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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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746

Other New Christian Commentary

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


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3


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Arcana Coelestia #3147

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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3147. And water to wash his feet. That this signifies purification there, is evident from the signification of “water for washing,” or of washing with water, as being to purify (concerning which presently); and from the signification of “feet,” as being natural things, or what is the same, the things in the natural man (see n. 2162). In the representative church it was customary to wash the feet with water, and thereby to signify that the unclean things of the natural man were washed away. The unclean things of the natural man are all those things which are of the love of self and of the love of the world; and when these unclean things have been washed away, then goods and truths flow in, for it is solely these unclean things that hinder the influx of good and truth from the Lord.

[2] For good is continually flowing in from the Lord, but when it comes through the internal or spiritual man to his external or natural man, it is there either perverted, turned back, or suffocated. But when the things which are of the love of self and of the love of the world are removed, then good is received there and is made fruitful; for then man practices the works of charity. This is evident from many considerations; as when in misfortune, distress, and sickness, the things that belong to the external or natural man are merely lulled, the man forthwith begins to think piously and to will what is good, and also to practice works of piety insofar as he is able; but when the state is changed, there is a change also in all this.

[3] These things were signified by the washings in the Ancient Church, and the same were represented in the Jewish Church, The reason why they were signified in the Ancient Church, but represented in the Jewish church, was that the man of the Ancient Church regarded the rite as a something external in worship, and did not believe that he was purified by that washing, but by the washing away of the impurities of the natural man, which as before said are the things which are of the love of self and of the world. But the man of the Jewish Church believed that he was purified by that washing; neither knowing nor desiring to know that the purification of the interiors was signified.

[4] That by “washing” is signified a cleansing from the impurities referred to, is evident in Isaiah:

Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes, cease to do evil (Isaiah 1:16); where it is evident that to “wash themselves” means to make themselves pure and to put away evils. Again:

When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, in the spirit of judgment and in the spirit of expurgation (Isaiah 4:4); where “washing away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purging the blood of Jerusalem,” denotes purifying from evils and falsities.

In Jeremiah:

O Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall the thoughts of thine iniquity lodge within thee? (Jeremiah 4:14).

[5] In Ezekiel:

I washed thee with water, and I washed away thy bloods from upon thee, and anointed thee with oil (Jeremiah 16:9 [NCBSW: Ezekiel 16:9]); concerning Jerusalem, by which is there meant the Ancient Church; “washing with waters” denotes purifying from falsities; “washing away bloods” denotes purging from evils; “anointing with oil” denotes filling then with good.

In David:

Wash me from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Psalms 51:2, 7).

Here “being washed” plainly denotes being purified from evils and their falsities.

[6] These are the things that were signified by “washing” in the representative church; and it was commanded for the sake of the representation that when they had become unclean they should wash the skin, the hands, the feet, and also the garments, and should be cleansed; by all which things were signified those which are of the natural man. Lavers also, of brass, were placed outside the temple, namely, the brazen sea and the ten brazen lavers (1 Kings 7:23-39); and a laver of brass at which Aaron and his sons were to wash was placed between the tent of meeting and the altar; and thus outside the tent (Exodus 30:18-19, 21); by which also was signified that only external or natural things were to be purified; for unless these have been purified, that is, unless the things that are of the love of self and of the world have been removed, the internal things which are of love to the Lord and toward the neighbor cannot possibly flow in, as before said.

[7] For the better understanding of how these things are circumstanced, namely, that external things are to be purified, take as an example and illustration good works, or what is the same, the goods of charity which at this day are called the fruits of faith; these are external things, because they are the exercises of charity. Good works are evil works unless those things are removed which are of the love of self and of the world; for when works are done before these have been removed, they indeed appear good outwardly, but are inwardly evil; for they are done either for the sake of reputation, or for gain, or for the sake of one’s honor, or for recompense, thus they are either self-meritorious 1 or hypocritical; for that which is of the love of self and the world causes the works to be such. But when these evils are removed, the works then become good; and they are goods of charity; that is, in them there is not regard to self, to the world, to reputation, to recompense; thus they are neither self-meritorious nor hypocritical; for then celestial love and spiritual love flow in from the Lord into the works and cause them to be love and charity in act; and then the Lord through these loves also purifies the natural or external man, and disposes it into order, so as to receive correspondently the celestial and spiritual things that flow in.

[8] This is clearly evident from what the Lord taught when He washed the feet of the disciples, as we read in John:

Then cometh He to Simon Peter; and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me. Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that hath been washed, needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; ye are clean already, but not all (John 13:4-17).

“He that hath been washed, needeth not save to wash his feet” signifies that he who has been reformed, has need only to be cleansed as to natural things, that is, has need that evils and falsities should be removed from them; and then all things are disposed into order by the influx of spiritual things from the Lord. Moreover to wash the feet was an office of charity, as meaning not to reflect on the evils of another; and it was also an office of humility, as meaning to cleanse another from evils as from impurities; as also is evident from the Lord’s words in the passage just quoted (verses 12-17; also Luke 7:37-38, 44, 46; John 11:2; 1 Samuel 25:41).

(References: John 13:12-17)


[9] Everybody can see that washing himself does not purify anyone from evils and falsities, but only from the impurities that cling to him; nevertheless, as washing was among the rites commanded in the church, it follows that it involves something special, namely, spiritual washing, that is, purification from the uncleannesses which inwardly adhere to man. Therefore they who knew these things in that church, and thought about the purification of the heart, or the removal of the evils of the love of self and of the love of the world from the natural man, and who endeavored to effect this with all diligence, observed the rite of washing as external worship according to commandment; but those who did not know this and did not desire to know it, but thought that the mere rite of washing their garments, skin, hands, and feet, would purify them, and that provided they did these things they might be allowed to live in avarice, hatreds, revenge, unmercifulness, and cruelties, which are spiritual impurity, practiced this rite as an idolatrous one. Nevertheless they could represent by it, and by representation exhibit something of the church, whereby there might be some conjunction of heaven with man before the Lord’s advent; yet such conjunction as affected the man of the church little or not at all.

[10] The Jews and Israelites were such that they had no thought about the internal man, nor willingness to know anything about it; thus none at all concerning celestial and spiritual things, relating to the life after death. But yet lest all communication with heaven and thus with the Lord should perish, they were bound to external rites, whereby internal things were signified. All their captivities and plagues were in general for the end that external rites might be strictly observed for the sake of the representation.

Hence then it was that Moses washed Aaron and his sons with water at the door of the tent, that they might be sanctified (Exodus 29:4 40:12; Leviticus 8:6); that Aaron and his sons were to wash their hands and feet before they entered into the tent of meeting and came near to the altar to minister, that they might not die; and that this was to be to them a statute forever (Exodus 30:18-21; 40:30-31); that Aaron was to wash his flesh before he put on the garments of ministry (Leviticus 16:4, 24); that the Levites were to be purified by being sprinkled with the water of expiation; and that they were to cause a razor to pass over their flesh, and to wash their garments, and thus should be pure (Numbers 8:6-7); that whoever should eat the carcass even of a clean beast, or one that was torn, should wash his garments, and bathe himself in water; and if he did not wash himself and bathe his flesh, he should bear his iniquity (Leviticus 17:15-16); that whoever touched the bed of one affected with the flux, or who sat upon a vessel on which he had sat, and whoever touched his flesh, should wash his garments, and bathe himself with water, and should be unclean till the evening (Leviticus 15:5-7, 10; 15:10-12); that whoever let go the he-goat, as a scape-goat, should wash his flesh (Leviticus 16:26); that when a leprous person was cleansed, he was to wash his garments, shave off all his hair, and wash himself with water, and he should be clean (Leviticus 14:8-9); nay, that the very vessels which were made unclean by the touch of things unclean, should be passed through water, and should be unclean until evening (Leviticus 11:32). From these things it may be seen that no one was made clean or pure as to internal things by the rite of washing, but only represented one pure or spiritually clean, for the reason given above. That this is so, the Lord teaches plainly in Matthew (15:1-2, 20), and (Matthew 15:20) in Mark (7:1-23).

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Footnotes:

1. The words “merit,” “to merit,” and “meritorious,” are used by Swedenborg in a bad sense, meaning self-merit, etc., except when applied to the Lord. [Reviser.]

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(References: Exodus 40:30-32; Genesis 24:32; Matthew 15:1-20)


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Arcana Coelestia 3324, 3693, 3721, 3761, 3881, 3986, 4208, 4280, 4302, 4311, 4382, 4515, 4938, 5328, 5508, 5669, 6015, 6372, 6377, 6413, 6463, 6730, 6844, 6947, 7046, 7442, 7729, 7864, 8046, 8106, 8588, 8789, 8886, 8918, 9054, 9223, 9229, 9262, ...

Heaven and Hell 603

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 186, 209, 248, 277


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 69, 71, 130, 163, 176, 240, 279, 365, 376, 405, 433, 443

Other New Christian Commentary

Good Works 1

Feet 1

Washing feet 1

Wash 1

Bloods 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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 Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
In washing the disciples' feet Jesus showed His unconditional love for humankind. His example shows us leadership qualities to strive for.
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Apocalypse Explained #240

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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240. But that naked signifies those who are without the understanding of truth because without the will of good, is evident also from those passages in the Word where the terms naked and nakedness are mentioned, which shall be adduced below. The reason why these terms have such a signification is that garments signify truths of the understanding. He who is without truths is also without good, for all spiritual good is procured by means of truths, and without them, or except by them, spiritual good cannot exist; spiritual good is charity. Naked and nakedness signify the deprivation of intelligence and love, thus of the understanding of good and of the will thereof; also for the reason that garments cover the body and the flesh, and by body and flesh is signified good, hence by garments are signified those things that cover good.

(References: Revelation 3:17)


[2] There is the understanding of truth and the understanding of good; the understanding of truth is the understanding of those things that belong to faith, and the understanding of good is the understanding of those things that belong to love and charity. There is also the will of truth and the will of good; the will of truth pertains to those who, belong to the Lord's spiritual kingdom, but the will of good to those who belong to His celestial kingdom. The latter, because they are in love to the Lord and thence in mutual love, which with them is charity towards the neighbour, have truths inscribed on their hearts, and hence do them; and what proceeds from the heart is from the will of good; for the heart denotes the will of good; but those who are in love towards the neighbour, which love is charity, have not truths inscribed on their hearts, but on the memory, and thence on the intellectual mind, and that which thence proceeds from affection, is the will of truth. It is thus that the spiritual angels are distinguished from the celestial angels; the latter appear naked in heaven, but the former clothed.

The reason why the celestial angels appear naked is that they have no need of the memory in order to retain truths, nor of the understanding in order to comprehend them, because they have them inscribed on the heart, that is, on the love and will, and thence see them. And the reason why the spiritual angels appear clothed is that they have truths inscribed on the memory, and thence on the understanding, and truths thus inscribed correspond to garments, therefore they all appear clothed according to their intelligence. (That the angels are thus clothed, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 177-182.) From these considerations it is evident that naked signifies in one sense those who are in celestial good, and in the other, those who are not in good because not in truths.

(References: Heaven and Hell 177-182)


[3] But these things may be better seen from those passages, in the Word where naked and nakedness are mentioned, such as the following. In Isaiah:

Jehovah said to the prophet, "Put off the sackcloth from upon thy loins, and put off thy shoe from upon thy foot. And he did so. Then Jehovah said, Like, as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years; so shall the king of Assyria lead the captivity of Egypt, and the crowd of Cush that is to be carried off, the boys and the old men, naked and unshod, and their buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt" (xx. 2-4).

No one can see what is stored up in these words concerning the church and heaven, unless he knows their spiritual sense; for in every detail of the Word something pertaining to heaven and the church is contained, because the Word is spiritual: it shall therefore be explained. By the prophet is here meant the doctrine of the church; by putting off sackcloth from upon his loins, or by making the loins naked, is meant to reveal filthy loves. By the usual sackcloth of the prophet are here meant the covering garments, and by the loins are signified those loves. By putting off the shoe from upon his foot, or unshoeing the soles of the foot, is signified to reveal the filthy things of nature. By the king of Assyria leading the captivity of Egypt, and the crowd of Cush that is to be carried off, is meant that the perverted Rational would confirm evils and falsities by scientifics (scientifica) and fallacies. By boys and old men are meant by all things, both in general and in particular. By naked and barefoot is meant that they are deprived of all truth and of all good. By their buttocks uncovered are meant the evils of self-love; by the nakedness of Egypt the falsities therefrom. It is therefore clear what is here treated of concerning the church and heaven, namely, that the perverted Rational, which denies God, and attributes all things to nature, confirms itself by scientifics and by fallacies, until it is deprived of all understanding of truth and will of good. (That by prophet in the Word is meant doctrine, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia, n. 2534, 7269; by the loins are signified the loves in each sense, n. 3021, 4280, 5059; by the feet are signified the natural things pertaining to man, and by the soles of the feet those which are in the ultimates, n. 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952; by shoes are signified the same things as to the covering of them, n. 1748, 2162, 6844; by the king of Assyria is signified the Rational in both senses, n. 119, 1186; by Egypt is signified the Scientific (scientificum) of the natural man, also, in both senses, good and evil, n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, 5700, 5702, 6015, 6651, 6679, 6683, 6692, 7296, 9340, 9391; by Cush are signified the fallacies of the senses, n. 1163, 1164, 1166.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 119, Arcana Coelestia 1163-1164, 1164-1165, 1166, Arcana Coelestia 1186, Arcana Coelestia 1462, 1748, Arcana Coelestia 2162, Arcana Coelestia 2534, Arcana Coelestia 3021, Arcana Coelestia 3147, Arcana Coelestia 3761, Arcana Coelestia 3986, Arcana Coelestia 4280, Arcana Coelestia 4835, 4938-4952, Arcana Coelestia 5059, Arcana Coelestia 5700, 5702, Arcana Coelestia 6015, Arcana Coelestia 6651, 6679, 6683, Arcana Coelestia 6692, Arcana Coelestia 6844, Arcana Coelestia 7269, 7296, Arcana Coelestia 9340, 9391; Isaiah 20:2-4)


[4] In Ezekiel:

"When I passed by thee, and saw thee, I covered thy nakedness, and I washed thee and clothed thee. But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot. Thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, when thou wast naked and bare. Thou hast committed fornication with the sons of Egypt and with the sons of Asshur. Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land unto Chaldea; wherefore thy nakedness is revealed by thy whoredoms; therefore they shall stone thee with stones, and shall cut thee in pieces with their swords. And they shall burn thine houses with fire" (xvi. 6, and following verses).

Jerusalem is here treated of, by which is meant the church as to doctrine; and by these and many other expressions in the same chapter, the quality of the church in the beginning, and what it became when it declined from good and truth, is described. Its quality when established by the Lord, thus its quality in the beginning, is described by, "when I passed by thee, and saw thee, I covered thy nakedness, I washed thee and clothed thee." To cover nakedness signifies to remove the evils of the will and the falsities of the understanding; to wash signifies to purify from evils, and to clothe signifies to instruct in truths. But the quality of the church when it declined from good and from truth, is described in what follows. Thou didst trust in thy beauty, signifies intelligence from the proprium, and that the church was delighted with it. By committing whoredom is signified that thus it imbued falsities; by committing fornication with the sons of Egypt and with the sons of Asshur, are signified falsifications confirmed by scientifics and rational things therefrom. By multiplying fornication unto Chaldea, is signified even to the profanation of truth. Hence it is clear what is signified by wherefore thy nakedness is revealed by thy whoredoms; namely, that the church by falsities and falsifications would be deprived of all understanding of truth. By they shall stone thee with stones, is signified that the church would perish by falsities. By they shall cut thee in pieces with their swords, is signified that the church would perish altogether by the falsifications of truth. And by they shall burn thy houses with fire is signified that it would wholly perish by infernal loves: houses denote everything pertaining to man, and fire denotes infernal loves. From these considerations it is clear what pertaining to heaven and the church is contained in those words, and that this appears solely from the spiritual sense. (That washing signifies to purify from evils and falsities, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia, n. 3147, 10,237, 10,240, 10,243; that to clothe signifies to instruct in truths, n. 1073, 2576, 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216, 9952, 10,536; that beauty signifies intelligence, n. 3080, 4985, 5199, in this case intelligence from the proprium. That to commit whoredom denotes to be imbued with falsities, see above, n. 141: that Egypt denotes the Scientific, and Asshur the Rational, may be seen just above. That Chaldea denotes the profanation of truth, Arcana Coelestia, n. 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1306, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1322, 1326: that to stone with stones signifies to perish by falsities, n. 5156, 7456, 8575, 8799: that sword signifies falsity fighting against truth and destroying it, n. 2799, 4499, 7102, hence to cut in pieces with swords denotes to perish altogether by falsifications of truth; that fire signifies infernal love, n. 1861, 5071, 6314, 6832, 7575, 10,747; and that a house signifies the whole man, and the things pertaining to him, thus which pertain to his understanding and his will, n. 710, 2231, 2233, 2559, 3128, 3538, 4973, 5023, 6690, 7353, 7848, 7910, 7929, 9150; hence it is evident what is signified by they shall burn thy houses with fire.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 710, Arcana Coelestia 1073, Arcana Coelestia 1182, Arcana Coelestia 1283, 1295, 1304, 1306-1308, 1321-1322, 1326, Arcana Coelestia 1861, Arcana Coelestia 2231, 2233, Arcana Coelestia 2559, 2576, Arcana Coelestia 2799, Arcana Coelestia 3080, 3128, Arcana Coelestia 3147, Arcana Coelestia 3538, Arcana Coelestia 4499, Arcana Coelestia 4973, 4985, 5023, Arcana Coelestia 5071, 5156, 5199, 5248, 5319, Arcana Coelestia 5954, Arcana Coelestia 6314, Arcana Coelestia 6690, Arcana Coelestia 6832, Arcana Coelestia 7102, Arcana Coelestia 7353, 7456, 7575, 7848, 7910, 7929, Arcana Coelestia 8575, 8799, Arcana Coelestia 9150, 9212, 9216, Arcana Coelestia 9952, Arcana Coelestia 10237, Arcana Coelestia 10240, 10243, 10536, 10747; Ezekiel 16:6; The Apocalypse Explained 141)


[5] In Hosea:

"Contend with your mother, that she may put away her whoredoms and her adulteries, lest peradventure I strip her naked and make her as a desert, as a land of dryness, and slay her with thirst; and her sons will I not pity, because they are the sons of whoredoms" (ii. 2-4).

The subject here treated of is also the church fallen into falsities and evils; the mother with whom they would contend signifies the church. Whoredoms and adulteries signify falsities and evils therefrom; to make her as a wilderness and set her as a land of dryness signifies the deprivation of good and of truth. To slay her with thirst signifies a total defect of truth; her sons signify all the falsities thereof, in general, therefore they are called sons of whoredoms. (That mother signifies the church, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 289, 2691, 2717, 3703, 4257, 5581, 8897; that desert signifies where there is no good because no truth, n. 2708, 4736, 7055; that a dry land signifies where there is no truth is, because water signifies the truth of faith, n. 2702, 3058, 5668, 8568, 10,238; that to be slain with thirst, signifies to perish from defect of truth, n. 8568 at the end. That sons signify affections of truth, and truths in general, n. 2362, 3963, 6729, 6775, 6778, 9055; thus, in the opposite sense, affections of falsity and falsities in general. Hence it may be evident that by stripping her naked is signified, her being without good and truth.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 289, Arcana Coelestia 2362, Arcana Coelestia 2691, 2702, 2708, 2717, Arcana Coelestia 3058, Arcana Coelestia 3703, Arcana Coelestia 3963, Arcana Coelestia 4257, Arcana Coelestia 4736, Arcana Coelestia 5581, 5668, Arcana Coelestia 6729, 6775, 6779, Arcana Coelestia 7055, Arcana Coelestia 8568, Arcana Coelestia 8897, 9055, Arcana Coelestia 10238; Hosea 2:2-4)


[6] In Lamentations:

"Jerusalem hath sinned a sin; therefore all that honoured her, despise her, because they have seen her nakedness" (i. 8).

In Ezekiel:

Aholah, which is Samaria, committed whoredom with the Egyptians, and with the sons of Asshur; they uncovered her nakedness, her sons and her daughters have they taken, and at length they have slain her with the sword: "therefore will I give thee into the hand of those whom thou hast hated, that they may deal with thee from hatred, and take away all thy labour, and leave thee naked and bare, that the nakedness of thy whoredoms may be uncovered" (xxiii. 4, 8, 9, 10, 18, 28, 29).

The subject treated of in this chapter is Samaria, which is called Aholah, and Jerusalem, which is called Aholibah, the church being signified by both. By Samaria, where the sons of Israel were, is signified the church in which were no truths, but falsities, and by Jerusalem, the church where there were no goods, but evils. What is signified by committing whoredom with the Egyptians and with the sons of Asshur, and what by slaying her sons and daughters with the sword, was explained above; hence it is clear, that by leaving her naked and bare is signified to be without good and truth.

(References: Ezekiel 23:4, 23:8-10, 23:18, 23:28-29; Lamentations 1:8)


[7] In Isaiah:

"The Lord will make bald the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and Jehovah will make naked their buttocks" (iii. 17).

The daughters of Zion signify the celestial church and the things of that church, but, in this case, perverted. By the crown of the head, which shall be made bald, is signified intelligence of which it shall be deprived; and the buttocks, which shall be made naked, signify the love of evil and of falsity.

(References: Isaiah 3:17)


[8] In Nahum:

"Woe to the city of bloods, wholly in a lie, and full of rapine; because of the multitude of her whoredoms I will uncover thy skirts over thy faces, and will make nations see thy nakedness, and kingdoms thy lightness" (iii. 1, 4, 5).

The city of bloods signifies the doctrine of falsity which offers violence to the good of charity.

(References: Nahum 3:1, 3:4-5)


[9] In Habakkuk:

"Woe unto him that maketh his companion to drink, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakednesses. Drink thou also, that thy foreskin may be uncovered" (ii. 15, 16).

To make a companion drink, and make him drunken, signifies to impart falsities until he does not see truth: to look on their nakednesses, denotes to cause the falsities of the understanding and the evils of the will to appear. The foreskin which would be uncovered, denotes filthy loves. (That to drink denotes to be instructed in truths, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 3069, 3772, 4017, 4018, 8562, 9412; hence, in the opposite sense, it denotes to impart falsities; that to be made drunken denotes to become insane from falsities, thus not to see truths, n. 1072; that the foreskin signifies corporeal and terrestrial loves, n. 4462, 7045.) Hence it is evident what is signified by the fact that

Noah drank wine and was drunken, so that he lay naked in the midst of his tent, and that Ham laughed at the nakedness of his father, but that Shem and Japheth covered his nakedness, and turned away their faces that they might not see the nakedness of their father (Gen. ix. 21-23).

(But these things may be seen explained in Arcana Coelestia where they are treated of.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1072, Arcana Coelestia 3069, Arcana Coelestia 3772, Arcana Coelestia 4017-4018, Arcana Coelestia 4462, Arcana Coelestia 7045, Arcana Coelestia 8562, Arcana Coelestia 9412, Genesis 9:21-23; Habakkuk 2:15-16)


[10] In Lamentations:

"The cup also shall pass over unto thee, O daughter of Edom: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt be naked" (iv. 21).

Here, by being drunken and naked are signified the same things as above. (But who in particular are signified by Edom may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 3322, 8314.)

In Isaiah:

Daughter of Babel and Chaldea, "sit upon the earth. Take the millstones, and grind meal; uncover thy hair, uncover thy thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, and also thy shame shall be seen" (xlvii. 1-3).

By the daughter of Babylon and Chaldea are meant those, who profane the goods and truths of the church. To grind meal signifies to falsify truths; to uncover the hair and the thigh signifies to be deprived of the understanding of truth, and the will of good; to pass over the rivers, and to uncover her nakedness have also a similar signification.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3322, Arcana Coelestia 8314; Isaiah 47:1-3; Lamentations 4:21)


[11] Because nakedness signified the deprivation of the understanding of truth and of the will of good, it was therefore commanded that Aaron and his sons should not ascend by steps upon the altar, lest their nakedness should be uncovered thereon (Exod. xx. 26). Also that

They should make for them breeches of linen to cover the flesh of their nakedness, and that they should be upon them when they entered the tent of the assembly, and when they came near to the altar, and that otherwise they should bear iniquity and die (Exod. xxviii. 42, 43).

From these considerations it is clear what is signified by the words in the following verse of this chapter: "I counsel thee to buy of me white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." And also in the following words of this book of the Apocalypse: "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame" (xvi. 15).

(References: Exodus 20:26, 28:42-43; Revelation 16:15)


[12] Moreover, by the naked, in the Word, are also meant those who are not in truths and thence not in good, because they are ignorant of truths, but yet desire them. This is the case with those who are within the church where those who teach are in falsities; also those who are out of the church, and have not the Word, and hence neither know truths nor anything concerning the Lord. These are described in the following passages. In Isaiah:

"This is the fast that I have chosen, to break bread with the hungry, and when thou seest the naked that thou cover him" (lviii. 6, 7).

In Ezekiel:

"Let him give his bread to the hungry, and cover the naked with a garment" (xviii. 7).

And in Matthew:

"I was naked, and ye clothed me" (xxv. 36, 38).

To cover with a garment, and to clothe, signify to instruct in truths. (That garments denote truths, may be seen above, n. 195. That naked also signifies the good of innocence, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia, n. 165, 8375, 9960; and in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 179, 180, 280.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 165, Arcana Coelestia 8375, Arcana Coelestia 9960; Ezekiel 18:7; Heaven and Hell 179-180, 280; Isaiah 58:6-7; Matthew 25:36, 25:38, 25:43; Revelation 3:17; The Apocalypse Explained 195)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 226, 244, 355, 1008, 1081

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


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