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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


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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Arcana Coelestia #5620

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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5620. A little resin and a little honey. That this signifies the truths of good of the exterior natural and its delight, is evident from the signification of “resin,” as being the truth of good or truth from good (see n. 4748). The reason why “resin” has this signification is that it ranks among unguents, and also among aromatics. “Aromatics” signify such things as are of truth from good, especially if they are of an unctuous nature, and so partake of oil; for “oil” signifies good (n. 886, 3728, 4582). That this resin was aromatic, may be seen in Genesis 37:25; and for this reason also the same word in the original means balsam. That it was like an ointment or thick oil, is evident. This then is the reason why by “resin” is signified the truth of good which is in the natural, here in the exterior, because “resin” is put first and joined with “honey,” which is the delight therein. That “honey” denotes delight is because it is sweet, and everything sweet in the natural world corresponds to what is delightful and pleasant in the spiritual world. The reason why it is called its delight, that is, the delight of truth from good in the exterior natural, is that every truth and especially every truth of good has its own delight; but a delight from the affection of these, and from the derivative use.

[2] That “honey” is delight is evident also from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah:

A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel [God with us]. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good (Isaiah 7:14-15);

speaking of the Lord; “butter” denotes the celestial; “honey,” that which is from the celestial.

[3] In the same:

It shall come to pass for the multitude of milk that they shall yield, he shall eat butter; and butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left in the midst of the land (Isaiah 7:22);

speaking of the Lord’s kingdom; “milk” denotes spiritual good; “butter,” celestial good; and “honey,” that which is from them, thus what is happy, pleasant, and delightful.

[4] In Ezekiel:

Thus wast thou adorned with gold and silver; and thy garments were of fine linen and silk and broidered work. Thou didst eat fine flour and honey and oil; so thou becamest beautiful very exceedingly, and thou didst prosper even unto a kingdom. With fine flour and oil and honey I fed thee; but thou didst set it before them for an odor of rest (Ezekiel 16:13, 19);

speaking of Jerusalem, by which is meant the spiritual church, the quality of which is described as it was with the ancients, and as it afterward became. Her being “adorned with gold and silver” denotes with celestial and spiritual good and truth; her “garments of fine linen, silk, and broidered work” denotes truths in the rational and in each natural; “fine flour” denotes the spiritual; “honey,” its pleasantness; and “oil,” its good. That such things as belong to heaven are signified by these particulars can be seen by anyone.

[5] In the same:

Judah and the land of Israel were thy traders, in wheat of Minnith, and pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm (Ezekiel 27:17);

speaking of Tyre, by which is signified the spiritual church such as it was in the beginning and such as it afterward became, but in respect to the knowledges of good and truth (n. 1201). “Honey” here also denotes the pleasantness and delight from the affections of knowing and learning celestial and spiritual goods and truths.

[6] In Moses:

Thou makest him ride on the high places of the earth, and he eats the produce of the fields. He maketh him suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flint of the rock (Deuteronomy 32:13);

here also treating of the Ancient spiritual Church; “to suck honey out of the rock” denotes delight from truths of memory-knowledge.

[7] In David:

I feed them with the fat of wheat, and with honey out of the rock I sate them (Psalms 81:16);

“to sate with honey out of the rock” denotes to fill with delight from the truths of faith.

[8] In Deuteronomy:

Jehovah bringeth me unto a good land, a land of rivers of water, of fountains and of deeps that go out from the valley, and from the mountain; a land of wheat and barley, and of vine and of fig and of pomegranate; a land of oil olive and of honey (Deuteronomy 8:7-8);

speaking of the land of Canaan; in the internal sense, of the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens. A “land of oil olive and of honey” denotes spiritual good and its pleasantness.

[9] Hence also the land of Canaan was called:

A land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 13:27; 14:8; Deuteronomy 26:9, 15; 27:3; Jeremiah 11:5; 32:22; Ezekiel 20:6).

In the internal sense of these passages by the “land of Canaan” is meant, as before said, the Lord’s kingdom; “flowing with milk” denotes an abundance of celestial spiritual things; and “with honey,” an abundance of derivative happiness and delights.

(References: Numbers 14:7-8)


[10] In David:

The judgments of Jehovah are truth, righteous are they together; more to be desired are they than gold and much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the dropping of the honeycombs (Psalms 19:9-10).

The “judgments of Jehovah” denote truth Divine; “sweeter than honey and the dropping of the honeycombs” denotes delights from good and pleasantnesses from truth. Again:

Sweet are Thy words to my palate, sweeter than honey to my mouth (Psalms 119:103); where the meaning is similar.

[11] The manna that Jacob’s posterity had for bread in the wilderness is thus described in Moses:

The manna was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like a cake kneaded with honey (Exodus 16:31);

as the manna signified the truth Divine that descends through heaven from the Lord, it consequently signified the Lord Himself as to the Divine Human, as He Himself teaches in John 6:51, 58; for it is the Lord’s Divine Human from which all truth Divine comes, yea, of which all truth Divine treats; and this being so, the manna is described in respect to delight and pleasantness by the taste, that it was “like a cake kneaded with honey.” (That the taste denotes the delight of good and the pleasantness of truth may be seen above, n. 3502)

[12] As John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, which is the Divine truth on earth, in like manner as Elijah (n. 2762, 5247), he was therefore the “Elijah who was to come” before the Lord (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:10-12; Mark 9:11-13; Luke 1:17); wherefore his clothing and food were significative, of which we read in Matthew:

John had his clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loin; and his meat was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6).

The “clothing of camel’s hair” signified that the Word, such as is its literal sense as to truth (which sense is a clothing for the internal sense), is natural; for what is natural is signified by “hair,” and also by “camels;” and the “meat being of locusts and wild honey” signified the Word such as is its literal sense as to good; the delight of this is signified by “wild honey.”

[13] The delight of truth Divine in respect to the external sense is also described by “honey” in Ezekiel:

He said unto me, Son of man, feed thy belly and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. And when I ate it, it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness (Ezekiel 3:3).

And in John:

The angel said unto me, Take the little book and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. So I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; but when I had eaten it my belly was made bitter. Then he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings (Revelation 10:9-11).

The “roll” in Ezekiel, and the “little book” in John, denote truth Divine. That in the external form this appears delightful, is signified by the flavor being “sweet as honey;” for truth Divine, like the Word, is delightful in the external form or in the literal sense because this admits of being unfolded by interpretations in everyone’s favor. But not so the internal sense, which is therefore signified by the “bitter” taste; for this sense discloses man’s interiors. The reason why the external sense is delightful, is as before said that the things in it can be unfolded favorably; for they are only general truths, and general truths are susceptible of this before they are qualified by particulars, and these by singulars. It is delightful also because it is natural, and what is spiritual conceals itself within. Moreover, it must be delightful in order that man may receive it, that is, be introduced into it, and not be deterred at the very threshold.

[14] The “honeycomb and broiled fish” that the Lord ate with the disciples after His resurrection, also signified the external sense of the Word (the “fish” as to its truth and the “honeycomb” as to its pleasantness), in regard to which we read in Luke:

Jesus said, Have ye here anything to eat? They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of a honeycomb, and He took them and did eat before them (Luke 24:41-43).

And because these things are signified, the Lord therefore said to them:

These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me (Luke 24:44).

It appears as if such things were not signified, because their having a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb seems as if fortuitous; nevertheless it was of providence, and not only this, but also all other, even the least, of the things that occur in the Word. As such things were signified, therefore the Lord said of the Word that in it were written the things concerning Himself. Yet the things written of the Lord in the literal sense of the Old Testament are few; but those in its internal sense are all so written, for from this is the holiness of the Word. This is what is meant by His saying that “all things must be fulfilled which are written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Him.”

(References: Luke 24:41-44)


[15] From all this it may now be seen that by “honey” is signified the delight that is from good and truth, or from the affection of them, and that there is specifically signified external delight, thus the delight of the exterior natural. As this delight is of such a nature as to be from the world through the things of the senses, and thereby contains within it many things from the love of the world, the use of honey in the meat-offerings was therefore forbidden, as in Leviticus:

No meat-offering which ye shall bring unto Jehovah shall be made with leaven; for there shall be no leaven, nor any honey, from what ye burn with fire to Jehovah (Leviticus 2:11); where “honey” denotes such external delight, which, because it contains in it what partakes of the love of the world, was also like leaven, and was on this account forbidden. (What “leaven” or “leavened” means may be seen above, n. 2342)

(References: Genesis 43:12; Luke 24:41-44)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 6857, 7643, 8056, 8522, 9372, 9780, 10137, 10530

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 47, 121, 196


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 513

Other New Christian Commentary

Gum 1

Honey 1

Honey-comb 1

Roll and little book 1

Sweet 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
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Arcana Coelestia #2576

