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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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Isaiah 49:22-23

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22 Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

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Explanation of Isaiah 49      

By Rev. John H. Smithson

THE EXPLANATION of Isaiah Chapter 49

(Note: Rev. Smithson's translation of the Isaiah text is appended below the explanation.)

1. ATTEND, O islands, unto Me; and hearken, you peoples, from afar: Jehovah has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother has He made mention of my name.

VERSE 1. "Islands" signify those who are in Truths, and "peoples from afar" those who are in Goods, and, abstractedly, Truths and Goods, both in the natural man; "from afar" is predicated of Goods which are in the natural man, but what is "near" of Goods in the spiritual man. "Peoples" here signify Goods, because in the original it is a different term from that by which Truths are signified. Apocalypse Explained 406. See also Arcana Coelestia 1158, 2709.

Verses 1, 12. By the "islands", and by the "peoples from afar", and "from the north and from the sea", are understood the Gentiles or nations with whom the church was to be established. Hence it is evident that externals are distant from internals, and stand, as it were, afar off; hence it is that, in the Word, by "afar off" is signified the external, or what is removed from the internal, as in the above passage, and in the following:

"Hear, O you that are afar off, what I have done; and acknowledge, O you that are near, My power." (Isaiah 33:13)

By those who are "afar off" are there understood the nations or Gentiles, because remote from internal Truths; and by the "near" are understood those who are of the church, and in Truths from the Word. Apocalypse Explained 1133.

As to "islands", see Chapter 41:5, the Exposition.

Verses 1, 5. The Lord, in many parts of the Word, is called "Creator", "Maker", and " Former from the womb", and also "Redeemer", by reason that He creates man anew, reforms, regenerates; and redeems. It may be supposed that the Lord is so called because He created man, and forms him in the womb, but still it is a spiritual creation and formation which is here understood; for the Word is not only natural, but also spiritual, - natural for men, who are natural, and spiritual for the angels, who are spiritual, as may also appear from this consideration, that the things here said are said concerning Israel, and, in the supreme sense, concerning the Lord.

By "Israel" is understood the church, thus every man of the church; and inasmuch as the Lord knows the quality of every one as to the Good of love and the Truth of faith, therefore it is said "Jehovah has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother has He made mention of my name."

By "calling and knowing the name" of anyone, is signified to know his quality; "from the womb" denotes as to the Good of love, and "from the bowels of my mother", as to Truths from that Good. By "Jacob", who shall be brought back unto Him, and "Israel", who shall be gathered unto Him, is signified the church; by "Jacob" the external church, and by "Israel" the internal, - the latter being in the spiritual man, the former in the natural. Apocalypse Explained 710.

These words also treat of the Lord. To "make mention of His name" is to instruct as to His quality. Arcana Coelestia 2009.

2. And He has set my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand has He concealed me, and He has made me a polished shaft; in His quiver has He hid me;

Verse 2. Where by the "mouth" of the prophet is signified Divine Truth, wherefore it is compared to a "sharp sword", whereby is understood its penetrating power, and dispersing and destroying the false. Apocalypse Explained 908.

In the shadow of His hand has He concealed me, etc. - Treating also concerning the Lord. By the "sharp sword" is signified Truth dispersing the false; by the "polished shaft" is denoted Truth dispersing the evil; and by the "quiver" is signified the Word. Hence it is evident what is meant by "He has set my mouth like a sharp sword, and has made me a polished shaft, and in His quiver has He hid me", that is, that in Him and from Him is Divine Truth, by which falsities and evils are dispersed, and that in Him and from Him is the Word, where and whence those Truths are. Apocalypse Explained 357.

The "sharp sword" is Truth fighting; and the "polished shaft" is the Truth of doctrine. Arcana Coelestia 2799.

3. And He has said unto me, You art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

Verses 3, 6. Israel, in whom I will be glorified. - Meaning the Divine Human of the Lord. Arcana Coelestia 3441.

4. And I said, I have laboured in vain; for nought, and for vanity, I have spent my strength: nevertheless my judgment is with Jehovah, and the recompense of my work with my God.

