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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 #8904

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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8904. 'You shall not commit adultery' means that what belongs to teachings about faith and charity must not be perverted, thus that the Word must not be used to lend support to falsities and evils, also that the laws of order must not be turned upside down. This is clear from the meaning of 'committing adultery' 1 and 'committing whoredom.' In the internal or spiritual sense they mean perverting the forms of good and falsifying the truths that belong to teachings about faith and charity. And since these things are meant by 'committing adultery', using the Word to lend support to evils and falsities is also meant, since the Word constitutes the most genuine teachings about faith and charity, and truth and good there are perverted when used to support falsities and evils. Scarcely anyone at the present day knows that these things are meant 'by committing adultery' in the spiritual sense, because few people within the Church at the present day know what the spiritual realm is and how it differs from the natural. And scarcely anyone knows of the correspondence that exists between the two, which indeed is such that an image of the one presents itself in the other, that is, the spiritual realm is represented in the natural. Consequently the spiritual exists as a soul and the natural as its body, so that through influx and the joining together that results they constitute a single entity, just as the internal man, also called the spiritual man, and the external man, also referred to as the natural man, make one in a person who has been regenerated.

[2] Since people nowadays are ignorant of such matters they cannot know what else 'committing adultery' means beyond unlawful bodily coupling. Because people nowadays are ignorant of these matters, as has been said, let the reason be stated here why 'committing adultery' in the spiritual sense means perverting what belongs to teachings about faith and charity, that is, adulterating forms of good and falsifying truths. That reason, which is deeply hidden at the present day, is that conjugial love descends from the marriage of goodness and truth, called the heavenly marriage. The love existing between goodness and truth in heaven flows in from the Lord and changes into conjugial love on earth; and this happens through correspondence. This explains why the falsification of truth is meant by 'whoredom' in the internal sense, and the perversion of good by 'adultery'. It also explains why those who are not governed by the goodness and truth of faith cannot have genuine conjugial love within them, and why those who experience the delight of life in adulterous relationships can no longer receive anything of faith. I have heard it said by angels that as soon as anyone commits adultery on earth and takes delight in doing so, heaven is closed to him, that is, he refuses to receive any longer from there anything of faith or charity. The reason why at the present day in countries where the Church exists very many people make light of adulterous relationships is that the Church is at its end, and so there is no longer any faith because there is no charity; for the one corresponds to the other. Where no faith exists there is falsity instead of truth and evil instead of good; and from this flows attitudes in which adultery is no longer considered to be an offence. For when heaven has been closed with a person such attitudes flow in from hell. See what has been stated and shown previously on these matters in 2727-2759, 4434, 4835, 4837.

[3] The meaning of 'committing adultery' in the internal or spiritual sense as falsifying and perverting the truths and forms of the good of faith and charity, and therefore also lending support to falsity and evil by using statements in the Word wrongly, becomes clear from individual places in the Word in which 'committing adultery' and 'committing whoredom' are mentioned. That meaning will be plainly evident from places quoted below, as in Ezekiel,

Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations. You committed whoredom because of your renown, and poured out your acts of whoredom on every passer-by. You took some of your garments and made for yourself high places variously coloured, and on them committed whoredom. For your adornment you took vessels made of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself figures of the male; you committed whoredom with them. You took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to Me, and sacrificed them to them. Were your acts of whoredom a small matter? You committed whoredom with the sons of Egypt, your neighbours, great in flesh, and multiplied your whoredom to provoke Me to anger. And you committed whoredom with the sons of Asshur, since you were insatiable; with them you indeed committed whoredom and were not satisfied. And you multiplied your whoredom, even as far as the trading land of Chaldea; and yet you were not satisfied with this. An adulterous woman - though subject to her husband, she takes strangers. To all harlots [men] make payments; but you have made payments to all your lovers, and have bribed them to come to you from all around for your whorings. Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of Jehovah. I will judge you with the judgements of adulteresses and of shedders of blood. Ezekiel 16:1ff.

(References: Ezekiel 16:2-38)


[4] Is there anyone who cannot see that falsifications of truth and adulterations of good are meant here by 'acts of whoredom'? And is there anyone who can understand a single word here unless he knows that such things are meant by 'whoredom', and also unless he knows what is meant by 'the sons of Egypt', 'the sons of Asshur', and 'Chaldea', with whom Jerusalem is said to have committed whoredom? Jerusalem, it is obvious, did not literally commit whoredom with those actual peoples; therefore what the things in this passage mean in the internal sense must be stated. 'Jerusalem' is used to mean the perverted Church, 'its garments' here being truths that are perverted; and therefore falsities that are accepted are meant by 'high places variously coloured'. 'The sons of Egypt' are factual knowledge, 'the sons of Asshur' are reasoning, and 'Chaldea' is the profanation of truth. For truths are meant by 'garments', see 1073, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 5319, 5954, 6914, 6918; and worship is meant by 'high places', so that the worship of falsity is meant here by 'high places variously coloured', 796. 'Vessels for adornment. made out of gold and silver' are cognitions or knowledge of good and truth - 'vessels' being cognitions, 3068, 3079; 'gold' being good, 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917; and 'silver' the truth of good, 1551, 2048, 2954, 5658 'figures of the male' means appearances and likenesses of truth, 2046; 'the sons and daughters whom they had borne' are the truths and forms of good which they perverted, 'sons' being truths, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, and 'daughters' forms of good, 489, 2362, 3024. 'The sons of Egypt' are factual knowledge, by means of which the perversion is brought about, 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 2588 (end), 4749, 4964, 4967, 5700, 5702, 6004, 6015, 6125, 6651, 6679, 6683, 6692, 6750, 7296, 7779, 7926; 'Asshur' is reasoning, which by means of factual knowledge has brought about the perversion of the truths of faith and the adulteration of forms of the good of faith, 119, 1186. 'Multiplying whoredom even as far as the land of Chaldea' is even to the profanation of truth, 'Chaldea' being the profanation of truth, 1368. From all this it is evident why the expressions 'adulterous woman' and 'harlot' are used.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165, Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552)


[5] Something similar is said about 'Babylon', in the Book of Revelation,

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke to me, saying to me, Come, I will show you the judgement of the great harlot who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed whoredom, and with the wine of whose whoredom the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk. Babylon the great was the mother of whores and of the abominations of the earth. Revelation 17:1-2, 5; 14:8; 18:3.

'Babylon' is those who pervert the Church's truths and forms of good for the sake of their own dominion and gain, perverting them to the point of profanation, as is clear from the meaning of 'Babel' in 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1306-1308, 1321, 1322, 1326, 1327 (end). This explains why Babylon is called 'a harlot' and 'the mother of whores'. People who know nothing about the internal sense will think that 'the kings of the earth who have committed whoredom with her' means kings on earth or kingdoms. Neither kings nor kingdoms are meant however, but the Church's truths of faith; and 'to commit whoredom' with these is to pervert them. For the meaning of 'kings' as the truths of faith, see 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148; and 'the earth' as the Church, 566, 662, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 8732. 'The inhabitants of the earth have become drunk with the wine of whoredom' means that those within the Church have been carried away into errors and insane ideas by falsities arising from evil. For 'being made drunk' is being led into errors by false reasonings and wrong interpretations of the Word, 1072, and 'wine' is falsity arising from evil, 6377, so that 'the wine of whoredom' is falsity resulting from the perversion of truth; and 'the earth', as shown just above, is the Church. She is said 'to be seated on many waters' because she rests on falsities; for 'waters' in the genuine sense are truths, and in the contrary sense falsities, 729, 790, 8137, 8138, 8568.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1321-1322, 1326-1327, Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118, Arcana Coelestia 8137-8138)


[6] The fact that 'committing adultery' and 'committing whoredom' mean perverting the Church's forms of good and its truths is also quite clear from the following words elsewhere in Ezekiel,

Two women, the daughters of one mother, committed whoredom in Egypt. In their youth they committed whoredom. Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. Oholah committed whoredom under Me and doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours - clothed in purple, governors and leaders, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding on horses. She bestowed her acts of whoredom on them, the choicest of all the sons of Asshur. But her acts of whoredom brought from Egypt she did not give up, for they kind lab' with her in her youth. Oholibah corrupted her love more than she, and her acts of whoredom more than her sister 's acts of whoredom; she desired the sons of Asshur. She added to her acts of whoredom, when she saw men portrayed on the wall, images of the Chaldeans, painted in vermilion. As soon as her eyes saw them she desired them. The sons of Babel came also to her, into her love-bed; they defiled her through their whoredom. Yet she multiplied her acts of whoredom when she remembered the days of her youth, in which she committed whoredom in the land of Egypt. She desired them more than their concubines did. Ezekiel 23:1ff.

