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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


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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

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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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Arcana Coelestia 3654, 3720, 3754, 3809, 3900, 3987, 4145, 4229, 4390, 4422, 4973, 4982, 5134, 5135, 5645, 5895, 5897, 6041, 6524, 7601, 7887, 7906, 7923, 7939, 8505, 8891, 9150, 9154, 9207, 9274, 9372, 9539, 9820, 9954, 10184

The Last Judgment 35

True Christian Religion 757

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 186, 246


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 5, 400, 684


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
Other New Christian Commentary

Roof 1

Daniel 1

House-top 1


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Apocalypse Explained #710

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710. And she being with child.- That this signifies nascent doctrine from the good of celestial love, is evident from the signification of being with child (or bearing in the womb), when stated of the church, which is signified by the woman, as denoting nascent doctrine of truth from the good of celestial love. For the womb signifies inmost conjugial love, and thus celestial love in its whole extent, and the embryo in the womb, truth of doctrine from the good of celestial love, for it has the same signification as the male child which the woman brought forth, which is described in the fifth verse and which signifies doctrine of truth from the good of love, with this difference, that the embryo, being yet in the womb, derives more from the good of innocence than after birth, therefore by embryo is signified the doctrine of truth equally as by son; but the latter signifies the doctrine itself, while the former signifies nascent doctrine. From these things it is evident that to be with child (or to bear in the womb) signifies nascent doctrine of truth from the good of celestial love.

(References: Revelation 12:2, 12:5)


[2] The womb signifies the inmost good of love, because all the organs whose function is generation, both with males and females, signify conjugial love, and the womb, the inmost thereof, because there the foetus is conceived, and developed until birth; it is also the inmost of the genital organs, and from it also the maternal love called storge is derived. Since a man who is being regenerated is also conceived, and carried as it were in the womb and born, and since regeneration is effected by means of truths from the good of love, therefore to bear in the womb, in the spiritual sense, signifies the doctrine of truth from the good of love. There is also a correspondence of the womb with the inmost good of love; for the whole heaven corresponds to all things with man, concerning which correspondence see Heaven and Hell (n. 87-102); this is also the case with the organs whose function is generation, these correspond there to celestial love. There is also all influx of this love out of heaven into mothers during the time of gestation, and also into embryos; and from this springs the love of their infants with mothers, and innocence with infants. From these things it is evident why the womb signifies the inmost good of love, and to bear in the womb signifies nascent doctrine of truth from the good of love.

(References: Heaven and Hell 87-102)


[3] That this is the signification of the womb, and of bearing in the womb, is evident from the following passages in the Word.

In Isaiah:

"Attend unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remains of the house of Israel carried from the womb, borne from the matrix, even unto old age I am the same, and even to hoariness I will carry; I have made, I will carry, and I will bear and deliver" (xlvi. 3, 4).

This is said of the reformation of the church, and of the regeneration of the men of the church by the Lord. The church is signified by the house of Jacob and by the house of Israel, the external church by the house of Jacob, and the internal by the house of Israel. Those carried from the womb signify those who are being regenerated by the Lord, and those borne from the matrix (vulva) signify those who are regenerated. Because the man who is being regenerated is first conceived by the Lord, and is afterwards born, and lastly educated and perfected, and because regeneration is similar in this respect to the natural generation of man, therefore to be carried from the womb signifies the state of the man who is to be regenerated from conception to birth. Birth itself, and afterwards education and perfection, are signified by to be borne from the matrix; even unto old age I am the same, and even, to hoariness I will carry. I have made, I will carry, and I will bear and deliver, has a similar signification, the former meaning regeneration by means of the goods of love and of charity, and the latter regeneration by means of truths from those goods. To deliver means to take away and remove evils and falsities which are from hell.

(References: Isaiah 46:3-4)


[4] In Hosea:

"Ephraim, his glory shall fly away as a bird, and from the birth, and from the belly, and from conception; yea, though they have brought up their sons, yet will I make them bereaved of man. Give to them, O Jehovah, a miscarrying matrix and dry breasts. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall not bear fruit; even when they have begotten I will slay the desires of their belly" (ix. 11, 12, 14, 16).

Ephraim means the church as to the understanding of truth and good. That there would be no longer any understanding of Divine Truth in the church is signified by "Ephraim, his glory shall fly away as a bird," glory signifying Divine Truth, and to fly away signifying to be scattered. The expression to fly away is used because it is said of a bird, and mention is made of a bird because a bird signifies such things as belong to the understanding and to thought therefrom. From the birth, and from the belly, and from conception, signifies the dispersion of all truth from its ultimates to primaries, birth signifying its ultimates, because it signifies what has been born; from the belly and from conception signifies what is before birth, thus all things from ultimates to primaries, for when ultimates perish, things prior also successively fall away. Though they have brought up their sons, yet I will make them bereaved of man, signifies although they have procured for themselves truths, nevertheless they will be without intelligence, sons denoting the truths of the church, and man intelligence; therefore to make them bereaved of man signifies that still they have no intelligence.

(References: Hosea 9:11-12, 9:14, 9:16)


[5] Give them, O Jehovah, a miscarrying matrix and dry breasts, signifies that they have no longer truths from any good, but falsities from evil, a miscarrying matrix signifying falsities from evil in the place of truth from good, dry breasts have a similar signification, but matrix signifies truths from the good of love, and breasts truths from the good of charity, here falsities from evil contrary to truths. Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, signifies that there was no more any understanding of truth even from primaries, Ephraim here, as above, meaning the understanding of the truth of the church, and root its primary. They shall not bear fruit, signifies not any good, for where there are no truths good does not exist. Even when they have begotten, I will slay the desires of their belly, signifies though they have procured for themselves truths that yet they will perish, the desires of the belly signifying truths procured. It is said the belly instead of the womb, because the belly has the appearance of distention in those who are with child, but yet the term belly is used where truths are treated of, and the womb where good is treated of.

[6] In David:

"For thou art he who took me out of the womb, giving me trust from my mother's breasts; upon thee I was cast from my mother's belly, thou art my God" (Psalm xxii. 9, 10).

Here also the spiritual regeneration of man is described by such things as belong to natural generation from the mother; therefore Thou art He who took me out of the womb signifies to be regenerated by the Lord, and made a man of the church. Thou givest me trust from my mother's breasts, signifies to be afterwards led and spiritually educated, the mother's breasts signifying spiritual nourishment in such things as belong to the church, mother meaning the church. I was cast upon thee from the womb, signifies that the Lord has done all things from the good of love; and from my mother's belly Thou art my God, signifies that He has done all things by means of truths. For, as said above, where the subject treated of is the good of love, the term womb (uterus) is used, and where truths from that good are treated of, the term belly is used; it is therefore said, "Thou art my God," for where the good of love is treated of, the Lord is called Jehovah, and where truths are treated of, He is called God.

(References: Psalms 22:9-10)


[7] In the Evangelists:

"Woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days" (Matt. xxiv. 19; Mark xiii. 17; Luke xxi. 23).

The subject treated of in those chapters is the consummation of the age, which means the end of the church when a last judgment takes place, therefore by those that are with child (or bear in the womb), and those that give suck in those days, over whom lamentation is made, are meant those who then receive the goods of love and the truths of that good. Those that bear in the womb denote those who receive the good of love, and those that give suck denote those who receive the truths of that good, for milk, the means of suckling, signifies truth from the good of love. It is said, Woe unto them - because they are not able to keep the goods and truths which they receive, for then hell prevails, and takes them away, and thus profanation arises. Hell then prevails, because at the end of the church the falsities of evil reign, and take away the truths of good; for man is held in the midst between heaven and hell, and, before a last judgment, that which arises out of hell prevails over that which descends from heaven. Upon this subject see Heaven and Hell (n. 538, 540, 541, 546, 589-596); and the small work concerning the Last Judgment (73, 74).

(References: Heaven and Hell 538, 540-541, 546, 589-596; Luke 21:23; Mark 13:17; Matthew 24:19; The Last Judgment 73-74)


[8] In Luke:

"Behold, the days shall come, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the bellies which have not borne, and the breasts which have not given suck" (xxiii. 29).

