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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 #9348

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9348. 'For it will be a snare to you' means owing to evils that are enticing and deceptive. This is clear from the meaning of 'a snare', when it has reference to evils, as enticement and deception. The reason why evils are enticing and deceptive is that all evils spring from self-love and love of the world, 9335, and self-love and love of the world are born together within a person. These are the source of what the person feels as the delight of his life right from when he is first born; indeed the life that is his comes from them. Those loves therefore, like the hidden currents in a river, are constantly drawing the person's thought and will away from the Lord to self, and away from heaven to the world, thus away from the truths and forms of the good of faith to falsities and evils. At this time reasonings based on the illusions of the senses are especially predominant, and also the literal sense of the Word wrongly explained and used.

[2] These two things are what 'snares', 'traps', 'pits', 'nets', 'ropes', 'fetters', and also 'pretences' and 'deceits' are used to mean in the spiritual sense of the Word, as in Isaiah,

Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth. Consequently it will happen, that he who is fleeing from the sound of terror will fall into the pit, and he who is climbing out of the pit will be caught in the snare, for the floodgates from on high have been opened, and the foundations of the earth have been shaken. Isaiah 24:17-19.

And in Jeremiah,

Fear, the pit, and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of Moab. He who flees from the fear will fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare. Jeremiah 48:43-44.

'Terror' and 'fear' are the disturbance and commotion in the mind when it is held fast between evils and forms of good, and consequently between falsities and truths. 'The pit' is falsity created by reasonings based on the illusions of the senses to lend support to delights that are attributable to self-love and love of the world; 'the snare' is the enticement and deception of evil that results from it.

(References: Isaiah 24:17-18)


[3] In Isaiah,

They will go and stumble 1 backwards, and be broken, and snared, and caught. Isaiah 28:13.

'Falling backwards' stands for turning oneself away from goodness and truth; 'being broken' stands for dispensing with truths and forms of good; 'being snared' stands for being enticed by the evils of self-love and love of the world; and 'being caught' stands for being carried away by them.

[4] In Ezekiel,

The mother of the princes of Israel is a lioness. One of her cubs learned to seize prey; he devoured men (homo). The nations heard about him; he was caught in their pit, and they led him away with hooks to the land of Egypt. Later on he ravished widows 2 and devastated cities; the land and its fullness was desolated by the sound of his roaring. Therefore the nations from the provinces round about lay in ambush against him, and spread their net over him; he was caught in their pit. They put him in a cage with hooks, and led him to the king of Babel; [they led him away] in nets, that his voice should no longer be heard on the mountains of Israel. Ezekiel 19:2-4, 7-9.

This describes the profanation of truth in successive stages by the enticements of falsities arising from evils. 'The mother of the princes of Israel' is the Church where primary truths are, 'the mother' being the Church, see 289, 2691, 2717, 4257, 5581, 8897, and 'the princes of Israel' primary truths, 1482, 2089, 5044. 'A lioness' is falsity that arises from evil and that perverts the Church's truths; 'a lion's cub' is evil in its power, 6367. 'Seizing prey' and 'devouring men' mean destroying truths and forms of good, for 'man' is the Church's good, 4287, 7424, 7523. 'The nations' are evils, 1259, 1260, 1849, 2588 (end), 4444, 6306. 'A pit', in which the nations caught him, is falsity arising from evil, 4728, 4744, 5038, 9086. 'The land of Egypt', to which he was led away with hooks, is factual knowledge through which falsity comes, 9340. 'Ravishing widows' means perverting forms of good which have the desire for truth, for 'ravishing' means perverting, 2466, 2729, 4865, 8904, and 'widows' forms of good that have the desire for truth, 9198, 9200. 'Devastating cities' means destroying the Church's teachings that present the truth, 402, 2268, 2449, 2943, 3216, 4478, 4492, 4493. 'Desolating the land and its fullness' means destroying all things of the Church, 9325. 'The sound of the lion's roaring' is falsity. 'Spreading a net over him' means enticing by means of delights belonging to earthly kinds of love and by means of reasonings attributable to them. 'Leading away to the king of Babel' is the profaning of truth, 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1322, 1326.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 298, 1259-1260, 1307-1308, 1321-1322, 4492-4493; Ezekiel 19:1-4)


[5] The fact that such things do not happen when a person does not love self and the world above all things is described in the following manner in Amos,

Will a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey? Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth if there is no trap for it? Will a snare spring up from the earth if it has certainly not caught [anything]? Amos 3:4-5.

(References: Amos 3:4, 3:6)


[6] It is evident to anyone that 'a snare' in the spiritual sense means enticement and deception effected by means of the delights of self-love and love of the world, thus the enticement and deception of evils, which operate through reasonings that are based on the illusions of the senses and lend support to those delights. For the ensnarement and capturing of people is brought about by nothing else. When the devil's crew makes its attack on a person it concentrates on his loves, which they charm in every way until they have captivated him; and when he has been captivated that person reasons from falsities against truths, and from evils against forms of good. Yet he does not remain content to do that; he also takes delight in snaring others and enticing them towards falsities and evils. The reason why he also takes delight in doing this is that he too is now one of the devil's crew.

[7] Since 'a snare', 'a trap', and 'a net' mean such things they also mean the destruction and so annihilation of spiritual life; for the delights belonging to those loves are what destroy it and annihilate it, since those loves, as stated above, are the source from which all evils spring. From self-love springs disdain for others in comparison with self, then mockery and denigration of them, followed by enmity if they disagree with oneself, and finally by the delight that goes with hatred, vengeance, and so with inhumanity, indeed barbarity. This love in the next life rises to such a height that unless the Lord shows such people favour and grants them dominion over others, they are not only disdainful of Him but also mock the Word which speaks of Him. At length they are stirred by hatred and vengeance to act against Him; and insofar as they are unable to do so they carry out their hatred and vengeance with inhumanity and barbarity against everyone who confesses Him. All this shows where the essential nature of the devil's crew springs from, namely from self-love. Therefore since 'a snare' means the delight of selfish and worldly love, it means the destruction and annihilation of spiritual life; for the whole of love and faith to the Lord, and the whole of love towards the neighbour are destroyed by the delight of selfish and worldly love where it reigns supreme; see the places referred to in 9335.

[8] The fact that those loves are the origins of all evils, that hell arises from them and lies within them, and that those loves are the fires of hell is not known in the world at the present day. Yet people could have known this from the consideration that those loves are the opposites of love towards the neighbour and love to God, and the opposites of humility of heart, and from the consideration that from those loves alone spring all disdain, all hatred, all vengeance, and all inhumanity and barbarity, as anyone may realize who gives any thought to the matter.

[9] The fact that 'a snare' therefore means the destruction and annihilation of spiritual life is evident from the following places: In David,

Jehovah will rain on the wicked, snares, fire and brimstone. Psalms 11:6.

'Fire and brimstone' are the evils of selfish and worldly love. For this meaning of 'fire', see 1297, 1861, 5071, 5215, 6314, 6832, 7324, 7575, 9144, and for 'brimstone', 2446, from which it is evident what 'snares' mean. In Luke,

... lest that day comes on you suddenly, 3 for it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Luke 21:34-35.

This refers to the last phase of the Church, when there is no faith because there is no charity, since self-love and love of the world will reign. This is followed by annihilation, which is meant by 'a snare'. In Jeremiah,

Among My people are found wicked ones. They keep watch, like fowlers laying [snares]; they set a gin to catch human beings. Jeremiah 5:26.

In David,

Those seeking my life 4 lay snares, and those seeking my hurt speak of ways to annihilate, and contemplate deceits all the day. Psalms 38:12.

In the same author,

Keep me from the hands of the trap they have set for me, and from the snares of the workers of iniquity. Let them fall into their own nets, 5 the wicked together, until I pass by. Psalms 141:9-10.

In Isaiah,

He will be as a sanctuary, though He will be as a stone to strike against and as a rock to stumble over, 6 for both houses of Israel; He will be as a snare and as a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Many among them will trip, and fall, and be broken to pieces, and be snared and caught. Isaiah 8:14-15.

This refers to the Lord. 'A stone to strike against' and 'a rock to stumble over' stand for stumbling blocks that are laid; and 'a snare' and 'a trap' for the annihilation accomplished by those who attack and try to destroy truths and forms of the good of faith in the Lord by means of falsities that lend support to self-love and love of the world. For to all proud people the very fact that the Divine appeared in a human form, and that He did so not in royal majesty but in a guise that was despised, is not only a stumbling block but also a snare.

From all this it is now evident that 'it will be a snare' means the enticement and deception of evils, and consequent annihilation, as in other places in Moses,

... lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land onto which you will come, lest it becomes a snare in your midst. Exodus 34:12.

In the same author,

You shall not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you. Deuteronomy 7:16.

In the same author,

Beware lest perhaps you are ensnared to follow 7 the nations, and lest perhaps you inquire after their gods. Deuteronomy 12:30.

'The nations' are evils and the falsities arising from them.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, trip

2. The Hebrew text here, which means literally And he knows his widows, is thought to be corrupt. As a consequence English versions of the Scriptures are based on textual emendations and therefore read somewhat differently.

3. literally, lest that sudden day stands upon you

4. literally, soul

5. literally, into his nets. The singular is used possibly to imply each one of the wicked. Sebastian Schmidt, in his Latin version of the Bible which Swedenborg draws on here, regarded them as God's nets.

6. literally, as a stone of striking and as a rock of stumbling

7. literally, ensnared after

-----

(References: Deuteronomy 12:16; Exodus 23:33)

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Arcana Coelestia 10641

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 81, 170


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 946


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


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