Arcana Coelestia #10019

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10019. 'And you shall fill the hand of Aaron and the hand of his sons' means consecration to represent the Lord's Divine Power exercised through Divine Truth springing from Divine Good 1 . This is clear from the meaning of 'filling the hand' as being consecrated to represent the Lord in respect of Divine Truth springing from Divine Good, consequently to represent His power. Two practices existed through which consecration to the priesthood was effected, anointing and filling the hand. Through anointing consecration to represent the Lord in respect of His Divine Good was effected, for the oil used in anointing was a sign of the good of love, 10011; and through filling the hand consecration to represent the Lord in respect of Divine Truth springing from Divine Good, and so to represent His power, was effected, since 'the hand' means power, 878, 4931-4937, 5327, 5328, 6947, 7011, 7188, 7189, 7518, 7673, 8050, 8069, 8153, and 'hand' is used in reference to truth that springs from good, 3091, 3563, 4931, 8281, 9025. Because all power belongs to truth springing from good, 5623, 6344, 6423, 6948, 8200, 8304, 9327, 9410, 9639, 9643, and since the head and whole body exercise their power through the hands, and this power is the capacity to act that a human life possesses, 'the hand' also means whatever resides with a person, thus the entire person's capacity to act, 9133. From all this it may be seen what 'filling the hand' means. All power belongs to the Lord alone, and none whatever exists with any angel, spirit, or man other than that derived from Him, see 8200, 8281, 9327, 9410, 9639. The reason why consecration to the priesthood was effected through the two practices of anointing and filling the hand was that all things without exception that exist or come into existence in heaven and on earth have connection with good and with truth.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5327-5328, 7188-7189)

[2] But in what way filling the hand was carried out is described in verses 9-36 2 of the present chapter and in Leviticus 8:22-end. It was carried out by the use of the second ram, which for that reason is also called 'the ram of fillings [of the hand]'. The procedure was that after this ram had been slaughtered some of its blood was put on the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the big toe of the right foot of Aaron and his sons. Some blood from the altar and some of the anointing oil was then sprinkled over Aaron and his sons, and over their garments. The fat, the tail, the fat covering the intestines, the omentum on the liver, the kidneys with their fat, and the right flank of that ram, also unleavened bread, cakes, and wafers from the basket were placed on the palms of Aaron and his sons, and waved, after which they were burned on top of the burnt offering made from the first ram. But the breast, after it had been waved, and the left flank were for Aaron and his sons; the flesh from these was boiled in the holy place and, together with the remainder of the bread in the basket, was eaten by them at the door of the tent of meeting. Such was the procedure for 'filling the hand'. What is meant by each detail however will in the Lord's Divine mercy be stated further on.

(References: Leviticus 8:22-36)

[3] The Lord's Divine Power, which was represented by filling the hand of Aaron and his sons, is the Divine Power of saving the human race; and the power of saving the human race is power over the heavens and over the hells. By that power of the Lord's and by no other is a person saved; for all good that belongs to love and all truth that belongs to faith flow in from the Lord by way of the heavens. But neither can flow in unless the hells are removed, for the hells are the source of all evil and of all falsity arising from it. It is by the removal of the evils and consequent falsities which come from the hells, and at the same time by the inflow of the good of love and the truth of faith from the Lord by way of heaven, that a person is saved. When He was in the world the Lord overcame the hells and restored the heavens to order, and acquired for Himself Divine Power over them, see 9486, 9715, 9809, 9937, and the places referred to in 9528 (end). This power that is the Lord's is what was represented by filling the hand of priests; for the Lord's whole work of salvation was meant by the priestly office, 9809.

[4] The truth that the Lord possesses this power is His own explicit teaching in Matthew,

All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Matthew 28:18.

And in Luke,

Jesus spoke to the seventy who were saying that the demons obeyed them, Behold, I give you the power to trample on serpents and on scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, that nothing whatever may hurt you. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father. Luke 10:19, 22.

These words describe the Lord's power over the hells. 'The demons' are those in the hells, 'serpents and scorpions' are evils and the falsities of evil, 'trampling on them' is destroying them. The hells are also meant by 'the enemy' whom they would have power over.

(References: Luke 10:17; Matthew 28:15)

[5] The truth that the Lord acquired that power for Himself when He was in the world is clear in Isaiah,

Who is This who comes from Edom, marching in the vast numbers of His strength, mighty to save? My own arm brought salvation to Me. Therefore He became their Saviour. Isaiah 63:1-10.

The fact that these words refer to the Lord is well known in the Church, as in like manner do those which occur elsewhere in the same prophet,

His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness lifted Him up. Consequently He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon His head. And the Redeemer came to Zion. Isaiah 59:16-21.

And in David,

Jehovah said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make your enemies as your footstool. Jehovah will send the rod of your strength from Zion; have dominion in the midst of [your] enemies. The Lord is at your right hand. Psalms 110:1ff.

The fact that these statements refer to the Lord is His own teaching in Matthew 22:44. His dominion over the hells is described there by 'sitting at the right hand', for 'the right hand' means the power that Divine Truth springing from Divine Good possesses. The hells and the evils and falsities coming from them are the enemies that were to be made as His footstool; they are also the enemies in whose midst He was to have dominion.

(References: Isaiah 63:1, 63:5, 63:8; Matthew 22:43, 22:43-45; Psalms 110:1-2, 110:4, 110:5)

[6] The truth that 'Jehovah's right hand' means Divine Power is evident from a large number of places in the Word, as in Moses,

Your right hand, O Jehovah, is magnificent in strength; Your right hand, O Jehovah, breaks the enemy in pieces. Exodus 15:6.

In David,

O God, You give me the shield of salvation, and Your right hand supports me. Psalms 18:35.

In the same author,

Their arm did not save them, but Your right hand, and Your arm, and the light of Your face. Psalms 44:3.

The words 'Your right hand, and Your right arm, and the light of [Your] face' are used because 'right hand' means power, 'arm' strength, and 'light of the face' Divine Truth springing from Divine Good. For the meaning of 'arm' as strength, see 4932, 4934, 4935, 7205; 'light' as Divine Truth, 9548, 9684; and 'Jehovah's face' as Divine Good, 222, 5585, 9306. In the same author,

O God, Your right hand supports me. Psalms 63:8.

In the same author,

O Jehovah, You have an arm with power; strong is Your hand. Your right hand will be lifted up. Psalms 89:13.

In Isaiah,

Jehovah has sworn by His right hand, by His mighty arm 3 . Isaiah 62:8.

And in David,

O Jehovah, let Your hand be for the man of Your right hand, for the son of man [whom] You have made strong for Yourself. Then we will not turn back from You. Psalms 80:17-18.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4934-4935)

[7] From these things it may now be seen what the meaning of the Lord's words in Matthew is,

Jesus said, Hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power. Matthew 26:64.

And in Luke,

Hereafter the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God. Luke 22:69.

'The Son of Man' means the Lord in respect of Divine Truth, see 9807, while 'right hand', as is clear from what has been shown immediately above, means Divine Power; and this also accounts for the expression 'the right hand of power'.

From all this it is now evident what the anointing of Aaron and his sons represented, and what filling their hand represented, namely that anointing them represented the Divine Good of Divine Love within the Lord, 9954 (end), and filling their hand Divine Truth and therefore Divine Power. For all power resides with Divine Good exercised through Divine Truth, and that power belongs to the Lord alone, see the texts quoted above. Here also is the reason why in the Old Testament Word the Lord is called Hero, Man of War, and also Jehovah Zebaoth, that is, Jehovah of Armies.


1. See 10010.

2. Possibly 19-35 is intended.

3. literally, the arm of His strength

(References: Exodus 29:9; Luke 10:17)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10023, 10026, 10027, 10042, 10053, 10054, 10062, 10066, 10075, 10082, 10093, 10099, 10100, 10101, 10118, 10120, 10125, 10130, 10152, 10178, 10182, 10186, 10218, 10239, 10241, 10254, 10263, 10264, 10267, 10268, 10283, 10349, 10367, 10405, 10659

Heaven and Hell 86

The White Horse 1

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 158, 201, 301, 302, 309

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 33, 72, 209, 411, 900

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