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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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

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


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

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

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

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

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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 #2799

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2799. 'And he took in his hand the fire and the knife' means the good of love and the truth of faith. This is clear from the meaning of 'the fire' as the good of love, dealt with in 934, and from the meaning of 'the knife' as the truth of faith. As regards 'the knife' used on the victims in sacrifices meaning the truth of faith, this may be seen from the meaning of 'a sword' or 'a small sword' in the Word, for the expression 'small sword' is used instead of 'knife'. Both have the same meaning, the only difference being that 'a knife' which was used on sacrificial victims meant the truth of faith, whereas 'a sword' meant truth engaged in conflict. Now since the word 'knife' occurs but rarely in the Word, for a hidden reason given below, 1 let the meaning of 'a sword' be shown. In the internal sense 'a sword' means the truth of faith engaged in conflict, and also the vastation of truth; and in the contrary sense it means falsity engaged in conflict and the punishment of falsity.

[2] A sword means the truth of faith engaged in conflict This becomes clear from the following places: In David,

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One; prosper in Your glory and honour, ride on the word of truth, and Your right hand will teach You marvellous things. Psalms 45:3-4.

This refers to the Lord. 'Sword' stands for truth engaged in conflict. In the same author,

The merciful will exalt in glory, they will sing on their beds. The high praises of God will be in their throats and an extremely sharp sword in their hand. Psalms 149:5-6.

In Isaiah,

Jehovah called Me from the womb, from My mother's body 2 He made mention of My name, and made My mouth like a sharp sword, and made Me into a polished arrow. Isaiah 49:1-2.

'A sharp sword' stands for truth engaged in conflict, 'a polished arrow' for the truth of doctrine, see 2686, 2709. In the same prophet,

Asshur will fall by a sword, not of man (vir); a sword, not of man (homo), will devour him; and he will flee before the sword, and his young men will become tributary. Isaiah 31:8.

'Asshur' stands for reasoning in Divine things, 119, 1186, 'a sword, not of man (vir)' and 'not of man (homo)' stand for falsity, 'the sword before which he will flee' stands for truth engaged in conflict.

[3] In Zechariah,

Turn to the stronghold, O prisoners of hope; even today I declare I will render double to you - I who have bent for Myself Judah as a bow, I have filled Ephraim, and have roused your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Javan; and I will set you as the sword of one who is mighty, and Jehovah will appear over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning. Zechariah 9:12-14.

'The sword of one who is mighty' stands for truth engaged in conflict. In John,

In the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man was holding in His right hand seven stars; out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword was going forth, and His countenance was like the sun shining in full strength. Revelation 1:13, 16.

And further on,

These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword, I will come to you quickly and engage in conflict with them with the sword of My mouth. Revelation 2:12, 16.

'A sharp two-edged sword' plainly stands for truth engaged in conflict, which was therefore represented as 'a sword going out of His mouth'.

[4] In the same book,

Out of the mouth of Him who sat on the white horse went forth a sharp sword, and with it He is to smite the nations. And they were slain by the sword of Him sitting on the horse, which went out of His mouth. Revelation 19:15, 21.

Here it is plain that 'a sword going out of His mouth' means truth engaged in conflict. The one 'sitting on the white horse' is the Word, and thus the Lord who is the Word; see above 2760-2763. This explains what the Lord says in Matthew,

Do not think that I have come to bring peace on to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.

And in Luke,

Now he who has a purse, let him take it, and likewise a bag. But he who has none, let him sell his garments and buy a sword. They said to Him, Behold, Lord, here are two swords. And Jesus said, It is enough. Luke 22:36-38.

'A sword' here is used to mean nothing else than the truth, from which and for which they were to engage in conflict.

[5] In Hosea,

I will make for them a covenant on that day with the wild animals of the field, and with the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish 3 the bow, and the sword, and war from the land, and I will make them lie down in safety. Hosea 2:18.

Here the subject is the Lord's kingdom. 'Abolishing the bow, the sword, and war' means the absence of any conflict there over doctrine and truth. In Joshua,

Joshua lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, a man was standing before him, with a sword drawn in his hand. He said to Joshua, I am the Prince of the army of Jehovah; and Joshua fell on his face to the earth. Joshua 5:13-14.

These words, which refer to the time when Joshua together with the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan, are used to mean the entry - of those who have faith - into the Lord's kingdom. Truth engaged in conflict, which is the Church's, is 'the sword drawn in the hand of the Prince of the army of Jehovah'.

