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 drafts, indexes & diaries:

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

   Swedenborg Research Tools

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 #491

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

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.

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

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 drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 63, 166

   Swedenborg Research Tools

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

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #2576

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

2576. 'Behold, it is for you a covering of the eyes for all who are with you' means that rational truths are like a covering or garment for spiritual truths. This is clear from the meaning of 'a covering', to be dealt with immediately below, and from the meaning of 'the eyes' as things of the understanding, as is evident from very many places in the Word, and also from the meaning of 'seeing' as understanding, 2150, 2325. Anyone may see that each detail in this verse holds arcana within it which cannot be brought to light except by some interior sense - such as the detail that it is said 'he gave a thousand pieces of silver to her brother' not 'to her husband'; or the details that it was 'a covering of the eyes', and that it was 'for her and all who were with her', also 'with all'; or the detail 'so she was vindicated'. Many historical inferences might indeed be drawn from the sense of the letter, but none of these would have anything spiritual in them, still less anything Divine. Such is the nature of the Word.

[2] As regards rational truths being like a covering or garment for spiritual truths, the position is that the inmost parts of man's being belong to his soul, while the more exterior belong to his body. Man's inmost parts consist in goods and truths from which the soul has its life, or else the soul would not be a soul. Those which are more exterior however derive their life from the soul, and each one of them is like a body, or what amounts to the same, a covering or garment. This becomes clear in particular from the things that are seen in the next life, for example, from angels when these are presented to view. The interior parts of their beings shine from their faces, while the exterior are represented both in their bodies and in the clothes they are wearing, so completely that anyone there may recognize the character of those angels simply from the clothes they are wearing; for every angel consists of real substance and so is an essence given outward form. It is similar in the case of angels who have been seen and whose faces and clothing are described in the Word, such as those seen in the Lord's tomb, Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5; and the twenty-four elders around the throne, Revelation 4:4; and others. Nor does this apply only to angels but also to everything else, even inanimate objects, mentioned in the Word. Their exteriors are a covering or garment as with the Ark of the Covenant and the tent surrounding it. 'The Ark' there, which was inmost, represented the Lord Himself, for the Testimony belonged there, while 'the tent' outside of it represented the Lord's kingdom. Every single one of 'the coverings' there, that is, the veils and screens, represented the exterior celestial and spiritual things within the Lord's kingdom, that is to say, within the three heavens This becomes clear from the plan of it that was shown to Moses on Mount Sinai, Exodus 25:9; 26:30. It was this that gave it its holiness, not the gold and silver and the carvings that were in it.

[3] Since the matter of rational truths being like a covering or garment to spiritual truths is being discussed here, and since in Moses a description of the Tent is given - of its coverings or of its screens, and also of its veils in front of places of entry - let an explanation be given, for the sake of illustration, of what specifically was meant by the veils. (But what was meant by the enveloping covers will in the Lord's Divine mercy be stated elsewhere.) The Tabernacle had three veils, the first, which made a division between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies; the second, which is called a screen serving as a door into the tent; the third, which is called a screen serving as a gate into the court.

[4] The first of these, the veil itself, which was a screen in front of the Ark, is referred to in Moses,

You shall make a veil of violet and purple and twice-dyed scarlet and fine-twined linen. The work of a designer, 1 you shall make it with cherubs on it. And you shall hang it on four pillars of shittim, overlaid with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold; [they shall stand] on four bases of silver. And you shall hang the veil under the clasps. And you shall bring in, within the veil, the Ark of the Testimony, and the veil shall divide for you the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. Exodus 26:31-34; 36:35-36.

This veil represented the most immediate and inmost appearances of rational good and truth, which occur among the angels of the third heaven. These appearances are described by the violet, purple, twice-dyed scarlet, and fine-twined linen, the red of which represented the goods that belong to love, and the white its truths. Also, the gold and silver with which the pillars were overlaid, and of which the hooks and bases were made had a similar representation. As regards colours being representative, see 1042, 1043, 1053, 1624; and as regards 'gold' meaning the good of love, 113, 1551, 1552, and 'silver' truth, 1551, 2048.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1042-1043, Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552; Exodus 26:31-33)

[5] This shows what is meant by the veil of the temple being torn in two, Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45 - namely that once all appearances had been dispelled the Lord entered into the Divine Itself, and at the same time He opened a means of access to the Divine Itself through His Human that had been made Divine.

[6] The second veil, or screen serving as a door to the tent, is referred to in Moses as follows,

You shall make a screen for a door of the tent, of violet and purple and twice-dyed scarlet and fine-twined linen, the work of an embroiderer. And you shall make for the screen five pillars of shittim and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold; and you shall cast for them five bases of bronze. Exodus 26:36-37; 36:37-38

This screen represented the appearances of good and truth which are lower and more exterior than those mentioned already; that is, they are the middle appearances that belong to the rational, which occur among the angels of the second heaven. The description given to these appearances is virtually the same, the difference being that this screen had five pillars and five bases, by which number is meant something relatively small, for these appearances are not so unified or heavenly as the appearances belonging to the inmost or third heaven. Regarding the number 'five' meaning that which is small, see 649, 1686. And because these appearances look to natural things, it was commanded that the bases should be cast of bronze; for bronze represented and meant natural good, 425, 1551.

