From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

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

John 1:19-30

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

Full Chapter   John 2 →

19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

Full Chapter   John 2 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1748, 2534, 2708, 3704, 3994, 4727, 5323, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 378

The Lord 15, 37

True Christian Religion 689, 690, 825

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 283


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 314, 778, 805

An Invitation to the New Church 5

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 14, 88

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Deuteronomy 18:15, 18

Isaiah 40:3, 45:4, 5, 53:7, 11

Zechariah 3:9

Word/Phrase Explanations

jews
It would be simple to think that when the Bible mentions "Jews" it is simply talking about the descendants of the tribe of Judah, the...

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

Priests
Priests' represent the Lord regarding His divine good. When they do not acknowledge the Lord, they lose their signification of the Lord.

ask
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

christ
Christ is one of the names of the Lord. It derives from Greek, and means "the anointed one," a King or Messiah. Christ as King...

Elias
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...

saith
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...

prophet
The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

answer
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

voice
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

voice of one crying
'A voice crying,' and 'the voice of a cry,' are common expressions in the Word, and are applied whenever there is a noise or disturbance,...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

crying
As with most common verbs, the spiritual meaning of “crying” or “crying out” (meaning a shout or wail, not weeping) is highly dependent on context....

Wilderness
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

Way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

Pharisees
The Pharisees were a sect of the Jewish church at the time of the New Testament. The name comes from a root that means "separate",...

john
Jesus as a man in the Bible represents Divine Truth, the pure and perfect expression of the Lord's infinite love. That truth is contained within...

water
Water was obviously of tremendous importance in Biblical times (and every other time). It is the basis of life, the essential ingredient in all drinks,...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

Latchet
'A shoe latchet' signifies evil.

Worthy
People in truths from the Lord, because they are in conjunction with Him, are called 'worthy,' as in Revelation 3:4. All worth in the spiritual...

Jordan
The land of Jordan,' as in Psalm 42:6, signifies what is lowly, consequently, what is distant from the celestial, as the external parts of a...

Lamb
'A lamb' signifies the good of the innocence of infancy. 'A lamb' signifies the Lord regarding His divine humanity. The lamb,' as in Revelation 8:11,...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

sin
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

cometh
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

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.


 Baptism and Discipleship
John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus' ministry. What, like John, prepares us to accept Jesus and become His disciples?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Behold His Glory
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Books of the Word Flashcards with Introduction
An article about the Word and flashcards to help you learn books of the Old and New Testaments.
Activity | Ages 11 - 14

 Christmas Light
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Does God Exist?
Evidence for God's existence is abundant, but God leaves people in freedom confirm or deny that His life is the source of everything in creation.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 In the Beginning Was the Word
Quotation from John 1 showing with a simple illustration showing the idea that the Lord is the Word made flesh.
Picture | Ages 4 - 14

 Introducing John's Gospel
A brief overview of the four gospels of the New Testament and an introduction to the Gospel of John.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Memory Verse: Jacob's Ladder
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Power of the Lord's Word
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: The Word of God
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Names of the Lord
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Giving Thanks for Creation
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: The Word of God
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Return to Love
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Incarnation and Being Human
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Light of Men
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Light Shineth in Darkness
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Lord as the Word
The Word is the Lord, talking to you, teaching you, helping you to understand what is good and right.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord Gave the Word
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Power Of Showing Up
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Wonder of the Lord's Word
When we read the Word, we have to reflect on what we have read and try to live according to it. Only this will lead to our happiness, which is why the Word has been given.
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Word
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Word
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Word Made Flesh
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

 The Word Made Flesh
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Word Made Flesh
Like Genesis, the Gospel of John begins with creation. While Genesis describes the creation of natural light, John describes a second creation into spiritual light.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Word Made Flesh (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Word Made Flesh (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Word Made Flesh (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Word Project
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 To Learn About the Lord, Look in the Word
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 True Light Giving Light to All
Two project ideas for picturing the Lord as the source of Light for every person.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Why Is the Word Holy?
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Why the Lord Was Born on Our Earth
Five reasons why the Lord came on earth and what it means for us. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 4, for ages 9-10.
Religion Lesson | Ages 9 - 10

 You Are My Beloved Son (sheet music)
Song | Ages over 11

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #10132

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

10132. 'Lambs, the sons of a year, each day' means the good of innocence in every state. This is clear from the meaning of 'lambs' as the good of innocence, dealt with below; from the meaning of 'the sons of a year' as a form of it that is child-like but has truths implanted in it, also dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'each day' as in every state. For 'a day' means a state, and 'the morning' and 'the evening' of a day, when the burnt offerings of lambs were presented, mean every state.

'A day' means a state, see 893, 2788, 3462, 3785, 4850, 7680.

Changes of states are like the changes in a day of morning, midday, evening, night, and morning again, 5672, 5962, 6110, 8426.

[2] The fact that the good of innocence is meant by 'lambs' is clear from places in the Word where 'lambs' are mentioned, as in Isaiah,

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child will lead them. A suckling will play over the viper's hole, and a weaned child will put out his hand onto the basilisk's den. They will not corrupt themselves on all My holy mountain. And it will happen on that day, that the nations will seek the root of Jesse, who is standing as an ensign of the peoples; and His rest will be glory. Isaiah 11:6, 8-10.

These words describe the state of peace and innocence in the heavens and in the Church after the Lord came into the world. And because a state of peace and innocence is being described the lamb, kid, and calf are mentioned, also a little child, suckling, and weaned child, every one of which means the good of innocence. Inmost good of innocence is meant by 'the lamb', interior good of innocence by 'the kid', and exterior good of innocence by 'the calf'; and these three degrees of good are likewise meant by 'a child', 'a suckling', and 'a weaned one'. 'The holy mountain' is heaven and the Church where the good of innocence resides; 'the nations' are those who have that good within them; and 'the root of Jesse' is the Lord, who is the source of that good. For the good of love coming from Him and offered back to Him, also called celestial good, constitutes the good of innocence.

[3] 'The lamb' means the good of innocence in general, and the inmost good of innocence in particular. This is clear from the fact that it is mentioned first, and also from the fact that the Lord Himself is referred to as the Lamb, as will be seen below.

'The kid' means the interior good of innocence, see 3519, 4871.

'The calf (or young bull)' means the exterior good of innocence, 430, 9391.

'A child' means innocence, 5236, as do 'a suckling', 'a weaned child', that is, an infant, 430, 2280, 3183, 3494, 5608.

'The holy mountain' is where the good of love to the Lord resides, 6435, 8758.

'The nations' means those who have that good within them, 1416, 6005.

That the good of love to the Lord, called celestial good, constitutes the good of innocence is clear from those who are in the inmost heaven. Because they have that good within them they appear naked, as young children; they do so because nakedness depicts innocence, as does early childhood, see the places referred to in 9277, and what has been stated in 3887, 9680.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9262)


[4] It says that 'the wolf will dwell with the lamb' because 'the wolf' means those who are opposed to innocence, as also in the same prophet,

The wolf and the lamb will feed together. They will not do evil nor destroy on all My holy mountain. Isaiah 65:25.

And in Luke,

Jesus said to the disciples whom He sent out, Behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Luke 10:3.

[5] Since the Lord when He was in the world was - as to His Human - Innocence itself, and since for this reason innocence emanates wholly from Him, the Lord is called the Lamb, and the Lamb of God, as in Isaiah,

Send the Lamb of the Ruler of the land from the rock towards the wilderness, to the mountain of the daughter of Zion. Isaiah 16:1.

In the same prophet,

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He is led like a lamb to the slaughter. Isaiah 53:7.

In John,

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming; he said, Behold, the Lamb of God who bears away the sin of the world. John 1:29, 36.

In Revelation,

The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will feed them and will guide them to living springs of water. Revelation 7:17.

And elsewhere in the same book,

These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins; these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were bought from men (homo), being the firstfruits to God and the Lamb. Revelation 14:4.

And many times elsewhere in Revelation besides these two places, such as Revelation 5:6, 8, 12-13; 6:1, 16; 7:9-10, 14; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7, 9; 21:9, 14, 22-23, 27; 22:1, 3.

(References: Revelation 21:26)


[6] It was because those who possess innocence are meant by 'lambs' that the Lord first told Peter Feed My lambs, then afterwards Feed My sheep, and again, Feed My sheep, John 21:15-17. 'Lambs' in this instance are those who are governed by the good of love to the Lord, for they possess the good of innocence more than all others, whereas 'sheep' are those governed by the good of charity towards the neighbour and those governed by the good of faith.

[7] The word 'lambs' is used with a similar meaning in Isaiah,

Behold, the Lord Jehovih comes with might, and His arm exercises dominion for Him. He will pasture His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs into His arm, He will carry them in His bosom, He will gently lead the sucklings 1 . Isaiah 40:10-11.

These verses refer, it is evident, to the Lord. Since those who are governed by love to Him and who for this reason possess the good of innocence are meant by 'lambs' it is said that 'He will gather them into His arm' and 'He will carry them in His bosom'. For these people are joined to the Lord through love, and love is spiritual togetherness. And this also is why those verses go on to say, 'He will gently lead the sucklings', for sucklings and young children are those who possess the good of innocence, 430, 2280, 3183, 3494.

[8] From all this one may now see what the burnt offerings and sacrifices of lambs mean, why they were offered each day, on each sabbath, at each new moon, at each feast, and every day during the feast of Passover, and why at the feast of Passover the lamb called the Passover lamb was eaten, spoken of as follows in Moses,

This month shall be for you the head of months; the first shall it be for you in respect of months of the year. You shall take a member of the flock, a male, from the lambs or from the kids. And they shall take some of the blood and put it onto the [two] doorposts and onto the lintel, and onto the houses in which they will eat it. They shall not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted with fire. Exodus 12:1ff.

The feast of Passover was a sign of the deliverance from damnation of those who receive the Lord in love and faith, 9286-9292, thus who possess the good of innocence; for the good of innocence is inmostly present in love and faith and is their soul. This is why it says that they were to put the animal's blood onto doorposts, lintel, and houses; for where the good of innocence is, hell cannot come in. The reason why they were to eat it roasted with fire was that this was a sign of the good of celestial love, which is the good of love to the Lord received from the Lord.

