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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

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1

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 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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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 #10227

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10227. 'The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel when they give [the offering] of Jehovah' means that all equally, however much ability they possess, should attribute to the Lord all forms of truth springing from good. This is clear from the meaning of 'the rich' as one who is affluent in truths and forms of good, and in cognitions or knowledge of them, dealt with below; from the meaning of 'the poor' as one who is not affluent in them, also dealt with below; from the meaning of 'not giving more and not giving less' as all equally; from the meaning of 'half a shekel' as all forms of truth springing from good, dealt with in 10221; and from the meaning of 'giving to Jehovah' as attributing to the Lord, for 'Jehovah' in the Word means the Lord, see the places referred to in 9373. From these meanings it is evident that 'the rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel when they give [the offering] of Jehovah' means that all equally, however much ability they possess, should attribute to the Lord all forms of truth springing from good.

(References: Ezekiel 27)


[2] The implications of all this are that everyone possesses the ability to understand and be wise; but the reason why one person may be wiser than another is that they are not alike in attributing to the Lord all that constitutes understanding and wisdom, that is, all forms of truth and good. Those who attribute them all to the Lord are wiser than any others, because all forms of truth and good constituting wisdom flow in from heaven, that is, from the Lord there. The attribution of them all to the Lord opens the inner levels of a person's mind towards heaven. For that attribution involves the acknowledgement that no truth or good at all come from self; and in the measure that this is acknowledged self-love departs, and along with it the thick darkness resulting from falsities and evils. In the same measure also the person attains innocence, love to the Lord, and faith in Him. As a result of this the person is linked to the Divine, who then flows in, bringing enlightenment. All this shows why it is that one person may have more wisdom, another less, and also why 'the rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less', meaning that all equally possess the ability to be wise. The ability to be wise, it is true, does not exist with all in equal measure; nevertheless all equally possess the ability, for each is able to be wise.

[3] The ability to be wise should not be taken to mean an ability to use knowledge to engage in reasoning about truths and forms of good, and so an ability to prove anything you like. Rather, it is an ability to observe what is true and good, to choose what is appropriate, and to apply this to functions performed in life. Those who attribute everything to the Lord are able to do these things, whereas those who do not attribute everything to Him but to themselves only know how to reason about truths and forms of good. Nor do they see anything apart from what they derive from others; and this they see not with the power of reason, only with the workings of the memory. Since they are incapable of looking around inside actual truths they stand out of doors, affirming whatever they receive, whether true or false. The more expertly people can use their knowledge to do this, the wiser than others the world believes them to be. But the more they attribute all things to themselves, thus the more they love the things they think as a result of their own efforts, the more insane they are; for they affirm falsities more than truths and evils more than forms of good. They receive light from no other source than the illusions and appearances which exist in the world, and therefore from their own inferior light, called natural illumination, separated from the light of heaven. And when that illumination has been separated, then so far as the truths and forms of good which belong to heaven are concerned there is thick and total darkness.

[4] The fact that riches and wealth mean matters of understanding (or intelligence) and wisdom, and therefore cognitions or knowledge of truth and good as well, which also are called spiritual wealth and riches, is clear from places in the Word where they are mentioned, as in Isaiah,

I will visit upon 1 the fruit of the pride of the king of Asshur, for the reason that he has said, By the power of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding. Therefore I will remove the boundaries of the peoples, and will plunder their treasures. My hand will find, like a nest, the wealth of the peoples. Isaiah 10:12-14.

This refers in the internal sense to those who trust in their own intelligence and believe that true wisdom comes not from heaven but from themselves. 'The king of Asshur' means reasoning, at this point as a result of self-intelligence, 1186; and 'plundering the treasures and the wealth of the peoples as a consequence' means destroying those things that constitute the truths of intelligence and wisdom.

[5] In the same prophet,

A prophecy regarding the beasts of the south. They carry their wealth on the shoulders of asses, and their treasures on the backs of camels, to Egypt. Isaiah 30:6-7.

