From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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.


 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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


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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #2015

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

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.

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

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 unpublished works:

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

Other New Christian Commentary

Melchizedek 1

Queens as nursing mothers 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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.


 Asking for a King
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

 The Choosing of Saul
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


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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #3708

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

3708. 'And you will break forth towards the sea, and towards the east' means infinite extension of good, while 'towards the north, and towards the south' means infinite extension of truth - thus every state of good and truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'breaking forth' as extension, here infinite extension since it has reference to the Lord; from the meaning of 'the sea' or the west as good which is as yet obscure and so at only an initial stage; from the meaning of 'the east' as bright and so perfected good; from the meaning of 'the north' as truth which is still shrouded in obscurity; and from the meaning of 'the south' as truth bathed in light.

[2] Many references are made in the Word to the sea or west, the east, the north, and the south. But because nobody up to now has known that, as with every other single expression, these possessed an internal sense in which they did not mean things to do with the world, as they do in the sense of the letter, but spiritual and celestial things, and that in the highest sense those expressions meant Divine things belonging to the Lord Himself, what else could people have known therefore other than that west, east, north, and south are used in the Word simply to mean the four quarters? What else other than that 'breaking forth' towards those four quarters means a multiplying? But the fact that they do not mean the four quarters or the multiplying of any group of people, but states of good and truth, and the extension of these, may become clear from all the places in the Word, especially those in the Prophets, where reference is made to them. For what west, east, north, or south are is totally unknown in heaven. There the Sun, which is the Lord - unlike the sun of this world which rises and sets, reaching its highest point at midday and its lowest at night - is visible all the time, though how visible depends on the states of those receiving its light; for the light from it holds wisdom and intelligence within it, see 1619-1632, 2776, 3138, 3167, 3190, 3195, 3222, 3223, 3339, 3341, 3485, 3636, 3643. Consequently it is visible to each individual according to the wisdom and intelligence existing with him. Among those with whom good and truth are present - which are warmth and light, but of the celestial and spiritual kind - the sun is as it is when rising and at midday; but among those with whom good and truth are not present the sun is as it is when setting and at night. From this it is evident that in the internal sense of the Word 'east, south, west, and north' means states of good and truth.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3222-3223)


[3] It should be recognized that the Word does not use only the four quarters, as indicated, to describe states of good and truth. It also uses both the annual seasons or states of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and the daily times or states of morning, midday, evening, and night. These are used for a similar purpose; but when the subject is the extension of good and truth, the four quarters are employed to describe it. What each one means specifically however may be seen from the places where they are mentioned in the Word. 'East' means the Lord and also the good of love and charity, which comes from the Lord, as shown already in 101, 1250, 3249, and 'south' means the truth bathed in light, in 1458, 3195.

[4] But what 'west' and what 'north' mean in the genuine sense, and what they mean in the contrary sense, may be seen from the following places: In Isaiah,

Fear not, for I am with you; from the east I will bring your seed, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not withhold. Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth. Isaiah 43:5-6

This refers to a new spiritual Church, meant here by Jacob and Israel. 'Bringing the seed from the east and gathering from the west' stands for people governed by good; 'saying to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not withhold' stands for those governed by truth.

[5] In David,

The redeemed of Jehovah will speak, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy and gathered together out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the sea. They wandered in the wilderness, in a desolate way; they did not find an inhabited city. 1 Psalms 107:2-4.

This refers to people who are without knowledge of good and truth. 'From the east and from the west' stands for those without knowledge of good, 'from the north and from the sea' for those without knowledge of truth. Those without knowledge of good are referred to as 'wandering in the wilderness', and those without knowledge of truth as doing so 'in a desolate way'. And those without knowledge of both are referred to as their not finding an inhabited city - 'a city' meaning doctrinal teaching consisting of truth, see 402, 2449, 2943, 3216, and 'a habitation' being used in reference to good, 268, 2451, 2712.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2268)


[6] In Isaiah,

Behold, these will come from afar, and behold, those from the north and from the west, and those from the land of Sinim. Isaiah 49:12.

'The north' stands for people in obscurity as regards truth, 'the west' for those in obscurity as regards good. They are said 'to come from afar' because they are remote from the light which flows from the Lord.

[7] In Amos,

Behold, the days are going to come in which I will send a famine on the land. And they will wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east they will run to and fro to seek the Word of Jehovah, and will not find it. Amos 8:11-12.

'A famine' stands for a lack and absence of cognitions, 1460, 3364. 'Wandering from sea to sea' stands for searching for the place where cognitions may be found - 'seas' meaning cognitions in general, 28, 2850. 'Running to and fro from the north even to the east' stands for going from those cognitions that are in obscurity to cognitions that are in the light. As regards cognitions being meant, this is evident because the words 'to seek the Word of God and will not find it' are used.

[8] In Jeremiah,

Proclaim these words towards the north, and say, Return, backsliding Israel; I will not cause My face to fall upon you, for I am merciful. In those days the house of Judah will go to the house of Israel, and together they will come out of the north land over the land I gave as a heritage to your fathers. Jeremiah 3:12, 18.

This refers to the restoration of the Church from among the gentiles. 'The north' stands for people without knowledge of truth but who lead a good life. It is evident that neither the north nor the north land is meant here for the reason that Israel did not exist any longer.

[9] In the same prophet,

The living Jehovah who caused the children of Israel to come up out of the north land. Jeremiah 16:15.

'North' in a similar way stands for being without knowledge of truth. In the same prophet,

Behold, I am bringing them from the north land, and I will gather them from the furthest parts of the earth, among them the blind one and the lame. Jeremiah 31:8.

The 'north land' stands for no knowledge of good because of no knowledge of truth. Now because the land of Canaan represented the Lord's kingdom - and therefore also represented good, see above in 3705 - and places within that land, such as Zion and Jerusalem, represented inmost good to which truth was joined, the places which lay away from that land consequently represented obscurity so far as good and truth were concerned. Everything that lies in obscurity is called 'the north land' and also 'the furthest parts of the earth'.

[10] In addition to this, since all good that flows in with light from the Lord is confined within man's obscurity, the north is also called 'an assembly' as in Isaiah,

You said in your heart, I will go up the heavens, above the stars of God I will raise my throne, and I will sit on the mount of assembly, in the furthest parts of the north. Isaiah 14:13.

In the same prophet,

Wail, O gate; cry, O city; you have melted away, O Philistia, all of you, for smoke comes from the north, and not a solitary person in the assemblies. Isaiah 14:31.

In David,

Great is Jehovah and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, the mountain of His holiness - the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, the furthest parts of the north, the city of the great King. Psalms 48:1-2.

And again in the same author,

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours. The world and the fullness of it You have founded; the north and the right hand 2 You have created. Psalms 89:11-12.

'The north' here stands for those who are more remote from the light of good and truth, 'the right hand' for those who are closer to them. For the latter are on the Lord's right hand, see 1274, 1276.

[11] In Zechariah,

He saw four chariots coming out between two mountains of bronze. The horses coupled to them were reddish, black, white, and mottled - strong ones. The angel said, These are the four winds of heaven, which go forth from standing before the Lord of the whole earth, the black horses going into the north land; and the white have gone out after them, and the mottled have gone out into the south land. Those going towards the north land have caused My spirit to rest on the north land. Zechariah 6:1-8.

'Chariots coming out between two mountains of bronze' stands for matters of doctrine concerning good. For 'chariots' means matters of doctrine, as will be shown elsewhere, while 'a mountain' means love, see 795, 1430, 2722, and two mountains therefore two kinds of love - celestial love, which is love to the Lord, and spiritual love, which is love towards the neighbour. 'Bronze' is good originating in those loves as it exists within the natural, 425, 1551; 'horses' things of the understanding, and so an understanding of matters of doctrine concerning good, 2760-2762, 3217; 'the south land' stands for people who possess cognitions of good and truth, 1458, 3195, 'the north land' for those who are without knowledge of good and truth but who lead a good life, as upright gentiles do among whom, when a new Church is established, God's Spirit is said to rest.

[12] In Jeremiah,

Jehovah who brought up and led back the seed of the house of Israel out of the land towards the north and out of all the lands to where I have driven them, so that they might dwell on their own land. Jeremiah 23:8.

'Out of the land towards the north' stands for away from the obscurity that is due to a lack of knowledge about what is good and true. In the same prophet,

Can one break iron, iron from the north, and bronze? Jeremiah 15:12.

'Iron' stands for natural truth, 425, 426, 'bronze' for natural good, 425, 1551. These are said to come 'from the north' because they derive from the natural which, though lying in obscurity compared with other degrees, serves as the outer limit of these. It is evident without explanation that this prophetic utterance does not mean the use of iron and bronze from the north, for what would be Divine about that, indeed what connection would it have with what goes before and after if no more than iron and bronze from there were meant?

(References: Arcana Coelestia 425-426)


[13] In Matthew,

I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:29.

'Many from the east and from the west' stands for those who possess cognitions and lead a good life, and also for those who are in obscurity and have no knowledge of such cognitions; and so it stands for people inside the Church and those outside it. It has been stated above that states of good are meant by the east and the west. 'Reclining with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob' means being with the Lord, see 3305 (end). And the Prophets in a similar way speak of people coming from east and west who are going to be with the Lord in His kingdom or Church, as in Isaiah,

From the east I will bring your seed, and from the west I will gather you. Isaiah 43:5.

Elsewhere in the same prophet,

They will fear the name of Jehovah from the west, and His glory from the east. Isaiah 59:19.

Elsewhere in the same,

From the rising of the sun and from its setting they will know that there is none besides Me; I am Jehovah and there is no one else. Isaiah 45:6.

Elsewhere in the same,

I will stir up one from the north, and he will come; from the rising of the sun he will call on My name. Isaiah 41:25.

[14] In addition one may see that east, west, south, and north have these meanings from the following: The Construction of the Tabernacle; The Children of Israel when they were encamped and when they journeyed; The Description of the Land of Canaan; also, The Description of the New Temple, New Jerusalem, and New Land:

THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE TABERNACLE

Everything in it was positioned according to the four quarters, see Exodus 38 - what went on the east and west sides, and what on the south and north, is stated in Exodus 26:18, 20, 22, 27; 27:9, 12, 13; and the requirement that the lampstand was to be placed towards the south across from the table, the table itself being on the north side, Exodus 26:35; 40:22.

(References: Exodus 27:11-13, 27:14, Exodus 38:9-13)


[15] THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WHEN THEY WERE ENCAMPED AND WHEN THEY JOURNEYED

Here also positions were determined according to the four quarters. That is to say, they encamped around the Tent of Meeting, with the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun towards the east; the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad towards the south; the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin towards the west; and the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali towards the north, Numbers 2:1- end. In addition to this, the Levites encamped with the Gershonites towards the west, the Kohathites towards the south, the Merarites towards the north; and Moses, Aaron and his sons in front of the Tabernacle towards the east, Numbers 3:23-38. In this way the heavenly order which in the Lord's kingdom exists in accordance with states of good and truth was represented. Towards the south side also they were to sound the call for them to begin their journeys, Numbers 10:6. And even as they took up specific positions when they encamped, so they did when they journeyed, Numbers 2:34.

(References: Numbers 2)


[16] THE DESCRIPTION OF THE LAND OF CANAAN

First Moses described its border lands - those indeed in the south, those in the west, those in the north, and those in the east, Numbers 34:2-12, as they were again described when the land had been apportioned to the tribes by lot, in Joshua 15 Chapters-19 of Joshua. From these circumstances, and also from the most ancient people who dwelt in the land of Canaan, all places in that land became representatives and meaningful signs determined by their position, distance, and boundaries in relation to the four quarters, 1607, 1866.

(References: Joshua 16:1, 17:1, 18:1)


[17] THE DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW TEMPLE, NEW JERUSALEM, AND NEW LAND

These also are described in Ezekiel in relation to the four quarters. The structure of the city, for example, started from the south. When dealing with the gateway to the building he says that its sides faced towards the east, towards the north, and towards the south, Ezekiel 40:2, 6, 19, 20-46. When dealing with the measurement of the Temple, he says that its doors looked towards the north and the south, Ezekiel 41:11, while the outer court looked towards the north, the east, the south, and the west, Ezekiel 42:1, 4, 11, 16-19. He also says that the glory of Jehovah the God of Israel came in from the way of the east, Ezekiel 43:1-2, 4. The gates to the outer court are dealt with in Ezekiel 44:1-2, 4; 46:1, 9, 10, 19, 20; and the boundaries of the Holy Land in Chapter 47 - towards the north in verses 15-17, towards the east in verse 18, towards the south in verse 19, towards the west in verse 20; while Chapter 48 specifies in relation to the four quarters the territories allotted to each tribe. And in the description of the Holy Jerusalem it is said that the gates were on the east, north, south, and west, Revelation 21:13. From these references it is quite evident that the four quarters of the world in relation to which those holy things, or representatives of what is holy, were arrayed do not mean in the internal sense the four quarters but states of good and truth within the Lord's kingdom.

