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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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #724

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724. And she brought forth a male child.- That this signifies the doctrine of truth, which is for the New Church, which is called the New Jerusalem, is plain from the signification of a son, as denoting truth, and of a male (masculus) child, as denoting the genuine truth of the church, consequently its doctrine, for the truth of the church from the Word is its doctrine, since doctrine contains the truths that are for the church. But the genuine doctrine of the church is the doctrine of good, that is the doctrine of life, which is that of love to the Lord and of charity towards the neighbour; still it is doctrine of truth, for doctrine teaches life, love, and charity, and so far as it teaches these it is truth. For when a man knows and understands what good is, what life is, what love is, and what charity is, he then knows and understands those things as truths, since he knows and understands what good is, how he ought to live, what love and charity are, and what kind of man he is who is in the life of love and charity. And as long as these things are matters of knowledge (scientia) and of the understanding, they are merely truths, and thus doctrines; but as soon as they, from being knowledge and understanding, pass over into the will, and thus into act, they are then no longer truths but goods, for interiorly man wills nothing but what he loves, and that which he loves is to him good.

From these things it is evident, that every doctrine of the church is a doctrine of truth, and that the truth of doctrine becomes good, and becomes that of love and charity, when from doctrine it passes into life.

(References: Revelation 12:5)


[2] This doctrine, signified here by a male child, is especially the doctrine of love to the Lord, and of charity towards the neighbour, thus it is the doctrine of the good of life, but which is yet the doctrine of truth. That the doctrine of the good of love, and thence of life, is here signified by a male child, is evident from this, that the woman, who brought forth the son, was seen encompassed with the sun, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And the sun signifies love to the Lord, and the crown of twelve stars signifies the knowledges of good and truth; and from such a woman and mother, nothing could be born except what pertains to love and good, thus doctrine concerning them. This therefore is the male (masculus) child.

[3] That doctrine is for the New Church, which is called the New Jerusalem, because the woman treated of in this chapter is the one that is called the bride, the Lamb's wife, which was the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (xxi. 9, 10). This is why she was seen encompassed with the sun, for the sun means the Lord as to Divine Love, as may be seen above (n. 401, 525, 527, 708). The male child also signifies the doctrine of the church, because a son, in the Word, signifies truth, and the doctrine of the church is truth in its whole extent.

That a son, in the Word, signifies truth, is evident from what has been said before concerning the woman, the womb, and bringing forth, namely, that woman signifies the church, womb the inmost of love and the reception of truth from good, while to bring forth signifies the production and fructification of these. See above concerning woman (n. 707); the womb (n. 710); and bringing forth (n. 721). From this it follows that sons and daughters, since they are births, signify the truths and goods of the church, sons its truths, and daughters its goods; in a word, that all terms relating to marriage and thus to procreation on earth, signify such things as belong to the marriage of good and truth, thus father, mother, sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandsons, and several other terms, signify goods and truths procreating, and goods and truths procreated, and in fact derivative goods and truths in their order.

(References: Revelation 21:9-10; The Apocalypse Explained 401, The Apocalypse Explained 525, 527, The Apocalypse Explained 707, 708, 710, The Apocalypse Explained 721)


[4] But it must be understood that goods and truths procreating are in the spiritual man, and those which are procreated are in the natural man; and that those which are in the spiritual man are like the father and mother, and those which are from these in the natural man are like brothers and sisters; and again that the truths and goods that are further procreated as if from sons married within marriageable limits, and from daughters married also within the same, are in the natural man, after these, as parents, have been raised up into the spiritual man. For all conception, and all travail or gestation in the womb take place in the spiritual man, but birth itself takes place in the natural man. The spiritual man is therefore continually enriched by the elevation into it out of the natural man, of truths and goods, which, like parents, will procreate anew; therein also all things are associated like the societies of heaven, according to the affections for truth and good, and their relationships and affinities. It is therefore clear that those spiritual procreations, like the natural procreations from a father and mother, are multiplied like families and houses on earth, and are made fruitful like trees from seeds, from which arise in the spiritual man gardens, called paradises, but groves and orchards in the natural, and shady forests in the sensual man.

(References: John 12:36)


[5] But because sons are mentioned in many places in the Word, and since it has not yet been known that they signify the truths of the church and of doctrine, out of many passages I will cite only the following for the purpose of proof.

In the Evangelists:

Jesus said, "He who leaveth houses, brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, children, lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall obtain the inheritance of life eternal" (Matt. xix. 29; Mark x. 29, 30).

"Every one who cometh to me, and hateth not his father, mother, wife, children, brethren, and sisters, yea, his own soul, is not my disciple" (Luke xiv. 26).

Who cannot see that father, mother, wife, children, brethren, and sisters, also houses and lands, are not here meant, but such things as belong to man himself, and are called his own? For these things a man must leave and hate, if he desires to worship the Lord, to be His disciple, to receive a hundredfold, and to obtain the inheritance of life eternal. The things that are a man's own are those that are of his love, and thus of his life into which he is born, consequently they are evils and falsities of every kind; and because these are of his love and life, it is therefore said that he must also hate his own soul. These evils and falsities are signified by father and mother, wife, children, brethren, and sisters; for all those things, which belong to the love and life of man, or to the affection and the thought therefrom, or to the will and thus to the understanding, are formed and conjoined like generations, descending from one father and one mother, and are also distinguished as into families and houses. The love of self and consequent love of the world are their father and mother, and the desires arising therefrom, and their evils and falsities are the children, which are brethren and sisters. That this is the meaning is clearly evident from this, that the Lord could not desire that any one should hate his father and mother, or wife or children, or brethren or sisters, since this would be contrary to the spiritual love implanted in every one from heaven, which is that of parents for their children, of children for their parents, and also contrary to conjugial love, which is that of the husband for his wife, and of the wife for her husband, also contrary to mutual love, which is that of brothers and sisters for one another; in fact, the Lord even teaches that enemies must not be hated, but loved. It is evident from these things that the terms denoting consanguinities, affinities, and relationships in the Word, mean consanguinities, affinities, and relationships in a spiritual sense.

(References: Luke 14:26; Mark 10:29-30; Matthew 19:29)


[6] In the same:

Jesus said to His disciples, "The brother shall deliver the brother to death, the father the son, and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall deliver them to death" (Matt. x. 21; Mark xiii. 12).

"The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the mother-in-law against the daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law" (Luke xii. 53).

That these things are not to be understood according to the letter is clear from what precedes, where Jesus says that He came not to give peace upon the earth, but division; and that "there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three," which signifies that falsities and evils will fight against truths and goods, and truths and goods against falsities and evils - which is the case when man comes into temptations and is being reformed; this combat is signified by division and rising up. That "the father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father," signifies that evil will fight against truth, and truth against evil, the father there denoting the evil, which is man's proprium, and the son the truth which man has from the Lord. That the desire for falsity will fight against affection for truth, and affection for truth against the desire for falsity, is signified by "the mother shall be divided against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother," mother here denoting the desire for falsity, and daughter affection for truth; and so on. That this is the meaning is also evident from the words of the Lord elsewhere, where He says, that in Him "they shall have peace," thus not division (John xiv. 27; xvi. 33).

(References: John 14:27, 16:33; Luke 12:1, 12:52, 12:53; Mark 13:12; Matthew 10:21)


[7] In Luke, the angel said to Zechariah concerning John,

"He shall go before" the Lord "in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons" (i. 17).

And in Malachi:

"I will send to you Elijah the prophet, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh, that he may turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" (iv. 5, 6).

John the Baptist was sent before to prepare the people for the reception of the Lord by baptism, for baptism represented and signified purification from evils and falsities, and also regeneration through the Word by the Lord. Unless this representation had preceded, the Lord could not have manifested Himself and taught and lived in Judea and Jerusalem, since He was God of heaven and God of earth under a human form, and could not have been in the midst of a nation which was in mere falsities as to doctrine, and in mere evils as to life. Unless therefore that nation had been prepared for the reception of the Lord by a representative of purification from falsities and evils by baptism, it would have been destroyed by diseases of every kind at the presence of the Divine Itself. This then is the signification of the words, "Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." That this would have been the case is well known in the spiritual world, for there those who are in falsities and evils are direfully tormented and spiritually die at the presence of the Lord.

(References: Luke 1:17; Malachi 4:5-6)


[8] The baptism of John was able to produce such an effect, because the Jewish church was a representative church, and with them all conjunction of heaven was effected by representatives, as is also evident from the washings commanded therein. As for example all who became unclean had to wash themselves and their garments, and were then regarded as clean; similarly the priests and Levites washed themselves before they entered the tent of assembly and afterwards the temple, to perform their sacred duties; also Naaman was cleansed from leprosy by washing in Jordan. Washing and baptism did not themselves purify them from falsities and evils, but they only represented, and thus signified, purification from these; nevertheless this was received in heaven, as though they themselves had been purified. It was in this way that heaven was conjoined with the people of that church through the baptism of John; and when heaven was thus conjoined to them, the Lord, who was the God of heaven, could manifest Himself to them, teach them, and dwell among them. That Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region about Jordan went out to John, and were baptized by him in Jordan, confessing their sins, is evident in Matthew (chap. iii. 5, 6), and that he said to them,

"O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come" (Luke iii. 7).

That the Jews and Israelites were conjoined to heaven by means of representatives may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 248).

This now was the reason why John was sent before to prepare the way of the Lord, and to prepare the people for Him. It may be concluded from these things what is signified by turning the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to the fathers, namely, that it means to induce a representation of the conjunction of spiritual goods with truths, and of truths with goods, thus of regeneration by the Lord by means of the Word. For regeneration is the conjunction of goods with truths, and of truths with goods, and it is the Lord who regenerates, and the Word which teaches.

(References: Luke 3:7; Matthew 3:5-6; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248)


[9] It was said of this John that he should go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, and that he was Elijah, because John, like Elijah, represented the Lord as to the Word, and thus signified the Word, which is from the Lord; and as there is Divine Wisdom and Divine Power in the Word, these are meant by the spirit and power of Elijah. That the Word is of such a nature may be seen in Heaven and Hell (n. 303-310), and in the small work on the White Horse.

(References: Heaven and Hell 303-310)


[10] That sons signify truths from the Word, is also evident from the following passages.

In David:

"Lo, sons are a heritage of Jehovah, the fruit of the belly a reward; as darts in the hand of a mighty man, so are sons of youth; happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them, they shall not be ashamed when they speak with enemies in the gate" (Psalm cxxvii. 3-5).

Sons who are a heritage of Jehovah, and the fruit of the belly which is a reward, mean the truths and goods of the church; sons mean truths, and the fruit of the belly means goods, for both of these are a reward and a heritage of Jehovah, that is, heaven, which is from truths and goods, namely, from the reception of them. Sons of youth, who are as darts in the hands of a mighty man, signify the truths of the Ancient Church, which were natural truths from a spiritual source; this church is meant by youth. And because these truths have all power against evils and falsities, it is therefore said, "As darts in the hand of a mighty man," darts signifying truths destroying falsities. Doctrine from truths is signified by quiver because it is also signified by bow; and as those who are in doctrine from those truths fear nothing from falsities, it is said, "Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with enemies in the gate;" not to be ashamed denoting not to be conquered, and enemies in the gate the falsities of evil which are from hell.

(References: Psalms 127:3-5)


[11] In the same:

"Deliver me out of the hand of the sons of the stranger, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is the right hand of a lie; for our sons are as plants, become great in their youth, and our daughters as cornerstones hewn out in the model of a palace" (Psalm cxliv. 11, 12).

That the sons of the stranger here mean falsities is plain, for it is said, "Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is the right hand of a lie;" and that our sons signify truths is also plain, for it is said, "They are as plants, become [great] in their youth," plants also denoting truths, and youth denoting here, as above, the Ancient Church, which possessed genuine truths. Our daughters signify the affections for truth, which are therefore compared to cornerstones hewn out in the model of a palace, because a palace is a representative of the understanding in which truths are in a beautiful form, and they are in a beautiful form when they are from affection for truth.

(References: Psalms 144:11-12)


[12] In Micah:

"Make thee bald and poll thee, because of the sons of thy delights; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle, for they have gone away from thee" (i. 16).

Mourning because the truths of the church are destroyed is described by making bald, and by polling themselves, for the hair signifies truths in ultimates, and those who are without truths in ultimates are also without internal truths; for this reason those in the spiritual world who have no truths from good appear bald. That truths are destroyed is signified by "the sons of thy delights have gone away from thee"; they are called sons of delights from the love of truths and consequent delights.

(References: Micah 1:16)


[13] In Zechariah:

"He saw two olive trees at the right hand of the lampstand and at the left, and he said, These are the two sons of the olive standing by the Lord of the whole earth" (iv. 11, 14).

The two olive trees signify the two churches, the celestial church and the spiritual church, the former at the right hand of the lampstand, and the latter at the left; the sons of the olive signify the truths of those churches, which are doctrinals.

(References: Zechariah 4:11, 4:14)


[14] In the same:

"I will bend Judah for me, I will fill Ephraim with the bow, and I will stir up thy sons, O Zion, with thy sons, O Javan; and I will set thee as the sword of a mighty man" (ix. 13).

The sons of Zion and the sons of Javan signify the internal and external truths of the Word, the sons of Zion internal truths, and the sons of Javan external truths. The signification of the rest of the passage may be seen above (n. 357:1, 433:8), where it is explained. Because sons signify truths, it is said, that they shall be set as the sword of a mighty man, the sword of a mighty man signifying truth effectually destroying falsity.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 357, The Apocalypse Explained 443; Zechariah 9:13)


[15] In Isaiah:

"I will raise up against them the Medes, whose bows shall dash in pieces the young men, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the belly, their eye will not spare the sons" (xiii. 17, 18).

Because the Medes mean those who make no account of the truths and goods of the church, it is also therefore, said, "Their eye will not spare the sons," for sons denote the truths of the Word and of the church; but these things may be seen explained above (n. 710:24).

(References: Isaiah 13:17-18; The Apocalypse Explained 710)


[16] In Jeremiah:

"My tent is laid waste, and all my cords plucked away; my sons have departed from me, and they are not" (x. 20).

The tent which is laid waste, signifies the church as to the good of love and worship from it, for all worship in ancient times was performed in tents, and afterwards in the tent of assembly, in memory of which the feast of tents or tabernacles was instituted. All my cords are plucked away, signifies that there is no conjunction of truth with good, or of truths with each other, which thus fall apart; and consequently no conjunction of heaven with the church. My sons have departed from me, and they are not, signifies that the truths of the church from the Word have been dissipated, and that man has thus removed himself from the Lord.

(References: Jeremiah 10:20)


[17] In the same:

"Behold, I bring back the captivity of the tents of Jacob, and I will have pity on his dwelling-places, that the city may be built upon her own heap, and the palace shall be inhabited after its own manner, and his sons shall be as aforetime, and his congregation shall be established before me" (xxx. 18, 20).

The tents of Jacob and his dwelling-places, signify all things of the church and its doctrine; tents signify its goods, and dwelling-places its truths; their captivity signifies spiritual captivity which exists when the truths and goods of the Word cannot be perceived, because of the dominion of falsities. To shake off falsities and to teach truths is signified by bringing back the captivity. That the city may be built upon its own heap, signifies doctrine from truths, which has become a ruin through falsities, city meaning doctrine; and the palace shall be inhabited after its manner, signifies the spiritual understanding of truths, as was the case with the ancients, palace denoting the understanding of spiritual truths; for in the understanding there are spiritual truths in their own forms, which appear like palaces when they are presented to the sight. His sons shall be as aforetime, and his congregation shall be established before Me, signifies that the truths of the church shall be as they were with the ancients, and that their forms shall remain as they did with them in a restored conjunction, sons here denoting truths, and congregation their conjunction and arrangement into forms, such as exists in the understanding of the man of the church, from which he has intelligence; after its manner and aforetime, mean as with the ancients.

(References: Jeremiah 30:18, 30:20)


[18] In Lamentations:

"Mine eye runneth down with waters, because the counsellor who refresheth my soul is far from me; my sons are made desolate, because the enemy hath prevailed" (i. 16).

Mourning because the church is devastated is meant by Mine eye runneth down with waters; its devastation as to truths is signified by My sons are made desolate; that this is done by the falsities of evil, is signified by The enemy hath prevailed, - the enemy denoting falsity of evil and the hell from which it springs.

(References: Lamentations 1:16)


[19] In Isaiah:

"Awake, awake, rise up, O Jerusalem, who hast drunk out of the hand of Jehovah the cup of his anger; thou hast sucked out the dregs of the cup of trembling; there is none to lead her of all the sons whom she hath brought forth, nor any to take her by the hand of all the sons whom she hath brought up. Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets" (li. 17, 18, 20).

The restoration of the church, which had fallen into mere falsities of evil, is signified by Awake, awake, rise up, O Jerusalem, who hast drunk out of the hand of Jehovah the cup of His anger, thou hast sucked out the dregs of the cup of trembling. Jerusalem denotes the church as to doctrine, to awake and rise up denotes its restoration, to drink the cup of anger denotes falsity, and the dregs of the cup mere falsities from which are evils, and to attract these is signified by drinking and sucking. There is none to lead her of all the sons whom she hath brought forth, nor any to take her by the hand of all the sons whom she hath brought up, signifies that none of the truths of the Word which she has learned and imbibed will lead her away from falsities, sons here meaning truths. Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, signifies that truths are dispersed by falsities of every kind; because sons denote truths, fainting signifies to be dissipated, and to lie at the head of all the streets signifies by means of falsities of every kind, for the streets of a city signify true doctrinals, here false doctrinals.

(References: Isaiah 2:17-18, 2:20, Isaiah 51:17-18, Isaiah 51:20)


[20] In the same:

"Fear not, Jacob, I will bring thy seed from the east, and I will gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back, bring my sons from afar, my daughters from the end of the earth" (xliii. 5-6).

This is not said of the posterity of Jacob, but of the Gentiles, of whom the church is to be formed. Jacob and his seed mean those who will be of that church. That it must be formed of those who are in falsities from ignorance, and thus in obscurity as to truths, is signified by I will gather thee from the west, and I will say to the north, Give up; and that these must not be repelled but accepted by those who are in the good of love and in the truths of doctrine in their lucidity, is signified by I will bring thy seed from the east, and I will say to the south, Keep not back; for the east signifies the good of love in lucidity, the south the truth of doctrine in lucidity, the west the good of love in obscurity, and the north the truth of doctrine in obscurity, such as those are in who, from ignorance of truth, are in falsities, and yet desire truths. Those quarters have such significations, because, in the spiritual world, all dwell distinctly in those quarters according to the light of truth and the affection for good in which they are. These things have a similar signification in Matthew, where it is said that the elect are to be gathered together "from the four winds, from the ends of the heavens, even to the ends of them" (xxiv. 31). That all those who are in falsities from ignorance, and yet in the desire for truth, are to be brought into that church, is signified by Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the end of the earth; sons denoting those who are in truths, and daughters those who are in affection for truths; thus also, in a sense removed from persons, they signify truths and their affections; and afar off and the end of the earth signify removal from the light of truth, because they are in falsities from ignorance, through not possessing the Word, and having no understanding of its meaning.

(References: Isaiah 43:5-6; Leviticus 26:29; Matthew 24:31)


[21] In the same prophet:

"They shall hasten thy sons; thy destroyers and they that lay thee waste shall go out from thee; behold, I will lift up my hand towards the nations, and towards the peoples will I raise up my sign, that they may bring thy sons in the bosom, and carry thy daughters upon the shoulder" (Isaiah xlix. 17, 22).

This also treats of the establishment of a new church by the Lord. The sons whom they shall hasten, and whom they shall bring in the bosom, and the daughters whom they shall carry upon the shoulder, mean all those who are in truths and in affection for them, and in a sense removed from persons, truths themselves and affections for them with those who will be of the new church; destroyers and they that lay waste signify falsities of evil; that these must be removed is signified by They shall go out from thee.

(References: Isaiah 49:17, 49:22)


[22] In the same:

"The isles shall trust in me, and the ships of Tarshish in the beginning, to bring thy sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them" (lx. 9).

This also is said of the church of the Gentiles; and the sons who shall be brought, signify those who will receive truths. The rest of the passage may be seen explained above (n. 50, 406:10, 514:5).

In Hosea:

"I will not destroy Ephraim, they shall go after Jehovah, like a lion he shall roar, because he shall roar, and with honour shall sons approach from the sea; with honour they shall come, as a bird from Egypt, and as a dove from the land of Assyria, and I will cause them to dwell in their own houses" (xi. 9-11).

Sons from the sea, signify truths scientific (vera scientifica) and rational truths; it is therefore said that "they shall come as a bird from Egypt, and as a dove from the land of Assyria"; Egypt signifying the Natural, and Assyria the Rational, both of them as to truths; but these things have also been explained above (n, 275:19, 601:7, 654:22).

(References: Hosea 11:9-11; Isaiah 60:9; The Apocalypse Explained 50, 275, The Apocalypse Explained 406, The Apocalypse Explained 514, The Apocalypse Explained 601, 654)


[23] And in David:

"Hear this, all ye peoples, perceive in the ear, all ye inhabitants of the age, both the sons of man (homo) and the sons of man (vir), the rich and the poor together; my mouth shall speak wisdoms, and the meditation of my heart intelligences" (Psalm xlix. 1-3).

The sons of man (homo), signify spiritual truths which are from the Lord through the Word, and these are doctrinals, while the sons of man (vir), signify rational and natural truths, which are from the understanding, thus they signify the understanding of the Word; the rich and the poor, signify those who are wise from these in many things, and those who are wise in few things.

(References: Psalms 49:1-3)


[24] In the same:

Jehovah, "return, look down from the heavens, and see and visit this vine, and the shoot which thy right hand hath planted, and upon the son whom thou hast made strong for thyself; let thy hand be for the man (vir) of thy right hand, for the son of man (homo) whom thou hast made strong for thyself" (Psalm lxxx. 14, 15, 17).

This David said of the church and of himself, which is the sense of the letter, for by the shoot and by the son he meant himself; but in the spiritual sense, the vine and the shoot which Jehovah planted signify the spiritual church, represented by the sons of Israel. The son whom He made strong for Himself, signifies the truth of doctrine from the Word; the man of the right hand, for whom is the hand, and the son of man, whom He had made strong for Himself, signify the truth of the Word in the natural sense, which is the sense of the letter, and the truth of the Word in the spiritual sense, which is the internal sense.

(References: Psalms 80:14-15, 80:17)


[25] In Ezekiel:

"Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the greatness of my strength, the desire of your eyes, and the fondness of your soul; and your sons and your daughters, whom ye have left, shall fall by the sword" (xxiv. 21, 25).

This describes the devastation of all truth which those have who are of the church. The sanctuary which He will profane signifies the Word from which is the church, for this is the sanctuary itself, since it is Divine Truth; from its power against falsities and evils, which are from hell, it is called The greatness of the strength of Jehovah; from intelligence and heavenly life therefrom, it is called The desire of your eyes, and the fondness of your soul. That all truths with affection for them will perish through falsities is signified by Your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, - sons denoting truths, daughters, affections for truth, and the sword, falsity destroying the truth.

(References: Ezekiel 24:21, 24:25)


[26] In Moses:

"When the Most High gave the nations an inheritance, when he separated the sons of man, he set the bounds of the people, according to the number of the sons of Israel" (Deut. xxxii. 8).

This is said of the ancient churches which preceded the Israelitish, and of the establishment of these by the Lord; the nations mean those who were in the good of love, and the sons of man those who were in truths of doctrine from that good; that these had all truths and goods is signified by He set the bounds of the people, according to the number of the sons of Israel. That the twelve sons of Israel, or the twelve tribes, represented and thus signified the church as to all truths and goods, may be seen above (n. 39, 430, 657).

(References: Deuteronomy 32:8; The Apocalypse Explained 39, The Apocalypse Explained 430, The Apocalypse Explained 657)


[27] In Jeremiah:

"Shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our childhood, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters; we lie down in our shame, and our reproach doth cover us" (iii, 24, 25).

In the same:

"Behold, I bring upon you a nation from afar, O house of Israel, which shall devour thy harvest and thy bread; it shall devour thy sons and thy daughters; it shall devour thy flock and thy herd, it shall devour thy vine and thy fig tree, it shall impoverish thy fortified [cities] in which thou trustest, with the sword" (v. 15, 17).

These words in the spiritual sense, describe the devastation of all things of the church with the Israelites. The nation from afar, signifies the falsity of evil, which is the falsity of the sensual man, destroying truths; harvest, bread, sons, daughters, flock, herd, vine, and fig-tree, which that nation will devour, signify all things of the church; harvest and bread, its truths and goods in regard to nourishment; sons and daughters, its truths and goods in regard to generation; flock and herd, spiritual and natural truths and goods; vine and fig-tree, the internal and external spiritual church therefrom.

(References: Jeremiah 3:24-25, 5:15, 5:17)


[28] In Ezekiel:

"Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in the midst of it, as I live, if they delivered their sons or their daughters, they only shall be delivered, and the land shall become a desolation; I will bring a sword upon the land, and I will cut off from it man and beast" (xiv. 14, 16-18, 20).

By these words the devastation of the church is also described as to all the truths of good and the goods of truth, except with those who are reformed by means of truths from the Word, and by temptations; these are signified by Noah, Daniel, and Job. That with the rest all the truths of good and goods of truth will perish is signified by They should not deliver their sons or their daughters, but they only would be delivered; the devastation of the church by falsities is signified by The land shall become a desolation, and I will bring a sword upon the land, - land denoting the church, and sword falsity destroying truth. That all spiritual and natural truth will be destroyed, and that all intelligence and knowledge (scientia) of truth will consequently perish, is signified by I will cut off from it man and beast.

(References: Ezekiel 14:14, 14:16-18, 14:20)


[29] In the same:

"The fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; I will execute judgments in thee, and all thy remnant I will scatter unto every wind" (v. 10).

In Moses:

"[It was said] among the curses, that they should eat the flesh of their sons and of their daughters" (Levit. xxvi. 29).

The fathers shall eat the sons, and the sons the fathers, signifies that evils will destroy truths, and falsities goods, fathers denoting evils and goods, and sons falsities and truths; and because everything of spiritual life with man thus perishes, it is said that judgments will be executed, and the remnant scattered unto every wind, the remnant denoting the truths and goods stored up by the Lord in man from his infancy and childhood.

(References: Ezekiel 5:10; Leviticus 26:29)


[30] We read also, that they led away their sons to idols to be devoured, and for food, and through the fire; as in the following passages.

In Ezekiel:

"Thou hast taken thy sons [and thy daughters] whom thou hast brought forth to me, and these thou hast sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter? Thou hast slaughtered my sons, and hast delivered them up, when thou madest them to pass through unto them. Thou art thy mother's daughter, and the sister of thy sisters, they loathed their husbands and their sons" (xvi. 20, 21, 45).

These things are said of the abominations of Jerusalem. And by sacrificing their sons and daughters to idols to be devoured is signified to destroy and consume all the truths and goods of the church; to do this to truths from the Word, is signified by slaughtering the sons, and making them to pass through unto them; that the truths and goods of the Word are destroyed by falsifications and adulterations, is signified by whoredoms here and elsewhere in that chapter.

(References: Ezekiel 16:20-21, Ezekiel 16:26, 16:36, Ezekiel 16:45)


[31] In the same:

"I will pollute them with their gifts, in that they led through [the fire] every opening of the womb, that I might make them desolate. Wherefore ye offer gifts, when ye led your sons through the fire ye are polluted by all your idols" (xx. 26, 31).

To destroy truths by the evils of the love of self, and by desires from the proprium, is signified by leading the sons through the fire and [to destroy them] by falsities, is signified by being polluted with idols. That idols signify falsities of doctrine, and worship from [man's] own intelligence, may be seen above (n. 587).

(References: Ezekiel 20:26, 20:31; The Apocalypse Explained 587)


[32] In the same:

Oholah and Oholibah "committed whoredom, and blood was in their hands, and with their idols they committed whoredom; their sons also whom they begat to me they led through unto them for food" (Ezekiel xxiii. 37).

Oholah and Oholibah mean Samaria and Jerusalem, Samaria means the spiritual church, and Jerusalem the celestial, each as to doctrine. Falsifications and adulterations of the Word are signified by their committing whoredom, and by blood being in their hands; the falsities which thence spring up from [their] own intelligence are signified by their idols with which they committed whoredom; the signification of leading their sons through [the fire] to the idols for food, namely, that they destroyed the truths of the Word by falsities is therefore evident.

(References: Ezekiel 23:37)


[33] As sons signify truths, therefore "the seeds which fell into the good ground" are called by the Lord "sons of the kingdom; " and "the tares" which denote falsities, sons of the evil (Matt. xiii. 38). Also those who are in truths are called "sons of light" (John xii. 36); those who are in the marriage of truth and good from the Lord, are called "sons of the nuptials" (Mark ii. 19); and those who are regenerated, "sons of God" (John i. 11-13). Because stones, in the Word, signify truths, John the Baptist said, "God is able of these stones to raise up sons unto Abraham" (Luke iii. 8). That stones signify the truths upon which interior truths are based may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 643, 1298, 3720, 6426, 8609, 10,376).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 643, 1298, 3720, 6426, 8609, 10376; John 1:11-13, 12:36; Luke 3:8; Mark 2:19; Matthew 13:38)


[34] As sons signify truths, so in the opposite sense they also signify falsities, as in some of the passages quoted above, also in these words of Isaiah:

"Prepare the slaughter for her sons, for the iniquity of their fathers; that they may not rise and possess the land, and the faces of the earth be filled with cities. I will rise against them, and I will cut off from Babel the name and the residue, and the son and the grandson; and I will make her a heritage for the bittern, and pools of waters, and I will sweep her with the besom of destruction" (xiv. 21-23).

This is said of Babel, which signifies adulteration of the Word and profanation. Here the total vastation of truth with those who are meant by Babel is treated of. That truths with them were utterly destroyed through adulteration of the Word is signified by Prepare the slaughter for her sons, that they may not rise and possess the land, and the faces of the earth be filled with cities; the land means the church in which there are truths, and cities mean doctrinals from mere falsities. That all truths from primaries to ultimates would perish, is signified by cutting off from Babel the name and the residue, the son and the grandson; that nothing whatever of truth would remain, is signified by she shall be swept with the besom of destruction.

(References: Isaiah 14:21-23)


[35] It must be understood that sons, in the passages above quoted, signify those who are in truths, or those who are in falsities. But because the spiritual sense of the Word has nothing in common with persons, therefore in that sense sons signify truths or falsities apart from the idea of personality. The spiritual sense is of such a nature, because the idea of person limits thought and its extension into heaven in every direction; for all thought that proceeds from affection for truth extends through heaven on all sides, nor has it any termination except like light into shade; but when a person is at the same time thought of, then the idea together with intelligence has its termination, where the person is; this is why sons, in the spiritual sense, signify truths or falsities considered apart from personality.

(References: Ezekiel 16:26, Ezekiel 16:36; Isaiah 51:17-18, 51:20; Luke 3:7-8, Luke 12)

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