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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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 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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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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Arcana Coelestia #1672

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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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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The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine #1

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine (Whitehead translation)      

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1. THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH, AND WHAT IS MEANT BY THE NEW JERUSALEM.

It is written in the Apocalypse:

I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride before her husband. The city had a wall, great and high, which had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, in which were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The city itself lieth four-square, and the length is as great as the breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand stadia; the length and the breadth and the height of it were equal. And he measured the wall thereof, a hundred forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, which is, of an angel. And the wall of it was of jasper; and the city itself was pure gold, like unto pure glass; and the foundations of the wall of the city were of every precious stone. The twelve gates were twelve pearls. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were pellucid glass. The glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp of it was the Lamb. The nations which were saved shall walk in the light of it; and the Kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it. (21:1, 2, 12-24.)

The man who reads these things, understands them only according to the sense of the letter; namely, that the visible heaven and earth will perish, and a new heaven will exist, and that the holy city Jerusalem, answering to the measures above described, will descend upon the new earth; but the angels understand these things altogether differently; namely, what man understands naturally, they understand spiritually; and as the angels understand, so they signify; and this is the internal or spiritual sense of the Word. In the internal or spiritual sense, "a New Heaven and a New Earth" means a New Church, both in the heavens and on the earth, which will be more particularly spoken of hereafter. "The city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven" signifies its heavenly doctrine; "the length," "the breadth," and "the height," which are equal, signify all the goods and truths of that doctrine in the aggregate. By "the wall" of it is meant the truths which protect it; "the measure of the wall," which is "a hundred forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel," signifies all those protecting truths in the aggregate, and their quality. "The twelve gates" of pearl mean introductory truths; "the twelve angels at the gates" signify the same. "The foundations of the wall" which are "of every precious stone," mean the knowledges on which that doctrine is founded. "The twelve tribes of Israel," and "the twelve apostles," mean all things of the church in general and in particular. The city and its streets being of "gold like unto pure glass," signifies the good of love from which the doctrine and its truths are pellucid. "The nations" who are saved, and "the kings of the earth" who bring glory and honor into it, mean all of the church who are in goods and truths. "God" and "the Lamb" mean the Lord as to the Divine itself and the Divine Human. Such is the spiritual sense of the Word, to which the natural sense, which is that of the letter, serves as a basis; but still these two senses, the spiritual and the natural, form a one by correspondences. It is not the design of the present work to show that there is such a spiritual meaning in the afore-mentioned passages, but the proof of it may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, in the following places: In the Word by "land" [earth] the church is signified, particularly when it is applied to the land of Canaan (n. 662, 1066-1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 9325, 9643). Because by "land" in the spiritual sense is meant the nation dwelling therein, and its worship (n. 1262), "the people of the land" signify those who are of the spiritual church (n. 2928). "A New Heaven and a New Earth" signify something new in the heavens and on earth, as to goods and truths, thus as to those things that relate to the church in each (n. 1733, 1850, 2117-2118, 3355, 4535, 10373). What is meant by "the first heaven and the first earth" which passed away, may be seen in Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed, from beginning to end, but particularly n. 65-72.

"Jerusalem" signifies the church as to doctrine (n. 402, 3654, 9166). "Cities" signify doctrines which are of the church and religion (n. 402, 2449, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493). "The wall of a city" signifies the truth of doctrine defending (n. 6419). "The gates of a city" signify truths introducing to doctrine, and through doctrine to the church (n. 2943, 4477, 4492, 4493). "The twelve tribes of Israel" represented, and thence signified, all the truths and goods of the church in general and in particular, thus all things of faith and love (n. 3858, 3926, 4060, 6335). The same is signified by "the Lord's twelve apostles" (n. 2129, 3272, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397). When it is said of the apostles, that "they shall sit upon twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel," it signifies that all are to be judged according to the goods and truths of the church, thus by the Lord from whom they are (n. 2129, 6397). "Twelve" signifies all things in the aggregate (n. 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913). Also "a hundred forty-four" signifies the same because that number is the product of twelve multiplied by twelve (n. 7973); "twelve thousand" has also the same signification (n. 7973). All numbers in the Word signify things (n. 482, 487, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252, 4264, 6175, 9488, 9659, 10217, 10253). Numbers multiplied into each other have the same signification as the simple numbers from which they arise by multiplication (n. 5291, 5335, 5708, 7973). "Measure" signifies the quality of a thing as to truth and good (n. 3104, 9603, 10262). "The foundations of a wall" signify the knowledges of truth on which doctrinals are founded (n. 9643). "Quadrangular" or "square" signifies what is perfect (n. 9717, 9861). "Length" signifies good and its extension, and "breadth" truth and its extension (n. 1613, 9487). "Precious stones" signify truths from good (n. 114, 9863, 9865). What "the precious stones" in the Urim and Thummim signify, both in general and in particular (n. 3862, 9864, 9866, 9891, 9895, 9905). What the "jasper" of which the wall was built signifies (n. 9872). "The street of the city" signifies the truth of doctrine from good (n. 2336). "Gold" signifies the good of love (n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9510, 9874, 9881). "Glory" signifies the Divine truth, such as it is in heaven, and the intelligence and wisdom thence (n. 4809, 5068, 5922, 8267, 8427, 9429 [1-7], 10574). "Nations" signify those in the church who are in good, and, in the abstract sense, the good of the church (n. 1059, 1159, 1258, 1261, 1285, 1416, 1849, 4574, 7830, 9255, 9256). "Kings" signify those in the church who are in truths, and thence abstractly the truth of the church (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 4575, 5044). The rites at the coronation of kings, involve such things as are of the Divine truth, but the knowledge of these things is at this day lost (n. 4581, 4966).

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Sacred Scripture 10


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 39, 128, 130, 208, 280, 431


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