[7] The third veil, or screen serving as a gate into the court, is referred to in Moses as follows,

The screen for a gate of the court shall be twenty cubits [long], of violet and purple and twice-dyed scarlet and fine-twined linen, the work of an embroiderer; the pillars of it shall be four and the bases of these four. All the pillars of the surrounding court shall be fastened with silver; their hooks shall be of silver but their bases of bronze. Exodus 27:16-17; 38:18-19

This screen represented the still lower and more exterior appearances of good and truth, which are the lowest appearances belonging to the rational, and which occur among the angels of the first heaven. Because these appearances correspond to those that are more interior the description given to them is also much the same, the differences being that the pillars were not overlaid with gold but were fastened together with silver, while the hooks were made of silver - all of which mean rational truths such as have their origin immediately in factual knowledge - and the bases were made of bronze which mean natural goods. All these considerations show that there was nothing in the Tent which was not representative of the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord's kingdom; that is, they show that all those things were made so as to provide every type or imprint of the celestial and spiritual things that exist in the three heavens. And they also show that the coverings or screens meant things which, like a body or clothing, surround or are outside of that which is inmost.

[8] In addition to all this, the fact that coverings, screens, and a garment or clothes mean relatively lower truths becomes clear from many places in the Word, as in Ezekiel,

Fine linen with embroidered work from Egypt was your sail, violet and purple from the islands of Elishah was your covering. 2 Ezekiel 27:7.

This refers to 'Tyre', which means interior cognitions of celestial and spiritual things, and therefore those who possess those cognitions, 1201. 'Embroidered work from Egypt' stands for factual knowledge - 'Egypt' meaning factual knowledge, 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462. 'Violet and purple from the islands of Elishah as a covering' stands for forms of ritual corresponding to internal worship, 1156.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165)

[9] In the same prophet,

All the princes of the sea will step down from upon their thrones, and will remove their robes and will strip off their embroidered clothes. They will clothe themselves with tremblings; they will sit on the ground. Ezekiel 26:16.

This too refers to 'Tyre'. 'Robes' and 'embroidered clothes' stand for cognitions formed out of factual knowledge, and so stand for lower truths.

[10] In the same prophet,

I clothed you with embroidered cloth and shod you with badger, and I swathed you in fine linen and covered you with silk, and I adorned you with adornments and put bracelets on your hands and a chain on your neck. You took some of your garments and made for yourself gaily-decked high places and committed whoredom on them. You took your embroidered clothes and covered them. Ezekiel 16:10-11, 16, 18.

This describes 'Jerusalem', which is the spiritual Church, as it had been in early times and as it was subsequently when perverted. Its lower spiritual things and its matters of doctrine are the embroidered clothes, fine linen, and silk.

[11] In Isaiah,

The Lord, Jehovah Zebaoth, is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah the whole staff of bread and staff of water. At that time a man will take hold of his brother, of his father's house, [saying,] You have clothing, you will be leader for us. On that day he will speak out, saying, I will not be a binder up; and in my house there is neither bread nor clothing. You shall not make me leader of the people. The Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion. And on that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, and of the networks, and of the crescents, and of the necklaces, and of the chainlets, and of the bracts; 3 and the tiaras, and the garters, and the sashes, and the perfume boxes, 4 and the earrings; the rings, and the nose-jewels, the changes of clothes, and the robes, and the veils, and the pin-cases, and the mirrors, and the muslin, and the turbans, and the mantles. Isaiah 3:1, 6-7, 17-24.

'Jerusalem' stands for the spiritual Church, 'Judah' for the celestial Church, 'the staff of bread and the staff of water which will be taken away' for good and truth. 'The clothing which the leader will have' stands for the truths that make up doctrine. The various articles of clothing and adornments that are listed belonging to the daughters of Zion mean every single genus and species of good and truth which were to be taken away from them. Unless each item that is mentioned meant some specific detail of the Church they would not be part of the Word, every expression of which has what is Divine within it. 'The daughters of Zion' who are said to possess all these articles means those things that constitute the Church; see 2362.

(References: Isaiah 3:17-23)

[12] In the same prophet,

Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion, put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; no more may there come in to you the uncircumcised and the unclean. Isaiah 52:1-2.

'Zion' stands for the celestial Church, 'Jerusalem' for the spiritual, 'beautiful garments' for the sacred things of faith. In the same prophet,

Their webs do not become clothing, neither are they covered in their works. Their works are works of iniquity. Isaiah 59:6.

'Webs' stands for made-up truths which do not become clothing. 'Clothing' stands for exterior truths of doctrine and worship, hence the statement 'neither are they covered in their works'.

[13] In the same prophet,

I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah, my soul will exult in my God, for He will clothe me with the clothes of salvation, with the robe of righteousness has He covered me. Isaiah 61:10.

'The clothes of salvation' stands for truths of faith, 'the robe of righteousness' for the good that flows from charity. In John,

You have a few names also in Sardis, who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who conquers will be clad in white garments. Revelation 3:4-5.

In the same book,

Blessed is he who is awake and keeps his garments, so that he may not walk naked. Revelation 16:15.

In the same book,

On the thrones I saw twenty-four elders seated, clad in white garments. Revelation 4:4.

Here it is evident that 'garments' do not mean garments but spiritual things, which are forms of truth.

[14] The same may be seen in what the Lord said when speaking about the close of the age. When He said that people were not to turn back and fetch their garments, Matthew 24:18; Mark 13:16, truths were meant by 'garments', see 2454, as they also are in His reference to the man who was not wearing a wedding garment, Matthew 22:11-12, and in His reference to John,

What did you go out to see. A man clad in fine garments? Those who wear fine garments are in kings' houses. Matthew 11:8; Luke 7:25.

This means that they did not care about the external things of doctrine and worship but about the internal, and this is why He adds,

What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. Matthew 11:9.

'A prophet' here stands for the external things of doctrine and worship.

[15] As 'clothes' meant truths of every kind the children of Israel were commanded when leaving Egypt to ask from their neighbour for gold and silver, and for clothes, and to place them on their children, Exodus 3:22; 12:35-36.

[16] They were also commanded not to wear clothes made from different kinds of stuff, or to wear mixed ones, Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:11; and were commanded to make tassels for the hems of their clothes, to put a violet cord there, and when they saw it were to recollect the commandments and carry them out, Numbers 15:38-40. In former times they also rent their clothes, as is evident in Joshua 7:6; Judges 11:35; 1 Samuel 4:12; 2 Samuel 1:2, 11-12; 3:31; 13:30-31; 15:32; 1 Kings 21:27; 2 Kings 5:7-8; 6:30; 22:11, 14, 19; Isaiah 36:22; 37:1. This action meant a zealous regard for doctrine and truth which had in a similar way been torn to shreds, and also a humble recognition that nothing existed with them, which is meant by the adornment of clothing.

(References: 2 Samuel 1:11, 13:31)

[17] That veils, screens, garments, or clothes mean such things is also evident with the prophecy of Jacob, who by now was Israel,

He will bind his colt to the vine, and the foal of his ass to a choice vine. He will wash his clothing in wine, and his garment in the blood of grapes. Genesis 49:11.

What these words mean nobody can know except from the internal sense, that is to say, what is meant by 'a vine', 'a choice vine', 'a colt', 'the foal of an ass', 'wine', 'the blood of grapes', 'clothing', and 'garment'. That it is a reference to the Lord who in that prophecy is called 'Shiloh' is self-evident. The reference at this point is to Judah who represents the Lord's Divine celestial. 'The clothing he was to wash in wine' and 'the garment in the blood of grapes' mean His Rational and Natural which He was to make Divine.

[18] Similarly in Isaiah,

Who is this coming from Edom, with dyed clothes from Bozra, he that is glorious in his apparel, marching in the vast numbers of his strength? Why are you red as to your clothing, and your clothes like his that treads the winepress? And I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me. Their victory has been sprinkled on my clothes, and I have stained all my raiment. Isaiah 63:1-3.

Here also 'clothes' and 'raiment' stand for the Lord's Human which, by means of the conflicts brought about by temptations and by means of victories, He made Divine by His own power; hence the statement, 'I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me'. The reference to 'Isaac smelling the smell of Esau's clothes, and so blessing him' implies much the same, Genesis 27:27.

[19] The Holiness itself of the Lord's Divine Human was also a garment which was seen as light and as something dazzling white when He was transfigured, described in Matthew as follows,

When Jesus was transfigured His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became [white] as the light. Matthew 17:2.

In Luke,

When Jesus was praying the appearance of His face was altered; His clothing became dazzling white. Luke 9:29.

And in Mark,

When Jesus was transfigured His clothes became glistening, intensely white like snow, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Mark 9:3.

The sacred vestments worn by Aaron when he went inside the veil, which were made of linen, were similarly representative, Leviticus 16:2, 4, and so were the sacred vestments 'for glory and adornment' when he ministered, which are described in Exodus 28:2-end; Exodus 28:39:1-end. Not a detail of those vestments failed to be representative.


1. literally, of designing, but where this verse is explained Swedenborg translates of a designer; see 9669.

2. The Latin word used here is the same as that which in preceding quotations from the Word has been translated screen.

3. i.e. thin metal plates worn as jewelry

4. literally, houses of the soul


(References: Exodus 28:2-43, 39; Genesis 20:16; Isaiah 3:17-23; Matthew 11:8-9)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2356, 3021, 3207, 3210, 3300, 3301, 3322, 3537, 3540, 3575, 3652, 3693, 3703, 3735, 3762, 3812, 4545, 4728, 4858, 4875, 4884, 4973, 5006, 5248, 5319, 5433, 6377, 6918, 7967, 8904, 9093, 9158, 9212, 9331, 9372, 9688, 9806, 9922, ...

The White Horse 1

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 31, 38, 64, 240

   Swedenborg Research Tools

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