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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.


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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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 drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 401

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 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

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From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #4060

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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4060. Therefore the words quoted above [in 4056] mean the state of the Church at that time as regards good, that is, as regards charity towards the neighbour and love to the Lord. This is clear from the internal sense of these words, which is as follows:

But immediately after the affliction of those days means the state of the Church as regards the truth of faith, which is dealt with in the verses immediately before this. In the Word desolation of truth is called 'affliction' in various places - 'days' being states, see 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788, 3462, 3785. From this it is evident that these words mean that once faith no longer exists neither will any charity exist. For faith leads to charity because it teaches what charity is, and charity acquires its particular character from the truths of faith. The truths of faith however receive their essence and life from charity, as has been shown many times in previous volumes.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 487-488)

[2] The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light means love to the Lord, which is 'the sun', and charity towards the neighbour, which is 'the moon'. 'Being darkened' and 'not giving light' mean that that love and charity will not be in evidence and so will disappear. For 'the sun' means the celestial kind of love and 'the moon' the spiritual kind; that is, 'the sun' means love to the Lord, and 'the moon' charity towards the neighbour which comes through faith, see 1053, 1529, 1530, 2120, 2441, 2495. The reason why the sun and the moon have these meanings is that the Lord is seen in the next life as a sun by those in heaven who are governed by love to Him and are called celestial, and as a moon by those who are governed by charity towards the neighbour and are referred to as spiritual, see 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 3636, 3643.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1529-1530)

[3] The sun and the moon in heaven, or the Lord, are never darkened, nor do they lose their light but are shining unceasingly. Thus in heaven there is no darkening or loss of light in the love which celestial angels have for the Lord or in the charity which spiritual angels show towards the neighbour. Nor on earth is there any in people with whom angels are present, that is, in people who are governed by love and charity. But those who are not governed by any love or charity, only by self-love and love of the world, and consequently by feelings of hatred and revenge, bring that kind of obscurity to themselves. It is like the sun of this world which is shining constantly; yet when clouds intervene the sun is not visible, see 2441.

[4] And the stars will fall from heaven means that cognitions of good and truth will perish. When mentioned in the Word 'stars' have no other meaning than those cognitions, 1808, 2849.

And the powers of the heavens will be shaken means the foundations of the Church which are said to be shaken and jolted when those cognitions perish. This is because the Church on earth is heaven's foundation; for the influx of good and truth from the Lord through the heavens culminates ultimately in the goods and truths present with the member of the Church. Consequently when the state of the member of the Church is so perverse that he no longer allows good or truth to flow into him 'the powers of the heavens' are in that case said 'to be shaken'. That being so, the Lord always provides for some vestige of the Church to be left. And when the old Church perishes a new one is established.

[5] And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven means the manifestation of Divine truth - 'sign' meaning a manifestation, 'the Son of Man' the Lord as regards Divine truth, see 2803, 2813, 3704. This manifestation, or this 'sign', is what the disciples asked for when they said to the Lord,

Tell us, when will those things take place; what especially will be the sign of Your coming and of the close of the age? Matthew 24:3.

For they knew from the Word that when the age drew to a close the Lord would come, and they knew from the Lord that He would be coming again, by which they understood the Lord's coming a second time into the world since they were not yet aware of the fact that the Lord had come as often as the Church had been brought to ruin. Not that any of these comings had been a coming in person, as was the case when, through birth in the world, He took on the Human and made this Divine. Rather, those comings had been made through appearances or manifestations of Himself, such as when He appeared in Mamre to Abraham, in the bush to Moses, on Mount Sinai to the Israelites, and to Joshua when he entered the land of Canaan. There were other comings of a less visible nature, such as those at times when inspiration was received and the Word was given by means of it, and later on through the Word itself. For the Word has the Lord present within it; every detail there comes from Him and has reference to Him, as may be recognized from what has been shown many times up to now. This is the kind of appearance that is meant here by 'the sign of the Son of Man' and is the subject in the present verse under consideration.

(References: Exodus 3:2, Exodus 19:18; Genesis 18:1)

[6] And then all the tribes of the earth will mourn means that all in whom the good of love and the truth of faith dwell will experience grief. This is what is meant by 'mourning', see Zechariah 12:10-14; and 'the tribes' means all aspects of good and truth, that is, of love and faith, 3858, 3926, and so consequently those in whom these things dwell. The phrase 'the tribes of the earth' is used because those inside the Church are meant - 'the earth' being the Church, see 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2928,

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067, Arcana Coelestia 3355)

[7] And they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory means that at that time a revelation of the internal sense of the Word - the sense in which the Lord is present - will take place. 'The Son of Man' means Divine truth within the Word, 2803, 2813, 3704, 'the clouds' the literal sense. 'Power' has reference to the good and 'glory' to the truth present there. For this meaning of 'seeing the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven', see Preface to Genesis 18. This is the kind of coming of the Lord that is meant here, not a literal manifestation of Him in clouds. Next follows a reference to the establishment of a new Church, which takes place once the old has been brought to ruin and cast aside.

[8] He will send out His angels with a trumpet and a loud voice means election - not by visible angels, still less by trumpets and by loud voices, but by an influx of holy good and of holy truth from the Lord through angels, so that the expression 'angels' in the Word means something essentially the Lord's, 1925, 2821, 3039. In this instance it means things which come from the Lord and have reference to the Lord. 'A trumpet and a loud voice' means the proclamation of the Gospel, as in other places in the Word.

[9] And they will gather the elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other end of them means the establishment of a new Church, 'the elect' being people in whom the good of love and faith dwell, 3755 (end), 3900, 'the four winds' from which they will be gathered being all states of good and truth, 3708, and 'one end of the heavens to the other' the internal and the external features of the Church. These are the considerations that are meant by these words spoken by the Lord.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3755-3900; Exodus 19:18; Genesis 18:1)

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Arcana Coelestia 4229, 4236, 4288, 4300, 4391, 4493, 4503, 4535, 4592, 4696, 4697, 4735, 4779, 4918, 5044, 5313, 5403, 5440, 5514, 5585, 6000, 6015, 6240, 6335, 6397, 6417, 6446, 6534, 6640, 6693, 6700, 6752, 6832, 6895, 7173, 7233, 7830, 7833, ...

The White Horse 11

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 49, 121, 246, 248, 260, 310

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 36, 39, 63, 64, 163, 208, 229, 253, 270, 272, 330, 365, 418, 433

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