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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


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Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746


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Arcana Coelestia #2015

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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2015. Kings shall go forth from thee. That this signifies that all truth is from Him, is evident from the signification of a “king,” in both the historical and the prophetic Word, as being truth (stated above, n. 1672, but not yet fully shown). From the signification of “nations” as being goods, and from the signification of “kings” as being truths, we can see the nature of the internal sense of the Word, and also how remote it is from the sense of the letter. He who reads the Word, especially the historical portion, has no other belief than that the nations there are nations, and the kings kings, and thus that nations and kings are treated of in the very Word itself. But the idea of nations, as well as that of kings, altogether perishes when it is received by the angels, and in their place there succeed good and truth. This cannot but appear as strange and indeed as a paradox, but still it is really so, and the truth of it may appear to everyone from considering that if, in the Word, nations were signified by “nations,” and kings by “kings,” then the Word of the Lord would involve scarcely anything more than any other history, or any other writing, and thus would be a merely worldly affair, when yet there is nothing in the Word that is not Divine, and therefore celestial and spiritual.

[2] Take as a single instance what is said in this verse, that Abraham should be made fruitful and should be made nations, and that kings should go forth from him-what is this but a merely worldly matter, and in no respect heavenly? For in these things there is only the glory of the world, which is nothing at all in heaven; but if this is the Word of the Lord, there must be in it the glory of heaven, and none of the world’s glory. Therefore the sense of the letter is altogether obliterated and vanishes when it passes into heaven; and it is so purified that nothing that is worldly is intermingled. For by “Abraham” is not meant Abraham, but the Lord; by his being “made fruitful” is not meant that his posterity should increase exceedingly, but that the good of the Lord’s Human Essence should increase to infinitude; by the “nations” are not meant nations, but goods; and by the “kings,” not kings but truths. Still the history according to the sense of the letter remains true; for it is true that it was so said to Abraham; also that he was made fruitful, and that nations and kings came from him.

[3] That “kings” signify truths, may be seen from the following passages.

In Isaiah:

The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; thou shalt suck the milk of the nations, and the breast of kings shalt thou suck (Isaiah 60:10, 16);

what it is to “suck the milk of nations” and “the breast of kings,” is by no means plain from the letter, but it is from the internal sense, in which it signifies to be gifted with goods, and instructed in truths.

In Jeremiah:

There shall enter in by the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses (Jeremiah 17:25; 22:4);

to “ride in chariots and on horses” is a prophetical saying which signifies an abundance of intellectual things, as may appear from very many passages in the Prophets; and thus by “kings entering in by the gates of the city” is signified in the internal sense that they should be imbued with truths of faith. This is the heavenly sense of the Word, into which the worldly literal sense passes.

[4] Again, in the same Prophet:

Jehovah hath despised in the indignation of His anger the king and the priest; the gates of Zion have sunk into the earth; He hath destroyed and broken her bars; her king and her princes are among the nations; the law is not (Lam. 2:6, 9);

“the king” here denotes the truth of faith; “the priest” the good of charity; “Zion” the church which is being destroyed, and whose bars are being broken; hence “the king and the princes are among the nations,” that is, truth and the things which are of truth will be banished to such an extent that there will be no “law,” that is, nothing of the doctrine of faith.

In Isaiah:

Before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the ground shall be forsaken, which thou loathest in the presence of her two kings (Isaiah 7:16); where the Lord’s coming is treated of; the “ground which shall be forsaken” denotes faith, of which there would then be none, and the truths of which are the “kings that would be loathed.”

[5] In the same Prophet:

I will lift up My hand to the nations, and raise up My ensign to the peoples; and they shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy daughters shall be carried upon the shoulder; and kings shall be thy nourishers, and their queens those that give thee suck (Isaiah 49:22-23);

“the nations” and “the daughters” denote goods; and “the peoples” and “the sons” truths (as shown in Part First, where it may be seen that “nations” denote goods, n. 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849; and that “daughters” have a similar signification, n. 489-491; also that “peoples” denote truths, n. 1259, 1260; and “sons” likewise, n. 489, 491, 533, 1147). “Kings” therefore denote truths in general, by which they will be nourished, and their “queens” the goods from which they will be “suckled.” Whether you say goods and truths, or those who are in goods and truths, it is the same.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1259-1260)


[6] Again in the same Prophet:

He shall sprinkle many nations, upon him kings shall shut their mouth-for that which was [not] told them have they seen; and that which they did not hear have they understood (Isaiah 52:15),

where the Lord’s coming is spoken of; the “nations” denote those who are affected by goods, and “kings” those who are affected by truths.

In David:

Now, O ye kings, be intelligent; be instructed, ye judges of the earth; serve Jehovah with fear, and exult with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way (Psalms 2:10-12).

“Kings” denote those who are in truths; who also from their truths are often called “king’s sons;” “the Son” here denotes the Lord, who is here called “the Son” because He is the truth itself, and because all truth is from Him.

[7] In John:

They shall sing a new song, Worthy art Thou who takest the book, and openest the seals thereof; Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, that we may reign upon the earth (Revelation 5:9-10); where they who are in truths are called “kings.” The Lord also calls such persons “the sons of the kingdom,” in Matthew:

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the seed is the sons of the kingdom, and the tares are the sons of the evil one (Matthew 13:37-38).

In John:

The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the Kings that are from the sun rising might be prepared (Revelation 16:12).

That by the “Euphrates” is not meant the Euphrates, nor by “the kings from the sun-rising” any kings therefrom, is evident (what is meant by the “Euphrates” may be seen above, n. 120, 1585, 1866); so that “the way of the kings that are from the sun-rising” means the truths of faith that are from the goods of love.

[8] In the same:

The nations that are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it (Revelation 21:24); where “the nations” denote those who are in goods, and “the kings of the earth” those who are in truths, as may be inferred from the fact that these words are prophetic, and not historical. In the same:

With the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters the kings of the earth have committed whoredom, and have been made drunken with the wine of her whoredom (Revelation 17:1-2).

And again:

Babylon hath made all the nations drink of the wine of her whoredom, and the kings of the earth have committed whoredom with her (Revelation 18:3, 9); where in like manner it is evident that kings are not meant by “the kings of the earth;” for the falsification and adulteration of the doctrine of faith, that is, of truth, is treated of, and this is the “whoredom;” “the kings of the earth” denote the truths that are falsified and adulterated.

(References: Revelation 17:2)


[9] In the same:

The ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, that have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority [potestas] as kings with the beast for one hour. These shall have one mind, and shall give their power and authority to the beast (Revelation 17:12-13).

That these “kings” are not kings, is evident to everyone; for if so it would be wholly unintelligible that the ten kings should receive authority as kings one hour. So too in another passage:

I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war with him that sat upon the horse, and with his army (Revelation 19:19).

That “he that sat upon the horse” is “the Word of God,” is openly stated in verse 13; and it is against this that the kings of the earth are said to have been gathered together. “The beast” denotes the goods of love, profaned; and “the kings” denote the truths of faith, adulterated; these are called “the kings of the earth,” because they are within the church. (That “the earth” is the church may be seen above, n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262.) The “white horse” denotes the understanding of truth; and “he that sat upon the horse,” the Word. This meaning is still more manifest in Daniel (chapter 11), where the war between “the king of the south” and “the king of the north” is treated of; by which terms are signified the truths and falsities that had fought, the combats being described here also in an historical manner by this “war.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067; Daniel 11; Revelation 19:13)


[10] As “a king” signifies truth, it may be seen what is meant in the internal sense when the Lord is called a King and also a Priest; and also what it was in the Lord that was represented by kings, and what by priests. Kings represented His Divine truth, and priests His Divine good. All the laws of order by which the Lord governs the universe as King, are truths; but all the laws by which He governs the universe as Priest, and by which also He rules truths themselves, are goods; for government from truths alone would condemn everyone to hell; but government from goods lifts everyone out thence and uplifts him into heaven (see n. 1728). Because in the Lord’s case these two are conjoined, they were anciently represented by kingship conjoined with priesthood; as with Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and at the same time priest to God Most High (Genesis 14:18); and afterwards with the Jews, among whom the representative church was instituted in its own form, by judges and priests, and afterwards by kings.

[11] But as the kings represented truths, which ought not to have command, for the reason, as before said, that they condemn, therefore the desire to have kings was so displeasing as to call for rebuke, and the nature of truth as regarded in itself was described by the rights [jus] of the king (1 Samuel 8:11-18); and at an earlier day it was commanded by Moses (Deuteronomy 17:14-18) that they should choose genuine truth which is from good, and not spurious; and that they should not defile it by reasonings and memory-knowledges [scientifica]. This is what is involved in the directions concerning a king, given in Moses in the place just cited; which no one can possibly see from the sense of the letter, but yet is evident from the several points contained in the internal sense; so that “king” and “kingship” evidently represented and signified nothing else than truth.

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Arcana Coelestia 2069, 2089, 2466, 2504, 2509, 2567, 2761, 2781, 2826, 2830, 2832, 2851, 2906, 3009, 3105, 3325, 3355, 3365, 3441, 3703, 3708, 3858, 3863, 3875, 3969, 4391, 4402, 4575, 4669, 4677, 4728, 4763, 4809, 4876, 4973, 5038, 5044, 5068, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 854

The White Horse 10

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 259, 309


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 27, 31, 126, 155, 236, 701


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Genesis 18

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1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.

