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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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

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


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

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

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

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

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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 #5319

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5319. 'And clothed him in robes of fine linen' means an outward sign denoting the celestial of the spiritual, 'robes of fine linen' being truths going forth from the Divine. This is clear from the meaning of 'robes' as truths, dealt with in 1073, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248. The reason 'robes of fine linen' means truths going forth from the Divine is that a robe made of fine linen was absolutely white and at the same time shining, and truth going forth from the Divine is represented by robes which have that kind of brightness and splendour. And the reason for this is that heaven derives its brightness and splendour from the light that flows from the Lord; and the light that flows from the Lord is Divine Truth itself, 1053, 1521-1533, 1619-1632, 1776, 3195, 3222, 3339, 3485, 3636, 3643, 3862, 4415, 4419, 4526, 5219. This explains why, when the Lord was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, His clothing appeared as the light, Matthew 17:2; glistening, intensely white like snow, as no fuller on earth could bleach them, Mark 9:3; and dazzling, Luke 9:29. It was Divine Truth itself going forth from the Lord's Divine Human that was represented in this manner. But they are exterior truths that are represented in heaven by the brightness of robes, whereas interior truths are represented by the brightness and splendour of the face. This is why 'being clothed in robes of fine linen' at this point means an outward sign denoting truth going forth from the celestial of the spiritual, for this was what the Lord's Divine consisted in at this time.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2776)


[2] There are other places too in the Word where truth going forth from the Divine is meant by 'fine linen' and 'robes of fine linen', as in Ezekiel,

I clothed you with embroidered cloth, and shed you with badger, and swathed you in fine linen, and covered you in silk. Thus were you adorned with gold and silver, and your robes were fine linen, and silk, and embroidered cloth. Ezekiel 16:10, 13.

This refers to Jerusalem, which is used in these verses to mean the Ancient Church. The truths of this Church are described by robes made of embroidered cloth, fine linen, and silk, and by being adorned with gold and silver. 'Embroidered cloth' means truths existing as facts, 'fine linen' natural truths, and 'silk' spiritual truths.

[3] In the same prophet,

Fine linen with embroidered work from Egypt was your sail, that it might be to you an ensign; violet and purple from the islands of Elishah was your covering. Ezekiel 27:7.

This refers to Tyre, which too is used to mean the Ancient Church, but so far as cognitions of good and truth are concerned. 'Fine linen with embroidered work from Egypt, which was its sail' means truth obtained from factual knowledge, which was the outward sign of that Church.

[4] In John,

The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over Babylon, since no one buys their wares any more, wares of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and every vessel of ivory, and every vessel made of most precious wood, and bronze, and iron, and marble. Revelation 18:11-12.

All the specific commodities mentioned here mean the kinds of things that have to do with the Church and so truth and goodness. Here however they are used in the contrary sense because they are spoken of in reference to Babylon. Anyone may see that such commodities would never have been listed in the Word which has come down from heaven unless each one held something heavenly within it. What other reason can there be for a list of worldly wares when Babylon, meaning an unholy Church, is the subject? Similarly in the same book,

Woe, woe, the great city, you that were clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, covered 1 with gold, and precious stones, and pearls. Revelation 18:16.

[5] The fact that each commodity means something Divine and heavenly is quite evident in the same book where it states what fine linen is, namely the righteous acts of the saints,

The time of the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. At that time she was given fine linen, clean and shining, to wear; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 19:7-8.

'Fine linen' is 'the righteous acts of the saints' for the reason that all those with whom truth received from the Divine exists are clothed with the Lord's righteousness. For their robes which are bright and shining are products of the light which flows from the Lord. Therefore in heaven truth itself is represented by 'brightness', 3301, 3997, 4007; and people who are being raised to heaven from a state of vastation are seen to be clothed with brightness because they are at this point casting off the robe of their own righteousness and putting on that of the Lord's righteousness.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3993)


[6] So that truth from the Divine might be represented in the Jewish Church, they were commanded to use cotton or fine linen in Aaron's vestments, and also in the curtains around the Ark, referred to in Moses as follows,

You shall make in chequered pattern for Aaron a tunic of cotton, and you shall make a turban of cotton. Exodus 28:39.

They made tunics of cotton, the work of a weaver, for Aaron and his sons. Exodus 39:27.

You shall make the Dwelling-place, ten curtains - fine-twined cotton, violet and purple and twice-dyed scarlet. Exodus 26:1; 36:8.

You shall make the court of the Dwelling-place. The hangings for the court shall be of fine-twined cotton. Exodus 27:9, 18; 38:9.

The screen for the gate of the court, the work of an embroiderer, violet and purple, and twice-dyed scarlet, and fine-twined cotton. Exodus 38:18.

Cotton is fine linen, which they were commanded to use because each object in the Ark and around the Ark, also every detail of Aaron's vestments, were representative of spiritual and celestial realities. From this one may see that a person has only a meagre understanding of the Word if he does not know what such things represent, and scarcely any understanding at all if he thinks that the Word possesses no holiness other than that which presents itself in the letter.

(References: Exodus 37:18)


[7] When angels with whom truth from the Divine is present are seen by anyone they are clothed so to speak in fine linen, that is, in shining brightness, as is evident in John where 'a white horse' is referred to,

The One seated on a white horse was clothed in a garment dyed with blood, and His name is called the Word. His armies in heaven were following Him on white horses; they were clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Revelation 19:11, 13-14.

These words show quite plainly that 'fine linen' is an outward sign denoting truth from the Divine, for 'the One seated on a white horse' is the Lord as to the Word; indeed those words state quite explicitly that He is the Word. The Word is truth itself received from the Divine, and 'a white horse' is the internal sense of the Word, see 2760-2762. Consequently truths received from the Divine are meant by 'white horses', for such truths constitute the whole of the internal sense of the Word. This was why His armies were seen 'on white horses' and why 'they were clothed in fine linen, white and clean'.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, gilded

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(References: Genesis 41:42)

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Arcana Coelestia 5433, 5954, 6377, 6380, 6524, 7918, 7967, 8459, 8521, 8789, 8904, 9158, 9166, 9212, 9372, 9391, 9407, 9467, 9469, 9477, 9595, 9688, 9744, 9780, 9806, 9814, 9833, 9873, 9919, 9959, 10227, 10258, 10536, 10540

The White Horse 1

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 31, 64, 66, 67, 118, 146, 195, 236, 240, 242, 448


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


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