Arcana Coelestia #2534

Par Emanuel Swedenborg

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2534. 'For he is a prophet' means that thus it was to be taught. This is clear from the meaning of 'a prophet'. One reads the word 'prophet' many times in the Word, and in the sense of the letter it means those to whom revelation is given, and also - abstractedly from persons - revelation itself. But in the internal sense that word means one who teaches, and also - abstractedly - doctrine itself. And because, as has been stated, the Lord is doctrine itself, or the Word which teaches, He is called 'a Prophet', as also in Moses,

Jehovah your God will raise up a Prophet like me from the midst of you, from your brothers; Him shall you obey. Deuteronomy 18:15, 18.

The words 'like me' are used because the Lord was represented by Moses, as He also was by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and many more. And because people awaited Him it is therefore said in John,

When the people saw the sign which Jesus had done, they said, This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world. John 6:14.

[2] Since the Lord in the highest sense is 'the Prophet' and 'the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy', Revelation 19:10, 'a prophet' therefore means in the internal sense of the Word a person who teaches, and also - abstractedly - doctrine, as becomes quite clear from the following places: In Luke,

You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High. Luke 1:76.

Zechariah said this in reference to his son, John the Baptist, who was not the prophet but one preparing the way by teaching and preaching the good news about the Lord's Coming, as he himself says,

They asked him, What are you? Are you Elijah? But he said, I am not. Are you the prophet? He answered, No. Therefore they said to him. Who are you? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord. John 1:21-23.

[3] In Matthew,

Many will say on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name? Matthew 7:22.

Here it is evident that 'prophesying' means teaching. In John,

You must again prophesy over many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. Revelation 10:11.

'Prophesying' stands for teaching. What 'peoples', 'nations', 'tongues', and 'kings' mean has been stated and shown in various places. In the same book,

The nations will trample the holy city for forty-two months, but I will grant My two witnesses to prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. Revelation 11:2-3.

Here also 'prophesying' stands for teaching. In Moses,

Jehovah said to Moses, See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet. Exodus 7:1.

Here 'prophet' stands for one teaching or saying what Moses would have to say. In Joel,

I will pour out My spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Joel 2:28.

'They will prophesy' stands for they will teach.

[4] In Isaiah,

Jehovah has poured out over you a spirit of sleep, and has closed your eyes; the prophets and your heads, the seers, He has covered; and the vision of all this has become to you like the words of a sealed book which men give to one who is able to read, saying, Read this, now; and he will say, I cannot, for it is sealed. Isaiah 29:10-11.

Here 'the prophets' is used to mean those who teach truth, and 'the seers' those who see truth. Their heads are said to be 'covered' when they know no truth at all and see none at all. Because in ancient times those who taught were called prophets, they were also called 'seers', for 'seeing' meant understanding, 2150, 2325. The fact that they were called 'seers', see 1 Samuel 9:9; 2 Samuel 24:11. They were also called 'men (vir) of God' because of the meaning 'man' carried, dealt with in 158, 265, 749, 915, 1007, 2517. The fact that they were called 'men of God', see 2 Kings 1:9-16; 4:7, 9, 16, 21-22, 25, 27, 40, 42; 5:8, 14, 20; 13:19; 23:16-17.

[5] That 'prophets' means in the internal sense those who teach is clear in the whole of Jeremiah 23 and the whole of Ezekiel 13, where prophets are referred to specifically, and also in many other places where they are mentioned. This also explains why 'pseudoprophets' means those who teach falsities, as in Matthew,

At the close of the age many pseudoprophets will arise and lead many astray. False Christs and false prophets 1 will arise and will show great signs, and will lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22.

No others are meant here by 'pseudoprophets' and 'false prophets', nor likewise by the pseudoprophet in Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10.

[6] How much the internal sense of the Word is obscured by ideas that have been conceived from the representatives of the Jewish Church becomes clear from the fact that every time a prophet is mentioned in the Word the idea of prophets like those who lived in those times immediately springs to mind, an idea which impedes greatly any discernment of what is meant by them. But the wiser anyone is, the more easily is an idea conceived from such representatives banished. For example, when the temple is mentioned, people who are more wise in their thinking do not envisage the temple in Jerusalem but the temple of the Lord; when Mount Zion, or simply Zion, is mentioned, they do not envisage a location in Jerusalem but the Lord's kingdom; and when Jerusalem is mentioned, they do not envisage the Jerusalem situated in the tribe of Benjamin and Judah but the holy and heavenly Jerusalem.

Notes de bas de page:

1. Here, apparently following Schmidius' Latin version of the Scriptures, Swedenborg has two similar but not identical expressions - pseudoprophetae and falsi prophetae. But in the original Greek the same word occurs in both places.

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