30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.

32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 468, 1420, 1616, 2072, 2142, 2143, 2144, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 658

True Christian Religion 755


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 340, 397, 1153

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 49

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 6:12, 11:5, 12:3, 7, 13:13, 18, 17:16, 17, 19, 22, 24, 19:1, 3, 13, 27, 21:2, 6, 24:1, 32, 36, 32:1, 33:3, 35:2, 42:6, 43:24, 44:18

Exodus 32:11

Numbers 16:22

Deuteronomy 4:9, 10

Joshua 5:13, 13:1

Judges 6:18, 19, 20, 39, 13:3, 19:5, 21

1 Samuel 28:24

2 Samuel 24:17

2 Kings 4:16, 27

1 Chronicles 16:33

2 Chronicles 14:3, 19:7

Job 34:10, 12

Psalms 7:12, 25:14, 44:22, 50:6, 75:3, 78:5, 119:60

Isaiah 3:9, 65:8

Jeremiah 5:1, 32:17

Amos 3:7

Jonah 1:2

Zechariah 8:6

Matthew 11:23, 13:29, 19:26

Romans 3:5, 4:13, 9:9

1 Corinthians 11:3

Galatians 3:8

1 Timothy 4

Hebrews 6:10, 11:11, 12:23, 13:1, 2

James 5:16

1 Peter 3:6

Jude 1:7

Revelation 18:5

Bible Word Meanings

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

Mamre
Mamre was an Amorite who lived in the land of Canaan, in the area called Hebron in what would much later be the kingdom of...

sat
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

tent
'The tabernacle' has almost the same meaning as 'temple,' that is, in the highest sense, the Lord’s divine humanity, and in a relative sense, heaven...

door
In a general sense, doors in the Bible represent the initial desires for good and concepts of truth that introduce people to new levels of...

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

lift
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

eyes
'Pairs of hands, eyes, etc.' relate to the will and understanding, or to good and truth. The right side to the will or good, and...

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

Three men
'The three men' who appeared to Abraham, as in Genesis 18:2, signify the essential divine, the divine human, and the holy proceeding.

saw
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

meet
In natural language, to "meet" someone can be positive or negative: it can be a welcoming and greeting, or it can be "meeting" them in...

bowed
To bow in prayer is common in most religious practices, so it's not surprising that “to bow” in the Bible represents humility and worship in...

ground
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

my lord
Characters in the Bible will often address others using the term “my lord,” and it seems to be no more than an expression of respect....

found
To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

sight
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

servant
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

water
'Waters' signify truths in the natural self, and in the opposite sense, falsities. 'Waters' signify particularly the spiritual parts of a person, or the intellectual...

wash
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

feet
Our feet are the lowest and most utilitarian parts of our bodies, and in the Bible they represent the lowest and most utilitarian part of...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

tree
'Trees,' in general, signify the perceptions when discussing the celestial self, but when related to the spiritual church, they signify knowledges. A person in the...

bread
Just as natural food feeds the natural body, so spiritual food feeds the spiritual body. And since our spiritual body is the expression of what...

hearts
The heart means love. A good heart means love to the Lord and to the neighbor while a hard or stony heart means the love...

after
Behind, or after, (Gen. 16:13), signifies within or above, or an interior or superior principle.

To
‘To grieve at heart’ is in reference to love, and ‘to repent,’ to wisdom, as in Genesis 6:6.

Abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

hastened
'To hasten' or 'hastiness' in the internal sense, does not denote what is quick, but what is certain, and also what is full, thus every...

sarah
'Sarah' denotes truth joined to good. Sarai was called 'Sarah' so she would represent the divine intellectual principle by adding the 'H' from the name...

quickly
'To hasten' or 'hastiness' in the internal sense, does not denote what is quick, but what is certain, and also what is full, thus every...

measures
The Bible uses a somewhat dizzying array of unfamiliar measurement, leaving translators a choice between being accurate and confusing or inaccurate and clear. Since they...

Meal
'Meal and farina' signifies the truth of faith, or truth from good.

herd
'A herd,' as mentioned in Genesis 32:7, denotes exterior or natural good, and also not good things.

Tender and good
'Tender and good' denote the celestial natural.

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

young
"Youths" or "Young men" generally represent intelligence or the understanding of truth. This is fitting, since adolescent boys tend to be more advanced intellectually than...

hasted
'To hasten' or 'hastiness' in the internal sense, does not denote what is quick, but what is certain, and also what is full, thus every...

butter
Butter (Isa. 7:14, 16) signifies the Lord's celestial principle, and honey that is derived from thence. Butter of the herd (Deut. 32:13) signifies the celestial...

milk
Water represents true ideas about day-to-day life, and other drinks and liquids in general represent different forms of truth. Milk is a drink that contains...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

stood
'To stand,' and 'come forth' as in Daniel 7:10, refers to truth. In Genesis 24:13, it signifies a state of conjunction of divine truth with...