[6] But as for 'small swords' or 'knives' meaning the truth of faith, this becomes clear from the fact that they were used not only in sacrifices but also in circumcision. Those used in circumcision were made of flint and were called 'small swords of flint', as is evident in Joshua,

Jehovah said to Joshua, Make small swords of flint for yourself; and again, circumcise the children of Israel a second time. And Joshua made small swords of flint for himself, and circumcised the children of Israel on the hill of the foreskins. Joshua 5:2-3.

'Circumcision' was a representative of purification from self-love and love of the world, see 2039, 2632. And because such purification is achieved by means of the truths of faith, 'small swords of flint' were therefore used, 2039 (end), 2046 (end).

[7] II A sword means the vastation of truth This is clear from the following places: In Isaiah,

These two will happen to you; who is to condole with you? Vastation and demolition, and famine and sword; who is to comfort you? Your sons fainted, they lay at the head of every street. Isaiah 51:19-20.

'Famine' stands for vastation of good, and 'sword' for vastation of truth. 'Lying at the head of every street' stands for being deprived of all truth. 'Street' means truth, 2336; and for what vastation is, see 301-304, 407, 408, 410, 411. In the same prophet,

I will destine 4 you for the sword, and all of you will bow down to the slaughter, because I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. Isaiah 65:12.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 407-408, 410-411)


[8] In the same prophet,

By fire Jehovah will judge, and by sword, all flesh; and the slain of Jehovah will be many. Isaiah 66:16.

'The slain of Jehovah' stands for those who have undergone vastation. In Jeremiah,

On all the hills in the wilderness those who cause devastation have come, for the sword of Jehovah is devouring from one end of the land even to the other end of the land. There is no peace for any flesh. They have sown wheat and reaped thorns. Jeremiah 12:12-13.

'The sword of Jehovah' plainly stands for the vastation of truth. In the same prophet,

They have lied against Jehovah and said, It is not He; and no evil will come upon us; neither shall we see sword and famine. And the prophets will become wind, and there is no utterance in them. Jeremiah 5:12-13.

[9] In the same prophet,

I am visiting them; the young men will die by the sword; their sons and their daughters will die by famine. Jeremiah 11:22.

In the same prophet,

When they offer burnt offering and minchah I will not accept them, for I am consuming them by sword and by famine and by pestilence. And I said, Ah, Lord Jehovih, behold, the prophets say to them, You will not see the sword, nor will you have famine. Jeremiah 14:12-13.

In the same prophet,

The city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans fighting against it, in face of the sword, and famine, and pestilence. Jeremiah 32:24, 36.

In the same prophet,

I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they are consumed from the ground which I gave to them and their fathers. Jeremiah 24:10.

[10] In these places vastation is described as 'sword, famine, and pestilence'. 'Sword' describes the vastation of truth, 'famine' the vastation of good, and 'pestilence' preying upon even to destruction. In Ezekiel,

Son of man, Take a sharp sword, use it as a barber's razor and pass it over your head and over your beard. And you are to take balances and you are to divide the hair. A third part you are to burn with fire in the midst of the city; a third part you are to strike with the sword round about it; and a third part you are to scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. A third part will die of pestilence, and be consumed with famine in the midst [of you], and a third part will fall by the sword round about [you], and a third part I will scatter to every wind; and I will unsheathe the sword after them. Ezekiel 5:1-2, 12, 17.

This refers to the vastation of natural truth, which is described in this fashion. In the same prophet,

The sword is without, and pestilence and famine within; he that is in the field will die by the sword, and him that is in the city famine and pestilence will devour. Ezekiel 7:15.

[11] In the same prophet,

Say to the land of Israel, Thus said Jehovah, Behold, I am against you, and will draw My sword out of its sheath, and will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. Because I will cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore My sword will go out of its sheath against all flesh from south to north; and all flesh will know that I Jehovah have drawn My sword out of its sheath, and it will not return any more. The word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus said Jehovah, Say: A sword, a sword has been sharpened and also polished, sharpened, for great slaughter, so that it is polished to flash like lightning! Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus said the Lord Jehovih against the children of Ammon, and against their reproach, Say: A sword, a sword is bared for the slaughter, and polished to consume because [polished to shine like] lightning - while they see vanity for you, while they divine a lie for you. Ezekiel 21:3-5, 8-20, 28-29.

Here 'a sword' means nothing other than vastation, as is evident in the internal sense from each detail included here.

(References: Ezekiel 21:8-10)


[12] In the same prophet,

The king of Babel will destroy your towers with his swords. By reason of the abundance of horses their dust will cover you; by reason of the noise of horsemen, and wheels, and chariots, your walls will be shaken. With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. Ezekiel 26:9-11.

What 'Babel' is, see 1326, and that it causes vastation, 1327. In David, If he does not turn back God will whet His sword, bend His bow, and make it ready. Psalms 7:12.

In Jeremiah,

I said, Ah, Lord, truly You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, You will have peace; but the sword has reached even to the soul. Jeremiah 4:10.

[13] In the same prophet,

Declare in Egypt, and cause it to be heard in Migdol, Stand up and prepare yourself, for the sword will devour round about you. Jeremiah 46:14.

In the same prophet,

A sword over the Chaldeans and against the inhabitants of Babel, and against her rulers, and against her wise men! A sword against the boasters, and they will become insane! A sword against her mighty men, and they will be dismayed! A sword against her horses, and against her chariots, and against the whole mingled crowd in her midst, and they will become as women! A sword against her treasures, and they will be plundered! A drought on her waters, and they will dry up! Jeremiah 50:35-38.

'A sword' plainly stands for the vastation of truth, for it is said to be 'a sword against the wise men, against the boasters, against the mighty men, against the horses and chariots, against the treasures', and that there will be 'a drought on the waters and they will dry up'.

[14] In the same prophet,

We have given the hand to Egypt, to Asshur to be satisfied with bread. Slaves have had dominion over us; there is nobody to free us from their hand. In [peril of] our souls we acquired our bread, in face of the sword of the wilderness. Lamentations 5:6, 8-9.

In Hosea,

He will not return to the land of Egypt, and Asshur will be his king, because they have refused to return to Me. And the sword will come down on his cities, and consume his bars, and devour because of their counsels. Hosea 11:5-6.

In Amos.

I have sent the pestilence upon you in the way of Egypt, I have slain your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. 5 Amos 4:10.

'In the way of Egypt' stands for the facts which cause vastation when, on the basis of these, people reason in Divine things. 'Captured horses' stands for the understanding when stripped of its own inherent qualities.

[15] III A sword in the contrary sense means falsity engaged in conflict. This becomes clear in David,

As to my soul, I lie in the midst of lions setting on fire the children of men; their teeth are spear and arrows, and their tongues a sharp sword. Psalms 57:4.

In the same author,

Behold, they belch out with their mouths, swords are in their lips - for who hears? Psalms 59:7.

In Isaiah,

You are cast out from your sepulchre like an abominable stock, a garment of the slain pierced by the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit like a dead body trodden underfoot. Isaiah 14:19

This refers to Lucifer. In Jeremiah,

In vain have I smitten your sons, they took no correction Your own sword is devouring your prophets, like a ravaging lion. O generation, observe the Word of Jehovah, Have I been a wilderness to Israel? Jeremiah 2:30-31.

[16] In the same prophet,

Do not go out into the field, and do not walk on the road, for the enemy has a sword, terror is all around. Jeremiah 6:25-26.

In the same prophet,

Take the cup of the wine of wrath and make all the nations to which I send you drink it. And they will drink and reel, and go mad in face of the sword which I am sending among them. Drink and get drunk, and vomit, and fall, and do not get up again in face of the sword. Jeremiah 25:15-16, 27.

In the same prophet,

Go up, O horses; rage, O chariots; let the mighty men go forth, Cush and Put, that handle the shield, and the Ludim that handle and bend the bow. And that day is to the Lord Jehovih of hosts a day of vengeance. And the sword will devour, and be sated, and become drunk on their blood. Jeremiah 46:9-10.

[17] In Ezekiel,

They will strip you of your garments, and take the jewels 6 of your glory, and leave you naked and bare. And they will bring up an assembly upon you, and they will stone you with stones; they will run you through with their swords. Ezekiel 16:39-40.

This refers to the abominations of Jerusalem. In Zechariah,

Woe to the worthless shepherd, the deserter of the flock! The sword will fall upon his arm and upon his right eye. His arm will be wholly withered, and his right eye utterly darkened. Zechariah 11:17.

In Hosea,

They thought what was evil against Me. Their princes will fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue. This will be their derision in the land of Egypt. Hosea 7:15-16.

[18] In Luke,

There will be great distress over the earth, and wrath on that people; for they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive among all the gentiles; 7 at length Jerusalem will be trodden down by the gentiles. 7 Luke 21:23-24.

Here the Lord was referring to the close of the age - in the sense of the letter to the dispersion of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem, but in the internal sense to the final state of the Church. 'Falling by the edge of the sword' means that there was no truth any longer, but merely falsity. 'All the gentiles' means every kind of evil among which 'they will be led captive'. 'The gentiles' - or 'the nations' - means evils, see 1259, 1260, 1849, 1868, and 'Jerusalem' means the Church, 2117, which will be so 'trodden down' by them.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1259-1260)


[19] IV A sword also means the punishment of falsity

This is clear in Isaiah,

On that day Jehovah will make a visitation with His hard and great and strong sword upon Leviathan the full-length serpent, 8 and upon Leviathan the twisting serpent, and He will slay the monsters that are in the sea. Isaiah 27:1.

This refers to those who by means of reasonings based on sensory evidence and factual knowledge enter into the mysteries of faith. 'The hard, great, and strong sword' stands for the punishments of the falsity that results from those reasonings.

[20] When one reads about people being put to, and being slain by, the edge of the sword, sometimes including 'both men and women, young people and old, oxen, sheep, and asses', the meaning in the internal sense is punishment consisting in the condemnation of falsity, as in Joshua 6:21; 8:24-25; 10:28, 30, 37, 39; 11:10-12, 14; 13:22; 19:47; Judges 1:8, 25; 4:15-16; 18:27; 20:37; 1 Samuel 15:8; 2 Kings 10:25; and elsewhere. This also explains why it was commanded to put to the sword any city which worshipped other gods, and to destroy it utterly and to burn it with fire, and to let it remain a heap for ever, Deuteronomy 13:12-18. 'The sword' stands for the punishment of falsity, 'fire' for the punishment of evil. The angel of Jehovah with a drawn sword who stood in the path against Balaam, Numbers 22:22, 31, meant the truth which stood in the way of the falsity which possessed Balaam. For that reason also he was slain with a sword, Numbers 31:8.

(References: 1 Samuel 15:11; Deuteronomy 13:12-17, 13:12-16, 13:13, 13:15-17; Numbers 31:1-8)


[21] The meaning of 'a sword' in the genuine sense as truth engaged in conflict, and in the contrary sense as falsity engaged in it, also the vastation of truth and the punishment of falsity, has its origin in the representatives that occur in the next life. For in that life, when anyone utters that which he knows to be false, daggers so to speak instantly come down over his head and strike terror, while truth engaged in conflict is represented there as well by objects which have sharp points like the tips of swords; for such is the nature of truth if it is devoid of good, but if it exists together with good it is rounded and gentle. Such being the origin of the meaning of a sword, therefore with angels, whenever a knife, spear, small sword, or sword is mentioned in the Word, truth engaged in conflict comes to mind.

[22] The reason why a knife is hardly mentioned at all in the Word is that in the next life there are evil spirits who are called 'knifers'. They seem to have knives hanging by their sides, and the reason for this is that they possess so brutal a nature that they wish to cut everyone's throat with their knife. This is why knives are not mentioned, but small swords and swords, for the latter being implements normally used in battle give rise to the idea of war and so of truth engaged in conflict.

[23] Because it was well known to the ancients that a small sword, a lance, and a knife meant truth, the gentiles, who received the practice through tradition, were therefore accustomed during sacrifices to stab and slash themselves, even until they bled, with small swords, lances, or knives, as one reads of the priests of Baal,

The priests of Baal cried out with a loud voice and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until blood gushed out. 1 Kings 18:28.

As regards all weapons of war in the Word meaning things that have to do with spiritual conflict, each one having some specific meaning, see 2686.

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Footnotes:

1. literally, the son

2. A Hebrew word, the meaning of which is uncertain.

3. literally, break

4. literally, Number

5. literally, the captivity of your horses

6. literally, the vessels

7. or the nations

8. i.e. a serpent that is on the move and not coiled up

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(References: Deuteronomy 13:12-17; Genesis 22:6)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2817, 3021, 3601, 3696, 3727, 3941, 4135, 4496, 4499, 4843, 5044, 5120, 5694, 6306, 6353, 6767, 7044, 7102, 7162, 7225, 7456, 7918, 8185, 8294, 8593, 8595, 8617, 8653, 8813, 8902, 9050, 9088, 9164, 9182, 9193, 9205, 9231, 9327, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 161

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 22, 24, 186


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 73, 235, 240, 701

Other New Christian Commentary

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


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