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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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Inbound References:

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

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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?
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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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Arcana Coelestia #3704

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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3704. And the God of Isaac. That this signifies the Lord as to the Divine Human, is evident from the representation of Isaac, as being the Lord’s Divine rational; and as the rational is that in which the human begins (see n. 2194), and thus from which and by which the human is; therefore here by the “God of Isaac” is signified the Divine Human of the Lord. As in heaven, and with man, and even in universal nature, all things both in general and in particular have relation to good and truth, therefore also the Lord’s Divine is distinguished into Divine good and Divine truth, and the Lord’s Divine good is called “father,” and his Divine truth “son”; but the Lord’s Divine is nothing else than good; yea, good itself; and Divine truth is the Lord’s Divine good so appearing in heaven; that is, before the angels. The case herein is the same as with the sun; in its essence the sun itself is nothing but fire, and the light which is thence seen is not in the sun, but from the sun. (That the Lord as to Divine good is represented by the sun, and also that in the other life He is a sun to the universal heaven, may be seen above, n. 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 2495, 3636, 3643; and that the Lord as to Divine truth is represented by light, and also is light in the other life to the universal heaven, see n. 1053, 1521, 1529-1530, 2776, 3138, 3195, 3222-3223, 3339, 3341, 3636, 3643)

[2] Thus the Lord in His essence is nothing else than Divine good, and this as to both the Divine Itself and the Divine Human; but Divine truth is not in Divine good, but from Divine good, for as before said so does Divine good appear in heaven. And as Divine good comes to appearance as Divine truth, therefore for the sake of man’s apprehension the Lord’s Divine is distinguished into Divine good and Divine truth, and Divine good is that which in the Word is called “Father,” and Divine truth is that which is called “Son.” This is the arcanum which lies concealed in the fact that the Lord Himself so often speaks of His Father as distinct, and as if another than Himself; and yet in other places asserts that He is one with Himself. (That in the internal sense “Father” signifies good; and in the supreme sense, the Lord as to Divine good, has been shown above, n. 3703; and also that “Son” signifies truth, and the “Son of God,” and the “Son of man,” the Lord as to Divine truth, n. 1729, 1730, 2159, 2803, 2813.) And the same is evident from all those passages where the Lord makes mention of His “Father,” and calls Himself the “Son.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1729-1730)


[3] That it is the Lord who in the Word of the Old Testament is called “Jehovah,” may be seen above (n. 1343, 1736, 2921); and that He is there also called “Father” is evident from the following passages.

In Isaiah:

Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6); where it is very evident that the “Child born” and the “Son given unto us” is the Lord; thus it is the Lord who is called the “Father of Eternity.”

In Jeremiah:

I will be a Father to Israel, and Ephraim shall be My firstborn (Jeremiah 31:9);

speaking of the Lord, who is “the God of Israel” and “the Holy One of Israel,” as may be seen above (n. 3305); and here a “Father to Israel.”

In Malachi:

Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? (Malachi 2:10); where in the internal sense “to create” signifies to regenerate; as also in other passages of the Word (see n. 16, 88, 472); and as the Lord is the only Regenerator and Redeemer, it is He who is here called “Father” and “God.” As also in Isaiah:

Thou art our Father, for Abraham knoweth us not, and Israel doth not acknowledge us; thou Jehovah art our Father, our Redeemer, Thy name is from everlasting (Isaiah 63:16).

[4] Again:

I will clothe Him with thy tunic, and strengthen Him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into His hand; that He may be a Father to the inhabitant of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah; and the key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder; and He shall open and none shall shut, and He shall shut and none shall open; and I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place, and He may be for a throne of glory of His Father; and they shall hang upon Him all the glory of His Father’s house, of sons and grandsons, every small vessel, from the vessels of cups even to all the vessels of psalteries (Isaiah 22:21-24).

That it is the Lord who in the internal sense is here represented and signified, and is called a “Father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah,” is very evident; for it is He upon whose shoulder is the key of the house of David, who openeth and none shutteth, and who shutteth and none openeth (see preface to chapter 22); and He has the throne of His Father’s glory, and upon Him and from Him are all holy things, which are here called “vessels”; celestial things, “vessels of cups”; and holy spiritual things, “vessels of psalteries.”

[5] As kings and priests represented the Lord; kings, by their royalty, the Lord as to Divine truth; and priests the Lord as to Divine good (n. 3670), therefore priests were called “fathers,” as may be seen in the book of Judges:

Micah said to the Levite, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest (Judg. 17:10).

In like manner said to him the sons of Dan:

Hold thy peace, lay thy hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest (Judg. 18:19).

That kings themselves also so called them is evident in the second book of Kings:

The king of Israel said unto Elisha, My father, shall I smite them? And he answered, Thou shalt not smite (2 Kings 6:21-22);

and Joash the king so addressed Elisha when Elisha died:

He wept over his face, and said, my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof (2 Kings 13:14).

The reason why kings so called them was that the kings represented the Lord as to Divine truth; and the priests represented Him as to Divine good; and also because truth in respect to good is as a son to a father, for truth is from good.

[6] This is well known in the other life, and therefore in heaven they call no other Father than the Lord, and perceive no other as meant by “Father” in the Word of the Evangelists (see n. 15, 1729). When being initiated into the good of love and its truth, all little children are there taught to acknowledge the Lord alone as their Father; nay, even novitiates who come into heaven are taught with solicitous care that there is one God; and they who have been born within the church are taught that the whole Trinity is in the Lord; for almost all who come from the Christian world bring with them an idea of three gods, although with their lips they had said that there is but one God; for to think of one, when the idea of three has before entered, and when each of these is called God, and also is distinguished from the others as to attributes and offices, and likewise is separately worshiped, is humanly impossible; consequently the worship of three gods is in the heart, while the worship of one only is in the mouth.

