Arcana Coelestia #10548

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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10548. 'And so it was, that everyone asking Jehovah a question went out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp' means that all instruction regarding the truths and forms of good belonging to the Church and worship was imparted to everyone through the outward sense of the Word, far removed from the external things in which the interest of that nation lay. This is clear from the meaning of 'asking Jehovah a question' as receiving instruction regarding the truths and forms of good belonging to the Church and worship, for whenever Jehovah is asked a question it is done for the sake of receiving instruction regarding those things; from the meaning of 'the tent of meeting' as the external aspect of the Church and worship, dealt with immediately above in 10547; and from the meaning of 'outside the camp' as far removed from the external things in which the interest of that nation lay, also dealt with above, in 10546. From all this it is evident that 'everyone asking Jehovah a question went out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp' means that all instruction regarding the truths and forms of good belonging to the Church and worship was imparted through the outward sense of the Word, far removed from the external things in which the interest of that nation lay.

[2] One reason for saying 'through the outward sense of the Word' is that all instruction regarding the truths and forms of the good of faith and love which compose the Church and constitute worship is obtained from that sense. Another reason is that asking the Lord a question is done by consulting the Word; for the Word has the Lord present within it. He is present there because the Word consists of Divine Truth that comes from Him and He resides with angels in Divine Truth that is His, and also with members of the Church who receive Him.

[3] A further reason for saying 'through the outward sense of the Word' is that this sense at one and the same time has within it all the inward contents of the Word, thus all the truths and forms of good of heaven and the Church, as accords with what has been shown in 10547. This was why answers were given and revelations made within objects on the last and lowest level of things, 9905. Furthermore all the teachings of the Church applying to worship are imparted through the outward sense of the Word. But they are imparted only to those who receive enlightenment from the Lord when they read the Word. For when they do so light from heaven flows into them through the inward sense, see 9025, 9382, 9409, 9424, 9430, 10105, 10324, 10402, 10431.

[4] The reason why far removed from the external things in which the interest of the Israelite nation lay is meant is that the outward sense of the Word among that nation is seen by them in an altogether different manner and is consequently explained in a different way, as becomes clear from the consideration that they do not see anything at all there about faith in the Lord and love to Him, not even anything about the Lord Himself or heaven provided by Him. All they see are references to worldly and earthly matters, in particular their pre-eminence over others. The reason for this is that they are interested in external things and not in what is internal; and people like this see nothing from an inward point of view. Seeing from this point of view implies doing so from the Lord's with the eyes of heaven.

From all this it is evident that the outward sense or external aspect of the Word, and consequently of the Church and worship, with that nation was far removed from the external aspect of the Word, the Church, and worship as it really is. The external worship of that nation is described next in the internal sense, down to verse 11.

(References: Exodus 33:1-11)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10608

The White Horse 7

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 24, 35, 47, 256


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 328, 346, 365, 417, 433, 567, 593

Other New Christian Commentary

Ask 1


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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