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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 #430

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430. A hundred and forty and four thousand, sealed out of every tribe [of the sons] of Israel.- That this signifies all who are in truth from good, and therefore in the church of the Lord, is evident from the signification of "a hundred and forty and four thousand," as denoting all things, and because it is stated of those who are in truths from good, of which signification we shall speak presently; and from the signification of the tribes of Israel, as denoting those who are in truths from good, and who are therefore in the church of the Lord, for tribes signify truths from good, and Israel signifies the church. That the tribes of Israel have this signification, will be seen in the following article. The reason why "a hundred and forty and four thousand" signifies all things and all persons, and is stated of truths from good, is, that this number arises out of the number twelve, which signifies all things and all persons, and is used in reference to truths from good. For the larger numbers, and those formed from the smaller, have the same signification as the smaller numbers and the simple ones from which they result by multiplication. Upon this fact see Arcana Coelestia (n. 5291, 5335, 5708, 7973). For example, a hundred and forty-four, as well as a hundred and forty-four thousand, signify the same as twelve, for a hundred and forty-four is the result of twelve, multiplied into itself, and 144,000 of 12,000 multiplied into twelve.*

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5291, 5335, Arcana Coelestia 5708, Arcana Coelestia 7973; Revelation 7:4)


[2] There are simple numbers whose signification is higher than others, and from these the larger numbers derive their significations, namely, the numbers two, three, five, and seven. Two signifies union, and is used in reference to good; three signifies what is full, and is used in reference to truths; five signifies much and some, and seven signifies what is holy. From the number two the numbers 4, 8, 16, 400, 800, 1600, 4000, 8000, 16,000 result, and these have the same signification as two, because they result from this simple number multiplied into itself, and then multiplied into 10. From the number three result 6, 12, 24, 72, 144, 1440, 144,000, and these also have the same signification as three, because they arise from this simple number by multiplication. From the number five arise 10, 50, 100, 1000, 10,000, 100,000, and these also have the same signification as the number five, because they are the result of multiplication. From the number seven arise 14, 70, 700, 7000, 70,000, and these results have a similar signification. Because the number three signifies what is full, and full denotes all, therefore from this the number twelve derives its signification of all things and all persons. The reason why it is used of truths from good is, because it is the result of three multiplied into four, and three is used of truths and four of good, as stated above.

[3] He who does not know that the number twelve signifies all things, and that the numbers which arise from it by multiplication have a similar signification, and that each tribe signifies something that is a universal and an essential of the church, merely knows that only 12,000 out of every tribe of Israel were sealed, and that these therefore were received, or were to be received into heaven, when yet by the 12,000 are not meant 12,000, nor by the tribes named there the tribes of Israel; but by 12,000 are meant all, and by the tribes of Israel, those who are in truths from good, and therefore all who form the church of the Lord in whatever part of the earth they may be. Every one who thinks intelligently may understand that such things are signified; for where are those tribes now, and where were they when John wrote this? Were they not, except the tribe of Judah, dispersed throughout a large part of the globe? And where is known to no one. And yet it is said that they were to be sealed, in order that they might be introduced by the Lord into heaven, and be with Him, as is clear in the Apocalypse (chap. xiv. 1, 3, 4). Besides, it is well known that eleven of the tribes there named were banished from the land of Canaan because of their idolatries and other abominations; similarly the Jewish nation, whose character is described in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 248). It is evident therefore that 12,000 does not mean 12,000, nor do tribes mean the tribes of Israel, but all who are in truths from good, thus all who are of the church of the Lord. This will be further seen from the signification of each tribe in the spiritual sense; for each tribe signifies something that is a universal or an essential of the church, in which those are who belong to the church. The universal of each has reference also to truths from good, and these are manifold. For all who are in the heavens differ from one another in regard to good, and therefore in regard to truth, because every living truth in a man and in an angel is from good, and is according to it. Besides, all those who are of the church of the Lord are in truths from good, for those who are in truths and not in good, are not of the church; since as was just stated, every living truth in a man and in an angel is from good. Concerning this see above (n. 6, 59, 136, 242, 286, 292); and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 11-27). That goods and truths thence are of infinite variety, may be seen in Heaven and Hell (n. 56, 71, 405, 418, 486, 588), and in the small work The Last Judgment (n. 13); also in Arcana Coelestia (n. 684, 690, 3241, 3267, 3470, 3519, 3744-3746, 3804, 3986, 4067, 4149, 4263, 5598, 6917, 7236, 7833, 7836, 9002. The reason why goods and the truths from them are of infinite variety, is because every angel, and every man in whom is the church, is his own good, and consequently his own truth; therefore the whole heaven is arranged according to the affections that pertain to love to the Lord, and to charity towards the neighbour, and faith thence; and all good pertains to those affections.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 684, 690, 3241, 3267, 3470, 3519, 3744-3746, 3804, 3986, 4067, 4149, 4263, Arcana Coelestia 5598, Arcana Coelestia 6917, 7236, 7833, 7836, Arcana Coelestia 9002; Heaven and Hell 56, 71, 405, 418, 486, 585; Revelation 14:1, Revelation 14:3-4; The Apocalypse Explained 6, The Apocalypse Explained 59, 136, The Apocalypse Explained 242, The Apocalypse Explained 286, 292; The Last Judgment 13; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 11-27, The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248)


