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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 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.


 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3


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

The Bible

 

2 Kings 1:8

English: King James Version      

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← 2 Kings 1:7    Full Chapter    2 Kings 1:9 →

8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 3301, 3540, 5247, 9372, 9828

The Lord 15


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 66, 395

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

1 Kings 18:46

Zechariah 13:4

Matthew 3:4

Mark 1:6

Word/Phrase Explanations

Hairy man
'A hairy man,' as Esau is described in Genesis 27:11, signifies the quality of natural good.

man
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

girdle
In a sense, the whole point of trying to accept the Lord and align ourselves with His love and His leading is so that we...

Loins
'Loins' in general, signify love, and when referring to the Lord, divine love. 'Loins' signify the interiors of conjugial love. Loins,' as in Isaiah 11:5,...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Elijah
Elijah (referred to as Elias in the New Testament) was the renowned prophet sent to the split kingdoms of Israel and Judah. His first appearance...

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.


 Elijah and the Fire from Heaven
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Prophets Elijah and Elisha
Use the figures of Elijah and Elisha to help retell the story of Elijah being taken into the heaven and leaving his mantle for Elisha.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

From Swedenborg's Works

 

The Lord #15

The Lord (Dole)      

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15. The Lord Did Not Take Away Our Sins by His Suffering on the Cross, but He Did Carry Them.

THERE are people in the church who believe that through his suffering on the cross the Lord took away our sins and made satisfaction to the Father, and by so doing brought about redemption. Some also believe that he transferred to himself the sins of those who have faith in him, carried those sins, and cast them into the depths of the sea-that is, into hell. They support this among themselves by what John says of Jesus,

Behold the Lamb of God, who is taking up the sins of the world. (John 1:29)

and by the Lord’s words in Isaiah,

He bore our diseases and carried our sorrows. He was pierced because of our transgressions and bruised because of our iniquities. Chastisement was upon him for the sake of our peace; with his wound, healing was given to us. Jehovah made the iniquities of us all fall upon him. He was oppressed and afflicted, but did not open his mouth, like a lamb being led to slaughter. He was cut off from the land of the living. He suffered a blow because of the transgression of my people, to send the ungodly to their grave and the rich to their deaths. As a result of the labor of his soul, he will see and be satisfied. By means of his knowledge he will justify many, because he himself carried their iniquities. He emptied out his own soul even to death and was counted among transgressors. He bore the sins of many and interceded for transgressors. (Isaiah 53:3-end)

Both of these passages are talking about the Lord’s trials and suffering; his taking up our sins, [bearing] our diseases, and having the iniquities of us all fall upon him mean something similar to his carrying our sorrows and our iniquities.

(References: 1 Kings 20:37; Isaiah 53, 53:4-12; Revelation 2:7, 2:11, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:29)


[2] So I need to say first of all what his carrying iniquities means and then what his taking them up means. The true meaning of his carrying iniquities is that he was subjected to severe trials and endured being treated by the Jews the way the Word was treated by them; and they dealt with him in that way precisely because he was the Word. The church among the Jews was in utter shambles at that time; it had been brought to ruin by their perversion of everything in the Word to the point that there was nothing true left. As a result, they did not recognize the Lord. That is in fact the intent and meaning behind each detail of the Lord’s suffering.

The prophets suffered in much the same way because they represented the Lord’s Word and therefore his church, and the Lord was the quintessential prophet.

[3] We can tell that the Lord was the quintessential prophet from the following passages:

Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24)

Jesus said, “It is not fitting for a prophet to die outside of Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:33)

They said of Jesus, “He is a prophet from Nazareth.” (Matthew 21:11; John 7:40-41)

Fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying that a great prophet had been raised up among them. (Luke 7:16)

A prophet will be raised up from among his people; they will obey his words. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19)

(References: John 7:40)


[4] We can tell from the following passages that much the same was done to the prophets.

The prophet Isaiah was commanded to represent the state of the church by taking the sackcloth off his waist and the sandals off his feet and going naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a wonder (Isaiah 20:2-3).

The prophet Jeremiah was commanded to represent the state of the church by buying a belt and putting it around his waist without putting it in water, then hiding it in a crevice in the rocks near the Euphrates; after some days he found it ruined (Jeremiah 13:1-7).

The same prophet represented the state of the church by not taking a wife for himself in that place or entering the house of mourning or going out to grieve or going into the banquet house (Jeremiah 16:2, 5, 8).

[5] The prophet Ezekiel was commanded to represent the state of the church by taking a barber’s razor to his head and his beard and then dividing the hair, burning a third of it in the middle of the city, striking a third with a sword, and scattering a third to the wind; also, he was told to bind a few hairs in his hems and eventually to throw a few into the midst of a fire and burn them (Ezekiel 5:1-4).

The same prophet was commanded to represent the state of the church by packing his belongings to take into exile and traveling to another place in the sight of the children of Israel. In a while he was to take out his belongings and leave in the evening through a hole dug through the wall, covering his face so that he could not see the ground. And this was to be a sign to the house of Israel. The prophet was also to say, “Behold, I am a sign for you: what I have done, [your leaders] will do” (Ezekiel 12:3-7, 11).

[6] The prophet Hosea was commanded to represent the state of the church by taking a whore as his wife. He did so, and she bore him three children, the first of whom he named Jezreel, the second No Mercy, and the third Not My People (Hosea 1:2-9).

Another time he was commanded to go love a woman who had a lover but was also committing adultery; he bought her for fifteen pieces of silver (Hosea 3:1-2).

(References: Hosea 3:1-3)


[7] The prophet Ezekiel was commanded to represent the state of the church by taking a clay tablet, carving Jerusalem on it, laying siege to it, building a siege wall and a mound against it, putting an iron plate between himself and the city, and lying on his left side for three hundred ninety days and then on his right side [for forty days]. He was also told to take wheat, barley, lentils, millet, and spelt and make himself bread from them, which he was then to weigh and eat. He was also told to bake a cake of barley over human dung; and because he begged not to do this, he was commanded to bake it over cow dung instead (Ezekiel 4:1-15).

Further, prophets also represented other things-Zedekiah with the horns of iron that he made, for example (1 Kings 22:11). Then there was another prophet who was struck and wounded and who put ashes over his eyes (1 Kings 20:37-38).

(References: 1 Kings 20:35-38, 20:35, 1 Kings 20:38)


[8] In general, prophets used a robe of coarse hair (Zechariah 13:4) to represent the Word in its outermost meaning, which is the literal meaning; so Elijah wore that kind of robe and had a leather belt around his waist (2 Kings 1:8). Much the same is true of John the Baptist, who had clothing of camels’ hair and a leather belt around his waist, and who ate locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4).

We can see from this that the prophets represented the state of the church and the Word. In fact, anyone who represents one represents the other as well because the church is from the Word, and its life and faith depend on its acceptance of the Word. So too, wherever prophets are mentioned in both Testaments it means the body of teaching the church draws from the Word, while the Lord as the supreme prophet means the church itself and the Word itself.

(References: 1 Kings 20:35, 1 Kings 20:37; Hosea 3:1-3; Isaiah 53; Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:11, Revelation 2:17, 2:29)

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Apocalypse Revealed 8, 26, 472, 684


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