These words have a similar signification, they are also spoken of the last time of the church; the barren, and the bellies that have not borne, signify those who have not received genuine truths, that is, truths from the good of love, and the breasts that have not given suck signify those who have not received genuine truths from the good of charity. For all truths are from good; and goods are of a twofold kind, celestial good, which is the good of love to the Lord, and spiritual good, which is the good of charity towards the neighbour, and breasts have a similar signification to that of milk, namely, truth from good.

(References: Luke 11:27-28, Luke 23:29)


[9] In the same:

"A woman lifting up her voice from the people said" concerning Jesus, "Blessed is the belly which bare thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked; but 'Jesus' said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it" (xi. 27, 28).

Since to bear in the belly, and to give suck with the breast, signify the regeneration of man, as said above, therefore the Lord answered, Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it, which describes the regeneration effected by means of truths from the Word, and by a life according to them; to hear the Word of God signifies to learn truths from the Word, and to keep it signifies to live according to them.

(References: Luke 11:27-28)


[10] In John:

"Nicodemus said, How can a man be born when he is old? he cannot enter into his mother's womb a second time? Jesus answered, Verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of the heavens. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the spirit is spirit" (iii. 4-6).

That Nicodemus was thinking of natural instead of spiritual generation, concerning which the Lord spoke, is evident, therefore the Lord teaches him concerning regeneration, that it is effected by means of truths from the Word, and by a life according to them, and this is signified by being born of water and of the spirit; for water, in the spiritual sense, is truth from the Word, and the spirit is life according to it. That man is born natural, and becomes spiritual by a life according to truths from the Word, is signified by "that which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the spirit is spirit"; that the natural man, unless he becomes spiritual, cannot be saved, is meant by the words, "except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of the heavens."

(References: Isaiah 48:8; John 3:4-6)


[11] Since the Lord alone reforms and regenerates man, therefore in the Word He is called the Former from the womb; as in Isaiah:

"Jehovah, thy Maker and Former from the womb, helpeth thee" (xliv. 2, 24).

In the same:

"Jehovah hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath remembered my name. Thus saith Jehovah, my Former from the womb, to be his servant, to bring back Jacob unto him," and Israel shall be gathered to Him (xlix. 1, 5).

In many passages of the Word the Lord is called Creator, Maker, and Former from the womb, and also Redeemer, for the reason that He creates man anew, reforms, regenerates, and redeems. It may be supposed that the Lord is so called because He created man and forms him in the womb, but still it is a spiritual creation and formation which is there meant. For the Word is not only natural, but also spiritual; it is natural for men, who are natural, and spiritual for angels, who are spiritual, as also is evident from this, that the things here said are said of Israel, and, in the highest sense, of the Lord. Israel means the church, thus every man of the church; and because the Lord knows what every one is as to the good of love and truth of faith, therefore it is said, "Jehovah hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath remembered my name"; to call and to know the name of any one signifies to know what he is; from the womb denotes as to the good of love, and from the bowels of my mother, as to truths from that good. Jacob who shall be brought back unto Him, and Israel who shall be gathered to Him, signify the church; Jacob signifies the external church, and Israel the internal church, the latter being in the spiritual, the former in the natural man.

(References: Isaiah 44:2, 44:24, Isaiah 49:1, 49:5)


[12] In Jeremiah:

"Before I formed thee in the womb I knew thee, and before thou camest forth from the womb I sanctified thee; I will give thee as a prophet unto the nations" (i. 5).

This is said of the prophet Jeremiah, but a prophet, in the spiritual sense, means one that teaches truth, and, in the abstract sense, doctrine of truth; therefore to form in the womb, and to know him before he came forth from the womb, signify the foreseeing that one may be in truths from good by regeneration, thus that one may be able to receive and teach the Word. To sanctify and to give as a prophet to the nations have the same meaning, the nations denoting those who are in good, and who from good receive truths.

(References: Jeremiah 1:5)


[13] In David:

"I have been laid upon thee from the womb; thou art he that brought me forth from my mother's bowels" (Psalm lxxi. 6).

This has a similar meaning.

