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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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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

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 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?
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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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Son (human)      

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Marriages in the Bible represent the union we all can have between the desire for good and the understanding of truth (or an understanding of how to be good, to put it another way). When we want to do what the Lord wants and know what that is and how to do it, we can be truly human, truly happy, and a force for good.

Marriages tend to produce sons and daughters, and so does that marriage of good and truth in us. "Daughters" are affections for specific good things, for specific ways of serving others and being useful. "Sons" are individual "truths," or concepts of how to do specific good things.

This general representation is colored in by context. For instance, since Abraham represents the Lord's own desire for good when he lived as the human Jesus, and Sarah represents the truth that describes that desire for good, their son Isaac represents the specific ideas springing from that union, which the Writings call the Divine Rational.

As with all things, "son" can also be used in the negative, meaning falsity that springs from evil.

(References: Apocalypse Revealed 139; Arcana Coelestia 1147, 2066, 2827, 5912, 6366, 8876, 9295 [4])

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Arcana Coelestia #9295

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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9295. That this second feast, which was called “the feast of the harvest of the firstfruits of works,” and also that “of the firstfruits of wheat,” likewise “the feast of weeks,” signifies the implantation of truth in good, is evident from its institution, concerning which in Moses:

Say unto the sons of Israel, When ye shall come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, ye shall bring the first sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest; and he shall wave the sheaf before Jehovah, to be accepted for you; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And in that day ye shall offer a he-lamb for a burnt-offering; also the meat-offering and the drink-offering. But ye shall not eat bread, or parched ear, or green, until this selfsame day. Then ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day in which ye brought the sheaf of the wave-offering, seven entire Sabbaths shall there be; even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new gift to Jehovah. Ye shall offer out of your dwellings the bread of the wave-offering, it shall be baked leavened, as firstfruits to Jehovah. Ye shall offer besides the bread seven lambs, one young bullock, and two rams, for a burnt-offering, with their meat-offering, and their drink-offering (Leviticus 23:10-18; Deuteronomy 16:9-12).

(References: Leviticus 23:10-21)

[2] That each of these things has a signification cannot be known except from their internal sense. In this sense the “seeds which are sown in the field” denote the truths of faith which are implanted in good; by “the harvest” is signified their coming to maturity when goods are produced; for “wheat and barley,” denote goods, and “the spike,” or “ear” in which they are denotes truths thus adjoined to goods; the “sheaf” denotes a series and collection of such things, for truths are arranged as it were into bundles; “waving” denotes vivification, for truths are not living in man until they are in good; the priest who waved the sheaf, that is, who vivified the goods of truth, represented the Lord, because everything of life is from Him; this being done “on the morrow after the Sabbath” signified the holiness of the conjunction of good and truth; that before this they were not allowed to “eat bread, or the parched ear, or the green ear,” signified that the life of good and its appropriation are no sooner; “bread” denotes the good of love; the “parched ear,” the good of charity; the “green ear,” the good of truth; and “eating,” appropriation; that they were to “count seven Sabbaths unto the feast,” which was made on the “fiftieth day” therefrom, signified the complete implantation of truth in good even to the beginning of a new state; the “leavened bread” which was then offered, signified good not yet fully purified; the “waving” of it signified its vivification; the “burnt-offering of lambs, a young bullock, and rams, with the meat-offering and the drink-offering,” signified the worship of the Lord according to the quality of that good. These are the things which are signified by this feast and by the particulars of its celebration; from which it is evident that the second state of liberation from damnation, which is the state of the implantation of truth in good, was thereby signified.

[3] As this feast was called “the feast of the firstfruits of the harvest” it should be known what is signified in the Word by “the harvest.” The “field” in which is the harvest, in a broad sense signifies the whole human race, or the whole world; in a less broad sense it signifies the church; in a sense more restricted, the man of the church; and in a sense still more restricted, the good which is in the man of the church, for this receives the truths of faith, as a field receives seeds. From the signification of the “field” it is plain what is signified by the “harvest,” namely, that in the broadest sense it signifies the state of the whole human race in respect to the reception of good by means of truth; in a less broad sense, the state of the church in respect to the reception of the truths of faith in good; in a more restricted sense, the state of the man of the church in respect to this reception; and in a still more restricted sense, the state of good in respect to the reception of truth, thus the implantation of truth in good.