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2576. Behold it is unto thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee. That this signifies that rational truths are like a covering or clothing to spiritual truths, is evident from the signification of a “covering” (concerning which presently); and from the signification of the “eyes,” as being things intellectual (as is evident from very many passages in the Word); and also from the signification of “seeing,” as being to understand (n. 2150, 2325). Everyone can see that in everything in this verse there are arcana which cannot be revealed except by some interior sense; such as the statement that he gave a thousand of silver, and that this is said to have been given, not to her husband, but to her brother; that it was a covering of the eyes both to her and to all that were with her, and also with all; and that thereby she was vindicated. Many historical conjectures might possibly be drawn from the sense of the letter, but without having anything spiritual in them, still less anything Divine; and yet this is what the Word is.

[2] As regards rational truths being like a covering or clothing to spiritual truths, the case is this: Man’s inmost things are those of his soul, and his outer things are those of his body; the former are goods and truths, from which the soul has its life, for otherwise the soul would not be a soul: the latter draw their life therefrom, and are all like a body, or what is the same, a covering or clothing. This is especially evident from the things that appear in the other life; as from angels when presented to view; for their interiors shine forth from their faces; their exteriors being represented in both their bodies and their dress; and this so fully that everyone there can know their quality from their garments alone; for these are real substances, and thus essences in form. The same is the case with the angels seen and described in respect to their faces and dress in the Word, such as those seen in the Lord’s sepulcher (Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5); and the four and twenty elders around the throne (Revelation 4:4); and others. Nor is this the case with the angels only, but also with all other things that are mentioned in the Word, even those which are inanimate; in all cases their exteriors are a covering or clothing; as for example the ark of the covenant and the tent that was round about it; the ark, being the inmost, represented the Lord Himself, for therein was the Testimony; and the tent outside of it represented the Lord’s kingdom. The clothing, that is, the veils and coverings, each and all represented the more exterior celestial and spiritual things in His kingdom, that is, in the three heavens; as is evident from the fact that the form of the Tent was shown to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9; 26:30). From this it had its holiness, and not from the gold, the silver, and the carvings, that were in it.

[3] Since rational truths are now treated of, as being a kind of veil or clothing to spiritual truths, and as the tent is described in Moses in respect to its clothing or coverings, and also in respect to its veils which were before the entrance, for the sake of illustration we may explain what was specifically signified by the veils; but what was signified by the encompassing coverings will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be told elsewhere. The veils of the tent were three: the first, which made the division between the holy and the holy of holies; the second, which is called the hanging for the door of the tent; and the third, which was the hanging for the gate of the court.

[4] Concerning the veil itself, which was the first, before the ark, we read in Moses:

Thou shalt make a veil of hyacinthine, and bright crimson, and double-dyed scarlet, and fine twined linen, the work of a designer, thou shall make it with cherubim; and thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, and their hooks of gold; upon four bases of silver; and thou shalt hang the veil under the clasps; and thou shalt bring in thither, within the veil, the Ark of the Testimony; and the veil shall divide unto you between the Holy and the Holy of Holies (Exodus 26:31-34; 36:35-36).

This veil represented the nearest and inmost appearances of rational good and truth, in which are the angels of the third heaven; which appearances are described by the hyacinthine, the bright crimson, the double-dyed scarlet, and the fine twined linen; in which the red color represented the goods of love, and the white its truths. The same is true also of the gold and silver with which the pillars were overlaid, and of which the hooks and the bases were made. (That colors are representative may be seen above, n. 1042, 1043, 1053, 1624; that “gold” is the good of love, n. 113, 1551, 1552; and that “silver” is truth, n. 1551, 2048)

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


[5] From this we can see what is signified by the veil of the temple being rent in twain (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45), namely, that the Lord entered into the Divine Itself by dispersing all appearances; and that He at the same time opened the way to His Divine Itself through His Human made Divine.

[6] Concerning the second veil, or the hanging for the door of the tent, we read in Moses:

Thou shalt make a hanging for the door of the tent, of hyacinthine, and bright crimson, and double-dyed scarlet, and fine-twined linen, the work of the embroiderer; and thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold; and thou shalt cast for them five bases of brass (Exodus 26:36-37; 36:37-38).