'The beasts of the south' are those who, though they are within the Church and so dwell in the light of truth from the Word, read the Word solely for the sake of possessing knowledge and not for the sake of rendering useful services in life. For 'the south' means where the light of truth is, thus where the Word exists, 3195, 3708, 5672, 9642; 'an ass' means knowledge, as does 'a camel', and 'Egypt' too. For this meaning of 'an ass', see 5492, 5741, 7024; 'a camel', 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; and 'Egypt', the places referred to in 9391. The fact that these prophetic words must be understood in a spiritual sense becomes clear from the consideration that no one without that sense knows what is meant by 'the beasts of the south', by 'carrying their wealth on the shoulders of asses, and their treasures on the backs of camels', or by carrying them 'to Egypt'.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4516)


[6] In the same prophet,

I will give you the treasures of darkness, and the secret wealth of concealed places, that you may know that it is I, Jehovah. Isaiah 45:3.

'The treasures of darkness, and the secret wealth of concealed places' are such things as belong to heavenly intelligence and wisdom, which are hidden from the natural man.

[7] In Jeremiah,

The sin of Judah has been written with a pen of iron. O My mountain in the field, I will give for spoil your resources and all your treasures. Jeremiah 17:1, 3.

Judah is called 'a mountain in the field' because that which was representative of the celestial Church existed there, 'mountain' being the love which the celestial Church possesses, 6435, and 'the field' the Church itself, 2971, 3766, 7502, 9139, 9295. 'The resources' and 'the treasures' which would be given for spoil are all of the Church's truths and forms of good that would be reduced to nothing.

[8] In the same prophet,

On account of your trust in your works and in your treasures, you also will be taken. Jeremiah 48:7.

'Treasures' here also stands for the matters of doctrine and the cognitions or knowledge that the Church possesses.

(References: Jeremiah 50:37-38)


[9] In the same prophet,

O sword against its horses and against its chariots, and against the mixed crowd who are in its midst! O sword against its treasures, in order that they may be looted! A drought on its waters, in order that they may dry up! Jeremiah 50:36-38.

These words are directed against the Chaldeans, by whom one should understand people whose worship is external devoid of internal, thus people who claim with their lips to believe the truths of the Word but in their heart reject them. By 'sword' falsity engaged in conflict against truths is meant, 2799, 4499, 6353, 7102, 8294; by 'horses' the power of understanding, 2760-2762, 3217, 5321; and by 'chariots' matters of doctrine, 5321, 8215. By 'treasures' which would be looted are meant the Church's truths and forms of good, which would be perverted and ruined through the application of them to the evils of self-love and love of the world; and by 'a drought on the waters, in order that they may dry up!' deprivation and destruction of the truths of faith, 'water' meaning the truth of faith, see 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 8568, 9323.

(References: Jeremiah 50:37-38)


[10] Who can fail to see that the literal meaning is not the real meaning that these words possess? For is there anything holy, anything of the Church, anything of heaven, or any sense in the idea of a sword against horses, against chariots, against a mixed crowd, against treasures, or in the idea of a drought over waters, in order that they may dry up? From all this and from all else in the Word it may be seen plainly that a spiritual sense, different from the natural, lies within every detail and that without this sense the Word cannot be called holy, and that in very many places is not even intelligible.

[11] In the same prophet,

O Babel, you who dwell on many waters, great in treasures, ... Jeremiah 51:13.

'Babel' means those who possess the Word and consequently all the Church's truths and its forms of good, but who apply them to self-love and in so doing profane them, 1326. The same thing was also represented by the action of the king of Babel, who took all the vessels of the temple, which were made of gold and silver, drank from them, and at the same time praised the gods of gold and silver, Daniel 5:2-4ff. This explains why Babel is spoken of as 'dwelling on many waters, great in treasures', 'waters' meaning truths and in the contrary sense falsities, 2702, 3058, 4976, 8568, 9323. A further description occurs in the Book of Revelation, in which the riches of Babylon are listed in Chapter 18, where they are called its 'merchandise'.

(References: Daniel 5:2; Revelation 18:1)


[12] In Ezekiel,

I will bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar. By means of the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. They will seize your wealth and despoil your merchandise. Ezekiel 26:7, 11-12.

