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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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 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


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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 #3147

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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3147. 'And water to wash his feet' means purification there. This is clear from the meaning of 'water to wash' or 'washing with water' as purifying, dealt with below, and from the meaning of 'feet' as natural things, or what amounts to the same, those things that are in the natural man, dealt with in 2162. In the representative Church washing feet with water was a ceremonial act which meant washing away the filth of the natural man. The filth of the natural man is composed of all the things that belong to self-love and love of the world, and when such filth has been washed away goods and truths flow in, for that filth alone is what hinders the influx of good and truth from the Lord.

[2] For good is flowing in constantly from the Lord, but when by way of the internal or spiritual man it reaches the external or natural man it is either perverted there, or turned away, or stifled. But when indeed the things that belong to self-love and love of the world are removed, good is received there, and bears fruit there, since the person now performs the works of charity. This may become clear from many considerations, such as this: When the things that belong to the external or natural man are quiescent - as they are in times of ill- fortune, wretchedness, and sickness - a person instantly starts to become spiritually-minded and to will what is good, and also to perform acts of devotion insofar as he is able. But when that state alters, these things are altered too.

[3] In the Ancient Church 'washings' were signs meaning these things, and in the Jewish Church the same were representations. The reason why in the Ancient Church they were meaningful signs but in the Jewish Church representations was that members of the Ancient Church regarded that custom as some external act of worship. Nor did they believe that they were purified by that kind of washing but by a washing away of the filth of the natural man, which, as has been stated, is composed of the things that belong to self-love and love of the world. But the member of the Jewish Church did believe that he was purified by such washing, for he did not know, and did not wish to know, that the purifying of a person's interior self was meant.

[4] That 'washing' means the washing away of that filth is clear in Isaiah,

Wash yourselves; purify yourselves; remove the evil of your doings from before My eyes; cease to do evil. Isaiah 1:16.

Here it is evident that 'washing themselves' means purifying themselves and removing evils. In the same prophet,

When the Lord will have washed the excrement of the daughters of Zion and washed away the blood of Jerusalem from its midst in a spirit of judgement and in a spirit of purging. Isaiah 4:4.

Here 'washing the excrement of the daughters of Zion and washing away the blood of Jerusalem' stands for purifying from evils and falsities. In Jeremiah,

Wash your heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem, that you may be saved. How long will your iniquitous thoughts lodge within you? Jeremiah 4:14.

[5] In Ezekiel,

I washed you with water, and washed away the blood from upon you, and anointed you with oil. Ezekiel 16:9.

This refers to Jerusalem, which is used here to mean the Ancient Church. 'Washing with water' stands for purifying from falsities, 'washing away the blood' for purging from evils, 'anointing with oil' for filling with good at that time. In David,

Wash me from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. You will purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; You will wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalms 51:2, 7.

'Being washed' plainly stands for being purified from evils and derivative falsities.

[6] These were the things that were meant by 'washing' in the Representative Church. For the sake of the representation, when they had been made unclean and needed to be cleansed, people were commanded in that Church to wash the skin, hands, feet, and also their garments. All these meant things that belong to the natural man. Also for the sake of the representation, lavers made of bronze were placed outside the Temple - that is to say, 'the bronze sea and the ten bronze lavers' mentioned in 1 Kings 7:23-29; there was also the bronze laver from which Aaron and his sons were to wash themselves, placed between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar, and so outside the Tent of Meeting, Exodus 30:18-19, 21 - the meaning of which was that only external or natural things needed to be purified. And unless they have been purified, that is, unless things belonging to self-love and love of the world have been removed from them, internal things which belong to love to the Lord and towards the neighbour cannot possibly flow in, as stated above.

(References: 1 Kings 7:23-39)


[7] To enable these matters to be understood more easily, that is to say, regarding the need for external things to be purified, let good works - or what amounts to the same, the goods of charity, which are at the present day called the fruits of faith, and which, since they are actions, are external - serve to exemplify and illustrate the point: Good works are bad works unless the things belonging to self-love and love of the world are removed. For until these have been removed works, when performed, are good to outward appearance but are inwardly bad. They are inwardly bad because they are done either for the sake of reputation, or for financial gain, or for improvement of one's position, or for reward. They are accordingly either merit-seeking or hypocritical, for the things that belong to self-love and love of the world cause those works to be such. But when indeed these evils are removed, works become good, and are the goods of charity. That is to say, they are done regardless of self, the world, reputation, or reward, and so are not merit-seeking or hypocritical, because in that case celestial love and spiritual love flow from the Lord into those works and cause them to be love and charity in action. And at the same time the Lord also purifies the natural or external man by means of those things and orders it so that that man receives correspondingly the celestial and spiritual things that flow in.

[8] This becomes quite clear from what the Lord taught when He washed the disciples' feet: In John,

He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, Lord, do You wash my feet? Jesus answered and said to him, What I am doing you do not know now, but you will know afterwards. Peter said to Him, You will never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me. Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and head! Jesus said to him, He who is washed has no need except that his feet be washed, but is clean all over. Now you are clean, but not all of you. John 13:4-17.

'He who is washed has no need except that his feet be washed' means that anyone who has been reformed needs to be cleansed only in regard to natural things, that is, to have evils and falsities removed from them. For when that happens all is ordered by the influx of spiritual things from the Lord. Furthermore 'feet-washing' was an act of charity, meaning that one ought not to dwell on the evils of another person. It was also an act of humility, meaning the cleansing of another from evils, like filth from the body, as also becomes clear from the Lord's words in verses 12-17 of that chapter in John, and also in Luke 7:37-38, 44, 46; John 11:2; 1 Samuel 25:41.

(References: John 13:12-17)


[9] Anyone may see that washing himself does not purify a person from evils and falsities, only from the filth that clings to him. Yet because it belonged among the religious observances commanded in the Church it follows that it embodies some special idea, namely spiritual washing, which is purification from the filth that clings to man inwardly. Members of that Church therefore who knew these things and thought of purification of the heart, that is, the removal of the evils of self-love and love of the world from the natural man, and tried to achieve it with utmost zeal, practiced ritual washing as an external act of worship, as commanded. But among those who did not know and did not wish to know those things but who supposed that the mere ritual act of washing garments, skin, hands, and feet would purify them, and who supposed that provided they performed such rituals they would be allowed to continue leading lives of avarice, hatred, revenge, mercilessness, and cruelty - all of which constitute spiritual filth - the performance of the ritual was idolatrous. Nevertheless by means of that ritual they were still able to represent, and by means of the representation to display, some vestige of a Church, by means of which heaven was in a way joined to mankind prior to the Lord's Coming. But that conjunction was such that heaven had little or no influence at all on the member of that Church.

[10] The Jews and Israelites were such that they did not think at all of the internal man, nor did they wish to know anything about the same. Thus they knew absolutely nothing about the celestial and spiritual things which belong to the life after death. Nevertheless to prevent the end of all communication with heaven and so with the Lord, they were bound to the performance of external observances by which internal things were meant. All their captivities and plagues were in general to the end that external observances might be duly carried out for the sake of the representation. It was for this reason that the following laws were given:

Moses was to wash Aaron and his sons with water at the tent door, to sanctify them. Exodus 29:4; 40:12; Leviticus 8:6.

Aaron and his sons were to wash their hands and feet before entering the Tent of Meeting and approaching the Altar to minister, lest they died. This was to them a statute for ever. Exodus 30:18-21; 40:30-31.

Before putting on his vestments Aaron was to wash his flesh. Leviticus 16:4, 24.

Levites were to be purified by sprinkling the water of expiation over them, passing a razor over their flesh, and washing their clothes - then they were pure. Numbers 8:6-7.

Anyone who ate the carcass of a clean animal, 1 or that which had been torn to pieces, was to wash his clothes and bathe himself with water, and if he did not wash himself and bathe his flesh he would bear his iniquity. Leviticus 17:15-16.

Anyone who touched the bed of a person who had a discharge, or sat on a vessel on which that person had sat, and anyone who touched that person's flesh was to wash his clothes and to bathe himself with water, and be unclean until the evening. Leviticus 15:5-7, Leviticus 15:10-1: and following verses.

The person who sent the goat away to Azazel was to wash his flesh. Leviticus 16:26.

When a leper was to be cleansed he was to wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, wash himself in water, and then he would be clean. Leviticus 14:8-9.

Even vessels themselves which had become unclean through contact with unclean persons were made to go through water and be unclean until the evening. Leviticus 11:32.

From all these laws it may be seen that nobody was made clean or pure internally through ritual washing, but that such a person merely represented him who was pure or spiritually clean, for the reason stated above. The Lord teaches the same quite explicitly in Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23.

-----
Footnotes:

1. i.e. an animal that had not been slaughtered but had died naturally

-----

(References: Exodus 40:30-32; Genesis 24:32; Leviticus 15:10-12; Matthew 15:1-2, 15:20)


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Arcana Coelestia 3324, 3693, 3721, 3761, 3881, 3986, 4208, 4280, 4302, 4311, 4382, 4515, 4938, 5328, 5508, 5669, 6015, 6372, 6377, 6413, 6463, 6730, 6844, 6947, 7046, 7442, 7729, 7864, 8046, 8106, 8588, 8789, 8886, 8918, 9054, 9223, 9229, 9262, ...

Heaven and Hell 603

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 186, 209, 248, 277


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 69, 71, 130, 163, 176, 240, 279, 365, 376, 405, 433, 443

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.


 Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
In washing the disciples' feet Jesus showed His unconditional love for humankind. His example shows us leadership qualities to strive for.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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