes. But the second ram was carefully cut up and the blood daubed on the priest's right thumb and great toe (A 1006f). and sprinkled on the altar and on Aaron's garments. The fat and the right shoulder were waved, with some of the bread offering, before the Lord and then burned upon the altar, while the breast and some other parts were given to the priests as their portion. That part of the ram was boiled and eaten with the bread in the court. What was left uneaten was burned with fire. For it signified what is beyond man's capacity to receive.

Waving the offering meant vivification from the life of the Lord, by the acknowledgment by thought that life is from the Lord (A 10083). The blood was never eaten because it represented Divine life. It was instead sprinkled about to signify a reciprocal conjunction with the Lord.

The Daily Offerings

To represent a continual removal of evils and falsities in the natural mind of man, a bullock was to be used as a sin-offering every day.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 173 Everyone touching the altar would be made holy. For this meant to receive the Divine of the Lord - which is communicated somewhat as the states of spirits are also communicated by their spheres. Such spheres are not material but spiritual, and flow forth from their loves (A 10130).

Another daily sacrifice, morning and evening, was that of a yearling lamb, to represent the good of innocence which is the essential of every good in every state of life (A 10132). If Aaron and his sons made these offerings, then, the Lord promised, He would dwell in the midst of them.

The Altar of Incense

Not until at this point are the directions given for the altar of incense that was to be made of gold and placed before the veil in the holy place. For only after the proper representation of regenerate states in the natural mind can there be that elevation of true worship which is signified by the continual burning of incense; worship which proceeds not from self, but from a love to the Lord inspired by the Lord who gives men the life and the faculties of freedom and rationality whereby to reciprocate His love (A 10177, 10206).

And in this connection we find the reminder that the Lord alone can order and dispose the states of our lives. To number the people of Israel was therefore forbidden unless the census was accompanied by the giving of half a shekel of silver from rich and poor alike, as a token that all ability and growth is from the Lord and that man from himself cannot judge of the spiritual states of the church (A 10216ff). In order not to appropriate evil or claim merit to ourselves one must acknowledge that both good and evil inflow through the spiritual world (A 10219).

The Layer of Copper

Finally Moses is ordered to make a layer of copper so that the priests might wash before performing their sacrifices or ministering in the holy place (A 10235). This of course was placed in the court, since it is in the natural mind that all spiritual purification is effected. Man shuns his evils and falsities in his conscious thinking - in the externals of his thought. And then the Lord can cleanse his unconscious interiors from the lusts of evil (A 10236f, 10240). Water signifies the truth of faith by which he can be withdrawn from his evils. And yet the purification of the natural and sensual mind is the last state of his regeneration. For the interior endeavors to seek spiritual life are first established in his rational - in the free choice of his rational mind. This is the first to regenerate. And the Lord therefore stores up in our mind many states of celestial and spiritual remains before our natural character can be reduced into real correspondence. He builds, unless we prevent it, an ark and a holy place and prepares a priesthood of holy states among our errant thoughts; and then at last can we begin the continual ministry of worship


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 174 the life-long task of purifying our natural mind by the sacrifices of a broken and contrite heart (A 10239).



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Instructions for Israel

While on the mount of God, Moses was shown the pattern of the tabernacle, its furnishings and its exact dimensions. But Jehovah also told Moses of the two men, Bezalel of Judah and Aholiab of Dan, who would be able to design and execute the work. For these two men represented those who are in the good of love with whom a spiritual church could be established, and those in the good and truth of faith who could form the external of the church. These two are said to have been filled with the spirit of God, and have wisdom, intelligence and knowledge for the task (A 10329ff).

Moses was also told to speak to Israel concerning the keeping of the Sabbath. Moses here represents the Word through which the church is informed (A 10355). In most ancient times men had been instructed about heavenly things through immediate intercourse with angels; for in that Golden Age heaven flowed in through their internal man into the external with enlightenment and perception, since they were in the good of love to the Lord. This heavenly knowledge was later preserved by means of correspondences and representatives, which are external forms of heavenly things and served the Ancient Church (or the Silver Age) for illustration in spiritual good. But that church also perished, through the abuse and magical use of correspondences, and the Israelitish Church which followed could be informed only in the most external things, by angels who spoke to the prophets by a living voice. Those among them "who were in natural good received the things taught them as sacred, and from them those times were called the Copper Age, for copper signifies such good." When not even natural good remained with the man of the church, the Lord came into the world to redeem the human race from the hells and institute the Christian Church which receives its instruction solely by the Word. But a genuine revelation is not given through the Word except with those who are in the love of truth for its own sake. With others, the ultimate truth of the Word cannot cohere with good, but the good of love and charity is extinguished; and the Christian Church becomes like the feet of Nebuchadnezzar's dream image, which broke - like iron mixed with miry clay (A 10355).

The supreme doctrine about which the church is to be informed through the Word has to do with the union of the Divine itself with the Divine Human in the Lord and also with the conjunction of heaven and the church in man. This supreme truth is what is signified by the Sabbath - for the purpose of the Sabbath is continual holy thought about the Lord (A 10356). The Lord therefore told Moses, "Verily ye shall keep My sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am Jehovah who makes you holy."


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 176 Thus the Arcana notes that "heaven is not from the proprium of the angels, but from the Divine of the Lord with them; and the same is true of the church with men" (A 10359). Among the Jews there was no knowledge of the Divine Human. But to represent the real spiritual purpose of the Sabbath, they were required to do no work on that day and every one that did labor on the Sabbath was put to death, to signify the spiritual death of those led by self and by their proprial loves and not by the Lord (A 10369). The Lord at His coming repealed this severe law, and left the matter of doing no work at all on the Sabbath among laws which can serve a use if so it may be agreeable (si ita libet); and He "made the Sabbath a day of instruction in the doctrine of faith and of love" (A 10360, cp. 9349). He therefore taught and healed on the Sabbath.

The six days of labor signify the combat and labor through which the church is being established, when man, as of his own effort, applies truths of doctrine to life. But the seventh day represents the state when man acts from good and thus from the affection of charity and love - a state in which the church is established in the man, when he is in the heavenly marriage of faith and charity, and thus (in spirit) enters heaven (A 10366ff). The Sabbath thus is an eternal covenant with the Lord.

Having thus impressed the meaning of the Sabbaths Jehovah gave to Moses the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. They signified Divine truth from the Lord God Himself - truth in ultimate form, represented by stone; thus truth in the form of a literal sense within which is the internal sense (A 10376).

The Golden Calf

The incident which is next related shows what happens when the internal sense is unknown, doubted, and denied, and men do not perceive anything heavenly in the Word.

For Moses had been long up on the mount, and the people urged Aaron, "Rise, make us gods which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who made us come up out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him!"

The Israelites - a generation brought up in Goshen, not only with their own household goods but next to the temple-filled splendors of Egypt - could with difficulty be weaned from idolatry. The new worship of Jehovah - with the command not to make any image of God - was as yet too abstract for them to comprehend, for as yet they did not even have a tabernacle to worship in. And now they had been abandoned, they felt, by Moses; and Aaron was left in charge of the camp at the foot of the mount.



Aaron represents the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, an external which was separated from an internal. For Moses, here representing the internal of the Word, was still on the mountain, unseen. It is noteworthy that Aaron, apart from Moses, is pictured as a colorless, neutral personality, able as the mouthpiece of Moses, but without firmness or vision of his own, but liable to be borne away by evil as well as good.

The literal sense of the Word is like Aaron in this, that it can be used to confirm evil as well as good, falsity as well as truth. It can be used to teach any heresy - wherefore scoffers have called the Bible 'a book of heresies.' Indeed the Word in the literal sense cannot be rightly understood except in the light of the spiritual sense. Its many apparent contradictions and obscurities cannot be rightly explained except by doctrine drawn from the clear passages or naked truths in the text when these are gathered together. This doctrine which should be for a lamp is from the internal sense shining through the letter - for the internal sense is not wholly hidden, but "in some measure it lies open to every one . . . who is in the external from an internal, that is, whose internal man is open" (A 10400, cp. 7233). This is true even with those who do not know what the internal sense is. For heaven flows in when such a man reads the Word, and affects his internal man which is then "of itself in the internal sense of the Word" although he is not then conscious of the interior intellectual ideas that secretly affect him. But when he comes into the other life he also comes into these ideas quite spontaneously, as if he had always known them. A man who has his internal somewhat open, is therefore "in the internal sense of the Word though he does not know it" and is in something of enlightenment so far as he has knowledges to receive! (A 10400)

