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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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Arcana Coelestia #4402

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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4402. 'And he called it El Elohe Israel' means that it, that is to say, interior worship, originated in the Divine Spiritual. This is clear from the meaning of 'El Elohe', dealt with below, and from the meaning of 'Israel' as the spiritual, dealt with in 4286, 4292. The things stated so far in this chapter from verse 17 onwards appear there because the subject in the highest sense of the chapter is how the Lord made His Natural Divine. But since things in the highest sense which are concerned with the Lord are beyond the range of ideas present in a person's thought because such things are Divine, let them be illustrated by means of the kind of things that do fall more immediately within the range of a person's ideas. That is to say, let those things that are Divine be illustrated by means of the way in which the Lord regenerates man's natural. Indeed the regeneration of man, that is, of his natural, is also the subject here in the internal sense; for the regeneration of man is a model of the glorification of the Lord, 3138, 3212, 3296, 3490. In fact the Lord glorified Himself, that is, made Himself Divine, according to Divine order, according to which same order He also regenerates man, that is, makes him celestial and spiritual. Here the way in which He makes him spiritual is dealt with, for 'Israel' means that spiritual man.

[2] The spiritual man is not the interior rational man but the interior natural. The interior rational man is that which is called celestial. How the spiritual man and the celestial differ from each other has often been stated already. A person becomes spiritual through the joining of the truths residing with him to good, that is, through the joining of matters of faith to those of charity, a joining together which takes place within his natural. There exterior truths first are joined to good, and after that interior truths. The joining of exterior truths within the natural has been dealt with in verses 1-16 of this chapter, the joining of interior truths to good in verses 17-end. Interior truths are not joined to good except by means of an enlightenment entering through the internal man into the external. That enlightenment makes Divine truths visible in a purely general way, as when, to use a comparison, countless objects are seen by the eye as an obscure single whole devoid of any distinguishable features. This enlightenment making truths visible in a purely general way was meant by Esau's words to Jacob, 'Let me now place with you some of the people who are with me', and by Jacob's reply, 'Why so? Let me find favour in your eyes', dealt with in 4385, 4386.

(References: Genesis 33:1, 33:1-17, 33:17-20)

[3] On the point that the spiritual man, compared with the celestial, dwells in obscurity, see 2708, 2715, 2716, 2718, 2831, 2849, 2935, 2937, 3241, 3246, 3833. It is this spiritual man that is represented by 'Israel', 4286. The expression spiritual man is used because the light of heaven, which holds intelligence and wisdom within it, flows into those things with man which belong to the light of the world and causes those which belong to the light of heaven to be represented in those belonging to the light of the world, and in this way causes them to correspond. For regarded in itself the spiritual is the Divine Light itself which comes from the Lord, and therefore consists in intelligence which essentially is truth and as a consequence is wisdom. With the spiritual man however that light falls on things which are matters of faith with him and which he believes to be true, whereas with the celestial man it falls on the good of love. But although these considerations are clear to those who dwell in the light of heaven they are nevertheless obscure to those who dwell in the light of the world, and so to the majority at the present day. They are perhaps so obscure as to be barely intelligible. All the same, since they constitute the subject in the internal sense and are by nature as described, the exposition of them must not be left out. The time will come when people will be enlightened

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2715-2716)

[4] The reason why the altar was called El Elohe Israel and why interior worship originating in the Divine Spiritual was meant by it is that in the highest sense El Elohe is identical with the Divine Spiritual; as also is Israel. For 'Israel' means the Lord's Divine Spiritual, and in the representative sense the Lord's spiritual Church, or what amounts to the same, a person like that, see 4286, 4292. In the original language El Elohe means 'God God', and also, to be strictly literal, 'God of gods'. 1 In the Word Jehovah, or the Lord, is referred to in very many places by the singular name 'El', or else 'Eloah', as well as by the plural name 'Elohim'. Both names are sometimes used within the same verse or in the same section. A person who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word cannot know the reason why. Anyone may conclude that 'El' implies one thing, 'Eloah' another, and 'Elohim' another, from the consideration that the Word is Divine, that is, has its origin in the Divine, and that it is for that reason inspired as to every word, indeed as to the smallest part of every letter.

[5] What the name 'El' implies when it is used, or the name 'Elohim', may be seen from what has been shown in various places above, namely that El or Elohim - that is, God - is used when truth is the subject, see 709, 2586, 2769, 2807, 2822, 3921 (end), 4287. This is why in the highest sense El and Elohim mean the Divine Spiritual, this being the same as Divine Truth. The two names differ however in that 'El' means truth in will and action, which is the same as the good of truth, 4337, 4353, 4390. The plural form Elohim exists for the reason that by Divine truth is meant all the truths which come from the Lord. This is also the reason why in the Word angels are sometimes called elohim or gods, 4295, as will be further evident from places in the Word that are quoted below. Now because El and Elohim in the highest sense mean the Lord as regards truth, they also mean Him as regards power; for truth is the entity to which power is attributed. Indeed when exercising power good acts by means of truth, 3091, 4015. Therefore when in the Word reference is made to the power received from truth, the Lord is called El and Elohim, that is, God. Hence also it is that El in the original language means one who is powerful.

[6] The fact that the names El and Elohim, or God, are used in the Word where the Divine Spiritual is the subject, or what amounts to the same, Divine Truth, and Divine Power received from this, may be seen in addition from the following places,

God spoke to Israel in visions in the night. I am the God of gods (El Elohe) of your father, do not be afraid of going down into Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. Genesis 46:2-3.

