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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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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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Arcana Coelestia #9331

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9331. 'And I will send the hornet before you' means the dread felt by those who are steeped in falsities arising from evil. This is clear from the meaning of 'hornets' as falsities that are stinging and lethal and therefore cause feelings of dread. Terror is used in reference to those immersed in evils, and dread to those steeped in falsities; regarding the terror felt by the former, see above in 9327. The reason why the dread felt by those steeped in falsities is meant by 'hornets' is that these are winged creatures equipped with stings with which they can administer venomous pricks. For living creatures both great and small mean such things as compose human affections, that is, such as are connected with the will, or else they mean such things as compose human thoughts, that is, such as are connected with the understanding. For everything without exception in the human being has connection either with his will or with his understanding. Things that have no connection with one or the other do not exist in the human being, and so are not part of the human being. Creatures that walk and also ones that creep mean affections in both senses, and so mean forms of good or else evils since these belong to the affections, whereas flying creatures, including insects with wings, mean such things as belong to thought in both senses, and so mean truths or else falsities since these belong to thoughts.

Living creatures mean forms of good or else evils, see 9280. Ones that creep mean forms of good or else evils on the external level of the senses, 746, 909, 994. Flying creatures mean truths or falsities, 40, 745, 776, 778, 866, 911, 988, 3219, 5149, 7441. Consequently insects with wings mean the same things, but as they exist on the outermost levels of the human mind.

[2] But falsities, which are the subject now, are of many kinds. There are falsities which do no harm, there are falsities which do slight harm and those which do serious harm, and there are also those which are lethal. What kind they are is recognized from the evils they arise from. Every falsity that is harmful or that is lethal owes its existence to evil; for falsity arising from evil is evil revealing itself in an outward form. In the next life also, when such falsities are represented visually, they are seen as swarms of filthy insects and flying creatures, a terrifying sight that is determined by the type of evil from which the falsities derive. From all this it is evident why it is that the dread felt by those steeped in falsities arising from evil is meant by 'hornets'. Similarly in Deuteronomy,

Jehovah your God will send the hornet among them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you have perished. Deuteronomy 7:20.

[3] Throughout the Word various types of insects are mentioned, and wherever they are mentioned they mean falsities or evils in the outermost levels of the human mind, or the external level of the senses. These evils and falsities have their origin in the illusions of the senses and in various bodily pleasures and appetites, which mislead by means of their allurements and by outward appearances, and cause reason to assent to and so become immersed in falsities arising from evil. This type of falsities is meant by 'the noxious flying insects' of Egypt, see 7441, and likewise by 'the locusts' there, 7643. By 'the frogs' of Egypt reasonings arising from falsities are meant, 7351, 7352, 7384; by 'the lice' there evils of the same kind are meant, 7419; and by 'worms' falsities that devour and torment, 8481.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 7351-7352)


[4] Such evils and falsities are also meant by the various types of insects referred to in the following places: In Isaiah,

It will happen on that day, that Jehovah will whistle for the fly that is in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Asshur. They will come and all of them will rest in the river of desolations, and in the clefts of the rocks, and in all bushes. Isaiah 7:18-19.

This refers to the Lord's Coming, and to the state of the Church then. 'The fly in the farthest part of the rivers of Egypt' is falsity on the outermost levels of the human mind, that is, on the external level of the senses, 7441. 'The bee in the land of Asshur' is falsity perverting reasonings in the mind; for 'Asshur' means reasoning, 1186. 'The river of desolations' is falsity reigning everywhere; 'the clefts of the rocks' are the truths of faith lying in obscurity, because they have been removed from the light of heaven, 8581 (end); and 'bushes' are similar but newly developing truths, 2682.

[5] In Amos,

I struck you with blight and mildew; your very many gardens, and your vineyards, and your fig trees, and your olive trees the caterpillar (eruca) devoured. Amos 4:9.

In Joel,

What the caterpillar (eruca) has left the locust will devour, and what the locust has left the beetle (melolontha) will devour, and what the beetle has left the bruchus 1 will devour. Awake, you drunkards; and wail, all you drinkers of wine, because of the new wine that has been cut off from your mouth. Joel 1:4-5.

In the same prophet,

The threshing-floors are full of clean grain; the presses overflow with new wine and oil. And I will recompense for you the years that the locust has consumed, the beetle (melolontha), and the bruchus, and the caterpillar (eruca), My great army which I sent among you. Joel 2:24-25.

Here falsities and evils on the outermost levels or the external level of the senses of a member of the Church are meant by these types of insects, as is evident from the specific details in these quotations; for they refer to the perversion of the Church's truth and good. What 'the locust' and what 'the bruchus' mean may be seen in 7643; and the fact that the Church's forms of good and its truths in general are meant by 'gardens', 'vineyards', 'fig trees', 'olive trees', 'wine', and 'new wine', which are destroyed by such creatures, has been shown often in explanations.

[6] In David,

He caused frogs to crawl forth onto their land, into the chambers of their kings. He spoke, that a swarm might come, lice in all their borders. Psalms 105:30-31.

This refers to Egypt. What is meant by 'frogs' there, see 7351, 7352, 7384; and what by 'lice', 7419. In Moses,

You will plant and dress vineyards, but not drink wine nor gather [the fruit]; for the worm will eat it. Deuteronomy 28:39.

'The worm' stands for all such falsity and evil in general.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 7351-7352)


[7] In Isaiah,

Do not fear the reproach of man (homo), and do not be dismayed by their slanders. For the moth will devour them as a garment, and the grub will devour them as wool. Isaiah 51:7-8.

'The moth' stands for falsities on the outermost levels of the human mind, and 'the grub' for evils there. For 'a garment' which the moth will devour means the lower or more external truths that belong to the sensory level of the human mind, 2576, 5248, 6377, 6918, 9158, 9212; and 'wool' which the grub will devour means the lower or more external forms of good that belong to the sensory level of the human mind, as is evident from many places in the Word, and also from the meaning of 'a sheep', from which wool is obtained, as the good of charity, 4169. What exactly are the outermost levels of the natural man, which are called those of the senses, and what they are like, see 4009, 5077, 5081, 5084, 5089, 5094, 5125, 5128, 5580, 5767, 5774, 6183, 6201, 6310-6318, 6564, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6624, 6844, 6845, 6948, 6949, 7442, 7645, 7693, 9212, 9216.

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Footnotes:

1. i.e. a (wingless) kind of locust, possibly the larva of a locust

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(References: Arcana Coelestia 6844-6845, 6948-6949; Exodus 23:28)

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Arcana Coelestia 9341, 10236

Apocalypse Revealed 424

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 50, 197


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 543, 650, 946

Other New Christian Commentary

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


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