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

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


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Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #236

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236. Verse 17. Because thou sayest I am rich, and have gotten riches and have need of nothing, signifies their faith that they believe themselves to be in truths more than others. This is evident from the signification of "saying," as involving what is believed by them; and as those who are in faith alone are here treated of, "saying" signifies their faith. Moreover, "to say," in the spiritual sense, signifies to think, because what is said goes forth from the thought, and thought is spiritual because it pertains to the spirit of man, while expression and speech from thought are natural because they pertain to the body. For this reason, "saying" has several significations in the Word. This is evident also from the signification of "being rich," as being to possess the knowledges of truth and good, and to be intelligent and wise thereby (of which presently); also from the signification of "have gotten riches and have need of nothing," as being to know all things so that nothing is lacking.

(References: Revelation 3:17)


[2] That those who are in the doctrine of faith alone and justification by faith are such, or believe themselves to be so, is not known to those who are not in that faith, although they are among them; but that still they are so it has been given me to know by much experience. I have talked with many who in the world believed themselves to be more intelligent and wise than others, from their knowing many things about faith alone and justification by faith, and such things as the simple minded are ignorant of; and these they called interior things and mysteries of doctrine, and believed they knew and understood everything, with nothing lacking. Among them were many who had written about faith alone and justification by faith. But it was shown them that they know nothing of truth, and that those who have lived a life of faith, which is charity, and have not understood justification by faith alone, are more intelligent and wise than they. It was also shown that the things they knew are not truths but falsities, and that knowing and thinking falsities is not being intelligent and wise, for intelligence is of truth, and wisdom is of the life therefrom. And the reason of this was disclosed, namely that they were in no spiritual affection of truth, but only in a natural affection of knowing the things taught by their leaders, by some for the sake of their function, by others for the fame of erudition; and that those who are in natural and not in spiritual affection believe that when they know these things they know everything. This is still more so with those who have confirmed these things by the sense of the letter of the Word, and have labored to connect these with other falsities by means of the fallacies of reason.

[3] I will also say something from experience about these things. Some spirits who were believed by others when they lived as men in the world to be men of learning, were examined to ascertain whether they knew what spiritual faith is. They said that they knew. They were therefore sent to those who were in that faith; and when they were given communication with these they perceived that they had no faith, and did not know what faith is. They were then asked what they now believe about faith alone, on which the whole doctrine of their church is founded, but they were ashamed and dumb-founded. There were also many of the learned of the church who were asked about regeneration, whether they knew what it is; they replied that they knew that it is baptism, since the Lord says, that "unless a man is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God;" but when it was shown them that baptism is not regeneration, but that "water and spirit" mean truths and a life according to them, and that no one can enter heaven unless he is regenerated through these, they went away confessing their ignorance. Again, when they were asked about angels, about heaven and hell, about the life of man after death, and many other matters, they knew nothing, and these things were all like thick darkness in their minds. They therefore confessed that they had believed that they knew all things, but they now know that they know scarcely anything. Knowing something means, in the spiritual world, knowing something of truth; but knowing falsities is not knowing, because it is not understanding and being wise. They were afterwards told that this is meant by the Lord's words, "Because thou sayest I am rich, and have gotten riches, and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked."

[4] The "rich" in the Word signify those who are in truths, because spiritual riches are nothing else; and therefore "riches" in the Word signify the knowledges of truth and good, and "the rich" those who are in intelligence thereby; as can be seen from the following passages. In Ezekiel:

In thy wisdom and in thine intelligence thou hast made to thee wealth, gold and silver in thy treasures; by the abundance of thy wisdom thou hast multiplied to thee wealth (Ezekiel 28:4-5).

These things were said to the prince of Tyre, by whom in the spiritual sense those who are in the knowledges of truth are meant; "wealth" means those knowledges themselves in general; "gold in treasures" mean the knowledges of good, and "silver in treasures" the knowledges of truth. That these signify knowledges is very clear, for it is said, "In thy wisdom and in thine intelligence thou hast made to thee wealth, and by the abundance of thy wisdom thou hast multiplied to thee wealth." ("The prince of Tyre" means those who are in the knowledges of truth, because "prince" signifies primary truths, Arcana Coelestia 1482, 2089, 5044; and "Tyre" the knowledges of truth, n. 1201; "treasures" signify the possessions of knowledges, n. 1694, 4508, 10227; "gold" signifies good, and "silver" truth, n. 1551, 1552, 2954, 5658.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552)


[5] In Zechariah:

Tyre heapeth up silver as dust, and gold as the mire of the streets; behold the Lord will impoverish her, and smite her wealth in the sea (Zechariah 9:3-4).

Here also "Tyre" stands for those who acquire for themselves knowledges, which are "silver," "gold," and "wealth." In David:

The daughter of Tyre shall bring to thee a gift, the king's daughter; the rich of the people shall entreat thy faces (Psalms 45:12-13).

Here is described the church in respect to the affection of truth, which is meant by "the king's daughter," for "daughter" means the church in respect to affection (Arcana Coelestia 3262, 3963, 6729, 9059; and "king" means truth, n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 6148). For this reason it is said that "the daughter of Tyre shall bring a gift," and that "the rich of the people shall entreat thy faces;" "the rich of the people" are those who abound in truths.

(References: Psalms 45:12)


[6] In Hosea:

Ephraim said, Surely I am become rich, I have found me wealth, all my labors shall not find iniquity to me which is sin; but I will yet speak to the prophets and I will multiply vision (Hosea 12:8, 10).

"I am become rich, and I have found me wealth," does not mean being enriched by worldly but by heavenly riches and wealth, which are the knowledges of truth and good; for "Ephraim" means the intellectual of those who are of the church, which is illustrated when the Word is read (Arcana Coelestia 5354, 6222, 6238, 6267); therefore it is said, "I will yet speak to the prophets, and I will multiply vision;" "prophets" and likewise "visions" signifying the truths of doctrine.

(References: Hosea 12:8-10)


[7] In Jeremiah:

Jehovah giving to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings; as the partridge gathereth but bringeth not forth, he maketh riches but not with judgment; in the midst of his days he shall leave them, in the end of days he shall become foolish (Jeremiah 17:10-11).

This treats of those who acquire for themselves knowledges with no other purpose than merely to know, when, yet knowledges ought to be subservient to the life. This is what is meant by "gathering as the partridge and not bringing forth," and by "making riches but not with judgment;" and by "becoming foolish in the end of days." And as the knowledges of truth and good ought to be subservient to the life, for by these the life will be perfected, it is said that "Jehovah gives to everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."

[8] In Luke:

Whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all his possessions, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:33).

He who does not know that "possessions" mean in the Word spiritual riches and wealth, which are knowledges from the Word, can know no otherwise than that he ought to deprive himself of all wealth in order to be saved; where yet that is not the meaning of these words. "Possessions" here mean all things that are from self-intelligence, for no one can be wise from himself, but only from the Lord; "to renounce all possessions" is to attribute nothing of intelligence and wisdom to oneself, and he who does not do this cannot be instructed by the Lord, that is, cannot be His disciple.

[9] They who do not know that "the rich" mean those who possess the knowledges of truth and good, thus who have the Word, and that "the poor" mean those who do not possess knowledges, but yet long for them, can know no otherwise than that "the rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen," and "the poor man who was laid at his gate" (Luke 16:20), mean the rich and the poor in the common acceptation of these words, when yet "the rich man" there means the Jewish nation, which had the Word, in which are all the knowledges of truth and good; the "purple" with which he was clothed means genuine good (Arcana Coelestia 9467); "fine linen" genuine truth (Arcana Coelestia 5319, 9469, 9596, 9744); and "the poor man who was laid at his gate" means the Gentiles that were outside of the church, and did not have the Word, and yet longed for the truths and goods of heaven and the church. From this it is clear that "the rich" mean those who have the Word, and thus the knowledges of truth and good, since these are in the Word.

(References: Luke 16:1)


[10] So also in the prophecy to Elizabeth, in Luke:

God hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away (Luke 1:53).

"The hungry" are those who long for knowledges; such were the Gentiles that received the Lord and doctrine from Him; but "the rich" are those who have knowledges because they have the Word; such were the Jews, and yet they did not wish to know truths from the Word, consequently they did not receive the Lord and doctrine from Him. These are "the rich" who were sent empty away; but the others are "the hungry" who were filled with good things.

(References: Hosea 12:8-10; Psalms 45:12)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 226, 237, 238, 338, 408, 652, 836

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.


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