From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

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

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.


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

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


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

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #4736

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

4736. Cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness. That this signifies that they should conceal it meanwhile among their falsities, that is, that they should regard it as false, but still retain it because it was of importance to the church, is evident from the signification of a “pit,” as being falsities (see n. 4728); and from the signification of a “wilderness,” as being where there is no truth. For the word “wilderness” has a wide signification, it means where the land is uninhabited, and thus not cultivated; and when predicated of the church, it denotes where there is no good, and consequently no truth (n. 2708, 3900). Thus by a “pit in the wilderness” are here meant falsities in which there is no truth, because no good. It is said in which there is no truth because no good; for when anyone believes that faith saves without works, truth may indeed exist, but still it is not truth in him, because it does not look to good, nor is it from good. This truth is not alive, because it has in it a principle of falsity, consequently with anyone who has such truth, the truth is but falsity from the principle which rules in it. The principle is like the soul, from which the rest have their life. On the other hand there are falsities which are accepted as truths, when there is good in them, especially if it is the good of innocence, as with the Gentiles and also with many within the church.

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 4743, 4744, 5965, 7055, 9253, 9261, 9304, 9372, 10109, 10402

Apocalypse Revealed 161

The Last Judgment 39

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 21, 23, 24, 121, 171


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 240, 275, 434, 452


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

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #10402

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

10402. 'Pull away the ear-jewels of gold from the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters' means drawing out of the literal sense of the Word such things as are favourable to external forms of love and to the immediate offspring of these loves. This is clear from the meaning of 'pulling away' as drawing out, at this point out of the literal sense of the Word since that sense is the subject; from the meaning of 'the ear-jewels of gold which are on the ears' as symbols representative of obedience to the delights belonging to external kinds of love and discernment of them, for obedience and discernment are meant by 'the ears', and the good of love - at this point the delight belonging to external kinds of love - is meant by 'gold', so that 'the ear-jewels of gold' are symbols representative of that obedience and discernment (for the meaning of 'the ears' as obedience and discernment, see 2542, 4652-4660, 8990, 9397, 10061; for that of 'gold' as the good of love, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9510, 9874, 9881, so that when it has reference to external kinds of love, which are self-love and love of the world, 'gold' means the delight belonging to them, thus that which is evil, 8932; and the fact that 'ear-jewels' consequently are symbols representative of obedience and discernment, 4551); from the meaning of 'wives' as forms of good in the Church, dealt with in 3160, 4823, 6014, 7022, 8337, and therefore in the contrary sense as forms of evil there, 409; from the meaning of 'sons' as truths, and in the contrary sense as falsities, dealt with in 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257, 6583, 6584, 9807; and from the meaning of 'daughters' as affections for truth and good, and therefore in the contrary sense as affections for falsity and evil, dealt with in 2362, 3963, 6729. From all this it is evident that 'pull away the ear-jewels of gold from the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters' means drawing out of the literal sense of the Word such things as are discerned to be obedient or favourable to the delights belonging to external forms of love and favourable to the major ideas resulting from these.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552, Arcana Coelestia 6583-6584)


[2] The fact that 'ear-jewels' are symbols of obedience and discernment is clear in Hosea,

Contend with your mother, since she is not My wife, in order that she may remove her whoredoms from her sight 1 , lest perhaps I strip her naked, and make her like a wilderness, and do not have mercy on her children, since she has said, I will go after my lovers, those giving me my bread and my water, my wool and my linen. And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain and the new wine and the oil, and who multiplied the silver for her, and the gold they made for baal. And I will lay waste her vine and her fig tree. And I will visit on her 2 the days of the baals to whom she burned incense and decked herself with her ear-jewels and her other jewellery, and went after her lovers and forgot Me. Hosea 2:1-13.

'Burning incense to and decking herself with ear-jewels for the baals' denotes worshipping the baals as gods and being obedient to them.