Since these words are addressed to Israel, whom He is going 'to make into a great nation', and so the subject is truth and the power this possesses, El Elohe is used, which in the proximate sense means the God of gods. The fact that in the proximate sense Elohim means gods because it has reference to truths and to the power received from them, is also evident in the same author,

There Jacob built an altar, and called the place El Beth El, for there the Elohim were revealed to him, when he was fleeing from before his brother. Genesis 35:7.

And elsewhere in the same author,

Jehovah your God, He is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the God (El) who is great, powerful, and fearful. Deuteronomy 10:17.

Here 'God of gods' is expressed by Elohe Elohim, and after that 'God' by El, to whom greatness and power are attributed

[7] In David,

A great God (El) is Jehovah, and a great King above all gods (elohim), in whose hand are the deep places 2 of the earth; and the strength 3 of the mountains are His. Psalms 95:3-4.

The name 'God' or El is used here because reference is made to Divine Truth and the Power received from this, and also 'gods' because reference is made to subordinate truths. For in the internal sense 'a king' means truth, 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670. From this it is clear what 'a great King above all gods' implies. 'The deep places of the earth' too means the truths of the Church, which are called 'the strength of the mountains' from power rooted in good. In the same author,

Who in heaven will compare himself to Jehovah? Who will be likened to Jehovah among the sons of gods (elim). God (El) mighty in the secret place of the holy ones, O Jehovah God Zebaoth, who is strong as You are, O Jah? Psalms 89:6-8.

Here 'sons of gods (or of elim)' stands for Divine truths, to which, it is evident, power is attributed, since it is said 'God (El) mighty, Jehovah God of hosts, who is strong as You are?'

[8] Similarly elsewhere in the same author,

Give to Jehovah, O sons of gods, give to Jehovah glory and strength. Psalms 29:1.

In Moses,

They fell on their faces, and said, O God of gods (El elohe) of the spirits of all flesh. Numbers 16:22.

In David,

I said, You are gods (elohim), and sons of the Most High, all of you. Psalms 82:6; John 10:34.

Here they are called 'gods' from truths, for 'sons' means truths, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2628, 3373, 3704. In the same author,

Confess the God of gods (Elohe elohim), confess the Lord of lords. Psalms 136:2-3.

In Daniel,

The king will act according to his own pleasure, and will uplift himself, and exalt himself above every god (el), and will speak astonishing things above the God of gods (El elohim). Daniel 11:36.

These quotations show that in the proximate sense El elohe means God of gods, and that in the internal sense 'gods' is used in reference to truths which come from the Lord.

(References: Numbers 14:22)

[9] The fact that the singular name El or God is used where the power which comes from Divine Truth is the subject, or what amounts to the same, from the Lord's Divine Spiritual, becomes clear from the following places: In Moses,

Let my hand be for God (El) to do you evil! Genesis 31:29.

And elsewhere,

Nor is there a hand for God (El). Deuteronomy 28:32.

And in Micah,

Let there be a hand for God (El). Micah 2:1.

'Let there be a hand for God' means, let there be power. For 'hand' means power, see 878, 3387, and 'hand' is used in reference to truth, 3091. In David,

I will set His hand in the sea, and His right hand in the rivers. He will cry to Me, You are My Father, My God (El), the Rock of My Salvation. Psalms 89:25-26.

This refers to power from truths. In the same author,

The wicked says in his heart, God (El) has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He never sees. Arise, O Jehovah God (El); lift up Your hand. For what reason does the wicked despise God (Elohim)? Psalms 10:11-13.

Here the meaning is similar.

[10] In the same author,

Jehovah is my rock (petra) and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God (El), my rock (rupes). Psalms 18:2.

This refers to power. In Isaiah, A residue will return, the residue of Jacob, to the God (El) of power. Isaiah 10:21.

In the same prophet,

To us a Boy is born, to us a Son is given, the government upon His shoulder; He will call His name, Wonderful, Counsellor, God (El), the Powerful One, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.

In the same prophet,

Behold the God (El) of my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for He is my strength. Isaiah 12:2.

In the same prophet,

I am God (El) even from today; I am He, and nobody delivers from My hand; I work, and who will reverse it? Isaiah 43:12-13.

This refers to power. In Jeremiah, Great and powerful God (El), whose name is Jehovah of hosts. Jeremiah 32:18.

In the second Book of Samuel,

With my God (El) I will leap over the wall. God (El) is perfect in His way; the word of Jehovah is pure. Who is God (El) besides Jehovah? Who is a rock besides our God (Elohim)? God (El) is the strength of my refuge. 2 Samuel 22:30-33.

In Moses,

God (El) is not a man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not act? Or has He spoken, and will He not carry it out? He brought them out of Egypt; He has so to speak the strength of a unicorn. At that time it will be said to Jacob and to Israel, What has God (El) been doing? Numbers 23:19, 22-23.

This in the internal sense refers to power and to truth.

[11] And in the same author,

God (El) who brought him out of Egypt has as it were the strength of a unicorn. He will consume the nations, his enemies, and will break their bones, and smash their weapons. Numbers 24:8.

'Horns' and 'the strength of a unicorn' mean the power of truth that springs from good, see 2832. And there are many other places besides all these. Since most things in the Word also have a contrary sense, no less do 'god' and 'gods', names which are used when the subject is falsity and power from falsity, as in Ezekiel,

The gods (elim) of the mighty will speak to him in the midst of hell. Ezekiel 32:21.

In Isaiah,

You inflamed yourselves among the gods (elim) under every green tree. Isaiah 57:5.

Here the name 'gods' is used on account of falsities. Similar examples exist in other places.


1. 'El Elohe Israel may be understood in two different ways - 'God, the God of Israel' or 'Israel's God of gods'. Most English versions of the Bible prefer the first of these (e.g. in Genesis 46:3; Deuteronomy 10:17).

2. literally, the searchings

3. literally, the strengths


(References: Genesis 33:20)

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