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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

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John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1


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Arcana Coelestia #491

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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491. The same things are signified by “sons” and “daughters” in this chapter (verses 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 26, 30), but such as is the church, such are the “sons and daughters” that is, such are the goods and truths; the truths and goods here spoken of are such as were distinctly perceived, because they are predicated of the Most Ancient Church, the principal and parent of all the other and succeeding churches.

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Arcana Coelestia 1147, 1338, 1434, 1719, 1853, 1945, 1960, 2015, 2066, 2194, 2232, 2362, 2390, 2411, 2461, 2466, 2468, 2567, 2623, 2643, 2803, 2928, 3024, 3066, 3243, 3263, 3266, 3373, 3583, 3703, 3762, 3907, 3922, 3926, 3933, 3947, 3959, 3974, ...


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Apocalypse Explained 63, 166


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Apocalypse Explained #63

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63. (v. 13) And in the midst of the seven lampstands one like unto the Son of man. That this signifies the Lord, from whom is the all of heaven and of the church, is evident from the signification of "in the midst," as denoting in the inmost (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 1074, 2940, 2973); and, because all things proceed from the inmost as light from the centre into the circumferences, therefore, "in the midst," signifies from whom. This is evident also from the signification of the seven lampstands, as denoting the New Heaven and the New Church (concerning which see above, n. 62); and from the signification of the Son of man, as denoting the Lord as to the Divine Human, and also as to Divine truth, because this proceeds from His Divine Human. From these considerations it is evident that the Lord appeared in the midst of seven lampstands, because from Him proceeds the all of heaven and of the church; for the good of love and the good of faith constitute heaven and the church, and that these are from the Divine is known in the Christian world, and because they are from the Divine, they are from the Lord, because the Lord is the God of heaven, and because the Divine of the Lord makes heaven (see the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 2-6, and n. 7-12; and that this is His Divine Human, n. 78-86).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1074, Arcana Coelestia 2940, 2973; Heaven and Hell 2-6, 7-12, 78-86; Revelation 1:13; The Apocalypse Explained 62)


[2] That by the Son of man is meant the Lord as to the Divine Human, and also as to Divine truth, because Divine truth proceeds from His Divine Human, is evident from those passages in the Word where mention is made of the Son of man. Thus in John:

The multitude said unto Jesus, "How sayest thou that the Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? Jesus answered them, Yet a little while the light is with you; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you. While ye have the light believe in the light, that ye may be sons of light" (xii. 34-36).

From these words it is clear that by the Son of man is signified the same as by light; for when they inquired, "Who is this Son of man?" the Lord answered that He was the light in which they should believe. (That light is the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine Human of the Lord, may be seen in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 126-140; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 49; thus also that the Son of man is the Divine truth.) It is said in Luke:

(References: Heaven and Hell 126-140; John 12:34-36; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 49)


[3] "Blessed are ye when men shall hate you for the Son of man's sake" (vi. 22).

For the Son of man's sake is for the sake of the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord. Divine truth is the all of faith and love to the Lord; and because they who are evil deny those things, and they who deny also hate them, and the good acknowledge them, therefore it is said, that these latter are blessed. Again, in the same:

(References: Luke 6:22)


[4] "The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, but ye shall not see it. Then they shall say to you, Behold here, or behold there; go not away, nor follow them" (xvii. 22, 23).

To desire one of the days of the Son of man, is to desire something of genuine Divine truth. The end of the church is there meant, when there will be no longer any faith, because no charity, at which time all Divine truth will perish; and because Divine truth is signified by the Son of man, therefore it is said, "Then shall they say, Behold here, or behold there; follow them not." And in the same:

(References: Luke 17:22-23)


[5] "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" (xviii. 8);

that is, when Divine truth shall be revealed out of heaven, it will not be believed. The Son of man, in this place also, is the Lord as to Divine truth; the coming of the Lord is the revelation of Divine truth at the end of the church. (See Arcana Coelestia, n. 3900, 4060.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3900, Arcana Coelestia 4060; Luke 18:8)


[6] And in Matthew:

"As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and glory" (xxiv. 27, 30).

(That by the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven, is there signified the revelation of Divine truth at the end of the church, may be seen above, n. 36.)

(References: Matthew 24:27, 24:30; The Apocalypse Explained 36)


[7] And in the same:

"I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (xxvi. 64).

And in Luke:

"Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God" (xxii. 69).

The Son of man is the Lord as to the Divine Human, and as to Divine truth proceeding from It; to sit on the right hand of power, means that He has omnipotence; its being said that they should see this now, means, that Divine truth was in its omnipotence when the Lord in the world had conquered the hells, and reduced to order all things there and in the heavens, and that thus those would be saved who should receive Him in faith and love. (See Arcana Coelestia, n. 9715. That to sit on the right hand denotes omnipotence, may be seen Arcana Coelestia, n. 3387, 4592, 4933, 7518, 8281, 9133; that all the power of good is by truth, n. 6344, 6423, 8304, 9327, 9410, 9639, 9643. That Divine power itself is by Divine truth proceeding from the Divine Human of the Lord, see n. 6948; that the clouds in which the Son of man will come are the Word in the letter, which is Divine truth in the ultimate of order, see the preface to the xviii. chapter of Genesis, Arcana Coelestia, n. 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343, 6752, 8443, 8781; and that glory is the Divine truth itself, such as it is in the internal sense of the Word, see n. 4809, 5922, 8267, 9429.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3387, Arcana Coelestia 4060, Arcana Coelestia 4391, Arcana Coelestia 4592, 4809, 4933, Arcana Coelestia 5922, 6343, 6344, 6423, 6752, 6948, 7518, Arcana Coelestia 8267, 8281, 8304, 8443, 8781, Arcana Coelestia 9193, 9327, 9410, 9429, 9639, 9643, 9715; Luke 22:69; Matthew 26:64)


[8] From these considerations it is now evident what is signified by these words in the Apocalypse:

"I saw, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown" (xiv. 14).

And in Daniel:

"I saw in the visions of the night, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of the heavens" (vii. 13).

Because all judgment is executed from truth, therefore it is said, that it is given to the Lord "to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man" (John v. 27); and that "the Son of man shall render to every one according to his deeds" (Matt. xvi. 27); and that "when the Son of man shall come, he shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and shall judge" (Matt. xxv. 31).

(References: Daniel 7:13; John 5:27; Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:31; Revelation 14:14)


[9] And again in Matthew, it is said:

"He who soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the evil" (xiii. 37, 38).

The good seed is Divine truth, therefore it is said that the Son of man soweth it; the sons of the kingdom are Divine truths in heaven and the church; for son denotes truth (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623), and, in an opposite sense, falsity, which also is the son of evil.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 489, 491, 533, Arcana Coelestia 1147, Arcana Coelestia 2623; John 5:27; Matthew 13:37-38, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:31)


[10] In the same:

"The Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (viii. 20);

by which is signified, that Divine truth had not a place anywhere, or with any man, at that time. Again it is said, that the Son of man would suffer and be put to death (Matt. xvii. 12, 22; xxvi. 2, 24, 45; Mark viii. 31; ix. 12, 31); by which is signified, that thus they would treat Divine truth, consequently the Lord, who was Divine truth itself, as He also teaches in Luke:

"The Son of man must first suffer, and be rejected of this generation" (xvii. 25).

(References: Luke 17:25; Mark 8:31, 9:12, 9:31; Matthew 8:20, Matthew 17:12, 17:22-23, Matthew 26:2, 26:24, 26:24-25, 26:45)


[11] In Jeremiah:

"No man [vir] shall dwell there; neither shall a son of man [hominis] abide there" (xlix. 18, 33).

In the same:

In the cities "no man shall dwell, nor shall a son of man pass through them" (li. 43).

He who is not acquainted with the spiritual sense of the Word, believes that by cities here are meant cities, and that by man, and by a son of man, are meant a man and a son; also, that the cities were thus to be desolated, so that no one should be in them; but it is the state of the church as to the doctrine of truth which is described by those words; for cities denote the doctrinals of the church (as may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 402, 2449, 3216, 4492, 4493); and man is the essential truth thereof, conjoined with good (see n. 3134, 7716, 9007); thus the Son of man is truth. Because the Son of man signified Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, therefore the prophets also, through whom it was revealed, were called "sons of man," as Daniel (viii. 17); and Ezekiel (ii. 1, 3, 6, 8; iii. 1, 3, 4, 10, 17, 25; iv. 1, 16; viii. 5, 6, 8, 12, 15; xii. 2, 3, 9, 18, 22, 27). As most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so also has the signification of a son of man, which in that sense denotes falsity opposed to truth. Thus in Isaiah:

"What art thou, that thou fearest man? he dies; and a son of man? he is as grass" (li. 12).

And in David:

"Place not your trust in princes, in a son of man, with whom there is no salvation" (Psalm cxlvi. 3).

Princes denote primary truths (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 2089, 5044); thus, in an opposite sense, primary falsities; and son of man denotes falsity itself.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 402, Arcana Coelestia 2449, Arcana Coelestia 3134, 3216, Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493, Arcana Coelestia 7716, Arcana Coelestia 9007; Daniel 8:17; Ezekiel 2:1, Ezekiel 2:3, Ezekiel 2:6, 2:8, Ezekiel 3:1, Ezekiel 3:3-4, Ezekiel 3:10, 3:17, Ezekiel 3:25, Ezekiel 4:1, Ezekiel 4:16, Ezekiel 8:5-6, Ezekiel 8:8, 8:12, Ezekiel 8:15, Ezekiel 12:2-3, 12:9, Ezekiel 12:18, Ezekiel 12:22, Ezekiel 12:27; Isaiah 51:12; Jeremiah 49:18, 49:33, 51:43; Psalms 146:3)


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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 60, 69, 72, 77, 83, 96, 113, 131, 146, 151, 166, 183, 200, 319, 375, 401, 409, 411, 431, 594, 906, 907


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