But if the internal man is closed by evil loves of self and the world, man falls into errors when reading the literal sense of the Word; even as did Aaron when acting apart from Moses. Man then sees only those things in the letter which favor his external delights and opinions. Thus we find that Aaron told the people to collect the golden earrings that they wore, and that he then fashioned them with a graving tool and made it a molten calf, like the chief idol of Egypt, the bull Apis (A 10411). Aaron built before it "an altar to Jehovah."

The worship of the calf signifies worship from self-indulgence, from the incitement of perverse loves. And inwardly, such worship is a worship not of God but of self.

Now Moses had been on the mount for forty days and nights, when Jehovah told him that his people had corrupted themselves, and disobeyed the very first commandment that had been given them. "I have seen this people," the Lord said, "and it is a stiff-necked people." They were so called because they would not bend nor receive influx from the Lord, but resisted anything internal (A 10429).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 178 This the Lord had foreseen (A 10428, 10431). Yet they had insisted obstinately to become the chosen nation. They had a strange ability to humble themselves and confess wrongdoing, to fast and lie prostrate in sackcloth and ashes, - all to obtain the favor they wanted from God (A 10430).

Jehovah now offered to destroy Israel and make of Moses a great nation. But Moses pleaded that He forgive Israel's sins, so that the Egyptians should not scoff that Jehovah had led the people out only to destroy them (A 10437). And Jehovah - reminded of His promise - repented as to the evil which He had threatened.

The internal sense here shows the reasons why the Word might not have been written elsewhere so as to be devoid of the many references to evil and cruelty but might contain more that is good and excellent (A 10432). Why should not the internal sense be more clearly expressed in the external? Why could not the chosen people come from Moses instead of from the more fickle Israelites below the mount?

But Moses obeyed the Lord and came down from the mountain with the two tables of the testimony in his hand, tables which "were written from their two passings-over, from this and from that" (Exod. 32: 15). This obscure description is explained to mean that the two tables "were divided the one from the other, but were joined together by application; and the writing was continued from one table to the other, as though it was upon one table; but not according to the common opinion, some commandments on one table and some on the other. For by one divided into two, and by the two being joined together or placed beside each other, is signified the conjunction of the Lord with man (A 9416:2).* What was inscribed upon these tables was "the first of the revelation of Divine truth, "which had been "proclaimed by the Lord before all the people of Israel with a living voice," and thus it involved and signified all the rest of the Word also.

* However, it is shown elsewhere in the Writings that the first three precepts relate to the Lord and the last six to the neighbor, and that the fourth precept is intermediate, having reference to God as the father and to the church as the mother. E 1026:3, 1027:4, 1179:3; DP 95; TCR 456. This seems to indicate that at least the fourth commandment was written partly on one, partly on the other table.

Through the Word there is a conjunction of the Lord with the human race. For "heaven is in its wisdom from the Word when this is read by man, and then man is at the same time in conjunction with heaven" (A 10452).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 179 If this medium of conjunction were not in the world, evil and falsity would come into full possession of mankind and "one society after another would perish" (A 10452).

The tables were the work of God and so was the writing. The writing signified the internal of the Word. And the tables signified the external of the Word which is the sense of the letter; and here an external which could not be received by the Israelites. For we presently read that Moses broke these tables which were "the work of God," and which thus more nearly expressed His will and His wisdom; and that later a different set of tables was hewn out by Moses upon which the Lord wrote the same ten commandments. The writing or the internal sense, was still the writing of God. But the second set of tables were made by Moses, as if in accommodation to the Jewish people. And this, the Arcana shows, involves the arcanum 'that the sense of the letter of the Word would have been different if the Word had been written among other people, or if this people had not been such as it was' (A 10453).