[4] That the number 144,000, or the number 12,000 multiplied into twelve, signifies all truths from good, in regard to their classes and species in their entirety, is evident from the use of the number 144 - which results from twelve multiplied into twelve - in other parts of the Apocalypse, where the city, New Jerusalem, is described by measurements in numbers. Concerning the dimensions of its wall, it is said,

"He measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel" (Apoc. xxi. 17).

The city Jerusalem here signifies the New Church to be established by the Lord, and its doctrine; therefore, all the things mentioned, as the wall, the gates, and the foundations, mean such things as relate to the church consequently spiritual things. And because the church and its doctrine are described in the sense of the letter by the city Jerusalem, and a city admits of measurement, therefore the spiritual things of that church are described by measurements in numbers, and its wall by the number 144, or twelve multiplied into twelve, by which number are signified truths from good in their whole extent, for a wall signifies truths defending against falsities and evils. That this number has such a signification, is plain from the statement that the measure of 144 cubits is the measure of a man, that is of an angel

No one can understand what this involves, unless it be known that measure, in the spiritual sense, has the same signification as number, namely, the quality of the thing treated of; and that man signifies the reception of truth from spiritual affection, that is, from good and intelligence thence. The signification of "an angel" is similar. For a man is an angel when he is in truths from good; he also becomes an angel after death. The number 144,000 has the same signification. For a larger or smaller number, if from the same origin, has a similar signification, a larger number being used when a great multitude is concerned, or when it embraces many classes at the same time, as in the case of 144,000, which embraces all the classes of truth from good, signified by twelve thousand sealed out of every tribe; and as is the case with the measure of the wall, which is said to be 144 cubits, because it includes both the gates and the foundations, which are twelve in number.

(References: Revelation 21:17)


[5] Concerning the gates and the foundations of the New Jerusalem, it is said, "Having a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and above the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes [of the sons] of Israel. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." And the foundations consisted of twelve precious stones (Apocalypse xxi. [12, 14,] 19-21). Will not he who knows that the New Jerusalem means a new church, be able to see that the number twelve so frequently mentioned means that chief and primary thing from which the church exists? And the chief and primary constituent of the church is truth from good, for everything pertaining to the church is from that, since truth pertains to its doctrine and good to life according to doctrine. But the particular signification of the gates and the foundations will be given in the explanation of that chapter.

(References: Revelation 21:12, Revelation 21:19-21)


[6] Because that number signifies all things, and is used in reference to truths from good, and the New Jerusalem signifies a new church, therefore the dimensions of the city itself are also stated in the following words by the same number multiplied,

"And the city lieth four square, and the length is as large as the breadth; and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal" (Apoc. xxi. 16).

What is signified in the spiritual sense by length, breadth and height, will be also explained hereafter. The City, in that sense, means the doctrine of the church; and by 12,000 [furlongs] are meant all its truths from good.

(References: Revelation 21:16)


[7] The number twelve is also used of the fruits of the trees which were about the river in the following words, "In the midst of the street of it, and on this side of the river and on that side, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, and yielding its fruit every month" (Apoc. xxii. 2). Since truths of doctrine are signified by the streets of the city, since intelligence is signified by the river going forth thence, perception of truth from good from the Lord by the tree of life, and good from which are truths by fruits, it is therefore clear that twelve signifies truths from good, by means of which there is intelligence and from which the church exists.

(References: Revelation 21:2, Revelation 22:2)


[8] Because a representative church was to be established with the sons of Jacob, it was therefore provided by the Lord that he should have twelve sons (see Gen. xxix. 32-35; xxx. 1-25; xxxv. 22-26), in order that collectively they might represent all things of the church, and individually something in particular; consequently twelve tribes sprang from them (Gen. xlix. 28), and these also signify all things of the church, while each tribe signifies some essential of the church. It is therefore said in what now follows that there were 12,000 sealed out of every tribe, by whom are signified all those who are in that essential of the church, or all those who are in that kind of truth from good; for truth from good makes the church with all, truth being of doctrine, and good of life, as stated above. What truth from good is, and its quality, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 24).