In the same:

"Lo, sons are the heritage of Jehovah, the fruit of the belly a reward" (Psalm cxxvii. 3).

Here sons mean those who are in truths from good, as also elsewhere in the Word; and the fruit of the belly means those who are in good by means of truths, and these have heaven, which is a heritage and also a reward.

(References: Psalms 71:6, 127:3)


[14] In Isaiah:

"Can a woman forget her sucking child and not have compassion on the son of her belly? yea, though these forget, yet will not I forget thee" (xlix. 15).

This is said, because in the spiritual sense regeneration is meant, therefore a comparison is made with a woman, and her love towards her sucking child; the case is similar with one who is regenerated by the Lord.

(References: Isaiah 49:15)


[15] In David:

"Jehovah hath sworn unto David in truth, Of the fruit of thy belly will I set upon thy throne" (Psalm cxxxii. 11).

David here, as also elsewhere, means the Lord as to the spiritual kingdom, which is His royalty, therefore to set the fruit of His belly upon the throne means one who is being regenerated by Him; such a man is called the fruit of His belly, because he is in truths and in a life according to them; the throne which he shall have means heaven. This is the signification of the above words in their spiritual sense, but in the highest sense the Lord and His glorification are meant.

In the same:

"Thou possessest my reins, thou hast covered me in my mother's belly" (Psalm cxxxix. 13).

(References: Psalms 132:11, Psalms 139:13)


[16] To possess the reins signifies to purify truths from falsities, as may be seen above (n. 167), and to cover in the mother's belly signifies to defend from the falsities of evil which are from hell, and this from the beginning of

regeneration and continually afterwards.

(References: Psalms 139:13; The Apocalypse Explained 167)


[17] In the same:

"The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray from the belly, speaking a lie" (Psalm lviii. 3).

This does not mean that the wicked are estranged from the womb, and that they go astray from the belly, that is, from birth, for no one from birth is estranged from God and goes astray; but to be estranged from the womb signifies that they go back from good to evil from the first day when one could be reformed, and to go astray from the belly signifies to go back in a similar manner from truths to falsities; to speak a lie also signifies to believe falsities. Such are said to go back from the first day when they could be reformed, because the Lord strives to reform all, whoever they may be, beginning from childhood and continuing through boyhood to youth; but those who do not suffer themselves to be reformed, at once turn back.

(References: Psalms 58:3)


[18] In Hosea:

"The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up, his sin is hidden, the pains of a travailing woman shall come upon him; he is a son not wise, because he doth not continue his time in the womb of sons" (xiii. 12, 13).

Ephraim signifies the understanding of truth, here the understanding perverted, which is that of falsity instead of truth; it's falsity is signified by iniquity, and the evil of falsity by his sin; he is therefore called a son not wise; his not accepting reformation is signified by "the pains of a travailing woman shall come upon him"; "he doth not continue his time in the womb of sons," signifies that he doth not remain in a state of reformation.

(References: Hosea 13:12-13)


[19] In Isaiah:

"I knew that, in dealing treacherously, thou wouldest deal treacherously, and thou wast called by the name of a transgressor from the womb" (xlviii. 8).

This is said of the house of Jacob, which signifies the church perverted; to deal treacherously, signifies to act contrary to revealed truths; and to be called by the name of a transgressor from the womb, signifies to turn back from truths from the first time when reformation might be effected; to be called by a name, signifies one's quality as to truths.

(References: Isaiah 48:8)


[20] In Hosea:

Jacob "supplanted his brother in the womb, and in his strength he fought powerfully with God" (xii. 3).

No one can know what these words mean, in the internal sense, unless it be known that Jacob and his posterity, even from their fathers downwards, were merely natural, and consequently opposed to the good of heaven and of the church. For he who is natural, and not at the same time spiritual, is opposed to that good, this being procured solely by the conjunction of truth and good, first in the spiritual, and afterwards in the natural man; but Esau signifies natural good in the spiritual man. Now, because Jacob and his posterity were of such a nature, and because they rejected all such good, and this from the very first, it is therefore said of Jacob that he supplanted his brother in the womb. Moreover, the combat of Jacob with the angel, described in Genesis (xxxii. 24-31), depicts the tenacity with which they insisted upon possessing the land of Canaan, which means that a church should be instituted among them; this tenacity is depicted by that combat, and also by what is said in the following verse in Hosea:

"And he fought powerfully with the angel; he wept and entreated him" (xii. 4).

But that they would nevertheless be destitute of any good of celestial and spiritual love is meant by the angel touching the hollow of Jacob's thigh, and by its being put out of joint in wrestling with the angel (Gen. xxxii. 24). For the thigh signifies the conjunction of good and truth, and its being put out of joint signifies that with Jacob and his posterity there was no conjunction of truth with good; this is meant by the words "Jacob fought powerfully with God." But see on this subject Arcana Coelestia (n. 4281). That the Israelitish and Jewish nation was not chosen, but was accepted in order to represent a church, because of the stubbornness with which their fathers and Moses persisted, may be seen in the same work (n. 4290, 4293, 7051, 7439, 10,430, 10,535, 10,632).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4281, 4290, 4293, Arcana Coelestia 7051, 7439, Arcana Coelestia 10430, 10535, 10632, Genesis 32:24-31, 32:24, 32:25-32, Genesis 32:25, 32:31, Genesis 32:32; Hosea 12:3, Hosea 12:4)


[21] In Moses:

The sons strove with each other in the belly of Rebecca; and "Jehovah said, Two nations are in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels, and people shall prevail over people, and the elder shall serve the younger. And the days were fulfilled to bring forth, and, lo, twins were in her womb; and the first came forth red all over, like a hairy garment, and they called his name Esau; and afterwards his brother came forth, and his hand had hold of the heel of Esau, and he called his name Jacob" (Gen. xxv. 20-26).

These historical statements involve what has just been said above concerning Jacob and his posterity, - that they were merely natural, and thus not in any natural good from what is spiritual, which is signified by Esau. That Jacob's posterity had not that good is signified by Jacob, as he came forth out of his mother's womb taking hold of the heel of Esau, the heel signifying the ultimate Natural. But these things are also explained in the Arcana Coelestia.

(References: Genesis 25:20-26, 25:22-26)


[22] In the same:

"From the God of thy father, and he will help thee, and with the Almighty (Schaddai), and he will bless thee, with the blessings of heaven from above, with the blessings of the abyss lying beneath, with the blessings of the breasts and of the womb" (Gen. xlix. 25).

This is the blessing of Joseph by his father Israel, which is also explained in the Arcana Coelestia, (n. 6428-6434), where it is shown that the blessings of the breasts signify the affections for good and truth, and the blessings of the womb the conjunction of good and truth, thus regeneration.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6428-6434, Genesis 49:25)


[23] In the same:

"That" Jehovah "may love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee, that he may bless the fruit of thy belly, and the fruit of thy ground, thy corn, and thy new wine, thy oil, the young of thine oxen, and the rams of thy flock" (Deut. vii. 13).

And in another place:

"Blessed be the fruit of thy belly, and the fruit of thy ground, the young of thine oxen, and of the sheep of thy flock" (Deut. xxviii. 4).

These words were spoken to the sons of Jacob, who understood them only naturally, that is, according to the sense of the letter, because they were completely natural, and not in the least degree spiritual. But those blessings signify spiritual blessings, which pertain to heaven, and thus to eternal life - the fruit of the belly signifying the good of love and the truth of that good; the fruit of the ground, everything pertaining to the church; the corn and new wine (mustum), all good and truth in the natural man; the young of oxen, and of the sheep of the flock, their affections, exterior and interior. In general all those things signify the fructification and multiplication of truth and good.

(References: Deuteronomy 7:13, 28:4)


[24] In Isaiah:

"Behold, I stir up against them the Medes, who will not esteem silver, and in gold they will not take delight, whose bows shall dash in pieces the young men, and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the belly; their eye shall not spare the sons" (xiii. 17, 18).

The Medes mean those who make no account of the truth and good of the church, and who destroy those things of the understanding and love that are therefrom - the silver, which they will not esteem, and the gold, in which they will not take delight, signifying the truth and good of heaven and of the church, silver their truth, and gold their good. Their bows shall dash in pieces the young men, and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the belly, signifies that falsities of doctrine will destroy all the understanding of truth and all the good of love; bow signifying falsity of doctrine, young men the understanding of truth, and the fruit of the belly the good of love. Their eye shall not spare the sons, signifies that their perverted understanding and their insanity will lay waste all the truth of the church, sons denoting truths, and the eye the understanding perverted, which is insanity. It must be observed that the Medes do not mean the Medes, but those persons and things in the church that lay it waste.

(References: Isaiah 13:17-18)


[25] In Matthew:

The Pharisees said, "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Jesus answering, said, Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male, and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh? Therefore they are no more two but one flesh; what therefore God hath joined together, no man shall put asunder. Moses, for the hardness of your heart, suffered you to put away your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery, and whosoever marrieth her that is put away, committeth adultery. The disciples said, If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry. But Jesus said, All do not receive this word, but those to whom it is given; for there are eunuchs who are so born from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God. He who is able to receive, let him receive" (xix. 3-12).

That there are interior arcana contained in these words is evident from the Lord's saying, that all do not receive these words, but those to whom it is given. Men have scarcely any understanding of the interior arcanum contained in the above words spoken by the Lord, but all the angels in heaven understand it, because they perceive the words of the Lord spiritually, and the arcana contained therein are spiritual, namely, that there are marriages in the heavens equally as on earth, but in the heavens marriages are of like with like. For man is born to act from the understanding, but woman from affection, and the understanding with men is the understanding of truth and good, and affection with women is the affection for truth and good; and as all understanding derives its life from affection, therefore the two there are conjoined just as affection which is of the will is conjoined with a correspondent thought belonging to the understanding. For the understanding is different with every one just as the truths from which the understanding is formed are different.

In general there are celestial truths, spiritual truths, moral truths, civil truths, and in fact natural truths, and of every kind of truth there are species and varieties innumerable. And in consequence of this the understanding of one person is never like the understanding of another, or the affection of one like that of another; still, in order that understanding and affection may act unitedly, they are so conjoined in heaven that the correspondent affection of the woman is conjoined with the correspondent understanding of the man. This is the reason why the life of each, from correspondence, is full of love. Now, because two different affections cannot correspond to one understanding, a man never has and never can have more than one wife in heaven.

(References: Matthew 19:3-12)


[26] From these things what is spiritually meant by the above words of the Lord can be seen and inferred; for example by "a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh," is meant that a man will leave the evil and falsity which he has from his religion and which defile his understanding, thus that which he has from father and mother, and that his understanding, being separated from these, will be conjoined with the correspondent affection of the wife; by this means the two become one affection for truth and good. This is meant by the one flesh, in which the two will be; for flesh, in the spiritual sense, signifies the good which belongs to love or affection. Therefore, they are no more two but one flesh, signifies that thus the understanding of truth and good, and the affection for good and truth, are not two, but one, just as the understanding and the will, being indeed two, are nevertheless one; and as truth and good, and faith and charity, being two are nevertheless one; that is to say, when truth is of good, and good is of truth, also when faith is of charity, and charity is of faith; this also is the source of love conjugial.

[27] Moses for the hardness of their hearts suffered them to put away a wife for every cause, because the Israelites and Jews were natural and not spiritual, and those who are completely natural are also hard in heart, because they are not in conjugial love, but in lascivious love, such as is that of adultery. It is said that whosoever shall put away a wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery, because fornication signifies falsity, and with a woman the affection for evil and falsity, thus all affection which does not at all agree with the understanding of truth and good; and on account of that discordance, conjugial love, which is of truth and good, and thus is heaven and the church with man, entirely perishes; for when there is no interior conjunction, which is that of minds and dispositions, the marriage is dissolved. He who marries her that is put away also commits adultery, because she that is put away on account of fornication means an affection for evil and falsity, as said above, which must not be conjoined with any understanding of truth and good, for by such means the understanding is perverted, and also becomes an understanding of falsity and evil; and the conjunction of falsity and evil is spiritual adultery, as the conjunction of truth and good is spiritual marriage.

[28] The reason why the Lord afterwards spoke concerning eunuchs, was that the disciples said, "If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry;" and since marriages among the Jewish nation, which was a nation hard in heart because in falsities from evil, were not marriages, but, understood in a spiritual sense, were adulteries, therefore also that nation was called by the Lord an adulterous generation. This is why the Lord spoke concerning eunuchs, who mean those who do not desire to enter into marriage, that is, to be conjoined with affection for evil, because by that means the understanding of truth and good would be perverted and dissipated. Thus eunuchs mean both the married and the unmarried, in whom the understanding of truth and good is conjoined with affection for truth and good. They are called eunuchs, because they have no lasciviousness such as those have, who, from hardness of heart, in which the Jews were, have married more than one wife, and divorced them for every cause.

[29] It must be first observed that the marriage of the understanding of truth and good with affection for truth and good has, in general, a threefold origin, and thus is in a threefold degree. In the highest degree there is the marriage of those who are called celestial, in a lower degree, of those who are spiritual, and in the lowest degree, of those who are natural; for there are three degrees of man's interiors, and thus there are three heavens; those who are in the highest heaven are called celestial, those in the lower, spiritual, and those in the lowest, natural.

The marriage of the understanding of truth and good with the affection for truth and good in the Celestial is meant by the eunuchs who are born eunuchs from their mother's womb, because, when such are being regenerated, they receive truths immediately in the life, through the love of truths; for this reason they know truths from truths themselves; and their regeneration from the Lord through love to Him is signified by being made eunuchs in the womb, thus being free from the lasciviousness of adultery.

[30] But the marriage of the understanding of truth and good with the affection for truth and good with the spiritual, is meant by eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, for these are not regenerated in the womb, that is, through love, but by means of truths first received in the memory, afterwards intelligently in the thought, and so finally in the life through a certain spiritual affection. These are said to be made eunuchs by men, because they are reformed from the memory through the understanding; and man signifies that understanding, as also above, where man and wife are mentioned. But the marriage of the understanding of truth and good with the affection for truth and good with the natural, is meant by the eunuchs who make themselves eunuchs; for the natural, by means of cognitions and knowledges (scientiae), get to themselves a natural light (lumen), and by means of the good of life according to these they acquire affection, and thus conscience. And as these know no otherwise than that they themselves do this - for the natural man does not enjoy the intelligence of the spiritual man, or the perception of the celestial man - therefore they are meant by those who make themselves eunuchs, but this is so said from appearance, and from their obscure faith. This, therefore, is the meaning of becoming eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God. And because few apprehend these things, the Lord says, He who is able to receive, let him receive. But for the illustration of this subject see what is said in Heaven and Hell concerning the two kingdoms into which the heavens are distinguished, and concerning the three heavens according to the three degrees of the interiors of man (n. 20-40), and concerning marriages in heaven (n. 366-386).

(References: Heaven and Hell 20-40, Heaven and Hell 366-386)


[31] It is said of John the Baptist, that he was filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother's womb; and that [the babe] leaped in the womb at the salutation of Mary (Luke i. 15, 41, 44). This signified that he was about to represent the Lord as to the Word, as Elijah represented Him; for in the Word, which is Divine Truth, there is everywhere the marriage of Divine Good and Divine Truth, and Divine Good united with Divine Truth is the Divine proceeding from the Lord, which is called the Holy Spirit. The leaping in the womb at the salutation of Mary represented the joy arising from the love of the conjunction of good and truth, thus the joy of heavenly conjugial love, which is in every particular of the Word. That John the Baptist, like Elijah, represented the Lord as to the Word may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 7643, 9372).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 7643, 9372; Luke 1:15, 1:41, 1:44)


[32] The signification of the male that first opened the womb shall also be stated. Of this it is said in Moses:

"When Jehovah hath brought thee into the land of Canaan, thou shalt cause to pass over to Jehovah every one that shall open the womb, and every firstling that cometh of a beast, as many males as thou hast shall be Jehovah's. But every first born among thy sons thou shalt redeem. And it shall come to pass that if thy son shall ask thee in time to come, saying, What is this? thou shalt say unto him, By might of hand Jehovah brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of servants, when he slew all the first-born in the land, from the first-born of man even to the first-born of beast; therefore I sacrifice to Jehovah every one that shall open the womb, males; and all the first-born of my sons I redeem" (Exod. xiii 11, 15; xxxiv. 19, 20).

