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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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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 #2234

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2234. That a “way” denotes doctrine, is evident from the signification of a “way.” A “way” in the Word is predicated of truths, because truths lead to good and proceed from good ((627) as is evident from the passages adduced in volume 1, n. 627); and as a “way” is predicated of truths, it denotes doctrine, because doctrine comprises in one complex all the things which lead to good, that is, to charity.

(References: Genesis 18:19)

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Arcana Coelestia 2366, 2454, 2463, 2586, 2851, 3124, 3128, 3142, 3144, 3538, 3652, 3654, 3720, 3809, 3900, 3987, 4145, 4390, 4520, 4539, 5023, 5353, 7887, 7923, 9325, 9372, 9539


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Arcana Coelestia #3900

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3900. Then if anyone says to you, Behold, here is the Christ! or There! do not believe it means a warning to beware of what they teach. 'The Christ' refers to the Lord as regards Divine Truth, and therefore to the Word and to doctrine from the Word. But here the contrary is clearly meant - Divine Truth falsified, or doctrine that teaches what is false. For 'Jesus' means Divine Good and 'Christ' Divine Truth, see 3004, 3005, 3008, 3009.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3004-3005, 3008-3009; Matthew 24:23-28)


[2] For false Christs and false prophets will arise means the falsities taught by that doctrine. 'False Christs' means matters of doctrine from the Word that have been falsified, that is, truths that are not Divine, as is evident from what has been stated immediately above; see also 3010, 3732 (end). And 'false prophets' means those who teach those falsities, 2534. In the Christian world those who teach falsities are in particular those who have self-aggrandizement and also worldly wealth as their end in view. Indeed they twist the truths of the Word to suit themselves. For when self-love and love of the world is the end in view, nothing else is contemplated. These are the 'false Christs and false prophets'.

[3] And they will show great signs and wonders means proofs and convincing reasons that are based on outward appearances and on illusions by which the simple allow themselves to be led astray. The meaning of 'signs and wonders' will in the Lord's Divine mercy be shown elsewhere.

[4] So as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect means those who lead lives that are good and true and who therefore abide in the Lord. These are the ones who in the Word are called 'the elect'. They are rarely present in a group of those who cloak worship that is profane with outward reverence; or if they are present there they go unrecognized because the Lord hides them and so protects them. Until they have been made strong by Him, they easily allow themselves to be led astray by external practices expressing reverence; but once they have been made strong they are not deceived. For though they are not aware of it, they are kept by the Lord in the company of angels, when it is impossible for them to be led astray by that unspeakable crew.

[5] Behold, I have told you beforehand means an exhortation to be shrewd, that is, to be on their guard, since they are among false prophets who appear in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves, Matthew 7:15. Those false prophets are the sons of the age who are more shrewd, that is, more cunning, in their own generation than the sons of light, referred to in Luke 16:8. For this reason the Lord warns them as follows,

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. Matthew 10:16.

[6] If therefore they say to you, Behold, He is in the wilderness! do not go out; Behold, He is in the inner rooms! do not believe it means that what they say about the truth, what they say about good, and many other things, are not to be believed. Nobody can see that this is the meaning of these words except one who is acquainted with the internal sense. They contain an arcanum within them, as one may see from the fact that the Lord spoke them and that without some other sense concealed within them interiorly they would not amount to anything. That is to say, the injunctions not to go out if they said that Christ was in the wilderness and not to believe it if they said that He was in the inner rooms would not amount to anything. But truth that has undergone vastation is what 'the wilderness' means, and good that has undergone vastation, what 'the inner rooms' or inward parts means. The reason why truth that has undergone vastation is meant by a wilderness is that when the Church has undergone vastation, that is, when there is no Divine truth there any longer because no good exists there any longer, that is, no love to the Lord or charity towards the neighbour, it is called a wilderness or said to be in the wilderness. For the word wilderness is used to mean everything that is uncultivated or uninhabited, 2708, and also to mean that which has little life to it, 1927, as is the case at that time with truth in the Church. From this it is evident that 'the wilderness' here means a Church in which truth does not exist.

