From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

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
Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3


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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #5620

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

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
Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 The Walk to Emmaus
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3


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

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #5044

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

5044. And the prince of the prison house. That this signifies truth governing in a state of temptations, is evident from the signification of a “prince,” as being primary truth, thus the governing truth, of which presently; and from the signification of a “prison house” as being the vastation of falsity, and consequently temptation (of which above, n. 5038, 5039, 5043). What is meant by truth governing in a state of temptations must first be told. With all who are in temptations there flows in truth from the Lord, which rules and governs the thoughts and raises up the sufferers whenever they fall into doubts and even into despair. This governing truth is that truth and such truth as they have learned from the Word or from doctrine, and have confirmed in themselves. Other truths are indeed at such times also called to mind, but they do not govern the interiors. Sometimes the truth which governs is not presented visibly before the understanding, but lies hid in obscurity, yet it still governs; for the Divine of the Lord flows into it, and thus keeps the interiors of the mind in it, and therefore when it comes into light, the person who is in temptation receives consolation and is relieved.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5038-5039)


[2] It is not this truth itself, but the affection of it, by which the Lord governs those who are in temptations; for the Divine flows only into those things which are of the affection. The truth which is implanted and rooted in a man’s interiors is implanted and rooted by affection, and not at all without affection; and the truth which has been implanted and rooted by affection, clings there, and is recalled by affection; and when this truth is so recalled, it presents the affection that is conjoined with it, which is the man’s reciprocal affection. As such is the case with the man who is in temptations, therefore no one is admitted into any spiritual temptation until he reaches adult age, and has thus become imbued with some truth by which he can be governed; otherwise he sinks under the temptation, and then his latter state is worse than the first. From these things it may be seen what is meant by truth governing in a state of temptations, which is signified by the “prince of the prison house.”

[3] That a “prince” denotes primary truth, is because a “king” in the internal sense signifies truth itself (see n. 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4789, 4966); hence “princes,” because they are the sons of a king, signify the primary things of that truth. That “princes” have this signification may be seen above in n. 1482089, but as this was not there proved from many other passages in the Word, some may be cited here.

In Isaiah:

Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the principality shall be upon His shoulder-the Prince of peace. Of the multiplying of His principality and peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:6-7);

which is said of the Lord. The “principality upon the shoulder” is all Divine truth in the heavens from Him; for the heavens are distinguished into principalities according to truths from good, whence also the angels are called “principalities.” Peace is a state of blessedness in the heavens, affecting with good and truth from the inmosts (n. 3780); hence the Lord is called the “Prince of peace,” and it is said that “of the multiplying of His principality and peace there shall be no end.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1482, 2089)


[4] Again in the same prophet:

The princes of Zoan are foolish, the wise, the counselors of Pharaoh. How say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of the kings of antiquity? The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; and they have seduced Egypt, the corner stone of the tribes (Isaiah 19:11, 13);

treating of Egypt, by which is signified the memory-knowledge of the church (n. 4749), thus natural truth, which is the ultimate of order; wherefore also Egypt is here called the “corner stone of the tribes,” for the “tribes” are all things of truth in one complex (n. 3858, 3862, 3926, 3939, 4060). But in this passage “Egypt” is the memory-knowledge which perverts the truths of the church, thus truths in the ultimate of order falsified, which are the “princes of Zoan” and the “princes of Noph.” He calls himself the “son of the kings of antiquity,” because the memory-knowledges in Egypt were from the truths of the Ancient Church. The truths themselves are signified by “kings,” as was shown above, and the truths of the Ancient Church are signified by the “kings of antiquity.”

[5] Again:

Asshur thinketh not right, and his heart doth not meditate right; for his heart is to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few. For he saith, Are not my princes kings? (Isaiah 10:7-8

“Asshur” denotes reasoning about Divine truths, from which come falsities, thus perverse reasoning (n. 1186). The truths thus falsified, or falsities, which are produced by reasoning and which appear as the veriest truths, are signified by his saying, “Are not my princes kings?” That “Asshur” is reasoning, and that his “princes who are kings” are primary falsities which are believed to be the veriest truths, cannot be seen and thence believed so long as the mind is kept in the historic sense of the letter, and still less if it is in the negative as to there being anything more holy and more universal in the Divine Word than what appears in the letter; and yet in the internal sense by “Asshur” nothing else than reason and reasoning is understood in the Word, and by “kings” truths themselves, and by “princes” the primary things of truth. Nothing is known in heaven of Asshur, and the angels also reject from themselves the idea of a king and a prince; and when they perceive it in man, they transfer it to the Lord, and perceive that which proceeds from the Lord and is the Lord’s in heaven, namely, the Divine truth from His Divine good.