5. And now [thus] says Jehovah, my Former from the womb to be His servant, to bring back Jacob unto Him, and that Israel unto Him may be gathered: then shall I be glorious in the eyes of Jehovah, and my God will be my strength:

Verse 4. Speaking of the establishment of the New Church from the Lord. That it could not be established with the Jewish nation, because Truths could not be received by that nation from any spiritual affection, is understood by "I said, I have laboured in vain; for nought [or emptiness], and for vanity, I have spent my strength." That still a spiritual church is provided by the Lord, that is, with the Gentiles, is signified by "My judgment is with Jehovah, and the recompense of my work with my God."

By "recompense" is here signified the church, which is in the spiritual affection of Truth; by "labour" and 'by "work" is understood the combat of the Lord against the hells; and the subjugation of them, whereby the Lord restored the equilibrium between heaven and hell, in which man can receive Truth and become spiritual; concerning which equilibrium, see the work on Heaven and Hell 589-603, and in the small work on the Last Judgrnent, n. 33, 34, 73, 74. Apocalypse Explained 695.

6. And He said, It is a light thing that You should be My Servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: [but] I will also give You for a light to the nations, to be My salvation to the end of the earth.

7. Thus says Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One; to Him who is despised in soul, whom the nation abhors; to the Servant of rulers: Kings shall see Him, and shall rise up; princes also, and they shall bow themselves down; for the sake of Jehovah, who is faithful; of the Holy One of Israel, for He has chosen You.

Verse 6. [These words seem to imply that the Lord, or Jehovah in His Humanity, would not only" raise up the tribes of Israel", etc., that is, establish the true church, but that from Him should come the "light" and "salvation" for all nations and peoples, and for the entire universe. That the tribes of Israel and the Jews will not again, in a literal sense, be gathered to their own land, as is supposed by many from not knowing the spiritual sense of the Word, can be abundantly proved. See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 66:20.]

My salvation to the end of the earth. - See above, Chapter 42:10-12, the Exposition.

8. Thus says Jehovah, In the time of acceptance have I answered You, and in the day of salvation have I helped You; and I will preserve You, and give You for a covenant of the people; to restore the land, to give possession of the desolate heritages:

Verse 8. I will give You for a covenant of the people, etc. - To "give for a covenant of the people", signifies that conjunction may be with the Lord and by Him; to "restore the land", is to restore the church; and to "give possession of the desolate heritages", signifies to restore the Goods and Truths of the church which were destroyed. Apocalypse Explained 701.

As to the "Covenant", see above, Chapter 42:6, the Exposition.

Verses 8, 13. I will give You for a covenant of the people, to restore the land. Sing, O you heavens; and rejoice, O earth; you mountains, break forth into song, etc.

- Treating of the Lord and of His advent. The establishment of the church by Him is signified by "I will give You for a covenant of the people, to restore the land"; to "restore the land" denoting to re-establish the church. It is well known that the Lord did not restore the land to the Jewish people, but that He established the church amongst the Gentiles. The joy in consequence thereof is described by "Sing, O you heavens; rejoice, O earth; you mountains, break forth into song." By the "heavens" are understood the heavens where are the angels who are in the interior Truths of the church; by the "earth" is understood the church with men; and by the "mountains", those who are in the Good of love to the Lord. Apocalypse Explained 304.

9. Saying to the prisoners, Go forth; to those that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and on all the eminences shall be their pasture.

Verse 9. These words treat manifestly of the Lord. The "prisoners" [or the bound] are, in particular, those who were detained in the lower earth until the advent of the Lord, and who were then elevated into heaven; and, in general, those who are in Good, and kept, as it were, bound by falsities, from which, however, they endeavour to come forth. To "feed in the ways" is to be instructed in Truths; that "ways" are Truths, see Arcana Coelestia 627, 2333; and that to "feed" is to be instructed, n. 5201. "On all eminences shall be their pasture", signifies to be nourished in Good; for "eminences", like mountains, are the Goods of love. Arcana Coelestia 6854. See also 6078.

