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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 24:18, Exodus 24:16)


[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 #5319

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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5319. And clothed him in garments of fine linen. That this signifies an external significative of the celestial of the spiritual, and that "garments of fine linen" denote truths from the Divine, is manifest from the signification of "garments" as being truths (see n. 1073, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248). That "garments of fine linen" are truths from the Divine, is because a garment made of fine linen was of purest white and lustrous; and truth from the Divine is represented by garments of such whiteness and luster. The reason is, that the shining whiteness and luster of heaven is from the light that is from the Lord, and this light is the Divine truth itself (n. 1053, 1521-1533, 1619-1632, 2776, 3195, 3222, 3339, 3485, 3636, 3643, 3862, 4415, 4419, 4526, 5219); and therefore when the Lord was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, His garments appeared "as the light" (Matthew 17:2); "shining, exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them" (Mark 9:3); and "glistening" (Luke 9:29). It was the Divine truth itself that is from the Lord's Divine Human that was thus represented. Yet it is exterior truths that are represented by the white radiance of garments in the heavens, and interior truths by the brightness and resplendence of the face. Hence it is that to be "clothed in garments of fine linen" is here an external significative of the truth proceeding from the celestial of the spiritual; for it was in this that the Divine of the Lord then was.

[2] By "fine linen" and "garments of fine linen" in other parts of the Word also is signified truth from the Divine, as in Ezekiel:

I clothed thee with broidered work, and shod thee with badger, and I girded thee with fine linen, and covered thee with silk; thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy garments were of fine linen and silk and broidered work (Ezekiel 16:10, 13);

speaking of Jerusalem, by which in these verses is meant the Ancient Church. The truths of that church are described by "garments of broidered work, fine linen, and silk," and by being "decked with gold and silver." By "broidered work" are signified truths that are a matter of memory-knowledge; by "fine linen," natural truths; and by "silk," spiritual truths.

[3] Again:

Of fine linen in broidered work from Egypt was thy sail, that it might be to thee for an ensign; blue and crimson from the Isles of Elishah was thy covering (Ezekiel 27:7);

speaking of Tyre, by which also is meant the Ancient Church, but as to knowledges of good and truth; and by "fine linen in broidered work from Egypt of which was her sail," is signified truth from memory-knowledges, as a sign or external significative of that church.

[4] In Revelation:

The merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over Babylon, for no man buyeth their merchandise any more; merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stone, and pearl, and fine linen, and crimson, and silk, and every vessel of ivory, and every vessel of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble (Revelation 18:11-12);

in this passage all and each of the expressions signify such things as are of the church, thus such as are of truth and good; but here in the opposite sense, because spoken of Babylon. Everyone can see that such things would never have been enumerated in the Word which came down from heaven, unless there was something heavenly in each one; for why should mention be made of worldly wares in treating of Babylon, by which is signified the profane church?

[5] Again in the same:

Woe, woe, the great city, she that was clothed in fine linen, and crimson, and scarlet, and gilded with gold, and precious stone, and pearls (Revelation 18:16).

That every detail here signifies some heavenly Divine thing is obvious in the same book, where it is said of fine linen that it is the "righteousness of the saints":

The time of the wedding of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. Then to her was granted that she should be clothed in fine linen, clean and bright; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints (Revelation 19:7-8

that "fine linen is the righteousness of the saints" is because all who are in truth from the Divine put on the Lord's righteousness; for their garments are white and shining from the light that is from the Lord, and therefore truth itself is represented in heaven by what is shining white (n. 3301, 3993, 4007). It is for this reason also that they who are taken up into heaven out of a state of vastation appear clad in shining white, because they then put off that which is of their own righteousness, and put on that which is of the Lord's righteousness.

[6] In order that truth from the Divine might be represented in the Jewish Church, it was commanded that there should be fine linen in the garments of Aaron, and also in the curtains about the ark, as we read in Moses:

For Aaron thou shalt weave the tunic in checker work of fine linen, and thou shalt make a miter of fine linen (Exodus 28:39).

They made the tunics of fine linen the work of the weaver for Aaron, and for his sons (Exodus 39:27).

Thou shalt make the habitation with ten curtains; of fine twined linen, and blue, and crimson, and scarlet double-dyed (Exodus 26:1; 36:8).

Thou shalt make the court of the habitation, there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen (Exodus 27:9, 18; 38:9).

The veil for the gate of the court was the work of the embroiderer, of blue, and crimson, and scarlet double-dyed, and fine twined linen (Exodus 37:18).

Fine linen was to be used because all things in the ark and about it, and also all things upon Aaron's garments, were representative of spiritual and celestial things. This shows how little the Word is understood when it is not known what things like these represent, and that it is scarcely understood at all when it is believed that there is no other holiness in the Word than that which appears in the letter.

(References: Exodus 38:18)


[7] That angels who are in truth from the Divine appear clothed as in fine linen, that is, in what is white and shining, appears from Revelation in connection with the "white horse":

He that sat upon the white horse was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood; and His name is called the Word. His armies in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Revelation 19:13-14).

From all this it is very evident that fine linen is an outward thing significative of truth from the Divine; for He that sat upon the white horse is the Lord as to the Word, as is there openly said, and the "Word" is truth itself from the Divine. That the "white horse" is the internal sense of the Word may be seen above (n. 2760-2762); hence "white horses" are truths from the Divine, for all things of the internal sense of the Word are truths from the Divine, and therefore His armies were seen upon white horses, and were clothed in fine linen white and clean.

(References: Genesis 41:42; Revelation 19:11)

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