'Tyre' is used to mean the Church in respect of cognitions or knowledge of goodness and truth, 1201, 'Nebuchadnezzar' the king of Babel to mean that which is profane and lays waste, 1327(end), which happens when the truths and forms of good which the Word contains serve, through wrong application, as means to lend support to the evils of self-love and love of the world. For in these circumstances the evils of those loves exist inwardly, in the heart, while the holy things of the Church are on the lips. 'The hoofs of his horses' are the outermost levels of the natural, that is, levels of knowledge consisting solely of sensory impressions, 7729; 'streets' are the truths of faith, 2336; and 'wealth' and 'merchandise' are cognitions of goodness and truth.

[13] Since cognitions of goodness and truth are meant by 'Tyre', 1201, wherever Tyre is referred to in the Word various kinds of merchandise and riches are also referred to, as in the same prophet,

Tarshish was your trader through the vastness of all your wealth - in silver, iron, tin, and lead. Damascus was your trader because of the vastness of all your wealth. Through the vastness of your wealth and your trading you have enriched all the kings of the earth. Ezekiel 27:1-end.

In the same prophet,

By your wisdom and by your intelligence you have gained wealth for yourself; [you have gained] gold and silver in your treasuries. By the vastness of your wisdom you have increased your wealth. Ezekiel 28:4-5.

This too refers to Tyre, from which it is plainly evident that 'wealth and riches' in the Word is used to mean spiritual wealth and riches, which are cognitions of goodness and truth, thus which are the means to wisdom.

(References: Ezekiel 27, Ezekiel 27:12, 27:18, 27:33)


[14] Also in Zechariah,

Tyre gathers silver like the dust, and gold like the mud of the streets. Behold, the Lord will make it poor and hurl 2 its wealth into the sea. Zechariah 9:3-4.

And in David,

The daughter of Tyre will offer you a gift, daughter of the king; the rich of the people will entreat your face. Psalms 45:12.

The Church in respect of the affection for truth is described here; and it is called 'the daughter of the king', for 'the daughter' means the Church in respect of affection, 2362, 3963, 6729, 9055(end), and 'the king' means truth, 1672, 2015, 2069, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 6148. This is why it says that the daughter of Tyre will offer her a gift, and that the rich of the people will entreat her face, 'the rich of the people' meaning those who are affluent in truths and forms of good.

[15] In Hosea,

Ephraim said, Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself. Hosea 12:8.

Nor are 'I have become rich' and 'I have found wealth for myself' used to mean an enrichment with worldly riches and wealth, but with heavenly ones; for 'Ephraim' is used to mean the Church's power of understanding, which receives light when the Word is read, 5354, 6222, 6238, 6267.

[16] In John,

To the angel of the Church of the Laodiceans [write], Because you say, I am rich, and have become enriched, and have no need - when you do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and needy, and blind, and naked - I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified in fire that you may be enriched, and white garments that you may put on. Revelation 3:14, 17-18.

This refers to the Church which supposes that everything composing the Church consists in bare knowledge alone and which consequently considers itself superior to others, when in fact knowledge is no more than the means with which to correct and improve one's life. Anyone therefore who possesses knowledge without a life led in accord with it is wretched, miserable, needy, blind, and naked. 'Buying gold purified in fire' means acquiring real good for oneself from the Lord, and buying 'white garments' means acquiring real truths springing from that good for oneself from the Lord.

'Gold' means the good of love, see the places referred to in 9874.

'Garments' means the truths of faith, 4545, 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216, 9814, 9952.

[17] In Jeremiah,

I Jehovah give to each according to his ways, according to the fruits of his works. As a partridge collects but does not lay, [so is he who] acquires riches but not by means that are just 3 . In the midst of his days he will leave them behind; at the end of his days he will become a fool. Jeremiah 17:10-11.

This refers to those who acquire knowledge for themselves without any use for it in view other than to make themselves rich, that is, possessors of knowledge, when in fact life is what it is intended to serve. All this is meant by 'gathering as a partridge and yet not laying' and by 'acquiring riches but not by means that are just'.

[18] In Luke,

Any one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:33.

Anyone who does not know that 'possessions' in the internal sense are spiritual riches and wealth, which consist of cognitions or knowledge derived from the Word, cannot possibly have any other idea than that if he is to be saved he will have to strip himself of all his wealth. But that is not the meaning of those words; 'possessions' there is used to mean everything that is the product of self-intelligence. For no one can be wise by virtue of what is his own, only by virtue of what is the Lord's. Therefore 'renouncing all one's possessions' means attributing no intelligence or wisdom at all to oneself; and whoever fails to do this cannot be taught by the Lord, that is, be His disciple.

[19] Since possessions, riches, wealth, silver, and gold mean the things that constitute intelligence and wisdom, the Lord also compares the kingdom of heaven to treasure hidden in a field, Matthew 13:44; and He says that people should provide themselves treasure that does not fail in heaven; for where the treasure is, there the heart is, Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:33-34.

[20] Those who do not know that by 'the rich' they should understand people who possess cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, thus people who have the Word, and that by 'the poor' they should understand people who do not possess them but nevertheless desire them, cannot have any other idea than that in Luke 16 one who was rich and another who was poor in the ordinary sense of those words are meant by the rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and the poor one who was laid at his porch. But in that parable 'the rich man' is used to mean the Jewish nation, who had the Word, the 'purple' in which he was clothed meaning real good, 9467, and 'fine linen' real truth, 5319, 9469, 9596, 9744. And 'the poor man' laid at the porch is used to mean those who are outside the Church and do not have the Word but who nevertheless desire the truths and the good things of heaven and the Church.

(References: Luke 16:19-31)


[21] From all this too it is evident that those who have the Word, consequently Divine Truths, should be understood by 'the rich', as also in Mary's 4 prophecy in Luke,

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

'The hungry' are those who elsewhere are called 'the poor', thus those who have no bread and water and so are wanting food and drink, that is, those who have no knowledge of goodness and truth and yet desire them. By 'bread and water' in the Word goodness and truth are meant, 9323; and by 'hungering and thirsting', thus by 'wanting food and drink', the desire for them is meant.

[22] Such people are also meant elsewhere by 'the poor', as in Luke,

Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven 5 . Blessed are you who are hungry, for you will be satisfied. Luke 6:20-21.

In the same gospel,

The householder told his servant to go out into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. Luke 14:21.

In the same gospel,

To the poor the gospel will be preached. Luke 7:22.

In Matthew,

The poor hear the gospel. Matthew 11:5.

In Isaiah,

Then the firstborn of the poor will feed, and the needy will lie down with confidence. Isaiah 14:30.

In the same prophet,

The needy of men (homo) will exult in the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 29:19.

In Zephaniah,

I will leave in your midst a wretched and poor people, who will hope in the name of Jehovah. They will feed and rest, with none making them afraid. Zephaniah 3:12-13.

And in Isaiah,

The poor and the needy are seeking water, but there is none; their tongue is parched with thirst. I, Jehovah, will hearken to them. I will open streams on the sloping heights, and I will place springs in the midst of valleys. Isaiah 41:17-18.

[23] 'The poor and the needy seeking water' are those who desire cognitions or knowledge of goodness and truth, 'water' meaning truth. This desire is described by the statement that their tongue is parched with thirst, and the abundance which they are going to have by the promise that streams will be opened on sloping heights, and springs in the midst of valleys. From all this it is again evident that heavenly realities, which belong to the truth of faith and the good of love, are meant by earthly objects, that is, by the waters, streams on sloping heights, and springs in valleys; that these objects compose the literal sense of the Word, whereas those realities compose the spiritual sense; and that the Word is Divine by virtue of the spiritual sense, and not so without it.

[24] Another reason why wealth and riches mean such things as constitute intelligence (or understanding) and wisdom lies in correspondence. Among angels in heaven everything looks as though it is gleaming with gold, silver, and precious stones; and this is owing to the intelligent understanding of truth and wise discernment of good they possess. For the inner abilities which angels possess present themselves in this visual manner through objects that correspond to these abilities. Among spirits too who are below the heavens riches make their appearance in accordance with the state of reception of truth and good from the Lord.

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Footnotes:

1. i.e. I will punish

2. literally, strike

3. literally, make riches but not with judgement

4. The Latin has Elisabeth's.

5. The words in the second part of this sentence come from the parallel passage in Matthew 5:3.

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(References: Exodus 30:5, 30:15; Ezekiel 27)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10406

Heaven and Hell 365

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 107, 158, 220


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 118, 131, 193, 236, 453

Other New Christian Commentary

Goods 1

Rich 1

Give 1

Camel 1

Needle, eye of a 1

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