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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

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


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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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 #2567

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2567. 'And men servants and women servants' means, and also with rational truths and natural truths, as well as with affections for these...... This is clear from the meaning of 'men servants and women servants'. Men servants and women servants are mentioned in various places in the Word, and in the internal sense they mean those things which are relatively lower or baser, as rational and natural things are in comparison with spiritual and celestial. By natural truths are meant facts of every kind, since these are natural. That men servants and women servants have this meaning in the Word is evident from the internal sense of these words where they are used, as in Isaiah,

Jehovah will have compassion on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and will set them on their own ground, and the sojourner will attach himself to them, and they will join themselves to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will inherit them on Jehovah's ground as men servants and women servants. Isaiah 14:1-2.

[2] Here 'Jacob' stands for the external Church, 'Israel' for the internal, 'sojourners' for people who receive instruction in truths and goods, 1463, 2025. 'Men servants and women servants' stands for natural truths and rational truths, together with the affections for them, which are to be of service to the Church meant by Jacob and Israel. The fact that Jacob and Israel, or Jews and Israelites, were not meant here, is quite evident, for once they had been dispersed among the gentiles the Israelites became gentiles. Yet the Jews still cherish and await an even literal fulfilment of this prophecy - that sojourners will attach themselves to them, and after that peoples will bring them [to their place] and will become their men servants and women servants. But in fact where reference is made in the prophetical parts of the Word to Jews and Israelites, not even the least thing is meant in regard to these, as must also be plain to the Jews themselves from the fact that in various places it is said equally of Israel as of Judah that they were to be led back.

[3] In the same prophet,

Behold, Jehovah is emptying the earth and making it desolate, and He will disfigure the face of it and will cause its inhabitants to scatter. And it will be, as with the people so with the priest, as with the man servant so with his master, as with the woman servant so with her mistress. Isaiah 24:1-2.

Here 'the earth' stands for the Church, 662, 1066, 1067, 1850, which is 'emptied and made desolate, and its face disfigured and inhabitants scattered', when interior truths and goods, meant by 'priest and people', and when exterior truths and goods, meant by 'man servant and woman servant', are no more, which comes about when external things have dominion over internal.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1068)


[4] In the same prophet,

I will bring forth seed from Jacob, and from Judah the heir of My mountains, and My chosen ones will possess it, and My servants will dwell there. Isaiah 65:9.

Here 'Jacob' stands for the external Church, 'Judah' for the internal celestial Church, 'chosen ones' for its goods, and 'servants' for its truths.

[5] In Joel,

I will pour out My spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Even on your men servants and women servants in those days I will pour out My spirit. Joel 2:28-29.

The subject here is the Lord's kingdom. 'Prophesying' stands for teaching, 2534, 'sons' for truths themselves, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 'daughters' for goods themselves, 489-491. 'Men servants and women servants' stands for lower truths and goods on which it is said that the spirit is to be 'poured out' when these serve to support and strengthen. That such things are meant here and elsewhere by 'men servants and women servants' is not too apparent, both because of the common idea which one has of men servants and women servants, and because of this being a prophecy of some seemingly historical event.

[6] In John,

I saw an angel standing in the sun, who called out with a loud voice saying to all the birds flying in mid-heaven, You may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses and those seated on them, and the flesh of all, free men and slaves, both small and great. Revelation 19:17-18.

Here it is quite plain that not the flesh of kings, captains, mighty men, horses, those seated on these, free men and slaves, which they were to eat, is meant but internal and external truths of the Church which became 'flesh' for them.

[7] That 'men servants' means truths and 'women servants' goods which were subservient to and so serve spiritual and celestial truths and goods is quite clear from the laws laid down in the representative Church which had to do with men servants and woman servants. All these laws have regard to the state of the Church and of the Lord's kingdom in general and in particular, and to the way in which lower truths and goods, which are natural and rational, have to serve those that are spiritual and celestial, and thus those that are Divine, such as the following,

The Hebrew male slave and the Hebrew female slave 1 was to be free in the seventh year and at that time was to receive gifts from the flock, the threshing-floor, and the winepress. Exodus 21:2-6; Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Jeremiah 34:9-14.

A wife was to go free if she had entered into bondage together with her husband; but if the master had provided him with the wife, the wife and children were to be the master's. Exodus 21:3-4.

A poor brother who had been bought was not to serve as a slave but as a hired servant and an alien; and in the jubilee year he was to go out together with his children. Leviticus 25:39-43.

