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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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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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Arcana Coelestia #2466

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2466. It is certainly possible to confirm that in the internal sense such things are meant as have been set forth in the paragraph above, and indeed to confirm them as to each word. But apart from the fact that they have been confirmed already they are also such as shock people's minds and offend their ears. From the summary explanation given above it may become clear that those things are used to describe how such a religion originated as that meant in the Word by 'Moab' and 'the son of Ammon'. The nature of it will be stated later on where Moab and the son of Ammon are the subject. The fact that adulterated good and falsified truth are meant is clear. Adulterations of good and falsifications of truth are commonly described in the Word as acts of adultery and whoredom, and are actually called such. The reason for this is that good and truth belong together like a married couple, 1904, 2173. Indeed, though scarcely anyone may credit it, it is from this marriage of good and truth as its own true source that the holiness of marriages on earth is derived as well as the marriage laws laid down in the Word.

(References: Genesis 19:32-35)


[2] The truth of the matter is that when celestial things together with spiritual come down from heaven into a lower sphere they are in a most perfect way converted there into the likeness of marriages. They do so on account of the correspondence which exists between spiritual things and natural, a correspondence which in the Lord's Divine mercy will be described elsewhere. But when those same things are perverted in the lower sphere, as happens when evil genii and evil spirits are present there, they are in that case converted into the kind of things that go with acts of adultery and whoredom. This is why in the Word defilements of good and perversions of truth are described as acts of adultery and whoredom and are also called such, as becomes quite clear from the following places: In Ezekiel,

You committed whoredom because of your renown, and poured out your acts of whoredom on every passer-by. You took some of your garments and made for yourself high places variously coloured, and on them committed whoredom. For your adornment you took vessels made of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself figures of the male, and committed whoredom with them. You took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to Me, and sacrificed them to them. Were your acts of whoredom a small matter? You committed whoredom with the sons of Egypt, your neighbours, great in flesh, and multiplied your whoredom to provoke Me to anger. You committed whoredom with the sons of Asshur, and you committed whoredom with them and were not satisfied. And you multiplied your whoredom, even as far as the trading land of Chaldea; and yet you were not satisfied with this. Ezekiel 16:15-17, 20, 26, 28-29, and following verses.

This refers to Jerusalem, which means in this instance the Church perverted as regards truths. Anyone may see that all the things referred to here have entirely different meanings.

[3] That the perversion of some aspect of the Church is called whoredom is quite evident. 'The garments' referred to are truths that are being perverted. Consequent falsities which are worshipped are meant by 'the variously coloured high places' on which whoredom took place - 'garments' meaning truths, see 1073, and 'high places' worship, 796. 'The vessels for adornment made of the gold and the silver which I had given' are cognitions of good and truth drawn from the Word which they use to confirm falsities. And when such falsities are seen as truths they are called 'figures of the male with whom whoredom was committed'. For 'vessels for adornment made of gold and silver' means cognitions of good and truth, as is evident from the meaning of 'gold' as good, 113, 1551, 1552, and of 'silver' as truth, 1551, 2048; 'figures of the mare' means falsities which are seen as truths, 2046. 'The sons and daughters whom they had borne and sacrificed to them' means the goods and truths which they perverted, as is evident from the meaning of 'sons and daughters', 489-491, 533, 2362; 'committing whoredom with the sons of Egypt' means perverting those goods and truths by means of facts, as is evident from the meaning of 'Egypt' as factual knowledge, 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462. 'Committing whoredom with the sons of Asshur' means perverting by means of reasonings, as is evident from the meaning of 'Asshur' as reasoning, 119, 1186; 'multiplying whoredom even as far as the land of Chaldea' means even to the profanation of truth, which is Chaldea, 1368. All this makes plain the nature of the internal sense of the Word within the sense of the letter.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165, Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552)


[4] A similar passage occurs elsewhere in the same prophet,

Two women, the daughters of one mother, committed whoredom in Egypt. In their youth they committed whoredom. Oholah is Samaria, Oholibah is Jerusalem. Oholah committed whoredom under Me and doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours. She bestowed her acts of whoredom on them, the choicest of all the sons of Asshur. Her acts of whoredom brought from Egypt she did not give up, for they had lain with her in her youth. Oholibah corrupted her love more than she, and her acts of whoredom more than her sister's acts of whoredom; she doted on the sons of Asshur. She added to her acts of whoredom and saw the images of the Chaldeans. As soon as her eyes saw them she desired them. The sons of Babel came to her, into her love-bed. Ezekiel 23:2-5, 7-8, 11-12, 14, 16-17.

'Samaria' is a Church with the affection for truth, 'Jerusalem' a Church with the affection for good. By 'the acts of whoredom' committed by such affections with 'the Egyptians' and with 'the sons of Asshur' are meant the perversions of good and truth by means of facts and reasonings used to confirm falsities, as is evident from the meaning of 'Egypt', 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462, and of 'Asshur', 119, 1186. These perversions extended even to profane worship which in respect of truth is 'Chaldea', 1368, and in respect of good is 'the sons of Babel', 1182, 1326.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165; Ezekiel 23:16, 23:17)


[5] In Isaiah,

And it will be at the end of seventy years, that Jehovah will visit Tyre, and she will return to hiring herself out as a harlot, and will commit whoredom with all the kingdoms of the earth. Isaiah 23:17.

It is the flaunting of falsity that is meant by Tyre's 'hiring herself out as a harlot and committing whoredom'. 'Tyre' means cognitions of truth, see 1201, 'kingdoms' truths with which whoredom took place, 1672.

[6] In Jeremiah,

You have committed whoredom with many partners; but return to Me. Lift up your eyes to the hills and see - where have you not been ravished? By the waysides you have sat waiting for them, like an Arab in the wilderness, and you have profaned the land with your acts of whoredom and with your wickedness. Jeremiah 3:1-2.

'Committing whoredom' and 'profaning the land with acts of whoredom' is perverting and falsifying the truths of the Church. 'The land' is the Church, see 662, 1066, 1067.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067)


[7] In the same prophet,

With the voice of her whoredom she profaned the land, she committed adultery with stone and wood. Jeremiah 3:9.

'Committing adultery with stone and wood' means perverting truths and goods that are part of external worship - 'stone' meaning that kind of truth, see 643, 1298, 'wood' that kind of good, 643.

[8] In the same prophet,

Because they have committed folly in Israel, and have committed adultery with their companions' wives, and have in My name spoken a false word which I did not command. Jeremiah 29:23.

'Committing adultery with companions' wives' is teaching falsity as from them.

[9] In the same prophet,

In the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: in their committing adultery and walking in falsity. Jeremiah 23:14.

Here 'committing adultery' has regard to good which is being defiled, 'walking in falsity' to truth which is being perverted. In the same prophet,

Your adulterous acts and your neighings, the filth of your whoredom committed on the hills, in the field - I have seen your abominations. Woe to you, O Jerusalem; you will not be made clean after this; how long yet? Jeremiah 13:27.

[10] In Hosea,

Whoredom, and wine, and new wine have taken possession of the heart. My people inquire of a piece of wood and their staff makes declaration to them, for the spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have committed whoredom beneath their god. They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains and burn incense on the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth. Therefore your daughters commit whoredom and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. Shall I not punish 1 your daughters because they commit whoredom and your daughters-in-law because they commit adultery, for the men themselves divide with harlots and sacrifice with cult-prostitutes? Hosea 4:11-14.

What each of these things means in the internal sense becomes clear from the meaning of 'wine' as falsity, of 'new wine' as evil deriving from this, of 'the piece of wood which they inquire of' as the good belonging to the delight that goes with some evil desire, 'the staff which makes a declaration' as the imaginary power of their own understanding, also of 'mountains and hills' as self-love and love of the world, of 'oak, poplar, and terebinth' as so many dull-witted perceptions in which they trust, of 'daughters and daughters-in-law' as affections that are such. From this it is evident what acts of 'whoredom', 'adultery', and 'cult-prostitution' mean here.

[11] In the same prophet,

O Israel, you have committed whoredom beneath 2 your god; you have taken delight in hiring yourself out as a harlot on every threshing-floor. Hosea 9:1.

'Hiring oneself out as a harlot' stands for a flaunting of falsity. In Moses,

Lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go whoring after their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone calls you and you eat of his sacrifices, and you take his daughters for your sons, and his daughters go whoring after their gods, and they cause your sons to go whoring after their gods. Exodus 34:15-16.

In the same author,

I will cut off from the midst of their people all who go whoring after him, for whoring after Molech. And anyone who looks to those who have familiar spirits and to wizards, and goes whoring after them, I will set My face against that person and will cut him off from the midst of his people. Leviticus 20:5-6.

In the same author,

Your sons will be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and will bear your acts of whoredom until your bodies are consumed in the wilderness. Numbers 14:33.

In the same author,

May you remember all the commandments of Jehovah and do them, and may you not seek after your own heart and after your own eyes, which you go whoring after. Numbers 15:39.

[12] An even plainer usage occurs in John,

One angel said, Come, I will show you the judgement of the great harlot who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed whoredom, and with the wine of whose whoredom the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk. Revelation 17:1-2.

'The great harlot' stands for people whose worship is profane. 'The many waters on which she is seated' are cognitions, 28, 739, 'the kings of the earth who committed whoredom with her' are the truths of the Church, 1672, 2015, 2069. 'The wine with which the people became drunk' is falsity, 1071, 1072. It is because wine' and 'drunkenness' have this meaning that Lot's daughters are said to have made their father drink wine, verses 32-33, 35.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1071-1072)


[13] In the same book,

Babylon has given all nations drink from the wine of the fury of her whoredom; and the kings of the earth have committed whoredom with her. Revelation 18:3.

'Babylon' or Babel stands for worship whose external features appear holy but whose interiors are unholy, 1182, 1295, 1326. 'The nations to whom she gives drink' means goods which are rendered profane, 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849, 'the kings who commit whoredom with her' means truths, 1672, 2015, 2069. In the same book,

The judgements of the Lord God are true and right, for He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her whoredom. Revelation 19:2.

'The earth' stands for the Church, 566, 662, 1066, 1067, 2117, 2118.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1068, Arcana Coelestia 1259-1260, Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)


[14] It was because 'acts of whoredom' had such a meaning, and 'daughters' meant affections, that a priest's daughter was so strictly forbidden to commit whoredom, concerning which the following is said in Moses,

Any priest's daughter, in that she has begun to commit whoredom, is profaning her father; she shall be burnt with fire. Leviticus 21:9.

Also they were forbidden to bring the earnings of a harlot into the house of Jehovah because it was an abomination, Deuteronomy 23:18. And for the same reason a certain procedure had to be followed - given in Numbers 5:12-31 - for investigating the behaviour of a wife whom the husband suspected of adultery; every single detail of that procedure has reference to the adulteration of good. Besides these many more genera and still more species of adultery and whoredom are referred to in the Word. The genus described by means of Lot's daughters lying with their father and called 'Moab' and 'the son of Ammon' is dealt with immediately below.

-----
Footnotes:

1. literally, visit

2. The Latin means above, but the Hebrew means from under or from beneath, which Swedenborg has in other places where he quotes this verse.

-----

(References: Genesis 19:31-36)

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Arcana Coelestia 2588, 2729, 3242, 3399, 3703, 4434, 4552, 4601, 4843, 4865, 4903, 6348, 6432, 7456, 8137, 8902, 9231, 9348, 10283, 10402, 10648


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 237

Other New Christian Commentary

Marriage 1

The Marriage of Good and Truth 1

Ar 1

New wine 1

Samaria and Jerusalem 1

Fornication of Tyre 1

Stocks 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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