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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 #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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The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1

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Arcana Coelestia #9780

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9780. 'And let them bring to you olive oil' means the good of charity and faith. This is clear from the meaning of 'olive oil' as the good of celestial love, dealt with in 886, but in the present verse the good of spiritual love, which is the good of charity towards the neighbour and the good of faith. The reason why the good of charity and faith is meant here by 'olive oil' is that it was for the light or lampstand, and 'the lampstand' means the spiritual heaven, 9548, the spiritual heaven on earth being the spiritual Church. 'Oil' and 'the olive tree' mean in the Word both celestial good and spiritual good, celestial good when the celestial kingdom or Church is the subject, and spiritual good when the spiritual kingdom or Church is the subject. What makes these kingdoms or Churches different from each other is the types of good. The celestial kingdom or Church's types of good are the good of love to the Lord and the good of mutual love, and the spiritual kingdom or Church's types of good are the good of charity towards the neighbour and the good of faith, 9741. These types of good and the types of truth that spring from them are the subject throughout the Word; for the Word consists wholly of teachings about good. It does so because it consists wholly of teachings about love to the Lord and love towards the neighbour, Matthew 22:35-40, and all good is an attribute of love, including the good of faith since this comes into being from the good of love and does not exist without it.

(References: Matthew 22:34-40)

[2] Since the Word consists of teachings about good, people need to know what good is if they are to have any understanding of the Word. But no one can know what good is unless he tries to lead a good life in accordance with the Word. For when someone tries to lead a good life in accordance with the Word the Lord instills good into that person's life. The person then comes to perceive that good and has a feeling for it, and as a result recognizes the essential nature of it. In no other circumstances does it appear, because it does not come to be perceived. All this makes clear what the condition is of those who merely know the things contained in the Word, convince themselves that they are true, yet fail to act on them. They are people with no real awareness of good, nor consequently of truth, for truth is known from good, and never exists without good except as some piece of lifeless knowledge which passes away in the next life.

[3] The fact that 'oil' and 'olive' mean good is clear from places in the Word where they are mentioned, as in Zechariah,

I saw a lampstand of gold, two olive trees beside it, one on the right of the bowl and one to the left of it. These are the two sons of oil, standing beside the Lord of the whole earth. Zechariah 4:2-3, 14.

'Two olive trees' and 'the two sons of oil' are the good of love to the Lord, which is on His right, and the good of charity towards the neighbour, which is to His left. Something similar occurs in John,

The two witnesses prophesied one thousand two hundred and sixty days. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. Revelation 11:3-4.

'The two olive trees and the two lampstands' are the same two types of good, which, since they come from the Lord, are called 'the two witnesses'.

(References: Zechariah 4:11)

[4] In the same book,

I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, Do no harm to oil and wine. Revelation 6:6.

'Oil' stands for the good of love and charity, 'wine' for the good and truth of faith. In Isaiah,

I will plant 1 in the wilderness the cedar of shittah, and the myrtle, and the oil tree. 2 Isaiah 41:19.

In Jeremiah,

They will come and sing on the height of Zion, and converge towards the goodness of Jehovah, towards wheat, and towards new wine, and towards oil. Jeremiah 31:12.

In Joel,

The field has been devastated, the land has been mourning because the grain has been laid waste, the new wine has failed, the oil languishes. Joel 1:10.

In the same prophet,

The threshing-floors are full of clean grain, and the presses overflow with new wine and oil. Joel 2:24.

In Moses,

I will give the rain for your land in its season, that you may gather your grain, your new wine, and your oil. Deuteronomy 11:14.

[5] This verse speaks of grain, new wine, and oil, but it becomes clear to anyone who stops to consider the matter that it is not these actual products that are meant. For being Divine the Word is spiritual, not worldly, so that what it says does not have to do with grain, new wine, or oil of the land, inasmuch as they serve the body as forms of food, only inasmuch as they serve the soul. For all forms of food in the world mean, when mentioned in the Word, heavenly kinds of food, as also the bread and wine in the Holy Supper do. What it is that 'grain' and 'new wine' mean in the places quoted above, see 3580, 5295, 5410, 5959, from which it is evident what 'oil' means.

[6] The same applies to all those things spoken by the Lord when He was in the world, such as those regarding the Samaritan - that he went near the one wounded by the robbers, bound his wounds, and poured in oil and wine, Luke 10:33-34. In this instance oil and wine are not what is meant but the good of love and charity, the good of love by 'oil' and the good of charity and faith by 'wine'. For the subject is the neighbour, thus charity towards him. As regards this meaning of 'wine', see 6377.

[7] The same applies to the things spoken by the Lord regarding the ten virgins, five of whom took their lamps without at the same time any oil, and five who took theirs with oil as well - that the latter five were admitted into heaven, whereas the former five were turned away, Matthew 25:3-4ff. 'Oil in the lamps' is the good of love and charity within the truths of faith; 'the virgins who took lamps but no oil' are those who hear the Word, read it, and say that they are believers, yet do not on that account perform any good deed at all, or who if they do, are not moved by a love of good or of truth but by selfish and worldly love.

