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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


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Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Arcana Coelestia #6832

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6832. 'In a flame of fire from the middle of a bramble bush' means God's love present in true factual knowledge. This is clear from the meaning of 'a flame of fire' as God's love, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'a bramble bush' as true factual knowledge. The reason why 'a bramble bush' means true factual knowledge is that all shrubs of every kind mean factual knowledge, whereas actual plantations of trees, being larger, mean cognitions and perceptions. Because it produces flower and berries 'a bramble bush' means true factual knowledge. True factual knowledge that the Church possesses consists in nothing else than the Word as it exists in the sense of the letter and also every one of the Church's representative forms and meaningful signs that existed among the descendants of Jacob. These in the external form they take are called true factual knowledge; but in their internal form they are spiritual truths. But truths in their internal or spiritual form could not be made visible to those descended from Jacob, for the reason that they were interested solely in things of an external nature and had no wish whatever to know about anything internal. Therefore the Lord appeared in a bramble bush (when the Lord appears to people He does so in a way suited to the kind of people they are, for a person cannot receive the Divine in any way other than that which is a way suited to the kind of person he is); and therefore also, when the Lord appeared on Mount Sinai He appeared to the people' as a fire burning even to the heart of heaven, and as darkness, cloud, and pitch darkness', Deuteronomy 4:11; 5:22-25; also Exodus 19:18. He would have appeared in an altogether different way if the people below the mountain who beheld Him had not been the kind of people they were. And because those people were interested solely in things of an external nature, when Moses went in to the Lord on Mount Sinai, it is said that he went into the cloud, Exodus 20:21; 24:2, 18; 34:2-5, 'the cloud' being the external aspect of the Word, see Preface to Genesis 18, and 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343 (end), and also consequently representatives in the Church which are seen in outward form.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 34:5)


[2] The truth that the Lord appears to each individual person in a way suited to the kind of person he is may be recognized from the consideration that the Lord appears to those in the inmost or third heaven as the Sun from which light beyond description radiates, the reason being that those there are governed by the good of love to the Lord. He appears to those in the middle or second heaven as the Moon, the reason being that there they are governed by love to the Lord in a more remote and obscure way; for they are governed by love towards the neighbour. But the Lord does not appear to those in the lowest or first heaven either as the Sun or the Moon, only as Light, a light far more brilliant than light in the world. And since the Lord appears to each in a way suited to the kind of person he is, He cannot appear to those in hell as anything other than dark cloud and pitch darkness. For as soon as the light of heaven which comes from the Lord shines into any hell, darkness and thick darkness are produced there. From all this one may now recognize that the Lord appears to each individual person in a way suited to the kind of person he is, for this is suited to the way he receives the Lord. And since the descendants of Jacob were interested solely in things of an external nature, the Lord appeared to Moses in a bramble bush, and also in a cloud when Moses went in to the Lord on Mount Sinai.

[3] The reason why 'a flame' is God's love is that love in its earliest origin is nothing other than fire or flame from the Lord as the Sun. The fire or flame of this sun is what supplies each individual person with the being (esse) of his life; it is that life-giving fire which fills a person's interiors with warmth, as one may recognize from what happens with love. To the extent that love increases in a person he warms up; but to the extent that it diminishes he cools off. This explain s why, when the Lord appeared in a vision, He appeared as fire and flame, as in Ezekiel,

The appearance of the four living creatures (who were cherubs) was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of lamps. It was moving between the living creatures as a bright fire, and out of the fire went forth lightning. Above the firmament that was over their heads, in appearance like a sapphire stone, there was the likeness of a throne, and over the likeness of a throne there was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it, above. And I saw the shape of burning coals, as the shape of fire, within it round about, from the appearance of His loins and upwards. But from the appearance of His loins and downwards I saw as it were the appearance of fire, whose brightness was round about it. Ezekiel 1:13, 26-28.

(References: Ezekiel 1:21)


[4] Nobody can deny that all the several details of this vision are signs that represent aspects of the Divine; but unless one knows what is meant by 'the cherubs', 'the burning coals of fire, like the appearance of lamps', 'a throne', 'the appearance of a man upon it', 'his loins from which fire emanated upwards and downwards, and the brightness radiating from the fire', one can have no knowledge of the real holiness hidden within all those several details. 'The cherubs' are the Lord's Providence, see 308; 'the throne' is heaven, or - to be exact - Divine Truth that emanates from the Lord to form heaven, 5313; 'the appearance of a man upon the throne above' is plainly the Lord's Divine Human; and 'loins' are conjugial love and all heavenly love that derives from it, 3021, 4277, 4280, 4575, 5050, 5062. This love was represented by 'the shape of burning coal, as the shape of fire, whose brightness was round about it'.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5050-5062; Ezekiel 1:26-27)


[5] In Daniel,

I saw, until thrones had been placed, and the Ancient of Days was seated. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was a flame of fire; His wheels were burning fire. A river of five issued and came forth from before Him. Daniel 7:9-10.

