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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 #9166

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9166. 'An oath of Jehovah shall be between them both' means enquiry made through truths from the Word regarding every single aspect of these things. This is clear from the meaning of 'an oath' as confirming through truths, dealt with in 2842, 3037, 3375, so that 'an oath of Jehovah' means doing so through truths from the Word, for the Word contains Jehovah's truths, that is, God's truths; and from the meaning of 'them both' as in every single aspect, for in the internal sense 'between both' does not mean between two but in every single aspect. 'Two' means things joined together to make a single whole, 1686, 3519, 5194, 8423, thus all that composes the whole, or every single aspect of it. This is what those in heaven perceive 'two' to be; and the reason why they do so is that when a discussion takes place among angels regarding two truths at variance with each other, a scene in which two spirits are arguing with each other presents itself on the level below. And since these spirits are the subordinates of a number of communities, every single aspect of one truth appears with one spirit, and every single aspect of the other truth with the other spirit. From this the angels perceive how the two are able to be linked together. I have been allowed to know from experience that this is what happens. So it is that when the words 'them both' are used in reference to truths they mean in every single aspect. This also is the reason why 'two' means something complete, 9103.

[2] The reason why it was permissible among the Israelite and Jewish nation to swear by Jehovah was that they were not internal, only external people, and when they engaged in the worship of God they did so on an external and not an internal level. The fact that they were like this, see 4281, 4293, 4429, 4433, 4680, 4844, 4847, 4865, 4903, 6304, 8588, 8788, 8806. When the confirmation of a truth comes down into the external man separated from the internal, it is effected by means of an oath; but not so when it comes down into the external by way of the internal. For in the internal man truth appears in its own light, but in the external without the internal truth appears in darkness. This explains why the celestial angels, who inhabit the inmost or third heaven, being in the highest degree of light do not even confirm truths by the use of reasons. Still less do they engage in argument and reasoning about truths; they simply say Yes or No, which they do by virtue of an ability received from the Lord to perceive and see them.

[3] This explains why the Lord has said the following regarding oaths,

You have heard that it was said, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord your oaths. But I say to you, You shall not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your words be, Yes, yes; No, no; anything beyond this is from evil. 1 Matthew 5:33-37.

These words imply that confirmation of God's truths should come from the Lord and not from man, which it does when people are internal and not external. For people who are external confirm truths by means of oaths, but those who are internal do so by means of reasons, while those who are even more internal do not confirm them at all but simply say It is so, or It isn't so. Those who are external are called natural people, those who are internal are called spiritual people, and those even more internal are called celestial people. The last of these - celestial people - have the ability, received from the Lord, to perceive intuitively whether something is true or not, see 2708, 2715, 2718, 3246, 4448, 7877. All this shows what was implied when the Lord said, You shall not swear at all, and also Let your words be Yes, yes; No, no. But why He also said that they were not to swear by heaven, by the earth, by Jerusalem, or by their head, and that any words beyond 'Yes, yes; No, no' are from evil, must be explained.

[4] Swearing by heaven means doing so by Divine Truth, thus by the Lord there. Heaven is heaven not by virtue of the angels regarded in themselves but by virtue of the Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, thus by virtue of the Lord Himself, within them; for the Divine within them is what enables them to be angels of heaven and be called angels of heaven. This explains why those in heaven are said to be 'in the Lord', why the Lord is the All in every single thing of heaven, and also why angels are God's truths, being recipients of God's truth emanating from the Lord.

Heaven is heaven and is called heaven by virtue of what is Divine and the Lord's there, see 552, 3038, 3700. Angels are God's truths, 4295, 4402, 7268, 7873, 8301. Something of the Lord is meant by an angel in the Word, 1925, 2821, 3039, 4085, 4295, 6280.

Since heaven is the Lord in respect of Divine Truth, it says 'you shall not swear by heaven, for it is God's throne'. 'God's throne' is Divine Truth which emanates from the Lord, 5313, 6397, 9039.

[5] Swearing by the earth however is doing so by the Church, thus by Divine Truth there. For just as heaven is the Lord by virtue of Divine Truth that emanates from Him, so too is the Church, the Church being the Lord's heaven or His kingdom on earth. For the meaning of 'earth' in the Word as the Church, see 662, 1066, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 8732. And since 'the earth' is the Church, the place where what is Divine and the Lord's below heaven exists, it says 'you shall not swear by the earth, for it is God's footstool'. 'Footstool' means God's truth below heaven, which is truth as it exists in the literal sense of the Word; for on this sense God's truth in heaven, which is the Word in the internal sense, rests and so to speak stands. Truth as it exists in the literal sense is meant by 'footstool' in David, in Psalms 99:5; 132:7; in Isaiah 60:13; and in Jeremiah, in Lamentations 2:1.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)


[6] Swearing by Jerusalem however is doing so by teachings that present truth drawn from the Word. For in a broad sense 'Jerusalem' is the Church, 2117, 3654; but when the words 'the earth', meaning the Church, are used, followed by 'Jerusalem', 'Jerusalem' then means the Church's teachings, consequently teachings that present God's truth drawn from the Word. This is why it is called 'the city of the great [King, who is] God', for 'city' in the internal sense of the Word means teachings that present the truth, see 402, 2449, 2943, 3216, 4478, 4492, 4493.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493)


[7] Swearing by his head however means a person's doing so by the truth which he himself believes to be the truth and makes part of his faith; for this as it resides with him constitutes 'his head', and it is also what is meant by 'the head' in Isaiah 15:2; 29:10; in Ezekiel 7:18; 13:18; 16:12; 29:18; in Matthew 6:17; and elsewhere. Therefore it also says, 'for you cannot make one hair white or black'. 'Hair' means truth belonging to the external or natural man, 3301, the kind that exists with those who believe the truth not because they perceive it to be the truth but because the teachings of the Church declare it to be so. And since they know the truth on no other grounds than this it says that they are not to swear by it because they cannot make a hair white or black. 'Making a hair white' means declaring on one's own authority that truth is truth, and 'making a hair black' declaring on one's own authority that falsity is falsity. For 'white' is said in reference to truth, 3301, 3993, 4007, 5319, and therefore 'black' in reference to falsity.

[8] From all this one may now see what is meant by the command not to swear at all, not by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by Jerusalem, nor by one's head, namely that a person should not use what is his own to confirm God's truth but what is the Lord's with him. Therefore it also says finally, Your words shall be Yes, yes; No, no; anything beyond this is from evil. Those who have the ability, which comes from the Lord, to perceive and see truth confirm it in this way alone, even as angels of the inmost or third heaven do, the ones who are called celestial angels, spoken about above. The reason why any words beyond 'Yes, yes; No, no' are from evil is that anything beyond them does not come from the Lord but from a person's proprium or self, thus from evil, since a person's proprium is nothing but evil, see 210, 215, 874-876, 987, 1023, 1044, 1047, 3812 (end), 4328, 5660, 8941, 8944. All this again shows in what way the Lord spoke, that is to say, in such a way that every single word contained an inner meaning, since He spoke from the Divine. Thus He spoke for the benefit of angels at the same time as for men; for angels perceive the Word according to its inner meaning.

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Footnotes:

1. or from the evil one

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(References: Exodus 22:11)

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Arcana Coelestia 9396, 9529, 9641, 9818, 9861, 9863, 9942, 9960, 10527

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 121, 140


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 195, 205, 208, 223, 242, 253, 946


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


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