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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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #324

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324. And golden bowls full of incense, signifies confession from spiritual goods. This is evident from the signification of "golden bowls," which are also called "censers," and "incense pans," as being truths from good; for "bowls," like all containing vessels, signify truths, and "gold," of which they were made, signifies good, therefore "golden bowls" are truths from good. (That "vessels" signify truths, because truths serve good as recipient and containing vessels, see Arcana Coelestia 3068, 3079, 3316, 3318; also "the vessels of the altars," "of burnt offering," and "of incense," n. 9723, 9724; and that "gold" signifies good, above, n. 242 It is evident also from the signification of "incense," as being those things of worship that are done from spiritual good, or from the good of charity, and are therefore gratefully perceived. Such things are signified by "incense," because all things that are instituted in the Israelitish nation were representative of celestial and spiritual things; so also were the things relating to odor; things of pleasant odor represented pleasant perception, but those of unpleasant odor unpleasant perception. On this account incense was made of fragrant spices, myrrh, onycha, galbanum, and frankincense. Moreover, there is a correspondence between odor and perception, as can be seen from this, that in the spiritual world, where all things perceived by the senses correspond, the perceptive of good and truth is made sensible as fragrance from pleasant odors, and vice versa (respecting this see what is shown from experience, Arcana Coelestia 1514, 1517-1519, 1631, 4626, 4628, 4630, 4631, 5711-5717). From this it is that also in the common language of men, to smell means to perceive; for such expressions, like many others, have come into human discourse from correspondence; for the spirit of man is actually in the spiritual world, although man is not conscious of it. Moreover, the faculty of perception that man has, is what produces in his body the sense of smell, and this too from correspondence. But this is an arcanum that can with difficulty be credited, because it has been hitherto unknown. It is to be noted that this sweet smell or fragrance is produced by the good of love and charity, but by means of truth, not by good itself without truth, still less by means of the truth that is called truth of faith without good; for good without truth has nothing perceptive, neither has truth without good.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4630-4631, Arcana Coelestia 9723-9724; Revelation 5:8; The Apocalypse Explained 242)


[2] "Incense" signifies those things of worship that are done from spiritual good, because spiritual good has its origin and existence from celestial good, which good is the good of love to the Lord from the Lord, and is therefore the very good of heaven, for that good is immediately from the Lord, and the Lord is with angels in that good as in what is His. This is even so far true that whether you say that the Lord is in them and they in the Lord, or that the Lord is with them in that good and they are in the Lord when in that good, it is the same. Spiritual good, which has its origin and existence from celestial good, is the good of charity towards the neighbor; worship from this good is what is signified by "incense." As all worship of the Lord comes from good, although through truths, and as there are two universal goods that make the heavens and distinguish them into two kingdoms, namely, celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord, and spiritual good, which is the good of charity towards the neighbor, therefore with the sons of Israel there were two altars, one for burnt offerings, the other for incense-offerings; the altar of burnt offering signifying worship from the good of celestial love, and the altar of incense worship from the good of spiritual love; thence it is clear what was represented by "incense."

[3] That this is so can be seen from passages in the Word where the two are mentioned. As in Moses:

Thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon; and thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and thou shalt put it before the veil that is over the ark of the Testimony, before the mercy-seat. And Aaron shall burn thereon incense of spices every morning, when dressing the lamps he shall burn it, and in making the lamps to ascend between the evenings he shall burn it, a perpetual incense before Jehovah in your generations. Ye shall make no strange incense to ascend thereon, nor burnt-sacrifice, nor meal-offering, nor drink-offering (Exodus 30:1-10).

