From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

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

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.

 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?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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

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

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #1672

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

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

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

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #2906

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

2906. 'The years of the life of Sarah' means when any Divine truth still existed on earth. This is clear from the meaning of 'a year' as a whole period of the Church from start to finish, and so of 'years' as periods, dealt with immediately above in 2905; and from the meaning of 'the life of Sarah' as states as regards Divine truth, also dealt with just above, in 2904. Thus here the end when no Divine truth at all existed any longer is meant, as also follows from the words that occur immediately before these.

[2] That 'a year' means the whole length of time a state of the Church lasts, from start to finish, or what amounts to the same, a whole period, and that consequently 'years' means the periods of time within the general whole, becomes clear from the following places in the Word: In Isaiah,

Jehovah has anointed Me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; He has sent Me to bind up the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to captives, and opening of every kind to those that are bound, to proclaim the year of Jehovah's good pleasure, and the day of vengeance for our God. Isaiah 61:1-2.

This refers to the Coming of the Lord. 'The year of Jehovah's good pleasure' stands for the time of the new Church. In the same prophet,

The day of vengeance was in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come. Isaiah 63:4.

This similarly refers to the Coming of the Lord. 'The year of the redeemed' stands for the time of the new Church. In the same prophet,

The day of Jehovah's vengeance, the year of retributions on account of the controversy of Zion. Isaiah 34:8.

Here the meaning is similar.

[3] That same period is also called 'the year of visitation': in Jeremiah,

I will bring evil to the men of Anathoth in the year of their visitation. Jeremiah 11:23.

In the same prophet,

I will bring upon Moab the year of their visitation. Jeremiah 48:44.

And plainer still in Ezekiel,

After many days you will be visited; in the latter years you will come upon the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, upon the mountains of Israel, which will be a waste continually. Ezekiel 38:8.

'The latter years' stands for the final period of the Church when it becomes that which is not the Church, those who previously belonged to the Church having been rejected and others having been accepted from other places. In Isaiah,

Thus said the Lord to me, Within yet a year, according to the years of a hireling, and all the glory of Kedar will be brought to an end. Isaiah 21:16.

This too stands for the final period.

[4] In Ezekiel,

You have become guilty by your blood which you have shed, and defiled by your idols which you have made, and you have brought your days near, and you have come even to your years. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations and a mocking to all the lands. Ezekiel 22:4.

'Coming even to their years' stands for coming to the end when the Lord departs from the Church. In Isaiah,

Jehovah has now spoken, saying, In three years, as with the years of a hireling, the glory of Moab will grow worthless, with all its great multitude; and the residue will be tiny and of no account. Isaiah 16:14.

'In three years' also stands for the end of the previous Church - 'three' meaning that which has been completed and that which is a beginning, see 1825, 2788.

[5] Seven, and also seventy, have the same meaning, see 720, 728, 901. Consequently it is said in Isaiah,

And it will be on that day, that Tyre will pass into oblivion for seventy years, according to the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre according to the song of the harlot. And it will be at the end of seventy years, that Jehovah will visit Tyre, and she will return to hiring herself out as a harlot. Isaiah 23:15, 17.

'Seventy years' stands for a whole period, from the time a Church comes into being until the time it breathes its last, which is also 'the days of one king', for 'a king' means a Church's truth, see 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069. The captivity which the Jews were sent into lasting seventy years entails something similar. That captivity is also spoken of in Jeremiah as follows,

These nations will serve the king of Babel seventy years, and it will be, when the seventy years are fulfilled, that I will visit the king of Babel and this nation for their iniquity, said Jehovah. Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10.

(References: Isaiah 23:15-17)

[6] That 'a year', and also 'years', is a whole period of the Church, or the time it lasts, becomes clearer still in Malachi,

Behold, I am sending My angel, and he will prepare the way before Me; and suddenly there will come to His temple the Lord whom you are seeking, and the angel of the covenant in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming, said Jehovah Zebaoth. And who can endure the day of His coming? Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to Jehovah, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years. Malachi 3:1-2, 4.

This refers to the Coming of the Lord. 'The days of old' stands for the Most Ancient Church, 'ancient years' for the Ancient Church, 'the offering of Judah' for worship springing from celestial love, and 'the offering of Jerusalem' for worship springing from spiritual love. Here it is quite evident that neither Judah nor Jerusalem was meant. In David,

I have considered the days of old, and the years of long ago. Psalms 77:5.

Here 'the days of old' and 'the years of long ago' stand for the same two Churches, as is plainer still in Moses,

Recollect the days of old, understand the years of generation after generation; ask your father and he will show you, your elders and they will tell you, When the Most High gave to the nations an inheritance, and Himself separated the sons of man. Deuteronomy 32:7-8.

[7] That 'a year' or 'years' is a complete period of the Church is also evident in Habakkuk,

O Jehovah, I have heard Your fame; I was afraid. O Jehovah, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath You will remember mercy. God will come out of Teman, and the Holy One out of Mount Paran. Habakkuk 3:2-3.

This refers to the Coming of the Lord. 'In the midst of the years' stands for in the fullness of time. For what the fullness of time is, see just above in 2905.

[8] As 'a year' and 'years', when used in reference to the Lord's kingdom on earth, which is the Church, mean a complete period from start to finish, so when used in reference to the Lord's kingdom in heaven do they mean that which is eternal; as in David,

O God, Your years are from generation to generation. You are He, and Your years will have no end. The sons of Your servants will continue, and their seed will be established before You. Psalms 102:24, 27-28.

In the same author,

You will add days to the king's days; His years as generation after generation! And He will dwell for ever before God. Psalms 61:6-7.

Here 'years' stands for that which is eternal since these words refer to the Lord and His kingdom.

[9] The lambs offered in burnt offerings and sacrifices, which were to be in their first year, Leviticus 12:6; 14:10; Numbers 6:12; 7:15, 21, 33, 39, 45, 51, 57, 63, 69, 75, 81; and elsewhere, meant the celestial things of innocence in the Lord's kingdom, which are eternal. Hence burnt offerings of calves in their first year are referred to in Micah 6:6 as being most acceptable.

(References: Numbers 7:27)

[10] That 'a year' in the internal sense does not mean a year is made additionally clear from the consideration that angels, who possess the internal sense of the Word, are not able to possess the idea of any year. But because a year is a complete period of time within the natural world, they have instead of the idea of a year the idea of that which is completed in relation to states of the Church, and of that which is eternal in relation to states in heaven. To them periods of time are states, 1274, 1382, 2625, 2788, 2837.

(References: Genesis 23:1)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 3318, 5292, 6129, 7828, 7839, 8070, 9037, 9286, 10209

The White Horse 9

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