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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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 Asking for a King
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Arcana Coelestia #5313

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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5313. 'Only in the throne will I be great, more than you' means that the natural will be seen as sovereign, because the celestial of the spiritual acts through the natural. This is clear from the meaning of 'being great, more than another' as being greater, in this case so far as what is seen or appears to be so; and from the meaning of 'the throne' at this point as the natural. The natural is meant by 'the throne' when the celestial of the spiritual is meant by the one who is seated on it; for the natural is like a throne for the spiritual or in this case the celestial of the spiritual. Generally what is lower is like a throne for what is higher; for the higher exists and acts within the lower, indeed acts through the lower. What is done by it seems to be the work of the lower because, as stated, it acts through the lower. This is the meaning of what Pharaoh said to Joseph - Only in the throne will I be great, more than you.

[2] 'Throne' is used frequently in the Word when reference is made to Divine Truth and judgement based on this. In these places 'throne' means in the internal sense that which is the essence of Divine kingship, and 'the one seated on it' is the Lord Himself acting as King or Judge. But the exact meaning of 'the throne', as with the meaning of quite a number of other things, is determined by the context. When the Lord's essential Divine Being and His Divine Human are meant by 'the one seated on the throne', Divine Truth going forth from Him is meant by 'the throne'. When however Divine Truth going forth from the Lord is meant by 'the one seated on the throne', the whole of heaven, which Divine Truth suffuses, is meant by 'the throne'. And when the Lord present with Divine Truth in the higher heavens is meant by 'the one seated on the throne', Divine Truth as this exists in the lowest heaven, and also as it exists in the Church, is meant by 'the throne'. Thus the context decides whatever specific meaning 'the throne' may have. The reason 'the throne' means that which belongs to Divine Truth is that in the Word 'king' means truth, and so too does 'kingdom'. For the meaning of 'king', see 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068; and for that of 'kingdom', 1672, 2547, 4691.

(References: Revelation 21:2)

[3] The specific meaning that 'throne' has at any point in the Word is evident from the train of thought in which it occurs, as in Matthew,

I say to you, You shall not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Matthew 5:34-35.

And elsewhere in the same gospel,

He who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by Him who sits on it. Matthew 23:22.

Here it is explicitly stated that heaven is 'God's throne'. 'The earth', which is called 'a footstool', means that which is beneath heaven, and so means the Church - the Church being meant by 'the earth', see 566, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535. A similar usage is seen in Isaiah,

Thus said Jehovah, The heavens are My throne and the earth My footstool. Isaiah 66:1.

And in David,

Jehovah has established His throne in the heavens. Psalms 103:19.

In Matthew,

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Matthew 25:31.

This refers to a last judgement, 'the one seated on the throne' being called 'the King', in verses 34, 40 In the internal sense here 'the throne of glory' is the Divine Truth that flows from Divine Good in heaven, 'the one seated on the throne' being the Lord, who - inasmuch as He is a judge by virtue of Divine Truth - is called 'the King'.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1068, Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118; Matthew 25:34, 25:40)

[4] In Luke,

He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord will give Him the throne of David His father. Luke 1:32.

These words were spoken by the angel to Mary. It is clear to anyone that here 'the throne of David' is not the kingdom which David possessed; for it is not a kingdom on earth but one in heaven. Nor therefore is David meant by 'David' but the Lord's Divine kingship, while 'the throne' means Divine Truth that goes forth and constitutes His kingdom. In John,

I was in the spirit, and behold, a throne set in heaven, and one seated upon the throne. And the one seated was in appearance like a jasper stone and a sardis. There was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting. From the throne were coming forth lightnings and thunders and voices, and likewise seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. In addition, before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. Then in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind. Whenever the four living creatures gave glory and honour and thanks to the one seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders would fall down before the one seated on the throne and would worship the one who lives for ever and ever, and would cast their crowns before the throne. Revelation 4:2-end.

(References: Revelation 4:2-10, Revelation 4:2-11)

[5] This description of the throne of the Lord's glory is used to depict Divine Truth which goes forth from Him. Representatives are used, but if someone has no knowledge of what is meant by these he will hardly be able to know anything at all about what the details of this prophecy hold within them and will suppose that all such details are devoid of any deeper Divine content. The person who knows no better cannot do other than conceive of the heavenly kingdom as one that is similar to a kingdom in the world. But in fact 'a throne set in heaven' means Divine Truth there, and so heaven as regards Divine Truth. 'One seated upon a throne' is used to mean the Lord; and the reason why in appearance He looked like 'a jasper stone and a sardis' is that those stones, like all precious stones in the Word, mean Divine Truth, 114, 3858, 3862, while stones in general mean the truths of faith, 643, 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798.

[6] 'A rainbow around the throne' means truths made translucent by good, for in the next life colours are products of the light of heaven, and the light of heaven is Divine Truth. Regarding rainbows in the next life. see 1042, 1043, 1053, 1623-1625; and regarding colours there, 1053, 1624, 3993, 4530, 4922, 4677, 4741, 4742. By 'the thrones of the twenty-four elders around the throne' are meant all aspects of truth in their entirety, like the things meant by 'twelve'; for 'twelve' means all aspects of truth in their entirety, see 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913. 'The lightnings, thunders, and voices which were coming forth from the throne' means the feelings of terror which Divine Truth produces in those who are not governed by good. 'The seven lamps of fire burning' are affections for truth which is rooted in good, which likewise usher in harmful consequences for those who are not governed by good and which are therefore called 'the seven spirits of God', who, as is evident from what comes later on, 1 did usher in harmful consequences.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1042-1043, Arcana Coelestia 2129-2130, Arcana Coelestia 4741-4742)

[7] 'The sea of glass before the throne' is every truth within the natural, thus the cognitions and the factual knowledge present there; for these are meant by 'the sea', see 28, 2850.'The four living creatures which were in the midst of the throne and around the throne, and which were full of eyes in front and behind' are ideas in the understanding which are received from the Divine in heaven. 'Four' means the joining of those ideas to desires present in the will; for truths belong to the understanding part and forms of good to the will part of the human mind. This explains why it is said that 'they were full of eyes in front and behind', for 'the eyes' means ideas in the understanding and therefore in a higher sense matters of belief, 2701, 3820, 4403-4421, 4523-4534. 'Four' means a joining together, as likewise does 'two', 1686, 3519, 5194. The holiness of Divine Truth going forth from the Lord is described in what follows at this point [in the Book of Revelation].

[8] Because 'the twenty-four thrones' and 'the twenty-four elders' mean all aspects of truth, or all aspects of faith, in their entirety, and 'twelve' has a similar meaning, as has just been stated, one may consequently see what 'the twelve thrones on which the twelve apostles were seated' is used to mean in the internal sense, namely all aspects of truth, the grounds upon which, and the standard by which judgement takes place. Their thrones are referred to in Matthew as follows,

Jesus said to the disciples, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in this generation, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28.

And in Luke,

I bestow on you, just as My Father bestowed on Me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22:29-30.

'The twelve apostles' means all aspects of truth, see 2129, 2553, 3354, 3488, 3858, as do 'the twelve sons of Jacob' and therefore 'the twelve tribes of Israel', 3858, 3921, 3926, 3939, 4060, 4603. The apostles have no power to judge anyone at all, 2129, 2557.

[9] Similarly in John,

I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgement was given to them. Revelation 20:4.

Here also 'thrones' means all aspects of truth, which are the grounds upon which, and the standard by which judgement takes place. Much the same is also meant by 'the angels' with whom the Lord will come to the judgement, in Matthew 25:31. When 'angels' are mentioned in the Word some attribute of the Lord is meant, see 1705, 1925, 2320, 2821, 3039, 4085, in this case truths received from the Divine, which truths are called 'judgements' in the Word, 2235.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2319)

[10] There are very many more places in which Jehovah or the Lord has a throne attributed to Him because thrones embody within themselves that which is representative of the kingdom. When in a higher heaven they are talking about Divine Truth and judgement, a throne is seen in the lowest heaven. This is the reason why a throne is, as has been stated, representative and therefore why a throne is mentioned so many times in the prophetical part of the Word. It is also the reason why in most ancient times a throne became the sign to distinguish the king and why as such a sign it now denotes the office of a monarch. Further examples of the attribution of a throne to the Lord occur in the following places: In Moses,

Moses built an altar, and called its name Jehovah Nissi. Moreover he said, Because the hand is upon the throne of Jah, Jehovah will have war against Amalek from generation to generation. Exodus 17:15-16.

No one can know what is meant by 'the hand upon the throne of Jah' or by 'Jehovah having war against Amalek from generation to generation except from the internal sense, and so unless he knows what is meant by 'the throne' and by 'Amalek'. In the Word 'Amalek' means falsities which assail truths, 1679, and 'the throne' the Divine Truth that is assailed.

[11] In David,

O Jehovah, You have maintained my judgement and my cause; You sat upon the throne, a Judge of righteousness. Jehovah will remain there for ever; He has prepared His throne for judgement. Psalms 9:4, 7.

In the same author,

Your throne, O God, will be for ever and ever (in saeculum et aeternum); a sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of Your kingdom. Psalms 45:6.