[7] 'The inner rooms' or inward parts however in the internal sense means the Church as regards good, and also simply that which is good. A Church in which good is present is called 'the House of God', 'the inner rooms' in this case being forms of good, as also are the contents of that house. For 'the House of God' means Divine good, and 'a house' in general means good that flows from love and charity, see 2233, 2234, 2559, 3142, 3652, 3720. The reason why what they say about truth and what they say about good is not to be believed is that they call falsity the truth and evil good. Indeed people whose end in view is self and the world do not understand anything else by truth and good than that they themselves should be adored and they themselves should receive benefits. And if they give the impression that they are devout it is so that they may be seen dressed in sheep's clothing.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234)


[8] What is more, the Word which the Lord has spoken contains more in it than anyone can calculate, and 'the wilderness' is an expression that has a wide range of spiritual meanings. As everything uncultivated or uninhabited is called 'the wilderness' and all things that are interior are called 'the inner rooms', therefore 'the wilderness' also means the Old Testament Word since this is considered to be superseded, while 'the inner rooms' means the New Testament Word since this teaches about interior things, that is, it is concerned with the internal man. The Word as a whole is likewise referred to as 'the wilderness' when it no longer serves to supply matters of doctrine, and 'inner rooms' is the name given to human practices which, being departures from the commands and ordinances of the Word, turn the Word into a wilderness. This is also well known in the Christian world, for people whose worship is outwardly holy but inwardly profane owing to the introduction of novelties which have as their end in view pre-eminence over all others and becoming wealthier than all others set aside the Word. Indeed they go so far as not to allow others to read it. And even in the case of those whose worship is not profane as just described and who do regard the Word to be holy and do allow it a place among ordinary people, they nevertheless bend and explain everything in accordance with their own teachings. And this turns the rest of the Word which does not accord with their own teachings into a wilderness, as becomes quite clear from those who focus salvation on faith alone and show contempt for the works of charity. They turn so to speak into a wilderness everything which the Lord Himself has stated in the New Testament, and so many times in the Old, about love and charity. And everything to do with faith without works is turned so to speak into inner rooms. From this it is evident what is meant by, If they say to you, Behold, He is in the wilderness! do not go out; Behold, He is in the inner rooms! do not believe it.

[9] For as the lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be means that internal worship of the Lord will be like lightning which is instantly dispersed. For 'lightning' means that which is a manifestation of heavenly light and thus that which has reference to love and faith since these are the components of heavenly light. 'East' in the highest sense means the Lord, in the internal sense good that flows from love, charity, and faith received from the Lord, see 101, 1250, 3249. 'West' in the internal sense however means that which has gone down or ceased to be, and so means the non-acknowledgement of the Lord or of good that flows from love, charity, and faith. Accordingly 'the lightning which comes from the east and is seen as far as the west' means dispersal. The Lord's coming does not consist, as the letter has it, in His appearing once again in the world, but in His presence within everyone. He is present there as often as the gospel is preached and that which is holy is contemplated.

[10] For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together means that confirmations of falsity by means of reasonings will be multiplied in the Church that has undergone vastation. When the Church is devoid of good and as a consequence devoid of the truth of faith, that is, when it has undergone vastation, it is called dead, since good and truth are the source of its life. And so when it is dead it is compared to 'the carcass'. Reasonings to the effect that goods and truths are nothing except insofar as they can be grasped mentally, and confirmations of evil and falsity by means of those reasonings, are meant by 'the eagles', as may be seen from what follows immediately below. The fact that 'the carcass' here means the Church when devoid of the life of charity and faith is evident from the Lord's words where the close of the age is the subject, in Luke,

The disciples said (referring to the close of the age or the Last Judgement), Where, Lord? Jesus said to them, Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together. Luke 17:37.

'The body' is used here instead of the carcass, it being a dead body that is understood in this case, which means the Church. For it is clear from many references in the Word that the House of God - that is, the Church - is where the Judgement begins. These then are the details meant in the internal sense by the Lord's words which have been introduced and explained above. The most wonderful flow of ideas, though barely visible at all in the sense of the letter, may be seen by anyone who thinks about them in the connected sequence explained above.

(References: Matthew 24:23-28)

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Arcana Coelestia 4060, 4229, 4334, 4422, 4736, 5058, 6895, 6904, 7273, 7290, 7313, 8457, 8753, 8868, 9150, 10402

The Last Judgement 35

True Christian Religion 757

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 246, 276, 310


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 5, 36, 63, 400, 409, 684, 730


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