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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

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1

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 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?
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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 #6693

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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6693. 'Saying, Every son who is born you are to throw into the river' means that all truths that appeared should be drowned in falsities. This is clear from the meaning of 'son' as truth, dealt with in 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 3373; from the meaning of 'being born' as appearing; and from the meaning of 'the river' as those things that constitute intelligence, dealt with in 108, 109, 2702, 3051, here in the contrary sense as those things which are the opposite, namely falsities. The fact that 'throwing into' means drowning in is self-evident.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 108-109; Exodus 1:22)


[2] The meaning of 'the river of Egypt' as the opposite of intelligence, which is falsity, is also clear in Isaiah,

The rivers will recede, the streams of Egypt will diminish and dry up. The papyrus plants next to the river, next to the mouth of the river, and everything sown in the river will wither, be driven away, and be no more. Therefore the fishermen will mourn, and all who cast a hook into the river will be sad, and those who spread nets over the face of the waters will anguish. Isaiah 19:6-8.

Here one should not understand a river by 'the river of Egypt' or fishermen by 'the fishermen' but other things which are not apparent unless one knows how 'Egypt', 'the river' there, and 'the fishermen' are to be understood. If one does know, then the meaning of these verses is apparent. The fact that 'the river of Egypt' means falsity is evident from every detail mentioned in them.

[3] In Jeremiah,

Who is this coming up like a river, whose waters are tossed about like the rivers? Egypt comes up like the river, and like the rivers his waters are tossed about. For he said, I will go up, I will cover the earth, I will destroy the city and those who dwell in it. Jeremiah 46:7-8.

Here also 'the river of Egypt' stands for falsities. 'Going up and covering the earth' stands for overwhelming the Church, 'destroying the city' stands for destroying the teachings of the Church, 'and those who dwell in it' for doing so to forms of good that come from those teachings. For the meaning of 'the earth' as the Church, see 6649; 'the city' as the teachings of the Church, 402, 2449, 3216, 4492, 4493; and 'those who dwell in it' as forms of good there, 2268, 2451, 2712.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493)


[4] In Ezekiel,

Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster that lies 1 in the midst of his rivers, who has said, The river is mine and I have made myself. Therefore I will put hooks in your jaws, and cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales, and I will cause you to come up out of the midst of your rivers, in order that 2 all the fish of your rivers may stick in your scales. I will leave in the wilderness you and all the fish of your rivers. Ezekiel 29:3-5, 9-10.

Without the internal sense no one can know what this passage means either. Thus, though it is evident that it is not the country Egypt which is meant, the meaning of the passage remains unknown unless one knows what 'Pharaoh', 'river', 'monster', 'fish', and 'scales', all mean. 'Pharaoh' is the natural where factual knowledge resides, see 5160, 5799, 6015; 'monsters' are general bodies of facts that reside in the natural, 42; 'fish' are the facts subordinate to a general body of them, 40, 991; 'scales' are ideas of a thoroughly external nature, thus sensory impressions, to which factual knowledge that is false clings. When one knows all these meanings one can see what 'the river of Egypt' is used to mean in this passage, namely, falsity.

[5] In the same prophet,

On the day on which Pharaoh goes down into hell I will make him mourn, I will cover the deep over him, and I will restrain its streams, and the great waters will be stayed. Ezekiel 31:15.

In Amos,

Is not the land to be shaken on account of this, and everyone to mourn that inhabits it? Yes, the whole of it comes up like a river, and is cast out, and is drowned as if in the river of Egypt. On that day I will make the sun go down at noon, and I will darken the land in broad daylight. Amos 8:8-9; 9:5.

'The land which will be shaken' stands for the Church, 6649, while 'being drowned as if in the river of Egypt' stands for being destroyed by falsities. And since falsities are meant it says that the sun will go down at noon, and the earth will be darkened in broad daylight. 'The going down of the sun at noon' means that the good of heavenly love will depart, and 'the darkening of the land in broad daylight' that falsities will take possession of the Church. For the meaning of 'the sun' as the good of heavenly love, see 1529, 1530, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4696; for 'darkness' as falsities, 1839, 1860, 4418, 4531; and for 'the earth' as the Church, 82, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1411, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577. Anyone can see that things other than those which appear in the literal sense here - such as that the land will be shaken and every inhabitant will mourn, or that the sun will go down at noon and the land will be darkened in broad daylight - are really meant. Unless one takes 'the land' to mean the Church, 'the river' to mean falsity, and 'the sun' to mean heavenly love, one does not find any other explicable meaning there.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067, 1529-1530, 2117-2118)


[6] It is because 'the river of Egypt' means falsity that Moses was commanded to strike the waters of that river with his rod, after which they were turned into blood, all fish in the river died, and the river stank, Exodus 7:17-18, 20-21. For the same reason Aaron had to stretch out his hand and rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the pools, from which frogs rose up over the land of Egypt, Exodus 8:5-6. 3 For the meaning of 'the waters' in the contrary sense as falsities, see 790; and since the waters make up the river, 'the river' in relation to them means falsity in general.

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Footnotes:

1. Reading cubat (he lies) for cubas (you lie)

2. Reading ut (in order that) for et (and)

3Exodus 8:1-2, in this translation of the Arcana Caelestia

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(References: Exodus 1:22, Exodus 7:17-21)

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Wither 1


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