Many things, abhorrent to those in charity, were permitted to the Jews because of the hardness of their hearts; such as polygamy, divorce, and cruelty. They were grossly sensual and idolaters at heart. Yet their doings are given a new meaning when brought into the context of the Word. In order that the internal and the external of the Word of the Old Testament might agree, this people was extolled as God's chosen, as His peculiar possession, as a holy nation. It is of order that "the simple who were to be instructed by the external sense of the Word, were to believe that this nation was such . . . Their many evils were as it were covered over by a mantle of holiness which must not be rudely torn away before children and simple souls who see the patriarchs and Israelites as patterns of religious virtue and are innocently blind to their real characters (A 10453).

It will be remembered that when Moses went up Mount Sinai to receive the tables of the law, he was accompanied by Joshua his minister; while Aaron and Hur were told to wait for them in the camp (Exod. 24: 13, 14). When - after forty days and nights - Moses now descends with the two tables, we again encounter Joshua who apparently had been waiting on the mount, but below the cloudy summit where Moses communed with God. Joshua reappears at this point of the account because he represents the truth of the Word in its function of surveying, exploring, and apperceiving the state of the interiors of the representative church. Joshua therefore was first to hear the shouting of the people in the camp, and tells Moses, 'There is the voice of war in the camp . . . a cry of wailing do I hear.' And as they approached Moses saw the calf and the dancing and his wrath waxed hot. The camp, which had represented the church, now was seen as a picture of the hell that ruled that people interiorly through their abominable delights. And so Moses cast down the tables out of his hand and broke them below the mount. He took the golden calf and burnt it and ground it up, strewed the gold dust into the brook from the mount and made the sons of Israel drink it!

This was to show that the joys of idolatry were from the infernal fire of the loves of self and the world, and that such worship was like commixing the falsities of evil delights with the truth that comes from heaven (A 10463ff).



Moses' treatment of Aaron was surprisingly mild. Aaron pleaded inability to resist the populace, which naturally were in evil. So he had told them to break off their golden earrings and when Aaron cast these into the fire, there came out this calf.

The explanation did not excuse Aaron from responsibility. Yet the populace were most to blame, so Moses cried out, "Who is on the Lord's side?" and called on all the sons of Levi to take their swords and go through the camp from gate to gate and slay every man, his brother and companion, until three thousand men had been killed. It is to be pointed out that the camp now signified hell. The Levites represented those who had something of an internal in their externals. Moses, since he signified what is internal, stood at the gate of the camp. The slaughter by the Levites signified a closing up of the evil internals of the nation of Israel so that they could serve to represent something heavenly, after they had been reduced into external order through obedience from fear (A 10483 et seq.).

On the morrow, Moses sought to make expiation for the sins of the people. And the text here contains an anticipation of the uses that the Jewish nation might serve, by means of a type of worship that would end when the Lord had come into the world and the sacrifices and burnt offerings had to be given up and the temple was finally destroyed by the Romans, as Daniel had predicted. It was a temporary use. Yet a remnant of Jewish worship continued during the Christian era - in that the Hebrew Word was still being read among the dispersed people. But this too would have its end with the end of the Christian Church in Europe (Matt. 24: 34; A 10497).

The use to be performed by the nation Israel was that by the external things in which they were, communication might be effected with heaven. "The church on earth is instituted solely to the end that there may be communication of the world or the human race with heaven and through heaven with the Lord." Israel could serve if their internal was entirely closed up, and if they could be in a holy external when in worship. For when the internal is so closed up that there is an entire ignorance concerning the internal things of love and faith and eternal life, there is neither denial or acknowledgment, and thus an indifference which prevents profanation. When the Lord came into the world and taught the interior things of faith and charity, they began to deny them and could no longer be kept in ignorance as before. And lest they should then defile and profane internal things in that very land where they had represented a church, they were driven out of the land of Canaan and lost their office as a church mediating with heaven. Their synagogues remain but they represent a culture rather than a religion (A 10500).