[7] That the whole Trinity is in the Lord is known in the Christian world, and yet among these in the other life the Lord is little thought of; nay, His Human is a stumbling-block to many, because they distinguish the Human from the Divine, neither do they believe it to be Divine; and a man will call himself justified, and thus made pure and almost holy; but these people do not think that the Lord was glorified, that is, that His Human was made Divine; when yet He was conceived from Jehovah Himself; and moreover no one can be justified, much less sanctified, except from the Divine, and indeed from the Lord’s Divine Human, which is represented and signified in the Holy Supper, where it is expressly said that the bread is His body and the wine His blood. That the Lord is one with the Father, and that He is from eternity, and that He rules the universe, consequently that He is Divine good and Divine truth itself, is very evident from the Word.

[8] That HE IS ONE WITH THE FATHER, is evident from these words in John:

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18).

The Jews sought the more to kill Jesus because He had also said that God was His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these doeth the Son likewise. As the Father raiseth the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son also quickeneth whom He will. Neither doth the Father judge any man, but He hath given all judgment unto the Son; that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. For as the Father hath life in Himself, even so hath He given to the Son also to have life in Himself. The Father who hath sent Me hath Himself borne witness of Me; ye have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His shape. Search the Scriptures, for these are they which bear witness of Me (John 5:18, etc.).

By “Father” is here meant, as was said, Divine good; and by “Son,” Divine truth, both in the Lord. From Divine good which is the “Father,” nothing can proceed or go forth but what is Divine, and that which proceeds or goes forth is Divine truth, which is the “Son.”

(References: John 5:18-39)


[9] Again:

Everyone that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto Me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He that is with the Father, He hath seen the Father (John 6:45-46).

They said therefore unto Him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me nor My Father; if ye knew Me ye would know My Father also (John 8:19).

I and the Father are one: though ye believe not Me, believe the works; that ye may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father (John 10:30, 38).

Jesus said, He that believeth in Me, believeth not in Me, but in Him that sent Me; and he that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me may not abide in darkness (John 12:44-46).

By “the Father sending Him” is signified, in the internal sense, that He proceeds from the Father; and the same is signified in other passages where the Lord says that the Father “sent” Him. That the “light” is Divine truth may be seen above.

(References: John 6:44-48, John 8:18-19)


[10] Again:

I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but by Me. If ye had known Me ye would have known My Father also; and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him. Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father. Jesus saith unto him, Am I so long time with you, and hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that seeth Me, seeth the Father; how then sayest thou, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not from Myself; but the Father that abideth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:6-13).

He that hath My commandments, and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him. If a man love Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him (John 14:21, 23).

(References: John 14:6-11, John 14:13)


[11] They who are in Divine truth are they who “have His commandments and do them”; and they who are in Divine good are they who “love Him;” of whom it is therefore said that He “shall be loved of the Father,” and “We will come unto him and make Our abode with him”; that is, Divine good and Divine truth will do so; and therefore it is said in the same Evangelist:

In that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me (John 14:20).

Holy Father, keep them in Thy name; that they may be one, even as We are (John 17:11).

From these passages it is evident that the Lord speaks of the “Father” from the Divine good that He Himself had, and of the “Son” from the Divine truth which is from the Divine good; thus that the “Father” and “Son” are not two, but one. The reason why the Lord so spoke, was that the Word might be received as well on earth as in heaven; and also because, before the Lord was glorified, He was the Divine truth that is from Divine good; but when He had been glorified, He was Divine good itself as to each essence, and from Him is all Divine good and Divine truth.

[12] THAT THE LORD WAS FROM ETERNITY may be seen from the fact that it is the Lord who spoke by the Prophets; and that for this reason, and also because from Him was Divine truth, He was called the “Word”; concerning which in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.

In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we held His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father (John 1:1-4, 14).

The “Word” denotes all truth in the heavens and on earth that is from the Divine.

[13] That the Lord was from eternity He plainly teaches elsewhere in John:

John said, This was He of whom I said, He that cometh after me was before me, for He was prior to me. In the midst of you there standeth One whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me (John 1:15, 26-27, 30).

If ye should see the Son of man ascending where He was before (John 6:62).

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am (John 8:58).

Jesus knowing that He came forth from God, and went to God (John 13:3).

The Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came out from the Father, and came into the world; again I leave the world, and go unto the Father (John 16:27-28).

I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have accomplished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now O Father glorify Me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was; that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me, for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world (John 17:4-5, 24).

In Isaiah:

Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

[14] THAT THE LORD RULES THE UNIVERSE is evident in Matthew:

All things have been delivered unto Me of My Father (Matthew 11:27).

Jesus said to His disciples, All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18).

In John:

The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand; he that believeth in the Son hath eternal life (John 3:35-36).

The Father judgeth no man, but hath given all judgment unto the Son (John 5:22).

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hand (John 13:3).

All things whatsoever that the Father hath are Mine (John 16:15).

Jesus said, Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee; even as Thou hast given Him authority over all flesh (John 17:1-2).

All things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them. And I am no more in the world, for I come to Thee (John 17:10-11).

In Luke:

All things have been delivered unto Me of My Father (Luke 10:22).

[15] From the above passages it is therefore evident that Divine good is that which is called the “Father”; and Divine truth that which is called the “Son”; and that the Lord from Divine good by Divine truth rules all things in the universe, in both general and particular. This being so, and it being so evident from the Word, it is astonishing that in the Christian world, men do not, as in heaven, acknowledge and adore the Lord alone, and thus the one God; for they know and teach that the whole Trinity is in the Lord. That the Holy Spirit, who also is worshiped as a God distinct from the Son and the Father, is the Holy of the spirit, or the Holy which through spirits or angels proceeds from the Lord, that is, from His Divine good through His Divine truth, will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be shown elsewhere.

(References: Genesis 28:13; John 1:14-15, 5:18-39, John 6:44-48, John 8:18-19, John 14:6-11, John 14:13, John 14:20-21)

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Apocalypse Explained #701

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

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701. As the ark is called the ark of the covenant, we have to show from the Word that it was called the ark of the covenant because it contained the law. And the law, which in a broad sense means the Word, signifies the Lord as to the Divine Truth, which is the Word, thus the Divine Truth or Word which is from the Lord, and in which the Lord is, because all Divine Truth proceeds from Him. When this is received by man, conjunction with the Lord takes place, and it is this conjunction that is signified by covenant. How conjunction of the Lord with man, and of man with the Lord, is effected, shall also be explained in a few words. The Lord flows in continually with all men with light that enlightens, and with the love of knowing and understanding truths, and of willing and doing them; and as that light and that affection flow in continually from the Lord, it follows that a man becomes rational so far as he receives that light, and he becomes wise, and is led by the Lord in the degree that he receives that affection. That affection with its light draws to itself and conjoins to itself the truths which a man from infancy has learnt from the Word, from doctrine from the Word, and from preaching; for all affection desires to be nourished by the knowledges (cognitiones) which harmonize with it. From this conjunction man's spiritual love or affection is formed, by means of which he is conjoined to the Lord, that is, by means of which the Lord conjoins man to Himself.

(References: Revelation 11:19)


[2] But in order that man may receive that light and that affection, freedom of choice has been given to him, which, because it is from the Lord, is also His gift with man, and is never taken away from him; for that freedom belongs to man's affection or love, consequently also to his life. Man, from freedom, can think and will what is evil, and also think and will what is good. So far, therefore, as a man from that freedom, which belongs to his love, and thus to his life, thinks falsities and wills evils, which are contrary to the truths and goods of the Word, so far he is not conjoined to the Lord; but so far as he thinks truths and wills goods, which are from the Word, so far he is conjoined to the Lord, and the Lord causes those truths and goods to be of His love, and thus of His life. From these things it is evident that this conjunction is reciprocal, namely, of the Lord with man, and of man with the Lord; such is the conjunction meant in the Word by covenant.

[3] He who believes that man can do nothing towards his own salvation, because the light to see truths and the affection to do them, and also the freedom to think and will them, are from the Lord, and nothing of these from man, is mistaken. But since those things appear to man to be in himself, and, when they are thought and willed, to be from himself, therefore, because of that appearance, man ought to think and will them as from himself, but at the same time to acknowledge that they are from the Lord. In no other way can anything of truth and good, or of faith and love, be appropriated to him. He who hangs down his hands, and waits for influx, can receive nothing and can have no reciprocal conjunction with the Lord; thus he is not in the covenant. That this is the case is clearly evident from this, that the Lord in a thousand passages in the Word has said that men should do good, and not evil; and the Lord would by no means have said this, unless something had been given to man, which confers upon him ability to act; and that which has been given to man appears to him to be his own, although it is not his. Because this is the case, therefore the Lord thus speaks in John:

"I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me" (Apoc. iii. 20).

(References: Revelation 3:20)


[4] That covenant signifies conjunction with the Lord through the reception of Divine Truth in the understanding and will, or in the heart and soul, that is, in love and faith, and that conjunction takes place reciprocally, is evident from the Word, where covenant is mentioned. For it is evident from the Word,- 1. That the Lord Himself is called a covenant, because conjunction with Him is effected by Him by means of the Divine which proceeds from Him. 2. That the proceeding Divine, which is the Divine Truth, thus the Word, is a covenant, because it conjoins. 3. That the commandments, judgments, and statutes, given to the sons of Israel, were to them a covenant, because through these there was at that time conjunction with the Lord. 4. That further, whatever conjoins is called a covenant.

[5] As to the first - That the Lord Himself is called a covenant, because conjunction with Him is effected by Him by means of the Divine which proceeds from Him, is evident from the following passages.

In Isaiah:

"I, Jehovah, have called thee in justice, and I will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and I will give thee for a covenant of the people, and for a light of the nations" (xlii. 6).

This is said of the Lord, who is called a covenant of the people, and a light of the nations, because a covenant signifies conjunction, and light Divine Truth, peoples mean those who are in truths, and nations those who are in goods, as may be seen above (n. 175, 331, 625). To call Him in justice signifies that He may accomplish justice by separating the evil from the good, saving the latter but condemning the former. To take hold of the hand and to keep signifies from Divine Omnipotence, which the hells are unable to resist; that Jehovah will do this signifies that it is done by the Divine in the Lord.

(References: Isaiah 42:6; The Apocalypse Explained 175, The Apocalypse Explained 331, The Apocalypse Explained 625)


[6] In the same:

"I have given thee for a covenant of the people, to restore the earth, and to inherit the devastated heritages" (xlix. 8).

This also is said of the Lord; and to give for a covenant of the people signifies that there may be conjunction with Him and by Him; to restore the earth signifies the church; and to inherit the devastated heritages signifies to restore the goods and truths of the church which had been destroyed.

(References: Isaiah 49:8)


[7] In David:

"I have made a covenant with mine elect, and I have sworn to David my servant, Even to eternity will I establish thy seed, to eternity will I keep for him my mercy, and my covenant shall be steadfast for him" (Psalm lxxxix. 3, 4, 28).