(References: Ezekiel 40:19-46, 41:1-2, 41:4, 42:10-11, 42:17-20, 43:2, 44:1, 44:2, 44:9-10, 44:19-20, 47:5-17, 47:15-17, 47:18, 47:19, 47:20, 48:1)


[18] In the contrary sense 'the north' and 'the west' mean falsity and evil, as may be seen from the following places: In Jeremiah,

The word of Jehovah came to me a second time, saying, What do you see? I said, I am seeing an open pot with it's face towards the north. And Jehovah said, From the north evil will be opened over all the inhabitants of the land. Lo, I am calling all the families of the north to come. Jeremiah 1:13-15.

In the same prophet,

Set up a standard towards Zion; assemble, stay not, for I am bringing evil from the north, and a great destruction. Jeremiah 4:6.

In the same prophet,

The sound of crashing; behold, it is coming, and a great commotion out of the land of the north to reduce the cities of Judah into a waste. Jeremiah 10:22.

In the same prophet,

In Tekoa sound the trumpet, for evil stares from the north, and great destruction. Behold, a people coming from the land of the north, a mighty nation will be stirred up from the furthest parts of the earth. Jeremiah 6:1, 22.

In the same prophet,

I took the cup from Jehovah's hand and made all the nations drink it - Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, and its kings, Pharaoh king of Egypt, and the whole western crowd; all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the west, dwelling in the wilderness, and all the kings of the north, far and near. Jeremiah 25:17-26.

(References: Jeremiah 25:17-20, 25:24, 25:26)


[19] In the same prophet,

The swift will not flee away, nor the strong man escape. Northwards on the bank of the River Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen. Who is this coming up like a river? Egypt comes up like the river, for he said, I will go up, I will cover the earth, I will destroy the city and those who dwell in it. But that day is to the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth a day of vengeance - for the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth holds a sacrifice in the land of the north by the River Euphrates. A very beautiful heifer is Egypt, but destruction from the north has come. The daughter of Egypt has been put to shame; she has been delivered into the hand of a people from the north. Jeremiah 46:6-10, 20, 24.

In the same prophet,

Thus said Jehovah, Behold, waters rising out of the north which are like a deluging stream, and they will deluge the land and all that fills it, the city and those who dwell in it. Jeremiah 47:2.

(References: Jeremiah 46:6-8, 46:10)


[20] In the same prophet,

[The word which] Jehovah spoke against Babel: There will come up against her a nation from the north, which will make her land a desolation so that none may dwell in it. Jeremiah 50:1, 3.

In the same prophet,

Behold, I am stirring up and bringing up against Babel an assembly of great nations out of the north land, and they will array themselves against her; from there she will be taken. Behold, a people coming out of the north, a mighty nation, and many kings will be stirred up from the furthest parts of the earth. Jeremiah 50:9, 41.

In the same prophet,

Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, will sing over Babel, because those who lay waste will come out of the north. Jeremiah 51:48.

In Ezekiel,

Say to Gog, You will come out of your place from the furthest parts of the north, you and many peoples with you. You will come up against My people Israel, like a cloud to cover the land. Ezekiel 38:14-16.

In the same prophet,

Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince. I will make you turn back and will split you into six, and make you come up from the furthest parts of the north and bring you onto the mountains of Israel. On the mountains of Israel you will fall. On the surface of the field you will fall. Ezekiel 39:1-2, 4-5.

In Zechariah,

Ho! Flee from the land of the north, says Jehovah, for like the four winds of the heavens I will spread you abroad. Ho, Zion! escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babel. Zechariah 2:6-7.