That the Levites were accepted in the place of these, also in the same:

"Behold, I have accepted the Levites out of the midst of the sons of Israel, instead of all the first-born that openeth the womb among the sons of Israel, that the Levites may be mine; because every first-born is mine, in the day when I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to me all the first-born in Israel; from man even to beast they shall be mine" (Numb. iii. 12, 13; viii. 16, 17).

The spiritual meaning that lies concealed in this statute does not appear, until it is known that natural generations and nativities signify spiritual generations and nativities; also, that all the organs of generation correspond to celestial love and its productions, which are uses, and are called the truths of that love. Because this is the case, and because marriage in the spiritual sense signifies the marriage of good and truth, as stated above, therefore the signification, in the same sense, of him that openeth the womb, or the first-born male is evident. By him that openeth the womb, or the first-born male is signified that which is first born from celestial love, and from the perception of good and truth; and this is evidently truth from good, which serves as a beginning to what follows; this in its essence is spiritual good, for such good, in its form, is truth from good, or, what is the same, truth from good, in its essence, is spiritual good. This is signified by him that openeth the womb, the first-born male, because the womb corresponds to inmost conjugial love, which in its essence is celestial love; and from this love spiritual good is produced, which in its form is truth from good, and specifically, that truth from good which serves as a beginning to what follows. That which serves as a beginning is everything, as regards their essential, in the things which succeed, because it is that which rules in them. As this is the signification of him that openeth the womb, or the first-born male, therefore it was sanctified to Jehovah, and by it all the subsequent offspring were also sanctified.

(References: Exodus 13:11-15, 14:19-20, Exodus 34:19-20; Numbers 3:12-13, 8:16-17)


[33] It must be understood that the goods of heaven and of the church are of three degrees; the good of the inmost degree, thus also of the inmost heaven, is called the good of celestial love; the good of the lower degree, which is also the good of the middle heaven, is called the good of spiritual love; and the good of the lowest degree, which is also the good of the ultimate heaven, is called natural good. These goods, as they follow in order, so are also born in order. The good of natural love is born from the good of spiritual love, and the good of spiritual love is born from the good of celestial love. This is the reason that by him that openeth the womb, the first-born male, is signified the good of spiritual love born from the good of celestial love.

[34] Since beasts signify affections, beasts of the herd exterior affections, and beasts of the flock interior affections, therefore also the first-born of these were sanctified. That this is the case is also evident from this, that the Levites were received in the place of all the first-born. For Levi - and thus the Levite - signifies spiritual good from celestial good; consequently the priesthood, which signifies celestial good, was given to Aaron and his sons, and the ministry of that good, which signifies truth from good, was given to the Levites. That this was the signification of the tribe of Levi, may be seen above (n. 444). The reason the statute concerning the first-born was given to the sons of Israel because all the first-born in Egypt were slain, was that the first-born in Egypt there signify falsities from evil contrary to or opposed to truths from good, thus infernal evil contrary to or opposed to spiritual good; and that when those falsities from evil in man are slain, that is, removed, truths from good, that is, spiritual good, then begin to flow in from the Lord, and to be received by man. From these things it is evident what was represented and signified by that statute in the spiritual sense. What was signified by God's closing up every womb of the house of Abimelech on account of Sarah, Abraham's wife, and by God's healing Abimelech, his wife, and their maid-servants, so that they brought forth after Abraham had prayed for them (Gen. xx. 17, 18), may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, where the passage is explained.

(References: Exodus 34:19-20; Genesis 20:17-18, Genesis 25:22-26, Genesis 32:25, Genesis 32:32; Hosea 12:3-4; The Apocalypse Explained 444)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 705, 721, 724, 865


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
Other New Christian Commentary

Born 1

Borne from the belly 1

Womb 1


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


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