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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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 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 #2343

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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2343. 'And they ate' means making one's own. This is clear from the meaning of 'eating' as being communicated and joined together, thus being made one's own, dealt with already in 2187. What has been stated and explained so far makes clear how the contents of the previous and the present verses are arranged and link together in the internal sense - from the fact that 'the angels' means the Lord's Divine Human and His Holy proceeding, 'turning aside to him' means staying with, 'coming to his house' being confirmed in good, 'making a feast' dwelling together, 'baking unleavened bread' being purified, and 'eating' taking into oneself and making one's own. It shows the nature of the train of thought in the internal sense, though nothing at all of that sense is apparent in the historical sense.

[2] Such is the order and the train of thought that exists with all the individual parts of the Word. But the nature of that actual train of thought cannot begin to reveal itself when each word is explained separately; for in that case each is seen in isolation from the rest and the continuity of meaning is lost. It reveals itself when all the separate details are seen together within one complete idea, or are perceived as one complete mental picture, as is done by those who have the internal sense and who at the same time dwell in heavenly light from the Lord. Within these words [used here in Genesis] such people are given to see the entire process of the reformation and regeneration of those who become members of the Church, represented here by Lot. That is to say, they first of all perceive some degree of temptation, but when they persevere and overcome the Lord stays with them, and confirms them in good, brings them to Himself into His kingdom, and dwells together with them, and there purifies and perfects them, at the same time granting them as their own things that are good and happy. All this He accomplishes by means of His Divine Human and His Holy proceeding.

[3] Within the Church it is indeed well known that all regeneration or new life, and therefore salvation, comes from the Lord alone, but few believe it. The reason they do not believe it is that the good of charity does not exist in them. It is as impossible for those in whom that good does not exist to believe it as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle; for the good of charity is the very seed-bed of faith. Truth and good agree together, but truth and evil never do. They have contrary natures and turn away from each other. Insofar therefore as someone is moved by good, he can be governed by truth, that is, insofar as charity exists with him faith is able to, especially the most fundamental matter of faith that all salvation comes from the Lord.

(References: Luke 18:25; Mark 10:25; Matthew 19:24)


[4] That this is the most fundamental matter of faith is clear from many places in the Word, as in John,

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.

In the same gospel,

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not believe in the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him. John 3:36.

In the same gospel,

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom the Father has sent. John 6:29.

In the same gospel,

This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40.

In the same gospel,

Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins. John 8:24.

In the same gospel,

I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he die, yet will he live. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. John 11:25-26.

[5] Nobody is able to believe in the Lord unless he is governed by good, that is, no one can possess faith unless he has charity. This too is clear in John,

As many as received Him, to them He gave power to be sons of God, to those believing in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13.

And in the same gospel,

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in Me he is cast forth as a branch and is withered. As the Father has loved Me so I have loved you; abide in My love. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:5-6, 9, 12.

[6] From all these quotations it becomes clear that love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour constitute the life of faith. But that people who are immersed in evil, that is, who lead a life of evil, cannot possibly believe that all salvation comes from the Lord has become clear to me from those who have entered the next life from the Christian world; and also from people who during their lifetime have confessed with their lips the established teaching of faith, and indeed have taught it themselves, that without the Lord there is no salvation, but who, for all that, have led a life of evil. At the very mention of the Lord's name these people have filled the atmosphere around them entirely with objections. For in the next life solely that which people are thinking is perceived and sends out from itself a sphere, in which the nature of the faith possessed by those people reveals itself, see 1394.

[7] At the mere mention of love or charity among these people I perceived emanating from them something that was so to speak full of darkness and at the same time dust-filled. The product of some filthy love, it was by nature such that it obliterated, stifled, and corrupted all feeling of love to the Lord and of charity towards the neighbour. Such is the faith at the present day, which, they say, saves without the goods that flow from charity.

[8] The same people were also asked what faith they had since it was not the faith they had professed during their lifetime. Since in the next life nobody can conceal what he actually thinks, they said that they believed in God the Creator of all things. They were examined however as to whether this was really so, and it was discovered that they did not believe in any God at all but thought that all things were the product of natural forces, and all that has been said about eternal life is nonsense. Such is the faith of everyone inside the Church who does not believe in the Lord but says that he believes in God the Creator of all things. For truth cannot flow in from any other source than the Lord, and truth cannot be sown in anything other than good which is derived from the Lord.

[9] That the Lord's Divine Human and His Holy proceeding are together the channel and the source of life and salvation is well recognized from the words of the Holy Supper, 'This is My body, This is My blood', which is the Lord's Divine Human. And it is clear that this is the source of everything holy. Whether we speak of the Divine Human, or His Body, or Flesh, or Bread, or Divine Love, it amounts to the same thing; for the Lord's Divine Human is pure Love, and the Holy [proceeding] consists in love alone, while the Holy that constitutes faith is derived from this.

(References: Genesis 19:3; Luke 18:25, Luke 22:19-20; Mark 10:25, Mark 14:22, 14:24; Matthew 19:24, Matthew 26:26, 26:28)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2352, 2442, 2811, 2830, 3089, 3121, 3149, 3168, 3324, 3333, 3457, 3503, 3513, 3568, 3590, 3595, 3734, 3813, 4193, 4303, 4334, 4581, 5643, 5943, 7888, 7894, 7902, 7907, 8080, 8093, 9068, 9412, 10483, 10686

Heaven and Hell 86

The Last Judgment 39

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 106, 121, 158, 186, 216, 220, 305


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 109, 141, 146, 211

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 The Raising of Lazarus
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3


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