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Arcana Coelestia #9371

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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9371. THE INTERNAL SENSE.

Verses 1-2. And He said unto Moses, Come up unto Jehovah, thou and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and bow yourselves afar off; and Moses, he alone, shall come near unto Jehovah; and they shall not come near; and the people shall not come up with him. “And He said unto Moses,” signifies that which concerns the Word in general; “come up unto Jehovah,” signifies conjunction with the Lord; “thou and Aaron,” signifies the Word in the internal sense and the external sense; “Nadab and Abihu,” signifies doctrine from both senses; “and seventy of the elders of Israel,” signifies the chief truths of the church which are of the Word, or of doctrine, and which agree with good; “and bow yourselves afar off,” signifies humiliation and adoration from the heart, and then the influx of the Lord; “and Moses, he alone, shall come near unto Jehovah,” signifies the conjunction and presence of the Lord through the Word in general; “and they shall not come near,” signifies no separate conjunction and presence; “and the people shall not come up with him,” signifies no conjunction whatever with the external apart from the internal.

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Apocalypse Explained 701


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From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #5620

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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5620. A little resin and a little honey. That this signifies the truths of good of the exterior natural and its delight, is evident from the signification of “resin,” as being the truth of good or truth from good (see n. 4748). The reason why “resin” has this signification is that it ranks among unguents, and also among aromatics. “Aromatics” signify such things as are of truth from good, especially if they are of an unctuous nature, and so partake of oil; for “oil” signifies good (n. 886, 3728, 4582). That this resin was aromatic, may be seen in Genesis 37:25; and for this reason also the same word in the original means balsam. That it was like an ointment or thick oil, is evident. This then is the reason why by “resin” is signified the truth of good which is in the natural, here in the exterior, because “resin” is put first and joined with “honey,” which is the delight therein. That “honey” denotes delight is because it is sweet, and everything sweet in the natural world corresponds to what is delightful and pleasant in the spiritual world. The reason why it is called its delight, that is, the delight of truth from good in the exterior natural, is that every truth and especially every truth of good has its own delight; but a delight from the affection of these, and from the derivative use.

[2] That “honey” is delight is evident also from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah:

A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel [God with us]. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good (Isaiah 7:14-15);

speaking of the Lord; “butter” denotes the celestial; “honey,” that which is from the celestial.

[3] In the same:

It shall come to pass for the multitude of milk that they shall yield, he shall eat butter; and butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land (Isaiah 7:22);

speaking of the Lord’s kingdom; “milk” denotes spiritual good; “butter,” celestial good; and “honey,” that which is from them, thus what is happy, pleasant, and delightful.

[4] In Ezekiel:

Thus wast thou adorned with gold and silver; and thy garments were of fine linen and silk and broidered work. Thou didst eat fine flour and honey and oil; so thou becamest beautiful very exceedingly, and thou didst prosper even unto a kingdom. With fine flour and oil and honey I fed thee; but thou didst set it before them for an odor of rest (Ezekiel 16:13, 19);

speaking of Jerusalem, by which is meant the spiritual church, the quality of which is described as it was with the ancients, and as it afterward became. Her being “adorned with gold and silver” denotes with celestial and spiritual good and truth; her “garments of fine linen, silk, and broidered work” denotes truths in the rational and in each natural; “fine flour” denotes the spiritual; “honey,” its pleasantness; and “oil,” its good. That such things as belong to heaven are signified by these particulars can be seen by anyone.

[5] In the same:

Judah and the land of Israel were thy traders, in wheat of Minnith, and pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm (Ezekiel 27:17);

speaking of Tyre, by which is signified the spiritual church such as it was in the beginning and such as it afterward became, but in respect to the knowledges of good and truth (n. 1201). “Honey” here also denotes the pleasantness and delight from the affections of knowing and learning celestial and spiritual goods and truths.

[6] In Moses:

Thou makest him ride on the high places of the earth, and he eats the produce of the fields. He maketh him suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flint of the rock (Deuteronomy 32:13);

here also treating of the Ancient spiritual Church; “to suck honey out of the rock” denotes delight from truths of memory-knowledge.

[7] In David:

I feed them with the fat of wheat, and with honey out of the rock I sate them (Psalms 81:16);

“to sate with honey out of the rock” denotes to fill with delight from the truths of faith.

[8] In Deuteronomy:

Jehovah bringeth me unto a good land, a land of rivers of water, of fountains and of deeps that go out from the valley, and from the mountain; a land of wheat and barley, and of vine and of fig and of pomegranate; a land of oil olive and of honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8);

speaking of the land of Canaan; in the internal sense, of the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens. A “land of oil olive and of honey” denotes spiritual good and its pleasantness.

[9] Hence also the land of Canaan was called:

A land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27; 14:8; Deuteronomy 26:9, 15; 27:3; Jeremiah 11:5; 32:22; Ezekiel 20:6).