David here means the Lord as to His royalty, as may be seen above (n. 205), who is called Elect from good, and Servant from truth. To make a covenant and swear to Him signifies the union of His Divine with His Human, to make a covenant denoting to be united, and to swear denoting to confirm it. Even to eternity will I establish thy seed, signifies the eternity of Divine Truth from Him; to eternity will I keep for Him my mercy, signifies the eternity of Divine Good from Him; My covenant shall be steadfast, signifies the union of the Divine and Human in Him. This becomes the meaning of these words, when instead of David the Lord as to the Divine Human, and Its royalty are meant; and it is spoken of in this way in the sense of the letter, because in that sense David is treated of, with whom there was no eternal covenant.

(References: Psalms 89:3-4, 89:28; The Apocalypse Explained 205)


[8] In the Second Book of Samuel:

"The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spake to me, and he shall be as the light of the morning, the sun ariseth, [of a morning] without clouds, from the brightness after rain, grass out of the earth. Is not my house firm with God? because he hath set for me a covenant of eternity, to order over all and to keep" (xxiii. 3-5).

This is said by David; and the God of Israel, and the Rock of Israel, mean the Lord as to Divine Truth. The signification of, He shall be as the light of the morning, the sun ariseth, of a morning without clouds, from the brightness after rain, grass out of the earth, may be seen above (n. 644:22). The Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, from which comes all germination of truth and fructification of good is here described. Is not my house firm with God? signifies the church conjoined with the Lord by means of Divine Truth, the house of David denoting the church. Because He hath set for me a covenant of eternity, signifies that from the union of His Human with the Divine He has conjunction with the men of the church; to order over all and to keep, signifies from which He rules all things and all persons, and saves such as receive.

(References: 2 Samuel 23:3-5; The Apocalypse Explained 644)


[9] In Malachi:

"Ye shall know that I have sent unto you this commandment, that my covenant may be with Levi; my covenant with him was of life and of peace, which I gave to him with fear, that he might fear me. The law of truth was in his mouth, and perversity was not found in his lips. But ye have departed from the way, ye have caused many to stumble in the law, ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi" (ii. 4-6, 8).

The covenant of Jehovah with Levi, in the highest sense, signifies the union of the Divine with the Human in the Lord, and, in the relative sense, the conjunction of the Lord with the church; for the Lord is meant by Levi as well as by David, but by Levi as to Divine Good, which is the priesthood of the Lord, and by David as to the Divine Truth, which is the royalty of the Lord. That the Lord is meant by Levi is plain from the fact that it is said, the law of truth was in His mouth, and perversity was not found in His lips, the law of truth signifying Divine Truth from Divine Good, and lips doctrine of truth and instruction; and afterwards it is said, "The lips of the priest shall keep knowledge (scientia), and they shall seek the law from his mouth, because he is the angel of Jehovah Zebaoth" (verse 7). The covenant of life and of peace signifies that union and that conjunction (of which just above) from which the Lord Himself became life and peace, from which man has eternal life and also peace from infestation by evils and falsities, thus from hell. The signification of His fear, may be seen above (n. 696). Those who live contrary to Divine Truth are understood by those that have departed from the way, caused many to stumble in the law, and corrupted the covenant of Levi; to depart from the way, and to stumble in the law, signify to live contrary to Divine Truth; and to corrupt the covenant of Levi, signifies [to corrupt] conjunction with the Lord.

(References: Malachi 2:4-6, 2:7, 2:8; The Apocalypse Explained 696)


[10] In the same:

"Behold, I send mine angel, who shall prepare the way before me; and suddenly the Lord shall come to his temple, and the angel of the covenant whom ye desire" (iii. 1).

That the Lord's coming is here proclaimed is plain. The Lord is here called Lord from Divine Good, and the angel of the covenant from Divine Truth, as may be seen above (n. 242:9, 433:12, 444:8), where the rest of the passage is also explained. From this it is evident that covenant, when used in reference to the Lord, means either Himself or the union of His Divine with the Human in Him and that, with reference to those who are in heaven and in the church, it means conjunction with Him, through the Divine which proceeds from Him.

(References: Malachi 3:1; The Apocalypse Explained 242, The Apocalypse Explained 433, The Apocalypse Explained 444)


[11] Secondly, That the proceeding Divine, which is the Divine Truth, thus the Word, is a covenant, because it conjoins, is evident from the following passages.

In Moses:

Moses coming down from Mount Sinai "told the people all the words of Jehovah, and all the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which Jehovah hath spoken will we do; and Moses wrote all the words of Jehovah," in a book; "and he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the ears of the people, and they said, Everything that Jehovah hath spoken we will do, and we will hearken. And Moses took half of the blood" of the burnt-offerings, "and sprinkled upon the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah hath made with you concerning all these words. And they saw the God of Israel, and under his feet as it were a work of sapphire stone" (Exod. xxiv. 3, 4, 7, 8, 10).

That Divine Truth, which with us is the Word, is a covenant, is evident from all these particulars considered in the internal or spiritual sense. For Moses, who said those things to the people, represented the law, that is, the Word, as is evident from various places where it is said, "Moses and the prophets," and in others, "the law and the prophets." Thus Moses denotes the law; and the law, in a broad sense, signifies the Word, which is Divine Truth. The same is also evident from this, that Mount Sinai signifies heaven whence Divine Truth comes; that the book of the covenant, which was read before the people, signifies the Word, and that the blood, of which half was sprinkled upon the people, also signifies Divine Truth, which is the Word, and as this conjoins, it is called the blood of the covenant. And since all conjunction by means of Divine Truth is with the Lord, therefore the God of Israel, who is the Lord, was seen by Moses, Aaron and his sons, and the seventy elders. It is said, "was seen under His feet" there, because when by the Lord is meant the Word, by His feet is meant the Word in its ultimates, that is, in the sense of its letter, for the sons of Israel did not see it, interiorly. As it were a work of sapphire stone, signifies to be transparent, from internal truths, which are the spiritual sense of the Word. But these things may be seen explained in detail in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 9371-9412).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9371-9412; Exodus 24:3-4, 24:7-8, 24:10)


