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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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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 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


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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 John the Baptist
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Arcana Coelestia #5248

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5248. And changed his garments. That this signifies as to what is of the interior natural, by putting on what is suitable, is evident from the signification of “changing,” as being to remove and reject; and from the signification of “garments,” as being what is of the interior natural (of which presently); hence it follows that what was suitable (signified by the new “garments”) was put on. “Garments” are often mentioned in the Word, and thereby are meant things beneath or without, and that cover things above or within; and therefore by “garments” are signified man’s external, consequently his natural, because this covers his internal and spiritual. Specifically by “garments” are signified truths that are of faith, because these cover the goods that are of charity. This signification has its origin from the garments in which spirits and angels appear clothed. Spirits appear in garments devoid of brightness, but angels in garments that are bright and are as it were made of brightness, for the very brightness around them appears as a garment, as appeared the raiment of the Lord when He was transfigured, which was “as the light” (Matthew 17:2), and was “white and flashing” (Luke 9:29). From their garments also the quality of spirits and angels can be known in respect to the truths of faith, because these are represented by garments, but truths of faith such as they are in the natural; for such as they are in the rational appears from the face and its beauty. The brightness of their garments comes from the good of love and of charity, which by shining through causes the brightness. From all this it is evident what is represented in the spiritual world by the garments, and consequently what is meant by “garments” in the spiritual sense. But the garments that Joseph changed, that is, put off, were the garments of the pit or prison, and by these are signified things fallacious and false, which in a state of temptations are excited by evil genii and spirits; and therefore by his “changing his garments” is signified rejection and change in respect to what is of the interior natural, and the garments he put on denoted such things as would be suitable, and therefore the putting on of things suitable is signified. See what has before been said and shown concerning garments: that what is celestial is not clothed, but what is spiritual and natural (n. 297); that “garments” denote truths relatively lower (n. 1073, 2576); that changing the garments was a representative of holy truths being put on, whence also came the changes of garments (n. 4545); that rending the garments was representative of mourning over truth lost and destroyed (see n. 4763 and what is signified by him that came in, not having on a wedding garment (n. 2132).

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Arcana Coelestia 5319, 5433, 5954, 6377, 6524, 6918, 7967, 8459, 8789, 8904, 9003, 9093, 9158, 9212, 9331, 9372, 9391, 9477, 9688, 9814, 9952, 10227, 10258, 10536

The White Horse 1

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 31, 38, 64, 240

Other New Christian Commentary

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Apocalypse Explained #126

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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126. And I will give thee a crown of life. That this signifies wisdom, and thence eternal happiness, is evident from the signification of a crown, when said of those who are in the spiritual affection of the knowledges (cognitiones) of truth and good, as being wisdom, concerning which more will be said in what follows; and from the signification of life, as being eternal happiness, which is also called life eternal. The reason why those who are in the spiritual affection of truth and good, and who are here treated of, have eternal happiness is, that heaven is implanted in man by means of the knowledges of truth and good from the Word. He who believes that heaven is implanted by any other means, is much deceived; for man is born natural only, with the faculty of becoming spiritual; but he becomes spiritual by means of truths from the Word, and by a life according to them. How can any one ever become spiritual, unless he be instructed about the Lord, about heaven, a life after death, faith, and love, and other things which are the means of salvation? If man is ignorant of these things, he must remain natural; and a merely natural man cannot have anything in common with the angels of heaven, who are spiritual.

Man has two minds, one exterior, and the other interior the exterior mind is called the natural mind, but the interior is called the spiritual mind; the former is opened by means of the knowledges (cognitiones) of things in the world, but the latter by the knowledges (cognitiones) of things which are in heaven; these the Word teaches, and the church from the Word; by means of these man becomes spiritual, when he knows them and lives according to them.

(References: Revelation 2:10)


[2] This is meant by the words of the Lord in John:

"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (iii. 5):

by water, are signified the truths of faith, and by spirit, a life according to them (as may be seen above, n. 71; and in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 202-209). Very many people believe at this day, that mankind will go to heaven solely by sacred worship performed in temples, and by adorations and prayers; but such of them as are unconcerned about the knowledges (cognitiones) of truth and good from the Word, and who neglect to furnish not only the memory, but also the life, with these, remain natural as before, nor do they become spiritual, because their sacred worship, adorations and prayers, do not proceed from a spiritual origin; for their spiritual mind is not opened by the knowledges of spiritual things and by a life according to them, but is empty; and worship proceeding from what is void is only a natural gesture, within which there is nothing spiritual. If such persons are insincere and unjust as to moral and civil life, then their sacred worship, adorations and prayers are inwardly of such a nature as to repel heaven, instead of which they believe that they receive heaven by this means; for such worship is like a vessel containing putrid or filthy matters, which filter through; it is also like a splendid garment that clothes a body covered with ulcers: I have seen many thousands of such cast into hell. But it is otherwise with the holy worship, the adorations and prayers of those who are in the knowledges of truth and good, and whose life is in accordance with them; with such, those things are pleasing to the Lord, for they are the effects of their spirit in the body, or the effects of their faith and love, and thus are not only natural gestures, but spiritual acts.

From these considerations it is evident that the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, and a life in agreement with them, alone make man spiritual: and that he who is thus made spiritual can be gifted with angelic wisdom from the Lord, together with eternal happiness; nor do the angels derive happiness from any other source than wisdom.

(References: John 3:5; The Apocalypse Explained 71; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 202-209)


[3] The reason why a crown signifies wisdom is, that all those things that clothe man, and distinguish him, derive their signification from that part of him which they clothe or adorn (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 9827), and a crown signifies wisdom, because it is worn on the head, by which in the Word wisdom is signified, for there wisdom resides. Accordingly it is written in Ezekiel:

"I have adorned thee with ornament, and I have placed bracelets upon thy hands; and a chain upon thy neck. Moreover, I have put a jewel upon thy nose, and earrings upon thine ears, and a crown of ornament upon thy head" (xvi. 11, 12).

Jerusalem is here treated of, by which is signified the church, as established by the Lord, and its quality; by the particular adornments here mentioned are meant, in the spiritual sense, such things as belong to the church; these derive their respective significations from the part to which they are applied; by a crown is here meant wisdom. (But what is meant specifically by ornament, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 10,536, 10,540; what by bracelets, n. 3103, 3105; what by a chain, n. 5320; what by a jewel, n. 4551; and what by earrings, n. 4551, 10,402.) Similarly the wisdom that is from the knowledges of truth and good from the Word and from a life according to them, is signified by a crown in many other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah xxviii. 5; Jer. xiii. 18; Lam. v. 15, 16; Ezek. xxi. 25, 26; xxiii. 42; Zech. vi. 11-13; Ps. lxxxix. 38, 39; cxxxii. 17, 18; Job. xix. 9; Apoc. iii. 11; iv. 4. The custom of crowning kings comes down from ancient times, when men were acquainted with representatives and significatives, for they knew that kings represented the Lord as to Divine truth, and that a crown was used to signify wisdom. (That kings represented the Lord as to Divine truth, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4581, 4966, 5068, 6148.) That those who are in truths are called kings and kings' sons (see above, n. 31). And because those who are in the knowledges of truth are called kings in the Word, and kings have crowns, therefore in this place, where they are treated of, it is said that they should receive a crown of life.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 19:9; Arcana Coelestia 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3103, 3105, 4551, 4581, 4966, 5068, 5320, 6148, 9827, 10402, 10536, 10540; Ezekiel 16:11-12, 21:25-26, 23:42; Isaiah 28:5; Jeremiah 13:18; Job 19:9; Lamentations 5:15-16; Psalms 89:38-39, 132:17-18; Revelation 2:10, Revelation 3:11, 4:4; The Apocalypse Explained 31; Zechariah 6:11-14)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 111, 151, 152, 195, 218, 223, 340, 358, 709

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