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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

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


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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Arcana Coelestia #1361

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1361. That from being idolatrous the church became representative, no one can know unless he knows what a representative is. The things that were represented in the Jewish Church, and in the Word, are the Lord and His kingdom, consequently the celestial things of love, and the spiritual things of faith: these are what were represented, besides many things that pertain to these, such as all things that belong to the church. The representing objects are either persons or things that are in the world or upon the earth; in a word, all things that are objects of the senses, insomuch that there is scarcely any object that cannot be a representative. But it is a general law of representation that there is no reflection upon the person or upon the thing which represents, but only upon that thing itself which is represented.

[2] For example, every king, whoever he was, in Judah and Israel, and even in Egypt and elsewhere, could represent the Lord. Their royalty itself is what is representative. So that the worst of all kings could represent, such as the Pharaoh who set Joseph over the land of Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon (Daniel 2:37-38), Saul, and the other kings of Judah and of Israel, of whatever character they were. The anointing itself-from which they were called Jehovah’s anointed-involved this. In like manner all priests, how many soever they were, represented the Lord; the priestly function itself being what is representative; and so in like manner the priests who were evil and impure; because in representatives there is no reflection upon the person, in regard to what his quality is. And not only did men represent, but also beasts, such as all that were offered in sacrifice; the lambs and sheep representing celestial things; the doves and turtledoves, spiritual things; and in like manner the rams, goats, bullocks, and oxen represented lower celestial and spiritual things.

[3] And not only were animate things used as representatives, but also inanimate things, such as the altar and even the stones of the altar, the ark and the tabernacle with all that was in them, and, as everyone may know, the temple with all that was therein, such as the lamps, the breads, and the garments of Aaron. Nor these things only, but also all the rites in the Jewish Church were representative. In the Ancient Churches, representatives extended to all the objects of the senses, to mountains and hills, to valleys, plains, rivers, brooks, fountains, and pools, to groves and trees in general, and to every tree in particular, insomuch that each tree had some definite signification; all which, afterwards, when the significative church had ceased, were made representatives. From all this it may be seen what is meant by representatives. And as things celestial and spiritual-that is-the things of the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens, and of the Lord’s kingdom on earth could be represented not only by men, whosoever and of what quality soever they were, but also by beasts, and even by inanimate things, it may now be seen what a representative church is.

[4] The representatives were of such an efficacy that all things that were done according to the rites commanded appeared holy before the spirits and angels, as for instance when the high priest washed himself with water, when he ministered clothed in his pontifical garments, when he stood before the burning lights, no matter what kind of man he was, even if most impure, and in his heart an idolater. The case was the same with all the other priests. For, as before said, in representatives the person was not reflected upon, but only the thing itself that was represented, quite abstractly from the person, as it was abstractly from the oxen, the bullocks, and the lambs that were sacrificed, or from the blood that was poured round about the altar, and also abstractly from the altar itself; and so on.

[5] This representative church was instituted-after all internal worship was lost, and when worship had become not only merely external, but also idolatrous-in order that there might be some conjunction of heaven with earth, that is, of the Lord through heaven with man, even after the conjunction by the internal things of worship had perished. But what kind of conjunction this is by representatives alone, shall of the Lord’s Divine mercy be told in what follows. Representatives do not begin until the following chapter; in which, and in those that follow, all things in general and in particular are purely representative. Here, the subject treated of is the state of those who were the fathers, before certain of them and their descendants became representative; and it has been shown above that they were in idolatrous worship.

(References: Genesis 11:27)

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Arcana Coelestia 1409, 2010, 2559, 3670, 3778, 3881, 4208, 4281, 8588, 9229, 9372

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 130, 433, 443

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Saul 1

Turtles, and young pigeons 1


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Arcana Coelestia #10551

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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10551. 'And so it was, when Moses entered the tent, that the pillar of cloud came down, and stood at the door of the tent, and talked to Moses' means that when the Word had gone beyond what they were capable of understanding, extremely poor visibility descended on them as they stood outside, and yet there was clear perception from within. This is clear from the meaning of 'when Moses entered the tent' as when the Word had gone beyond what they were capable of understanding, dealt with immediately above in 10550; from the meaning of 'the pillar of cloud' as extremely poor visibility so far as that nation was concerned, for by 'cloud' the outward sense of the Word is meant, see Preface to Genesis 18, and 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343(end), 6752, 8443, 8781, and also the poor visibility of the Word so far as those who have no enlightenment are concerned, and its extremely poor visibility so far as those with whom the outward sense of the Word is separated from the inward are concerned, 6832, 8106, 8814, 8819, 9430; from the meaning of 'standing at the door' as being outside, dealt with above in 10549; and from the meaning of 'talking to Moses' as clear perception from within. For the Word - as it is essentially - is meant by 'Moses', see 9372, while perceiving is meant by 'talking', see in the places referred to in 10290. The reason why 'from within' is meant is that Moses, to whom 'the pillar of cloud' talked, was within the tent.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 33:9)