It was because Israel, before any other nation, could make Divine worship to consist in external things, that it was able to function as a representative of a church and serve to effect a communication with heaven, at that time. The Arcana describes the mode by which it was done:

"Their external worship was communicated to angelic spirits who are simple and do not reflect upon internal things, but who still are interiorly good. Such are they who, in the Grand Man, correspond to the outer skin. These pay no attention whatever to the internal of man but only to his external." If the external appears as holy they take for granted that the internal is also. "The more interior angels of heaven saw in these spirits the things that were represented, thus the celestial and Divine things that corresponded; for they could be present with these spirits and see those things, but not with the men except by means of the spirits. For angels dwell with men in things interior; but where there are no such things, they dwell in the interior things of simple spirits. For the angels have no interest in any other than spiritual and heavenly things, which are the interior things contained in the representatives" (A 8588:6).

This communication not only benefited the Israelites, but also served to hold the simple good spirits in an order that would protect them from the hells. And it afforded the angels with a plane of wisdom, since they perceived the internal sense which was prophetic of the order of the Lord's glorification and man's regeneration.

We should continually be reminded that the internal sense describes the Lord's states while on earth and His reflections on the states of the human race and how it might be saved. Supremely the Word treats of the Lord alone, but here in His relations to men. But the function of the Israelites was in a sense a miracle. It is said in the Arcana that that people could be in a holy external for the sake of self and "this could be miraculously converted into a holy external for the sake of God by the spirits with them and be received from these by angels and thus be elevated into a holy internal . . ." (A 10602).

Unless this had been possible the internal signified by Moses would perish. Moses therefore besought Jehovah to forgive the people's sin. "If not," he said, "blot me out, I pray Thee, from Thy book which Thou has written." And Jehovah answered, "Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book . . . Behold, Mine angel shall go before thee, and in the day of My visitation I will visit their sin upon them."

God's Presence with Israel

The thirty-third chapter of Exodus gives a further view of how the Divine could be present in the worship of Israel although there was not anything Divine or internal with the people. Jehovah promises them again that His Angel will lead them into the land of Canaan, but He would not go up in their midst, lest they perish (A 10533).


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 182 And Moses therefore pitched a tent of meeting far outside of the camp, for those to visit who sought Jehovah. It was done to signify that the holy of the church was removed from the externals in which the people were (A 10546), yet those who had externals in which something internal and sincere was present could separate themselves from the evil externals of that nation and rally around Moses.

While the people watched from their tent doors, Moses entered the tent of meeting and the Lord descended in a pillar of cloud to speak to Moses face to face. The people bowed as Moses vanished into the tent. The cloud being seen signified the dense obscurity of those who see only the externals, while Moses represented those who in states of enlightenment see truths from within (A 10551). Moses speaking to Jehovah face to face represented the interiors of the Word conjoined so as to all regard each other.

Moses, returning to the camp, changes his representation, for he now stands for the nation of which he was the head. But Joshua, it is noted, remained in the tent of meeting, to take over a certain phase of Moses' former representation (A 10557).

As the head of the people, Moses now frankly reminds Jehovah of His promises to make Moses and his people preeminent* above all in the whole world (A 10570). The Arcana notes that Moses had been brought up in Pharaoh's palace and accustomed to preeminence and so fitted for his mission of leadership. But beside this, Moses was not so much in externals separated from internals as the rest of Israel, and "could thus receive speech from the Divine better than others of that nation" (A 10563, 10571).

* The Arcana, following Schmidus, so renders the word which is translated 'separated' in the AV.

Moses now asks a favor: that Jehovah might show him His Divine glory. And the Lord partly consents, placing Moses in the cleft of a rock so that Moses could see His back as He passed by. "Thou canst not see My face, " He said, "for man shall not see Me and live." To stand in a rocky cleft signifies to be in a state of obscure faith in God, from which something of the glory of God may be discerned in the marvels of creation and especially in the things of the literal sense of the Word, which are the 'backside' of Jehovah. The 'glory,' here as always in the Word, refers to the internal sense of the Word (A 10574, 10584, cp. TCR 28).