[3] Earlier parts of that chapter have also been quoted to allow it to be seen what the outward sense of the Word is like without the inward, and what it is like together with the inward, and so how the Word is understood by those who see its outward statements in isolation from what is inward, and how it is understood by those who see the outward statements from the point of view of that which is inward. Those who see the outward statements in isolation from what is inward inevitably take them literally. That is, they take them to mean that they should literally contend with the mother of the children of Israel; that she was literally no longer loved by Jehovah as a wife; that if she did not remove the whoredoms from herself she would literally be stripped naked and made like a wilderness, and Jehovah would not have mercy on her children, since she had said that she was going to go after her lovers who gave her bread, water, wool, and linen; that she did not know it was Jehovah who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil, and multiplied the silver; that they made the gold for baal; that for this reason her vine and her fig tree would be laid waste; and that there would literally be a visitation on her because she burned incense to the baals, decked herself with ear-jewels and other jewellery for them, and went after her adulterous lovers, forgetful of Jehovah.

[4] All this is the literal meaning, and so it is how those who see the outward statements in isolation from their inward meaning understand the Word, for it is how the Jews at the present day and also some Christians understand it. But that is not the real meaning of the Word, as all who have any degree of enlightenment may see. By 'mother', regarding whom all those things are stated, they do not understand a mother but the kind of Church that existed among that nation. They take each of the things stated regarding her to mean something that has to do with the Church; for all those things are such as follow in order from what is put forward or laid down first. That is how they take 'whoredoms', 'lovers', and 'children' or 'sons', then 'bread, water, wool, linen, grain, new wine, oil, silver, gold', after that 'vine and fig', and also 'incense' and 'ear-jewels'.

[5] What each of these serves to mean can be known from no other source than the internal sense. In this sense 'mother' and 'wife' mean the Church; 'making her naked, and like a wilderness' means leaving it without any good of love or truth of faith, truths of faith and forms of the good of love, of which it will be bereft, being meant by 'sons', 'bread and water', 'wool and linen', 'grain, new wine, oil, silver, and gold', and finally 'vine and fig'. The actual worship springing from obedience to falsities and evils, which take over for truths and forms of good, is meant by 'burning incense to the baals and being decked out with ear-jewels and other jewellery for them'.

'Mother' means the Church, see 289, 2691, 2717, 4257, 5581.

So does 'wife', 252, 253, 409, 749, 770, 7022.

'Her being made naked' means being deprived of forms of the good of love and the truths of faith, 9960.

'A wilderness' means a state devoid of the Church's truth and good, 2708, 3900, 4736, 7055.

'Whoredoms' means falsifications of truth, 2466, 2729, 4865, 8904, so that 'lovers' means those who falsify.

'Sons' means truths, and in the contrary sense falsities, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257, 6583, 6584, 9807.

'Bread and water' means the good of love and truth of faith, 9323.

'Wool' means the good in the external man, 9470.

'Linen' means the truth there, 7601, 9959.

'Grain' means good from which truth may be obtained, 5295, 5410, 5959.

'New wine' means truth derived from good, 3580.

'Oil' means celestial good, 9780, 10261.

'Silver' means truth and 'gold' good in general, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914,

6917, 9881.

'Vine' means the internal spiritual Church, 1069, 6376, 9277.

'Fig' means the external good of that Church, 217, 4231, 5113.

'Burning incense' means worship, 10177, 10298.

'Ear-jewel' is a symbol representative of obedience, 4551, so that 'being decked out with it' means offering obedience.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 252-253, 1551-1552, Arcana Coelestia 6583-6584)


[6] When all the entities listed immediately above are understood instead of or in conjunction with the people or things that serve to mean them, the nature of the Word discerned on a spiritual level, thus the nature of the spirit within it, becomes apparent. All who read the Word are sustained by the Lord on that level of meaning; but none receive and accept it apart from those whose interiors are open. And since these receive it within the cognitions or knowledge they possess, they accept it so far as they can understand it, that is, in the measure and manner that their power of understanding can be enlightened through the cognitions or knowledge in their possession. In addition to this, they are affected in a general way by the holiness that radiates from the Word.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, faces

2. i.e. I will punish her for

-----

(References: Exodus 32:2)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10403, 10476, 10503, 10540, 10548

The White Horse 7, 13

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 256, 262


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 126, 433


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


Translate: