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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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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
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Arcana Coelestia #1672

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1672. And the kings that were with him. That this signifies the apparent truth which is of that good, is evident from the signification of “kings” in the Word. “Kings,” “kingdoms,” and “peoples,” in the historical and the prophetical parts of the Word, signify truths and the things which are of truths, as may be abundantly confirmed. In the Word an accurate distinction is made between a “people” and a “nation;” by a “people” are signified truths, and by a “nation” goods, as before shown (n. 1259, 1260). “Kings” are predicated of peoples, but not so much of nations. Before the sons of Israel sought for kings, they were a nation, and represented good, or the celestial; but after they desired a king, and received one, they became a people, and did not represent good or the celestial, but truth or the spiritual; which was the reason why this was imputed to them as a fault (see 1 Samuel 8:7-22, concerning which subject, of the Lord’s Divine mercy elsewhere). As Chedorlaomer is named here, and it is added, “the kings that were with him,” both good and truth are signified; by “Chedorlaomer,” good, and by “the kings,” truth. But what was the quality of the good and truth at the beginning of the Lord’s temptations has already been stated.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1259-1260, Genesis 14:5)

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Arcana Coelestia 1723, 2015, 2466, 2504, 2509, 2567, 2761, 2781, 2826, 2830, 2832, 2851, 2906, 3009, 3105, 3353, 3355, 3365, 3488, 3703, 3708, 3863, 4402, 4575, 4691, 4728, 4763, 4876, 5023, 5038, 5044, 5313, 5321, 5323, 5619, 6015, 6125, 6148, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #229

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229. The beginning of the creation of God. That this signifies faith from Him, which is the primary of the church as to appearance, is evident from the signification of beginning, as being what is primary; and from the signification of the creation of God, as being the church, of which we shall speak presently. The reason why faith is meant by the beginning of the creation of God is, that this is the subject treated of in what is written to the angel of this church; but that faith is the beginning of the creation of God, that is, the primary thing of the church as to appearance, shall now be explained. By faith is here meant faith from the Lord; for faith which is not from the Lord is not the faith of the church, and faith from the Lord is the faith of charity. This faith is the first principle of the church as to appearance, because it appears first to the man of the church; nevertheless, charity itself is actually the first principle of the church, because it constitutes the church with man.

(References: Revelation 3:14)


[2] There are two things that constitute the church, namely, charity and faith, charity pertains to affection, and faith to thought therefrom. The very essence of thought is affection; for without affection no one can think, the all of the life, which is in thought, being from affection. It is therefore evident, that the first principle of the church is the affection which is of charity, or love. But the reason why faith is called the first principle of the church is, that it is the first to appear; for what a man believes, that he thinks, and sees in thought; whereas that with which man is spiritually affected, he does not think, nor, therefore, does he see it in thought, but he perceives it in a certain sense which has no reference to sight, but to another sensitive, which is called that of delight. And because this delight is spiritual, and above the feeling of natural delight, a man does not perceive it, until he becomes spiritual, that is, when he is regenerated by the Lord. This is why the things of faith, thus those of sight, are believed to be the primary things of the church, although they are so only in appearance. This therefore is called the beginning of the creation of God, because the Word in the letter is according to appearance; for the appearance in the letter is for the simple; but spiritual men, like the angels, are raised above appearances, and perceive the Word as it is in its internal sense, consequently they perceive that charity is the first principle of the church, and that faith is therefrom; for, as was said above, faith which is not from charity, and which does not pertain to charity, is not faith (concerning this, see what is said in the small work, The Last Judgment, n. 33-39).

(References: The Last Judgment 33-39)


[3] What is the first principle of the church, whether faith or charity, has been a matter of controversy, even from ancient times; and those who were unacquainted with the nature of charity have said that faith is the first principle; but those who were acquainted with the nature of charity have affirmed that charity is the first, and that faith is charity as to appearance, because the affection of charity, which appears to the sight in thought, is faith; for the delight of affection, when it passes from the will into the thought, forms itself, and in various forms renders itself visible. This was unknown to the simple; therefore they took that to be the first principle of the church which appeared before the sight of their thought; and because the Word in the letter is written according to appearances, therefore this is there called the first, the beginning, and the first-born. For this reason, Peter, by whom was represented the faith of the church, is said to be the first of the apostles; whereas John was the first, because John represented the good of charity. That John, and not Peter, was the first of the apostles, is evident from the fact that John leaned on the breast of the Lord, and that he, and not Peter, followed the Lord (John xxi. 20-22). (That by the twelve disciples of the Lord were represented all the truths and goods of the church, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 2129, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397; that by Peter was represented faith, n. 4738, 6000, 6073, 6344, 10,087, 10,580; and that by John was represented the good of charity, n. 3934, 10,087.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2129, 3354, 3488, Arcana Coelestia 3858, Arcana Coelestia 3934, Arcana Coelestia 4738, Arcana Coelestia 6000, 6073, Arcana Coelestia 6344, 6397, Arcana Coelestia 10087, Arcana Coelestia 10580; John 21:20-22)


[4] For the same reason also, Reuben (because he was the first-born of Jacob) represented faith, and it was believed that the tribe which had its name from him was the first; but that tribe was not the first, but the tribe of Levi, because Levi represented the good of charity; therefore also this tribe was appointed to the priesthood, and the priesthood is the first thing of the church. (That by the twelve sons of Jacob, or the twelve tribes named from them, were represented all the truths and goods of the church, may be seen, in Arcana Coelestia, n. 3858, 3926, 4060, 6335, 7836, 7891, 7996; that by Reuben was represented faith, n. 3861, 3866, 4605, 4731, 4734, 4761, 6342-6345; and that by Levi was represented the good of charity, n. 3875, 4497, 4502, 4503.) It is also for the same reason, that, in the first chapter of Genesis, which, in the sense of the letter, treats of the creation of heaven and earth, but, in the internal sense, of the new creation, or regeneration, of the man of the church at that time, it is there said that light was first made, and afterwards the sun and the moon, as may be seen, verses 3-5, and 14-19 in that chapter, although the sun is first, and light from it. The reason why light was said to be the first of creation was, that by light is signified the truth of faith, and by the sun and moon the good of love and charity. (That by the creation of heaven and earth, in the first chapter of Genesis, in the spiritual sense, is meant and described the new creation of the man of the celestial church, or his regeneration, may be seen in the explanation of that chapter in Arcana Coelestia, and also, n. 8891, 9942, 10,545. That light signifies truth from good, thus also the truth of faith, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 126-140; and that the sun signifies the good of love, and the moon the good of charity, both from the Lord, may be seen in the same work, n. 116-125, 146.) From these considerations it is evident that the beginning of the creation of God signifies faith from the Lord, which is the first principle of the church as to appearance.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3858, Arcana Coelestia 3861, 3866, 3875, 3926, Arcana Coelestia 4060, 4497, 4502-4503, 4605, 4731, 4734, Arcana Coelestia 4761, Arcana Coelestia 6335, 6342, Arcana Coelestia 7836, 7891, 7996, 8891, 9942, Arcana Coelestia 10545, Genesis 1:3-5, 1:14-19; Heaven and Hell 116-125, 126-140, 146; Revelation 3:3-5, Revelation 3:14-19, 3:14)

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Apocalypse Explained 226


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