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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

Resources for parents and teachers

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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
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.
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Apocalypse Explained #196

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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196. And they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. That this signifies the spiritual life which they have procured by means of the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, is evident from the signification of walking, as being to live (concerning which see above, n. 97), and from the signification of in white, as being in truths, for whiteness and brightness in the Word are said of truths, concerning which we shall speak presently. By walking with Me in white, is signified spiritual life for spiritual life is the life of truth, that is, life according to truths, or according to the precepts of the Lord in the Word; also from the signification of for they are worthy, as being because they have spiritual life from the Lord. In the measure that any one receives from the Lord, in the same measure he is worthy, but in the measure that he receives from himself, that is, from his own, or from his proprium, in the same measure he is not worthy. Nothing else constitutes spiritual life with man but the knowledge of truth and good from the Word applied to life; and these are applied to life when a man makes them the laws of his life; for thus he looks to the Lord in everything and the Lord is present with him, and gives him intelligence and wisdom, with their affection and delight. For the Lord is in His own truths with man, because every truth proceeds from Him; and what proceeds from the Lord is His, so that it is Himself; therefore the Lord says,

"I am the truth and the life" (John xiv. 6).

"He that doeth truth cometh to the light, because [his works] are wrought in God" (John iii. 21).

"The Word was with God, and God was the Word. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. He was the true light which lighteth every man. And the Word was made flesh" (John i. 1, 2, 4, 9, 14).

The Lord is called the Word because the Word signifies Divine truth, and He is also called the light, because Divine truth is the light of heaven; He is also called the life, because everything that lives, lives from that light; this also is the source of intelligence and wisdom to angels, in which their life consists. He who supposes that life is from any other source than the Divine which proceeds from the Lord, which in heaven is called Divine truth, and appears there as light, is much deceived. It is therefore evident how it is to be understood that God was the Word, that in Him was life, and that the life was the light of men.

(References: John 1:1, 1:4, 1:9, 1:14, 3:21, 14:6; Revelation 3:4; The Apocalypse Explained 97)


[2] The reason why white in the Word is said of truths, is, because Divine truth is the light of heaven, as just said, and from the light of heaven arise whiteness and brightness. This is why,

When the Lord was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, "His face appeared as the sun, and His garments were white as the light" (Matt. xvii. 2), and as "white, and glistering" (Luke ix. 29), "shining white as snow, so as no fuller on earth could whiten them" (Mark ix. 3).

Also why

The raiment of the angels at the sepulchre of the Lord was white as snow (Matt. xxviii. 3), and shining (Luke xxiv. 4);

Why there appeared to John seven angels out of the temple clothed in linen clean and shining (Apoc. xv. 6);

Why those who stood before the throne of the Lamb were arrayed in white robes (Apoc. vi. 11; vii. 9, 13, 14; xix. 8)

Why the army of Him who sat on the white horse followed Him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Apoc. xiv. 14);

And why also the garments of Aaron were of linen, and he put them on when he went within the veil to the mercy seat (Levit. xvi. 1-5, 32).

Linen, from its whiteness, also signifies truth (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 7601, 9959). Because white signifies truth, and truths reveal falsities and evils in man, and so purify him, it is therefore said in David,

"Behold thou desirest truth in the reins, and in the hidden part thou makest me to know wisdom. Thou shalt purify me with hyssop that I may be clean; thou shalt wash me and I shall be whiter than snow" (Ps. li. 6, 7).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 7601, Arcana Coelestia 9959; Leviticus 16:1-5, 16:32; Luke 9:29, 24:4; Mark 9:3; Matthew 17:2, 28:3; Psalms 51:6-7; Revelation 6:11, 7:9, 7:13-14, 14:14, 15:6, 19:8, Revelation 19:14)


[3] Because the Nazarite represented the Lord as to Divine truth in ultimates, which upon earth is the Word in the sense of the letter, and this was falsified and perverted with the Jews, therefore it is said concerning them in the Lamentations,

"Her Nazarites were whiter than snow, they were brighter than milk, their bones were more ruddy than pearls, their polishing was of sapphire; but their form is obscured, that they are not known in the streets" (iv. 7, 8).

(That the Nazarites represented the Lord as to Divine truth, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 6437; that the crown of the head of the Nazarite denotes Divine truth in ultimates, or the Word in the letter, n. 6437, 9404. That the hair which was of the Nazariteship, and was called the crown of the head of the Nazarite, denotes Divine truth in ultimates, n. 3301, 5247, 10,044. That Divine truth in ultimates has strength and power, n. 9836; that hence the strength of Samson was in his hair, n. 3301.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3301, 5247, Arcana Coelestia 6437, Arcana Coelestia 9407, 9836, Arcana Coelestia 10044; Lamentations 4:7-8)


[4] Hence it is evident what is signified by the Nazarites being whiter than snow, and brighter than milk, and by the sapphire being the polishing of their bones, but that their form was obscured, so that they were not known in the streets. For whiteness and brightness signify Divine truth in its light, as said above; and bones, because they are the ultimates in man, being the supports of his whole body, correspond to the ultimates in heaven. For all things in man corresponding to all things in heaven (see the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 87-102. Bones therefore signify the ultimates in the spiritual world, which are also the ultimates of Divine truth or the Word, Arcana Coelestia, n. 5560-5564, 8005. Sapphire signifies what is translucent from truth, see n. 9407; and, not being known in the streets signifies Divine truth no longer appearing; for streets signify where the truths of doctrine are, n. 2336).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2336, Arcana Coelestia 5560-5564, Arcana Coelestia 8005, 9407; Heaven and Hell 87-102; Revelation 3:4, Revelation 19:14)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 181, 198, 243, 271, 355, 364, 372, 476, 905


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The Bible

 

Luke 9:29-31

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29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:

31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

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Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 2535, 2576, 5248, 5319, 5922, 9372, 9429, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 45, 166, 897

The Lord 35

Heaven and Hell 180

Interaction of the Soul and Body 6


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 36, 64, 195, 196, 283, 624, 642, ...

Other New Christian Commentary

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Word/Phrase Explanations

prayed
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

Raiment
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

white
'White' relates to truths, because it originates in the light of the sun.

moses
Moses's name appears 814 times in the Bible (KJV), third-most of any one character (Jesus at 961 actually trails David at 991). He himself wrote...

Glory
Glory, wisdom, and thanksgiving signify the Lord's divine spiritual principle. Honor, virtue and might signify his divine celestial principle, as in Revelation 7:12.

spake
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

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.


 Feeding the 5000
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
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 Feeding the Five Thousand
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 People Follow the Lord
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Plow Your Field
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 The Apostles Are Sent Out
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 Lord Feeding the Multitude Diorama
Color the background scene, the figure of the Lord, and the boy carrying a basket of bread and fish. Cut out the figures of the Lord and the boy, and then assemble the diorama.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord's Teachings Are Spiritual Food
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Transfiguration
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 The Transfiguration: A Wonderful Vision
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 Transfiguration: One Lord, Two Prophets, Three Disciples
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