By "the bound [or prisoners], to whom He shall say, Go forth", and by "those that are in darkness, to whom He shall say, Show yourselves", are signified the Gentiles who have lived in Good according to their religion, and yet were in falsities from ignorance, who are called "bound" when they are in temptations; "darkness" denotes falsities from ignorance. Apocalypse Explained 481.

As to the "lower earth" in the world of spirits, and the "prisoners", or the "bound", who are detained there until they are devastated of their false principles, see Chapter 24:22, the Exposition.

10. They shall not hunger, neither shall they thirst; neither shall, the heat nor the sun smite them: for He that has mercy on them shall lead them, and, shall guide them to springs of water.

Verse 10. Any one who thinks deeply may see that hunger and thirst for natural meat and drink are not here meant, neither the natural sun and heat which shall not smite them, nor natural springs of water to which they shall be led; by "hunger" and "thirst", therefore, is signified to hunger and thirst for such things as belong to eternal life, or which communicate that life, which, in general, have reference to the Good of love and the Truth of faith", hunger" relating to the former, and "thirst" to the latter. The "heat" and the "sun" signify the heat derived from false principles and the love of evil; for these take away all spiritual hunger and thirst. The "springs of water, to which the Lord will lead them", signify illustration in all Truth; a "spring" or "fountain" denoting the Word and doctrine from the Word; "water" denoting Truth; and to "lead", when predicated of the Lord, denoting to illustrate. From these considerations it may appear what is signified by the words of the Lord in John:

"I am the Bread of Life: He who cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he who believes on Me shall never thirst"; (John 6:35) where that to "hunger" is to come to the Lord; and that to "thirst" is to believe on Him, is evident; to "come to the Lord" is to do His commandments, Apocalypse Explained 386.

That "the heat shall not smite them", signifies that the false originating in concupiscence shall not affect them. Apocalypse Explained 481.

11. And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted.

Verse 11, 13. By "mountains", in the plural number, are understood both mountains and hills, thus both the Good of love and the Good of charity. The "mountains and hills being made into a way, and the highways being exalted", signifies that they who are in those Goods shall be in genuine Truths, - to be "made or set into a way" signifying to be in Truths; and for "the highways to be exalted", is meant to be in genuine Truths, for "ways" and "highways" signify Truths, which are said to be "exalted" by Good; and Truths derived from Good are genuine Truths. Their joy of heart in consequence thereof is signified by "Sing, O you heavens; and rejoice, O earth; "internal joy by "Sing, O you heavens", and external joy by "Rejoice, O earth." Confessions from joy originating in the Good of love, are signified by "You mountains, break forth into song." That this was on account of reformation and regeneration, is signified by "for Jehovah has comforted His people." That the mountains in the world are not here understood, is evident, for to what purpose would it be for "mountains to be made into a way", for "the highways to be exalted", and likewise for" the mountains to break forth into singing"? Apocalypse Explained 405.

12. Lo! these shall come from afar; and lo! these from the north and from the sea; and these from the land of Sinim.

Verse 12. The "north" signifies those who are in obscurity as to Truth; the "west" [or the sea], those who are in obscurity as to Good; and they are said to "come from afar" who are remote from the light which is from the Lord. Arcana Coelestia 3708 Arcana Coelestia 3708[1-23].

As to the "east", "west", "north", and "south", see Chapter 43:5, 6, the Exposition.

From the land of Sinim. - [It is not known what country "Sinim" designated, but it is probable that it was adopted as an appellation for the south, as the "sea" in this verse, and frequently elsewhere, is for the west. In this way the four quarters are designated, - "from afar" denoting the east, or those who are remote from the acknowledgement and love of the Lord; and "Sinim", those who are remote from the light or intelligence of Truth proceeding from that love.]

13. Sing, O you heavens; and rejoice, O earth; you mountains, break forth into song: for Jehovah has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.

Verse 13. See the Exposition of Isaiah Chapter 44:23.

14. But Zion says, Jehovah has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me,

15. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, these may forget; but I will not forget you.