If a brother were bought by an alien sojourner he could be redeemed and leave in the jubilee year. Leviticus 25:47 and following verses.

Male and female slaves bought from nations round about, and from alien sojourners, were to be their possession for evermore, whom they might subject to their absolute command, but not the children of Israel. Leviticus 25:44-46.

If a slave did not wish to be emancipated, he was to have his ear pierced with an awl at the door, and he was a slave for evermore. The same applied to a female slave if she did not wish to be released. Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:16-17.

If someone beat his own male slave or female slave with a rod, so that he died, that slave was to be avenged. But if he survived a day or two, he was to be free; for he himself was his money. Exodus 21:20-21.

If he struck the slave's eye or tooth [and destroyed it], he was to go free. Exodus 21:26-27.

If an ox gored a male slave or a female slave so that he died, [the owner] was to weigh out thirty pieces of silver for the master, and the ox was to be stoned. Exodus 21:32.

A slave who had escaped from his master was not to be placed under arrest but was to live in a place of his own choice and not be oppressed. Deuteronomy 23:15-16. A slave who had been bought with silver and who had been circumcised was to eat the Passover. Exodus 12:44, 45.

Anyone's daughter who had been bought was not to leave her bondage as male slaves did. If she was bad the master was not to sell her to a foreigner. If she was betrothed to his son she was to be treated as a daughter. If that son married another he was not to reduce her food, clothing, and marital rights. If he did not honour these requirements she was to leave her bondage without making any payment. Exodus 21:7-11.

(References: Exodus 21:2, Exodus 21:7-12; Leviticus 25:47-50)


[8] All these laws owe their existence to laws in heaven, which are laws to do with what is good and true. They also have regard in the internal sense to these laws in heaven, but they do so partly through correspondences, partly through representatives, and partly through meaningful signs. But when the representatives and the meaningful signs of that Church, which were the most external and lowest things of worship, were done away with, so also did the necessity for such laws come to an end. If therefore these laws which are derived from the laws of order to do with what is good and true, and from representatives and meaningful signs, were to be opened up [to reveal their inner reality], it would be evident that 'male slaves' means nothing else than truths of a rational and factual kind, which are lower truths and therefore ought to serve spiritual truths, and that 'female slaves' means accompanying goods which because they too are lower ought indeed to serve, though in a different way. This explains why certain laws laid down concerning female slaves or servants differed from those laid down concerning male ones. For regarded in themselves truths are servants much more than their accompanying goods.

[9] 'The royal right' referred to in Samuel means nothing else in the internal sense than the right of truth, and also the right of falsity when it starts to have dominion over truth and over good, as becomes clear from the explanation of the words describing it,

This will be the king's right who will reign over you _ he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots, and to his horsemen, and they will run before his chariots; he will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers; he will take your male slaves and your female slaves, and your best young men, and your asses, and will put them to do his work; he will take a tenth of your flock; and at length you yourselves will be made into slaves. And you will cry out on that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but Jehovah will not answer you on that day. 1 Samuel 8:11, 13, 16-18.

'A king' means truth, see 1672, 2015, 2069, and so in the contrary sense what are not truths, that is, falsities. The sons whom he would appoint to his chariots and to his horsemen mean truths of doctrine that would be subservient to false assumptions, which are meant by 'chariots and horsemen'. The daughters whom he would take to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers mean the goods of doctrine by which the falsities would be made pleasing and acceptable. The male slaves and female slaves, the young men, and the asses whom 'he will put to do his work' mean rational concepts and factual knowledge by means of which those falsities will be made stronger. 'The flock of which he will take a tenth' means remnants of good to which he will do violence. And the statement that they would be made into slaves means that instead of having dominion the celestial and spiritual things of the Word and of doctrine will be subservient so as to confirm the falsities within his assumptions and the evils within his desires. For nothing exists which cannot be introduced into false assumptions so as to confirm them, either by false application, or by a wrong interpretation, or by perversion, or by rejection of things which do not support those assumptions. It is for this reason that the words are added, 'If you cry out on that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, Jehovah will not answer you on that day'.

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Footnotes:

1. In this paragraph man servant and male slave translate the same word (servus), and woman servant and female slave likewise translate the same word (ancilla).

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Arcana Coelestia 2541, 2583, 2657, 2782, 3019, 3463, 3581, 3835, 3913, 4037, 4344, 5237, 7780, 8890, 8993, 9034, 9058, 9059, 9081, 9281

Other New Christian Commentary

Servant 1

Elect and men-servants 1

Handmaid 1

Maid-servants 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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