Arcana Coelestia #1925

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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1925. 'The angel of Jehovah found her' means thought in the interior man, that is to say, thought residing with the Lord. This becomes clear from the representation and meaning of 'the angel of Jehovah'. Mention is made several times in the Word of 'the angel of Jehovah', and in every case when used in the good sense it represents and means some essential quality with the Lord and from the Lord. Which one it represents and means however becomes clear from the train of thought. They were indeed angels who were sent to men and women, and who also spoke through the prophets. Yet what they spoke did not originate in those angels but was something imparted through them. In fact their state at the time was such that they knew no other than that they were Jehovah, that is, the Lord. But as soon as they had finished speaking they returned to their previous state and spoke as they normally did from themselves.

[2] This was the case with the angels who uttered the Word of the Lord, as I have been given to know from much similar experience in the next life, experience that will be presented in the Lord's Divine mercy further on. This is the reason why angels were sometimes called Jehovah, as is quite clear from the angel that appeared in the bramble-bush to Moses, concerning whom the following is recorded,

The angel of Jehovah appeared to Moses in a flame of fire from the middle of the bramble-bush. Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, and God called to him from the middle of the bramble-bush God said to Moses, I am who I am. And God said again to Moses, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, Jehovah the God of your fathers has sent me to you. Exodus 3:2, 4, 14-15.

From these verses it is evident that it was an angel who appeared to Moses as a flame in the bramble- bush and that he spoke as Jehovah, because the Lord or Jehovah was speaking through him.

(References: Exodus 3:11, 3:15)


[3] So that man may be spoken to by means of articulated sounds heard in the natural world, the Lord employs angels as His ministers by filling them with the Divine and by rendering unconscious all that is their own, so that for the time being they know no other than that they themselves are Jehovah. In this way the Divine of Jehovah which belongs in highest things comes down into the lowest constituting the natural world in which man sees and hears. It was similar in the case of the angel who spoke to Gideon, of whom the following is said in the Book of Judges,

The angel of Jehovah appeared to Gideon and said to him, Jehovah is with you, O mighty man of strength. And Gideon said to him, Forgive me for asking, 1 O my Lord; why has all this befallen us? And Jehovah looked on him and said, Go in this might of yours. And Jehovah said to him, Surely I will be with you. Judges 6:12-14, 16.

And further on,

Gideon saw that he was the angel of Jehovah, and Gideon said, Alas, Lord Jehovih! Inasmuch as I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face. 2 And Jehovah said to him, Peace be to you; do not fear. Judges 6:22-23.

Here similarly it was an angel, but his state was such at that time that he knew no other than that he was Jehovah, or the Lord. Elsewhere in the Book of Judges,

The angel of Jehovah went up from Gilgal to Bochim, and he said, I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I swore to give to your fathers. I said, I will not break my covenant with you, even for ever. Judges 2:1.

Here similarly the angel speaks in the name of Jehovah, declaring that he brought them out of the land of Egypt, though in fact it was not the angel who led them out but Jehovah, as is stated many times elsewhere.

(References: Judges 6:12, 6:14)


[4] From this it may become clear how angels spoke through the prophets - that it was the Lord Himself who spoke, yet through angels, and that the angels spoke nothing at all from themselves. That the Word comes from the Lord is clear from many places, as also in Matthew,

To fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin will be with child and give birth to a son. Matthew 1:22-23.

And there are other places besides this. It is because the Lord speaks through angels when He speaks to man that the Lord is also called an angel in various places in the Word. In these instances 'angel' means, as stated, some essential quality residing with the Lord and deriving from Him, as is the case here where it is the Lord's interior thought. This also is the reason why in this chapter the angel is named Jehovah and also God, as in verse 13, 'And Hagar called the name of Jehovah who was speaking to her, You are a God who sees me'.

[5] In other places 'angels' is used in a similar way to mean some specific attribute that is the Lord's, as in John,

The seven stars are the angels of the seven Churches. Revelation 1:20.

There are no angels of Churches, but by 'angels' is meant that which constitutes the Church, and thus which is the Lord's in regard to the Churches. In the same book,

I saw the wall of the Holy Jerusalem, great and high, having twelve gates, and above the gates twelve angels, and names written which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. Revelation 21:12.

Here 'twelve angels' has the same meaning as 'the twelve tribes', namely all things of faith, and so the Lord from whom faith and all that belongs to it is derived. In the same book,

I saw an angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel. Revelation 14:6.

Here 'an angel' means the gospel that is the Lord's alone.

[6] In Isaiah,

The angel of His presence 3 saved them; 4 in His love and in His pity He redeemed them, and lifted them up and carried them all the days of eternity. Isaiah 63:9.

Here 'the angel of His presence" is used to mean the Lord's mercy towards the entire human race in redeeming it. Similarly in Jacob's blessing of the sons of Joseph,

May the angel who has redeemed me from every evil bless the boys. Genesis 48:16.

Here also the redemption, which is the Lord's, is meant by 'the angel'. In Malachi,

Suddenly there will come to His temple the Lord whom you are seeking, and the angel of the covenant in whom you delight. Malachi 3:1.

Here it is plainly evident that the Lord is meant by 'the angel'. The expression 'the angel of the covenant' is used here because of His Coming into the world. In Exodus it is plainer still that 'an angel' means the Lord,

Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way, and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. He will not tolerate your transgression, for My name is within him. Exodus 23:20-21.

From this it is now clear that 'an angel' in the Word is used to mean the Lord; but just what aspect of the Lord is evident from the train of thought in the internal sense.

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Footnotes:

1. literally, In me or On me

2. literally, faces to faces

3. literally, faces

4. The Latin means us but the Hebrew means them which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse.

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(References: Genesis 16:7)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 1935, 2319, 2692, 2821, 3039, 3701, 3858, 4060, 4085, 4235, 4809, 5313, 5585, 6280, 8192, 9166, 9167, 9229, 9820, 10299, 10508, 10528

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 307


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 401

Other New Christian Commentary

Twelve and twenty-four 1

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