(References: Genesis 29:32-35, 30:1-25, 30:1-24, 35:22-26, 49:28; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 24)


[9] Because the twelve tribes named after the twelve sons of Jacob represented the church, and everything belonging to it, therefore the number twelve, on account of such signification, was used in connection with various subjects. For example, it is said that the princes of Israel were twelve in number (Numb. i. 44); that these twelve princes brought to the dedication of the altar twelve silver chargers, twelve silver bowls, twelve golden spoons, twelve bullocks, twelve rams, twelve lambs, and twelve goats (vii. 84, 87). By each of the things which they brought are signified such things as relate to truths from good. So also twelve men were sent to explore the land of Canaan (Deut. i. 23); for the land of Canaan signifies the church. Also twelve precious stones were set in the breast-plate of judgment, or in the Urim and Thummim (Exodus xxviii. 21; xxxix. 14); precious stones signify truths from good. Again, twelve cakes were placed upon the table in two rows, which were called the bread of faces (Lev. xxiv. 5, 6); the bread signifies the good of love, and the table its reception, so also truth in general, because this is the recipient of good. Again, Moses built an altar under Mount Sinai, and erected twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel (Exod. xxiv. 4); for the altar signifies the good of the church, and the pillars, its truths; therefore by the altar and the twelve pillars are signified all truths from good, by means of which the church exists.

(References: Deuteronomy 1:23; Exodus 24:4, 28:21, 39:14; Leviticus 24:5-6; Numbers 1:44, 7:84, 7:87)


[10] So also twelve men carried twelve stones out of the midst of the Jordan, and set them up in Gilgal, that they might be for a memorial among the sons of Israel. Twelve stones were also placed in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests stood who bare the ark of the covenant (Josh. iv. 1-9, 20). The Jordan in the Word signifies introduction into the church; the stones carried thence, and those [set up] in the midst of the river, signify the truths of the church, by means of which introduction takes place. Elijah also took twelve stones, and built an altar (1 Kings xviii. 31, 32); for an altar signifies the good of the church, and stones signify its truths.

(References: 1 Kings 18:31-32; Joshua 4:1-9, 4:20)


[11] So again,

Moses chose twelve thousand of the sons of Israel, to fight against Midian under the command of Phinehas, and they returned with great spoil, without the loss of a single man (Numb. xxxi. 5, 6, 49).

Midian signifies those who are in the knowledges of truth, but still not in a life agreeable to them, and therefore twelve thousand were sent against him; the great spoil taken from them, has the same signification as the raiment, the silver, and gold, which the sons of Israel took from the Egyptians (Exod. iii. 22; xii. 35, 36); and similarly the unjust mammon, of which the Lord told His disciples to make to themselves friends (Luke xvi. 9), which means the knowledges of truth, which they possess in doctrine and not in life.

(References: 1 Kings 18:31-32; Exodus 3:22, 12:35-36; Luke 16:9; Numbers 31:5-6, 31:49)


[12] Solomon also placed the brazen sea which he made, upon twelve oxen (1 Kings vii. 25, 44). The brazen sea signifies truth from good; the water in it, truth; and the brass of which the sea was made, good; while the twelve oxen signify all goods and the truths thence upon which they are founded. Also Solomon made a throne of ivory, with six steps up to it, and twelve lions standing upon them on both sides (1 Kings x. 18-20). The throne of Solomon signified judgment, this being from truths that are from good; it also represented Divine Truth from Divine Good. Lions signify the truths of heaven and of the church in their power; and twelve, all, as may be seen above (n. 253:6, 7).

(References: 1 Kings 7:25, 7:44, 10:18-20; The Apocalypse Explained 253)


[13] It is said concerning Ishmael, that he should be blessed and should increase, and that twelve princes should be born of him (Gen. xvii. 20; xxv. 16). This was said of Ishmael, because he signified the external church with all its truths from good. It is said of Elisha that he was found by Elijah ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he among the twelve; and that then he cast his mantle upon him (1 Kings xix. 19). This was done and said because Elijah and Elisha represented the Lord as to the Word, in which are all truths from good; therefore when that representation was transferred from Elijah to Elisha, signified by his casting his mantle upon him, Elisha was seen ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself among the twelve, which signifies the formation of the church by means of truths from good from the Word, as may be seen above (n. 395:4).

It is said in the Apocalypse that "a woman was seen clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars" (xii. 1).

This was seen because a woman signifies the church, and stars signify cognitions of truth; the good of these is signified by a crown, and intelligence by the head.

