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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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

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


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

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

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

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

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Arcana Coelestia #1672

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

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

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

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Arcana Coelestia #1551

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1551. That 'silver' means truths is clear from the meaning of 'silver' as truth. The most ancient people compared the goods and truths present in man to metals. Innermost or celestial goods which flow from love to the Lord they compared to gold, truths deriving from these to silver. Goods of a lower or natural kind however they compared to bronze, and truths of a lower kind to iron. Nor did they just compare them; they also called them such. This was the origin of periods of time being likened to those same metals and being called the golden, silver, bronze, and iron ages, for these followed in that order one after another. The golden age was the time of the Most Ancient Church, which was celestial man. The silver age was the time of the Ancient Church, which was spiritual man. The bronze age was the time of the Church that followed, and the iron age came after that. Similar things were also meant by the statue which Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream, whose head was of fine gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and shins of iron, Daniel 2:32-33. That periods of the Church were to follow one another in that order, and actually did so, is clear in that very chapter of the same prophet.

[2] That 'silver' in the internal sense of the Word wherever it is mentioned means truth, or in the contrary sense falsity, is clear from the following places: In Isaiah,

Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver, and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. And I will make peace your assessment, and righteousness your tax-collectors. Isaiah 60:17.

Here it is evident what each metal means. The subject is the Lord's Coming, His kingdom, and the celestial Church. 'Instead of bronze, gold' is celestial good in place of natural good; 'instead of iron, silver' is spiritual truth in place of natural truth; 'instead of wood, bronze' is natural good in place of bodily good; 'instead of stone, iron' is natural truth in place of truth acquired through the senses. In the same prophet,

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and he who has no money, 1 come, buy and eat! Isaiah 55:1.

'He who has no money' 1 is the person who does not know the truth but who nevertheless possesses the good that stems from charity, as is the case with many people inside the Church, and with gentiles outside it.

[3] In the same prophet,

The islands will wait for Me, the ships of Tarshish at their head, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of Jehovah your God, and to the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 60:9.

This refers specifically to a new Church, or a Church among gentiles, and in general to the Lord's kingdom. 'Ships from Tarshish' stands for cognitions, 'silver' for truths, and 'gold' for goods, which are those things they 'will bring to the name of Jehovah'. In Ezekiel,

For your adornment you took vessels made of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and you made for yourselves figures of the male. Ezekiel 16:17.

Here 'gold' stands for cognitions of celestial things, 'silver' of spiritual things. In the same prophet,

You were adorned with gold and silver, and your raiment was fine linen and silk, and embroidered cloth. Ezekiel 16:13.

This refers to Jerusalem, by which the Lord's Church is meant, whose adornment is being described in this manner. In the same prophet,

Behold, you who are wise, there is no secret they have hidden from you; by your wisdom and by your intelligence you have acquired riches for yourself, and you have acquired gold and silver in your treasuries. Ezekiel 28:3-4.

Here, in what is said in reference to Tyre, 'gold' is plainly identified with the riches of wisdom, and 'silver' with the riches of intelligence.

[4] In Joel,

You have taken My silver and My gold, and My good and desirable treasures you have carried into your temples. Joel 3:5.

This refers to Tyre, Sidon, and Philistia, which mean cognitions, and these are 'the silver and the gold they took into their temples'. In Haggai,

The elect of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory. Mine is the silver, and Mine is the gold. The glory of this latter house will be greater than that of the former. Haggai 2:7-9.

This refers to the Lord's Church to which 'gold and silver' have reference. In Malachi,

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi. Malachi 3:3.

This refers to the Coming of the Lord. In David,

The words of Jehovah are pure words, silver refined in an earthen crucible, poured seven times. Psalms 12:6.

'Silver purified seven times' stands for Divine truth. At the time of their exodus out of Egypt the children of Israel were commanded that every woman should ask of her neighbour, and of her who sojourned in her house, vessels of silver and vessels of gold and garments, and that they should put them on their sons and on their daughters, and so despoil the Egyptians, Exodus 3:22; 11:2-3; 12:35-36. Anyone may see from the children of Israel would never have been ordered to steal and despoil the Egyptians of those possessions in that way if these did not represent some arcana. But what those arcana are may become clear from the meaning of 'silver and gold, garments, and Egypt', and from the fact that what these possessions represented is similar to the words here 'rich in the silver and gold from Egypt', used in reference to Abram.

[5] Just as 'silver' means truth so in a contrary sense it means falsity, for people under the influence of falsity imagine falsity to be the truth, as is also clear in the Prophets. In Moses,

You shall not covet the silver and the gold of the nations, nor take it for yourself, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to Jehovah your God. You shall utterly detest it. Deuteronomy 7:25-26.

'The gold of the nations' stands for evils, and 'their silver' for falsities. In the same author,

You shall not make gods of silver to be with Me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold. Exodus 20:23.

In the internal sense these words mean nothing other than falsities and evil desires, falsities being meant by 'gods of silver', and evil desires by 'gods of gold'. In Isaiah,

On that day everyone will spurn his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your hands have made for you - a sin. Isaiah 31:7.

'Idols of silver and idols of gold' stands for similar things that are false and evil 'Which your hands have made' stands for what is a product of the proprium. In Jeremiah,

They are foolish and stupid; that wood is a way of learning vanities! Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the smith and of the hands of the moulder. Their clothing is violet and purple These are all the work of the wise. Jeremiah 10:8-9.

Here 'silver' and 'gold' quite clearly stand for similar things that are false and evil.

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Footnotes:

1. or silver

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(References: Exodus 20:26; Genesis 13:2)

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Arcana Coelestia 2048, 2162, 2466, 2575, 2576, 2832, 2937, 2954, 2959, 2967, 3021, 3164, 3703, 3708, 3862, 3863, 4099, 4453, 4489, 4677, 4759, 5291, 5320, 5433, 5530, 5623, 5658, 5664, 5735, 5737, 5756, 5758, 5955, 6112, 6135, 6335, 6432, 6524, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 31, 62, 65, 195, 236, 242, 277, 502


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


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