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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

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1


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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 #9406

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9406. 'And under His feet' means the lowest level of meaning, which is that of the letter itself. This is clear from the meaning of 'feet' as natural things, dealt with in 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952, so that the soles under the feet are the lowest things in the natural order. The reason why the lowest level of meaning in the Word, which is the sense of the letter, is meant here by 'under the feet' is that these words refer to Divine Truth or the Word, which comes from the Lord and is the Lord, as may be recognized from what has come before. And the lowest level of God's truth or the Word is the Word as it exists in the sense of the letter, that is, the natural sense since it is intended for the natural man. The fact that the sense of the letter contains an internal sense, which in comparison is spiritual and heavenly, is clear from all those things which have been shown up to now regarding the Word. But the more worldly- and bodily-minded a person is, the less he understands this, because he does not allow himself to be raised into spiritual light and from there to see what the Word is like, namely that in the letter it is natural and in the internal sense is spiritual. For it is possible to see from the spiritual world or the light of heaven what lower things down to the lowest are like, but not from below upwards, 9401 (end), and so to see that the Word in the letter is as described above.

[2] Since the Word in the letter is natural, and natural things are meant by 'the feet', the lowest level of the Word, like the lowest of the Church, is called 'the place of Jehovah's feet', also 'His footstool', 1 as well as 'clouds and darkness' in comparison, as in Isaiah,

They will keep Your gates open continually, to bring to You the army 2 of the nations, and their kings in procession. 3 The glory of Lebanon will come to You, the fir, the pine, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of My sanctuary; and I will make the place of My feet glorious. Isaiah 60:11, 13.

This refers to the Lord and to His kingdom and Church. 'The army of the nations' is used to mean those with whom forms of the good of faith exist, and 'kings' to mean those with whom the truths of faith are present. For the meaning of 'nations' as those with whom forms of the good of faith exist, see 1259, 1328, 1416, 1849, 4574, 6005, and for that of 'kings' as those with whom truths are present, 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148. 'The glory of Lebanon', or the cedar, is spiritual good and truth; 'the fir, the pine, and the box tree' are corresponding, natural forms of good and truth; 'the place of the sanctuary' is heaven and the Church, and the Word as well; 'the place of the feet' is heaven, the Church, and the Word as well, on their lowest levels. The reason why the Word as well is meant is that heaven is heaven, and the Church likewise the Church, by virtue of Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, and Divine Truth which makes the Church and heaven is the Word. This also explains why the inmost part of the tent in which the ark containing the law was is called 'the sanctuary'; for 'the law' is the Word, 6752. In the same prophet,

The heavens are My throne and the earth My footstool. Isaiah 66:1.

[3] In David,

Exalt Jehovah our God, and worship at His footstool. Holy is He! Moses and Aaron were among His priests; He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud. Psalms 99:5-7.

'Jehovah's footstool' which they were to worship at is Divine Truth on its lowest levels, thus the Word. 'Moses and Aaron' in the representative sense are the Word, see 7089, 7382, 9373, 9374, and 'cloud' is the Word in the letter or Divine Truth on its lowest levels, see Preface to Genesis 18, and 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343 (end), 6752, 8106, 8781; and from all this it is evident what 'speaking in the pillar of cloud' means.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135, 9373-9374)


[4] In the same author,

We heard of Him in Ephrathah, we found Him in the fields of the wood. We will enter His dwelling-places, and we will bow down at His footstool. Psalms 132:6-7.

This refers to the Lord and the revelation of Himself in the Word. 'Finding Him in Ephrathah' means doing so in the spiritual-celestial sense of the Word, 4585, 4594, 'in the fields of the wood' in the natural or literal sense of the Word, 3220, 9011 (end). 'Footstool' stands for Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, as it exists on the lowest levels of the Word.

[5] In the same author,

Jehovah bowed heaven, and thick darkness was under His feet. He made darkness His hiding-place - darkness of waters, clouds of the heavens. From the brightness before Him His clouds passed away. Psalms 18:9, 11-12.

This refers to the Lord's coming and presence in the Word. 'Thick darkness under His feet' stands for the sense of the letter of the Word, as does 'darkness of waters' and 'clouds of the heavens'. The fact that this very sense holds within itself Divine Truth as this exists in the heavens is meant by 'He made darkness His hiding-place'; and the fact that at the presence of the Lord the internal sense then appears, as it exists in heaven, and in its glory, is meant by 'from the brightness before Him His clouds pass away'. In Nahum,

The way of Jehovah is in storm and tempest, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. Nahum 1:3.

Here also 'the clouds' stands for the Word in the sense of the letter, which is also meant by 'storm and tempest', in which 'the way of Jehovah' lies.

[6] When God's truth as it is in heaven shines through for a person in the actual sense of the letter, this sense is then portrayed as 'the feet', which have a shine 'like that of burnished bronze', as also in Daniel,

I lifted up my eyes and saw, and behold, a Man clothed in linen whose loins were girded with gold of Uphaz, and His body was like tarshish; 4 and His face was like the appearance 5 of lightning, and His eyes were like fiery torches; His arms and His feet were like the shine of burnished bronze, and the sound of His words like the sound of a crowd. Daniel 10:5-6.

Here 'a Man clothed in linen' is used to mean in the highest sense the Lord; and since the Lord is meant it is also used to mean Divine Truth emanating from Him. For Divine Truth that emanates from the Lord is the Lord Himself in heaven and in the Church. God's truth or the Lord on lowest levels is meant by 'arms and feet like the shine of burnished bronze', and also by 'the sound of His words like the sound of a crowd'; and something similar is meant in Ezekiel 1:7.

[7] The successive state of the Church on this planet so far as reception of God's truth emanating from the Lord is concerned is also meant by the statue seen by Nebuchadnezzar, in Daniel,

The head of the statue was gold, its breast and its arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, its legs were iron, its feet were partly iron and partly clay which did not cohere with each other. And the stone cut out of the rock smashed to pieces the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Daniel 2:32-35, 43, 45.

The first state of the Church so far as reception of God's truth emanating from the Lord is concerned is 'the gold', because 'gold' means celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord, 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 8932. The second state is meant by 'the silver', this being spiritual good, which is the good of faith in the Lord and of charity towards the neighbour, 1551, 2954, 5658, 7999. The third state is meant by 'the bronze', which is natural good, 425, 1551. And the fourth state is meant by 'the iron', which is natural truth, 425, 426. 'The clay' means falsity, which does not cohere with truth and good. The smashing to pieces of the iron, bronze, silver, and gold by the stone cut out of the rock means the destruction of the Church so far as reception of truth from the Word is concerned when the sense of the letter of the Word is used to reinforce falsity and evil. This happens when the Church is in its final state, at which time it is no longer governed by any heavenly love, only by worldly and bodily love. This was how it was with the Word so far as reception of it among the Jewish nation was concerned when the Lord came into the world. And it is how it is with the Word among the majority at the present day. They are not even aware that there is anything inwardly present in the Word; and if they were told that there is and what it is like they would not accept it. Yet in most ancient times, which are meant by 'the gold', people saw within the sense of the letter of the Word nothing apart from what was heavenly, almost independently of the letter.

From all this it may now be recognized that 'the God of Israel' and what was seen 'under His feet' means the Word on its lowest level of meaning, which is the sense of the letter.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, the stool of His feet

2. Though the Hebrew word means army it may be rendered alternatively as strength or as wealth. Most English versions of the Scriptures prefer one of these.

3. literally, their kings will be led

4. A Hebrew word for a particular kind of precious stone, possibly a beryl.

5. literally, the face

-----

(References: Arcana Coelestia 425-426, 1551-1552; Exodus 24:10)

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