In the same author,

Cloud and thick darkness are round Him, righteousness and judgement are the foundation of His throne. Psalms 97:2.

In Jeremiah,

At that time they will call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah, and all the nations will be gathered to it. Jeremiah 3:17.

[12] 'Jerusalem" stands for the Lord's spiritual kingdom. This kingdom is again meant by the new Jerusalem in Ezekiel, and also by 'the holy Jerusalem coming down from heaven' in the Book of Revelation. The Lord's spiritual kingdom exists where that which is pre-eminent is Divine Truth holding Divine Good within it, whereas the Lord's celestial kingdom exists where that which is pre-eminent is Divine Good from which Divine Truth flows. From this one may see why Jerusalem is called 'the throne of Jehovah'. And in David,

In Jerusalem they sit - the thrones for judgement. Psalms 122:5.

But Zion is called 'the throne of Jehovah's glory' in Jeremiah,

Have you utterly rejected Judah, has your soul loathed Zion? Do not spurn [us], for Your name's sake; do not dishonour the throne of your glory. Jeremiah 14:19, 21.

'Zion' is used to mean the Lord's celestial kingdom.

(References: Ezekiel 1:1; Revelation 21:1, Revelation 22:1)

[13] The way in which the Lord when executing judgement is represented in heaven, where visual scenes like those described in various places in the Prophets come before people's eyes, may be seen in Daniel,

I saw, until thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days was seated. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was a flame of fire, its wheels burning fire. A river of fire issued and came forth before Him, a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The judgement sat down, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10.

Sights like this occur constantly in heaven; all are representatives. They have their origin in what angels are discussing in the higher heavens, which discussion comes down from there and manifests itself in visual scenes. The angelic spirits to whom the Lord imparts perception know what is meant by such scenes. They know what is meant by 'the Ancient of Days', 'clothing white as snow', 'hair of the head like pure wool', 'a throne like a flame of fire', 'wheels that are a burning fire', and 'a river of fire going forth from Him'. 'A flame of fire' and 'a river of fire' in this case represent the Good of Divine Love, 974, 4906, 5071, 5215.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 934, Arcana Coelestia 1906)

[14] It is similar with what is said in Ezekiel,

Above the expanse that was above the heads of the cherubim, in appearance like a sapphire stone, there was the likeness of a throne, and above the likeness of a throne there was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it. Ezekiel 1:26; 10:1.

Likewise with what is said in the first Book of Kings,

I saw - the prophet Micah said - Jehovah sitting on His throne, and the entire host of heaven standing beside Him, on His right hand and on His left. 1 Kings 22:19.

Anyone who does not know what these particular descriptions represent, or what their consequent spiritual meanings are, cannot help supposing that the Lord has a throne in the way kings on earth do, and that things actually do exist as they are described by the prophets. But no such phenomena occur in the [higher] heavens; rather they are sights presented to those in the lowest heaven, within which - as within images - they see Divine arcana.

[15] The Lord's kingship, by which one means the Divine Truth that goes forth from Him, was also represented by the throne that Solomon built, described in the first Book of Kings as follows,

Solomon made a large throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. There were six steps to the throne, and a rounded top to the throne at the back of it; there were armrests 2 on either side at the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the armrests, 2 and twelve lions standing there, above the six steps on either side. 1 Kings 10:18-20.

It was a throne of glory that was represented by all this. 'Lions' are Divine Truths engaged in conflict and overcoming, 'twelve lions' being all those Truths in their entirety.

(References: 1 Kings 10:18-21)

[16] Since almost everything in the Word has a contrary meaning, 'a throne' has such too. Its contrary meaning is a kingdom of falsity, as in John,

To the angel of the Church which is in Pergamum, I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Revelation 1:12-13.

In the same book,

The dragon gave the beast coming up out of the sea his power, and his throne, and great authority. Revelation 13:2.

In the same book,

The fifth angel poured out his bowl onto the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened. Revelation 16:10.

In Isaiah,

You said in your heart, I will go up into the heavens, above the stars of God I will raise my throne. Isaiah 14:13.

This refers to Babel.


1. i.e. in Chapter 8 of the Book of Revelation

2. literally, hands


(References: Revelation 2:12-13, 2:13, Revelation 4:2-10)

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Arcana Coelestia 5321, 5322, 5417, 6524, 6832, 7779, 8625, 9166, 9407, 9408, 9714, 9741, 9857, 9917, 9930, 10360

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121

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The Meaning of the Book of Revelation: The Throne Room - Swedenborg and Life

A throne, a sea of glass, elders, lamps, very strange creatures, and more. What can this imagery tell us about God's work in our lives right now?

Arcana Coelestia #5313 >> 14:44, 31:04

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