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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 #3813

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3813. As regards 'flesh', this means in the highest sense the Proprium of the Lord's Divine Human, which is Divine Good, and in the relative sense means the will side of the human proprium when made alive by the Proprium of the Lord's Divine Human, that is, by His Divine Good. This proprium is the one called the heavenly proprium which, in itself the Lord's alone, is appropriated to those who are governed by good and consequently by truth. Such a proprium exists with angels in heaven, and also with men whose interiors, that is, their spirits, are in the Lord's kingdom. But in the contrary sense 'flesh' means the will side of the human proprium, which in itself is nothing but evil, and not having been made alive by the Lord is called dead; and the individual himself is for that reason called dead.

[2] That 'flesh' in the highest sense means the Proprium of the Lord's Divine Human, and so His Divine Good, is clear from the Lord's words in John,

Jesus said, I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread he will live for ever. The bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews disputed with one another, saying, How can this man give his flesh to eat? Jesus therefore said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day; for My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. This is the bread which came down from heaven. John 6:51-58.

Here it is quite evident that 'flesh' means the Proprium of the Lord's Divine Human, and so the Divine Good - His flesh in the Holy Supper being called 'the body'. His body or flesh in the Holy Supper is the Divine Good, and His blood the Divine Truth, see 1798, 2165, 2177, 3464, 3735. And since bread and wine have the same meaning as flesh and blood - that is to say, 'bread' is the Lord's Divine Good, and 'wine' His Divine Truth - bread and wine were commanded in place of flesh and blood. This is why the Lord says, 'I am the living bread; the bread which I will give is My flesh; he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him; this is the bread which came down from heaven'. 'Eating' means being communicated, being joined to, and being made one's own, see 2187, 2343, 3168, 3513 (end), 3596.

(References: John 6:51-56, 6:58)


[3] The same was represented in the Jewish Church by the law that the flesh of sacrifices was to be eaten by Aaron and his sons, by those persons who brought the sacrifice, and by others who were clean; and that this flesh was holy, see Exodus 12:7-9; 29:30-34; Leviticus 7:15-21; 8:31; Deuteronomy 12:27; 16:4. That being so, if any unclean person ate some of that flesh he was to be cut off from his people, Leviticus 7:21. The fact that these sacrifices were called 'bread', see 2165, and that that sacrificial flesh was called 'holy flesh', Jeremiah 11:15; Haggai 2:12. And in Ezekiel 40:43 where the new Temple is the subject, it is called 'the flesh of the offering which is on the tables in the Lord's kingdom', by which clearly worship of the Lord in His kingdom is meant.

[4] That 'flesh' in the relative sense means the will side of man's proprium when made alive by the Lord is Divine Good is clear also from the following places: In Ezekiel,

I will give them one heart, and will put a new spirit in your midst; and I will remove the heart of stone out of their flesh and will give them a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26.

'The heart of stone out of their flesh' stands for a will and proprium when not made alive, 'a heart of flesh' for a will and proprium when made alive; for 'the heart' is a representative of good in the will, see 2930, 3313, 3635. In David,

O God, You are my God; in the morning I seek You. My soul thirsts for You, my flesh in a dry land longs for You, and I am weary without water. Psalms 63:1.

In the same author,

My soul longs for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my flesh shout for joy to the living God. Psalms 84:2.

[5] In Job,

I have come to know my Redeemer; He is alive; and at the last He will rise above the dust; and afterwards these things will be encompassed by my skin, and out of my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself; and my eyes will behold, and no other. Job 19:25-27.

'Being encompassed by skin' stands for the natural, such as a person possesses after death, dealt with in 3539. 'Out of his flesh seeing God' stands for the proprium when made alive, which is why Job says, 'Whom I shall see for myself; and my eyes will behold, and no other'. Since it was well known in the ancient Churches that 'flesh' meant the proprium, and since the Book of Job is a book of the Ancient Church, 3540 (end), he accordingly followed the custom of the day and drew on meaningful signs to speak of these, as of many other matters. Those therefore who conclude from what Job said that their dead body is going to be reassembled from the four winds and is going to rise again do not know the internal sense of the Word. Those who are conversant with that sense know that they will enter the next life in a body, but in a purer one. In that life people have purer bodies, for they behold one another, talk to one another, and are endowed with each of the senses, which though like those in the physical body are now keener. The body which a person carries around on earth is designed for activities on earth and therefore consists of flesh and bones, whereas the body that a spirit carries around in the next life is designed for activities in that life and does not consist of flesh and bones but of such things as correspond to these, see 3726.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 19:25-27)


[6] That 'flesh' in the contrary sense means the will side of the human proprium which in itself is nothing but evil is clear from the following places: In Isaiah,

Every man will eat the flesh of his own arm. Isaiah 9:20.

In the same prophet,

I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, and they will be drunk with their blood as with new wine. Isaiah 49:26.

In Jeremiah,

I will feed them with the flesh of their sons and with the flesh of their daughters, and every man will eat the flesh of his companion. Jeremiah 19:9.

In Zechariah,

Those that are left will eat, every one the flesh of another. Zechariah 11:9.

In Moses,

I will chastise you seven times for your sins, and you will eat the flesh of your sons: and the flesh of your daughters will you eat. Leviticus 26:28-29.

The will side of the human proprium, or man's own natural inclinations, is described in this way because it is nothing but evil and consequent falsity, and so hatred against every form of truth or good, that are meant by 'eating the flesh of their own arm', 'the flesh of sons and daughters', and 'the flesh of another'.

[7] 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, Come and gather yourselves to the supper of the great God, so that 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; Ezekiel 39:17-20.

Anyone may see that the flesh of kings, captains, mighty men, horses and those seated on them, free men and slaves, is not meant by such expressions. 'Flesh' accordingly has another meaning which has not been known up to now. The fact that evils resulting from falsities, and evils producing falsities, are meant - which evils originate on the will side of the human proprium - is evident from each expression used here.

[8] Since falsity which springs from the understanding side of man's proprium is meant by 'blood' in the internal sense, and evil which springs from the will side of his proprium by 'flesh', the Lord speaks of the person who is to be regenerated as follows,

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

For this reason 'flesh' is used to mean in general all mankind, see 574, 1050 (end). For whether you speak of man or of man's proprium it amounts to the same.

[9] That 'flesh' in the highest sense means the Lord's Divine Human is evident from the verses quoted above, as well as from the following in John,

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father. John 1:14.

It is by virtue of this flesh that all other flesh is made alive, that is, by virtue of the Lord's Divine Human, every human being is made alive, through making His love his own, which is meant by 'eating the flesh of the Son of Man', John 6:51-58, and by eating the bread in the Holy Supper - for the bread is His body or flesh, Matthew 26:26-27.

(References: Genesis 29:14)

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Arcana Coelestia 3863, 4060, 4211, 4303, 4581, 4735, 4745, 4754, 4844, 4876, 5078, 5147, 5157, 5200, 5365, 5405, 5576, 5673, 5826, 6106, 6135, 6409, 6791, 6968, 7231, 7356, 7850, 7966, 7978, 8409, 8431, 8432, 8464, 8904, 9003, 9068, 9323, 9412, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 216, 218


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 109, 295


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


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