That this "altar," and the "burning incense" upon it, signified worship from spiritual good, is evident from its having been placed in the tent of meeting without the veil, where also were the lamps; and the tent signified the Lord's spiritual kingdom; while that part of the tent that was within the veil signified the Lord's celestial kingdom, as can be seen from what is shown in Arcana Coelestia 9457, 9481, 9485) respecting the tent, in which was the table for the bread of faces, and in which was the altar of incense and the lampstand, also respecting the ark, in which was the Testimony, and upon which was the mercy-seat (n. 9457, 9481, 9485, 10545). It is there shown that the things that were in the tent without the veil, namely, the lamp stand, the altar of incense, and the table for the bread, signified such things as are of the spiritual kingdom, all of which have reference to spiritual good and its truth. The "table, upon which was the bread of faces," signified the reception of celestial good in spiritual good (see n. 9527); the "lampstand" with the "lamps" signified the spiritual itself of that kingdom (n. 9548, 9551, 9556, 9561, 9572, 9783); the "altar of incense" signified worship from spiritual good; and because worship from spiritual good was signified by burning incense upon that altar, and the spiritual itself by the "lampstand," it was commanded that Aaron should burn incense upon it every morning and evening, when he dressed the lamps. (But these things are more fully explained in Arcana Coelestia 10176-10213, where these particulars are treated of.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 10176)


[4] And because spiritual good has its origin and existence from celestial good (as was said above), not only was that altar placed near the veil that was over the ark, but it was also commanded that when Aaron should make atonement for himself and for his house, he should bring the incense within the veil, which signified the influx, communication, and conjunction of celestial good and spiritual good. Of this it is written in Moses:

When Aaron shall make an atonement for himself and for his house he shall kill the bullock of the sin-offering; and he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before Jehovah, and his hands full of the incense of spices, and he shall bring it within the veil, that he may put the incense upon the fire before Jehovah; and the cloud of the incense shall cover the mercy-seat that is upon the Testimony, that he die not (Leviticus 16:11-13).

That "he should take fire from off the altar of burnt-offering," and "should put incense upon the fire," signified that spiritual good, which is the good of charity, has existence and proceeds from celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord (that the "fire of the altar" signified that good, see Arcana Coelestia 4489, 6314, 6832, 9714, and elsewhere). This is why the fire for burning incense was not taken from anywhere else than from the altar of burnt-offering. When Aaron made atonement for himself and his house he was to burn the incense within the veil because Aaron as chief priest represented the Lord in respect to the good of love, and by his functions he represented the things that proceed from that good, all of which relate to spiritual good; spiritual good, unless it is from celestial good, is not good; except for this Aaron's function could not have been from the Divine, or could not have represented anything of the Divine; and this is why Aaron was threatened with death unless he did as he was commanded.

[5] For the same reason also Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, were consumed by fire from heaven because they burnt incense from other fire than the fire of the altar of burnt-offering, which is offering worship from a love other than love to the Lord; respecting which it is thus written in Moses:

Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer and put strange fire therein, and laid incense thereon. Therefore fire went out from before Jehovah and devoured them, and they died, afterwards they were carried without the camp (Leviticus 10:1-5).

"They were carried without the camp" signified that their worship was not from heaven, because not from love to the Lord; for "the camp of the sons of Israel" represented heaven and the (see Arcana Coelestia 4236, 10038).

[6] Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with their company, were swallowed up by the earth, although they took fire from the altar and burnt incense, because "their murmuring against Moses and Aaron" signified the profanation of the good of celestial love; for "Moses" and "Aaron" represented the Lord and "to murmur" (that is, to rebel) against the Lord and at the same time to perform holy offices, is profanation; but as they took the fire from the altar, that fire was cast out, and their censers were made into a covering for the altar; respecting which it is thus written in Moses:

Moses said to them that they should take fire and put it into their censers which was also done; but they were swallowed up (Numbers 16).

But afterwards it was commanded:

That they should gather up the censers, and scatter the fire hitherwards; and of the censers, which were of brass, they should make broad plates, a covering to the altar, because they had been sanctified (Numbers 16:37-38).

The censers had been sanctified by the "fire of the altar," which signified Divine celestial love.

(References: Numbers 16:1-35)


[7] Because spiritual good, which is the good of charity towards the neighbor, derives its essence and soul from celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord, therefore also "frankincense," which signifies spiritual good, was put upon the "bread of faces," which signified celestial good; as can be seen from these words in Moses:

And frankincense shall be put upon the bread of faces which is upon the table in the tent of meeting, that the bread may be for a memorial (Leviticus 24:7).

"That the bread may be for a memorial" signifies that the Lord may receive and give heed; for all worship of the Lord which is truly worship comes from celestial good through spiritual good; for spiritual good, which is charity towards the neighbor, is an effect of celestial good, for charity towards the neighbor is the performance of uses, and living a moral life from a heavenly origin (respecting which see Heaven and Hell 390, 484, 530-535; and The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 84-107), this, therefore, is spiritual good; while celestial good is looking to the Lord and acknowledging that every good and truth is from Him, and that from man, or from what is man's own, there is nothing but evil.

[8] That the incense was to be burned from no other fire than the fire of the altar of burnt-offering, which signified celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord, is also evident from other passages, as in Moses:

When the congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron, and were attacked by the plague, then Aaron took fire from the altar, and put it in a censer, and placed incense on it, and he ran into the midst of them; and the plague was stayed (Numbers 16:41, 46-48, and also in Revelation 8:3-5).

(References: Numbers 16:41-48)


[9] That "incense" and "frankincense" signify spiritual good, and "burning incense" worship acceptable because of that good, and therefore hearing and reception by the Lord, can be seen from the following.

In Isaiah:

A troop of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and of Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and frankincense; and they shall proclaim the praises of Jehovah (Isaiah 60:6).

Here the Lord's coming is treated of; the "troop of camels" and the "dromedaries of Midian and Ephah" signify the knowledges of truth and good in abundance; "all they from Sheba shall come" signifies from the knowledges of genuine truth and good (that "Sheba" signified such knowledges, see Arcana Coelestia 1171, 3240); "gold and frankincense," which they shall bring, signify worship from spiritual good that is from celestial good; "gold" signifying celestial good, and "frankincense" spiritual good. Because worship from these is signified it is said, "and they shall proclaim the praises of Jehovah;" "proclaiming the praises of Jehovah" signifying the proclamation of good tidings respecting the Lord, and worship of Him.

[10] In Matthew:

The wise men from the east opened their treasures, and offered gifts to the newborn Lord, gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11).

"The wise men from the east" also signified those who are in the knowledges of truth and good; the worship of such from celestial good, spiritual good, and natural good is signified by "they offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh;" for "gold" signifies celestial good, "frankincense" spiritual good, and "myrrh" natural good. That these had such a signification was still known to many in the east, therefore they were also called "sons of the east," by whom in the Word those who are in the knowledges of truth and good are meant (see Arcana Coelestia 3249, 3762), for the knowledge of correspondences had remained among them; therefore that they might testify their joy of heart they offered such things as signified every good from first to last; and this is what was predicted in Isaiah, that they "were to come from Sheba, and bring gold and frankincense, and proclaim the praises of Jehovah" (of which just above).

[11] In Malachi:

From the rising of the sun even unto its going down My name shall be great among the nations; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a clean meal offering (Malachi 1:11).

"From the rising of the sun even unto its going down My name shall be great among the nations" signifies that the church and worship of the Lord shall be everywhere with those who are in good; "from the rising of the sun to its going down" signifying every place where there is good; "My name shall be great" signifying the acknowledgment and worship of the Lord; and "nations" signifying those who are in good; "incense shall be offered unto My name, and a clean meal offering" signifies the worship of the Lord from spiritual good, which is the good of charity towards the neighbor, and from celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord; worship from spiritual good is signified by "incense offering," and from celestial good by "meal offering." (That a "meal offering" signifies that good, see Arcana Coelestia 4581, 10079, 1 10137)

[12] "Incense" and "meal-offering" have a like signification in David:

Give ear unto my voice when I call unto Thee. Let my prayers be accepted as incense before Thee; the lifting up of my hands as the evening meal-offering (Psalms 141:1, 2).

And in Isaiah:

Thou hast brought to Me the small cattle of thy burnt-offerings, and thou hast not honored Me with thy sacrifices. I have not made thee to serve by a meal-offering, nor wearied thee by frankincense (Isaiah 43:23).

As all worship of the Lord comes from spiritual good that is from celestial good, therefore the two, "meal-offering" and "frankincense" are mentioned separately in the letter, yet in the internal or spiritual sense they are to be understood conjointly, but the one from the other.

(References: Psalms 141:1-2)


[13] So in Jeremiah:

They shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the circuits of Jerusalem, bringing burnt-offering and sacrifice, and meal-offering and frankincense (Jeremiah 17:26).

Here "Judah" and "Jerusalem" do not mean Judah and Jerusalem, but the Lord's church, which is in the good of love and in the doctrine of charity therefrom; worship from these is signified by "burnt-offering and sacrifice," also by "meal-offering and frankincense."

[14] Because "meal-offering" signified the good of celestial love, and "frankincense" the good of spiritual love, upon the meal-offering of fine flour were put oil and frankincense, as appears in Moses:

When a soul would offer the offering of a meal-offering unto Jehovah, fine flour shall be his offering, upon which he shall pour oil, and shall put upon it frankincense; and the priest shall take out of it his handful of the fine flour and of the oil thereof, with all the frankincense thereof, and he shall burn it for a memorial upon the altar (Leviticus 2:1-2).

This meal-offering was instituted because "fine flour" signifies genuine truth (see Arcana Coelestia 9995); and since this truth is from good, namely, from celestial good, and from consequent spiritual good, "oil and frankincense" were put upon it; "oil" signifying the good of celestial love, and "frankincense" the good of spiritual love; in the internal sense, the one from the other. There were also other kinds of meal-offerings that were prepared with oil that had a like signification.

[15] In Ezekiel:

Thou hast taken the garments of thy embroidery, and hast covered the images of the male, with which thou didst commit whoredom; and didst set My oil and My incense before them (Ezekiel 16:18-19).

This is said of Jerusalem, which signifies the church in respect to doctrine, here doctrine altogether perverted. The "images of the male," which "she covered with the garments of her embroidery, and with which she committed whoredom," signify the falsities that they made, by perverse interpretations, to appear as truths, thus they signify falsified truths, "garments of embroidery" meaning the knowledges of truth from the Word, and "to commit whoredom" meaning to falsify; to set My oil and My incense before them" signifies to adulterate both the good of celestial love and the good of spiritual love; and these are adulterated when the Word is applied to the loves of self and of the world.

(References: Ezekiel 16:17-18)


[16] In Moses:

They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments, and Israel Thy law; they shall put incense in Thy nostrils, and a burnt-offering upon Thine altar (Deuteronomy 33:10).

This is the prophecy of Moses respecting Levi, by whom the priesthood is signified, and because the priesthood was representative of the Lord in respect to the good of love, both celestial and spiritual, therefore it is said, "they shall put incense in Thy nostrils, and a burnt-offering upon Thine altar;" "incense" signifying worship from spiritual good, and "burnt offering upon the altar" worship from celestial good; "in the nostrils" signifying to the perception.

[17] In David:

I will go into Thy house with burnt-offerings; I will pay my vows unto Thee. I will offer unto Thee burnt-offerings of fatlings, rams with incense (Psalms 66:13, 15).

"To offer burnt-offerings of fatlings" signifies worship from the good of celestial love; "to offer rams with incense" signifies worship from the good of spiritual love; "incense" and "ram" signifying that good.

[18] In Revelation:

Another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he might offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar that was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up out of the angel's hand before God. Afterwards the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar and cast it into the earth (Revelation 8:3-5).

What this means will be told in the explanation of these words in what follows; here it need merely be said that "incense" signifies worship from spiritual good, which is the good of charity toward the neighbor. Such worship is signified also by "the prayers of the saints;" it is therefore said "that there was given unto him much incense, that he might offer it with prayers of the saints;" and then that "the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God." That the "prayers of the saints" signify worship from spiritual good will be seen in the next paragraph, so also what is meant by worship from spiritual good, or from the good of charity.

[19] In Isaiah:

A people that provoke Me to anger continually before My faces; that sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense upon bricks (Isaiah 65:3).

Here "sacrificing" and "burning incense" have the contrary signification, namely, worship from the falsities of doctrine that are from self-intelligence; "gardens" signify intelligence, here self-intelligence, and "bricks" falsities therefrom; "to sacrifice" and "to burn incense" signify worship. (That the ancients held Divine worship in gardens and groves in accordance with the significations of the trees therein, but that this was forbidden among the Israelitish nation, lest they should frame to themselves a worship from the selfhood [ex proprio], see n. 2722, 4552)

[20] In Hosea:

They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under the oak, and the poplar, and the terebinth, because the shadow thereof is good, therefore your daughters commit whoredom, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery Hosea 4:13).

This describes worship from the love of self and from the love of the world, and from the falsities of doctrine therefrom; worship from the love of self is meant by "sacrificing upon the tops of the mountains;" worship from the love of the world, by "burning incense upon the hills;" and worship from the falsities of doctrine, by "sacrificing and burning incense under the oak, the poplar, and the terebinth;" the "top of the mountains" signifying celestial love, here the love of self; "hills" spiritual love, here, the love of the world; for the love of self is the contrary of celestial love, and the love of the world is the contrary of spiritual love; "the oak, the poplar, and the terebinth," signify the lowest goods of truth and truths of good of the natural man, here the evils of falsity and the falsities of its evil; "because the shadow thereof is good" signifies complacence; the falsifications of spiritual good therefrom are signified by "therefore your daughters commit whoredom," and the adulteration of celestial good by "your daughters-in-law commit adultery."

[21] In Jeremiah:

[According to] the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number [of the streets] of Jerusalem have ye set up altars, altars to burn incense unto Baal (Jeremiah 11:13, 17).

"Cities" here do not mean cities, nor "gods" gods, nor the "streets of Jerusalem" streets there; but "cities" signify the doctrinals of falsity; "gods" the falsities themselves; and the streets of Jerusalem the falsities of the doctrine of the church. "To set up altars, altars to burn incense unto Baal," signifies worship from the love of self and from the love of the world (as above). This nation did set up altars and burn incense to Baal; but as all things of their worship were representative, the things that were done according to the statutes were representative of things celestial and spiritual; consequently the things that were done contrary to the statutes were representative of things infernal; therefore by "altars set up to the gods," and by "incense offered to Baal," these contrary things are signified.

[22] In the same:

I will speak with them judgments upon all their evil, in that they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods, and have bowed themselves down to the works of their own hands (Jeremiah 1:16).

"To burn incense to other gods," and "to bow themselves down to the works of their own hands," signifies worship from the falsities that are from self-intelligence; "other gods" meaning falsities, and the "works of their own hands" what is from self-intelligence.

[23] The like is signified by:

Burning incense to gods (Jeremiah 11:12; 44:3, 5, 8, 15, 18);

Likewise burning incense to graven images (Hosea 11:2);

And burning incense to vanity (Jeremiah 18:15);

The like as above is signified by burning incense to Baal (Jeremiah 7:9; Hosea 2:13);

Likewise by burning incense to Melecheth, or the queen of the heavens (Jeremiah 44:17-19, 21, 25).

"Melecheth of the heavens" signifies falsities in the whole complex.

[24] Moreover, "burning incense" signifies those things of worship that are perceived as grateful, and "incense" signifies spiritual good, because all things that were instituted in the Israelitish nation were representative of things celestial and spiritual; for the church with them was not as the church at this day, which is internal, but it was external; and the externals represented and thus signified the internal things of the church, such as were disclosed by the Lord in the Word of the New Testament; for this reason their church was called a representative church. The externals of that church consisted of such things in the world of nature as corresponded to the affections of good and truth in the spiritual world; consequently when those who were of that church were in externals in respect to worship, those who were in the spiritual world, that is, in heaven, were in the internals, and conjoined themselves with those who were in externals; it was in this way that heaven at that time made one with the men on the earth.

[25] From this it can be seen why there was a table for the bread in the tent of meeting, and why there was a lampstand with lamps, and an altar for incense. For "bread" represented and thence signified the good of love proceeding from the Lord, or celestial good; the "lampstand with lamps" represented and thence signified spiritual good and truth; and "incense" represented and thence signified worship; and because all Divine worship that is perceived as grateful is from spiritual good, therefore that good was signified by "incense." In order that this gratification might be represented the incense was made from fragrant spices, and this also from correspondence; for fragrant odors correspond to the pleasantnesses and delights that are in the thoughts and perceptions from the joy of spiritual love. For this reason incense corresponded to such things as are received as grateful by the Lord and perceived as grateful by angels. This gratification is solely from spiritual good, or from the good of charity towards the neighbor; for this good is celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord in effect; for celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord, is brought into effect solely through spiritual good, which is the good of charity toward the neighbor; consequently to be in this good and to exercise it is to love and worship the Lord. (What charity toward the neighbor is, and what it is to exercise it, see in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 84-107.)

[26] As the "oil" by which anointings were made signified celestial good or the good of love to the Lord, and "incense" signified spiritual good, or the good of charity towards the neighbor, and as the latter is from the former (as was said above), therefore in Exodus (chapter 30) the preparation of the anointing oil is first treated of, and immediately afterwards the preparation of the incense; the preparation of the anointing oil from verse 23 to 33, and the preparation of the incense from verse 34 to 38 38. And as the incense-offering is here treated of I will quote what is there commanded regarding the preparation of incense, namely:

Take unto thee fragrant spices, stacte, onycha, and galbanum; fragrant spices and pure frankincense, like quantity with like quantity shall it be. And thou shalt make it an incense, a perfume the work of the perfumer, salted, pure, holy; and thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the Testimony of the Tent of meeting, where I will meet thee; it shall be unto you the holy of holies. And the incense that thou makest ye shall not make in its quality for yourselves; it shall be unto thee holy to Jehovah. The man who shall make like unto it to smell thereof shall be cut off from his peoples (Exodus 30:34-38).

(But what these particulars signify, see Arcana Coelestia 10289-10310, where they are explained consecutively.) Here it may be said merely that frankincense was the primary ingredient, and the other three were added for the sake of their odor; therefore it is said of the frankincense, that "a like quantity with a like quantity it shall be," or as much of one as of the other; in like manner as with the anointing oil, in which the oil of the olive was the primary ingredient, and the other things in it were significative (Exodus 30:23-33). From this it is clear why frankincense has the same signification as incense when compounded, namely spiritual good.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 10289; Exodus 30:1, 30:22-33)


[27] As the fragrances pertaining to odor correspond to spiritual pleasantnesses, or to the pleasantnesses arising from spiritual good, so also what is received by the Lord as most grateful is called an:

Odor of rest (Exodus 29:18, 25, 41; Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12; 3:5, Leviticus 4:31; 6:15, 21; 8:28; 23:8, 13, 18; Numbers 15:3; 28:6, 8, 13; 29:2, 6, 8, 13, 36).

In Ezekiel:

By the odor of rest I will be pleased with you (Ezekiel 20:41).

In Moses:

If ye will not walk in My precepts, but will go contrary to Me, I will not smell the odor of your rest (Leviticus 26:27, 31).

And in Hosea:

His branches shall spread, and he shall be as the honor of the olive, and his odor as that of Lebanon (Hosea 14:6).

This is said of Israel; "the honor of the olive" signifies celestial good, and "the odor of Lebanon" spiritual good, from its gratefulness. (That "honor" is predicated of celestial good, see above, n. 288; that the "olive" also signifies that good, see Arcana Coelestia, n (Arcana Coelestia 9277). 9277, 10261; that "odor" signifies what is perceived as grateful according to the quality of love and faith, n. 1514-1519, , 35774624-4634, 4748, 5621, 10292; that the "odor of rest" signifies the perceptive of peace, n. 925, 10054; what this is see in the work on Heaven and Hell 284-290.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3577, 4624-4634, Arcana Coelestia 4748, 5621, Arcana Coelestia 10261, Arcana Coelestia 10292; Ezekiel 16:17-18; Jeremiah 11:12-13; Leviticus 3:16, 6:8, 6:14; Numbers 16:1-35, Numbers 16:41-48; Revelation 5:8; The Apocalypse Explained 288)

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