[2] What it is to see from without and to perceive from within must be stated. Those who have enlightenment when they read the Word see it from within; for their internal has been opened, and when the internal has been opened it dwells in the light of heaven. This light flows in and brings enlightenment, though the person is not conscious of its doing so. He is not conscious of this because that light flows into the cognitions or knowledge present in the human memory, which however dwell in natural light. And since the person feels, when he uses them to think with, that he does so all by himself he cannot be aware of the influx; yet there are various indications enabling him to know that he has been given enlightenment. But anyone at all who supposes that he has enlightenment is mistaken if he does not love to know truth for its own sake and for the sake of leading a good life, thus if he does not love Divine Truth for life's sake. For leading a life in keeping with Divine Truths derived from the Word constitutes loving the Lord; and from the Lord, when He is loved, springs all enlightenment.

[3] Those however who do not see a life in keeping with Divine Truths derived from the Word as the end in view, but position, gain, and reputation as the end in view and the Divine Truths of the Word therefore as the means, cannot possibly possess any enlightenment. This end is worldly and bodily, and not spiritual and heavenly. Consequently it closes off their internal man, and once this is closed no light from heaven can flow in and bring enlightenment. If these people suppose that they are enlightened when they read the Word they are completely mistaken; for their thought is inspired not by heaven but by the world, and so springs not from the Lord but from self. And to the extent that it springs from self and the world it is the product of natural light separated from heavenly light; and natural light separated from heavenly light constitutes thickest darkness in spiritual matters. If these people are convinced that they have seen something as a result of having been enlightened they are mistaken. For the only way that they perceive whether anything is true is with the aid of proofs supplied by others, which is to see truth from without and not from within, or else with the aid of faith that is no more than persuasion, the nature of which may be seen in 9363-9369. Such people are able to see falsity as truth and truth as falsity, and also to see evil as good and good as evil.

[4] From all this it is clear what seeing the Word from without is and perceiving it from within is. Seeing it from without is what is meant when it says that the people stood, [each] at the door of [his] tent, and looked after Moses, and also that they saw the pillar of cloud standing at the door of the tent, and they bowed down, [each] at the door of [his] tent. But perceiving the Word from within is what is meant when it says that Moses entered the tent, and that the pillar of cloud at the door of the tent talked to Moses.

[5] A brief statement must also be made about the way in which the influx bringing enlightenment operates. Angels equally with men perceive the Word when it is read; but angels do so on a spiritual level, men on a natural level. A person whose internal has been opened also perceives it on a spiritual level, though he is not conscious of doing so while he lives in the world because his spiritual thought flows into his natural thought in the external man and manifests itself within this. Nevertheless that interior thought is what enlightens and is the channel through which influx from the Lord operates. Some learned people by looking into their own thoughts and reflecting on what they see have also noticed that the human being possesses interior thought which is not overt. They have therefore called the ideas composing it immaterial and intellectual 1 , distinguishing them from the overt ideas composing exterior thought, which they have called natural and material. But they have not known that the ideas composing interior thought are spiritual, nor that when these flow down from their own level they are converted into natural ones and then take on a different shape and appearance. These considerations show to some extent the way in which the influx bringing enlightenment operates.

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Footnotes:

1. i.e. 'Apprehensible or apprehended only by the intellect; non-material, spiritual; ideal.' (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary)

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(References: Exodus 33:9)

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Arcana Coelestia 10552, 10574, 10575, 10608, 10614, 10628, 10683, 10692, 10698

The White Horse 11

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 35, 51, 248, 256, 260


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 36, 382, 411, 433, 539, 594

Other New Christian Commentary

Enlightenment 1

The First Cleansing of the Temple 1

Making God an Everyday Part Of Your Life 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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