In the internal sense of these passages by the “land of Canaan” is meant, as before said, the Lord’s kingdom; “flowing with milk” denotes an abundance of celestial spiritual things; and “with honey,” an abundance of derivative happiness and delights.

(References: Numbers 14:7-8)


[10] In David:

The judgments of Jehovah are truth, righteous are they together; more to be desired are they than gold and much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the dropping of the honeycombs (Psalms 19:9-10).

The “judgments of Jehovah” denote truth Divine; “sweeter than honey and the dropping of the honeycombs” denotes delights from good and pleasantnesses from truth. Again:

Sweet are Thy words to my palate, sweeter than honey to my mouth (Psalms 119:103); where the meaning is similar.

[11] The manna that Jacob’s posterity had for bread in the wilderness is thus described in Moses:

The manna was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like a cake kneaded with honey (Exodus 16:31);

as the manna signified the truth Divine that descends through heaven from the Lord, it consequently signified the Lord Himself as to the Divine Human, as He Himself teaches in John 6:51, 58; for it is the Lord’s Divine Human from which all truth Divine comes, yea, of which all truth Divine treats; and this being so, the manna is described in respect to delight and pleasantness by the taste, that it was “like a cake kneaded with honey.” (That the taste denotes the delight of good and the pleasantness of truth may be seen above, n. 3502)

[12] As John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, which is the Divine truth on earth, in like manner as Elijah (n. 2762, 5247), he was therefore the “Elijah who was to come” before the Lord (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:10-12; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:17); wherefore his clothing and food were significative, of which we read in Matthew:

John had his clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loin; and his meat was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6).

The “clothing of camel’s hair” signified that the Word, such as is its literal sense as to truth (which sense is a clothing for the internal sense), is natural; for what is natural is signified by “hair,” and also by “camels;” and the “meat being of locusts and wild honey” signified the Word such as is its literal sense as to good; the delight of this is signified by “wild honey.”

[13] The delight of truth Divine in respect to the external sense is also described by “honey” in Ezekiel:

He said unto me, Son of man, feed thy belly and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. And when I ate it, it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness (Ezekiel 3:3).

And in John:

The angel said unto me, Take the little book and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. So I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; but when I had eaten it my belly was made bitter. Then he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings (Revelation 10:9-11).

The “roll” in Ezekiel, and the “little book” in John, denote truth Divine. That in the external form this appears delightful, is signified by the flavor being “sweet as honey;” for truth Divine, like the Word, is delightful in the external form or in the literal sense because this admits of being unfolded by interpretations in everyone’s favor. But not so the internal sense, which is therefore signified by the “bitter” taste; for this sense discloses man’s interiors. The reason why the external sense is delightful, is as before said that the things in it can be unfolded favorably; for they are only general truths, and general truths are susceptible of this before they are qualified by particulars, and these by singulars. It is delightful also because it is natural, and what is spiritual conceals itself within. Moreover, it must be delightful in order that man may receive it, that is, be introduced into it, and not be deterred at the very threshold.

[14] The “honeycomb and broiled fish” that the Lord ate with the disciples after His resurrection, also signified the external sense of the Word (the “fish” as to its truth and the “honeycomb” as to its pleasantness), in regard to which we read in Luke:

Jesus said, Have ye here anything to eat? They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb, and He took them and did eat before them (Luke 24:41-43).

And because these things are signified, the Lord therefore said to them:

These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me (Luke 24:44).

It appears as if such things were not signified, because their having a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb seems as if fortuitous; nevertheless it was of providence, and not only this, but also all other, even the least, of the things that occur in the Word. As such things were signified, therefore the Lord said of the Word that in it were written the things concerning Himself. Yet the things written of the Lord in the literal sense of the Old Testament are few; but those in its internal sense are all so written, for from this is the holiness of the Word. This is what is meant by His saying that “all things must be fulfilled which are written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Him.”

(References: Luke 24:41-44)


[15] From all this it may now be seen that by “honey” is signified the delight that is from good and truth, or from the affection of them, and that there is specifically signified external delight, thus the delight of the exterior natural. As this delight is of such a nature as to be from the world through the things of the senses, and thereby contains within it many things from the love of the world, the use of honey in the meat-offerings was therefore forbidden, as in Leviticus:

No meat-offering which ye shall bring unto Jehovah shall be made with leaven; for there shall be no leaven, nor any honey, from what ye burn with fire to Jehovah (Leviticus 2:11); where “honey” denotes such external delight, which, because it contains in it what partakes of the love of the world, was also like leaven, and was on this account forbidden. (What “leaven” or “leavened” means may be seen above, n. 2342)

(References: Genesis 43:12; Luke 24:41-44)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 6857, 7643, 8056, 8522, 9372, 9780, 10137, 10530

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 47, 121, 196


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 513

Other New Christian Commentary

Gum 1

Honey 1

Honey-comb 1

Roll and little book 1

Sweet 1

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