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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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 John the Baptist
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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 #9410

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9410. 'He did not lay a hand' means that truth in its power is not present there. This is clear from the meaning of 'hand' as the power which comes through truth. For the meaning of 'hand' as power, see 878, 3091, 3387, 4931-4937, 5327, 5328, 5544, 6947, 7011, 7188, 7189, 7518, 7673, 8050, 8153, 8281, 9025, 9133; for its coming through truth, 3091, 3503, 6344, 6423, 8304; and for the fact that truth derives all its power from good, that is, from the Lord through good, 6948, 8200, 9327. From all this it is evident that 'He did not lay a hand towards the children of Israel who had been set apart' means that truth in its power is not present with those restricted to the outward sense of the Word, separated from the inward. The reason why truth is not present with them in its power is that they are separated from heaven and so from the Lord; for the Word joins a person to heaven, and through heaven to the Lord, because all the things constituting the sense of the letter of the Word correspond to the spiritual and celestial realities which exist with angels. There is no connection with the angels if the Word is understood according to the letter alone and not at the same time according to some teaching of the Church on the inner level of the Word.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3502, 5327-5328, 7188-7189)


[2] Take for example the Lord's words to Peter,

You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18-19.

In like manner to the disciples,

Truly I say to you, Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18.

Those who are restricted to the outward sense of the Word, separated from the inward, thus those who are separated from the true teachings of the Church, convince themselves that such power was given to Peter by the Lord, and also to the rest of the Lord's disciples. This conviction leads to the hellish heresy that certain people possess the power to let into or shut out of heaven whomsoever they please, when in fact according to the true teachings of the Church, which lie on the inward level of the Word, the Lord alone has that power. Those therefore who know the outward sense of the Word and at the same time its inward sense understand that these things spoken by the Lord had regard to faith and the truths of faith which are received from the Lord, and that such faith received from the Lord possesses that power, thus the Lord Himself, and not at all any mere human being.

[3] The truth of this may be recognized from the representation of Peter and of the twelve disciples, also from the meaning of 'rock', and from the meaning of 'keys' as well. Peter represented faith, see Prefaces to Genesis 18, 22, also 3750, 4738, 6000, 6073 (end); the Lord's twelve disciples, like the twelve tribes of Israel, represented all aspects of faith and love, 3488, 3858, 6397; 'rock' means the Lord in respect of faith, and so faith which is received from the Lord, 8581; and 'keys' means power, as is clear from places in the Word where keys are mentioned, such as in John,

I am the First and the Last, He who lives; and I was dead, but behold, I am alive for ever and ever, and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:17-18.

In the same book,

These things says the One who is Holy, the One who is True, He who has the key of David, He who opens in order that no one may close, and closes in order that no one may open ... Revelation 3:7-8.

And in Isaiah,

I will place the key of the house of David on His shoulder, in order that He may open and none shut, and He may shut and none open. Isaiah 22:22.

In these places it is evident that 'key' means power and that the Lord alone possesses it.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135, 2760; Revelation 1:18, 3:7)


[4] From all this one can see what those people are like who are restricted to the outward sense of the Word, separated from the inward, namely people who are not at all joined to heaven, nor thus to the Lord. This is so with those who explain those words addressed by the Lord to Peter and to the disciples according to their literal meaning, in that they arrogate to themselves the power to save the human race and make themselves the gods of heaven and earth, which they do on account of their insane self-love and love of the world. Anyone sound in mind may see and appreciate that a mere human being cannot absolve any sin at all, because no sin is absolved except through the development of a new life, that is, through being regenerated by the Lord. Regeneration continues right on to the end of a person's life in the world, and after that for evermore, see 8548-8553, 8635-8640, 8742-8747, 8853-8858, 8958-8968.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 8958-8969)


[5] What truth in its power is must also be stated briefly. In the Word angels are called 'powers'; and it is also well known in the Church that they are such. Yet they are not powers by virtue of anything their own, only by virtue of the Lord; for they are recipients of God's truth which emanates from the Lord. The power they have from the Lord is such that one of them can drive away a thousand of the devil's crew, confine them to the hells, and keep them in check. For God's truth emanating from the Lord fills the heavens and forms them; and if you are willing to believe it, all things were made and created through that truth. The Word which was in the beginning with God and which was God, and through which all things were created and the world was made, spoken of in John 1:1-14, is Divine Truth. Divine Truth is the one true substance from which all things come into being; but this is something few are able to understand, because at the present day the idea which people have of Divine Truth is no different from that of words coming from the lips of one who rules over all, whose orders are carried out according to those words. As for the kind of idea people ought in fact to have of Divine Truth, see 9407 (end). The omnipotence of Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is described in many places in the Word, and especially in John, in the Book of Revelation,

War took place in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels, but they did not prevail, nor was their place found any longer in heaven. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. Revelation 12:7-8, 11.

'The blood of the Lamb', it is evident, is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Human, see 4735, 6978, 7317, 7326, 7850, 9127, 9393, 9395; and 'the word of their testimony' is God's truth which has found acceptance.

[6] People who are restricted to the outward sense of the Word, separated from the inward, that is, those who are separated from the true teachings of the Church, understand these words of prophecy in solely a literal way. That is to say, they take 'blood' to mean blood, thus the Lord's passion, when in fact Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is what is meant in those words by 'blood'. People with the true teachings of the Church are able to know that they are saved not by blood but by hearing God's truth and doing it, thus [that all are saved] who allow the Lord to regenerate them by means of Divine Truth. All who receive enlightenment from the Lord are able to know, understand, see, and perceive this, thus all who are governed by the good of charity and faith are able to do so, since it is they who receive enlightenment. I myself can certainly say that when I read the blood of the Lamb and think of the Lord's blood the angels present with me know no other than that Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is what I read and that that Truth is what I think of. But let simple people hold on to the teaching they have that they are saved by the Lord's blood, so long as they are leading a life in keeping with His Divine Truth; for those who lead such a life receive enlightenment in the next life.

(References: Exodus 24:11)

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Arcana Coelestia 9496, 9638, 9643, 9807, 9809, 10019, 10082, 10105, 10400, 10584

The White Horse 8, 9

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 257, 258


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 63, 86, 209, 270, 701


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