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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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

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


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

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

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

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

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 John the Baptist
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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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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 #9212

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9212. 'If you ever take your companion's clothing as a pledge' means if factual knowledge of truths is dispersed by illusions that are a product of sensory impressions. This is clear from the meaning of 'taking as a pledge' as receiving a token for goods that are supplied, for 'a pledge' is a token for goods that are being lent. When spiritual things are understood instead of these, supplying goods means giving instruction in truths, and the token or pledge in this instance means truth on the level of the senses. For 'the clothing' here which is given as a pledge means the lowest level of the natural, which is that of the senses. Since illusions abound on this level and illusions wipe out truths, 'taking your companion's clothing as a pledge' means the dispersing of truths by illusions that are a product of sensory impressions. The fact that these things are meant is clear from the whole train of thought in the internal sense.

[2] In general 'clothing' means everything that clothes another, and so whatever is relatively more external. Consequently the external or natural man is called the clothing in relation to the internal or spiritual man. In a similar way truth is called the clothing in relation to good, because truth clothes good; likewise factual knowledge of truth in relation to the truth of faith which belongs to the internal man. Sensory perception, which constitutes the lowest level of life with a person, is the clothing in relation to factual knowledge of truth.

'Clothes' are lower things that cover higher ones, or what amounts to the same thing, exterior things that cover interior ones, see 2576, 5248. In general they are truths, 4545, 4763, 5319, 5954, 6914, 6917, 9093, factual knowledge of truths, 6918, or truths on the level of the senses, 9158. Sensory perception constitutes the lowest level of life with a person, 4009, 5077, 5125, 5128, 5767, 5774, 6201, 6313, 7442, 7693, and sensory perception is subject to illusions, 5084, 5089, 6201, 6948, 6949, 7442.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6948-6949)


[3] The meaning of 'clothes' as truths owes its origin to representatives in the next life. There angels and spirits appear dressed in clothes in keeping with the state of faith or truth that is theirs, and their clothes are varied in keeping with the changes which that state undergoes. Those governed by authentic truth appear dressed in white garments, and those governed by truths springing from good in shining ones. But those governed purely by good, as angels of the inmost heaven are, called celestial angels, appear naked. So it is then that clothes are truths, and that truths are meant in the Word by 'clothes', as may be seen from places referred to above. To these places let the following in the Gospels be added:

[4] In Matthew,

When Jesus was transfigured His face shone like the sun, and His garments became [white] as the light. Matthew 17:2.

'Face' in the Word means the interiors, in particular the affections, 358, 1999, 2434, 3527, 3573, 4066, 4796, 4797, 5102, 5695, 6604, 6848, 6849, and 'God's face' Goodness itself, 222, 223, 5585. 'The sun' means God's love, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4321 (end), 4696, 7083, 8644. From this it is evident what the meaning is when it says that the Lord's face shone like the Sun, namely that His interiors were the Good of Divine Love. 'His garments became [white] as the light' means Divine Truth radiating from Him, which also appears in heaven as the light, 1521, 1619-1632, 3195, 3222, 3485, 3636, 3643, 4415, 5400, 8644.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 222-223, Arcana Coelestia 4796-4797, 6848-6849)


[5] In the same gospel,

When Jesus drew near to Jerusalem they brought the she-ass and the colt and laid their garments on them and set Him on them. But a very great crowd spread their garments on the road, while others were breaking off branches from trees and spreading them on the road. Matthew 21:1, 7-8.

Riding on a she-ass and her colt was a representative sign of the Supreme Judge and King, see 2781, as also is evident from what comes before in verse 5,

Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King is coming to you, meek, seated on a she-ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.

It is also evident in Mark 11:1-12; in Luke 19:28-41; in John 12:12-16; and in Zechariah 9:9-10, where it says of the Lord that He would ride on an ass, and on a young ass, a son of she-asses. There He is called a King, and in addition it says that His dominion will be from sea even to sea, and from the River even to the ends of the earth. The fact that the supreme judge rode on a she-ass, and his sons on young asses, see Judges 5:9-10; 10:3-4; 12:14; and that the king rode on a she-mule, and the king's sons on mules, 1 Kings 1:33, 38, 44-45; 2 Samuel 13:29.

(References: John 12:12-15; Luke 19:28-40; Mark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:5; Zechariah 9:9)


[6] When the disciples laid their garments on the she-ass and her colt, it represented the recognition that truths in their entirety were the foundation on which the Lord as supreme Judge and King rested; for the disciples represented the Lord's Church in respect of truths and forms of good, see 2129, 3488, 3858 (end), 6397, and their garments truths themselves, 4545, 4763, 5319, 5954, 6914, 6917, 9093. This same recognition was likewise represented when the crowd spread their garments, also the branches of trees, on the road. Another reason why they spread them on the road was that 'the road' means the truth by means of which a member of the Church is led, see 627, 2333, 3477. And the reason why they also spread the branches of trees was that 'trees' meant perceptions and also cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 2682, 2722, 2972, 4552, 7692, so that their branches are the truths themselves. Those actions were also performed then because it was customary for the chief persons among the people to lay their garments on supreme judges and kings' she-asses and mules when they rode in pomp on them, and for the people themselves to spread their garments on the road, or the branches of trees instead. For in heaven judgeship consists in Divine Truth derived from Good, and kingship in Divine Truth, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148.

[7] In Luke,

No one adds a piece of a new garment onto an old garment; in doing so he splits the new, and the binding from the new is unsuitable for the old.

Luke 5:36.

The Lord used this comparison to describe the truth of the new Church and the truth of the old Church; for 'garment' means truth. Sewing on one or binding it to the other means destroying both; for the truth of the new Church is interior truth, thus truth for the internal man, whereas the truth of the old Church is exterior truth, thus truth for the external man. The latter kind of truth prevailed in the Jewish Church, for by means of external things this Church represented internal ones, whereas the Church of today has knowledge of the internal truths that were represented then, because the Lord has revealed them. The fact that these truths are not suited to external ones in such a way that they can exist together is what the words used by the Lord serve to mean. From all this also it is evident that 'garment' means the Church's truth.

[8] In John,

Jesus said to Peter, Truly, truly I say to you, When you were a boy you girded your loins and walked where you wished. But when you are old you will stretch out your hands, [and] another will gird your loins and lead you where you do not wish. John 21:18.

No one without knowledge of the internal sense can see what these words imply; plainly, they contain arcana. In the internal sense 'Peter' means the Church's faith, see the Prefaces to Genesis 18, 22, and 3750, 6000, 6073 (end), 6344 (end). Consequently Peter when he was a boy means the nature of the Church's faith as it is initially, and Peter when he would be old means the nature of the Church's faith as it is finally. From this it is evident what 'when you were a boy you girded your loins and walked where you wished' means, namely that the Church's faith as it is initially is faith composed of truth derived from good, thus faith composed of charity towards the neighbour and of love to the Lord. And at this time a member of the Church in doing what is good acts freely, because his actions spring from the Lord. For aspects of the good of love are meant by 'the loins', 3021, 3294, 4280, 4575, 5050-5062, so that 'girding the loins' means clothing good with truths; and living is meant by 'walking', 519, 1794, 8417, 8420, so that 'walking where one wishes' means leading a life that is free. Those people lead a life that is free, or act freely, whose faith springs from love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour; for they are led by the Lord, 892, 905, 2870-2893, 6325, 9096. 'When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird your loins and lead you where you do not wish' means that the Church's faith as it is finally will be none at all, at which time falsities that arise from evil springing from self-love and love of the world will take the place of faith and enslave it. This is the arcanum which these words spoken by Lord contain and which can be seen only from their internal sense. All this shows once again the kind of way in which the Lord spoke, namely in such a way that an inner meaning might be present within every detail, to the end that heaven might be joined to the world by means of the Word. For without the Word, that is, without Divine Truth that has been revealed, they are not joined together; and if they are not so joined the human race perishes.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135, 2760, 2870, Arcana Coelestia 9593; Exodus 22:26)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9213, 9214, 9216, 9276, 9331, 9357, 9360, 9372, 9382, 9391, 9396, 9400, 9408, 9477, 9595, 9688, 9726, 9806, 9814, 9822, 9952, 9960, 9996, 10028, 10107, 10227, 10252, 10258, 10375, 10536

Apocalypse Revealed 424

The White Horse 1

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 50, 259


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 31, 38, 64, 140, 240, 271, 355, 543, 946

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 Palm Sunday: Mark
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