The Divine Good of the Lord's Divine Love was seen in this vision too as a flame of fire. In John,

He who sat on the white horse, His eyes were like aflame of fire. Revelation 19:11-12.

'He who sat on the white horse' is the Lord in respect of the Word, as is explicitly stated in verses 13, 16, of that chapter. Thus 'the flame of fire' is Divine Truth contained in the Word, which radiates from the Lord's Divine Goodness. In the same book,

In the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe. His head and hair were white, like white wool, like snow; but His eyes were like a flame of fire. Revelation 1:13-14.

Here also 'eyes like a flame of fire' is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Goodness.

(References: Revelation 19:12, 19:13, 19:16)


[6] The meaning of 'a flame of fire' as Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is also evident in David,

The voice of Jehovah falls like a flame of fire. Psalms 29:7.

'The voice of Jehovah' stands for Divine Truth. In order that Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Good might be represented, the people were commanded to make a lampstand of pure gold with seven lamps and to place it in the tent of meeting by the table where the loaves of the presence were, and to keep the lamps burning unceasingly before Jehovah, Exodus 25:31-end; Exodus 25:37:17-24; 40:24-25; Leviticus 24:4; Numbers 8:2; Zechariah 4:2. The lampstand with its seven lamps served to represent Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Good.

(References: Exodus 25:31-40, Exodus 37:17-24)


[7] In order also that Divine Good itself might be represented they were commanded to have perpetual fire on the altar,

Fire shall burn on the altar and not be put out; the priest shall kindle pieces of wood on it at every dawn. Fire shall burn unceasingly on the altar and not be put out. Leviticus 6:12-13.

The fact that the ancients were very well acquainted with the use of fire to represent Divine Love may be recognized from the spread of that representative from the Ancient Church even to nations far away whose worship was idolatrous and who, as is well known, established an everlasting sacred fire and placed in charge of it virgins, who were called the vestal virgins.

[8] In the contrary sense 'fire' and 'flame' mean filthy kinds of love, such as those of vengeance, cruelty, hatred, and adultery, and in general the cravings that spring from self-love and love of the world. This too is clear from very many places in the Word, of which let just the following be quoted: In Isaiah,

Behold, they have become as stubble, the fire has burned them; they do not save themselves from the power of the flame. 1 There will be no coal to be warmed by [nor] fire to sit in front of. Isaiah 47:14.

In Ezekiel,

Behold, I will kindle in you a five, which will devour in you every green tree and every dry tree. The blazing flame 2 will not be put out, and all faces from south to north will be scorched by it. Ezekiel 20:47.

Here 'fire' and 'flame' mean desires for what is evil and false which annihilate everything good and true in the Church, and thereby lay it waste.

[9] In Luke,

The rich man said to Abraham, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. Luke 16:24.

People who do not know that a person's vital heat has a different origin from that which is the source of elemental fire cannot possibly do anything else but think that by hell fire is meant fire like that found in the world. In the Word however this latter kind of fire is not meant but the fire of love, thus the fire of a person's life, emanating from the Lord as a Sun. And when this fire comes among those engrossed in pursuits contrary to it, it is turned into the fire of evil desires which, as stated above, belong to vengeance, hatred, and cruelty, and which well up from self-love and love of the world. This is the fire that torments those who are in hell, for when the restraint placed on their evil desires is relaxed, one sets upon another and they torment one another in dreadful and indescribable ways. For each has the wish for supremacy and wants to take from the other the things he has by hidden or open devices. When one or two have such desires hatreds consequently develop within the group, and these lead to the savage deeds that are performed, especially by the use of devices involving magic and the use of figments of the imagination, devices which are countless and totally unknown in the world.

[10] People who do not believe in the existence of spiritual things, especially those who worship nature, cannot at all be led to believe that the warmth present in living persons, which constitutes the actual life within them, has a different origin from that which is the source of worldly heat. For they are not even aware, let alone able to acknowledge, that there is a heavenly fire radiating from the Lord as a Sun, and that this Fire is pure love. Consequently they are unaware of countless instances in the Word in which no other kind of fire is meant; nor are they aware of countless manifestations of it in the human being, who is an organ made to receive that fire.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, save their soul from the hand of the flame

2. literally, heavy flame of flame

-----

(References: Exodus 3:2; Ezekiel 1:21)

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Arcana Coelestia 6833, 6834, 6841, 7356, 7519, 7553, 7575, 7852, 8108, 8197, 8483, 8496, 8814, 8820, 8821, 8875, 8914, 8928, 8932, 9010, 9055, 9143, 9193, 9204, 9229, 9306, 9320, 9348, 9373, 9375, 9391, 9434, 9467, 9475, 9714, 9818, 9865, 9942, ...

Heaven and Hell 86

The White Horse 1, 8

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 221, 248, 257, 307


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 66, 68, 240, 274, 277, 324, 364, 382, 433, 539, 594


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


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