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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1

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 John the Baptist
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Arcana Coelestia #4735

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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4735. Shed no blood. That this signifies that they should not do violence to what is holy is evident from the signification of “blood” as being what is holy-of which in what follows; hence “to shed blood” is to do violence to what is holy. All the holy in heaven proceeds from the Lord’s Divine Human, and therefore all the holy in the church; wherefore that violence might not be done to it, the Holy Supper was instituted by the Lord, in which it is expressly said that the bread is His flesh, and the wine His blood, thus that it is his Divine Human from which the holy then comes. With the ancients, flesh and blood signified the human own, because the human consists of flesh and blood; thus the Lord said to Simon, “Blessed art thou, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in the heavens” (Matthew 16:17). The flesh and the blood, therefore, signified by the bread and the wine in the Holy Supper, denote the Lord’s Human Own. The Lord’s Own Itself, which He acquired to Himself by His own power, is Divine. His Own from conception was what He had from Jehovah His Father, and was Jehovah Himself. Hence the Own which He acquired to Himself in the Human was Divine. This Divine Own in the Human is what is called His flesh and blood; “flesh” is His Divine good (n. 3813), and “blood” is the Divine truth of Divine good.

[2] The Lord’s Human, after it was glorified or made Divine, cannot be thought of as human, but as the Divine love in human form; and this so much the more than the angels, who, when they appear (as seen by me), appear as forms of love and charity under the human shape, and this from the Lord; for the Lord from Divine love made His Human Divine; just as man through heavenly love becomes an angel after death, so that he appears, as just said, as a form of love and charity under the human shape. It is plain from this that by the Lord’s Divine Human, in the celestial sense is signified the Divine love itself, which is love toward the whole human race, in that it wills to save them and to make them blessed and happy to eternity, and to make its Divine their own so far as they can receive it. This love and the reciprocal love of man to the Lord, and also love toward the neighbor, are what are signified and represented in the Holy Supper-the Divine celestial love by the flesh or bread, and the Divine spiritual love by the blood or wine.

[3] From these things it is now evident what is meant in John by eating the Lord’s flesh and drinking His blood:

I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him. This is the bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51-58).

As “flesh and blood” signify as before said the Divine celestial and the Divine spiritual which are from the Lord’s Divine Human, or what is the same, the Divine good and the Divine truth of his love, by “eating and drinking” is signified making them one’s own; and this is effected by a life of love and charity, which is also a life of faith. (That “eating” is making good one’s own, and “drinking” making truth one’s own, may be seen above, n. 2187, 3069, 3168, 3513, 3596, 3734, 3832, 4017, 4018.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4017-4018; John 6:50-58)


[4] As “blood” in the celestial sense signifies the Divine spiritual or the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human, it therefore signifies the holy proceeding; for the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human is the holy itself.

[5] Holiness is nothing else, nor from any other source. That “blood” signifies this holy is evident from many passages in the Word, of which we may adduce the following:

Son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovih, Say to every bird of the heaven, to every wild beast of the field, Assemble yourselves and come; gather yourselves from every side upon My sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, [of bullocks,] all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of My sacrifice which I will sacrifice for you. And ye shall be sated at My table with horse and chariot, with the strong, and with every man of war. And I will set My glory among the nations (Ezekiel 39:17-21).

The subject here treated of is the calling together of all to the Lord’s kingdom, and specifically the setting up again of the church among the Gentiles; and by their “eating flesh and drinking blood” is signified making Divine good and Divine truth their own, thus the holy which proceeds from the Lord’s Divine Human. Who cannot see that by “flesh” is not meant flesh, nor by “blood” blood, where it is said that they should eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, and that they should be sated with horse and chariot, with the strong, and with every man of war?

(References: Ezekiel 39:17-22)


[6] So likewise in Revelation:

I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, Come and gather yourselves unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of the strong, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great (Revelation 19:17-18);

who would ever understand these words unless he knew what is signified in the internal sense by “flesh,” and what by “kings,” “captains,” “the strong” “horses,” “those that sit thereon,” and “free and bond?”

[7] Further in Zechariah:

He shall speak peace to the nations; and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, through the blood of Thy covenant I will send forth thy bound out of the pit (Zech. 9:10-11); where the Lord is spoken of; the “blood of Thy covenant” is the Divine truth proceeding from his Divine Human, and is the holy itself which, after He was glorified, went forth from Him. This holy is also what is called the Holy Spirit, as is evident in John:

Jesus said, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. Whosoever believeth in Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spoke He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive for the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).

That the holy proceeding from the Lord is the “spirit,” may be seen in John 6:63.

[8] Moreover, that “blood” is the holy proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human, in David:

Bring back their soul from deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood be in His eyes (Psalms 72:14);

“precious blood” denotes the holy which they would receive.

In Revelation:

These are they who come out of great affliction, and they washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14).

And again:

They overcame the dragon by the blood of the lamb, and by the Word of their testimony; and they loved not their soul even unto death (Revelation 12:11).

[9] The church at this day does not know otherwise than that the “blood of the lamb” here signifies the Lord’s passion, because it is believed that they are saved solely by the Lord having suffered, and that it was for this that He was sent into the world; but let this view of it be for the simple, who cannot comprehend interior arcana. The Lord’s passion was the last of His temptation, by which He fully glorified His Human (Luke 24:26; John 12:23, 27-28; 13:31-32; 17:1, 4-5); but the “blood of the lamb” is the same as the Divine truth, or the holy proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human; thus the same as the “blood of the covenant” spoken of just above, and of which it is also written in Moses:

[10] Moses took the book of the covenant, and read in the ears of the people; and they said, All that Jehovah hath spoken will we do, and hear. Then Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which Jehovah hath made with you upon all these words (Exodus 24:7-8).

The “book of the covenant” was the Divine truth which they then had, which was confirmed by the blood testifying that it was from His Divine Human.

[11] In the rituals of the Jewish Church blood had no other signification than the holy proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human, wherefore when they were sanctified, it was done by blood-as when Aaron and his sons were sanctified, blood was sprinkled upon the horns of the altar, the remainder at the bottom of the altar, also upon the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot, and upon his garments (Exodus 29:12, 16, 20; Leviticus 8:15, 19, 23, 30). And when Aaron entered within the veil to the mercy-seat, blood was also to be sprinkled with the finger upon the mercy-seat eastward seven times (Leviticus 16:12-15). So also in the rest of the sanctifications, and also in the expiations and cleansings (in regard to which see the following passages, Exodus 12:7, 13, 22; 30:10; Leviticus 1:5, 11, 15; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:6-7, 17-18, 25, 30, 34; 5:9; 6:27-28; 14:14-19, 25-30; 16:12-15, 18-19; Deuteronomy 12:27).

(References: Exodus 12:22-23, 29:20-21; Leviticus 14:25-29, 16:14-15)


[12] As by “blood” in the genuine sense is signified the holy, so in the opposite sense by “blood” and “bloods” are signified those things which offer violence to it, because by shedding innocent blood is signified doing violence to what is holy. For this reason wicked things of life and profane things of worship were called “blood.” That “blood” and “bloods” have such a signification, is evident from the following passages.

In Isaiah:

When the Lord shall have washed the excrement of the daughters of Zion, and shall have washed away the bloods of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of expurgation (Isaiah 4:4).

The waters of Dimon are full of blood (Isaiah 15:9).

Again:

Your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity (Isaiah 59:3, 7).

In Jeremiah:

Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocent poor (Jeremiah 2:34).

(References: Isaiah 15:6)


[13] Again:

It is because of the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of Jerusalem. They have wandered blind in the streets, they are polluted with blood; those which they cannot [pollute] they touch with their garments (Lam. 4:13-14).

In Ezekiel:

I have passed by thee, and saw thee trodden down in thy bloods, and I said unto thee, Live in thy bloods, and I said unto thee, Live in thy bloods. I washed thee with waters, and washed away thy bloods from upon thee, and I anointed thee with oil (Ezekiel 16:6, 9).

Again:

Thou son of man, Wilt thou debate with a city of bloods? Make known to her all her abominations. Thou art become guilty through thy blood that thou hast shed, and art defiled through thine idols which thou hast made. Behold the princes of Israel, everyone according to his arm, have been in thee and have shed blood; men of slander have been in thee to shed blood; and in thee they have eaten at the mountains (Ezekiel 22:2-4, 6, 9).

In Moses:

If anyone shall sacrifice elsewhere than upon the altar at the tent, it shall be blood; and as if he had shed blood (Leviticus 17:1-9).

[14] Falsified and profaned truth is signified by the following passages concerning blood.

In Joel:

I will set wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day come (Joel 2:30-31).

In Revelation:

The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became as blood (Revelation 6:12).

Again

The second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea; and the third part of the sea became blood (Revelation 8:8).

Again:

The second angel poured out his vial into the sea; and it became blood as of a dead man, and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial into the rivers, and into the fountains of waters, and there became blood (Revelation 16:3-4).

[15] Similar is what is said in Exodus (7:15-22), about the rivers, ponds, and pools of water in Egypt being turned into blood; for by “Egypt” is signified the memory-knowledge which from itself enters into heavenly mysteries, and hence perverts, denies, and profanes Divine truths (n. 1164, 1165, 1186). All the miracles in Egypt, being Divine, involved such things. The “rivers which were turned into blood” are the truths of intelligence and wisdom (n. 108, 109, 3051); “waters” have a similar signification (n. 680, 2702, 3058), and also “fountains” (n. 2702, 3096, 3424); “seas” are truths in the complex which are a matter of memory-knowledge (n. 28); the “moon” of which it is also said that it should be “turned into blood,” is Divine truth (n. 1529-1531, 2495, 4060). It is evident from this, that by the moon, the sea, fountains, waters, and rivers, being turned into blood, is signified truth falsified and profaned.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 108-109, 1164-1165; Ezekiel 39:17-22; Genesis 37:22; Isaiah 15:6)


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Arcana Coelestia 4745, 4751, 4770, 4779, 4844, 4876, 4958, 4984, 5078, 5147, 5365, 5405, 5576, 5673, 5701, 5826, 5959, 6106, 6135, 6378, 6409, 6791, 6978, 7047, 7102, 7317, 7326, 7356, 7553, 7846, 7850, 7906, 7966, 7978, 8432, 8464, 8682, 8902, ...

Heaven and Hell 86

The Last Judgment 39

The White Horse 1

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 106, 121, 217, 218, 279


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 151, 167, 175, 434

Other New Christian Commentary

Divine Human 1

Book of the covenant 1


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


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