By this hanging were represented appearances of good and truth that are lower or more external than the former, that is, the middle ones of the rational, in which are the angels of the second heaven; which appearances are described almost in the same manner as the first, with the difference however that for this hanging there were five pillars and five bases, by which number is signified what is comparatively but little; for these appearances do not so cohere together, or are not so heavenly, as are the appearances of the inmost or third heaven. (Concerning the number five as meaning a little, see above, n. 649, 1686.) And because these appearances look to natural things, it was commanded that the bases should be cast of brass; for by brass was represented and signified natural good (n. 425, 1551).

[7] Concerning the third veil, or the hanging for the gate of the court, we read in Moses:

For the gate of the court shall be a hanging of twenty cubits, of hyacinthine, and bright crimson, and double-dyed scarlet, and fine-twined linen, the work of the embroiderer; their pillars four, and their bases four; all the pillars of the court round about shall be filleted with silver, their hooks of silver, but their bases of brass (Exodus 27:16-17; 38:18-19).

By this hanging were represented still lower or more external appearances of good and truth, which are the lowest ones of the rational, in which are the angels of the first heaven. As these appearances correspond to interior things, they are described in a similar manner, yet with the difference that these pillars were not overlaid with gold, but filleted with silver, and that the hooks were of silver, by which are signified rational truths that derive their origin immediately from memory-knowledges; and the bases were of brass, by which are signified natural goods. All this shows that there was nothing in the Tent that was not representative of the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord’s kingdom, or that all things were made according to the type of celestial and spiritual things in the three heavens; also that the veilings or coverings signified the things that are like a body or dress around or without the inmost.

[8] Moreover that “veilings,” “coverings,” “clothing,” or “garments” signify relatively lower truths, is evident from many passages in the Word, as in Ezekiel:

Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was thy spread of sail; hyacinthine and bright crimson from the isles of Elishah was thy covering (Ezekiel 27:7); where Tyre is treated of, by which are signified interior knowledges of celestial and spiritual things, and consequently those who are in them (n. 1201); “broidered work from Egypt” denotes what is of memory-knowledge (that “Egypt” denotes this may be seen above, n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462); “hyacinthine and bright crimson from the isles of Elishah, which was the covering,” denote the rituals that correspond to internal worship ( n. 1156).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1156, 1164-1165)


[9] In the same:

All the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay aside their robes, and put off their broidered garments; they shall be clothed with tremblings, they shall sit upon the earth (Ezekiel 26:16);

also speaking of Tyre “robes” and “broidered garments” denote knowledges derived from the contents of the memory [cognitionibus ex scientificis], and thus lower truths.

[10] In the same:

I clothed thee with broidered work, and shod thee with badger, and girded thee about with fine linen, and covered thee with silk; I decked thee also with ornaments, and put bracelets upon thy hands, and a necklace upon thy throat. Thou didst take of thy garments, and madest for thee high places with divers colors, and didst commit whoredom upon them; thou tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them (Ezekiel 16:10-11, 16, 18);

speaking of Jerusalem, which is the spiritual church, described as it was of old, and such as it was afterwards, when perverted: its lower spiritual things and its doctrinal matters are the “garments of broidered work, fine linen, and silk.”

[11] In Isaiah:

The Lord Jehovih Zebaoth doth take away from Jerusalem the whole staff of bread and the staff of water. Then shall a man take hold of his brother, of the house of his father-Thou hast a garment, be thou our prince. In that day he shall lift up his voice, saying, I will not be a binder up, and in my house there is neither bread, nor garment; ye shall not make me a prince of the people. The Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion; and in that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their anklets, and their network, and crescents, and their collars, and chains, and plates; and the headtires, and the ankle chains, and the sashes, and the soul houses, and the ear-drops; the rings, and the nose jewels, the festival garments, and the mantles, and the robes, and the satchels, the mirrors, and the fine linen, and the turbans, and the cloaks (Isaiah 3:1, 6-7, 17-24).

“Jerusalem” denotes the spiritual church; “Judah” the celestial church; the “staff of bread and the staff of water, which will be removed,” denote good and truth; the “garment which the prince should have,” the truths which are of doctrine; the clothing and various ornaments of the daughters of Zion, which are enumerated, all and each, the kinds and varieties of good and truth, of which they would be deprived. Unless everything here mentioned signified something peculiar to the church, they would not be of the Word, in every expression of which there is what is Divine; but they are predicated of the daughters of Zion, and by these are signified the things of the church, as may be seen above (n. 2362).

(References: Isaiah 3:17-23)


[12] In the same:

Awake! awake! put on thy strength, O Zion; put on the garments of thy beauty, O Jerusalem, the city of holiness; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean (Isaiah 52:1-2);

“Zion” denotes the celestial church; “Jerusalem” the spiritual church; and “garments of beauty” the holy things of faith. In the same:

Their webs shall not become a garment, neither shall they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity (Isaiah 59:6);

“webs” denote fictitious truths that do not become a garment; a “garment” denotes the exterior truths of doctrine and of worship; hence it is said, “neither shall they cover themselves with their works.”

[13] In the same:

Rejoicing I will rejoice in Jehovah, my soul shall exult in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

The “garments of salvation” denote the truths of faith; and the “robe of righteousness” the good of charity.

In John:

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis that have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy; he that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment (Revelation 3:4-5).

Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked (Revelation 16:15).

In the same:

Upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white garments (Revelation 4:4); where it is manifest that the “garments” are not garments, but the spiritual things of truth.

[14] So where the Lord said in reference to the consummation of the age that they should not return back to take their garments (Matthew 24:18; Mark 13:16), where that “garments” are truths may be seen above (n. 2454). Also in regard to the one not clothed in a wedding garment (Matthew 22:11-12). And concerning John:

What went ye out to see? a man clothed in bright 1 garments? Behold they that wear bright 1 garments are in kings’ houses (Matthew 11:8; Luke 7:25);

meaning that they were not in the externals of doctrine and worship, but in the internals; on which account He adds:

What went ye out to see? a prophet? yea, I say unto you and more than a prophet (Matthew 11:9);

a “prophet” denotes the externals of doctrine and of worship.

[15] As “garments” signified truths of every kind, it was commanded that the sons of Israel on going out of Egypt should borrow gold and silver, and garments, and put them upon their sons (Exodus 3:22; 12:35-36); also that garments of various kinds, or mixed garments, should not be worn (Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:11); and that they should make for themselves fringes on the borders of their garments, and should put a blue thread there, and that when they saw it they should call to mind the commandments, and do them (Numbers 15:38-40).

[16] Formerly also they rent their garments (as is seen in Josh. 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); by which was signified zeal for doctrine and truth, which was thus torn to pieces; and also humiliation, because there was nothing appertaining to them that is signified by the adornment of garments.

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


[17] That such things are signified by “veilings,” “coverings,” “clothing,” or “garments” is also manifest from the prophecy of Jacob, then Israel:

He shall bind his foal to the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he shall wash his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes (Genesis 49:11);

what these words signify can be known to none except from the internal sense; namely a “vine,” a “choice vine,” a “foal,” an “ass’s colt,” “wine,” the “blood of grapes,” “garments,” and “clothes”; but it is evident that they are predicated of the Lord, who is here called “Shiloh.” The subject spoken of is Judah, by whom is represented the Lord’s Divine celestial; and by the “garments he should wash in wine,” and “the vesture he should wash in the blood of grapes” are signified the Lord’s rational and natural, which He should make Divine.

[18] In like manner in Isaiah:

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah; this that is glorious in his apparel, marching in the multitude of his strength? Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garment like him that treadeth in the wine vat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the peoples there was none with me; their victory is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my raiment (Isaiah 63:1-3); where also “garments” and “raiment” denote the Lord’s Human which of His own power He made Divine by combats of temptations and by victories; on which account it is said, “I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the peoples there was none with me.” Isaac’s smelling the smell of Esau’s garments, and so blessing him (Genesis 27:27), involved the same.

[19] The Holy itself of the Lord’s Divine Human was also a garment which appeared as the light, and as white and glistening, when He was transfigured, concerning which we read in Matthew:

When Jesus was transfigured, His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became as the light (Matthew 17:2).

In Luke:

When Jesus prayed, the appearance of His countenance was changed, and His raiment became white and glistening (Luke 9:29).

And in Mark:

When Jesus was transfigured, His garments became shining, exceeding white like snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them (Mark 9:3).

The garments of holiness with which Aaron was clothed when he entered within the veil, and which were of linen, had a similar representation (Leviticus 16:2, 4): likewise the garments of holiness that were for glory and for beauty; and those of his ministry (Exodus 28:2 {ign3}, and 39:1 the end): for in these there was not one whit that was not representative.

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Footnotes:

1. Splendidis and splendida; but mollibus and mollia in n. 9372. [Rotch ed.]

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

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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 unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 9, 31, 38, 64, 240

Other New Christian Commentary

Garments 1

Rending the garments 1

Robe of righteousness 1

Veil 1

Veil of the temple being rent in twain 1

Wash in wine and in the blood of grapes 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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