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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 #8588

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8588. 'And Meribah' means the essential nature of the complaining. This is clear from the consideration that in the original language Meribah means contention or wrangling, and 'wrangling' means complaining, 8563, 8566; and since also names mean the essential nature of something, 8587, 'Meribah' here means the essential nature of the complaining. As regards the specific temptation here and the essential nature of it, it should be recognized that those people are being described here who in temptations almost give in; that is to say, they complain against heaven, also against the Divine Himself, and at length almost cease to believe in God's providence. These things are meant in the internal sense by what has gone before and also by what follows in the present verse; they are the essential nature of the state of the temptation, meant by 'Massah', and the essential nature of the complaining in the temptation, meant by 'Meribah'. The fact that the latter is meant here by 'Meribah' is evident in David,

You called on Me in distress, and I rescued you; I answered you in the hiding place. I tested you by the waters of Meribah. Psalms 81:7.

[2] But the internal historical sense, in which the religious condition of the Israelite nation is the subject, describes the nature of their attitude towards Jehovah. It was such that when they asked Him for aid they refused to plead for it, and instead demanded it. The reason for this was that when they saw miracles their acknowledgement of Jehovah as the Supreme Deity did not exist in their heart, only on their lips. The fact that there was no acknowledgement of Him in their heart is perfectly clear from the Egyptian calf which they made for themselves and worshipped, saying that these were their gods, and also from their frequent apostasy, regarding which see 8301. These are the matters that the internal historical sense describes here; but the internal spiritual sense describes the essential nature of the temptation when those undergoing it are brought to the final phase before their deliverance.

[3] The fact that the character of the Israelite nation and their religious condition are described by their contending with Moses at Massah and Meribah is also clear in David,

Do not harden your heart as in Meribah, as in the day of Massah, in the wilderness, where your fathers tempted Me; they tempted Me, and saw My work. For forty years I loathed [that] generation, and said, They are a people who err in their heart and have not known My ways, to whom I swore in My anger, They shall not enter My rest. Psalms 95:8-11.

In Moses,

You shall not tempt Jehovah your God, as you tempted [Him] in Massah. Deuteronomy 6:16.

In the same author,

Furthermore in Taberah and in Massah and in Kibroth Hattaavah, you were rebels against Jehovah from the day I knew you. Deuteronomy 9:22, 24.

In the same author,

Of Levi he said, Your Thummim and your Urim shall be for the Holy Man (Vir) whom you tempted in Massah; you contended with Him at the waters of Meribah. Deuteronomy 33:8-9

'The Holy Man' here stands for the Lord, whom they tempted, and whom

Moses and Aaron 'did not honour as holy'.

(References: Deuteronomy 4:16, Deuteronomy 33:8)


[4] In the internal historical sense, in which the religious condition of the

Israelite nation is the subject, Moses and Aaron do not represent God's truth, but the religious condition of that nation, whose leaders and heads they were, 7041. Since that religious condition was such as has been mentioned above, it was declared to the two that they would not lead the people into the land of Canaan. This is stated in the Book of Numbers as follows,

Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron, Because you did not believe in Me and honour Me as holy in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you will not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. These are the waters of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with Jehovah. Numbers 20:12-13; 27:14.

And in the same book,

Aaron will be gathered to his people, and will not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word 1 at the waters of Meribah. Numbers 20:24.

The like is said of Moses at Deuteronomy 32:49-51.

(References: Deuteronomy 32:50-51)


[5] Among that nation representative worship of God was nevertheless established because representative worship could have been established among any nation that thought the outward things of worship were holy and venerated them in a virtually idolatrous manner. For a representative has no regard to the person who represents, only to the reality represented, 1361; and that nation was by disposition such, more than any other nation, that outward things devoid of anything internal were altogether venerated by them as being holy and Divine. They were such that they revered their fathers - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and later on Moses and David - as demi-gods. In addition they venerated as being holy and Divine, and worshipped, every piece of stone or wood dedicated to their worship of God, such as the Ark, the tables there, the lampstand, the altar, Aaron's vestments, the Urim and Thummim, and later on the temple. By means of outward things such as these at that time communication of the angels of heaven with mankind was in the Lord's providence made possible; for the Church, or a representative of the Church, must exist somewhere, in order that heaven may be in communication with the human race. And since that nation more than any other could make Divine worship consist in outward things, and so could act as a representative of the Church, that nation was the one to be adopted.

[6] The communication with angels in heaven by means of representatives was effected at that time in the following way. People's outward worship was conveyed to angelic spirits who are simple and give no thought to inward values, though they are themselves nevertheless good inwardly. Such spirits are those who in the Grand Man correspond to the skin. They pay no attention at all to what is in a person inwardly, only to what is visible outwardly; and if this is seen by them to be holy they think that what is inward is so too. The more internal angels of heaven saw in these spirits the realities that were being represented, consequently the corresponding heavenly and Divine values; for they could reside with these spirits and see those values, but not with men, except through those spirits. Angels dwell with men in their inward values; but when no inward values are there, they dwell in the interiors of simple spirits; for the wisdom of angels extends only to spiritual and celestial values, which are the inward realities of representatives. From this brief explanation one may recognize how communication with heaven through such a people could be made possible. But see what has been shown already on this matter:

Among the Jews the holiness of their worship was carried up outside themselves into heaven in a miraculous fashion, 4307. The descendants of Jacob were able to represent what was holy, irrespective of what they were really like, provided that the religious observances which had been commanded were carried out precisely, 3147, 3479, 3480, 3881 (end), 4208, 4281, 4288, 4289, 4293, 4307, 4444, 4500, 4680, 4825, 4844, 4847, 4899, 4912, 6304, 6306, 7048, 7051, 8301 (end).

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Footnotes:

1. literally, mouth

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(References: Arcana Coelestia 3479-3480, 4288-4289; Deuteronomy 4:16; Exodus 17:7)

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Arcana Coelestia 8788, 8918, 9166, 9229, 9259, 9320, 9372, 9380, 9409, 9962, 10396, 10401, 10436, 10490, 10493, 10499

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 130, 433, 443


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