The people of Israel, and Moses among them, could not see the interior things of worship, of the church, and of the Word - which things are signified by the "faces of Jehovah" (A 10578). But it is also true of all men in the pre-advent churches that the Lord could not be seen in His Divine Person or in His Divine Natural or as the Divine Human; but was revealed by the vision of an "angel of Jehovah."


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 183 For the Divine then assumed a human form - which of course is His own form - by passing through the heavens. "Yet to save the human race it was necessary (for Him) to be really and essentially Man, wherefore it pleased Him to be born and thereby actually to assume a human form in which was Jehovah Himself" (A 10579).

It was to prepare for this advent in the flesh that the people of Israel was shaped by the spirit of prophecy. In the literal sense of the Hebrew Word the features of the Lord can be seen as it were shining through a veil.

The Second Set of Tables

At the Lord's command, Moses hewed out two tables of stone similar to those God-made tablets which Moses had dashed into pieces. With these new tables Moses went up Mount Sinai. And Jehovah descended in the cloud, promising to make a covenant with the people. The thirty-fourth chapter of Exodus gives the terms of this covenant, which to modern scholars is known as 'the cultic covenant,' since it contains mostly precepts and statutes peculiar to Israel.

Thus the Lord forbade them to make any treaties with the inhabitants of the promised land. They were to break down their altars and idols, and never bow themselves to any god but Jehovah. They were not to intermarry with the pagans around them, never to make molten gods. They were to hold three feasts each year. The firstborn of beast and man and the first fruits of the ground were to belong to the Lord. The Sabbath must be kept as a day of rest. Leavened bread was not to be used in the sacrifices. Nor must they seethe a kid in its mother's milk.

These conditions of the Lord's help Moses was commanded to write down. Yet this could not refer to the ten precepts, which the Lord had promised Himself to write on the new tables cut by Moses. The text of the Hebrew account here is apparently intentionally confusing, for by the cultic covenant in the natural sense is meant those very external ordinances which the Jews took to be the essential of their law, and which represent the same accommodation to their state that is spiritually signified by the substitute tables hewn out by Moses. For the Word as to its literal sense had to be accommodated to Israel. This accommodated letter is meant by the tables cut by Moses. But the internal sense, which the Jews did not know, was written by the finger of God (A 10682f, compare 10687, 10453).

Moses was on the mount with Jehovah, fasting, for forty days and nights. This signifies a state of temptation before the internals of the Word can be given. The Lord then wrote upon the two tables the words of the original covenant, the ten commandments.


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 184 These were the same words as before, for the internal sense, which is the Divine infinite wisdom that gives holiness and Divinity to the letter, was not changed.

So Moses came down from the mount, the two tables of the testimony in his hands. And he "wist not that the skin of his face shone," so that Aaron and the people feared to come near until he put a veil over his face. The light from the face of Moses signified the light from the internal sense of the Word shining forth in the literal sense, a light which is not perceived except by those who are in internals. They who are in externals without internals cannot at all endure this light. But those who are of the external church in whom there is an internal, are affected by the internal sense although they are unconscious of it (A 10691, 10683).

When it is said that there is light in the external of the Word from its internal, what is meant is that there is light in the external of man's mind when he reads the Word. The Word does not shine of itself. "Apart from man the Word is merely the letter" (A 10703).

The Building of the Tabernacle

Not until Moses had come down with the new tables of the covenant could the Israelites begin to build their tabernacle and consecrate their priesthood and begin their worship. For the establishment of a new church is prepared for by a redemption and is then commenced by the giving of a Divine revelation or law. The law is what reveals the pattern of the church - wherefore Jehovah not only gave the ten precepts but showed Moses a heavenly tabernacle as the detailed model to which the earthly should correspond.

The book of Exodus contains first a full plan of the Tabernacle as given verbally by Jehovah (Exod. 25-31). But in the thirty-fifth chapter Moses conveys these plans to the people and asks for voluntary offerings of material and work. And in the next four chapters the actual manufacture is described in as complete detail as before. Finally, Moses having inspected the work, is instructed by Jehovah as to the order in which the tent is to be put up and the priesthood inaugurated; after which it is described how Moses, on the first day of the second year of the Exodus, placed the Law in the ark and set up the sanctuary and golden altar and the altar of burnt offerings and the layer and the court round about.

The Arcana does not expound the spiritual sense of these last chapters of Exodus, for this would mean unnecessary repetition.*


SURVEY OF THE ARCANA COELESTIA p. 185 But it is well to realize that in the life of regeneration which is herein described there is no actual repetition. And it is with the church as it is with the individual man. The pattern of spiritual life is given by the Lord first of all in the very plan of the interior degrees of man's spiritual mind which exist deeply within him from birth as mere potentialities and prophecies, which await the time when man's natural mind is ready to respond. In the meantime, on the unconscious mountain heights of man's mind, the Lord prepares remains which generate a rational mind which, like Moses and his adjutants, can collect and prepare the material, and examine that all things are in order for receiving the influx of the Lord.

* Indeed, the laws of exposition and the correspondences already given in the Arcana open the internal sense of all the rest of the Word to the New Church.

Only then can the Tabernacle be reared around the sacred ark of the Law as the inmost, to await the presence of the Lord, with an anointed priesthood ready to minister before Him.

And so at last the cloud covered the tent and the glory of the Lord filled the dwelling. When that cloud lifted it was a sign for Israel to journey on, on their nomad way to face new and unknown states to come. But as long as the sign of Jehovah's protecting presence lingered upon the tabernacle, as a cloud by day and a fire by night, Israel dwelt safely. For the cloud and the glory was the token of the Word in its letter and its spirit, through which there is a protection from heaven and conjunction with God.




A List of Doctrinal Inserts in the Arcana Coelestia

Resuscitation of man from the dead and his entrance into eternal life. Nos. 168-189, 314-319.
Life of the soul or spirit. Nos. 320-323.
What spirits have thought about the soul. Nos. 443-448.
Heaven and heavenly joy. Nos. 449-459, 537-553.
The societies which constitute heaven. Nos. 684-691.
Hell. Nos. 692-700.
The hells of hatred, revenge and cruelty. Nos. 814-823.
The hells of adulteries and lasciviousness, and of deceit and sorcery. Nos. 824-831.
The hells of the avaricious; the "filthy Jerusalem" and the hells of robbers, etc. Nos. 938-946.
Other hel1s. Nos. 947-970.
Vastations. Nos. 1106-1113.

The Most Ancient Church, called Adam. Nos. 1114-1129.
The Antediluvians who perished. Nos. 1265-1272.
The situation of the Grand Man, and place and distance in the other life. Nos. 1273-1278.
Situation, place, distance and time in the other life. Nos. 1376-1382.
The perception of spirits and angels, and spheres in the other life. Nos. 1383-1400.
Perceptions and spheres in the other life. Nos. 1504-1520.
The light in which angels live. Nos. 1521-1534.
The light, paradisal scenes and abodes of angels. Nos. 1619-1633.
The speech of angels and spirits. Nos. 1634-1650, 1757-1764.
The Holy Scripture or Word. Nos. 1767-1777, 1869-1879.
Concerning spirits and angels in general. Nos. 1880-1885.
The Word. Nos. 1886-1889, 1984.
Visions and Dreams, and the state of the prophets. Nos. 1966-1983.
The last judgment. Nos. 2117-2134.



Concerning the Word. Nos. 2135, 2310, 2311, 2495, 2606-2609, 2760-2763.
Infants in Heaven. Nos. 2289-2309.
Memory after death. Nos. 2469-2494.
Gentiles in the other life. Nos. 2589-2605.
Marriages and adulteries. Nos. 2727-2759.
Man's freedom. Nos. 2870-2893.

Concerning the Word. Nos. 2894, 3004-3011.
Representations and correspondences. Nos. 2987-3003, 3213-3227, 3337-3552, 3472-3485.
Explication of Matthew xxiv. Nos. 3353-3356, 3386-3489.
Correspondence of man's organs and members with the Grand Man. Nos. 3624-3649.

Explication of Matthew xxiv. Nos. 3650-3655, 3751-3757, 3897-3901, 4056-4060.
Correspondences with the Grand Man. Nos. 3741-3750. Heart and lungs, 3885-3896. Cerebrum and cerebellum, 4039-4055. Nos. 4218-4228.

Explication of Matthew xxiv. Nos. 4229-4231, 4332-4335, 4422-4424. Explication of Matthew xxv. Nos. 4635-4638, 4661-4664, 4807-4810.
Correspondences with the Grand Man. The Senses in general, Nos. 4318-4331. The eye and light, Nos. 4403-442l, 4523-4534. Odor and the nostrils, Nos. 4622-4634. Hearing and the ears, Nos. 4652-4660. Taste, the tongue, and the face. Nos. 4791-4806. The hands, feet, and loins, Nos. 4931-4953.
The consummation of the age. No. 4535.

Explication of Matthew xxv. Nos. 4954-4959, 5063-5071.
Correspondences with the Grand Man. The loins and the members of generation, Nos. 5050-5062. The interior viscera, Nos. 5171-5190, 5377-5396. The skin, hair and bones, Nos. 5552-5573. Correspondence of diseases, Nos. 5711-5727.

The angels and spirits with man. Nos. 5846-5866, 5976-5993.
Influx, and the intercourse of soul and body. Nos. 6053-6058, 6189-6215, 6307-6327, 6466-6496, 6598-6626.

The doctrine of charity and faith. Nos. 6627-6633, 6703-6712, 6818-6824, 6933-6938, 7080-7086, 7178-7182, 7255-7263, 7366-7377, 7488-7494, 7623-7627, 7752-7762, 7814-7821.
The inhabitants of other earths. Nos. 6695-6702. Spirits of the planet Mercury, Nos. 6807-6817, 6921-6932, 7069-7079, 7170-7177. Venus, Nos. 7246-7254. Mars, Nos. 7358-7365, 7475-7487, 7620-7622, 7742-7751. Jupiter, Nos. 7799-7813, 8021-8032.



The doctrine of charity. Nos. 8033-8037, 8120-8124. Piety, Nos. 8252-8257. Repentance, Nos. 8387-8394. Regeneration, Nos. 8548-8553, 8635-8640, 8742-8747. The ruling love, Nos. 8853-8858. Temptations, Nos. 8958-8969.
Spirits arid inhabitants of the planet Jupiter. Nos. 8111-8119, 8242-8251, 8371-8386, 8541-8547, 8627-8634, 8733-8741, 8846-8852.
Spirits and inhabitants of the planet Saturn. Nos. 8947-8957, 9104-9111.

The doctrine of charity and faith. Conscience, Nos. 9112-9122. Faith, Nos. 9239-9245. Persuasive faith, Nos. 9363-9369. Forgiveness of sins, Nos. 9443-9454. Freedom, Nos. 9585-9591. The internal and the external man, Nos. 9701-9709. Understanding and will, Nos. 9796-9803.
The spirits of the moon, Nos. 9232-9238. Why the Lord willed to be born on our earth, Nos. 9350-9362. Earths in the starry heaven, Nos. 9578-9584, 9693-9700, 9790-9795, 9967-9973.

The doctrine of charity and faith. Merit, Nos. 9974-9984. Love truly conjugial, Nos. 10167-10175. The Word, Nos. 10318-10325. Baptism, Nos. 10386-10392. The Holy Supper, Nos. 10519-10522. The resurrection, Nos. 1059l-l0597. Heaven and heavenly joy, Nos. 10714-10724. Hell and its fire, Nos. 10740-10749. The Church, Nos. 10760-10766. The Divine providence, Nos. 10773-10781. Government, Nos. 10789-l0806. The Lord, Nos. 10815-10831.
Earths in the starry heaven, Nos. 10159-10166, 10311-10317, 10377-10385, 10513-10518, 10585-10590, 10708-10713, 10734-10739, 10751-10759, 10768-10772, 10783-10788, 10808-10814, 10833-10837.