Verses 14, 15. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion. on the son of her womb?-This is said because in the spiritual sense regeneration is understood, wherefore comparison is made with a "woman" and "her love towards her infant." The case is the same with those who are regenerated by the Lord. Apocalypse Explained 710.

16. Behold, on the palms of My hands have I graven you; your walls are continually before Me.

Verse 16. To "engrave" or to "write on stone", also on the "palms of the hands", signifies perpetual remembrance. "Your walls are continually before Me;"-"walls" are the Truths of faith. (Arcana Coelestia 6419, 9841)

See, as to the meaning of a "city", "walls", "bulwarks", etc., Chapter 26:1, the Exposition.

17. They shall hasten your sons; your destroyers and your devastators shall depart from you.

Verses 17, 18. These things are said of "Zion", by which is signified the celestial church. By "the sons who shall make haste" are understood the Truths of that church. That "sons" are Truths has been frequently shown above; hence it is said that "she [Zion] should clothe herself with them all, as with an ornament; and should bind them about her, as a bride [her jewels]", -which words can be said of, the Truths of the church, but not of the "sons" of Zion. Arcana Coelestia 10540.

Verses 17, 22. They shall hasten your sons; your destroyers and your devastators shall depart from you, etc. - The establishment of a New Church by the Lord is treated of in these words. By "the sons whom they shall hasten, and whom they shall bring in their bosom", and by "the daughters whom they shall carry upon their shoulder", are understood all who are in Truths and in the affection thereof and abstractedly from persons, Truths themselves, and their affections, with those who will be of the New Church. "Your destroyers and your devastators" signify the falsities of evil; that these will be removed is signified: by "they shall depart from you." Apocalypse Explained 724.

18. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all these gather themselves together, they come to you. As I live, says Jehovah, surely you shalt clothe yourself with them all, as with an ornament; and shalt bind them on you, as a bride [her jewels],

19. For your wastes and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction, shall even now be too narrow for the inhabitants; and they that swallowed you up shall be far away.

20. The sons, of whom you wast bereaved, shall yet say in thine ears, This place is too narrow for me; make room for me that I may dwell.

21. And you shalt say in thine heart, Who has begotten me these? I was bereaved [of my sons], and solitary; an exile, and an outcast; and these, who has nourished them up? Lo! I was forsaken, and alone; these, where were they?

Verses 18, 20, 21. These words treat of "Zion", or of the celestial church and of its fructification after vastation. The "sons of bereavement." stand for Truths, of which in vastation she was deprived, but which were afterwards restored and immensely increased. (Arcana Coelestia 5536 Arcana Coelestia 5536[1-5])

In the whole of this chapter the desolation of those who are regenerated is treated of, and of their regeneration and fructification after desolation and at length, [in verse 26] of the punishment of those who desolate or oppress. Arcana Coelestia 5376.

22. Thus says the Lord Jehovih, Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and to the peoples will I exalt My standard: and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be borne on their shoulder.

Verses 22, 23. These words treat of the Lord, and of those who worship and adore Him. To "lift up the hand to the nations and to the peoples a standard", is to bring to Himself all who are in the Goods of love and in Truths hence derived; of them it is said that "they should bring their sons in the bosom, and their daughters on the shoulder"; "sons" are the affections of Truth, and "daughters" are affections of Good; of them it is also said that "kings should be their nursing fathers [or nourishers], and their queens [or princesses]their nursing mothers"; "kings" are the veriest Truths and "queens" their Goods; and because man is regenerated and also nourished by these Truths and Goods, it is said they shall be your nourishers and your nurses [giving suck]. This is the internal sense of these words; who, without that sense, could understand them? That man is regenerated by Truths, and by a life according to them, see Chapter 1:2; 8:3, the Exposition. Apocalypse Explained 175.

The whole of this chapter treats of the advent of the Lord and of the salvation of those who receive Him, as is evident from verses 6-9; consequently it is not the salvation of the Jews which is here treated of much less their restoration to the land of Canaan. That the Jewish nation was not understood in the passages here adduced, may also appear from this circumstance, that it was the worst, of all nations, and idolatrous in heart; and that they were not introduced into the land of Canaan on account of any goodness and justice of heart, but on account of the promise made to their fathers; likewise that there were no Truths and Goods of the church with them, but falsities and evils; and that they were therefore rejected and expelled from the land of Canaan, as may appear from all those passages in the Word wherever that nation is described. Apocalypse Explained 433. See Chapter 66:20, 22, the Exposition.

Verse 22. For the meaning of a "standard", see Chapter 13:2, the Exposition.

23. And kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers: with their faces to the earth they shall bow down unto you, and shall lick the dust of your feet; and you shalt know that I am Jehovah, and that they who trust in Me shall not be ashamed.

Verse 23. Because "kings" signify those who are in Truths derived from the Good of love to the Lord, therefore it became a custom from ancient times that "kings", when they were crowned; should be distinguished by certain insignia, which signify Truths derived from Good, as that a "king" should be anointed with oil, that he should wear a crown of gold, that he should hold a sceptre in his right hand, that he should be clothed with a purple robe, that he should sit upon a throne of silver, and that he should ride with his insignia upon a white horse; for "oil" signifies Good, from which is Truth, see Arcana Coelestia 886 Arcana Coelestia 886[1-2], 4638; a "crown of gold" upon the head [is wisdom, and] has a similar signification, n. 9930; a "sceptre", which is a staff, is the power of Truth from Good, Arcana Coelestia 4581, 4876; the "robe", divine Truths in the spiritual kingdom, 9825; and "purple", the spiritual love of Good, 9467 ; a "throne", the kingdom of Truth derived from Good, 5315, 6397; "silver", that Truth itself, 1551, 1552; and a "white horse", the understanding illustrated therefrom, as may be seen in the work concerning the White Horse 1-5. (See also above, Chapter 31:1, the Exposition.) That rituals about the coronation of "kings" involve such things, but that the knowledge thereof is at this day lost, see also Arcana Coelestia 4581, 4966. Apocalypse Explained 31.

24. Shall the prey be taken away from the mighty? or shall the captivity of the just be delivered?

25. Yea, thus says Jehovah, Even the captivity of the mighty shall be taken away, and the spoil of the terrible shall be delivered: for with him that contends with you I will contend, and your sons I will save.

Verses 24, 25. These words treat of the Lord, and of the bringing back of the sons of Zion from captivity, but by the "sons of Zion" are meant those who are in love to the Lord, and thence in Truths. That they were secluded from Truths by those who strenuously confirmed falsities, and that still they were liberated by the Lord, is signified by " Shall the prey be taken away from the mighty? or shall the captivity of the just be delivered? Yea, thus says Jehovah, Even the captivity of the mighty shall be taken away, and the spoil of the terrible shall be delivered: for with him that contends with you I will contend, and your sons I will save." Apocalypse Explained 811.

[The "prey of the mighty", the "captivity of the just", and the "spoil of the terrible", would seem specifically to denote those who are held captive in the lower earth of the spiritual world, or in vastations, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, "went to preach"; (1 Peter 3:19) and whom He delivered from those who are here called the "mighty" and the "terrible", that is, the evils and falsities by which they had been held captive. The "captivity of the just" denotes those who, although in false principles, were nevertheless in good intentions, of which "justice" is here predicated. See, as to the further meaning of "vastations", and the nature of those who undergo them, Chapter 24:22, the Exposition.]

26. And I will feed thine oppressors with their own flesh; and with their own blood, as with new wine, shall they be drunken: and all flesh shall know that I Jehovah am your Saviour, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Verse 26. That by "flesh", in a bad sense, is signified the proprium of man's will which, viewed in itself, is evil, may appear from the above and from the following passages:

"A man shall eat the flesh of his own arm." (Isaiah 9:20)

And in Jeremiah:

"I will feed you with the flesh of their sons, and with the flesh of their daughters; and they shall devour every man the flesh of his companion." (Jeremiah 19:9)

And in Zechariah: "The rest shall eat everyone the flesh of another." (Zechariah 11:9) Apocalypse Explained 1082. See Chapter 9:19-21, the Exposition.

To "feed oppressors with their own flesh" is to feed thrm with their own evil. Arcana Coelestia 8409.

---
Isaiah Chapter 49.

1. ATTEND, O islands, unto Me; and hearken, you peoples, from afar: Jehovah has called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother has He made mention of my name.

2. And He has set my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand has He concealed me, and He has made me a polished shaft; in His quiver has He hid me;

3. And He has said unto me, You art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

4. And I said, I have laboured in vain; for nought, and for vanity, I have spent my strength: nevertheless my judgment is with Jehovah, and the recompense of my work with my God.

5. And now [thus] says Jehovah, my Former from the womb to be His servant, to bring back Jacob unto Him, and that Israel unto Him may be gathered: then shall I be glorious in the eyes of Jehovah, and my God will be my strength:

6. And He said, It is a light thing that You should be My Servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: [but] I will also give You for a light to the nations, to be My salvation to the end of the earth.

7. Thus says Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One; to Him who is despised in soul, whom the nation abhorreth; to the Servant of rulers: Kings shall see Him, and shall rise up; princes also, and they shall bow themselves down; for the sake of Jehovah, who is faithful; of the Holy One of Israel, for He has chosen You.

8. Thus says Jehovah, In the time of acceptance have I answered You, and in the day of salvation have I helped You; and I will preserve You, and give You for a covenant of the people; to restore the land, to give possession of the desolate heritages:

9. Saying to the prisoners, Go forth; to those that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and on all the eminences shall be their pasture.

10. They shall not hunger, neither shall they thirst; neither shall, the heat nor the sun smite them: for He that has mercy on them shall lead them, and, shall guide them to springs of water.

11. And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted.

12. Lo! these shall come from afar; and lo! these from the north and from the sea; and these from the land of Sinim.

13. Sing, O you heavens; and rejoice, O earth; you mountains, break forth into song: for Jehovah has comforted His people, and will have mercy on His afflicted.

14. But Zion says, Jehovah has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me,

15. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, these may forget; but I will not forget you.

16. Behold, on the palms of My hands have I graven you; your walls are continually before Me.

17. They shall hasten your sons; your destroyers and your devastators shall depart from you.

18. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all these gather themselves together, they come to you. As I live, says Jehovah, surely you shalt clothe yourself with them all, as with an ornament; and shalt bind them on you, as a bride [her jewels],

19. For your wastes and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction, shall even now be too narrow for the inhabitants; and they that swallowed you up shall be far away.

20. The sons, of whom you wast bereaved, shall yet say in thine ears, This place is too narrow for me; make room for me that I may dwell.

21. And you shalt say in thine heart, Who has begotten me these? I was bereaved [of my sons], and solitary; an exile, and an outcast; and these, who has nourished them up? Lo! I was forsaken, and alone; these, where were they?

22. Thus says the Lord Jehovih, Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations, and to the peoples will I exalt My standard: and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be borne on their shoulder.

23. And kings shall be your nursing fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers: with their faces to the earth they shall bow down unto you, and shall lick the dust of your feet; and you shalt know that I am Jehovah, and that they who trust in Me shall not be ashamed.

24. Shall the prey be taken away from the mighty? or shall the captivity of the just be delivered?

25. Yea, thus says Jehovah, Even the captivity of the mighty shall be taken away, and the spoil of the terrible shall be delivered: for with him that contends with you I will contend, and your sons I will save.

26. And I will feed thine oppressors with their own flesh; and with their own blood, as with new wine, shall they be drunken: and all flesh shall know that I Jehovah am your Saviour, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 49


Other references to this text:

Arcana Coelestia 1259, 2015, 3183, 6740, 7051, 8624, 9836

Apocalypse Revealed 20, 350, 483, 543

Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 51, 86

True Christian Religion 251


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 31, 175, 331, 433, 724

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Related Books  (see all)


Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 6:7

Psalms 25:3, 72:9, 11

Isaiah 11:12, 14:2, 50:7, 60:11, 14, 16, 66:20

Revelation 3:9

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shoulders
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nursing
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dust
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feet
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ashamed
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