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

wife
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has six different common words which are generally translated as "wife," which largely overlap but have different nuances. Swedenborg...

return
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

Time
Time is an aspect of the physical world, but according to Swedenborg is not an aspect of the spiritual world. The same is true of...

life
'Lives' is used in the plural, because of the will and understanding, and because these two lives make one.

son
Marriages in the Bible represent the union we all can have between the desire for good and the understanding of truth (or an understanding of...

heard
'To hearken to father and mother,' as mentioned in Genesis 28:7, signifies obedience from affection. 'To hearken,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:22, signifies providence. See...

behind
Behind, or after, (Gen. 16:13), signifies within or above, or an interior or superior principle.

women
The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

afraid
Fear has various significations according to the thing which causes it. Fear signifies love. Fear, as in Gen 28:17, signifies a holy change.

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

rose up
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

sodom
"Sodom" in the Bible represents the love of self and the love of ruling or dominating others springing from the love of self. This is...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

seeing
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

great
The word "great" is used in the Bible to represent a state with a strong degree of love and affection, of the desire for good;...

mighty
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

nation
'A nation,' as in Genesis 21:18, signifies the spiritual church which should receive the good of faith. Nation from afar,' as in Jeremiah 5:17, signifies...

nations
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

earth
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

know
In a general sense, men represent things of the intellect – facts, ideas, knowledge, everything from the deepest truths to the most pernicious falsities about...

command
To command is to give an order that something must be done, and is directed to an individual, or a group. It is an imperative,...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

household
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

keep
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

justice
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

judgment
Judgement' pertains to the Lord's divine human and holy proceeding. Judgment' has two sides, a principle of good, and a principle of truth. The faithful...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

Gomorrah
'Sodom' signifies the evil of self-love, and 'Gomorrah,' the falsity derived from it.

sin
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

go down
To go up and to go down: in the Word, mention is made of going up and going down when speaking of going from one...

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

see
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

turned
Swedenborg says that the Lord is the sun of heaven, and like the natural sun of our world shines on everyone, good or evil. What...

faces
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

near
'Nigh' denotes truth in affinity with good.

righteous
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

Wicked
Swedenborg several times associates the “wicked” with “malevolence,” defines “malevolence” as “destroying good, interior and exterior,” and says that the wicked do this by disowning...

fifty
God rested on the seventh day of creation. That represents a state of holiness and tranquility that was preserved in the form of the sabbath....

city
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

place
'A dry place,' as in Luke 11:24, signifies states of evil and falsity which are in the life of someone who does the work of...

right
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

judge
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

find
To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

answered
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

speak
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

dust
Dust, in Ezekiel 26:12, signifies the lowest things which are of the sensual principle of man. In Isaiah 40:12, the dust signifies exterior or natural...

Dust and ashes
The dust and ashes mentioned in Genesis 18:27 signify the Lord's merely human principle from the mother, in respect to his essential divine principle.

ashes
Ashes as in ('Ezekiel 27:30') signify what is condemned; because fire from which they are derived signify infernal love. Ashes of the furnace ('Exodus 9:8')...

lack
For something to “fail” in the Bible means there is not enough understanding of truth and desire for good for someone to attain a higher...

five
Five also signifies all things of one part.

forty
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

spake
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

forty's
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

thirty
'Thirty' has a twofold significance because it is is the product of five and six, and also three and ten. From five multiplied by six,...

twenty
'Twenty,' when referring to a quantity, signifies everything, or fullness, because it is ten twice. In Genesis 18:31, 'twenty', like all numbers occurring in the...

ten
Most places in Swedenborg identify “ten” as representing “all,” or in some cases “many” or “much.” The Ten Commandments represent all the guidance we get...

returned
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here: swedenborg.com.


Was God Really Angry With Sodom and Gomorrah?

As Jesus said on the road to Emmaus, the Old Testament is teaching us about Jesus's inner life. What can we learn from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah?


Was God Really Angry With Sodom and Gomorrah?

As Jesus said on the road to Emmaus, the Old Testament is teaching us about Jesus's inner life. What can we learn from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah?


The Meaning of Sodom and Gomorrah

Focus on the internal meaning of the Sodom and Gomorrah story


The Meaning of Sodom and Gomorrah

Focus on the internal meaning of the Sodom and Gomorrah story

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Abraham and Lot
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Abraham and Sarah's Family
The Lord promises Abraham many descendants.
Story | Ages 2 - 8

 Abraham and the Angels
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Abraham and the Angels, Birth of Isaac
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Isaac’s Birth Foretold
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Appearing of the Angels to Abraham
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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