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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.

-----

(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

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 How Angels See God
Angels love God above everything and hold Him as the center and source of their lives, seeing Him as the Sun of heaven.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #3701

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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3701. 'And behold, the angels of God going up and coming down on it' means an infinite and eternal communication and the consequent joining together - a going up, so to speak, from what is lowest, and after that, when order has been inverted, a coming down to it. This is clear from the meaning of 'the angels' as some aspect of the Lord's Divine meant by the expression 'angels' when used in the Word, dealt with in 1925, 2319, 2821, 3039. The aspect meant here is Divine Truth. This is clear from the fact that they are called 'the angels of God', for the name God is used when truth is the subject in the internal sense, but Jehovah when good is the subject, see 2586, 2769, 2807, 2822. This is why although the name Jehovah is used directly after this in the phrase 'Jehovah standing above it', they are nevertheless referred to here as 'the angels of God', since the subject is truth from which good springs, represented by 'Jacob' here, as stated many times above. As regards the expression 'going up and coming down on the stairway' meaning in the highest sense infinite and eternal communication and the consequent joining together, this is clear without further explanation. But one cannot speak of a communication between, and the consequent joining together of the Lord's Divine itself and His Divine Human unless at the same time one calls these attributes infinite and eternal, for in the Lord everything is infinite and eternal - infinite so far as Being (Esse) is concerned and eternal so far as Manifestation (Existere) is concerned. From what has been stated up to now it is evident that 'a stairway set up on the earth, and its top reaching to heaven, and behold, the angels of God going up and coming down on it' means in a nutshell a going up so to speak from what is lowest, and after that, when order is inverted, a coming down to it.

[2] The nature of this going up and coming down becomes clear from what has been stated and shown above in 3539, 3548, 3556, 3563, 3570, 3576, 3603, 3607, 3610, 3665, 3690. But because this order - which comes into effect when a person is being regenerated and which is described in the internal sense here and in what follows - is completely unknown in the Church, let the nature of it be illustrated further: It is well known that a person is born into the same disposition as his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, going back for centuries, and so into hereditary evil gradually accumulated by all those before him, so much so that there is nothing but evil in what he does when he acts from himself. As a consequence both his understanding and his will have been totally spoiled and of himself he does not will anything good at all and therefore does not understand anything true at all. That which he calls good, indeed believes to be good, is in fact evil, and that which he calls the truth, indeed believes to be the truth, is in fact falsity. Take, for example, loving himself more than others, wanting things to be better for himself than for others, desiring what belongs to someone else, and considering only himself and not others unless he himself will benefit. Because he desires these things of himself he indeed calls them good and also true. And what is more, if anyone harms or tries to harm these things which by him are called good and true, he hates him and is also filled with thoughts of revenge. He desires and also seeks that person's ruin, and takes delight in this insofar as he actually strengthens such intentions in himself, that is, as frequently as he actually puts them into effect.

[3] When such a person enters the next life his desires remain the same. The actual disposition which he has acquired in the world by the life he led remains, and that delight is perceived plainly by others. Consequently he is unable to be in any heavenly community where everyone wants things to be better for others than for himself; but he is in some community of hell whose delight is similar to his own. It is that disposition of his which needs to be rooted out while he is living in the world, something that cannot possibly be achieved except through regeneration from the Lord, that is, through receiving quite another will and therefore quite another understanding - by becoming a new person so far as both those powers of mind are concerned. But for this to come about he must first of all be born like a young child again, learn what evil and falsity are, and learn what good and truth are, for without knowledge or awareness of these he is unable to have any good conferred on him. Indeed of himself he does not acknowledge anything else as good except that which is evil, nor anything else as truth except that which is false.

[4] To make a person new, cognitions are instilled into him such as are not completely contrary to those he has already - for example, the idea that all love starts in himself; the idea that one should consider oneself first and others only after that; the idea that those people who are outwardly poor and wretched should be helped irrespective of what they are like inwardly; and that similarly widows and orphans should be helped solely because they are called such; and at length the idea that enemies in general should be helped irrespective of who they may be; and also the idea that by acting in these ways one is able to merit heaven. These and other ideas like them are the cognitions proper to the early childhood of his new life. They are such that because they derive to some extent from his previous life, or the disposition belonging to his previous life, they also derive to some extent from his new life into which he is being led in this way. They are consequently such as allow into themselves things that contribute towards the formation of a new will and of a new understanding. They are the lowest forms of good and truth, and it is with these that people who are being regenerated start out. And because these lowest forms of good and truth allow more interior truths into themselves, that is, truths closer to Divine truths, falsities which a person had previously believed to be truths are also rooted out.

[5] People who are being regenerated however do not learn such things simply as matters of knowledge but as matters of life, for they practice those truths. But their practice of them has its beginnings in the new will which the Lord is instilling, though they are totally unaware of it. And to the extent they welcome that new will they also welcome those cognitions, put them into practice, and believe them. But to the extent they do not welcome that new will they are indeed able to learn such truths but not to put them into effect since they consider them purely as matters of knowledge and not of life.

[6] That state is the state of early and later childhood as regards the new life which is to replace the previous life, but the state of the early and later youth of that life is a state when no attention is paid to any person's outward presentation of himself but to what he is like with regard to good - first of all with regard to it in public affairs, then in private affairs, and at length in spiritual, at which point he starts to possess and to love good first and foremost, and from good the person. And when after that he is more perfect still his concern is to aid those who are governed by good, his help depending on the kind of good present with those whom he helps. At length he takes delight in helping them. And because he takes delight in good he also takes pleasure in ideas that support it. Those supporting ideas he acknowledges as truths, which also constitute the truths of his new understanding which flow from the forms of good which belong to his new will.

[7] To the same extent as he takes delight in that good and takes pleasure in those truths he also feels an aversion to the evils of his previous life and a displeasure in its falsities. This is why things belonging to the previous will are now separated from those belonging to the new will, and those belonging to the previous understanding from those belonging to the new understanding. The determining factor in this separation is not the affection for knowing them, but the affection for doing them. As a consequence he now sees that the truths belonging to his early childhood in relation one to another have existed inversely and that those same truths have been reorganized little by little into another order, that is to say, their interrelationship has been changed so that those which initially occupied the first place now occupy the last. In this way he sees that by means of those truths which belonged to his early and later childhood the angels of God so to speak went up by means of a stairway from earth to heaven, whereas now by means of the truths belonging to his adult life the angels of God so to speak come down by means of the stairway from heaven to earth.

(References: Genesis 28:12)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 3726, 3786, 3863, 3995, 4242, 4256, 4317, 4337, 4542, 4925, 4977, 5354, 6272, 6342, 8080, 8806, 8876, 9224, 9334, 9723

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 82, 83, 121, 170, 183, 186, 246


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 151, 434

Other New Christian Commentary

What is Evil? 1

Heredity 1

Jacob's ladder 1

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Ascending and Descending
If we look to the Lord's Word as our guide, we can picture ourselves climbing a wonderful ladder, connecting us to the Lord's heaven.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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


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