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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


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Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #619

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619. But it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.- That this signifies exterior delight, is evident from the signification of the mouth, as denoting what is exterior, for the subject here treated of is the little book, and the eating of it up; by the little book is signified the Word, and by eating it up are signified perception and exploration, whence by the mouth, which first receives, is meant the external of the Word; and from the signification of "sweet as honey," as denoting the delight of natural good. The reason why the external of the Word was sweet as honey, that is, thus delightful, was, that it is of such a nature as to be capable of application to any love whatever, and to any principle thence conceived; and these can be confirmed by it. The reason why the external of the Word, which is the sense of the letter is such, is that many things therein are written according to appearances with the natural man, and many appearances, if not interiorly understood, are fallacies, like the fallacies of the senses. Those therefore who love to live for the body and the world, use the external of the Word by means of those appearances to confirm evils of life and falsities of faith.

(References: Revelation 10:9)


[2] This was especially the case with the sons of Jacob, who applied all things of the Word to themselves, and from the sense of the letter maintained that belief, which they also retain to this day, that they were chosen in preference to others, and were therefore a holy nation; they believed that their Jerusalem, and its temple, the ark, the altar, the sacrifices, with innumerable other things, were of themselves holy, not knowing or being willing to know, that the holiness of all those things consisted solely in the fact that they represented Divine things proceeding from the Lord, which are called celestial and spiritual, and are the holy things of heaven and the church, and that to think them to be holy of themselves, and not from the Divine things which they represented, was to falsify and adulterate the Word by applying it to themselves and to their own loves. The case was similar in regard to their faith concerning the Messiah, which was, that He would be king of the world, and raise them above all the nations and peoples in the whole world; not to mention other things which they gathered from the mere sense of the letter of the Word, which were to them as sweet as honey in the mouth. For this reason those things that are in the spiritual sense of the Word are undelightful, for in that sense are truths themselves, and these are not according to appearances; as for example, that that nation was not holy, but worse than every other nation, consequently that it was not a chosen nation; that the city of Jerusalem merely signifies the church of the Lord, and doctrine concerning Him and concerning the holy things of heaven and the church; and that the temple, the ark, the altar, and the sacrifices, represented the Lord and the holy things proceeding from Him, and that their holiness was from this and no other source. These are the truths stored up interiorly in the sense of the letter of the Word, that is, in its internal spiritual sense. These truths they deny, because, as stated, they falsified and adulterated the Word in the sense of the letter, and therefore they are undelightful to them like food that is bitter in the belly.

[3] It is said that the little book should be in the mouth sweet as honey, because honey signifies the delight of natural good. That honey signifies that delight is evident from the following passages.

Thus, in Ezekiel:

It was said to the prophet, "Open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And I looked, and behold, a hand was sent unto me; and lo, a roll of a book was therein. And when he had spread it before me, it was written before and behind; and there were written thereon lamentations, and mourning, and woe. Then he said unto me, Son of man, eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. And he said unto me, Cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. And when I ate it, it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And then he said unto me, Go unto the house of Israel, and speak my words unto them" (ii. 8-10; iii. 1-4).

These words involve things similar to those in the Apocalypse. The command given to the prophet Ezekiel to eat the roll of the book, involves the same thing as the command to John to eat the little book, that is to say, exploration as to how the Divine Truth which is in the Word is as yet received, perceived, and appropriated by those who are of the church. For as the prophet Ezekiel and John represented the doctrine of truth and the Word, exploration was therefore made with them. The reason why this was done by eating a book is, that to eat signifies to perceive and thus to appropriate to oneself, as shown above; and when exploration was made as to the manner in which the Word was as yet perceived, it is then said to the prophet Ezekiel, that, he should go unto the house of Israel and speak the words of God unto them, also to the prophet John, that he must prophesy, that is, as yet teach the Word in the church; and this because in his mouth the book was perceived to be as sweet as honey, that is, because the Word as to the sense of the letter, is yet delightful, though only so for the reason that this sense can be used in favour of any principle of falsity whatever, and of any loves of evil whatever, and thus serve to confirm the delights of the natural life separated from the delights of the spiritual life, which, when separated, are merely delights of the loves of the body and of the world, whence arise principles of falsity from fallacies.

(References: Ezekiel 2:8-10, 3:1-4)


[4] Again, in Isaiah:

"A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name God with us. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good" (vii. 14, 15).

That these words are spoken of the Lord may be seen proved in Matthew (i. 23). Any one may see that butter and honey there mentioned do not mean butter and honey, but something Divine corresponding [to them], for it follows, "that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good," and this is not known by eating butter and honey. But by butter is signified the delight of spiritual good, and by honey, the delight of natural good, consequently the spiritual Divine and the natural Divine of the Lord are signified by these, thus His interior and exterior Human. That the Lord's Human is what is meant is evident from its being said that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and that it is Divine, is evident from the words, "and shall call his name God with us," to call a name denoting quality, here Divine quality, for he was to be called God with us.

(References: Isaiah 7:14-15; Matthew 1:23)


[5] Butter and honey also signify the delight of spiritual and natural good in these words in the same chapter:

"Butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land" (ver. 22).

Those left in the land mean those who are interiorly and also exteriorly good from the Lord, consequently those who receive good proceeding from the Lord in truths; the blessedness therefore of the internal or spiritual man, and also of the external or natural, is signified by butter and honey.

(References: Isaiah 7:22)


[6] Thus also in Job:

"He shall suck the poison of asps; the viper's tongue shall slay him. He shall not see the brooks, the flowings of the torrents of honey and butter" (xx. 16, 17).

These things are said concerning hypocrites, who speak well and smoothly concerning God, their neighbour, and also heaven and the church, when nevertheless they think quite differently; and because they can thus cunningly devise how to captivate the minds of others, although in their heart they cherish what is infernal, it is said, "He shall suck the poison of asps, the viper's tongue shall slay him." That these have no delight in natural good or spiritual good, is meant by, He shall not see the brooks, the flowings of the torrents of honey and butter, rivers denoting those things that pertain to intelligence, and the flowings of the torrents of honey and butter, those that pertain thence to the affection and love, which are the very delights of heavenly life. All the delight of life which remains to eternity is the delight of spiritual good and truth, and thence of natural good and truth, whereas hypocritical delight is a natural delight separated from spiritual delight, but this delight, in another life, is turned into what is direfully infernal. That butter and honey in this passage also do not mean butter and honey, is evident, for where in the world are flowings of torrents of honey and butter found?

(References: Acts of the Apostles 20:16-17; Job 20:16-17)


[7] The signification of butter and honey is similar to that of milk and honey. And since milk signifies the delight of spiritual good, and honey, the delight of natural good, and these delights are enjoyed by those who are of the church of the Lord, therefore the land of Canaan, which signifies the church, was called "a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exod. iii. 8, 17; Levit. xx. 24; Num. xiii. 27; xiv. 8; Deut. vi. 3; xi. 9; xxvi. 9, 15; xxvii. 3; xxxi. 20; Joshua v. 6; Jer. xi. 5; xxxii. 22; Ezek. xx. 6). That the land of Canaan in the Word means the church was shown above (n. 29, 304:59, 431:9). And the church is with those only who are in spiritual good and at the same time in natural good; the church is formed in these by the Lord. For the church is in man, and not outside of him, consequently, not with those who do not possess those goods; these goods with their delights are signified by milk and honey.

(References: Deuteronomy 6:3, Deuteronomy 11:9, 26:9, 26:15, 27:3, 31:20; Exodus 3:8, 3:17; Ezekiel 20:6; Jeremiah 11:5, 11:9, 32:22; Joshua 5:6; Leviticus 20:24; Numbers 13:27, 14:8; The Apocalypse Explained 29, 304, The Apocalypse Explained 431)


[8] That in the land of Canaan there was also much honey at that period, because the church of the Lord was there then, is evident from the First Book of Samuel, where it is said, that they came into a wood where were honey upon the faces of the ground, and a stream of honey, and that the eyes of Jonathan were opened from tasting of the honey (xiv. 25-27, 29). The reason why Jonathan's eyes were opened by his tasting of the honey was, that honey corresponds to natural good and its delight, and this good imparts intelligence and enlightens, consequently Jonathan knew that he had done evil; as is said in Isaiah, that he shall eat butter and honey, that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For correspondences at that time manifested their effect, since all things of the Israelitish church existed from correspondences, by which things celestial and spiritual were represented and signified.

(References: 1 Samuel 14:25-27, 14:29)


[9] The signification of butter and honey is similar to that of oil and honey in the following passages.

Thus in Moses:

"He made him to ride on the high places of the earth, and fed him with the increase of the fields; he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the stone of the rock" (Deut. xxxii. 13).

These words occur in the song of Moses, in which the subject treated of is the church in its beginning and afterwards in its progression, and at length at its end. Those who formed the Ancient Church are described by these words, but not those who constituted the Israelitish Church, for the latter were evil from the beginning even to the end, as is evident from their fathers in Egypt, and afterwards in the wilderness. But the Ancient Church, the men of which are meant by their fathers, was that which the Lord caused to ride upon the high places of the earth, and fed with the increase of the fields. That the good of natural love and the good of spiritual love, with their delights, were imparted to them by means of truths, from which their intelligence was derived, and according to which was their life, is signified by, he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the stone of the rock, honey denoting the delight of natural love, oil the delight of spiritual love, and the rock, and the stone of the rock, truth from the Lord. That oil signifies the good of love and of charity, may be seen above (n. 375), and that rock and stone signify truth from the Lord (n. 411, 443).

