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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 24:18, Exodus 24:16)


[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 #3652

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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3652. According to the internal sense, the signification is as now follows.

When therefore ye shall see the abomination of desolation;(Matthew 24:15)signifies the devastation of the church, which occurs when the Lord is no longer acknowledged; consequently when there is no love and no faith in Him; also when there is no longer any charity toward the neighbor; and consequently when there is not any faith of good and truth. When this is the case in the church, or rather in the region where the Word is in existence-that is, when men are such in the thoughts of the heart, even if not in the doctrine of their lips-then there is "desolation," and the things just mentioned are its "abomination;" so that the words "when ye shall see the abomination of desolation" signify when anyone observes such things; and what is to be done in such a case is told in what now follows in verses qqq16 to 18.

(References: Matthew 24:15-18, 24:16-18)


[2] Which was told of by Daniel the prophet;

(Matthew 24:15) in the internal sense signifies by the prophets; for where any prophet is mentioned by name in the Word, it is not the prophet that is meant, but the prophetic Word itself; because names never penetrate into heaven (see n. 1876, 1888); and yet the same is not signified by one prophet as by another. What is signified by "Moses," "Elias," and "Elisha," may be seen in the preface to chapter 18 an d in n. 2762; but by "Daniel" is signified everything prophetic concerning the Lord's advent, and concerning the state of the church; in the present case concerning its last state. The subject of devastation is largely treated of in the Prophets, and by it in the sense of the letter is signified the devastation of the Jewish and Israelitish Church, but in the internal sense there is signified the devastation of the church in general, thus also the devastation which is now at hand.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] Standing in the holy place;

s (Matthew 24:15) ignifies devastation as to all things which are of good and truth; the "holy place" is a state of love and faith (that "place" in the internal sense is state, see above, n. 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387); the holy of this state is the good which is of love, and the derivative truth which is of faith; and nothing else than these is meant by "holy" in the Word, because these things are from the Lord, who is the Holy itself, or the Sanctuary.

Let him that readeth understand;

(Matthew 24:15) signifies that these things are to be well observed by those who are in the church, especially by those who are in love and faith; who now come to be treated of.

[4] Then let them that are in Judea flee into the mountains;

(Matthew 24:16) signifies that they who are of the church will not look elsewhere than to the Lord, thus to love to Him, and to charity toward the neighbor (that by "Judea" is signified the church, will be shown below; that by a "mountain" is signified the Lord Himself, but by "mountains" love to Him, and charity toward the neighbor, may be seen above, n. 795, 796, 1430, 2722). According to the sense of the letter the meaning would be that when Jerusalem was besieged, as it came to be by the Romans, then they should not betake themselves thither, but to the mountains, according to what is written in Luke:

When ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her devastation is at hand. Then let them that are in Judea flee upon the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the regions enter therein (Luke 21:20-21);

(References: Arcana Coelestia 795-796)


[5] but in this passage the case is the same with Jerusalem, namely, that in the sense of the letter it is Jerusalem which is understood, while in the internal sense it is the Lord's church (see n. 402, 2117); for each and all of the things recorded in the Word concerning the Jewish and Israelitish people are representative of the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, and of His kingdom on earth; that is, of the church, as has been often shown. Hence it is that by "Jerusalem" in the internal sense is nowhere meant Jerusalem, nor by "Judea," Judea. But these matters were of such a nature as to be capable of representing the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord's kingdom, and the events took place for the sake of the representation. In this way the Word could be so written as to be adapted to the apprehension of the man who should read it, and also to the understanding of the angels who are with the man. This likewise was the reason why the Lord spoke in the same manner; for had He spoken otherwise, His Word would not have been adapted to the understanding of those who read it, especially at that time; nor to the understanding of the angels; thus it would neither have been received by man, nor understood by the angels.

[6] Let him that is upon the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house;

sig (Matthew 24:17) nifies that such as are in the good of charity should not betake themselves to those things which belong to doctrinal matters of faith. In the Word the "housetop" signifies the higher state of man, thus his state as to good; but those things which are below it signify the lower state of man, thus his state as to truth (n. 710, 1708, 2233, 2234, 3142, 3538). As regards the state of a man of the church, the case is this: While he is being regenerated he learns truths for the sake of good, for he has the affection of truth on this account; but after he has been regenerated he acts from truth and good. After the man has arrived at this state he ought not to betake himself to his former state, for if he should do this he would reason from truth concerning the good in which he is, and would thereby pervert his state, for all reasoning ceases, and ought to cease, when a man is in a state to will what is true and good; for he then thinks and acts from the will, consequently from conscience, and not as before from the understanding; and if he should again think and act from this, he would fall into temptations in which he would succumb. This then is what is signified by "Let him that is upon the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house."

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234)


[7] And let him that is in the field not return back to take his garment; (that is, his tunic), [Matthew 24:18], signifies that such as are in the good of truth should not betake themselves from the good thereof to what is doctrinal of truth. In the Word a "field" signifies this state of man in respect to good (what is meant by "field" may be seen above, n. 368, 2971, 3196, 3310, 3317, 3500, 3508); and a "garment" or "tunic" signifies that which clothes good, that is, what is doctrinal of truth, for this is as clothing to good (that a "garment" has this signification may be seen above, n. 297, 1073, 2576, 3301). Everyone can see that in these words deeper things are hidden than those which appear in the letter, for they were spoken by the Lord Himself.

(References: Matthew 24:15-18)

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