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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 #10044

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10044. 'On the ram's head' means, to the whole of it. This is clear from the meaning of 'the head' as the whole person, thus the whole [of the good of innocence in the internal man], dealt with in 10011. The reason why 'the head' means the whole is that it is highest and holds the inmost part of a person within it; and what is highest is the fountainhead of everything below it, just as what is inmost is the hub of everything outside it. For what lies outside or below is dependent on that which is inmost or highest. What is inmost in the human being is his will and understanding; these have their beginnings in the head. What flows from these inner powers is activity, that is, effects which they generate in the body. When therefore will and understanding are mentioned the whole person should be understood, for it is by virtue of these that a person is a person. The actions performed by the body also owe their entire nature to the will; and this is why a person is not regarded from the point of view of bodily actions or deeds but from that of the will within them. This being so, soul is used in the Word to mean the whole person, and a person is called a soul, as in Leviticus 4:27; 5:1, 4, 17; 6:2; 17:10, 15, and elsewhere.

[2] There are two things that mean the whole, namely the highest and the lowest. The reason why the lowest or last also has this meaning is that all interior things, beginning with the first or highest, terminate in those that are lowest and exist together there, see 9828, 9836. So it is that the highest by means of the lowest holds all the interior or intermediate things in connection and form, in order that they may all have the same end in view, 9828. The fact that the lowest also means the whole is clear from very many places in the Word, such as those which speak of the whole person as 'flesh', for example, Genesis 6:12; Numbers 16:22; 27:16; Isaiah 40:5; Zechariah 2:13, and elsewhere.

[3] Since the last things also mean all or the whole, the hair on the head, hair on the body, and the beard, which are last or outermost things growing out of a person's body, are used to mean those things, as also are the feet, or rather the toes on them, and the fingers on the hands. The fact that the hair on the head, hair on the body, and the beard have this meaning is clear in Isaiah,

On that day the Lord will shave with a razor - by means of the king of Asshur - the head, the hair of the feet, and also the beard. Isaiah 7:20.

'The king of Asshur' means reasoning, the kind that is used by people to destroy Divine things, 1186. 'Shaving the head, the hair of the feet, and the beard' means taking lowest things away, for when these have been taken away those within fall apart and perish. This also was why a priest was forbidden to shave his head, Leviticus 21:10, as was a Nazirite, whose hair according to Numbers 6:7 was called the Naziriteship of God, 6437, 9407, and is what 'the crown of the head of the Nazirite among [his] brothers', Genesis 49:25-26; Deuteronomy 33:16, should be taken to mean. Therefore also it says in Matthew 10:30 that the hairs of one's head are all numbered, meaning that every single thing in a person is so 'numbered', and in Luke 21:18 that not a hair on one's head will perish.

(References: Numbers 6, 6:1)


[4] The fact that the feet, the toes on them, and the fingers on the hands mean all things and so the whole is clear in John,

Peter said, Lord, You shall not wash my feet only, but also my hands and head. Jesus said to him, He who has been washed has no need except to wash his feet, and the whole person is clean. John 13:9-10.

'Feet' are the natural, which is last, 2162, 3147, 4938-4952, 9406. And in the following words of the present chapter,

You shall put some of the ram's blood on the tip of Aaron's ear, and on the thumb of the right hand, and on the big toe of the right foot. Verse 20.

That is, it was to be put on every single thing, meant by 'ear', 'hand', and 'foot'.

[5] Since highest and lowest, or what amounts to the same thing, first and last, equally mean every single thing, or the whole with all its parts, the Lord's Omnipotence and Omniscience is described by the words stating that He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13; Isaiah 41:4.

(References: Revelation 1:11)


[6] The situation in which all things are held in connection and stand together, from that which is first or highest through to those that are last or lowest, is described in the following words in Isaiah,

I am the First and I am the Last, indeed My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand measured out heaven. I am summoning them; they stand together. Isaiah 48:12-13.

Jehovah's or the Lord's 'hand' and 'right hand' mean His almighty power, 'the earth' which He laid the foundation of is that which is last, 'heaven' which He stretched out is that which is between the first and the last, 'summoning them, that they may stand together' is holding all the interior things in connection and in form by means of what is last, that they may have a single end in view. This single end to be held in view is He who is the First and the Last. That this is the Lord is clear in Isaiah,

Thus said Jehovah, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, I am the First and I am the Last. Isaiah 44:6.

'The King of Israel' is the Lord, John 18:37, and so, as is self-evident, is 'his Redeemer'. And in the Book of Revelation,

These things says the First and the Last, who was dead and came to life. Revelation 2:8.

[7] The truth that what is first holds all things in connection by means of what is last may be recognized from the Word and from humanness. In the case of the Word its last and lowest things are its literal sense; that which is first and highest is the Lord; and the interior things within it are its internal sense, which the heavens perceive and which causes those who are there to have the same end in view, namely the Lord. Regarding this arcanum, see 9360, 9824.

[8] As to humanness, this as it exists in the things that are last is the Church on earth; as it exists in that which is first it is the Lord; and as it exists in the interior things it is heaven. For in the Lord's sight the Church and heaven are like one human being; therefore heaven is called the Grand Man, which has been the subject at the ends of a number of chapters, see the places referred to in 10030 (end). There is an unbroken connection, and an influx in keeping with that connection, of all things from the Lord through the heavens to the Church on earth. By the heavens the angels who are there should be understood; by the Church people who are true members of the Church; and by humanness as it exists in that which is first the Lord in respect of His Divine Human. The truth that what is first by means of what is last holds all things in connection and makes them stand as one is meant by the Lord's words in Isaiah quoted above,

I am the First and I am the Last, indeed My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand measured out heaven. I summoning them, they stand together. Isaiah 48:12-13.

The fact that 'the earth' is used in the Word to mean the Church has also been shown on many occasions, see the places referred to in 9325.

[9] An idea of this matter may be had from what is last or outermost with a person and what is inmost. His outermost is the skin, his inmost the heart, while the things in between or his interiors are the organs of the body. From the heart all the way to the skin by way of the organs there is an unbroken connection through blood vessels; for these emanate from the heart and end in the skin. The skin is self-evidently the last or outermost part holding the interior things in connection, for when the skin has been taken away the interiors fall apart.

[10] From all this it may be seen why it is that just as what is highest or inmost means every single thing, so too does what is lowest or last. Also evident from it all is the arcanum of why the Lord also glorified His Human right down to its last and lowest levels, called the bones and flesh, which explains why the Lord told His disciples, who thought that they were seeing a spirit,

See My hands and My feet, that it is I; handle Me and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see Me having. Luke 24:37, 39.

It is well recognized that Divinity itself was the First in Him, for He was conceived from Jehovah, and what is conceived from the father is pre-eminently first in a person. The truth that the Lord also glorified the last and lowest levels of His Human in which they co-exist is evident from His words recorded in those verses, and also from the fact that He left nothing of His Human in the tomb. It is true of spiritual things as well that interior things terminate and come to rest in last and lowest ones in which they co-exist, and that the last hold the interior ones in connection, see 9216, 9828. Therefore the lowest things have might and power within them, 9836, and for the same reason have holiness within them, 9824; and revelations are made and answers are given in them, 9905.

(References: Exodus 29:15)

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Arcana Coelestia 10061, 10062, 10107, 10241, 10276, 10329, 10335

The White Horse 13

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 47, 262, 279


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 41, 196, 328, 365, 408, 417, 464, 822


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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