[21] These quotations show what 'the north' means in the contrary sense, namely falsity which is the source of evil, or falsity which is the result of evil. Because falsity which is the source of evil originates in reasoning about Divine things and against Divine things, which reasoning is based on factual knowledge belonging to the natural man, it is called 'a people from the north out of Egypt' - 'Egypt' meaning such factual knowledge, see 1164, 1165, 2588 (end). And because falsity which is the result of evil originates in worship which to outward appearance is holy but interiorly is unholy, it is called 'a nation from the north out of Babel' - 'Babel' meaning such, see 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1306-1308, 1321, 1322, 1326, as well as that which lays waste, 1327. Both types of falsity - that which is the source of evil, and that which is the result of evil - are said to come out of Gog, for 'Gog' is worship consisting in external observances devoid of anything internal, which is idolatrous worship, as at all times was that of the Jews. That 'Gog' means such worship, see 1151.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165, 1321-1322)


[22] Out of the obscurity in which the natural man dwells either truth can arise or falsity can do so. When anyone allows himself to be enlightened by means of the Word from the Lord his obscurity is turned into brightness, for the internal path is opened and so influx and communication from the Lord by way of heaven takes place. But when he does not allow himself to be enlightened by means of the Word from the Lord, but by his own intelligence, his obscurity is turned into darkness and so into falsity, for the internal path is closed and no influx and communication from the Lord by way of heaven takes place, apart from such as enables him to be seen outwardly to be human, when he thinks and so speaks from evil and falsity. This is why 'the north' means truth with those who allow themselves to be enlightened, falsity with those who do not. For the former come up from obscurity, that is, they are raised up to light, but the latter go down from obscurity, that is, remove themselves from light. The former are accordingly brought into [the light of] the south, the latter into [the gloom of] Tartarus.

[23] The fact that 'the north' means the thick darkness of falsity and 'the south' the light of truth is quite evident in Daniel where the ram and the he-goat are the subject, and also where the king of the south and the king of the north are. Referring to the ram and the he-goat it is said that the ram butted with his horns towards the west and towards the north and towards the south, so that none of the beasts could stand before him, and that a he-goat came from the west across the surface of the whole earth, and out of one of his horns there came forth a [little] horn which grew exceedingly towards the south, and towards the east, and towards the glorious [land], Daniel 8:4-5, 9. And referring to the king of the south and the king of the north in the place where 'the king of the south' means those possessing cognitions of truth, and 'the king of the north' those who are governed by falsity, it is said that

After some years they will make an alliance, as a result of which the daughter of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to negotiate equitable terms but her arm will not gain strength. One will rise from that stem who will enter into the fortress of the king of the north and will prevail and will carry [the gods] they have captured into Egypt. The king of the south will come into the kingdom and fight with the king of the north, and the king of the north will return and raise a multitude greater than the former. Many will stand up against the king of the south. The king of the north will come and take the fortified city and destroy much. The king of the south will be stirred up to battle with a great army, but he will not stand, for they will devise plots against him. After that he will return, but it will not be as previously. The people consisting of those who know their God will stand firm. At length, at the time of the end, the king of the south will clash with him; therefore the king of the north will rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen. In the glorious land many will fall. But rumours will terrify him from the east and from the north, so that he goes forth with great fury. He will come to his end, with none to help him. Daniel 11:1-end.

The fact that 'the king of the south' means those who dwell in the light of truth, 'the king of the north' those who first dwell in shade and then in the thick darkness of falsity, may become clear from the details in that chapter. So it is a description of how the state of the Church is in course of time perverted. They are called kings of the south and of the north because 'kings' in the internal sense of the Word means truths, and in the contrary sense falsities, 1672, 2015, 2069, while 'kingdoms' means things that belong to truth, and in the contrary sense those that belong to falsity, 1672, 2547.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, city of habitation

2. i.e. the south

-----

(References: Daniel 11, 11:6-45; Exodus 38:9-13; Genesis 28:14)


Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 4060, 4769, 4818, 5215, 5643, 5672, 7679, 9042, 9340, 9341, 9648, 9653, 9684, 9685, 9758, 9760, 9927, 10061, 10105, 10134, 10179, 10189, 10227

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 246


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 31, 130, 179, 277

Other New Christian Commentary

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


Translate: