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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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John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1

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 John the Baptist
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Arcana Coelestia #2135

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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2135. PREFACE TO THE 18th CHAPTER.

At the end of the preceding chapter, the subject of the Last Judgment was treated of, and it was shown what is signified thereby, namely, not the destruction of the world, but the last time of the church. When this is at hand, the Lord says that He “will come in the clouds of the heavens, with power and glory” (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27).

Hitherto no one has known what is meant by the “clouds of the heavens.” But it has been disclosed to me that nothing else is meant than the literal sense of the Word; and by “power and glory” the internal sense of the Word, for in the internal sense of the Word there is glory, since whatever is there is concerning the Lord and His kingdom (see in volume 1, n. 1769-1772).

[2] Similar is the signification of the “cloud” which encompassed Peter, James, and John, when the Lord appeared to them in glory; of which it is said in Luke:

A voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him; but when the voice had passed, Jesus was found alone (Luke 9:35-36),

where by “Moses and Elias,” who spoke with the Lord, was represented the Word of the Old Testament, which is also called “Moses and the Prophets” (by “Moses,” his books together with the other historical books, and by “Elias” the prophet, all the books of the Prophets); but by “Peter, James, and John,” as in all other places where they are named in the books of the Evangelists, were represented faith, charity, and the good of charity. That they only were present signifies that no others can see the glory of the Lord, which is in His Word than those who are in faith, in its charity, and in the good of charity. Others are indeed able to see, but still do not see, because they do not believe. This is the internal sense in regard to the foregoing two passages; and in various places in the Prophets also, a “cloud” signifies the Word in its letter, and “glory” the Word in its life.

[3] The nature and quality of the internal sense of the Word has already been frequently stated, and has been shown in the explication word by word. It was those skilled in the Law in the Lord’s time who least of all believed that there was anything written in the Word concerning the Lord. At the present day, those skilled in the Law know indeed, but it may be that they will believe least of all that there is any other glory in the Word than that which appears in the letter; when yet this is the cloud in which is the glory.

CHAPTER 18.

From this chapter we may see, in an especial manner, what is the nature of the internal sense of the Word, and how the angels perceive it when it is being read by man. From the historical sense of the letter we can understand nothing else than that Jehovah appeared to Abraham under the form of three men; and that Sarah, Abraham, and his lad prepared food for them, namely, cakes made of the meal of fine flour, a “son of an ox,” and also butter and milk; which things, though they are true historicals describing what really took place, are still not so perceived by the angels; but the things which they represent and signify are what are perceived, altogether abstractedly from the letter, in accordance with the explication given in the CONTENTS. Thus, instead of the things historically related in this chapter, the angels perceive the state of the Lord’s perception in the Human, and the communication with the Divine at that time, before the perfect union of His Divine Essence with the Human Essence, and of the Human Essence with the Divine Essence, which state is also that concerning which the Lord thus speaks:

No one hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:18).

[2] And by the various kinds of food here mentioned, the angels perceive nothing but celestial and spiritual goods, concerning which see the explication. Moreover by what is afterwards said concerning the son that Sarah should bear at the set time of another year, they perceive nothing else than that the Lord’s human rational should be made Divine. Lastly, by the things which Abraham spoke with Jehovah concerning the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels perceive nothing else than the Lord’s intercession for the human race; and by five, forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, and ten, they perceive His intercession for those with whom truths should be adjoined to goods, and who should have goods by means of temptations and combats, or by means of other states. So it is with all other things in the Word, as may be more clearly seen from the explication word by word, where it is shown that in each word similar things are involved in the Word, both Historic and Prophetic.

[3] That there is such an internal sense everywhere in the Word, which treats solely of the Lord, of His kingdom in the heavens, of His church on earth and in particular with every man, thus treating of the goods of love and truths of faith, may also be seen by every one from the passages cited by the Evangelists from the Old Testament. As in Matthew:

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand, until I made thine enemies thy footstool (Matthew 22:44; compare Psalms 110:1). That these words treat of the Lord, cannot be apparent in the literal sense of the passage cited, as found in David; but yet that no other than the Lord is meant, He Himself here teaches in Matthew.

[4] Again:

Thou Bethlehem, the land of Judah, art in no wise least among the leaders of Judah; for out of thee shall come forth a Leader, who shall feed My people Israel (Matthew 2:6; compare Micah 5:2).

They who abide in the literal sense, as do the Jews, know indeed from this passage that the Lord should be born there; but as they are expecting a leader and a king who will bring them back into the land of Canaan, they therefore explain the words found here according to the letter; that is, by the “land of Judah” they understand the land of Canaan; by “Israel” they understand Israel, although they know not where Israel now is; and by a “Leader” they still understand their Messiah; when yet other things are meant by “Judah” and “Israel;” namely, by “Judah” those who are celestial, by “Israel,” those who are spiritual, in heaven and on earth; and by the “Leader” the Lord.

[5] Again in the same:

A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, a cry, and great wailing; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they are not (Matthew 2:18; compare Jeremiah 31:15).

They who abide in the literal sense of these words cannot possibly gather from it what is the internal sense; and yet that there is an internal sense is evident in the Evangelist. Again: Out of Egypt have I called My Son (Matthew 2:15; compare Hos. 11:1).

In Hosea it is said:

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt. They called them, so they went from their faces, and I made Ephraim to go (Hos. 11:1-3). They who know not that there is an internal sense, cannot know otherwise than that Jacob is here meant when he entered into Egypt, and his posterity when they went out from it, and that by Ephraim is meant the tribe of Ephraim, thus the same things that are in the historicals of the Word nevertheless it is evident from the Word of the Evangelist that they signify the Lord. But what the several particulars signify could not possibly be known unless it were disclosed by means of the internal sense.

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Arcana Coelestia #3703

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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3703. 'And He said, I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham your father' means the Lord in whom that good originated. This becomes clear from the fact that Jehovah is the Divine Being (Esse) itself of the Lord, who is called 'the God of Abraham' by virtue of Divine Good - 'Abraham' representing the Lord as regards Divine Good, see 2172, 2198. And because Divine Good is the source of all celestial and spiritual goods, and consequently of all truths also, the phrase 'your (that is, Jacob's) father Abraham' is used, when in fact Isaac was his father. The reason why 'father' in the internal sense means good is that good is the source of every single thing that has being and truth the means by which it is brought into being. Thus every single thing is born from a marriage of good and truth. Heaven itself, which consists of nothing else at all but the Divine marriage of Good and Truth, derives from the Divine Marriage of Good and Truth and of Truth and Good within the Lord.

[2] The whole natural order also in every single part has reference to what is good and what is true. In it, that is, the natural order, the celestial and spiritual goods and truths that belong to heaven are represented, and in heaven Divine Goods and Truths that are the Lord's are represented. From this it becomes clear that good is like the father and truth is like the mother, and that therefore 'father' in the internal sense of the Word means good, and 'mother' truth. Indeed they mean the goodness and truth in which lower or derived goods and truths originate, which in relation to them are as daughters and sons, and are also consequently called daughters and sons in the Word, 489-491, 2362. They are also in relation to that good and truth as brothers and sisters, as grandchildren and great grandchildren, as sons-in-law, fathers-in-law, and daughters-in-law; in short they are as every degree of blood relationship and relationship by marriage. And all these relationships stem from the marriage of good, which is the father, to truth, which is the mother. For all things - every single one - in heaven exist as in blood relationships of love to and faith in the Lord, or what amounts to the same, of good and truth, see 685, 917, 2739, 3612, and the most ancient people therefore compared all these things to marriages, 54, 55. See also 718, 747, 1432, 2508, 2516, 2524, 2556.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 54-55)


[3] That 'father' in the internal sense of the Word means good may be seen from very many places, as from the following: In Isaiah,

Pay attention to Me, you who are pursuing righteousness, who are seeking Jehovah; look to the rock from which you were hewn; and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug; look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you, for when he was but one I called him; and I blessed him, and I will multiply him. For Jehovah will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of Jehovah. Isaiah 51:1-3.

This refers to the Lord and His Coming, as is evident from every detail. As regards Divine Truth He is called 'a rock' and 'a pit', and as regards Divine Good 'Abraham your father'. And because the Divine marriage of Good and Truth is represented by Abraham and Sarah, see 1468, 1901, 1965, 1989, 2011, 2063, 2065, 2172, 2173, 2198, 2507, 2833, 2836, 2904, 3245, 3251, 3305 (end), the expressions 'Abraham your father' and 'Sarah who bore you' are used. This explains why it is said that they were to look to the rock and to the pit, and to Abraham their father and to Sarah. It also explains why the promises follow immediately after, declaring that 'Jehovah will comfort Zion', which is the celestial Church, see 2362, and that 'He will comfort her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden and her desert like the garden of Jehovah'.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2172-2173)


[4] Abraham has a similar meaning when elsewhere in the Word he is called 'father', as in John,

Jesus said, I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you also do what you have seen with your father. They answered and said to Him, Our father is Abraham. Jesus said to them, If you were Abraham's sons, you would do the works of Abraham. You do the works of your father. John 8:38-39, 41.

And in Matthew,

Do not presume to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. I tell you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree not bearing good fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire. Matthew 3:9-10.

And in Luke,

When the poor man Lazarus died he was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and when he was in hell he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Calling out he said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me. I ask you, father, to send him to my father's house. Luke 16:19-end.

In these places it is evident that Abraham was not meant but the Lord as regards Divine Good. For Abraham is unknown in heaven, and when his name is used in the Word the Lord is meant, see 1834, 1876, 1989, 3305 (end).

(References: John 8:30, 8:38; Luke 16:19-31, 16:22-24, 16:27)


[5] That 'father' means good in the internal sense becomes clear from the following places: In Moses,

Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged on the land which Jehovah your God gives you. Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16.

This commandment, like the rest of the Ten Commandments, is true in both senses - in the internal sense 'honouring father and mother' is loving what is good and true, and in what is good and true loving the Lord, see 2609, 3690. 'Days on the land' means resulting states of good within the Lord's kingdom, as is clear from the meaning of 'days' as states, 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788, and from the meaning of Canaan, to which 'the land' refers here, as the Lord's kingdom, 1607, 3038, 3481, and from 'being prolonged' haying reference to good, 1613.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 487-488)


[6] Since 'father and mother' had these meanings many laws were therefore laid down in the Jewish representative Church relating to parents and sons. In every case good and truth were meant in the internal sense, and in the highest sense the Lord as regards Divine Good and Divine Truth, as in Moses,

Whoever strikes his father and his mother shall surely die. If anyone curses his father or his mother he shall surely die. Exodus 21:15, 17.

In the same author,

Any man who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he who curses his father and his mother, his blood shall be on him. Leviticus 20:9.

Cursed is he who treats his father and his mother with contempt; and all the people shall say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:16, 17.

In Ezekiel,

Behold, the princes of Israel, every one according to his power, 1 have in you been intent on shedding blood; in you they have treated father and mother with contempt. Ezekiel 22:6-7.

In Moses,

When a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, in no way obeying the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and though they correct him he still does not obey them, his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders of the city, and to the gateway of their place. And all the men of that city shall stone him with stones so that he dies. Deuteronomy 21:18-19, 21.

[7] In all these places 'father and mother' in the sense of the letter is used to mean father and mother, but in the internal sense good and truth are meant, and in the highest sense the Lord as regards Divine Good and Divine Truth. This is also the Lord's own teaching in Matthew,

Jesus stretching out His hand over His disciples said, Beyond My mother and My brothers; whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven is My brother, and sister, and mother. Matthew 12:49-50.

And in the same gospel,

Refuse to be called master, for one is your Master, Christ; but all you are brothers. And call nobody your father on earth, for one is your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 23:8-9.

It is not being called master or being called father on earth that is forbidden here, but acknowledging in the heart any other father than the Lord. That is, when the names master and father are used one should understand the Lord whom in the highest sense they represent, in the same way, as stated just above in 3702, as anything perceived on earth by the most ancient people who were celestial was to them the means for thought concerning the Lord.

(References: Matthew 12:49)


[8] Much the same is embodied in what the Lord told one of the disciples who said,

Lord, let me first go away and bury my father. Jesus said to him, Follow Me; leave the dead to bury the dead. Matthew 8:21-22.

Indeed the relationship of father on earth to Father in heaven, who is the Lord, is as one who is dead to one who is living, even as the law itself about honouring parents is so to speak dead unless it holds honour, worship, and love to the Lord within it. For that law about honouring parents comes down from the latter Divine law. And because it comes down from the latter, the living element which exists within the law about honouring parents is received from this Divine law. This is why the Lord said, 'Follow Me, leave the dead to bury the dead'. What Elijah told Elisha is also similar in meaning,

Elijah passed beside Elisha and cast his mantle over him, and he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me kiss, I beg you, my father and mother; then I will go after you. He therefore said to him, Go away; go back again; for what have I done to you? 1 Kings 19:19-20.

Elijah represented the Lord - see Preface to Chapter 18, and 2762.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[9] In Malachi,

Lo, I am sending you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah comes. And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers lest I come and smite the earth with a ban. Malachi 4:5-6.

And in Luke where the angel addresses Zechariah regarding his son John,

He will go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. Luke 1:17.

From these places it is evident that 'fathers' and 'sons' are not used to mean fathers and sons but the goods and truths of the Church which the Lord is going to restore.

[10] In Malachi,

May Jehovah be magnified upon the border of Israel! A son should honour his father, and a servant his lord. If I am a Father, where is My honour? If I am a Lord, where is the fear of Me? Malachi 1:5-6.

'A son' stands for those who are governed by the good of the Church, 'a servant' those who are governed by its truth. Here 'a Father' clearly stands for the Lord as regards Divine Good, and 'a Lord' as regards Divine Truth.

[11] In David,

My father and my mother have forsaken me, and Jehovah welcomes me. Psalms 27:10.

'Father and mother' stands for good and truth which are said to have forsaken a person when it is realized that of himself he is unable to perform anything good or to know anything true. For the meaning, it is evident, is not that David's mother and father forsook him.

[12] In the same author,

You are more beautiful by far than the sons of men. All glorious is the king's daughter within, in her clothing with gold interweavings. Instead of your fathers will be your sons; you will make them into princes in all the earth. Psalms 45:2, 13, 16.

This refers to the Lord. 'Instead of your fathers will be your sons' stands for Divine Truths becoming as Divine Goods. 'The king's daughter' stands for the love of truth; 'clothing with gold interweavings' for the nature of that truth grounded in good. Since the subject is the Lord and His Divine Human, as is evident from this Psalm as a whole and in every part, every single phrase clearly has reference to one and the same thing. So the phrase 'the king's daughter' is not used to mean the daughter of the king, nor are the phrases 'clothing with gold interweavings', 'instead of your fathers will be your sons', and 'their being made into princes in all the earth' to be taken literally, but each phrase means Divine celestial and spiritual things. 'A daughter' means affection or love, see 490, 491, 2362; 'the king' Divine Truth, 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009; 'gold' good, 113, 1551, 1552. 'That which is interwoven' has reference to natural knowledge, 2831, in this case therefore to Divine natural truth. 'Clothing' means such truths as clothe good, 297, 2576; 'sons instead of fathers' truths begotten from good, in this case Divine Truths being as Divine Goods, 264, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 1729, 1733, 2159, 2623, 2803, 2813. 'Princes in all the earth' are the first and foremost things of the Lord's kingdom and Church - 'princes' being the things that are first and foremost, 1482, 2089, 'the earth' the Lord's kingdom and Church, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 3355.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 490-491, 1551-1552, 2117-2118)


[13] In Moses,

Your fathers Jehovah delighted to love, and He chose their seed after them, even you out of all peoples, as at this day. Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart and be stiff-necked no longer. Deuteronomy 10:15-16.

'Fathers' here in the internal sense stands for the Ancient and Most Ancient Churches, whose members were so called by virtue of the love they had of good and truth - the most ancient people, who were celestial, by virtue of their love of good, the ancients, who were spiritual, by virtue of their love of truth. The goods and truths existing in the Church are referred to as 'the seed Jehovah chose'. Clearly Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the latter's twelve sons are not meant by the fathers referred to here, nor the Israelite and Jewish people by 'the seed'. Rather the statement is made regarding them and addressed to them in order that the internal sense may be given some external form and so be intelligible to men.

[14] In Isaiah,

The boy will uplift himself against the old man, and the base fellow against the honourable; for a man will take hold of his brother in his father's house, [saying,] You have clothing, you will be leader for us. He will say, In my house there is neither bread [nor clothing]. Do not make me a leader 2 of the people. Isaiah 3:5-7.

This refers in the internal sense to a perverted state of the Church when truth is no longer acknowledged as truth, and it is not known what good is. 'A man will take hold of his brother in his father's house' stands for acknowledging everything as good. 'Clothing' stands for truth, 1073, 2576, 'a leader (or prince)' for a first and foremost matter of doctrine drawn from truth, 1482, 2089. 'In the house there is neither bread nor clothing' stands for neither good nor truth - 'bread' meaning good, 276, 680, 3478, and 'clothing' truth, 297, 2576.

[15] Because father and mother, and also daughters and sons, represented goodness and truth in the representative Churches many laws existed which possessed from those representatives that which was Divine within them, such as the following,

If a priest's daughter has acted profanely by committing whoredom, she is profaning her father; she shall be burnt with fire. Leviticus 21:9.

'A priest's daughter' stands for the affection for good, 'father' for the good from which that affection springs. 'Committing whoredom' stands for profaning what is good. What 'committing whoredom' is, see 2466, 2729, 3399, and what 'acting profanely', 1008, 1010, 1059, 2051, 3398, 3399. Also,

If a priest's daughter has been made a widow or divorced and has no seed she shall return to her father's house, as in her youth; she shall eat of her father's bread. No stranger shall eat of it. Leviticus 22:13.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3398-3399)


[16] And this law also,

If you see among the captives a wife with a beautiful form and you desire her to take her for yourself as wife you shall bring her inside your home; and she shall shave her head and pare her nails; and she shall take off the clothing of her captivity born upon her, and shall sit in your house and lament her father and her mother a hill month; and after that you shall go in to her and know her, and she shall be your wife. Deuteronomy 21:11-13.

Every single detail in this law is representative of natural truth, which is adopted by good once it has been purified from falsities. Such truth is meant by 'a wife beautiful in form among the captives'; purification from falsities by 'bringing her inside your home', and by her 'shaving her head, paring her nails, taking off the clothing of her captivity, and lamenting her father and mother'; and adoption by 'after that going in to her, knowing her, and taking her as a wife'.

[17] The Marriage Laws requiring marriages to be contracted within the tribe and the family, and also the Inheritance Laws forbidding the transfer of inheritances from one tribe to another, which are written in the Word, also had the same origins, that is to say, in the celestial and spiritual marriage in the Lord's kingdom, or the marriage of good and truth, which are meant by 'father and mother'. The same applies to the laws laid down relating to the permissible and the forbidden degrees of affinity. Each law in the Word concerning those matters has reference inwardly to the law of the affiliation and joining together of good and truth in heaven, and to the affiliations of evil and falsity in hell, which are separated from the former. For laws to do with permissible and forbidden degrees, see Leviticus 20; for laws forbidding the transfer of inheritances from one tribe to another, and for those requiring marriages to be contracted within the tribe, see Numbers 27:7-9, and elsewhere. In heaven the position of every single thing is fixed according to blood relationships of good and truth and to relationships of them through marriage, see 685, 917, 2739, 3612.

(References: Numbers 27:7-11)


[18] Since the Israelitish people represented the Lord's kingdom in heaven and so the heavenly order existing there, the command was also given for them to be singled out according to tribes, according to families, and according to the houses of their fathers, see Numbers 26:1-end. In addition to this they were required to pitch camp around the tent of meeting in conformity with that heavenly order, and also to journey in conformity with it, as stated in Moses,

Each one of the children of Israel shall pitch camp beneath his own standard, by the ensigns of his father's house, at a distance around the tent of meeting. And in the same formations they also set out. Numbers 2:2, 34.

This was why, when Balaam saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes, the Spirit of God came upon him and he delivered this utterance, How good your tabernacles are, O Jacob, your dwelling-places, O Israel? They are like valleys that are planted, like gardens beside a river, etc., etc. Numbers 24:2, 5-6, and following verses.

From every word used here it is evident that not Jacob or Israel were meant but the Lord's kingdom in heaven and His Church on earth, which were represented by that order in which he saw them spread out at that time.

(References: Numbers 24:2-3)


[19] From these examples one may also know what is meant in the internal sense of the Word by orphans! that is, the fatherless, namely people whose state is a state of innocence and charity and who wish to know and put into effect what is good but are not able to do so. Such a state exists in particular with those outside the Church whom the Lord cares about and adopts in the next life as His sons. And since those people are meant by 'orphans', when these are mentioned in the Word, sojourners and widows are in many instances mentioned too. For 'sojourners' means those who are receiving instruction in goods and truths, 1463, and 'widows' those whose state is one of good but not so much of truth, or those whose state is one of truth but not so much of good, and who yet desire what they lack. Since these three - orphans, sojourners, and widows - belong to a very similar line of meaning, therefore all three are in most places mentioned together, as has been stated, see Deuteronomy 14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:17, 19; Jeremiah 7:6; 22:3; Ezekiel 22:6-7; Zechariah 7:10; Psalms 94:6; 146:9. From these considerations one may now see what 'father' means in the genuine sense, namely good, and in the highest sense the Lord.

(References: Ezekiel 22:7)


[20] Now because most things in the Word also have a contrary sense, so has the word 'father'. In that sense it means evil. Equally so 'mother', which in the genuine sense means truth, in the contrary sense means falsity. The contrary meanings may be seen from the following places: In David,

The iniquity of his fathers will be remembered before Jehovah, and the sin of his mother will not be wiped out. Psalms 109:14.

In the same author,

They drew back and acted treacherously like their fathers; they turned about like a deceitful bow. Psalms 78:57.

In Moses,

Until the remainder of you waste away in their iniquity in the lands of your enemies: and they will also waste away in their fathers' iniquities with them. Leviticus 26:39. In Isaiah,

Prepare slaughter for his sons because of the iniquity of their fathers, and let them not rise up again and possess the earth, and fill the face of the earth with cities. Isaiah 14:21.

In the same prophet, I will repay your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together. Isaiah 65:7.

(References: Isaiah 65:6-7)


[21] In Jeremiah,

The house of Israel is ashamed, they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, who say to wood, You are my father, and to a stone, You gave birth to me. For they have turned their neck to Me and not their face. Jeremiah 2:26-27.

In the same prophet,

Behold, I am laying before this people stumbling-blocks, and fathers and sons together will stumble against them, neighbour and his friend, and they will perish. Jeremiah 6:21.

In the same prophet,

The sons gather pieces of wood, and the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for Melecheth. 3 Jeremiah 7:18.

In Ezekiel,

I will do in you that which I have not done, and such things as I will not do any longer, because of your abominations. Therefore fathers will eat their sons, and sons will eat their fathers; and I will execute judgements on you, and I will scatter the whole remnant of you to every wind. Ezekiel 5:9-10.

This refers to the profanation of what is holy. In the same prophet,

Thus said the Lord Jehovih to Jerusalem, Your tracings and your births are of the land of the Canaanite. Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. Ezekiel 16:3.

[22] In Matthew,

Brother will deliver up brother to death, and father the son; and children will rise up against parents and put them to death. And so you will be hated by everyone for My name's sake. I have come to set a man (homo) against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's (homo) foes will be those in his own household. Whoever loves father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son and daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:21-22, 35-37; Luke 12:49, 52-53.

In the same gospel,

Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for My name's sake will receive a hundredfold and will be allotted the inheritance of eternal life. Matthew 19:29; Luke 18:29-30; Mark 10:29-30.

In Luke,

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and his mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own soul, he cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26.

[23] In Mark,

Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his children, and children will rise up together against parents and will kill them; for you will be hated by all for My name's sake. Mark 13:12-13; Luke 21:16-17.

This refers to the close of the age and is describing the state of the Church when perverted as regards good and truth, that is to say, when evil rises up against truth, and falsity against good. The meaning of 'father' in the contrary sense as evil is evident from the places just quoted and also from the following in John,

Jesus said, If God were your father you would love Me, for from God I went forth and now come. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning and took no stand on the truth because the truth is not in him. When he speaks a lie he speaks from what are his own, for he is the teller of a lie and the father of it. John 8:42, 44.

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Footnotes:

1. literally, arm

2. or a prince

3. melecheth is a Hebrew word for a queen.

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(References: Genesis 28:13; John 8:41-42; Luke 21:17, 21:18; Numbers 24:2-3)


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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 3704, 3794, 3803, 4069, 4111, 4145, 4159, 4207, 4334, 4576, 4615, 4674, 5506, 5515, 5902, 6041, 6050, 6075, 6098, 6276, 6432, 6458, 6549, 8876, 8897, 9185, 9226, 10623

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 122, 246


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 118, 200, 240, 254, 376, 721, 821, 966

Other New Christian Commentary

Father 1

Wrought 1

Father and Lord 1

Orphans 1

Prolonged 1


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


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