Here also no one can fail to see that 'acts of whoredom' is used to mean spiritual acts of whoredom, that is, perversions of the good and falsifications of the truth which the Church possesses, and also that what the internal sense contains does not become evident unless one knows what is meant by 'the sons of Egypt', 'the Assyrians' or 'sons of Asshur', 'Chaldea', and 'Babel'. Those nations are plainly not the meaning but such things as belong to falsity; for the inhabitants of Samaria and Jerusalem did not literally commit whoredom with them. But what 'Egypt', 'Asshur', 'Chaldea', and 'Babel' mean has been shown and may be seen just above.

(References: Ezekiel 23, Ezekiel 23:2, 23:2-20)


[7] From the following passages also it is clear that 'whoredoms' and 'adulteries' in the internal sense are falsifications and perversions of goodness and truth, thus adulterations of them, as in Hosea,

Contend with your mother, contend, since she is not My wife, and I am not her husband, in order that she may remove her whoredoms from her sight, 2 and her adulteries from between her breasts. I will not have mercy on her children, for they are children of whoredoms, because their mother committed whoredom saying, I will go after my lovers giving [me] my bread, and my water, and my wool, and my flax, my oil, and my drink. But I will lay waste her vine and her fig tree, about which she has said, These are my harlot's reward that my lovers have given me. Hosea 2:2-12

'Mother' in the internal sense here means the Church, 289, 2691, 2717, 4257, 5581, 8897, and so does 'wife', 252, 253, 409, 749, 770; but she is said 'not to be a wife' because she is steeped in perverted truths, that is, in falsities. 'Children' or 'sons' are the Church's truths, in this instance falsities since they are called 'children of whoredoms', 489, 491, 533, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257. What 'bread', 'water', 'wool', and 'flax' mean, also 'oil' and 'drink', and 'vine' and 'fig tree' too, has been shown in their own places. In these it has been shown that they are forms of the good of love and charity, and also forms of the good and the truths of faith, interior and exterior; but that in the contrary sense they are evils and falsities, since forms of good become evils and truths become falsities when they are perverted. What 'bread' means, see 276, 680, 2165, 2177, 3464, 3478, 3735, 3813, 4217, 4735, 4976, 5915, 6118, 8410; 'water', 739, 790, 8137, 8138, 8568; 'flax' 7601; 'oil', 886, 3728, 4582; 'drink', 3069, 3168, 3772, 8562; 'vine', 1069, 5113, 6376; and 'fig tree', 4231, 5113. 'Harlot's reward' is falsity contained in religious teachings which they try to palm off as truth.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 252-253, Arcana Coelestia 6409, 8137-8138; Hosea 2:2, 2:4-5, 2:12)


[8] In the same prophet,

My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their rod gives them a reply, for the spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have committed whoredom beneath their god. They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains and burn incense on the hills, therefore your daughters commit whoredom and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. Shall I not punish 3 your daughters because they commit whoredom and your daughters-in-law because they commit adultery? For the men themselves divide with whores and sacrifice with cult-prostitutes. If you commit whoredom, O Israel, do not let Judah become guilty. Hosea 4:11 f

'Committing whoredom beneath their god' stands for perverting truth; for 'god' in the internal sense means truth and in the contrary sense falsity, 2586, 2769, 2807, 2822, 4295, 4402, 4544, 7010, 7268, 7873, 8301, 8867. 'Mountains' and 'hills' are types of love, at this point self-love and love of the world, 795, 796, 1691, 2722, 6435; 'a piece of wood' which is 'inquired of' is the good associated with the delight belonging to some desire or other, 643; and 'a rod which gives a reply' is the illusory power that one's own understanding seems to provide, 4013, 4015, 4876, 4936, 7011, 7026. Since truths are meant in the genuine sense by 'gods' and falsities in the contrary sense falsifying truths and adulterating forms of good is meant by they went whoring after foreign gods - after baal, after Molech, after idols, Leviticus 20:5; Ezekiel 6:9; and elsewhere.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 795-796; Hosea 4:12-15)


[9] From all this one may now recognize what is meant by 'adultery' and 'whoredom' in the following places: In Isaiah,

Draw nearer, sons of the sorceress, seed of the adulterer, and [of her who] committed whoredom. Whom are you mocking? 4 Against whom do you open your mouth wide and stick out your tongue? Are you not those born of transgression, the seed of deceit, who inflamed yourselves among the gods under every green tree? Isaiah 57:3-5.

In the same prophet,

It will happen at the end of seventy years, that Jehovah will visit Tyre, so that she may return to her harlot 's reward and may commit whoredom with all the kingdoms of the earth on the face of the world. Isaiah 23:17-18.

In Jeremiah,

And a man has put away his wife, and she has gone from him and become another man's .., .. you 5 have committed whoredom with many partners. You have profaned the land with your nets of whoredom and with your wickedness. Have you not seen what estranged Israel has done? Going up onto every high mountain and under every green tree, you have committed whoredom there. Also her treacherous sister Judah, she also has gone and committed whoredom, so much so that with the voice of her whoredom she has profaned the land; she has committed adultery with stone and wood. Jeremiah 3:1-10.

In the same prophet,

This is your lot, because you have forgotten Me and trusted in a lie. Your adulterous acts and your neighings, the wickedness of your whoredom committed on the hills, in the field - I have seen your abominations. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! Jeremiah 13:25, 27.

In the same prophet,

Against the prophets: The land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns, the pastures of the wilderness have dried up. For both prophet and priest practice hypocrisy. In the prophets of Jerusalem also I have seen a horrible obstinacy, in their committing adultery and walking in a lie; they strengthen the hands of the evil. They speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of Jehovah. Jeremiah 23:9-10ff.

In the same prophet,

They have committed folly in Israel, and have committed adultery with their companions' wives, and have lyingly spoken in My name a word which I did not command them. Jeremiah 29:23.

(References: Isaiah 23:17; Jeremiah 3:1-2, 3:6, 3:8-9, 23:9-11, 23:14, 23:16)


[10] From these places it is plainly evident that 'committing adultery' means explaining and perverting the truths of the Word because of self-centred desires, that is, the proprium, thus as self-love and love of the world dictate; it is therefore speaking lies, that is, falsities, as is explicitly stated. In addition to those places, in Hosea,

Do not rejoice, O Israel, for you have committed whoredom under your God - you have taken delight in a harlot's reward on every threshing-floor. Hosea 9:1.

In the same prophet,

Jehovah spoke to Hosea, Go, take yourself a wife of whoredoms, and children of whoredoms; for the land has committed great whoredom by forsaking Jehovah. 6 Hosea 1:2.

In Nahum,

Woe to the city of blood, 7 because of the multitude of the acts of whoredom of a harlot with goodly grace, the mistress of sorceries, the seller of nations through her acts of whoredom, and of families through her sorceries. Nahum 3:1, 4.

In Moses,

Your sons will be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and will bear your acts of whoredom; according to the number of days in which you explored the land, each day for a year. You shall bear your iniquities forty years. Numbers 14:33-34

[11] Because falsifications of truth and adulterations of good corresponded to acts of whoredom in the land, adulterers received the death penalty, Leviticus 20:10; and the daughter of a priest, if she profaned herself by committing whoredom was to be burned with fire, Leviticus 21:9; also no daughter in Israel was to be exposed to whoredom, Leviticus 19:29. In like manner one who was illegitimate was not to come into the assembly of Jehovah, down to the tenth generation of his descendants, Deuteronomy 23:2; and a harlot's reward was not to be brought into the house of Jehovah because it was an abomination, Deuteronomy 23:18, 19.

(References: Leviticus 19:19)


[12] All this now shows fully what 'committing adultery' means - that in the external sense it means committing acts of adultery; in the internal representative sense it means worshipping idols and other gods by means of the kinds of things the Church possesses, consequently acts outwardly and inwardly idolatrous; but in the internal spiritual sense it means adulterations of good and perversions of truth. All this shows plainly why it is that adulterous actions are intrinsically disgusting and called abominations; that is to say, they are such because they correspond to the marriage of evil and falsity, which is the hellish marriage. It also shows conversely why genuine marriages are holy - that they are such because they correspond to the marriage of goodness and truth, which is the heavenly marriage. Indeed genuine conjugial love descends from the marriage of goodness and truth, and so from heaven, that is, from the Lord by way of heaven. But adulterous love springs from the marriage of falsity and evil, and so from hell, that is, from the devil.

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Footnotes:

1. Swedenborg Here mentions two words - adulterari and moechari - each of which describes committing adultery and is so rendered in Scriptural quotations in this paragraph.

2. literally, faces

3. literally, visit

4. literally, Against whom do you delight yourselves?

5. The Latin means she but the Hebrew means you, which Swedenborg has in another place where he quotes this verse

6. literally, from [being] after Jehovah

7. lit bloods

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(References: Exodus 20:14; Ezekiel 23:2)


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Arcana Coelestia 9231, 9348, 9960, 10283, 10402, 10648


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Apocalypse Explained 237


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