(References: Deuteronomy 32:13; The Apocalypse Explained 375, 411, The Apocalypse Explained 443)


[10] So in David:

"I fed them with the fat of wheat, and with honey out of the rock I satisfied them" (Psalm lxxxi. 16).

The fat of wheat also signifies the delight of spiritual good, and honey out of the rock, the delight of natural good by means of truths from the Lord, as above. It must be observed, that natural good is not good, unless it be also spiritual good. For all good inflows through the spiritual man or mind into the natural man or mind, and so far as the natural man or mind receives the good of the spiritual man or mind, so far he receives good. There must be both, or both sides, in order to constitute good; wherefore natural good separated from spiritual good is in itself evil, which nevertheless is perceived by man as good. Since there must be both therefore in the passages quoted, and in those still to be quoted, mention is made of butter and honey, milk and honey, fat and honey, and also of oil and honey; and butter, milk, fat and oil, signify the good of spiritual love, and honey, the good of natural love, together with their delights.

(References: Psalms 81:16)


[11] Again, in Ezekiel:

"Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen and silk, and needlework; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil; whence thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. But my bread which I gave thee, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed thee, thou hast even set before idols for an odour of rest" (xvi. 13, 19).

These things are said concerning Jerusalem, by which is signified the church, first the Ancient Church, and afterwards the Israelitish Church. It is said of the Ancient Church, that she was decked with gold and silver, which signifies, the love of good and truth with the men of the church. The raiment of fine linen, silk, and needlework, signifies the cognitions of celestial, spiritual, and natural truth; fine linen signifies truth from a celestial origin, silk, truth from a spiritual origin, and needlework, truth from a natural origin, which is called scientific [truth]. By eating fine flour, honey, and oil, are signified the perception of truth and good natural and spiritual, and the appropriation of them; to eat denoting to be appropriated, fine flour denoting truth, honey, natural good, and oil spiritual good, which were appropriated to them by a life according to the truths above mentioned. By becoming exceedingly beautiful and prospering into a kingdom, is signified to become intelligent and wise, so as to constitute a church from these, beauty denoting intelligence and wisdom, and a kingdom signifying a church. But concerning the Israelitish Church, which was merely in externals without internals, whence the men of that church were idolatrous, it is said, that they placed the fine flour, honey, and oil, before images of a male, or of idols, for an odour of rest, that is, that they turned the truths and goods of the church into falsities and evils, and thus profaned them.

(References: Ezekiel 16:13, 16:19)


[12] Again, in the same prophet:

"Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy traders; they traded in the wheat of Minnith, and pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm" (xxvii. 17).

This is spoken of Tyre, which signifies the church as to the cognitions of truth and good, therefore also by Tyre are signified the cognitions of truth and good pertaining to the church; by oil and honey are signified things similar to those above. The meaning in the spiritual sense of Judah, and the land of Israel, also of wheat of Minnith and pannag, and balsam, also of the trading of Tyre, may be seen explained above (n. 433:22).

(References: Ezekiel 27:17; The Apocalypse Explained 433)


[13] Again, in Moses:

"A land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of the valley and mountain; a land of wheat and barley, and the vine, and the fig-tree, and pomegranate; a land of oil, olive, and honey" (Deut. viii. 7, 8).

These things are said concerning the land of Canaan, by which is understood the church which is in celestial, spiritual, and natural good, and thence in truths; but the details of this verse are explained above (n. 374:7, 403:11), where it is shown, that oil and honey signify the good of love in the internal or spiritual man and in the external or natural man.

(References: Deuteronomy 8:7-8; The Apocalypse Explained 374-403)


[14] So in David:

"The judgments of Jehovah are truth, they are just altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb" (Psalm xix. 9, 10).

In the same,

"I have not departed from thy judgments, for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words to my palate! [Sweeter] than honey to my mouth" (Psalm cxix. 102, 103).

The judgments of Jehovah signify the truths and goods of worship; therefore it is said, "the judgments of Jehovah are truth, they are just altogether"; just being used in reference to the good of life and worship therefrom. And as good is also signified by gold and fine gold, it is therefore said, that they are more desirable than gold and than much fine gold, gold denoting celestial good, fine gold, spiritual good, while desirable denotes what is of affection and love. Since the goods with which a man is affected are also delightful, therefore it is said, that they are sweeter than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb, and that the words of the Lord are sweet to the palate and [sweeter] than honey to the mouth, sweet denoting what is delightful, honey, natural good, the droppings of the honeycomb, natural truth, and because honey signifies natural good, and the mouth the external, therefore it is said [sweeter] than honey to my mouth; as in the Apocalypse, that the little book was sweet as honey in the mouth.

(References: Psalms 19:9-10, Psalms 119:102-103)


[15] So in Luke:

Jesus said to His disciples, when they believed that they saw a spirit, "Behold, my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. Then he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat it before them" (xxiv. 39, 41-43).

From this series of words regarded in their spiritual sense it is evident, that honeycomb and honey signify natural good, for the Lord showed His disciples that He had glorified or made Divine His whole Human, even as to its Natural and Sensual. This is signified by the hands and feet, and by the flesh and bones, which they saw and felt; the hands and feet, signify the ultimate of man, called the Natural, the flesh signifies its good, and the bones signify its truth. For everything in the human body corresponds to spiritual things, the flesh to the good of the natural man, and the bones to its truths. More may be seen concerning this correspondence in Heaven and Hell (n. 87-102). The Lord also proved this by eating of the broiled fish and also of the honeycomb in the presence of His disciples, the broiled fish signifying the truth of the good of the natural and sensual man, and the honeycomb, the good of truth of the same, therefore the Lord by being touched (palpationem) showed and proved that His whole Human, even to its ultimates, was glorified, that is, was made Divine; and [this He showed too] by eating, in that He ate in their presence a piece of a broiled fish and of an honeycomb.

(References: Heaven and Hell 87-102; Luke 24:39, 24:41-43)


[16] Since honey signifies the good of the natural man, therefore also John the Baptist

"had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey" (Matt. iii. 4; Mark i. 6).

The reason of this was, that John the Baptist represented the same as Elias, therefore also it was said, that Elias should come, by whom was meant John. Elias represented the Lord as to the Word, or the Word which is from the Lord; and similarly John. And because the Word teaches that the Messiah or the Lord was about to come, therefore John was sent before to preach concerning the coming of the Lord, according to the predictions of the Word. And because John represented the Word, therefore the ultimates of the Word, which are natural, were represented by John, by his clothing, and also by his food, that is, by having his raiment of camel's hair, and the leathern girdle about his loins. For camel's hair signifies the ultimates of the natural man, such as are the exteriors of the Word, and the leathern girdle about his loins, their external bond and connection with the interior things of the Word, which are spiritual. Similar things are signified by locust and wild honey; by locust, is signified the truth of the natural man, and by wild honey, its good. Whether we speak of the truth and good of the natural man, or of natural truth and good, such as the Word is in its ultimate sense, called the sense of the letter, or natural sense, it is the same thing, for John represented this by his clothing and food.

(References: Mark 1:6; Matthew 3:4)


[17] The reason why neither leaven, nor honey, was used in the offerings made by fire to Jehovah (Levit. ii. 11), was, that leaven signifies the falsity of the natural man, and honey, the delight of the good of the natural man, and, in the opposite sense, the delight of his evil, which also is like leaven when it is mingled with those things that signify things of a holy interior nature. For natural delight derives its all from the delights of the love of self and the love of the world. And because the Israelitish nation was in those delights more than other nations, therefore it was forbidden them to use honey in their sacrifices. More may be seen concerning the signification of honey, as denoting the delight of the good of the natural man, in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 5620, 6857, 8056, 10,137, 10,530).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5650, 6857, 8056, 10137, 10530; Leviticus 2:11)


[18] It is recorded of Samson, that, after he had rent the young lion, and taken a wife from the nation of the Philistines, he found "a swarm of bees and honey in the carcase of the lion" (Judges xiv. 8). This circumstance signified the dissipation of faith separated from charity, which the Philistine nation represented. It was on this account that the Philistines were called the uncircumcised, and this name signifies that they were without spiritual love and charity, and were only in natural love, which is the love of self and of the world. Such faith, because it destroys the good of charity, was represented by the young lion, which attacked Samson with intent to tear him in pieces; but Samson, because he was a Nazarite, and by his Nazariteship represented the Lord as to His ultimate Natural, rent the lion in pieces, and afterwards found in his carcase a swarm of bees and honey, which signified, that after such faith is dissipated, the good of charity succeeds in its place. Similar things were represented and signified by the rest of the acts related of Samson in the Book of Judges. For nothing is written in the Word which does not represent and signify such things as pertain to heaven and the church, and these can be understood only from the knowledge (scientia) of correspondences, and thence from the spiritual sense of the Word.

(References: Judges 14:8; Revelation 10:9)

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Apocalypse Explained 613, 655

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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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