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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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Arcana Coelestia #10033

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10033. Since the present chapter deals with the sacrifice and the burnt offering through which Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the priestly office a little more will be stated regarding the blood and the fat. All the blood of a sacrifice or of a burnt offering had to be poured out at the altar and all the fat had to be burned on the altar, as the statutes and laws in Leviticus relating to burnt offerings and sacrifices make clear. The reason why this was done to the blood and fat was that the blood meant Divine Truth and the fat Divine Good. The fact that the blood meant Divine Truth is clear from what has been shown regarding 'blood' in 4735, 6378, 6978, 7317, 7326, 7850, 9127, 9393, and that the fat meant Divine Good is clear from what has been shown in 5943.

[2] That 'blood' means Divine Truth is perfectly clear in Ezekiel,

Gather yourselves from all around to My sacrifice which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, so that you may eat flesh and drink blood. You will eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth. You will eat fat till you are glutted, and drink blood till you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I will sacrifice for you. You will be glutted at My table with horse, chariot, the mighty, and every man of war. Thus will I set My glory among the nations. Ezekiel 39:17-22.

Anyone can see that 'blood' is not used to mean blood here, for it states that they were going to drink the blood of the princes of the earth, doing so till they were drunk, and also that they were going to eat fat till they were glutted, and then that they would be glutted with horse and chariot. From these statements it is evident that 'blood' is used to mean something other than blood, 'the princes of the earth' to mean something other than princes of the earth, and also 'fat' as well as 'horse and chariot' something other than fat, or horse and chariot. What is meant however none can know except through the internal sense. This shows that 'blood' means Divine Truth, 'the princes of the earth' the Church's primary or leading truths, 'fat' Divine Good, 'horse' the internal sense of the Word, and 'chariot' actual doctrinal teachings derived from there.

'Blood' means Divine Truth; this is clear from the places referred to above.

'The princes of the earth' means primary truths, 5044.

'The earth' means the Church, 9325.

'Horse' means the internal sense of the Word, 2760-2762.

'Chariot' means doctrinal teachings, 5321, 8215.

[3] From all this it is now evident what the meaning is of the Lord's words in John,

Jesus said, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you will have no life in yourselves. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. John 6:53-56.

'Flesh' means Divine Good, see 3813, 7850, 9127; and 'the Son of Man' whose flesh they were to eat and blood they were to drink means the Lord in respect of Divine Truth emanating from Divine Good, 9807.

[4] But the fact that 'fat' means Divine Good is clear in Isaiah,

Jehovah will make for all peoples on this mountain a feast of fat things. Isaiah 25:6.

In the same prophet,

Attend [diligently] to Me and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Isaiah 55:2.

And in Jeremiah,

I will fill the soul of the priests with fat, and My people will be satisfied with My goodness. Jeremiah 31:14.

From these quotations it becomes clear why all the fat of a sacrifice was burned on the altar and why all the blood was poured out at the side of it.

[5] Because blood and fat were signs of those Divine Entities the Israelite people were totally forbidden to eat fat or blood, as is clear in Moses,

[This shall be] a perpetual statute throughout your generations: You shall eat no fat and no blood. Leviticus 3:17.

In the same author,

You shall eat no fat, neither of ox, nor sheep, nor she-goat. Everyone who eats fat from a beast, from one that is offered as a fire-offering to Jehovah, that soul eating it will be cut off from his peoples. Leviticus 7:23, 25.

And again in the same author,

Whoever eats any blood, I will set My face against the soul eating blood and will cut him off from among his people. Leviticus 17:10-14; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23-25.

[6] The reason why eating blood and fat was so strictly forbidden was that eating them represented the profanation of Divine Truth and Divine Good. For the Israelite and Jewish nation was interested in outward forms but not their inner substance, so that in their faith and love there was no Divine Truth nor any Divine Good; and their worship was external devoid of these. This was because they were ruled by self-love and love of the world more than other nations; consequently they were steeped in evils gushing out of those loves, these evils being contempt for others, enmity, hatred, vengeance, brutality, and cruelty. This also was the reason why internal truths were not revealed to them, for if these had been revealed that nation would have inevitably profaned them. Such was the character of that nation, as may be seen in the places referred to in 9320(end), 9380. Therefore they would have represented profanation if they had eaten blood and fat; for whatever was established among them was representative of the interior things of the Church and heaven.

[7] From these considerations it is even more evident what the meaning is of the words in Ezekiel 39:17-22, dealt with above, stating that they would eat fat till they were glutted and drink blood, the blood of the princes of the earth, till they were drunk. That is to say, the meaning is that when inner virtues were opened up, those with whom these virtues existed, that is, faith in and love to the Lord, would have Divine Truth and Divine Good imparted to them as their own, as happened among gentile nations when the Lord came into the world. Therefore also those words go on to say, Thus will I set My glory among the nations, 'glory' meaning Divine Truth emanating from the Lord as it exists in heaven, 9429, and 'the nations' meaning all who are governed by good, 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849, 4574, 6005, 8771, 9256.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1259-1260)


[8] This the Lord Himself corroborates, in His declaration that His flesh was truly food and His blood was truly drink, and whoever ate His flesh and drank His blood would abide in Him, and He in that person, John 6:55-56, and also in His institution of the Holy Supper, in which they were to eat His flesh and to drink His blood, Matthew 26:26-29, by which receiving Divine Good and Divine Truth from Him and making them their own was meant. Receiving Divine Good and Divine Truth from the Lord and making them their own is possible only with those who acknowledge the Lord's Divinity, for this is the first and most essential of all matters of belief within the Church. To no others can the way to heaven be opened, because the whole of heaven assents to that belief, and therefore Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Good, meant here by 'blood', cannot be imparted to them. Therefore let anyone who is within the Church beware of refusing to believe in the Lord and also His Divinity; for heaven is closed and hell opened to that refusal. For those people are separated from the Lord, and so are separated from heaven, where the Lord's Divinity is the All in all since it composes heaven. And when heaven has been closed, knowledge of the truths of faith derived from the Word and from the teachings of the Church indeed exists, but not a particle of faith that is real faith because real faith comes from above, that is, from the Lord by way of heaven.

(References: Matthew 26:26-28, 26:27-28)


[9] The Lord spoke in this manner, that is to say, He called the Divine Good emanating from Himself His flesh, and the Divine Truth emanating from His Divine Good His blood, because the Word, which sprang from Him, was His Divinity filling the whole of heaven. Such a Word must manifest itself through the use of correspondences, as a result of which it is representative and carries a spiritual meaning in every single part; for in this and no other way could it link members of the Church to angels in heaven. For when people in the world understand the Word according to its literal meaning angels understand it according to its inner meaning. Thus instead of the Lord's flesh they understand Divine Good, and instead of His blood they understand Divine Truth, both emanating from the Lord. As a consequence that which is holy flows in by way of the Word.

(References: Exodus 29:13; Matthew 26:26-28)

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Arcana Coelestia 10040, 10046, 10047, 10060, 10064, 10070, 10072, 10152, 10208, 10210, 10283

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 217


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 167, 252, 329, 365


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