(References: Matthew 25:3-13)

[8] Since oil was a sign of the good of charity the sick were also anointed with oil and healed, as it says about the Lord's disciples, that when they went out they cast out demons, and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them, Mark 6:13. In David,

You will make my head fat with oil, my cup will overflow. Psalms 23:5.

'Making the head fat with oil' stands for endowing with heavenly good. In Moses,

Jehovah fed [the people] with the produce of the fields; He caused them to suck honey out of the crag and oil out of the stony rock. Deuteronomy 32:13.

This refers to the Ancient Church. 'Sucking oil out of the stony rock' stands for being imbued with good through the truths of faith.

[9] In Habakkuk,

The fig tree will not blossom, neither will there be any produce on the vines; the olive crop will fail, 3 and the fields will not yield food. Habakkuk 3:17.

Neither the fig tree, vines, olives, nor fields should be understood here but the heavenly sources of food to which they correspond. This is also something which all who acknowledge that the Word has to do with such things as belong to heaven and the Church, and so to the soul, can recognize for themselves. But people who have no thought of anything other than worldly, earthly, and bodily things do not see it, indeed have no wish to see it. They say to themselves, What are spiritual things? What are heavenly realities? and so say, What are heavenly sources of food? They indeed know, when they are told, that these are the kinds of things which contribute to intelligence and wisdom, but they have no wish to know that they are what contribute to faith and love. They have no wish to know because they do not let such things enter into their life and as a result do not go far enough to attain intelligence and wisdom in heavenly truths and forms of goodness.

[10] In Ezekiel,

I washed you with water, and washed away the blood 4 from upon you, and anointed you with oil. I clothed you with embroidered cloth. Your garments were fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, and honey, and oil. But you took your embroidered garments and covered the images, and you set My oil and My incense before them. Ezekiel 16:9-10, 13, 18.

Is there anyone who cannot see that garments made of embroidered cloth, fine linen, or silk are not meant here, nor oil, honey, or fine flour, but Divine things belonging to heaven and the Church? For these words refer to Jerusalem, by which the Church is meant, and therefore the matters that are mentioned mean such things as have to do with the Church. Each detail clearly means something specific about the Church, for in the Word, which is Divine, not a single word is devoid of meaning. For the meaning of Jerusalem as the Church, see 3654; and as regards what anything further means, for 'embroidered cloth', 9688; 'fine linen', 5319, 9469; 'fine flour', 2177; 'honey', 5620, 6857; 'washing with water', 3147, 5954 (end), 9088; and 'washing away the blood', 4735, 9127.

[11] In Hosea,

Ephraim feeds the wind; they make a covenant with the Assyrian, and oil is carried down into Egypt. Hosea 12:1.

These words are altogether unintelligible unless one knows what is meant by 'Ephraim', 'the Assyrian', and 'Egypt'. They describe the understanding part in the mind of a member of the Church when that part is perverted by means of mere reasonings based on factual knowledge. For 'Ephraim' is that understanding part, 3969, 5354, 6222, 6238, 6267; 'the Assyrian' reasoning, 1186; and 'Egypt' factual knowledge, 9391. Consequently 'carrying oil down into Egypt' means defiling the Church's good in that manner.

[12] The reason why the Lord went so often up to the Mount of Olives, Luke 21:37; 22:39, was that 'oil' and 'olive' were signs of the good of love, as also was 'a mountain', 6435, 8758. This was so because while the Lord was in the world all things in Him were representative of heaven; through them the whole of heaven was linked to Him. Therefore whatever He did and whatever He spoke was Divine and heavenly, and the last and lowest things were representative. The Mount of Olives represented heaven in respect of the good of love and charity, as also becomes clear in Zechariah,

Jehovah will go out and fight against the nations; His feet will stand on that day upon the Mount of Olives, which faces 5 Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will be split, that part of it [may lean] towards the east and towards the sea, 6 with a large valley; and part of the mountain will move away towards the north, and part of it towards the south. Zechariah 14:3-4.

[13] This refers to the Lord and His Coming. 'The Mount of Olives' means the good of love and charity, and so means the Church, for those forms of good make the Church. The fact that the Church would depart from the Jewish nation and be established among gentile nations is meant by the description that this mountain would be split towards the east, towards the sea, and towards the north and south. Something similar is meant by the Lord's words in Luke,

You yourselves will be thrown out of doors. On the other hand people will come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. Luke 13:28-29.

The overall meaning of the statement that Jehovah will go out and fight against the nations, and His feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem, is that the Lord would fight from Divine Love against the hells; for evils springing from the hells are meant by 'the nations', 1868, 6306, and Divine Love by 'the Mount of Olives' on which His feet will stand.


1. literally, give

2. literally, the wood of oil

3. literally, the work of the olive will lie (i.e. prove false)

4. literally, your bloods

5. literally, which is before the face of

6. i.e. the west


(References: Exodus 27:20; Matthew 25:3-13; Zechariah 4:11)

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Apocalypse Explained 31, 146, 211, 277

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