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

Malachi 4:5

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

← Malachi 4:4    Full Chapter    Malachi 4:6 →

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 250


Other references to this verse:

Arcana Coelestia 3703, 5620, 6752, 9372

Apocalypse Revealed 704

Doctrine of the Lord 4, 6, 38

True Christian Religion 688


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 624, 724, 937

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 60

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 23

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Word/Phrase Explanations

Send
'To send' signifies revealing.

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...

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...

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...

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

day of
'Day of vengeance' signifies a state of damnation.

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...

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.


 Memory Verse: Prophecies of the Advent
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Prophecies of the Advent
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

 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

 Prophecies of the Advent (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 Sun of Righteousness (Prophecies of the Advent) (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sun of Righteousness (Prophecies of the Advent) (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Turning to the Lord (Prophecies of the Advent) (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Explained #66

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous    Next →

66. (v. 14) And his head and his hairs were white. That this signifies the Divine in primaries and in ultimates, is evident from the signification of the head when mentioned in reference to the Lord, of whom these things are said, as denoting the Divine in primaries, concerning which we shall speak presently; and from the signification of hairs, as denoting the Divine in ultimates, of which also we shall speak presently; and from the signification of white, as denoting what is pure. (That white (album) and white (candidum) denote what is pure, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 3301, 3993, 4007, 5319.) The reason why the head, when mentioned in reference to the Lord, denotes the Divine in primaries, is, that the head is the highest part of man, and therein are those primary things which give rise to all things that take place in the body. For in the head are the understanding and the will, from which, as from their beginnings, all the other things flow that relate to man's remoter things, as speech, and all actions. But the reason why hairs, when mentioned in reference to the Lord, denote the Divine in ultimates is, that hairs are ultimates, for they grow from the ultimate parts of man, and the primaries terminate in them; therefore, when the head and hairs are mentioned, primaries and ultimates are meant.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3301, 3993, 4007, Arcana Coelestia 5319; Revelation 1:14)


[2] He who knows that the head signifies primaries, and the hairs ultimates, even in spiritual things, and that primaries and ultimates signify all things (as was shown above, n. 41), may know many arcana of the internal sense, where those things are mentioned. As, for instance, a Nazarite was not allowed to shave the hair of his head, because, as is said, it was the Nazariteship of God upon his head, and when the days were accomplished, he had to shave it off, and consecrate it (Numb. vi. 1-21); also the strength of Samson was in his hairs, and when they were shaved off he became weak, and when they grew again his strength returned (Judges xvi. 13 to the end). Again, forty-two boys were torn in pieces by bears, because they mocked Elisha, calling him bald-head (2 Kings ii. 23, 24). So too Elias was clothed with a garment of hair (2 Kings i. 8) and John the Baptist with camel's hair (Mark l. 6). Moreover what is signified by the head, hairs, beard and baldness, may be seen where they are mentioned in the Word.

(References: 2 Kings 1:8, 2:23-24; Judges 16:13-31; Mark 1:6; Numbers 6:1-21; The Apocalypse Explained 41)


[3] The reason why a Nazarite was not allowed to shave his hair, because, as is stated, it was the Nazariteship of God upon his head, and that when the days were accomplished, he had to shave it off, and consecrate it, was, that a Nazarite represented the Lord in primaries and in ultimates, and His Divine in ultimates was His Human, which He made Divine even to the flesh and bones, which are the ultimates. That He made the Human Divine even to the flesh and bones, is clear from the fact that He left nothing in the sepulchre, and that He said to His disciples that He had flesh and bones, which a spirit has not (Luke xxiv. 39, 40). And when the Divine itself is also Divine in ultimates, then it rules all things from primaries by ultimates. (As is evident from what was said and shown above, n. 41; especially from the things which are adduced in Arcana Coelestia, to the effect that interiors successively flow into exteriors, even to the outermost or ultimate, and that therein also they exist and subsist, n. 634, 6239, 6465, 9215, 9216; that they not only flow in successively, but also form what is simultaneous in the ultimate; concerning which order see n. 5897, 6451, 8603, 10,099; that therefore all interior things are held together in connection, from the primary by means of the ultimate, n. 9828; and in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 297; that hence the ultimate is more holy than the interiors, n. 9824; that hence in the ultimates there is strength and power, n. 9836.) It was for these reasons that the Nazariteship was instituted. The reason why the Nazarite should ultimately consecrate his hair by putting it into the fire of the altar, was, because the Holy Divine was thereby represented, and the fire of the altar signified that Holy (n. 934, 6314, 6832).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 634, 934, Arcana Coelestia 5897, 6239, 6314, 6451, 6465, 6832, Arcana Coelestia 8603, 9215-9216, Arcana Coelestia 9824, 9828, 9836, 10099; Heaven and Hell 297; Luke 24:39-40; The Apocalypse Explained 41)


