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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

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 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
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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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Heaven and Hell #603

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603. What I have been saying in this book about heaven, the world of spirits, and hell, will be obscure to people who find no delight in knowing about spiritual truths; but it will be clear to people who do have this delight, especially to people involved in an affection for truth for its own sake - that is, people who love truth because it is true. Anything that is loved enters into the concepts of our minds with light, especially when what is loved is true, because all truth is in the light.

[2] References to Passages in Secrets of Heaven Concerning Our Freedom, Inflow, and the Spirits Who Are the Means of Communication.

On Freedom. All freedom is a matter of love or affection, because whatever we love, we do freely: 2870, 3158, 8907 [8987?], 8990, 9585, 9591. Since freedom is a matter of love, it is the life of every individual: 2873. Nothing seems to be part of us unless it comes from freedom: 2880. There is a heavenly freedom and a hellish freedom: 2870, 2873-2874, 9589-9590.

Heavenly freedom comes from heavenly love, or a love of what is good and true: 1947, 2870, 2872, and since a love of what is good and true comes from the Lord, we are truly free only when we are led by the Lord: 892, 905, 2872, 2886, 2890-2892, 9096, 9586-9587, 9589-9591. The Lord brings us into heavenly freedom through regeneration: 2874-2875, 2882, 2892. We need freedom in order to be regenerated: 1937, 1947, 2876, 2881, 3145-3146, 3158, 4031, 8700. Otherwise the love of what is good and true could not be sown in us and become so much a part of us as to seem to be our own: 2877, 2879-2880, 2888. Nothing is united to us that happens under compulsion: 8700, 2875. If we could be forcibly reformed, everyone would be saved: 2881. Compulsion in matters of reformation is destructive: 4031. All worship offered in freedom is worship, but not what is offered under compulsion: 1947, 2880, 7349, 10097. Repentance needs to happen in a state of freedom, and if it happens in a state of compulsion, it does not work: 8392. Just what a state of compulsion is: 8392.

[3] We are allowed to act from the freedom we have as rational beings, so that good may be provided to us; we therefore have a freedom of thinking and intending evil as well, and even of doing it to the extent that the laws do not prevent it: 10777. The Lord holds us between heaven and hell and therefore in a balance so that we can be in freedom for the sake of our reformation: 5982, 6477, 8209, 8907 [8987?]. What is sown in freedom stays with us, but not what is sown under compulsion: 9588. So freedom is never taken away from anyone: 2876, 2881. The Lord does not compel anyone: 1937, 1947.

To compel oneself stems from freedom, but being compelled does not: 1937, 1947. We ought to compel ourselves to resist evil: 1937, 1947, 7914; and to do good as well, apparently on our own, but still recognizing that it comes from the Lord: 2883, 2891-2892, 7914. We become more solidly free in those temptation struggles in which we win, because then we are inwardly compelling ourselves to resist, even though it does not seem that way: 1937, 1947, 2881.

[4] Hellish freedom is being led by love for oneself and love for the world and by their cravings: 2870, 2873. This is the only freedom people in hell know: 2871. Heavenly freedom is as remote from hellish freedom as heaven is from hell: 2873-2874. Hellish freedom, which is being led by love for oneself and love for the world, is not freedom but slavery: 2884, 2890. So slavery is being led by hell: 9586, 9589-9591.

[5] On Inflow. Everything we think and intend flows in; [learned] from experience: 904, 2886-2888, 4151, 4319-4320, 5846, 5848, 6189, 6191, 6194, 6197-6199, 6213, 7147, 10219. Our ability to look into things, think, and draw analytic conclusions comes from inflow: 1288 [1285?], 4319-4320. We could not live for a moment if we were deprived of the inflow from the spiritual world, [from] experience: 2887, 5849, 5854, 6321. The life that flows in from the Lord varies depending on our state and our openness to it: 2069, 5986, 6472, 7343. In evil people, the good that flows in from the Lord is turned into evil, and the truth into falsity; from experience: 3643 [3642 or 3743], 4632. We accept the good and true things that flow in from the Lord to the extent that what is evil and false does not bar the way: 2411, 3142, 3147, 5828.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3642, 5288)


[6] Everything good flows in from the Lord and everything evil from hell: 904, 4151. Nowadays people believe that everything is in themselves and from themselves, when actually everything is flowing in, as they might learn from the doctrine of the church, which teaches that everything good comes from the Lord and everything evil from the devil: 4249, 6193, 6206. If our belief were in accord with doctrine, we would not claim evil as our own or make good our own: 6206, 6324-6325. How happy our state would be if we believed that everything good flows in from the Lord and everything evil from hell: 6325. People who deny heaven or know nothing about it do not realize that there is any inflow from it: 4322, 5649, 6193, 6479. What inflow is, illustrated by comparisons: 6428 [6128?], 6480 [6190?], 9407.

[7] All of life flows in from the first wellspring of life because this is its source; and it is constantly flowing in, so it comes from the Lord: 3001, 3318, 3237 [3337?], 3338, 3344, 3484, 3619, 3741-3743, 4318-4320, 4417, 4524, 4882, 5847, 5986, 6325, 6468-6470, 6479, 9276, 10196. The inflow is spiritual and not physical, which means that the inflow is from the spiritual world into the natural and not from the natural into the spiritual: 3219, 5119, 5259, 5427-5428, 5477, 6322, 9110-9111 [9109?]. The inflow comes through the inner person into the outer, or through the spirit into the body, and not the other way around, because our spirit is in the spiritual world and our body in the natural world: 1702, 1707, 1940, 1954, 5119, 5259, 5779, 6322, 9380 [9110?]. The inner person is in the spiritual world and the outer in the natural world: 978, 1015, 3628, 4459, 4523-4524, 6057, 6309, 9701-9709, 10156, 10472. It seems as though there were an inflow from our outer natures into our inner, but this is an illusion: 3721. There is an inflow into our rational workings and through these into our information processing, and not the other way around: 1495, 1707, 1940. What the pattern of inflow is like: 775, 880, 1096, 1495, 7270. The inflow comes directly from the Lord and indirectly through the spiritual world or heaven: 6063, 6307, 6472, 9682-9683. The inflow from the Lord comes into what is good in us and through that good into what is true, but not the other way around: 5483 [5482?], 5649, 6027, 8685, 8701, 10153. What is good enables us to accept the inflow from the Lord, but not what is true apart from that good: 8321. Nothing that flows into our thought harms us, only what flows into our volition, because this becomes part of us: 6308.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3337-3338)


[8] There is a general inflow: 5850. This is a constant energy favoring action in keeping with the design: 6211. This is what flows into the lives of animals: 5850; and also into the members of the vegetable kingdom: 3648. Further, our thought descends into speech and our intentions into actions and modes of behavior according to this general inflow: 5862, 5990, 6192, 6211.

[9] On Agents. The spirits who are sent out from communities of spirits to other communities or to individual spirits are called "agents": 4403, 5856. Communications in the other life take place by means of emissary spirits like these: 4403, 5856, 5983. Spirits who are sent out to act as emissaries do not think for themselves but think from the spirits who commissioned them: 5985-5987. More about these spirits: 5988-5989.

The End

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Inbound References:

Divine Providence 23

Doctrine of the Lord 61

Doctrine of Life 20

The Last Judgment 33


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 118, 349, 695


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


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