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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
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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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


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Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #443

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443. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. That this signifies obedience, and that all those who are in obedience are in heaven, and come into heaven, is plain from the representation, and thence the signification, of the tribe of Simeon, which denotes obedience, of which we shall speak presently; and from the signification of twelve thousand sealed, which denotes all those who are in heaven and come into heaven; concerning this see above. The tribes of Simeon, Levi, and Issachar, now mentioned, which form the third class of the sealed, signify those who are in the first or ultimate heaven, and come into it. For, as was stated above, all those who are in heaven, and come into heaven, are, treated of here; and because there are three heavens, the third or inmost, the second or middle, and the first or ultimate, therefore those are treated of who are in the third, the second, and the first heaven respectively. Those who are in the third or inmost heaven, and come into that heaven, are signified by Judah, Reuben, and Gad, who, therefore, form the first class of those that are sealed; those who are in the second or middle heaven, and come into that heaven, are signified by Asher, Naphtali, and Manasseh; these, therefore, form the second class of the sealed; but those who are in the first or ultimate heaven, and come into that heaven, are signified by Simeon, Levi, and Issachar; these, therefore, form the third class of the sealed.

(References: Revelation 7:7)


[2] All those pertain to the first or ultimate heaven who obey the truths and goods which are taught in the Word, or in the doctrine of the church in which they were born, or by their master or teacher, from whom they have heard that this or that is true and good, and must be done. The greater part of these are not in truths themselves, but in falsities from ignorance; these falsities are nevertheless accepted by the Lord as truths, because they have for their end the good of life, by means of which the evils that are accustomed to adhere to falsities are removed. Concerning those falsities, and those who are in them, see the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 21). These, therefore, are in the ultimate or first heaven. But those who are in the second or middle heaven, are all in the spiritual affection of knowing and understanding truth and good, and in the affection of doing it; those, however, who are in the third or inmost heaven, are all in love. But we have treated of both of these above.

(References: The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 21)


[3] Simeon and his tribe signify those who are in obedience, because Simeon, the father of the tribe, was so named from "hearing," and to hear signifies to obey, as is evident from these words of Leah his mother, when she bare him:

And Leah "conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because Jehovah hath heard that I am hated, he hath therefore given me this [son] also, and she called his name Simeon" (Gen. xxix. 33).

These words may be seen explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 3867-3872), and also that to hear signifies to obey (n. 2542, 3869, 4653-4660, 5017, 5471, 5475, 7216, 8361, 8990, 9311, 9397, 9926, 10,061); and above (n. 14, 108, 249). Because Simeon signifies obedience, he also signifies faith, for faith becomes faith in man when he obeys and does its precepts. Before this takes place, the knowledge of those things which he has received from the Word, from the doctrine of the church, and from preaching resembles faith, but it is not faith until he does these things; previous to this it is only of the thought from the memory, in which there is nothing of the will, consequently nothing of the man, for the will is the man himself. Therefore, when a man carries it out or obeys it, then it enters the will, thus the man himself, and becomes faith.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2542, Arcana Coelestia 3867, Arcana Coelestia 3869, Arcana Coelestia 4653-4660, 5017, 5361, 5471, 5475, 5990, Arcana Coelestia 7216, Arcana Coelestia 9311, 9397, 9926, 10061, Genesis 29:33; The Apocalypse Explained 14, 108, 249)


[4] This faith, which is obedience, is also signified by Peter, when he is called Simon, and the faith which is the affection for truth, is signified by Peter when called Simon son of Jonah (as in Matt. xvi. 17-19, and following verses; Mark i. 16-18, 36; xiv. 37, 38; Luke v. 3-11; vii. 40-43; xxii. 31-33, and following verses; xxiv. 34; John i. 40-42; xxi. 15-21).

Because Simeon in Hebrew signifies hearing, and hearkening, and therefore obedience, as stated above, and the son of Jonah truth from good, but Peter, truth itself, he is therefore called by the Lord, sometimes Peter, sometimes Simon Peter, and sometimes Simon son of Jonah. That such things are signified by those names, any one may see from the fact, that he was called by the Lord at one time Peter, at another Simon, at another, son of Jonah. This was not done without a cause and meaning. What was said to him at the time proves this; as, when he confessed that the Lord was the Son of God, and, therefore, the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given to him, he is called Simon son of Jonah (Matt. xvi. 17, and following verses). He is called a rock [petra], as the Lord Himself is frequently called in the prophets. He was similarly called Simon son of Jonah, when the Lord said unto him, "Lovest thou me," and he answered, "I love thee;" but soon after, when he turned himself from the Lord, and was indignant because John who signifies the good of charity followed Jesus, he was called Peter (John xxi. 15-21); by Peter is then signified truth apart from good, or faith separated from charity.

(References: John 1:40-42, 21:15-21; Luke 5:3-11, 7:40-43, 22:31-33, 24:34; Mark 1:16-18, 1:36, 14:37-38; Matthew 16:17-19, 16:17)


[5] From these considerations it is evident, that Simon, when Peter is so named, has a similar signification to Simeon the son of Jacob, that is, obedience, the faith of charity, the affection for truth, and, in general, truth from good. For Simon in Hebrew signifies hearing, hearkening, and obedience, and Jonah in the same tongue signifies a dove, which, in the spiritual sense, signifies the good of charity and the son of Jonah, the truth of that good, or the faith of charity. But "rock" [petra], from which he is named Peter, signifies truth and faith, and in the opposite sense, falsity and the want of faith. See above (n. 411).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 411)


[6] That Simeon the son of Jacob, and the tribe named from him, signify obedience, and truth in the will, and thence faith, is also evident from the opposite sense, in which he signifies disobedience, and falsity in the will, and thence faith separated from the will, which is not faith; for most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, in which they signify contrary things. It is in this sense that Simeon is mentioned by his father Israel in the prophecy concerning his sons, in these words,

"Simeon and Levi are brethren; weapons of violence are their swords; into their secret let not my soul come, in their congregation let not my glory be united; because in their anger they slew a man (vir), and in their good pleasure they unstrung an ox;* Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was hard; I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel" (Gen. xlix. 5-7).

Simeon and Levi are brethren, signifies faith separated from charity; weapons of violence are their swords, signifies that doctrinals serve to destroy the works of charity, and therefore charity itself. Into their secret let not my soul come, signifies that spiritual good does not desire to know the evils of their will. In their congregation let not my glory be united, signifies that neither does spiritual truth desire to know the falsities of their thoughts. For in their anger they slew a man, signifies that they have altogether averted themselves from truths, and in their aversion have extinguished faith. And in their good pleasure they unstrung an ox, signifies that from their depraved will they have utterly weakened external good which is of charity. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce, signifies grievous turning away from good, and consequent damnation. And their wrath, for it was hard, signifies turning away from truth thence. I will divide them in Jacob, signifies that that faith must be extirpated from the external church. And scatter them in Israel, signifies from the internal church. But these things are more fully explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 6351-6361).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6351, Genesis 49:5-7)


[7] The first three sons, namely, Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, were rejected and cursed by their father Israel, because in that prophecy the establishment of the church is treated of, and the church cannot be established by faith separated from charity, but by truth and good, which are from the Lord. For the church had fallen, even at that time, into the error, that merely to know the Word, and acknowledge its holiness, was the essential of the church, and not life or charity; and that the God of heaven and earth was some other than the Lord; therefore in that prophecy the first three sons, Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, were rejected, because Reuben signifies faith alone, Simeon, faith without charity, and Levi, the absence of the good of charity, consequently, by those three in a series, is signified the non-existence of the church. For when faith alone is regarded as the essential of salvation, then charity is at once rejected and looked upon as of no value or importance in the work of salvation. And because those three signified those three things, therefore Israel their father, who signifies the church, rejected them. These three also destroyed the representative of a church, Reuben, by lying with Bilhah, the handmaid and concubine of his father (Gen. xxxv. 22); and Simeon and Levi, by their slaying Hamor, his son Shechem, and the whole city, which was the nation descended from Hamor, for the sole reason that he loved their sister Dinah (Gen. xxxiv. 1 to end). This deed, in the spiritual sense, signifies that those two sons of Jacob, that is to say, that attribute of the church which was represented by them, extinguished the truth and good of the Ancient Church, which church still remained with the nation of Hamor; for that deed signifies in the spiritual sense that faith separated from charity extinguishes all the truth and good of the church. This, therefore, is the meaning of the words of Israel, "Into their secret let not my soul come, in their congregation let not my glory be united; for in their anger they slew a man (vir), and in their good pleasure they unstrung an ox." For man (vir) in the Word, signifies truth and intelligence, and ox moral and natural good. These things are more fully explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 4426-4522).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4426-4522, Genesis 34, 35:22)


[8] Hence also Simeon is passed over in the blessing of Moses (Deut. xxxiii.), and instead of him, Ephraim and Manasseh are mentioned, who signify the truth and good of the church. But although Simeon and Levi were such, yet they elsewhere signify the faith of charity, and charity; Simeon, the faith of charity, and Levi, charity. In fact, the tribe of Levi was appointed to the priesthood. For the character of the person who represents is of no importance, provided he be in external worship according to the laws and statutes, representation looking not to the person, but to the thing and nothing more is required in the person than the external in worship; concerning this see Arcana Coelestia (n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3670, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4309, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806, 9229). The tribe of Simeon, therefore, in this passage of the Apocalypse, and also elsewhere in the Word, signifies obedience, the faith of charity, the affection for truth, and, in general, truth from good, as stated above. That Simeon and his tribe, when mentioned in a good sense, signify in the highest sense, providence; in the internal sense, faith in the will; in the interior sense, obedience; and in the external sense, hearing, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 3869).

* "They unstrung an ox (bovem)." This is the reading of the R.V., with the exception of "houghed" for "unstrung." The R.V. agrees with the Septuagint, which has eneurokopeisan tauron. The A.V. translates "digged down a wall." The difference of reading between the A.V. and the R.V. depends on a simple question of the pointing of the Hebrew.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 665, 1097, 1361, Arcana Coelestia 3147, 3670, Arcana Coelestia 3869, Arcana Coelestia 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4309, Arcana Coelestia 4444, 4500, Arcana Coelestia 6304, Arcana Coelestia 7048, Arcana Coelestia 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806, 9229; Deuteronomy 33:1)

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Apocalypse Explained 442, 444, 619, 625, 724, 820

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 Three Heavens
The New Church teaches there are three heavens in which angels receive the Lord in three fundamentally different ways.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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