Arcana Coelestia #31

By Emanuel Swedenborg

Study this Passage

/ 10837  

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)       |

31. That 'the great lights' mean love and faith, and are also mentioned as the sun, the moon, and the stars, is clear from various places in the Prophets, as in Ezekiel,

When I have blotted you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars, I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. All the bright lights in the heavens I will make dark over you, and I will put darkness over your land. Ezekiel 32:7-8.

This refers to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who are used in the Word to mean the sensory and the factual. The meaning here is that they will have blotted out love and faith by means of sensory evidence and factual knowledge. In Isaiah,

The day of Jehovah for making the earth a desolation; for the stars of the heavens and their constellations 1 will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. Isaiah 13:9-10.

In Joel,

The day of Jehovah is coming, a day of darkness and thick darkness. The earth quakes before Him, the heavens tremble, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. Joel 2:10.

[2] In Isaiah, in reference to the Lord's Coming and the enlightenment of gentiles, and so to a new Church, in particular to individuals who are in darkness but who are beginning to receive the light and be regenerated,

Arise, shine, for your light has come. Behold, darkness is covering the earth, and thick darkness the peoples, but Jehovah will arise upon you, and nations will walk towards your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Jehovah will be for you an everlasting light; your sun will no more go down nor your moon be withdrawn, for Jehovah will be for you an everlasting light. Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-20.

In David,

Jehovah makes the heavens by intelligence, He spreads out the earth upon the waters, He makes the great lights, the sun to have dominion over the day, and the moon and stars to have dominion over the night. Psalms 136:5-9.

And in the same author,

Praise Jehovah, sun and moon, praise Him, all stars of light! Praise Him, heaven of heavens, and waters that are above the heavens! Psalms 148:3-4.

[3] In all of these places 'the lights' mean love and faith. Because the lights represented and meant love and faith in the Lord, the Jewish Church was commanded to keep a light burning all the time from evening till morning, for every command which that Church received was representative of the Lord. Concerning this light it is said,

Command the sons of Israel that they take oil for the light, to cause a lamp to burn continually. In the Tent of Meeting outside the veil which is before the testimony Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before Jehovah. [Exodus 27:20-21]

That this means the love and faith which the Lord kindles and causes to shine in the internal man, and by means of the internal man in the external man, will in the Lord's Divine mercy be shown at that point in Exodus.


1. literally, orions

Arcana Coelestia (original)       |

31. Quod ‘luminaria magna’ significent amorem et fidem: et quoque nominentur sol, luna et stellae, constat passim apud Prophetas, ut apud Ezechielem,

Obtegam, cum exstinxero te, caelos, et atrabo stellas eorum: solem nube obtegam, et luna non lucere faciet lucem suam, omnia luminaria lucis in caelis atrabo super te, daboque tenebras super terra tua, 32:7, 8;

ubi agitur de Pharaone et Aegyptio, per quos intelligitur in Verbo sensuale et scientificum, hic quod per sensualia et scientifica exstinxerint amorem et fidem:

apud Esaiam,

Dies Jehovae ad ponendum terram in desolationem, nam stellae caelorum, et oriones 1 eorum, non facient lucere lucem suam, obtenebratus sol in exitu suo, et luna non splendere faciet lucem suam, 13:9, 10:

apud Joelem,

Venit dies Jehovae, dies tenebrarum et caliginis, coram Ipso contremiscit terra, commoventur caeli, sol et luna atrantur, et stellae retrahunt splendorem suum, 2:10.

[2] Apud Esaiam, ubi agitur de Adventu Domini et illuminatione gentium, ita de nova Ecclesia, in particulari de singulis qui in tenebris sunt et lucem accipiunt ac regenerantur, Surge, illuminare, quia venit lux tua, ecce tenebrae obtegunt terram, et caligo populos, et super te exorietur Jehovah, ambulabuntque gentes ad lucem tuam, et reges ad splendorem ortus tua, erit Jehovah tibi in lucem aeternitatis, non occidet amplius sol tuus, et luna tua non colligetur, quia Jehovah erit tibi in lucem aeternitatis, 60:1-3, 19, 20:

apud Davidem,

Jehovah facit caelos in intelligentia, ... expandit terram super aquis, ... facit luminaria magna, ... solem ad dominandum in die, ... et lunam et stellas ad dominandum in nocte, Ps. 136:5-9;

et apud eundem,

Glorificate Jehovam sol et luna, glorificate Ipsum omnes stellae lucis; glorificate Ipsum caeli caelorum; et aquae, quae supra caelos, Ps. 148:3, 4.

[3] In quibus omnibus locis ‘luminaria’ significant amorem et fidem. Quia luminaria repraesentabant et significabant amorem et fidem in Dominum, praeceptum est in Ecclesia Judaica ut luminare perpetuum esset accensum a vespera ad mane, nam quicquid Ecclesiae illi praeceptum erat, repraesentativum Domini erat; de quo luminari ita, Praecipe filiis Israelis, ut accipiant oleum ad luminare, ad ascendere faciendum lucernam jugiter. In tentorio conventus extra velum, quod est super testimonium, disponet illam Aharon et filii illius, a vespera usque admane, coram Jehovah. [Exod. 27:20, 21.]

Quae quod significent amorem et fidem, quae Dominus accendit et lucere facit in interno homine, et per internum hominem in externo ibi loci, ex Divina Domini Misericordia, ostendetur.


1. The Hebrew is (kesilihem) from (kesil), the name given by the Jews to the constellation Orion. Schmidius has sidera, and the KJV has constellations.

/ 10837  

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