Arcana Coelestia #5164

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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5164. 'in the midst of his servants' means which were among the things present in the exterior natural. This is clear from the meaning of 'in the midst' as among those things; and from the meaning of 'servants' as the things within the exterior natural, dealt with just above in 5161. In the Word all things that occupy a lower position and are therefore subordinate and subject to higher ones are called 'servants'. This is so in the case of things present in the exterior natural - that is, the sensory impressions there - when considered in relation to the interior natural. The things present in this interior natural, when considered in relation to the rational, are also referred to as 'servants'. Consequently every single thing present in a person, inmost ones no less than outermost, are called such when considered in relation to the Divine, since the Divine is the highest of all.

[2] The servants here in whose midst Pharaoh the king passed judgement on the cupbearer and the baker were chief courtiers and nobles. The reason why these, like other subjects belonging to any other rank of society, are called servants when considered in relation to the king is that, as is the case in any kingdom even today, kingship represents the Lord as regards Divine Truth, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4581, 4966, 5068. Considered in relation to Him all are equally servants, no matter what rank of society they belong to. Indeed in the Lord's kingdom, that is, in heaven, those who are the greatest there, that is, who are the inmost ones, are pre-eminently servants because their obedience is the greatest of all, and their humility is greater than that of any others. These are the ones who are meant by the least who will be the greatest, and the last who will be the first,

The first will be last, and the last will be first. Matthew 19:30; 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30.

He who presents himself as least among you will be great. Luke 9:48.

They are also meant by the great who are ministers, and by the first who are servants,

Whoever would be great among you must be your minister; and anyone who would be first among you must be the servant of all. Mark 10:44; Matthew 20:26-27.

[3] They are called 'servants' in relation to the Divine Truth which originates in the Lord and 'ministers' in relation to the Divine Good which originates in Him. The reason 'the last who are the first' are servants, and more so than any others, is that they know, acknowledge, and perceive that the whole of their life, and therefore the whole of the power which they possess, originates in the Lord, and none at all in themselves; and those who do not perceive this because their acknowledgement of it is not so great are 'servants' too, though more because that acknowledgement is one that is on their lips rather than in their hearts. Those however whose attitude is completely the reverse also call themselves servants in relation to the Divine; yet their real wish is to be masters. For they are annoyed and angry if the Divine does not show them favour or so to speak does not obey them, and at length they set themselves against the Divine, when they take away all power from Him and attribute everything to themselves. Very many like these exist within the Church; they do not accept the Lord, though they do say that they acknowledge a supreme being.

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