[12] What kind of conjunction that is, which is signified by covenant, is also evident from what has been adduced, namely, that it is like the covenants that are accustomed to be made in the world, between one person and another; similarly, the covenants which the Lord makes with men must be in the Lord's part and on man's part; they must be on the part of both, for the sake of conjunction. Those things which were on the Lord's part are stated in the preceding chapter, namely, that He will bless their bread and their waters, that He will take away their diseases, and that they shall possess the land of Canaan from the Sea Suph (Red Sea) even to the river Euphrates (Exod. xxiii. 25-31). Here to bless their bread and their waters, in the internal spiritual sense, signifies the fructification of good and multiplication of truth, bread signifying all the good of heaven and of the church, and waters, all the truths of that good. To take away diseases, signifies to remove evils and falsities which are from hell, for these in the spiritual sense are diseases; and to possess the land from the Sea Suph (Red Sea) to the river Euphrates, signifies the church with its entire extension, which those have from the Lord who are conjoined to Him through Divine Truth. But the things which must be on man's part are stated in the three preceding chapters, and in brief are meant in the passage cited above, by "the words of Jehovah and the judgments," which Moses descending from Mount Sinai related to the people, to which the people responded with one voice, "All the words that Jehovah hath spoken we will do, and we will hearken." For this reason Moses divided the blood of the burnt-offering, and half of it, which was for the Lord, he left in the bowls, but the other half he sprinkled upon the people.

(References: Exodus 23:25-31)


[13] That conjunction of the Lord with man is effected by means of the Divine Truth is also meant by blood in the Evangelists.

Jesus "took the cup, saying, Drink of it all of you, this is my blood, that of the new covenant" (Matt. xxvi. 27; Mark xiv. 23, 24; Luke xxii. 20).

Here blood is called the blood of the new covenant, because blood signifies the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, and covenant signifies conjunction. That blood signifies the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, and received by man, may be seen above (n. 329, 476); and that to drink signifies to receive, to appropriate to oneself, and thus to be conjoined, may also be seen above (n. 617).

(References: Luke 22:20; Mark 14:23-24; Matthew 26:27-28; The Apocalypse Explained 329, The Apocalypse Explained 476, The Apocalypse Explained 617)


[14] Similarly in Zechariah:

"By the blood of thy covenant, I will send forth thy bound out of the pit in which there is no water" (ix. 11).

This is said of the Lord, who is plainly treated of in that chapter; and by the blood of the covenant is meant, as above, the Divine Truth, by means of which conjunction takes place with the Lord. Who are meant by the bound in the pit, in which there is no water, may be seen above (n. 537:12).

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 537; Zechariah 9:11)


[15] Since the Lord called His blood, which means the Divine Truth proceeding from Him, the blood of the new covenant, the meaning of the old covenant and the new covenant shall be briefly explained. The old covenant means conjunction by means of Divine Truth such as was given to the sons of Israel, which was external, and therefore representative of internal Divine Truth. They had no other Divine Truth, because they were not able to receive any other, for they were external and natural men, and not internal or spiritual, as is evident from this consideration, that those who did know anything of the Lord's coming had no other idea of Him than that He was to be a king, who would exalt them above all the peoples in the whole world, and thus establish a kingdom with them on the earth, and not in the heavens, and thence in the earth with all who should believe in Him. The old covenant therefore was a conjunction by means of the Divine Truth which is contained in the books of Moses, and was called the commandments, judgments, and statutes, in which, however, there lay inwardly concealed such Divine Truth as is in heaven, this being internal and spiritual. This Divine Truth was made manifest by the Lord when He was in the world; and as by means of this alone there is conjunction of the Lord with men, therefore this is meant by the new covenant, and also by His blood, which is consequently called the blood of the new covenant. Wine (vinum) also has a similar meaning.

[16] This new covenant, which was to be entered into with the Lord when He should come into the world, is frequently treated of in the Word of the Old Covenant.

As in Jeremiah:

"Behold, the days come, in which I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not as the covenant which I made with your fathers, because they made my covenant void. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days; I will put my law in the midst of them, and upon their heart will I write it, and I will be to them for a God, and they shall be to me for a people; neither shall they teach any more a man his companion, or a man his brother, saying, Know ye Jehovah, for they shall all know me, from the least of them even unto the greatest of them " (xxxi. 31-34).

That Jehovah, that is the Lord, was to make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, does not mean with the sons of Israel and with Judah, but with all who are in truths of doctrine and in the good of love to the Lord from the Lord. That such are meant by the sons of Israel and by Judah, in the Word, may be seen above (n. 433); it is evident that "the days come" means the Lord's coming. That conjunction with the Lord would then take place by means of Divine Truth, internal and spiritual, is meant by these words, "This is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days; I will put my law in the midst of them, and upon their heart will I write it." This signifies that they shall then receive Divine Truth interiorly in themselves. For spiritual Divine Truth is received by man interiorly, which was not the case with the sons of Israel and the Jews, who received it exteriorly. For when man receives Divine Truth within himself, that is to say, causes it to be of his love and thus of his life, then truth is known from truth itself, since the Lord flows in into His own truth with man, and teaches him. This is meant by these words, "They shall no more teach a man his companion, or a man his brother, saying, Know ye Jehovah, for they shall all know me, from the least even unto the greatest." The conjunction itself thereby effected, which the new covenant signifies, is meant by "I will be to them for a God, and they shall be to me for a people."

(References: Jeremiah 31:31-34; The Apocalypse Explained 433)


[17] In the same:

"They shall be to me for a people, and I will be to them for a God, and I will give to them one heart and one way, to fear me all their days, and I will make with them an eternal covenant, that I will not turn myself away from after them, that I may do them good; and I will put my fear into their heart, that they may not depart from before me" (xxxii. 38-40).

This also treats of the Lord, and of a new covenant with Him; and conjunction by means of it is meant by "I will be to them for a God, and they shall be to me for a people," and is further described by the words, "I will give to them one heart and one way, to fear me all their days"; and by not turning Himself away from after them, and by putting His fear into their heart, that they may not depart from before Him. One heart and one way, to fear Me, signifies one will of good and one understanding of truth to worship the Lord. And as the conjunction is reciprocal, that is to say, of the Lord with them, and of them with the Lord, therefore it is said, that He will not turn away from after them, to do them good, and that they shall not depart from before Him. The signification of the eternal covenant, which He will enter into with them is therefore evident, namely, conjunction by means of spiritual Divine Truth, which when received, constitutes the life of man, and from which eternal conjunction results.

(References: Jeremiah 32:38-40)


[18] In Ezekiel:

"I will set up over them one shepherd who shall feed them, my servant David. I, Jehovah, will be to them for a God, and my servant David a prince in the midst of them. Then will I make with them a covenant of peace, I will cause the evil beast to cease, that they may dwell confidently in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods" (xxxiv. 23-25).

This is also said of the Lord. David, who shall feed them, and who shall be a prince in the midst of them, means the Lord as to Divine Truth, who is called a servant from serving. Conjunction with the Lord by means of Divine Truth is meant by the covenant which He will make with them; this is called a covenant of peace, because man through conjunction with the Lord is at peace, being freed from the infestation of evil and falsity from hell. Therefore it is also said, "I will cause the evil beast to cease, that they may dwell confidently in the wilderness, and sleep in the forests," the evil beast meaning falsity and evil from hell, and to dwell confidently in the wilderness and to sleep in the forests signifying that they shall be everywhere safe from all infestation by evil and falsity.

(References: Ezekiel 34:23-25)


[19] In the same:

"My servant David shall be king over them, that they all may have one shepherd; and I will make with them a covenant of peace, it shall be a covenant of eternity with them; and I will place them, and multiply them; and I will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for ever, and my dwelling-place with them; and I will be to them for a God, and they shall be to me for a people" (xxxvii. 24. 26, 27).

Here also David means the Lord, for it is evident that David, will not come again to be their king and shepherd; but the Lord is called king from Divine Truth, for this is the royalty of the Lord, while Divine Good is His priesthood. The Lord is also called Shepherd, because He will feed them with Divine Truth, and by means of it lead to the good of love, and thus to Himself; and because conjunction is the result of this; it is said, "I will make with them a covenant of peace, a covenant of eternity." It has been shown above what a covenant of peace signifies, and also that I will be to them for a God; and they shall be to Me for a people, means conjunction. The sanctuary which He shall set in the midst of them, and the dwelling-place which shall be with them, signify heaven and the church, which are called a sanctuary from the good of love and a dwelling-place from the truth of that good, for the Lord dwells in truths from good.

(References: Ezekiel 37:24, 37:26-27)


[20] In Hosea:

"In that day I will make for them a covenant with the wild beast of the field, with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping things of the earth; the bow, and the sword, and the war, will I break from off the earth; and I will cause them to lie down securely; and I will betroth thee to me for ever" (ii. 18, 19).

This is said of the establishment of a new church by the Lord. That the Lord would not then make a covenant with the wild beast of the field, with the bird of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the earth, is plain; therefore these things signify such things as pertain to man, the wild beast of the field signifying the affection for truth and good, the bird of the heavens, spiritual thought, and the creeping thing of the earth, the scientific (scientificum) pertaining to the natural man. The signification of the rest of this passage may be seen above (n. 650:34). It is therefore evident that the covenant which the Lord will make is a spiritual covenant, or a covenant by means of spiritual truth, and not a covenant by means of natural truth; the latter is the old covenant made with the sons of Israel, and the former the new covenant.

(References: Hosea 2:18-19; The Apocalypse Explained 650)


[21] Since the law, which was proclaimed by the Lord from Mount Sinai, signifies, in a comprehensive sense, the Word, therefore also the tables, on which that law was written, are called the tables of the covenant.

In Moses:

"I went up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, the tables of the covenant which Jehovah made with you; at the end of forty days and forty nights Jehovah gave to me two tables of stone, the tables of the covenant" (Deut. ix. 9, 11).

Those tables, that is, the law written upon them, mean the Divine Truth, through which there is conjunction with the Lord, and because of that conjunction they are called the tables of the covenant. And as all conjunction, just as is the case with a covenant, is effected on the one part and on the other part, that is, reciprocally by both parties, therefore there were two tables, and they were of stone; they were of stone because stone also signifies Divine Truth in ultimates, as may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 643, 3720, 6426, 8609, 10,376). For this reason, the ark, in which those tables were deposited, was called the ark of the covenant, and it was the holiest thing in worship with the sons of Israel, as shown in the preceding article.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 643, Arcana Coelestia 3720, Arcana Coelestia 6426, Arcana Coelestia 8609, Arcana Coelestia 10376; Deuteronomy 9:9, 9:11)


[22] Thirdly - That the commandments, judgments, and statutes, given to the sons of Israel, were to them a covenant, because through these conjunction with the Lord was then effected, is evident from the following passages.

In Moses:

"If ye walk in my statutes, and observe my commandments, and do them, I will have respect unto you, and will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will confirm my covenant with you. But if ye reject my statutes, so as not to do all my commandments, while ye make my covenant void," I will do contrary to you (Levit. xxvi. 3, 9, 15, and following verses).