[4] From all this it can seen what is signified by “the harvest” in the following passages; as in Matthew:

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the seed are the sons of the kingdom; the tares are the sons of the evil one; 1 the enemy that soweth them is the devil; but the harvest is the consummation of the age; and the reapers are the angels (Matthew 13:37-39);

“the good seed” denotes the truths of faith from the Lord; “the Son of man” denotes the Lord in respect to the truths of the church; “the world which is the field” denotes the whole human race; “the sons of the kingdom who are the seed” denote the truths of faith of the church; “the sons of the evil kingdom who are the tares” denote the falsities of faith of the church; “the devil who is the enemy and soweth them” denotes hell; “the consummation of the age which is the harvest” denotes the last state of the church in respect to the reception of, the truths of faith in good; “the angels who are the reapers” denote truths from the Lord. That such things are signified by the above words of the Lord, can be seen from their internal sense, as set forth in these explications. From the above words it is also manifest in what manner the Lord spoke when He was in the world, namely, by means of significatives, to the end that the Word might be not only for the world, but also for heaven.

[5] In Revelation:

An angel came out from the temple, crying with a great voice to him that sat on the cloud, Put forth thy sickle, and reap; because the hour is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is dried up. And he that sat on the cloud put forth his sickle into the earth; and the earth was reaped (Revelation 14:15-16);

here also “the harvest” denotes the last state of the church in respect to the reception of the truths of faith in good.

In Joel:

The priests, the ministers of Jehovah, have mourned; the field is laid waste, the land hath mourned because the grain hath been laid waste, the must is dried up, the oil languisheth. The husbandmen are ashamed, the vine-dressers have howled over the wheat and over the barley; and because the harvest of the field hath perished (Joel 1:9-11).

The vastation of the church in respect to the truths of faith and the goods of charity is here described by such things as belong to the field, the vineyard, and the oliveyard; the church itself is “the field;” and its last state, which was called by the Lord “the consummation of the age,” is “the harvest.”

[6] In the same:

Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, get you down, for the winepress is full, the vats overflow; for their wickedness is great (Joel 3:13);

here also by “the harvest” is signified the consummation of the age, or the last state of the devastated church.

In Jeremiah:

Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest (Jeremiah 50:16).

The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor; it is time to thresh her; yet a little while, and the time of harvest cometh (Jeremiah 51:33);

“the time of harvest” denotes the last state of the church.

[7] In Isaiah:

Howl, ye ships of Tarshish; for Tyre is laid waste, so that there is no house, nor doth anyone enter; the inhabitants of the isle are silent; the merchants of Zidon that pass over the sea have replenished thee; and through many waters the seed of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile, was her increase; that she should be the mart of nations (Isaiah 23:1-3).

The holy things of the church which are here described cannot be known to anyone except from the internal sense. Everyone knows that the holy things of heaven and of the church are everywhere in the Word, and that from this the Word is holy. In the sense of the letter the subject here treated of is the merchandise of Tyre and Zidon, which apart from the interior holy sense are not holy. But what they signify in this sense is clear when they are unfolded. “The ships of Tarshish” denote the doctrinal things of truth and good; “Tyre and Zidon” denote the knowledges of good and truth; there being “no house, nor anyone entering in,” denotes that there is no longer any good in which truth can be implanted; “the inhabitants of the isle who are silent” denote more remote goods; “the seed of Shihor” denotes memory-truth; “the harvest of the Nile her increase” denotes the derivative good outside the church.


1. That is, of the evil kingdom. See below. [REVISED.]


(References: Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:10-21)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9325, 9372, 10083, 10137, 10227, 10669, 10670

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 163, 175, 946

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