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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

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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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The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1

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Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236

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Arcana Coelestia #5585

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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5585. 'Saying, You will not see my face' means that no compassion will show itself. This is clear from the meaning of 'face', when used in reference to a person, as his interiors, that is to say, his affections and consequent thoughts, dealt with in 358, 1999, 2434, 3527, 3573, 4066, 4796, 4797, 5102. But when used in reference to the Lord, for the Lord is represented in the highest sense by 'Joseph', 'face' means mercy and compassion, and therefore 'not seeing his face' means a lack of mercy or absence of compassion. Not that the Lord lacks any compassion, for He is pure mercy; but when the intermediary that effects the joining to Him is not present it does seem to a person as though there is no compassion in the Lord. The reason for this is that if no intermediary effecting the joining together is present, no acceptance of good takes place. And if there is no acceptance of good, evil is present instead. If at this time the person calls out to the Lord because evil prompts him to do so, thus for selfish reasons in defiance of anyone else's needs, he is not heard, in which case it seems as though no compassion shows itself.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4796-4797)

[2] As regards 'Jehovah's (or the Lord's) face' meaning mercy, this is evident from the Word; for understood properly 'Jehovah's (or the Lord's) face' is Divine love itself, and being Divine love it is the face of mercy since mercy is the expression of love towards the human race set in such miseries. The truth that 'Jehovah's (or the Lord's) face' is Divine Love may be seen from the Lord's face when He was transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John; that is, when He displayed His Divinity to them,

His face shone like the sun. Matthew 17:2.

It has been shown already that 'the sun' is Divine Love, see 30-38, 1521, 1529-1531, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4321 (end), 4696. The Lord's actual Divinity had never previously appeared in any face; but His Divine Human had so appeared, through which, seemingly within which, Divine Love - which in relation to the human race is Divine Mercy - showed itself. This Divine Mercy within the Divine Human is called 'the angel of His face' in Isaiah,

I will cause the mercies of Jehovah to be remembered. He has rewarded 1 them according to His mercies, and according to the abundance of His mercies; and He became their Saviour. And the angel of His face saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them. Isaiah 63:7-9.

The expression 'the angel' is used because 'angels' in the Word means in the internal sense some attribute of the Lord, 1925, 2821, 4085, in this case His mercy, which is why the phrase 'the angel of His face' is used.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3038)

[3] 'Jehovah's (or the Lord's) face' is not only mercy but also peace and goodness since these are attributes of mercy, as may also be seen from the following places: In the Blessing,

Jehovah make His face shine upon you and be merciful to you. Jehovah lift up His face upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:25-26.

Here it is quite evident that 'making His face shine' means showing mercy, and 'lifting up His face' means granting His peace. In David,

God be merciful to us and bless us, and make His face shine upon us. Psalms 67:1.

Here also 'face' stands for mercy. In the same author,

Turn us back, O God, and make Your face shine, that we may be saved. Psalms 80:3, 7, 19.

Here the meaning is similar. In the same author,

Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and my pursuers. Make Your face shine upon Your servant. Psalms 31:15-16.

Likewise in Psalms 119:134-135. In Daniel,

Hear, our God, the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and make Your face shine upon Your sanctuary that has been made desolate. Daniel 9:17.

Here also 'making His face shine' stands for showing mercy.

(References: Psalms 67:2)

[4] In David,

Many are saying, Who will cause us to see good? Lift up the light of Your face upon us. Psalms 4:6-7.

'Lifting up the light of His face' stands for His imparting good because of His mercy. In Hosea,

Let them seek My face; when they are in distress, in the morning let them seek Me. Hosea 5:15.

In David,

Seek My face! Your face, O Jehovah, will I seek. Psalms 27:8-9.

In the same author,

Seek Jehovah and His strength; seek His face continually. Psalms 105:4.

'Seeking Jehovah's face' stands for seeking His mercy. In the same author,

I, in righteousness, shall see Your face. Psalms 17:15.

And in Matthew,

See that you do not despise any of these tiny ones; for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 18:10.

'Seeing God's face' stands for the enjoyment of peace and good because of His mercy.

[5] But the contrary of this is the hiding or concealment and also the turning away of the face, by which showing no compassion is meant, as in Isaiah,

In an overflowing of My anger I hid My face from you for a moment; but with eternal mercy I will have mercy on you. Isaiah 54:8.

'An overflowing of anger' stands for temptation in which, because the Lord does not seem to show mercy, the words 'I hid My face from you for a moment' are used. In Ezekiel,

I will turn My face away from them. Ezekiel 7:22.

In David,

How long, O Jehovah, will You forget me [as if] for ever? How long will You hide Your face from me? Psalms 13:1

In the same author,

Do not hide Your face from me; do not cast aside Your servant in anger. Psalms 17:8, 9.

In the same author,

Why, O Jehovah, do You abandon my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me? Psalms 88:14.

In the same author,

Make haste, answer me, O Jehovah. MY spirit is consumed. Do not hide Your face from me, lest I become like those going down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your mercy in the morning. Psalms 143:7-8.

And in Moses,

My anger will flare up against this people on that day, so that I forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they will be devoured. I will certainly hide My face on that day, because of all the evil which they have done. Deuteronomy 31:17-18.

'Anger flaring up' stands for turning oneself away, 5034, and 'hiding one's face' for not showing any compassion.

(References: Psalms 27:9)

[6] These actions are attributed to Jehovah or the Lord, for the reason that although He is never angry and never turns away or hides His face He is said to do so because that is how it seems to someone under the influence of evil. For the person under the influence of evil turns himself away and hides the Lord's face from himself; that is, he removes His mercy from himself. The fact that it is the evils present with a person that do this is also clear from the Word, as in Micah,

Jehovah will hide His face from them at that time, inasmuch as they have rendered their deeds evil. Micah 3:4.

In Ezekiel,

Because they transgressed against Me, therefore I hid My face from them. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them and have hidden My face from them. Ezekiel 39:23-24.

In particular in Isaiah,

Your iniquities are what separate you from your God, and your sins what cause. His face to hide from you. Isaiah 59:2.

From these and many other places one may see the internal sense, which shows itself in various places and is discovered by one who is looking for it.


1. Reading retribuit (has rewarded), which Swedenborg has in his rough draft and also in 221, for retribuet (will reward)


(References: Ezekiel 39:28-29; Genesis 43:3)

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Arcana Coelestia 5592, 5706, 5816, 6037, 6263, 7599, 8867, 8925, 9212, 9293, 9297, 9306, 9545, 9546, 9936, 10019, 10433

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 196

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Apocalypse Explained 64, 74, 401

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