(References: Exodus 12:2-3, Exodus 12:5, 12:7, 12:7-9, Exodus 12:9)


[9] Because a lamb was a sign of innocence, when the days [of purification] after giving birth had been fulfilled a lamb, the son of a year 2 was offered as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or else a turtledove was offered as a sacrifice, Leviticus 12:6. The young pigeon or the turtledove was a sign of innocence, just as the lamb was. By 'giving birth' is meant in the spiritual sense the Church's giving birth, giving birth to the good of love; for no other kind of birth is thought of in heaven. And by the burnt offering and sacrifice of those creatures is meant purification from evils by means of the good of innocence; for this good is what the Divine flows into and uses to effect such purification.

[10] The reason why someone who sinned through error had to offer a lamb or a a female kid, or two turtledoves, or two young pigeons as a guilt-offering, Leviticus 5:1-13, was that 'sin through error' is sin owing to lack of knowledge, and if the lack of knowledge has innocence within it purification takes place. Regarding a Nazirite also it says that when he had completed his Naziriteship he had to offer a lamb, the son of a year 2 , as a burnt offering, a ewe lamb, the daughter of a year 2 , as a sin-sacrifice, and one ram as a eucharistic sacrifice, and also a basket of unleavened bread, cakes mixed with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, Numbers 6:13-15. All these - the lamb, ewe lamb, ram, unleavened bread, cakes, wafers, and oil - mean celestial things, that is, aspects of love to the Lord received from the Lord. The reason why they were offered as a sacrifice by a Nazirite after the days of his Naziriteship had been fulfilled was that a Nazirite represented the celestial man, or the Lord in respect of the Divine Celestial, 3301, the Divine Celestial being what is Divine and the Lord's in the inmost heaven, and what is Divine there being innocence.

[11] From all this it may be recognized that 'a lamb' means the good of innocence, for all beasts that were sacrificed meant some aspect of the Church. It may be recognized primarily from the fact that the Lord Himself is called the Lamb, as is clear from the places referred to above; also that those people are called 'lambs' who love the Lord, as in Isaiah 40:10-11, and in John 21:15; and in addition that upright people are called 'sheep', for example in Matthew 15:21-29; 25:31-41; 26:31; John 10:7-16, 26-31; 21:16-17, and elsewhere, while bad people are called 'goats', Matthew 25:32; Zechariah 10:3; Daniel 8:5-11, 25. All useful and gentle beasts mean good affections and inclinations, while useless and savage ones mean evil affections and inclinations, see the places referred to in 9280.

(References: Matthew 25:31, 25:31-32, 25:31-40)


[12] The good of innocence is meant not only by 'a lamb' but also by 'a ram' and by 'a young bull'. But the difference is that the inmost good of innocence is meant by 'a lamb', interior or middle good of innocence by 'a ram', and external good of innocence by 'a young bull'; for a person has an external level, an internal level, and an inmost level, on each of which the good of innocence must be present if the person is to be regenerate, the good of innocence being the very essence of all good. Because those three degrees of innocence are meant by a young bull, a ram, and a lamb, these three animals were offered as a sacrifice and a burnt offering whenever purification by means of that good was represented. That is, they were offered at each new moon, at feasts, on the day of firstfruits, and when the altar was consecrated, as is evident in Numbers 7:15, 21, 27, 33ff; Numbers 28:1-end; Numbers 28:29:1-end. For the meaning of 'a young bull' as the external good of innocence, 29:see9391, 9990, and that of 'a ram' as the internal good of innocence, 10042. As regards what innocence is, what it is like with young children, what it is like with the simple lacking in knowledge, and what it is like with the wise, see the places referred to in 10021(end).

(References: Numbers 7:38, 28, 29)


[13] When it says that the lamb to be offered as a burnt offering had to be 'the son of a year', the meaning was that then it was a lamb; for when it was more than a year old it was a sheep. And since a lamb was so to speak an infant sheep, the kind of good that belongs to infancy or early childhood, which is the good of innocence, was meant by it. This also was why lambs were offered as a burnt offering in the first month of the year, when the Passover was celebrated, Exodus 12:2ff, Numbers 28:16, 19; on the day of firstfruits, Numbers 28:26-27; and on the day on which the sheaf was waved, Leviticus 23:11-12. For by the first month of the year, the day of firstfruits, and the day of waving the sheaf the state of early childhood, and so the state of innocence, was also meant.

-----
Footnotes:

1. The Latin word here is lactentes (sucklings). When the word has occurred in previous quotations of the verse it has been assumed, in the light of the Hebrew, that lactantes (those giving suck) was intended.

2. i.e. in its first year

-----

(References: Exodus 12:2-3, 12:5, Exodus 12:7-9)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10134, 10137, 10210, 10407


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 67, 314

Other New Christian Commentary

Roasted 1

Kid 1

Lamb 1

Turpentine-nut 1


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


Translate: