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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 #9262

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9262. 'And do not kill the innocent and the righteous' means detesting the destruction of good, interior and exterior. This is clear from the meaning of 'the innocent' as a person governed by interior good, and so in the abstract sense as interior good, dealt with below; from the meaning of 'the righteous' as a person governed by exterior good, and in the abstract sense as exterior good, since 'righteous' has reference to the good of love towards the neighbour, but 'innocent' to the good of love to the Lord - the good of love towards the neighbour being exterior good, and the good of love to the Lord being interior good; and from the meaning of 'killing' as destroying. The fact that 'righteous' means the good of love towards the neighbour will also be seen below. But the reason why 'the innocent' means the good of love to the Lord is that people endowed with innocence are those who love the Lord; for innocence consists in the acknowledgement in a person's heart that left to himself he intends nothing but evil and perceives nothing but falsity, and that all good of love and all truth of faith come from the Lord alone. No others can acknowledge these things in their heart except those who have been joined to the Lord in love. Such people inhabit the inmost heaven, which is accordingly called the heaven of innocence. Therefore the good that is theirs is interior good; for the Divine Good of Love coming from the Lord is that which inhabitants of the heaven of innocence receive. Therefore also they appear naked and also look like young children. So it is that innocence is represented by nakedness and also by early childhood. For its representation by nakedness, see 165, 213, 214, 8375; and by early childhood, 430, 1616, 2280, 2305, 2306, 3183, 3494, 4563, 4797, 5608 (end).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 213-214, Arcana Coelestia 2305-2306)


[2] From all that has just been stated regarding innocence it may be seen that what is Divine and the Lord's cannot be received except within innocence. This being so, good is not good unless there is innocence within it, 2526, 2780, 3994, 6765, 7840, 7887, that is, unless there is the acknowledgement that from the self nothing but evil and falsity arises and that from the Lord comes all goodness and truth. Believing the former about the self, and believing the latter about the Lord and also desiring it to be so, are what constitutes innocence. Therefore the good of innocence is God's goodness itself coming from the Lord and residing with a person. So it is that 'the innocent' means a person governed by interior good and in the abstract sense means interior good.

[3] Because 'the innocent' or 'innocence' means Divine Good coming from the Lord, shedding innocent blood was a thoroughly atrocious crime. And when it had been committed the whole land was under damnation until the crime had been expiated, as becomes clear from the process of investigation and absolution from guilt if someone had been found slain in the land. That process is spoken of in Moses as follows,

When one is found slain in the land, lying in the field, and it is not known who smote him, then your elders and your judges shall come out and they shall measure [the distance] to the cities which are around the one slain. It shall be however, that in the city nearest to the one slain the elders of this city shall take an ox's heifer by means of which no work has been done, which has not pulled in the yoke; and the elders of this city shall bring the heifer down to a barren valley which is neither tilled nor sown, and there they shall break the heifer's neck in the valley. Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, and all the elders of this city standing by the one slain. They shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck has been broken in the valley; and they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, and our eyes have not seen it; expiate Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, O Jehovah, and do not set innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel. In this way the blood will be expiated for them. But you shall put away the innocent blood from the midst of you, if you do what is right in the eyes of Jehovah. Deuteronomy 21:1-10.

Anyone can see that this process of investigation and absolution from guilt when innocent blood had been shed in the land holds within it the arcana of heaven, of which people cannot have any knowledge at all unless they know what is meant by 'one slain, [lying] in the field', by 'an ox's heifer by means of which no work has been done, and which has not pulled in the yoke', by 'a barren valley which is neither tilled nor sown', by 'breaking the neck of the heifer in the valley', by 'washing hands over the heifer', and by all the other details of the process. Unless everything laid down had meant those arcana it would have been totally unsuitable for the Word that has been dictated by God and inspired in every word and part of a letter. For without its deeper meaning such a process would have been an observance which had nothing holy about it, indeed which had scarcely any value.

(References: Deuteronomy 21:1-9)


[4] But exactly which arcana lie within it is nevertheless evident from the internal sense, that is, if it is known that 'one slain in the land, lying in the field' means truth and good wiped out in the Church where good exists; that 'the city nearest to the one slain' means the truth taught by the Church whose good has been wiped out; that 'an ox's heifer by means of which no work has been done, and which has not pulled in the yoke' means the good of the external or natural man, who has not as yet, through enslavement to evil desires, drawn falsities into his faith and evils into his life; that 'a barren valley which is neither tilled nor sown' means the natural mind that is not cultivated with truths or forms of the good of faith owing to lack of knowledge; that 'breaking its neck in the valley' means purification, on account of absence of blame because it was due to lack of knowledge; and that 'washing the hand' means being absolved from that atrocious crime. Once these things are known it is evident that 'shedding innocent blood' means wiping out Divine Truth and Good that come from the Lord, thus the Lord Himself as He exists with a member of the Church.

[5] It should be recognized that this entire process represented in heaven the kind of crime that had no blame attached to the commission of it because it was due to ignorance that had innocence within it and was therefore as something not evil. Each detail within that process, even the smallest, represented some essential aspect of the reality portrayed by the whole. But which aspect each one represented is clear from the internal sense.

'One who has been slain' is truth and good that have been wiped out, see 4503.

'The land' is the Church, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 8732.

'The field' is the Church in respect of good, thus the Church's good, 2971, 3310, 3766, 4982, 7502, 7571, 9139.

'The city' is teachings presenting the truth, thus the truth taught by the Church, 402, 2268, 2449, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493.

'Ox' is the good of the external or natural man, 2180, 2566, 2781, 9134, so that 'a heifer' is good in its infancy, 1824, 1825.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067, 1824-1825, 2117-2118, Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493)


[6] 'No work had been done by it, and it had not pulled in the yoke', it is evident, means that up to then it had not, owing to lack of knowledge, served falsities and evils; for 'working' and 'pulling in the yoke' mean serving.

'A valley' is the lower mind, which is called the natural mind, 3417, 4715; 'a barren valley' is that mind when devoid of truths and forms of good, 3908; so that 'a valley which is neither tilled nor sown' is the natural mind not yet cultivated with truths and forms of good, thus which is still lacking in knowledge, 'the seed with which it is sown' being the truth of faith, 1025, 1447, 1610, 1940, 2848, 3038, 3373, 3671, 6158.

'Breaking the neck' is expiation, because the slaughter of various beasts, like the offering of sacrifice, meant expiation.

'Washing the hand' means purification from falsities and evils, 3147; here therefore it means purification from that atrocious crime; for 'shedding blood' in general means violence done to goodness and truth, 9127, so that 'shedding innocent blood' means wiping out what is Divine residing with a person and comes from the Lord, thus the Lord Himself residing with that person; for truth and good residing with a person are the Lord Himself since they come from Him.

[7] The like is meant by 'shedding innocent blood' in Deuteronomy 19:10; 27:25; Isaiah 59:3, 7; Jeremiah 2:34; 7:6; 19:4; 22:3, 17; Joel 3:19; Psalms 94:21. 'One who is innocent' means in the proximate sense someone who is blameless and also free from evil, to which people also bore witness in former times by washing their hands, Psalms 26:6; 73:13; Matthew 27:24; John 18:38; 19:4. The reason for this is that good which comes from the Lord and resides with a person is blameless and free from evil; this good is the good of innocence in the internal sense, as has been shown. But good that is blameless and free from evil as it exists in the external man, which is exterior good, is called 'righteous', as also in David,

The throne of perdition will not be linked to You - those who gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous and condemn innocent blood. Psalms 94:20-21.

(References: Exodus 23:7)

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Arcana Coelestia 9264, 9912, 10021, 10132, 10133, 10134, 10210


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 315, 946


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


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