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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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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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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, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 63, 166


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Apocalypse Explained #63

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63. Verse 13. And in the midst of the seven lampstands one like unto the Son of man, signifies the Lord, from whom is the All of heaven and of the church. This is evident from the signification of "in the midst," as being in the inmost (see Arcana Coelestia., n. 1074, 2940, 2973); and as all things proceed from the inmost, as light proceeds from the center to the circumferences, so "in the midst" signifies from whom; also from the signification of "the seven lampstands," as being the new heaven and the new church (of which just above, n. 62; and from the signification of "the Son of man," as being the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, and also in respect to Divine truth, because Divine truth proceeds from His Divine Human. From this it can be seen why the Lord appeared "in the midst of seven lampstands," namely, because from Him the All of heaven and the church proceeds; for it is the good of love and of faith that makes heaven and the church, and that this good is from the Divine is known in the Christian world, and as it is from the Divine, it is from the Lord, for the Lord is the God of heaven, and the Divine of the Lord makes heaven (see the work on Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Hell 2-6), n. 7-12-6, 7-12; and that this is His Divine Human, see n. 78-86).

(References: Heaven and Hell 78-86; Revelation 1:13; The Apocalypse Explained 62)


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

The multitude said to Jesus, How sayest Thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? Jesus answered thee, Yet a little while is the light with you; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness overtake you. While ye have the light believe in the light, that ye may be sons of light (John 12:34-36).

From these words it is clear that "the Son of man" and "Light" have a like signification; for when the people asked, Who is the 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 Lord's Divine Human, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 126-140; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 49; thus also the Son of man. )

[3] In Luke:

Blessed are ye when men shall hate you for the Son of man's sake (Luke 6:22).

"For the Son of man's sake" is for the sake of Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord. Divine truth is the All of faith in and of love to the Lord. Because the evil deny these things, and those who deny also hate them, while the good acknowledge them, therefore it is said that the good are blessed.

[4] In the same:

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, Lo here, or Lo there. Go not away, nor pursue after (Luke 17:22-23).

"To desire [to see] one of the days of the Son of man," is to desire Divine truth, which is genuine truth, as to something thereof; the end of the church is here meant, when there will no longer be any faith, because there will be no charity, at which time all Divine truth will perish; and because Divine truth is signified by "the Son of man," it is said, "Then shall they say, Lo here, or Lo there; pursue not after."

[5] In the same:

When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith upon the earth? (Luke 18:8);

which means that when Divine truth shall be revealed out of heaven it will not be believed. Here also, "the Son of man" is the Lord in respect to Divine truth; the coming of the Lord is the revelation of Divine truth at the end of the church (see Arcana Coelestia 3900, 4060).

[6] In Matthew:

As the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen 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 lament, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and glory (Matthew 24:27, 30).

That by "the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven" is here signified the revelation of Divine truth at the end of the church, see above n. 36.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 36)


[7] In the same:

I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matthew 26:64).

And in Luke:

From henceforth shall the Son of man be seated at the right hand of the power of God (Luke 22:69).

"The Son of man" is the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, and in respect to Divine truth proceeding from Him; "to sit at the right hand of power" means that He has omnipotence; its being said that they were now about to see this 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 who received Him in faith and love could be saved (see Arcana Coelestia 9715. That to "sit at the right hand" means omnipotence, see Arcana Coelestia 3387, 4592, 4933, 7518, 8281, 9193; that all the power of good is by means of truth, n. 6344, 6423, 8304, 9327, 9410, 9639, 9643. That Divine power itself is by means of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human, see n. 6948; that the "clouds" in which the Son of man is to come are the Word in the letter, which is Divine truth in the ultimate of order, see the preface to chapter 18 of Genesis, n. 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343, 6752, 8443, 8781; and that "glory" is Divine truth itself, such as it is in the internal sense of the Word, see n. 4809, 5922, 8267, 9429).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6948)


[8] From this it can now be seen what is signified by these words in Revelation:

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 (Revelation 14:14).

And in Daniel:

I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of the heavens one like unto the Son of man (Daniel 7:13).

Because all judgment is executed according to truth, therefore it is said, that it was given to the Lord:

To execute judgment, because He is the Son of man (John 5:27); and that:

The Son of man shall render unto every man according to his deeds (Matthew 16:27);

and that:

When the Son of man shall come, He shall sit on the throne of His glory, and shall judge (Matthew 25:31).

[9] In Matthew:

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man, the field is the world, the seed are the sons of the kingdom, the tares are the sons of the evil one (Matthew 13:37-38).

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

[10] In the same:

The Son of man hath not where to lay His head (Matthew 8:20);

by which is meant that Divine truth had no place anywhere, that is, with any man at that time. That the Son of man was about to suffer and be put to death (Matthew 17:12, 22-23; 26:2, 24, 45; Mark 8:31; 9:12, 31) signifies that thus they were about to treat Divine truth, consequently the Lord, who was Divine truth itself. This He also teaches in Luke:

But first must the Son of man suffer, and be rejected of this generation (Luke 17:25).

(References: Matthew 26:24-25)


[11] In Jeremiah:

No man [vir] shall dwell there; neither shall a son of man [hominis] sojourn there (Jeremiah 49:18, 33).

And in the same:

In the cities no man [vir] shall dwell, nor shall a son of man [hominis] pass through them (Jeremiah 51:43).

He who does not know the spiritual sense of the Word believes that by "cities" here are meant cities, and that by "man," and "son of man," are meant a man and a son; and that the cities were to be so desolated that no one should be in them, but it is the state of the church in respect to the doctrine of truth that is described by these words; for "cities" are the doctrinals of the church (see Arcana Coelestia 402, 2449, 3216, 4 492, 4493); and "man" is its very truth conjoined with good (see n. 3134, 7716, 9007); therefore a "son of man" is truth.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493; Ezekiel 12:2-3)


[12] As Divine truth proceeding from the Lord was signified by "the Son of man," therefore the prophets by whom it was revealed were called "sons of man" (as Daniel 8:17; and Ezekiel 2:1, 3, 6, 8; 3:1, 3-4, 10, 17, 25; 4:1, 16; 8:5-6, 8, 12, 15; 12:2, 3, 9, 18, 22, 27). As most things in the Word have also a contrary sense, so "son of man" has a contrary signification, which is the falsity opposite to truth. Thus in Isaiah:

What art thou, that thou art afraid of man, that dies; and of the son of man, who shall be as grass (Isaiah 51:12).

And in David:

Put not your trust in princes, in the son of man, with whom there is no salvation (Psalms 146:3).

"Princes" are primary truths (see Arcana Coelestia 2089, 5044); so, in the contrary sense, primary falsities; and "the son of man" is falsity itself.

(References: Ezekiel 12:2-3)

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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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