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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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

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


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

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

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

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

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 John the Baptist
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Arcana Coelestia #1672

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

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

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

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #746

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746. For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, signifies when those have been separated from heaven and condemned to hell who have assaulted the life of faith, which is charity. This is evident from the signification of "cast down," as being, in reference to the dragon, that those who are meant by "the dragon" have been separated from heaven and condemned to hell (of which above, n. 739, 742); also from the signification of "the accuser of our brethren," as being those who have assaulted the life of faith, which is charity, for an "accuser" signifies one who attacks, denounces, and reproaches, for he that accuses also attacks, denounces, and reproaches. Moreover, the same term in the original tongue means an adversary and one who reproaches; and what is wonderful, those who are "dragons," although they make no account of the life, yet in the spiritual world they accuse the faithful if they observe any evil of ignorance, for they inquire into their life for the purpose of arraigning and condemning, and thence they are called accusers.

(References: Revelation 12:10; The Apocalypse Explained 739, 742)


[2] But "the brethren" whom they accuse mean all who are in the heavens as well as all on the earth who are in the good of charity; such are called "brethren" because they all have one Father, namely, the Lord, and those who are in the good of love to the Lord and in the good of charity towards the neighbor are His sons, and are called "sons of God," "sons of the kingdom," and "heirs." It follows, therefore, that as they are the sons of one Father they are brethren. Moreover, it is the primary commandment of the Lord, the Father, that they should mutually love one another, consequently it is love from which they are brethren; and love also is spiritual conjunction. From this it came that with the ancient people in the churches in which charity was the essential, all were called brethren, so likewise in our Christian Church at its beginning. This is why "brother" in the spiritual sense signifies charity. That formerly all who were of one church called themselves brethren and that the Lord calls those brethren who are in love to Him and in charity towards the neighbor, can be seen from many passages in the Word. But in order that what is signified by "brother" may be distinctly perceived it shall be illustrated from the Word.

[3] 1. That all who were of the Israelitish Church called themselves "brethren" can be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:

Then shall they bring all your brethren out of all nations an offering unto Jehovah (Isaiah 66:20).

In Jeremiah:

No one shall cause a Jew to serve his brother (Jeremiah 34:9).

In Ezekiel:

Son of man, thy brethren, thy brethren, the sons 1 of thy kindred, and the whole house of Israel (Ezekiel 11:15).

In Micah:

Until the remnant of his brethren return unto the sons of Israel (Micah 5:3).

In Moses:

Moses went out unto his brethren that he might see their burdens (Exodus 2:11).

Moses said unto Jethro his father-in-law, Let me return to my brethren that are in Egypt (Exodus 4:18).

When thy brother shall be waxen poor (Leviticus 25:25, 35, 47).

But in reference to your brethren, the sons of Israel, a man shall not rule over his brother with rigor (Leviticus 25:46).

Would that we had died when our brethren died before Jehovah (Numbers 20:3).

Behold a man of the sons of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman (Numbers 25:6).

Thou shalt open thine hand to thy brother; when thy brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, shall be sold to thee he shall serve thee six years (Deuteronomy 15:11, 12).

If anyone shall steal a soul of his brethren, and he shall make gain of him (Deuteronomy 24:7).

Forty times thou shalt strike 2 him, and he shall not add, lest thy brother be accounted vile in thine eyes (Deuteronomy 25:3; and elsewhere).

From this it can be seen that all the sons of Israel were called brethren among themselves; the primary reason of their being so called was that they were all descendants of Jacob, who was their common father; but the remote reason was that "brother" signifies the good of charity, and as this good is the essential of the church, all are also spiritually conjoined by it. Another reason is that "Israel" in the highest sense signifies the Lord, and thence "the sons of Israel" signify the church.

(References: Deuteronomy 15:11-12; Leviticus 25:47-50)


[4] 2. They also called themselves "man and brother," likewise "companion and brother," as in the following passages. In Isaiah:

The land has been darkened, and the people have become as food of the fire; they shall not spare a man his brother; they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm, Manasseh Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh (Isaiah 9:19-21).

"Man and brother" signify truth and good, and in the contrary sense falsity and evil, therefore it is said "Manasseh shall eat Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh," for "Manasseh" signifies voluntary good, and "Ephraim" intellectual truth, both of the external church, and in the contrary sense evil and falsity. (But this may be seen explained above, n. 386, 440, 600, 617.)

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 386, 440, 600, 617)


[5] In the same:

I will commingle Egypt with Egypt, that they may fight a man against his brother and a man against his companion, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom (Isaiah 19:2).

"Egypt" here signifies the natural man separated from the spiritual; and because this is in no light of truth it is continually contending about good and evil and truth and falsity, and this contention is signified by "I will commingle Egypt with Egypt, that they may fight a man against his brother and a man against his companion," "brother and companion" signifying good from which is truth and truth from good, and in the contrary sense evil from which is falsity and falsity from evil; therefore it is added, "city against city, and kingdom against kingdom;" "city" signifying doctrine, and "kingdom" the church from doctrine, which will contend in like manner.

[6] In the same:

They help a man his companion, and he saith to his brother, Be strong (Isaiah 41:6).

"Companion and brother" have here a similar signification as above. In Jeremiah:

Take ye heed a man of his companion, and trust ye not in any brother; for every brother supplanteth, and every companion doth slander (Jeremiah 9:4).

In the same:

I will scatter them, a man with his brother (Jeremiah 13:14).

In the same:

Thus shall ye say a man to his companion and a man to his brother, What hath Jehovah answered? (Jeremiah 23:35)

In the same:

Ye have not hearkened unto Me, to proclaim liberty a man to his brother and a man to his companion (Jeremiah 34:9, 17).

In Ezekiel:

A man's sword shall be against his brother (Ezekiel 38:21).

In Joel:

They shall not thrust forward a man his brother (Joel 2:8).

In Micah:

They all lie in wait for bloods, they hunt a man his brother with a net (Mic. Micah 7:2).

In Zechariah:

Do mercy and compassion a man with his brother (Zechariah 7:9).

In Malachi:

Wherefore do we deal treacherously a man against his brother? (Malachi 2:10)

In Moses:

There was thick darkness of darkness over all the land of Egypt; a man saw 3 not his brother (Exodus 10:22, 23).

In the same:

At the end of seven years every creditor shall remit his hand when he hath loaned anything to his companion, and he shall not exact from his companion or his brother (Deuteronomy 15:1, 2);

and elsewhere. In the nearest sense a "man" means everyone, and "brother" one of the same tribe because in blood-relationship, "and companion" one of another tribe because allied only by affinity; but in the spiritual sense "man" signifies anyone who is in truths, then also anyone who is in falsities; "brother" signifies anyone who is in the good of charity, and in an abstract sense that good itself, and "companion" anyone who is in truth from that good, and in an abstract sense that truth itself; and in the contrary sense these signify the evil opposite to the good of charity and the falsity opposite to the truth from that good. Both terms, "brother" and "companion," are used because 4 there are two things, namely, charity and faith, that constitute the church, as there are two things that make up the life of man, will and understanding; so there are two parts that act as one, as the two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two hands, two feet, two lobes of the lungs, two chambers of the heart, two hemispheres of the brain, and so on, of which the one has reference to good from which is truth, and the other to truth from good. This is why it is said "brother and companion," and why "brother" signifies good, and "companion" its truth.

(References: Deuteronomy 15:1-2; Exodus 10:22-23)


[7] 3. The Lord calls those of His church "brethren" who are in the good of charity, as can be seen from the following passages. In the Gospels:

Jesus stretching out His hand over His disciples said, Behold My mother and My brethren; whosoever shall do the will of My Father, he is My brother and sister and mother (Matthew 12:49, 50; Mark 3:33-35).

The "disciples" over whom the Lord stretched out his hand signify all who are of His church; "His brethren" signify those who are in the good of charity from Him, "sisters" those who are in truths from that good, and "mother" the church constituted of these.

(References: Matthew 12:49-50)


[8] In Matthew:

Jesus said to Mary Magdalene and to the other Mary, Fear not; go tell My brethren to go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me (Matthew 28:10).

Here, too, "brethren" mean the disciples by whom are signified all those of the church who are in the good of charity. In John:

Jesus said to Mary, Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father (John 20:17).

The disciples are here again called "brethren" because "disciples," the same as "brethren," signify all those of His church who are in the good of charity.

[9] In Matthew:

The King answering said unto them, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren ye did it unto Me (Matthew 25:40).

It is evident from what there precedes that those whom the Lord here calls "brethren" are such as have done the good works of charity; but let it be known that although the Lord is their Father He still calls them "brethren;" He is their Father from the Divine love, but brother from the Divine that proceeds from Him. This is because all in the heavens are recipients of the Divine that proceeds from Him; and the Divine that proceeds from the Lord, of which they are recipients, is the Lord in heaven and also in the church; and this is not of angel or man, but is of the Lord with them; consequently the good of charity itself with them, which is the Lord's, He calls brother, in like manner also angels and men, because they are the recipient subjects of that good. In a word, the Divine proceeding, which is the Divine of the Lord in the heavens, is the Divine born of the Lord in heaven; from that Divine, therefore, angels who are recipients of it are called "sons of God," and as these are brethren because of that Divine received in themselves, it is the Lord in them who says "brother," for when angels speak from the good of charity they speak not from themselves but from the Lord. This, then, is why the Lord says, "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren ye did it unto Me." So in the spiritual sense the brethren of the Lord are the goods of charity that are enumerated in the verses preceding, and these are called by the Lord "brethren" for the reason just given. Moreover, "the King," who so calls them, signifies the Divine proceeding, which in one word is called Divine truth or the Divine spiritual, which in its essence is the good of charity.

[10] It is therefore to be kept in mind that the Lord did not call them "brethren" because He was a man like them, according to an opinion that is received in the Christian world; and for this reason it is not allowable for any man to call the Lord "brother," for He is God even in respect to the Human, and God is not a brother, but the Father. In the churches on the earth the Lord is called brother, because the idea of His Human which they have formed is the same as their idea of any other man's human, when yet the Lord's Human is Divine.

[11] As "kings" formerly represented the Lord in relation to Divine truth, and as Divine truth received by angels in the Lord's spiritual kingdom is the same as Divine spiritual good, and as spiritual good is the good of charity, therefore the kings appointed over the sons of Israel called their subjects "brethren," although on the other hand the subjects were not permitted to call their king "brother," still less should the Lord be so called, who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. So in David:

I will declare Thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee (Psalms 22:22).

In the same:

I am become a stranger to my brethren, and an alien to my mother's sons (Psalms 69:8).

In the same:

For the sake of my brethren and companions I will speak, Peace be in thee (Psalms 122:8).

This was said by David as if respecting himself, and yet in the representative spiritual sense David here means the Lord. In Moses:

Out of the midst of thy brethren shalt thou set a king over them; 5 thou mayest not put a man that is an alien over them, who is not thy brother; but let him not exalt his heart above his brethren (Deuteronomy 17:15, 20).

The "brethren" from whom a king might be set over them signify all who are of the church, for it is said, "Thou mayest not put over them a man that is an alien;" "a man that is an alien" and a "stranger" signifying one who is not of the church.

[12] In the same:

Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18).

This is a prophecy respecting the Lord, who is meant by "the prophet" that Jehovah God will raise up of the brethren. They are called "thy brethren," that is, of Moses, because "Moses" means in a representative sense the Lord in relation to the Word, and a "prophet" means one who teaches the Word; thus also the Word and doctrine from the Word are meant, and this is why it is said, "like unto me." (That "Moses" represented the Lord in relation to the law, thus in relation to the Word, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia 4859 at the end, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 9372, 10234.)

[13] 4. That all those are called "brethren" by the Lord who acknowledge Him and are in the good of charity from Him, follows from this, that the Lord is the Father of all and the Teacher of all, and from Him as Father is every good of charity, and from Him as Teacher is every truth of that good. Therefore the Lord says in Matthew:

Be ye not called teacher, for one is your Teacher, Christ; but all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon earth, for one is your Father who is in the heavens (Matthew 23:8, 9).

From this it is clearly evident that the words of the Lord must be understood spiritually; for who that is a teacher may not be called teacher? Or who that is a father may not be called father? But as "father" signifies good, and "the Father in the heavens" Divine good, and as "teacher" or "rabbi" signifies truth, and "the Teacher, Christ," Divine truth, so on account of the spiritual sense in all things of the Word it is said, "Call no man your father upon earth, nor anyone teacher," that is, in the spiritual sense, not in the natural sense. In the natural sense men may be called teachers and fathers, but representatively; that is to say, teachers in the world teach truths indeed, but from the Lord, not from themselves, and fathers in the world are good, and lead their children to good, but from the Lord, not from themselves. From this it follows that although they are called teachers and fathers still they are not teachers and fathers, but the Lord alone is Teacher and Father. "To call" and "to call by a name" signifies in the Word to recognize the quality of anyone. Because all in heaven and in the church are disciples and sons of the Lord, who is their Teacher and their Father, the Lord says, "all ye are brethren;" for the Lord calls all in heaven and in the church "sons and heirs" from their consociation by love from Him, and thus by mutual love, which is charity; therefore it is from the Lord that they are brethren. In this way the common saying that all are brethren in the Lord is to be understood.

(References: Matthew 23:8-9)


[14] From this also it is clear whom the Lord means by "brethren," namely, all who acknowledge Him and are in the good of charity from Him, consequently who are of His church. Such are meant by the Lord by "brethren" in the following passages. In Luke:

Jesus said to Peter, When thou shalt be converted strengthen thy brethren (Luke 22:32).

The term "brethren" here does not mean the Jews, but it means all who acknowledge the Lord and are in good from charity and faith, thus all who were to receive the gospel through Peter, both Jews and Gentiles, for "Peter" in the Word of the Gospels means truth from good, thus also faith from charity; but here "Peter" means faith separated from charity, for just before it is said of him:

Simon, behold Satan demanded you that he might sift you as wheat. But I prayed for you that your faith fail not (Luke 22:31-32);

and afterwards it is said to him:

I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day until thou hast thrice denied that thou knowest Me (Luke 22:34).

Such is faith without charity. But "Peter converted" signifies truth from good, which is from the Lord, or faith from charity, which is from the Lord; therefore it is said, "When thou shalt have been converted strengthen thy brethren. "

(References: Luke 22:31)


[15] In Matthew:

Peter said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me and I should forgive him? (Matthew 18:2)

In the same:

So also shall My heavenly Father do to you if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses (Matthew 18:35).

In the same:

If thy brother hath sinned against thee go and reprove him between thee and him alone; if he hear thee thou hast gained thy brother (Matthew 18:15).

Here "brother" means the neighbor in general, thus every man; but in particular it means one who is in the good of charity and thence in faith from the Lord, whoever he may be; for these passages treat of the good of charity, since to forgive one who sins against you is of charity; also it is said, "if he hear, thou hast gained thy brother," which signifies, if he acknowledges his trespasses and is converted.

(References: Matthew 18:21)


[16] In the same:

Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say unto thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye, when yet there is a beam in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye (Matthew 7:3-5).

Here too, because this treats of charity the term "brother" is used, for "to cast out the mote out of a brother's eye" signifies to instruct respecting falsity and evil, and to reform. It is said by the Lord, "a mote out of the brother's eye," and "a beam out of one's own eye," because of the spiritual sense in every particular of what the Lord said; for without that sense, of what consequence would it be to see a mote in the eye of another and not consider a beam in one's own eye, or to cast a beam out of one's own eye before he casts a mote out of another's eye? A "mote" signifies a slight falsity of evil, and a "beam" a great falsity of evil, and the "eye" signifies the understanding and also faith. "Mote" and "beam" signify the falsity of evil, because "wood" signifies good; and thus a "beam" signifies the truth of good, and in the contrary sense the falsity of evil, and the "eye" signifies the understanding and faith. This shows what is signified by "seeing the mote and the beam," and by "casting them out of the eye." (That "wood" signifies good, and in the contrary sense evil, may be seen in (Arcana Coelestia 643 Arcana Coelestia 643, 3720, 4943, 8354, 8740; and that the "eye" signifies the understanding, and also faith, n. 2701, 4403-4421, 4523-4534, 9051, 10569; also above, n. 37, 152) Moreover, in some passages "beam" is mentioned, and it signifies the falsity of evil (as in Genesis 19:8; 2 Kings 6:2, 5, 6; Habakkuk 2:11; Song of Solomon 1:17).

(References: 2 Kings 6:5-6; Romans 1:17; The Apocalypse Explained 37, 152)


[17] In the same:

Whosoever doeth and teacheth, he shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens. I say unto you, Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens. Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill, but whosoever shall kill shall be liable to the judgment. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be liable to the judgment; but whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be liable to the council; but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be liable to the hell of fire. If thou offer thy gift upon the altar, and shalt there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there 6 the gift before the altar, and go, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming offer thy gift (Matthew 5:19-24).

This whole chapter treats of the interior life of man, which is the life of his soul, consequently of his will and thought therefrom; thus it treats of the life of charity, which is the spiritual moral life. This life the sons of Jacob knew nothing about before, because from their fathers down they were external men. For this reason also they were kept in the observance of external worship, according to statutes that were external, representing the internal things of worship and of the church. But in this chapter the Lord teaches that the interior things of the church must not only be represented by external acts, but must also be loved and done from the soul and heart; therefore "whosoever doeth and teacheth, he shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens," signifies that he will be saved who from interior life does and teaches the external things of the church. "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens," signifies that unless the life is internal, and from that is external, heaven is not in man and man is not received into heaven; "righteousness" signifies the good of life from the good of charity, and "to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees" signifies that the life must be internal, and not external without internal. The scribes and Pharisees were only in representative externals, and not in internals. External life from the internal is taught in the commandment of the Decalogue, "Thou shalt not kill;" but they did not know that wishing to kill a man is killing him; therefore it is first said, "Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be liable to the judgment;" for the doctrine had prevailed with the Jews from ancient time, that it was admissible to kill those who injured them, especially the Gentiles, and that they were to be punished for this lightly or grievously according to the circumstances of the hostility, consequently in reference to the body only and not as to the soul; this is meant by "he shall be liable to the judgment."

(References: Matthew 5:1)


[18] That one who thinks ill of his neighbor without adequate cause, and turns himself away from the good of charity, will be punished lightly as to his soul, is signified by "Whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be liable to the judgment;" "to be angry," signifies to think ill, for it is distinguished from "saying Raca," and "saying, Thou fool." "Brother" means the neighbor, and also the good of charity, and "to be liable to the judgment" means to be examined and to be punished according to circumstances. That one who from wrong thought slanders the neighbor, and thus despises the good of charity as of little value, will be punished grievously, is signified by "whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be liable to the council," for "to say Raca" signifies to slander the neighbor from evil thought, thus to hold the good of charity to be of little value, for "to say Raca" means to hold as useless and as of little value, and "brother" means the good of charity. That one who hates the neighbor, that is, one who is altogether averse to the good of charity, is condemned to hell, is signified by "whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be liable to the hell of fire," to say "Thou fool" meaning to be altogether averse to, "brother" meaning the good of charity, and "the hell of fire" the hell where those are who hate that good and thence the neighbor. These three describe three degrees of hatred: the first is from evil thought, which is "to be angry," the second is from consequent evil intention, which is "to say Raca," and the third is from an evil will, which is "to say Thou fool." All these are degrees of hatred against the good of charity, for hatred is the opposite of the good of charity. The three degrees of punishment are signified by "the judgment," "the council," and "the hell of fire;" the punishments for lighter evils are signified by "the judgment," the punishments for the more grievous evils, by "the council," and the punishments for the most grievous evils, by "the hell of fire."

[19] As the universal heaven is in the good of charity towards the neighbor, and the universal hell is in anger, enmity, and hatred against the neighbor, and hence these are the opposites of that good; and as worship of the Lord because it is internal is worship from heaven, but it is no worship if anything of it is from hell, and yet external worship without internal is from hell, therefore it is said, "If thou offer thy gift upon the altar, and shalt there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, go, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming offer thy gift upon the altar;" "the gift upon the altar" signifying the worship of the Lord from love and charity, "brother" meaning the neighbor, and in an abstract sense the good of charity; "having aught against thee" signifying anger, enmity, or hatred, and "to be reconciled" the dispersion of these and the consequent conjunction by love.

[20] From this it can be seen that the Lord means by "brother" the like as by "neighbor," and "neighbor" signifies in the spiritual sense good in the whole complex, and good in the whole complex is the good of charity. "Brother" has a similar meaning in the spiritual sense in many passages in the Old Testament. As in Moses:

Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart (Leviticus 19:17).

In David:

Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity (Psalms 133:1).

In this sense, also:

Lot called the inhabitants of Sodom brethren (Genesis 19:7).

And this is meant by:

The covenant of brethren between the sons of Israel and Edom (Amos 1:9).

And by the brotherhood between Judah and Israel (Zechariah 11:14).

For by "the sons of Israel and Edom," as also by "Judah and Israel," these are not meant in the spiritual sense, but the goods and truths of heaven and the church, all of which are conjoined with each other.

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Footnotes:

1.  The Hebrew has "men. "

2.  The Hebrew has "he shall strike," as found in 633; Arcana Coelestia 9437.

3.  The Latin has "hated," but the Hebrew has "saw," as found in Arcana Coelestia 7716.

4.  The Latin has "which."

5.  The Hebrew has "thee."

6. The Latin has "for thee;" as found in Arcana Coelestia 2360, 9293.

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(References: Leviticus 25:46-47; Matthew 18:21; Revelation 12:10)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 743, 747, 757, 1012

Other New Christian Commentary

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


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