The statutes and commandments that were to be observed and done are set forth in the preceding chapter, and the goods which they should enjoy if they kept those commandments and statutes; and afterwards the evils which would come upon them if they did not keep them are detailed in this chapter. But the goods which they were to enjoy were earthly and worldly goods, and so also were the evils, for the reason that they were earthly and natural men, and not celestial and spiritual. They therefore knew nothing of the goods which interiorly affect man, or of the evils which interiorly afflict him, nevertheless the external things which they were bound to observe were such as contained interiorly in themselves celestial and spiritual things, by means of which there is real conjunction with the Lord; and as these were perceived in heaven, therefore the externals which were to be observed by the sons of Israel are called a covenant. But what was the nature of the conjunction of the Lord with the sons of Israel by means of those things, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 248).

(References: Leviticus 26:3, 26:9, 26:15; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248)


[23] Similar things are meant by covenant in the following passages.

In Moses:

"Jehovah said unto Moses, Write thou these words, because upon the mouth of these words have I made a covenant with thee and with Israel" (Exod. xxxiv. 27)

Again:

"Keep ye the words of this covenant, and do them, ye that stand here this day, your heads, your tribes, your moderators, and every man of Israel, to pass over into the covenant of Jehovah, and into his oath, which Jehovah God maketh with thee this day, that he may appoint thee this day for a people, and that he may be to thee for a God. Not with you only do I make this covenant, and oath, but also with every one who is not here with you this day" (Deut. xxix. 9, 10, 12-15).

And in the Second Book of Kings:

King Josiah "sent, and gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem; and the king went up to the house of Jehovah, and every man of Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, likewise the priests and the prophets, and the whole people from small even to great, and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant found in the house of Jehovah; and the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before Jehovah, to go after Jehovah, and to keep his precepts, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all the heart and with all the soul, to establish all the words of this covenant written in this book; and all the people stood in the covenant" (xxiii. 1-3).

And in other places, as Jer. xxii. 8, 9; xxxiii. 20-22; l. 5; Ezek. xvi. 8; Malachi ii. 14; Psalm lxxviii. 37; l. 5, 16; ciii. 17, 18; cv. 8, 9; cvi, 45; cxi. 5, 9; Deut. xvii. 2; 1 Kings xix. 14. In all these passages the covenant is mentioned, and the external rites which the sons of Israel were to observe are signified by it.

(References: 1 Kings 19:14; 2 Kings 23:1-3; Deuteronomy 17:2, 29:9-10, 29:12-15; Exodus 34:27; Ezekiel 16:8; Jeremiah 22:8-9, Jeremiah 33:20-22, 50:5; Malachi 2:14; Psalms 50:5, 50:16, 78:37, Psalms 103:17-18, 105:8-9, 106:45, 111:5, 111:9)


[24] But as to the covenant which the Lord made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this was not the same as that made with the posterity of Jacob, but it was a covenant on the part of the Lord that their seed should be multiplied, and that the land of Canaan should be given to it; and on the part of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that every male should be circumcised. That a different covenant was made with the posterity of Jacob, is clear in Moses:

"Jehovah God made with us a covenant in Horeb, not with our fathers did Jehovah God make this covenant, but with us" (Deut. v. 2, 3).

Concerning this covenant, it is written as follows in Moses:

"Jehovah brought" Abraham "forth abroad, and said, Look towards heaven, and number the stars; and he said to him, Thus shall thy seed be. And he said to him, Take to thee a heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon; and he divided them in the midst, and he laid each part over against the other; and the birds he did not divide. And the sun went down, and there was a thick darkness; and lo! a furnace of smoke and a torch of fire passed between the pieces. In that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abraham, saying, To thy seed will I give this land, from the river of Egypt even to the great river Euphrates" (Gen. xv. 5-18).

And afterwards:

"I will give my covenant between me and thee, and I will multiply thee exceedingly; I, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be for a father of a multitude of nations, and I will make thee exceeding fruitful; and I will give to thee, and to thy seed after thee, all the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, and between thy seed after thee; every male shall be circumcised to you; he who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people, he hath made my covenant void; and my covenant will I set up with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to thee" (Gen, xvii. 1-21).

From these things the nature of the covenant entered into with Abraham is evident, namely, that his seed should be multiplied exceedingly, and, that the land of Canaan should be given to him for a possession. The commandments, judgments, and statutes which constituted the covenant are not mentioned; but still they are signified by the heifer, the she-goat, and the ram of three years old, and by the turtle dove and young pigeon, for these animals signify those things that pertain to the church, while the land of Canaan itself signifies the church. And because the Lord foresaw that the posterity of Abraham from Jacob would not keep the covenant, therefore a furnace of smoke and a torch of fire passing between the pieces appeared to Abraham; and the furnace of smoke signifies the dense falsity, and the torch of fire the direful evil, in which the posterity of Jacob would be. This is also confirmed in Jeremiah (xxxiii. 18-20). That Abraham divided the heifer, the she-goat, and the ram, and laid each part over against the other, was according to the form of covenants made between two parties. But these things maybe seen fully explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 1783-1862).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1783-1862; Deuteronomy 5:2-3; Genesis 15:5-18, 17:1-21, 17:2, Genesis 17:21; Jeremiah 33:18-20)


[25] The covenant was made by circumcision, because circumcision represented purification from the loves of self and of the world, which are corporeal and terrestrial loves, and the removal of them; therefore also circumcision was performed with a small stone knife, which signified truth of doctrine, by means of which all purification from evils and falsities, and their removal, is effected. But the details recorded in that chapter respecting this covenant are also explained in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 1987-2095; and respecting circumcision n. 2039 at the end, n. 2046 at the end, 2632, 2799, 4462, 7044, 8093). But because Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the internal sense, mean the Lord, therefore their seed signify all who are of the church of the Lord, and this church is also meant by the land of Canaan which their seed was to inherit.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1987-2095, 2039, 2046, 2632, 2799, Arcana Coelestia 4462, Arcana Coelestia 7044, 8093)


[26] There was also the covenant entered into with Noah, that men should no more perish by the waters of a flood, and that the bow should be in the cloud for a sign of that covenant (Gen. vi. 17, 18; ix. 9-17). That that covenant also involves the conjunction of the Lord through Divine Truth is evident from the explanation of the above words in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 659-675, and n. 1022-1059). That the bow in the cloud, or the rainbow there, signifies regeneration, which is effected by means of Divine Truth and by a life in agreement with it, and that therefore that bow was taken for a sign of the covenant, may also be seen in the same work (n. 1042).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 659-675, 1022-1059, 1042, Genesis 6:17-18, 9:9, Genesis 9:17)


[27] Fourthly - That, further, whatever conjoins is called a Covenant; as the sabbath, in Moses:

"The sons of Israel shall keep the sabbath in their generations, the covenant of an age" (Exod. xxxi. 16).

The sabbath was called the covenant of an age, because the sabbath, in the highest sense, signified the union of the Divine with the Human in the Lord, and, in the relative sense (sensu respectivo), the conjunction of the Lord with heaven and the church, and, in the universal sense, the conjunction of good and truth, and this conjunction is called the heavenly marriage. Therefore the rest on the sabbath day signified the state of that union, and of that conjunction, since by that state the Lord has peace and rest, and by it also there are peace and salvation in the heavens and on earth.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 8494-8495, 8510, Arcana Coelestia 10356, 10360, 10367, 10370, 10374, Arcana Coelestia 10668, 10730; Exodus 31:16)


[28] That this is the signification of the sabbath, and of rest thereon, may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (n. 8494, 8495, 8510, 10,356, 10,360, 10,367, 10,374, 10,668, 10,730). The salt in the sacrifices is called the salt of the covenant, also in Moses:

"Thou shalt not cause the salt of the covenant of thy God to cease upon thine offering, upon all thine offering thou shalt offer salt" (Levit. ii. 13).

The salt upon the offering is called the salt of the covenant, because salt signifies the desire of truth for good, by which means the two are conjoined. On this signification of salt, see the Arcana Coelestia (n. 9207).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 9207; Leviticus 2:13)


[29] A wife is also called a wife of the covenant, in Malachi:

"Jehovah hath been a witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously, though she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant" (ii. 14).

A wife is here called the wife of a covenant, from conjunction with her husband, but wife here signifies the church, and a wife of youth the Ancient Church against which the Jewish Church is said to have dealt treacherously. And because these were both representative churches, and in this respect alike, and so were conjoined, therefore it is said, although she was thy companion and the wife of thy covenant.

(References: Malachi 2:14)


[30] A covenant with the stones of the field is spoken of in Job, in these words:

"Thou shalt not be afraid of the wild beast of the field, for with the stones of the field is thy covenant, and the wild beast of the field shall be at peace with thee" (v. 22, 23).

A covenant with the stones of the field signifies conjunction with the truths of the church, for stones signify truths, - field, the church, and covenant, conjunction. The wild beast of the field signifies the love of falsity, of which wild beast "thou shalt not be afraid," and which "shall be at peace," when there is conjunction with the church through truths.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 5:22-23; Job 5:22-23)


[31] Mention is also made of a covenant with wild beasts and birds in Hosea:

"In that day I will make for them a covenant with the wild beast of the field, with the bird of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the earth" (ii. 18).

And in Moses:

"God said to Noah, Behold, I set up my covenant with you, and with every living soul which is with you, to the bird, to the beast, and to every wild beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark as to every wild beast of the earth" (Gen. ix. 9, 10).

A covenant with beast, wild beast, bird, and creeping thing of the earth, signifies conjunction with such things in man as are signified by these; for beast signifies the affection for good, wild beast the affection for truth, bird, the thinking faculty, and the creeping thing of the earth, the Scientific, which lives from those affections.

(References: Genesis 9:9-10; Hosea 2:18)


[32] Mention is also made of a covenant with death, in Isaiah:

"Ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell we have made a vision; your covenant with death shall be abolished, and your vision with hell shall not stand" (xxviii. 15, 18).

To make a covenant with death signifies conjunction through falsity from hell, from which a man spiritually dies; to make a vision with hell signifies divination, as if prophetic, from hell. From these passages now quoted connectedly, it is evident that a covenant, where the Lord is treated of, signifies conjunction by means of Divine Truth. There is indeed a conjunction with Him by means of the good of love; but because the Lord flows in with man through good into truths, whereby man has affection for truth, and receives the good of the Lord in truths, from which he acknowledges, confesses, and adores the Lord, therefore the good of love conjoins by means of truth, comparatively as the heat of the sun, in the time of spring and summer, conjoins itself with the fructifications of the earth.

(References: Genesis 17:2, 17:21; Isaiah 28:15, 28:18; Malachi 2:4-8; Revelation 11:19)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 698, 734, 836, 960

Other New Christian Commentary

Covenant, Reciprocation, and Conjunction 1

Levi 1

Sanctuary and tabernacle 1

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Our Covenant with God
A covenant is a promise made between two or more people. New Church teachings explain how keeping covenant joins a person with the Lord.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Receiving the Commandments
Read and reflect on a passage from the Heavenly Doctrines for the New Church. With color photograph illustration.
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Lord Is Our Shepherd
Color picture of the Lord our Shepherd.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 What Are Covenants?
God longs for partnership with humanity. The Word of God teaches actions that bring us into covenant with Him.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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


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