[4] From these considerations it is also evident why the strength of Samson was in his hair (Judges xvi. [13] to the end), for it is said that he was a Nazarite from his mother's womb (Judges xiii. 7; xvi. 17); so also it was not lawful for the chief priest and his sons, nor for the Levites, to shave the head and make themselves bald (Levit. x. 6; xxi. 5, 10; Ezek. xliv. 20). So, too, to cut off the beard, which also had a similar signification, was ignominious with the people of Israel (2 Sam. x. 4, 5). The reason why the forty-two boys were torn in pieces by bears, because they mocked Elisha, calling him bald-head, was, that Elijah and Elisha represented the Lord as to the Word, which is Divine truth, the sanctity and strength of which are in the ultimates from primaries, as said above; and because baldness signified the deprivation of them, therefore this circumstance took place; bears also signify truth in ultimates. (That Elijah and Elisha represented the Lord as to the Word, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 2762, 5247.)

(References: 2 Samuel 10:4-5; Arcana Coelestia 2762, Arcana Coelestia 5247, Arcana Coelestia 7643, Arcana Coelestia 9372; Ezekiel 44:20; Judges 13:7, Judges 16:13-31, 16:17; Leviticus 10:6, 21:5, 21:10)


[5] From these considerations it is also clear why the garment of Elias was hairy, and that of John was made of camel's hair; for John the Baptist, as well as Elias, represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore he was also called Elias (as may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 7643, 9372). When these things are understood it can be known what is signified by the head, hairs, beard, and baldness in the Word. As in Isaiah:

"In that time shall the Lord, by the king of Assyria, shave the head, and the hairs of the feet; he shall also consume the beard" (vii. 20).

In the same:

"Upon all heads shall be baldness, every beard shaven" (xv. 2).

In Jeremiah:

"Truth hath perished, and is cut off from their mouth; cut off thine hair and cast it away" (vii. 28, 29).

And in Ezekiel:

"Take a razor, and pass it upon the head and beard" (v. 1).

Again:

"On every face shall be shame, and upon all heads baldness" (vii. 18).

Again:

"Every head was made bald" (xxix. 18).

In Amos:

"I will bring baldness upon every head" (viii. 10).

And in David:

"God shall bruise the head of his enemies, the hairy scalp of him that goeth on in his guilt" (Psalm lxviii. 21).

In these passages, and in others, by cutting off the hair of the head, shaving the beard, and inducing baldness, is signified to deprive of all good and truth, because he who is deprived of the ultimates is also deprived of things prior, for prior things exist and subsist in ultimates, as said above. In the world of spirits also, there are seen those who are bald; and I have been informed that they are those who were abusers of the Word and had applied the sense of the letter, which is Divine truth in the ultimates, to wicked purposes, and consequently were deprived of all truth; they are also the most wicked, and many of them are from the Babylonish nation; but, on the contrary, the angels are seen with becoming hair.

(References: Amos 8:10; Ezekiel 5:1, 7:18, 29:18; Isaiah 7:20, 15:2; Jeremiah 7:28-29; Psalms 68:21)

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 60, 69, 364, 417, 555, 569, 918

Other New Christian Commentary

Hair 1


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


Translate: