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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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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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The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


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Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #444

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444. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand.- That this signifies good works, is evident from the representation, and hence signification, of Levi and his tribe, as denoting spiritual love which is called charity towards the neighbour. The tribe of Levi here signifies good works, because spiritual love or charity consists in doing goods, which are good works. Charity itself, considered in itself, is the affection for truth and good, and where that affection is, there a life according to truths and goods is found, for affection without a life according to the truths and goods by which it is bestowed has no existence; if it be thought to exist and to be present, it is a natural, not a spiritual affection. These two affections differ in this, that natural affection has for its end self and the world. Therefore the truths and goods with which a man is then affected he loves for his own reputation's sake, in order to obtain honours and wealth, in which case the life which he lives, according to the doctrinals he had learned, is merely put on from self for the sake of appearance and therefore is a life of pretence and interior hypocrisy. But spiritual affection has for its end the Lord, heaven, and eternal life, which it looks to in truths and goods, and so loves truths and goods spiritually. When a man possesses this affection he then loves to think and to will those things, consequently to live according to them. To live according to goods and truths is meant in the Word by doing, and the life itself, by the deeds and works so frequently mentioned in the Word. These things, therefore, are represented and signified by Levi and his tribe in the church with the Jews.

(References: Revelation 7:7)


[2] Because this affection is the very essential of the church, therefore the tribe of Levi was made the priesthood; and the staff of Levi in the tent of the assembly blossomed with almonds; and for the same reason, an inheritance was not given to that tribe as to the other tribes, but [it was] amongst each of them. That the tribe of Levi was made the priesthood, is well known; for not only was Aaron made the chief priest, but also his sons succeeded him, and all the Levites were given them for the purpose of ministering. That Moses and Aaron were of the tribe of Levi, may be seen in Exodus (vi. 20); Numbers (xviii. 2); and that the Levites were appointed to be ministers of Aaron and his sons, is seen in Moses. The tribe of Levi was chosen for the priesthood to keep the charge of the whole assembly before the tent of the congregation to do the service of the Tabernacle; and the Levites were given to Aaron, and taken instead of all the first-born.

(References: Exodus 6:16-20, 6:20; Numbers 3, Numbers 18:2)


[3] Concerning their ministry and offices see Numbers (iii. 1 to end). The priesthood was given to the tribe of Levi, because it represented, and thence signified, love and charity.

Love and charity are the affection for spiritual good and truth; for affection is the term used of love in its continuity, affection being the continuity of love. The same is also signified in the Word by the priesthood and its ministry. For this affection is the essential of the church, since where that is, there is the church, and where it does not exist the church does not exist. For the affection for good and truth is the very spiritual life of man, because when man is affected with good and truth, he is then in good and truth as to his life; his very thought is then nothing but affection in a varied form, for a man draws whatever he thinks, from his thought, since no one can think without affection. This then is the reason why the tribe of Levi was appointed to the priesthood. A similar thing is related of the Levites in Ezekiel, where a new earth, a new city, and a new temple are treated of (xl. 46; xliii. 19; xliv. 15; xlviii. 11, 12).

(References: Ezekiel 40:46, 43:19, 44:15, 48:11-12; Numbers 3)


[4] Because the tribe of Levi represented, and thence signified, charity in act, thus the goods of charity, which are good works, therefore the staff of Levi upon which was written the name of Aaron, and which was placed in the tent of the congregation, bloomed with almonds (Num. xvii. 2-11). Almonds signify the goods of charity, for all things of the church in man flourish from these, because when he possesses the goods of charity, he possesses intelligence and faith, being in the affection of understanding what he knows from the Word, and in the will to act according to what he knows. Since it is necessary for the good of charity to be in all things of the church, in order that the church may be in them, and because the very affection for good and truth, which is charity, gives the power to understand, and instructs all, therefore the tribe of Levi was not only appointed to the priesthood, but also neither lot nor inheritance was granted to that tribe as to the rest, but it was amongst all, as is evident in Moses (Num. xxxv. 1 to end; and in Joshua xxi. 1 to end). On this account it is said in Moses,

"Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; Jehovah is his inheritance" (Deut. x. 9).

(References: Deuteronomy 10:9; Joshua 21; Numbers 17:2-11, Numbers 35)


[5] And because, as we have stated, every man acquires knowledge, intelligence and wisdom, according to his affection for good and truth, therefore it is also said in Moses,

"Jehovah God hath chosen" the sons of Levi "to minister unto him, and to bless in his name; and according to their mouth shall every controversy and every stroke be" (Deut. xxi. 5).

These words, in the spiritual sense, signify that the affection for good and truth, which is charity, ministers to the Lord, and teaches the things pertaining to the church and worship, and distinguishes falsities from truths, and evils from goods; for "the sons of Levi," in the spiritual sense, signify the affection for good and truth, which is charity. From these observations it is evident that the tribe of Levi was chosen for the priesthood, and had an inheritance among all the tribes, not because that tribe was better than the rest, but because it represented charity in act, and good works, which are the effects of all good and truth in man.

(References: Deuteronomy 10:9, Deuteronomy 21:5)


[6] That the tribe of Levi signifies in the Word the goods of charity, which are good works, is also evident from the following passages.

In Jeremiah:

"In those days, and at that time, will I cause a just branch of David to grow up; and he shall execute judgment and justice in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is the name whereby He shall be called, Jehovah our Justice. There shall not be cut off from David a man sitting upon the throne of the house of Israel; and from the priests, the Levites there shall not be cut off a man from before my faces to offer the burnt-offering, and to kindle the meat-offering, and to do sacrifice continually. If ye shall render vain my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, then will also my covenant become of no effect with David my servant, that he shall not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. As the host of the heavens is not numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites my ministers" (xxxiii. 15-17, [18,] 20-22).

Here the subject is the coming of the Lord, who is the branch of David, and is called Jehovah our Justice. That Judah shall then be saved, and Israel dwell safely, signifies that then those will be saved who are in love to the Lord. That Israel shall dwell safely signifies that then those who are in charity towards their neighbour will not be infested by evils and falsities. There shall not be cut off from David a man sitting upon the throne of the house of Israel, signifies that then Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord shall reign continually in the church, the throne of the house of Israel denoting the church where it reigns. And from the priests the Levites there shall not be cut off a man from before my faces to offer the burnt-offering, and to kindle the meat-offering, and to do sacrifice continually, signifies, that then there shall be worship continually from the good of love and charity, and from the truths of faith.

(References: Jeremiah 33:15-18, 33:20-22)


[7] The Levites signify those who are in such worship; the burnt-offering signifies worship from the good of love; the meat-offering worship from the good of charity towards the neighbour; and the sacrifice, worship from the truths of faith. If ye shall render vain my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night signifies if they did not observe these two things, which make conjunction with the Lord, love and faith; covenant denotes conjunction; the covenant of the day, conjunction by love, and the covenant of the night, conjunction by faith. Then will also my covenant become of no effect with David my servant, that he shall not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests my ministers, signifies that then they would have neither Divine truth, nor Divine Good. The Levites the priests and ministers are those who are in the good of love to the Lord, and in worship thence. As the host of the heavens is not numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured, signifies the knowledges of truth and good in the spiritual and natural man, the host of heaven denoting those knowledges in the spiritual man, and the sand of the sea the same in the natural man. So will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites my ministers, signifies the multiplication of Divine Truth, and the fructification of Divine Good, in those who have conjunction with the Lord. The Levites, the priests, here and elsewhere in the Word, signify those who are in the good of love and charity, and in the abstract sense that good itself.

[8] In Malachi:

"Behold, I send my angel, who shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, and the angel of the covenant whom ye desire; for he is as a refiner's fire, and as fuller's soap; and he shall sit refining and purifying the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to Jehovah a meat-offering in justice. Then shall the meat-offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant to Jehovah, according to the days of an age, and according to the former years" (iii. 1-4).

The signification of these things in the spiritual sense may be seen explained above (n. 242:9 and 433:12), where it is shown that by the sons of Levi are meant all those who are in the good of charity, and thence in the good of faith. The subject is the coming of the Lord. His Divine Human is meant by His temple, to which Jehovah the Lord shall come; and that He would purify those who are in the good of charity, and thence in the good of faith, is meant by His purifying and purging the sons of Levi. That the sons of Levi themselves are not meant is evident, for it is said that He shall then purify and purge them, and that the meat-offering of Judah and Jerusalem shall then be pleasant to Jehovah. It is known that the Lord did not purify and purge the Levites; nor was the meat-offering of Judah and Jerusalem pleasant to the Lord, for they were altogether against the Lord, and worship by sacrifices and meat-offering was at that time abrogated. For by Judah there, is meant all who are in the good of love to the Lord, and by Jerusalem the church which is in truths of doctrine; see above (n. 433).

(References: Malachi 3:1-4; The Apocalypse Explained 242, 433)


[9] Again, in Moses:

"And of Levi he said, thy Thummim and thy Urim, to thy holy man whom thou didst prove in Massah, and with whom thou didst strive, at the waters of Meribah; who said to his father and to his mother, I have not seen you; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor know his sons; for they shall guard thy word, and they shall keep thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law; they shall put incense to thy nostril, and whole burnt-sacrifice upon thine altar. And accept the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again" (Deut. xxxiii. 8-11).

These words occur in the blessing of the sons of Israel by Moses, in which the subject treated of is the Word, which in the representative sense is signified by Moses. By Urim and Thummim is signified Divine Truth shining forth from Divine Good, therefore the Word; and by Levi is meant the spiritual affection for truth. The holy man whom they tempted in Massah, and at the waters of Meribah, means the Lord as to Divine Truth, for the rock at which that temptation took place signifies the Lord, and the waters issuing thence signify Divine truths. The father and mother to whom he said, "I have not seen you," signify the Israelitish church, which did not acknowledge the Lord, the church being called father from good, and mother from truth. His brethren whom he did not acknowledge, and his sons whom he knew not, mean the goods and truths of the church, which that church did not possess, brethren denoting goods, and sons denoting truths.

(References: Deuteronomy 33:8-11)


[10] But because the sons of Levi signify the goods and truths of the church, and generally, the spiritual affection for truth and good, it is therefore said of them, they shall guard thy word, and keep thy covenant; they shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law. This signifies that those who are in the spiritual affection for truth act according to the Word, and teach the goods and truths of the church, for it is the spiritual affection for truth that itself acts and teaches, because the Lord flows into that affection, doing the good in man, and teaching truth in him. The Word in this passage is the Divine Truth, and "to guard it" means to act, covenant denoting conjunction with the Lord by means of it. Judgments are truths of doctrine from the Word; the law is the good of truth; Jacob and Israel are the church. They shall put incense to thy nostril, signifies worship from the truths of doctrine; and whole burnt-sacrifice upon thine altar, signifies worship from the good of love. Smite through the loins of them that rise against him, signifies the dissipation of falsities by truths; and smite through the loins of them that hate him, that they rise not again, signifies the dissipation of evils. These things are said concerning Levi, because Divine Truth, which is the Word, is in those only who are in the spiritual affection for truth. The spiritual affection for truth is love for the truth itself, and esteem for it above every good of the world, because by means of it man has eternal life, which can be implanted in him only by means of truths, therefore by means of the Word, for the Lord teaches truths by the Word. The spiritual affection for truth, which is love for truths above every good of the world, is thus described by the Lord in Matthew:

"The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls; who, when, he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it" (xiii. 45, 46).

A pearl signifies truth. That man cannot have eternal life except by means of truths from good, which is from the Lord, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 24, to the end).

(References: Matthew 13:45-46; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 24)


[11] That Levi signifies love and charity is evident from the words of his mother Leah when she bare him, which are these:

And Leah "conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my man (vir) adhere unto me, because I have borne him three sons; therefore she called his name Levi" (Gen. xxix. 34).

She conceived again and bare a son, signifies spiritual conception and birth; and said, Now this time will my man (vir) adhere unto me, signifies spiritual love, by means of which conjunction takes place, or charity; because I have borne him three sons, signifies what is successive; therefore she called his name Levi, signifies conjunction by means of love and its quality. These things are further explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 3873-3877). Levi signifies adhesion, and adhesion signifies conjunction by means of spiritual love. The three sons of Leah, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, born in the order named, signify in their series the chief and primary essentials of the church, truth in the understanding, truth in the will, and truth in act, like the three disciples of the Lord, Peter, James, and John. For Peter signifies truth in the understanding, James, truth in the will, and John, truth in act, which is the good of life, or the good of charity; and adhesion, which in the original tongue is called Levi, signifies conjunction by means of love and charity. That adhesion has this signification may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 3875).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3873, 3875, Genesis 29:34)


[12] That Levi in the highest sense signifies the Lord as to love and mercy, is evident in Malachi:

"And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant may be with Levi. My covenant of life and peace was with him; which I gave to him in fear, that he might fear me, therefore on account of my name he hath feared for himself. The law of truth was in his mouth, and perversity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and uprightness, and did turn many away from iniquity; the lips of the priest shall seek [the law] from his mouth; for he is the messenger (angelus) of Jehovah of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble in the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi" (ii. 4-7, [8]).

Here Levi, in the highest sense, means the Lord as to His Divine Human, for it is said of Levi, that "the law of truth was in his mouth, and perversity was not found in his lips," that "the lips of the priest shall seek [the law] from his mouth, for he is the messenger of Jehovah of Hosts." The covenant, therefore, of Levi means conjunction with the Lord by means of love and charity; the covenant of life and peace signifies that conjunction, and the fear which is also stated of Him, signifies love. The lips of the priest shall seek [the law] from his mouth "signifies, that all the truth of doctrine is from Him, and with those who are in love to Him. He is called the Angel of Jehovah from the Divine Truth which the Lord teaches in the Word and by means of the Word. Their departing out of the way, and causing many to stumble in the law, and corrupting the covenant of Levi, signifies that the church with the Israelites perverted the truths of the Word, and thence the goods of life, and therefore destroyed conjunction with the Lord; way signifying the truths of doctrine, the law, the goods thereof, and the covenant of Levi, conjunction with the Lord. From these things the signification of Levi and his tribe in the representative sense is evident, namely, the good of charity, which is the good of life, also the spiritual affection for good and truth, and, in the highest sense, the Lord as to spiritual love.

(References: Malachi 2:4-8)


[13] Since most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so have Levi and his tribe, and in this sense Levi signifies the evil of falsity, which is contrary to the good of charity; and also a life without charity, consequently, the absence of charity towards the neighbour. This is signified by Levi in the prophecy of Israel concerning his sons:

"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, 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).

These words have been explained in the article above, where Simeon is treated of (n. 4436).

(References: Genesis 49:5-7; The Apocalypse Explained 443)


[14] This opposite sense is also meant by the Levite in the Lord's parable concerning the man wounded by robbers. This parable shall be explained here, because it treats of charity towards the neighbour, and because the Lord spoke therein from beginning to end by correspondences, which have not hitherto been known.

A lawyer "willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, Who is my neighbour? Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead, and by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two-pence (denarii), and gave them to the host, and said, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the robbers? And he said, He that showed mercy unto him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise" (Luke x. 29-37).

The subject involved in these words is charity towards the neighbour, and good works by means of which charity is in its effect and fulness. Jerusalem there signifies the church in which there is true doctrine, and Jericho, the church which is in possession of the knowledges of good and truth. The priest from Jerusalem signifies those in whom there is no love to the Lord, and the Levite, those in whom there is no charity towards the neighbour, which was the character of the people of Jerusalem at that time; but the Samaritan signifies the Gentiles, who were in the good of charity. The man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho signifies those who are willing to be instructed in the truths and knowledges of the church; the robbers amongst whom he fell signify those who were then in the perverted church, such as the Jewish church was at that time. Their stripping him of his raiment, wounding him, and leaving him half dead, signifies that they deprived him of truths, instilled falsities into him, and injured him in regard to spiritual life to such a degree that scarcely any remained.

To strip any one of raiment, signifies in the Word to deprive him of truths; to wound, signifies to injure the mind and spiritual life by means of falsities; and to be half dead signifies until almost destitute of that life; to have compassion signifies to exercise mercy and charity from an interior [principle], for mercy and charity form one. To bind up the wounds, and to pour in oil and wine, signify to provide a remedy against the falsities which had injured his life, by means of instruction in the good of love and the truth of faith, oil in the Word signifying the good of love, and wine, the good and truth of faith. To set him upon his own beast, signifies according to the capacity of his understanding, a beast of burden having here a similar meaning to that of a horse, namely, the understanding. To bring him to an inn, and take care of him, signifies, to [bring him to] those who are better instructed in the knowledges of good and truth, for an inn is a place where meat and drink are bought, and these signify the knowledges of good and truth, and therefore that spiritual nourishment, which is given by instruction. His giving to the host two-pence (denarii), and saying to him, "Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee," signifies the doing of all things of charity according to one's ability and power. From these things it is now evident what Levi, his tribe, and the Levites, signify in both senses. More may be seen concerning the representation and thence the signification of Levi, and the tribe named after him, in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 3875, 3876, 3877, 4497, 4502, 4503, 6352, 10,017).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3875-3877, 4497, 4502-4503, 6352, 10017; Luke 10:29-37; Revelation 7:7)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 442, 584, 625, 701, 710, 727, 962, 1154

Other New Christian Commentary

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


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