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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746

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 John the Baptist
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Arcana Coelestia #1672

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

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

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

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #717

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717. And upon his heads seven diadems.- That this signifies Divine truths in the ultimate of order, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, here those truths adulterated and profaned, is evident from the signification of the heads of the dragon, as denoting the truths scientific (vera scientifica) of the Word, which are adulterated and profaned (that they signify insanity in spiritual things, but still craftiness in deceiving and leading astray, may be seen above, n. 714); from the signification of diadems or precious stones, as denoting Divine truths in the ultimate of order, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, of which we shall speak presently; and from the signification of seven, as denoting all things, and as being used in reference to holy things, and, in the opposite sense, in reference to profane things (concerning which see above, n. 715), here it is said of profane things, because of the truths of the Word adulterated, and thus, profaned. It is therefore plain that the seven diadems upon the heads of the dragon signify Divine truths in the ultimate of order, here those truths adulterated and profaned.

(References: Revelation 12:3; The Apocalypse Explained 714, 715)


[2] Precious stones, which are diadems, signify Divine truths in the ultimate of order, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, because a stone signifies truth, therefore precious stones signify Divine truths. They mean Divine truths in the ultimate of order, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, because those truths are translucent; for there is in them a spiritual sense, and in that sense there is the light of heaven, from which all things of the sense of the letter of the Word are full of light, and are also variegated, according to the connection of things in the spiritual sense, from which arise modifications of heavenly light, that produce colours such as appear in the heavens, and thence in precious stones of various kinds.

[3] Diadems were seen upon the seven heads of the dragon, because the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word beam with light (lucent) wherever they are, both with the evil and with the good, for the spiritual light in them is not extinguished because they happen to be with the evil, for heaven still flows into those truths. But since the evil adulterate them, and consequently see in them nothing of the light of heaven, and yet believe them to be holy, for the reason that they use them to confirm the falsities of their religion, therefore, because they believe in their holiness, those truths still shine with light before them; and since this is the case, and since they secure communication with the heavens through those truths, they are at length deprived of them, and left to their own falsities in which there is no light, and this takes place when they are sent down into hell.

[4] That the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word appear as diadems is evident from the diadems in spiritual world. In the palaces of the angels in heaven there are many things that are refulgent with precious stones; and precious stones are also sometimes sent down into the lower parts, and are presented as a gift to those who have done some good thing; in fact, they are also sold there as in the world, especially by the Jews, who trade in them there. It is granted and allowed to the Jews in the spiritual world, as in the natural world, to trade in precious stones, because they look upon the sense of the letter of the Word as holy. For this reason also noble women below the heavens also adorn themselves with diadems just as is done in the world. And when it is asked where those diadems in heaven, and thus in the lower parts, are from, it is replied that they are from the Lord, and from the spiritual light which is from Him, and that they are the ultimates of that light which are called effects; also, it is said that they are forms representative of affections for truth from good, thus that they are Divine truths in the ultimate of order, such as are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word. Because precious stones are thence, therefore there are also some in the world of spirits who are allowed to make diadems by putting together certain truths from the sense of the letter of the Word, but these diadems are not genuine and not hard like crystal, because they are artificial.

[5] From these things the signification of diadems or precious stones is now evident in the following passages.

In Isaiah:

"O afflicted, and tossed with tempests and not comforted! behold, I lay thy stones with stibium, and thy foundations in sapphires, and I will make thy suns a carbuncle, and thy gates into fiery stones (lapides pyropi), and all thy border into stones of desire, and all thy sons shall be taught of Jehovah" (liv. 11-13).

This is said of the barren who did not bear who should have many sons; the barren signify the nations, who had no Divine truths, because they had not the Word, therefore it is said, "O afflicted, and tossed with tempests and not comforted!" to be afflicted and tossed with tempests being said of falsities, by which such are infested and carried hither and thither. That when the Lord should come He would reveal to them Divine truths, and instruct them, is signified by, He will lay her stones with stibium, and her foundations in sapphires, and [will make thy] suns a carbuncle, and her gates into fiery stones, and her borders into stones of desire. That the precious stones here mentioned mean Divine truths in the ultimate of order, like those of the sense of the letter of the Word, in which internal truths are contained, such as those in the spiritual sense of the Word, is clear. For the foundations, gates, and borders which he will lay with those precious stones, signify ultimates; it therefore follows that, in the above passage, stones in general, and sapphires, carbuncles, and fiery stones (lapides pyropi) signify such truths as are in the sense of the letter of the Word, which are ultimate truths, because they are for the natural and sensual man. Because the instruction of the nations in Divine truths is meant by those words it is added, "And all thy sons shall be taught of Jehovah." But the specific signification of sapphire, carbuncle, and fiery stone does not require to be explained here, it being necessary merely to say, that precious stones in general signify ultimate truths.

(References: Isaiah 54:11-13)


[6] Since the city of the New Jerusalem signifies the doctrine of the New Church, the foundations of its wall ultimate Divine truths, and the gates introductory Divine truths, therefore the foundations are described by twelve precious stones, and the gates by pearls, in the Apocalypse:

"The foundations of the wall of the city" of the New Jerusalem "were adorned with every precious stone; the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprasus, the eleventh hyacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate was [one] pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass" (xxi. 19-21).

These twelve precious stones, forming the foundations, and the twelve pearls, forming the gates, signify ultimate Divine truths, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, upon which the doctrine of that church is founded, and through which man is introduced as by gates. The foundations are said to be of precious stones, and the gates of pearls, because the sense of the letter of the Word contains in itself the spiritual sense, thus the light of heaven, from which the sense of the letter of the Word is transparent, as those stones are from light and from fire. But more will be said upon this subject when the details are explained.

(References: Revelation 21:18-21, 21:19-21)


[7] Similar things are signified by the precious stones which formed the breast-plate of judgment called Urim and Thummim, which was upon the ephod of Aaron, and also by those that were set upon the shoulders of the ephod, in Moses:

"They shall make the ephod of gold, purple, crimson, scarlet double-dyed, and fine twined linen, the work of the cunning workman. Thou shalt take two schoham stones, and shalt engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel, the work of the engraver of stone, with the engravings of a seal thou shalt engrave the two stones above the names of the sons of Israel; thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold; and thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod. And thou shalt make the breast-plate of judgment with the work of a cunning workman, like the work of the ephod shalt thou make it, and thou shalt fill it with filling of stones; there shall be four rows of stones. The first row a ruby, a topaz, a carbuncle; the second row a chrysoprasus, a sapphire, and a diamond; the third row a cyanus, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, a schoham, and a jasper. The stones shall be above the names of the sons of Israel, twelve upon their names, the engravings of a seal for every one above his name, they shall be for the twelve tribes." This was the breast-plate of judgment, Urim and Thummim. (Exod. xxviii. 6-30).

What these things involve no one can know, unless it is known what Aaron represented, and thus what his garments signified, and the ephod in particular, for it was because his garments were significative that they were called the garments of holiness; also what the breast-plate upon the ephod, which was called "the breast-plate of judgment, Urim and Thummim," signified; also what the twelve tribes of Israel, and what the twelve stones above their names, signified. As to Aaron himself, he represented the Lord as to the priesthood, which is His celestial kingdom; but his garments in general represented the spiritual kingdom; for this in the heavens invests the celestial kingdom. For there are two kingdoms into which the heavens are divided, the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom. That is called the celestial kingdom where the Divine Good proceeding from the Lord is received, and that is called the spiritual kingdom where Divine Truth is received; therefore Divine Truth is signified by the garments of Aaron in general, and Divine Truth in ultimates by the ephod, since this was the ultimate clothing. That garments in general signify truths, and that the Lord's garments, which appeared bright as the light, when He was transfigured before the disciples, signified Divine Truth proceeding from Him, and similarly the garments divided by the soldiers, may be seen above (n. 64, 65, 196, 271, 395, 475, 476, 637). It is therefore evident that the twelve stones in the breast-plate of the ephod signified Divine truths in ultimates, the same as the twelve sons of Israel, and the twelve tribes; that both these signify in the Word the truths of the church in their whole extent, may be seen above (n. 431, 657).

(References: Exodus 28:6-21, Exodus 28:6-30, Exodus 28:30, The Apocalypse Explained 64-65, 195, 271, 395, 431, 475-476, The Apocalypse Explained 637, 657)


[8] The reason why that breast-plate was composed of precious stones, under which were the names of the twelve sons of Israel, was, that by means of it answers might be received from heaven, these being shown in the breast-plate, and from it, by variegations of the colours beaming forth from those stones according to representations of Divine truths in the heavens; for the Divine truths that flow down from the Lord through the heavens towards the lower parts are shown there by variegations of colours. This makes it evident that those precious stones also signify Divine truths in ultimates. But these things are more fully explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 9856-9099); concerning the two schoham stones which were upon the shoulders of the ephod, n. 9831-9855; that the ephod signified the external of the spiritual kingdom, which is Divine Truth in ultimates, n. 9824. But what is specifically signified by the ruby, the topaz, and the carbuncle is shown in n. 9865; what by the chrysoprasus, the sapphire, and the diamond in n. 9868; what by the cyanus, the agate, and the amethyst in n. 9870; and what by the beryl, the schoham, and the jasper in n. 9872.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9824, 9831-9855, 9856, 9865, 9868, 9870, 9872)


[9] The precious stones by which the knowledge of the cognitions (scientia cognitionum) of truth and good, and thus the intelligence of the king of Tyre are described, have a similar signification in Ezekiel:

King of Tyre, "thou full of wisdom and perfect in beauty; thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the sardonyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, chrysoprasus, and the emerald, and gold. Thou wast the cherub, the spreading out of the covering, and I have set thee; thou hast been in the mountain of the holiness of God, thou hast walked in the midst of the stones of fire" (xxviii. 12-14).

Since the king of Tyre signifies the cognitions of the truth of the church from the Word, and indeed from its literal sense, it is therefore said that he was in Eden the garden of God, Eden the Garden of God signifying intelligence from the Lord through the Word; for Eden, like the East, denotes the Lord, and the garden of God intelligence from Him. And because true intelligence can be acquired, that is to say, is possible, only through cognitions of truth and good from the Word understood according to their genuine sense, it is therefore said every precious stone was thy covering, every precious stone signifying the cognitions of truth and good, and covering the external of the Word, which covers its internal; the external of the Word is the sense of its letter covering the internal, which is the spiritual sense. Because man has wisdom and intelligence from this, it is therefore said, "King of Tyre, thou full of wisdom and perfect in beauty," beauty signifying intelligence, for all beauty in the heavens is according to intelligence. The sense of the letter of the Word is also meant by "the cherub, the spreading out of the covering," for cherubim signify protection lest the Lord should be approached except through the good of love; and the sense of the letter of the Word, is what protects, since it covers its interiors. The mountain of holiness signifies the church as to the doctrine of love and charity; and the stones of fire, in the midst of which he walked, signify truths from the good of love, with which the life is in agreement. That precious stones here signify truths transparent from the light of heaven, which is Divine Truth, is clearly evident from this, that Tyre, in the Word, signifies the knowledges of truth and good, and these knowledges are ultimate truths, such as those of the sense of the letter of the Word. That Tyre signifies the knowledges of truth and good may be seen above (n. 514).

(References: Ezekiel 28:12-14; The Apocalypse Explained 514)


[10] In the same:

"Syria was thy trader by reason of the multitude of thy works, with chrysoprasus they gave crimson, and needle-work, and fine linen, and coral, and fiery-stone (pyropus), in thy tradings; the traders of Sheba and Raamah, these were thy traders by the chief of every spice, and by every precious stone, and gold" (xxvii. 16, 22).

This also is said of Tyre, which signifies the knowledges of the truth and good of the church from the Word, as above. Because Syria and Sheba and Raamah also signify the knowledges of truth and good, and tradings signify the acquisitions of these, it is therefore said that those nations gave precious stones in their tradings. Knowledges of truth and good are truths in ultimates, such as those of the sense of the letter and of the literal Word.

(References: Ezekiel 27:16, 27:22)


[11] In Job:

"The stones thereof are the place of sapphire, and it hath dust of gold. Where is wisdom found, and what is the place of intelligence? gold is not given in comparison with it, neither is silver weighed for the price of it; it cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, the precious onyx and the sapphire; the gold and the diamond cannot vie with it, the coral and crystal shall not be mentioned with it, and the choice of wisdom is above pearls; the topaz of Ethiopia shall not vie with it. Behold, the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to depart from evil is intelligence" (xxviii. 6, 12, 13, 15-19, 28).

Since all wisdom and intelligence comes from ultimate Divine truths spiritually understood, and those truths are signified by the precious stones here named, as the onyx, the sapphire, the diamond, the topaz, and pearls, and because these stones are formed of earthly materials, and are accounted precious in the world, but are of no account in regard to intelligence and wisdom, it is therefore said that those stones are not to be compared with intelligence and wisdom, neither are gold and silver. Comparisons are made with such things, because they are significative, otherwise they are comparatively of no account.

(References: Job 28:6, Job 28:12-13, Job 28:16-19, 28:28)


[12] In David:

"Thou, Jehovah, shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion, because thy servants desire the stones thereof" (Psalm cii. 13, 14).

The stones of Zion which the servants of Jehovah desire mean Divine truths, for Zion, upon which Jehovah will have mercy, means the church which is in celestial love.

(References: Psalms 102:13-14)


[13] In Zechariah:

"Behold, the stone which I have set before Joshua" the high priest, "upon one stone seven eyes; behold, I engrave the engraving of it. In that day ye shall cry out every man to his companion, under the vine and under the fig-tree" (iii. 9, 10).

This is said of the Lord's coming, and the stone set before Joshua the priest signifies Divine Truth, which is the Word; seven eyes in one stone signify Divine Wisdom and Intelligence, which pertain to Divine truth, thus to the Word, seven being used in reference to the holy things of heaven and the church, while eyes denote intelligence and wisdom. To engrave an engraving, signifies the representative and significative thereof; the vine and the fig-tree under which they shall come, signify the church and doctrine from internal and external truths; internal truths are those that are called spiritual, and external truths are those that are called natural, and the former are signified by the vine, and the latter by the fig-tree.

(References: Zechariah 3:9-10)


[14] In Moses:

"They saw the God of Israel, and under his feet as it were a work of sapphire stone, as the substance of heaven for purity" (Exod. xxiv. 10). The God of Israel means the Lord, the work of a sapphire stone under His feet means Divine Truth in ultimates, such as the Word is in the letter; for the sole of the foot signifies the ultimate, which was all that the Jewish nation could see, since they were in the externals of the Word, of the church, and of worship, and not in internals. A sapphire stone signifies transparency from internal truths; as the substance of heaven, for purity, signifies the transparency of the angelic heaven. But these things are explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 9406-9408). Since a precious stone signifies Divine Truth in ultimates transparent from interior truths, therefore the luminary* of the city New Jerusalem is described in the Apocalypse as "Like unto a precious stone, as it were a jasper stone shining like crystal" (xxi. 11).

And because by the white horse in the same book is signified the understanding of the Word, and by Him that sat upon the horse the Lord as to the Word, therefore

"Upon the head of him who sat upon the white horse were seen many diadems, and his name was called the Word of God" (Apoc. xix. 12, 13).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9406-9408; Exodus 24:10; Revelation 19:12-13, 21:11)


[15] So far concerning precious stones with those who are in Divine Truths; something shall now be said about precious stones with those who are in infernal falsities. These have precious stones also while they live in the world, because they too have knowledges of truth and good from the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of the letter; therefore precious stones or diadems are ascribed equally to them, as in the present case to the dragon, upon whose heads were seen seven diadems. The reason is, that the Word is still the Word, and its truths are still truths in themselves, whether possessed by the evil or by the good; for the perversion and falsification of them by the evil does not change their essence. This is the reason why, in the following parts of the Apocalypse, similar things were seen upon the woman sitting on the scarlet coloured beast, by whom Babylon is described. It is said that the woman sitting upon the scarlet coloured beast was full of names of blasphemy,

"and had seven heads and ten horns; she was clothed in crimson (purpura) and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone, and pearls, and upon her forehead a name written, Babylon the great" (Apoc. xvii. 3-5).

But more shall be said of this in what follows. Similarly elsewhere in the Apocalypse:

"The merchants of the earth shall weep and wail over Babylon the great, because no one buyeth her merchandize any more, the merchandize of gold and silver, and precious stone, and pearl and fine linen, and crimson (purpura), and silk and scarlet. And the merchants shall say, Woe, woe! the great city which was clothed in fine linen, and crimson, and scarlet, decked with gold, precious stone, and pearls" (xviii. 11, 12, 15, 16).

(References: Revelation 17:3-5, 18:11-12, 18:16)


[16] Because precious stones, crimson (purpura) and fine linen, signify the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, it is therefore said of "the rich man at whose gate lay Lazarus, that he was clothed with crimson and fine linen" (Luke xvi. 19, 20). The rich man means the Jewish nation, which, because it had the Word in which are Divine truths, is said to be clothed in crimson and fine linen; and Lazarus the poor man means the nations who had not the Word, and consequently no truths. It is thence evident why the rich man although he was evil, and was afterwards cast into hell, had garments of crimson (purpura) and fine linen.

(References: Luke 16:19-20)


[17] Similar things are also said in Daniel; concerning the king of the north, who made war against the king of the south.

"The king of the north shall honour as a god the fortresses upon his station, a god which his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, silver, and precious stone, and desirable things; he shall make strongholds of fortresses with a strange god; whosoever shall acknowledge shall be greatly honoured" (xi. 38, 39).

This chapter treats of the war of the king of the north with the king of the south; and the king of the north means those who have knowledge from the Word, but do not live it, thus also those who are in faith alone so called, and yet not in charity, for they reject the latter as not conducing to salvation. But the king of the south means those who are in intelligence from the Word, because they are in charity; such are the king of the south, or pertain to king of the south; for the south signifies light, and light signifies intelligence. Those who are in charity, which is the life of faith, have the light of intelligence from the Word. But the king of the north, or those who pertain to the king of the north, are such as are described above, because the north signifies night, and also a cold light, like the light of winter, which does not cause fructification because devoid of heat; for spiritual heat is charity, and all germination takes place from heat by means of light. The war between those kings is described because the last time of the church is treated of, when everything of salvation is placed in knowledge (scientia) from the Word, and nothing in the life. The Jewish nation placed everything in the traditions by which they falsified the Word; and the truths of the Word become traditions when there is no life of charity; similarly the truths of the Word become falsities when faith is separated from charity. From this it is evident that the king of the north means those who are in faith alone, that is, in faith without charity.

(References: Daniel 11:38-39)


[18] The same are also meant in Daniel by the he-goat which fought with the ram; and also by the dragon in this chapter, with this difference, that the dragon properly means the learned who have confirmed themselves by doctrine and life in faith separated from charity, for these have poison, like dragons, which destroys charity. For this reason the angel Michael is also mentioned in Daniel (xii. 1). That those pervert and falsify the truths of the Word who make everything of the church rest on a knowledge of cognitions (scientia cognitionum) from the Word and nothing upon life, is meant by the king of the north honouring a strange god which their fathers knew not, and by honouring him with gold, silver, precious stone, and pearls. His god means the truths of the Word falsified, since "God" when used in the Word means the Divine Truth, thus also the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, and when "Jehovah" is used, the Lord as to Divine Good is meant, thus also the Divine Good proceeding from the Lord. Therefore a strange god whom his fathers knew not, means the truths of the Word falsified, which in themselves are falsities, and are not acknowledged by those who were previously of the church. Those truths and goods of the Word themselves, although falsified, are signified by precious stones and by desirable things, as well as by silver and gold, for the truths of the Word do not change their essence when possessed by the evil. Fortresses upon the station, and strongholds of fortresses, signify such things as belong to [man's] own intelligence, confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word, which is such, that, when not interiorly understood, it may be so construed as to confirm any heresies whatever. From these things the signification of the seven diadems upon the heads of the dragon is now evident.

* Luminare; Greek, ho phosteir [in Greek].

(References: Daniel 12:1; Exodus 28:6-21, Exodus 28:30; Job 28:12, Job 28:15-19; Revelation 12:3, Revelation 21:18-21)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 712, 777, 954, 1032, 1038, 1043, 1142


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


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