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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
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Arcana Coelestia #1673

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1673. And smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim. That this signifies the persuasions of falsity, or the hells of such, which the Lord conquered, is evident from the signification of “the Rephaim,” “the Zuzim,” and “the Emim,” as being of similar kind with “the Nephilim,” who are mentioned in Genesis 6:4; and in the exposition of that passage (see n. 581) it was sufficiently and abundantly shown that by “the Nephilim” are signified persuasions of falsity, or those who from a persuasion of their own exaltation and preeminence have made nothing of all holy and true things, and who have infused falsities into their cupidities; as is also plain from the passages there adduced (Numbers 13:33; Deuteronomy 2:10-11 Isaiah 14:9; 26:14, 19; Psalms 88:10). The different kinds of persuasions of falsity are what are here signified by these three and by “the Horites in Mount Seir;” for there are many kinds of persuasions of falsity, not only according to the falsities, but also according to the cupidities to which they are adjoined, or into which they are infused, or from which they flow forth and are produced. The nature of these persuasions of falsity can never appear to any man, who scarcely knows more than that there is such a thing as persuasion of falsity and cupidity of evil; but in the other life they are most distinctly arranged into their genera and into their species.

(References: Deuteronomy 2:10)


[2] The most direful persuasions of falsity existed with those who lived before the flood, especially with those who were called “Nephilim.” These Nephilim are of such a character that in the other life they by their persuasions take away from the spirits to whom they come all faculty of thinking, so that these spirits seem to themselves scarcely to live, much less to be able to think anything true. For, as before shown, there is in the other life a communication of the thoughts of all, and therefore when such a persuasiveness flows in, it cannot do otherwise than as it were murder all power of thought in others. Such were the wicked tribes against whom the Lord combated in His earliest childhood, and whom He conquered; and unless the Lord had conquered them by His coming into the world, not a man would have been left at this day upon the earth; for every man is governed by the Lord through spirits. These same Nephilim are at this day enclosed by their phantasies by what seems like a misty rock, out of which they are continually striving, but in vain, to rise up (concerning whom see n. 1265, and in many other places above). These, and others like them, were also meant in Isaiah:

The dead shall not live, the Rephaim shall not rise, because Thou hast visited and hast destroyed them, and hast made all their memory to perish (Isaiah 26:14).

[3] Also in David:

Wilt Thou show a wonder to the dead? shall the Rephaim arise and praise Thee? (Psalms 88:10),

where by “the dead” are not meant the dead, but the damned. There are also those at this day, especially from the Christian world, who likewise have persuasions, but not so direful as the antediluvians had. There are certain persuasions of falsity which take possession of both the will part and the intellectual part of man; such were those of the antediluvians, and of those who are here signified by the Rephaim, the Zuzim, and the Emim. But there are other persuasions of falsity which take possession of the intellectual part only, and which arise from the principles of falsity that are confirmed in one’s self. These are not so powerful, nor so deadly, as the former; but still they cause much annoyance to spirits in the other life, and take away in part their ability to think. Spirits of this kind excite in a man nothing but confirmations of what is false, so that the man sees no otherwise than that falsity is truth, and evil good. It is their sphere which is of such a character. As soon as anything of truth is called forth by angels, they suffocate and extinguish it.

[4] A man can perceive whether he is governed by such as these simply by observing whether he thinks the truths of the Word to be false, and confirms himself so that he cannot see otherwise; if such be the case, he may be pretty sure that such spirits are with him, and that they have the dominion. In like manner they who persuade themselves that their private advantage is the common good, and who regard nothing as being for the common good but what is also to their own advantage; in this case also the evil spirits who are present suggest so many things in confirmation that they see no otherwise. They who are such that they regard every advantage to themselves as the common good, or who veil it over with the appearance of being the common good, do much the same in the other life in regard to the common good there. That such is the nature of the influx of spirits with man, it has been given me to know by continual experience to the life.

(References: Genesis 14:5)

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Arcana Coelestia 1868, 2468, 2909, 6588, 7686


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 163, 543, 544


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Arcana Coelestia #4982

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4982. Was upon all that he had in the house and in the field. That this signifies in life and in doctrine, is evident from the signification of “house,” as being good (n. 2048, 2233, 2559, 3128, 3652, 3720), and because it signifies good, it signifies also life, for all good is of life; and from the signification of “field,” as being the truth of the church (n. 368, 3508, 3766, 4440, 4443), and because it signifies the truth of the church, it signifies also doctrine, for all truth is of doctrine. “House” and “field” are occasionally mentioned in other parts of the Word, and when the subject treated of is the celestial man, by “house” is signified celestial good, and by “field” spiritual good. Celestial good is the good of love to the Lord, and spiritual good is the good of charity toward the neighbor. But when the spiritual man is treated of, by “house” is signified the celestial that is in him, which is the good of charity toward the neighbor; and by “field,” the spiritual that is in him, which is the truth of faith. Both the one and the other are signified in Matthew:

Let him that is upon the housetop not go down to take anything that is in his house, and let him that is in the field not return back to take his garment (Matthew 24:17-18; see n. 3652).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3852, Genesis 39:5)

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Arcana Coelestia 5023, 5134, 5135, 5353, 5645, 5895, 6041, 6524, 6581, 6639, 7906, 7939, 9139, 9150, 9262, 9372, 9539, 10137

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121


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