(References: 1 Kings 19:19; Genesis 17:20, 25:16; Revelation 12:1; The Apocalypse Explained 395)


[14] The twelve apostles of the Lord, also, have a similar representation to that of the twelve tribes of Israel; collectively they represented the church, and individually, some essential of the church; for this reason they were twelve in number. From these considerations it is evident whence and why it is said that the New Jerusalem, by which are signified the church and its doctrines, had twelve gates, and above the gates twelve angels, and names written, which are those of the twelve tribes of Israel; that the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Apoc. xxi. 12, 14). Here by twelve angels, twelve tribes, and twelve apostles, are not meant angels, tribes and apostles, but all things of the church. Also, it is said that the apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones, and shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. xix. 28; Luke xxii. 30). This does not mean that the apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, but that the Lord alone shall judge everyone by means of the Divine Truth from the Divine Good, as may be seen above (n. 9, 206, 253:6, 270, 297, 333).

(References: Luke 22:30; Matthew 19:28; Revelation 21:12, 21:14; The Apocalypse Explained 9, The Apocalypse Explained 206, The Apocalypse Explained 253, 270, The Apocalypse Explained 297, 333)


[15] He who does not know that twelve signifies all things, cannot know the interior truth signified by the twelve baskets of fragments that remained over from the five loaves and the two fishes, with which the Lord fed five thousand men, besides women and children (Matt. xiv. 15-21; Mark vi. 37-44; Luke ix. 12-17; John vi. 9-13); in these places every particular, even to the very numbers, is significative. The five thousand men, besides women and children, signify all those of the church who are in truths from good; the men, those in truths; and the women and children, those who are in good; the loaves signify the goods, and the fishes the truths of the natural man; and by their eating and being filled is signified spiritual nourishment from the Lord; the twelve baskets of fragments signify the cognitions of truth and good thence in perfect abundance and fulness.

(References: John 6:9-13; Luke 9:12-17; Mark 6:37-44; Matthew 14:15-21)


[16] Because twelve signifies all things, and is used in reference to truths from good, which make the church, therefore the Lord, when He was twelve years old, left [His] father and mother, and tarried in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions (Luke ii. 42-46); by which is meant the initiation and introduction of His Human into all things of heaven and of the church. Therefore also when found He said, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" (verse 49). Since the number twelve signifies all things, and is used in reference to truths from good, therefore the Lord said, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not" (John xi. 9). Day signifies enlightenment in truths from good, and the twelve hours of the day signify all things of truth from good, and walking signifies to live. Therefore these words, in the spiritual sense, signify that he who lives in any kind of truth that is from good is in enlightenment, and does not wander into falsities. Because twelve signifies all things therefore the Lord said, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall cause to assist Me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matt. xxvi. 53). The twelve legions of angels mean the whole heaven, and more than these signify the Divine Omnipotence.

From these things the signification of a hundred and forty-four thousand out of every tribe is now evident, namely, all who are in truths from good. The twelve thousand out of every tribe mean all who are in that kind of truth from good which is signified by the particular tribe mentioned. Therefore neither twelve thousand are meant nor those who were of the tribes of Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Napthali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. Moreover, it should be understood that all these, or the hundred and forty-four thousand, mean those who were taken up into heaven before the Last Judgment. But by those afterwards mentioned from verse 9 to the end of this chapter, are meant those who were reserved by the Lord until the Last Judgment, and who were then first taken up into heaven; concerning, these see above (n. 391:1, 392:3, 394, 397). For those who were in truths from good were all received into heaven before the Judgment; but those who were in good, and not yet in truths, were reserved, and in the meantime instructed and prepared for heaven. We shall speak further of these in the following pages. Those taken up into heaven before the Judgment, are also meant by those of whom it is said in the Apocalypse, chapter xiv. 1: "The Lamb standing on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads." It is further said of these, that "no man could learn that song, but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were bought from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins bought from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and unto the Lamb" (verses 3, 4). The same are also meant by those who are of the first resurrection; and the rest those who are of the second resurrection (Apoc. xx. 4-6).

* The text in the photolithograpy copy is "ac 144,000 ex 12,000 in 12,000;" and further on we find "quo numerus 144,000 seu numerus 12,000 in se multiplicati significet," etc. There is an obvious error here, and we have accordingly followed the editor of the American Latin edition, who has "ac 144,000 ex 12,000 in 12."

(References: John 11:9; Luke 2:42-43, Luke 2:42, 2:46, 2:49; Matthew 26:53; Revelation 14:1, Revelation 14:3-4, Revelation 20:4-6)


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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 428, 433, 434, 453, 506, 532, 548, 555, 574, 625, 657, 658, 709, 724, 727, 803, 841, 847, 851, 859, 872, 924


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


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