[6] Again:

Asshur shall fall with the sword, not of a man; and the sword, not of a man, shall devour him; his rock shall also pass away by reason of dread, but his princes shall be dismayed by the ensign (Isaiah 31:8-9);

also said of Egypt, which is the memory-knowledge of the church perverted. Reasoning from memory-knowledges about Divine truths, from which come perversion and falsification, is “Asshur,” these truths perverted and falsified are the “princes,” the “sword with which Asshur shall fall” is falsity battling with and vastating truth (n. 2799, 4499). Again:

The strength of Pharaoh shall become to you for a shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt for a reproach, when his princes shall be in Zoan (Isaiah 30:3-4

the “princes in Zoan” denote truths falsified, thus falsities, as above.

[7] Again:

The pelican and the bittern shall possess it; and the owl and the raven shall dwell therein; he shall stretch over it the line of emptiness, and the plummet of a waste. The nobles thereof are not there, they shall call a kingdom, and all her princes shall be nothing (Isaiah 34:11-12).

The “pelican,” the “bittern,” the “owl,” and the “raven,” denote the different kinds of falsity which come into existence when the Divine truths that are in the Word become of no account. The desolation and vastation of truth are signified by the “line of emptiness, and the plummet of a waste;” and the falsities, which to them are primary truths, are signified by “princes.” Again:

I will render profane the princes of holiness, and I will give Jacob for a curse, and Israel for reproaches (Isaiah 43:28);

“to profane the princes of holiness” denotes to profane holy truths; the extirpation of the truth of the external and the internal church is signified by “giving Jacob for a curse, and Israel for reproaches”; that “Jacob” is the external church, and “Israel” the internal, may be seen above (n. 4286).

[8] In Jeremiah:

There shall enter in by the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariot and on horses, they and their princes (Jeremiah 17:25);

one who here understands the Word in the historic sense, cannot be aware that the words store within them anything more deep and holy than that kings and princes would enter in by the gates of the city in chariots and on horses, and he gathers from it that the duration of the kingdom is referred to; but he who knows what a “city,” “kings,” “princes,” the “throne of David,” and “riding in chariot and on horses” signify in the internal sense, sees there things more deep and holy; for the “city” or Jerusalem signifies the spiritual kingdom of the the Lord, (n. 2117, 3654); “kings” signify Divine truths (as shown above); “princes,” the primary things of truth; the “throne of David,” the heaven of the the Lord, (n. 1888); “riding in chariot and on horses,” the spiritual understanding of the church (n. 2760, 2761, 3217).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2760-2761)


[9] Again:

O sword against the Chaldeans, and against the inhabitants of Babylon, and against her princes and against her wise men. O sword against the liars. O sword against her horses and against her chariots (Jeremiah 50:35-37);

a “sword” denotes truth fighting against falsity, and falsity fighting against truth and vastating it (n. 2799, 4499); the “Chaldeans” denote those who profane truths; and the “inhabitants of Babylon,” those who profane good (n. 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1307, 1308, 1321, 1322, 1326, 1327 at the end); “princes” denote the falsities which to such are primary truths; “horses,” the intellectual of the church, and “chariots,” its doctrine, the vastation of which is signified by a “sword against the horses and against the chariots.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1307-1308, 1321-1322, 1326-1327)


[10] Again:

How doth the Lord in His anger cloud over the daughter of Zion! The Lord hath swallowed up, He hath not spared, all the habitations of Jacob; He hath destroyed in His wrath the stronghold of the daughter of Judah; He hath cast them forth to the earth; He hath profaned the kingdom and the princes thereof; the gates have sunk into the earth, and He hath broken the bars in pieces; the king and the princes are among the nations (Lam. 2:1-2, 9).

The “daughter of Zion and of Judah” denotes the celestial church, here this church destroyed; the “kingdom,” the truths of doctrine therein (n. 2547, 4691); the “king,” the truth itself, and the “princes,” its primaries.

[11] Again:

Our skins have been blackened like an oven, because of the storms of famine. They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah, the princes were hanged up by their hand (Lam. 5:10-12);

“the princes being hanged up by their hand” denotes that truths are profaned, for hanging represented the damnation of profanation; and because of this representation, it was also commanded when the people committed whoredom after Baalpeor and worshiped their gods, that the princes should be hanged up before the sun (Numbers 25:1-4); for to commit whoredom after Baalpeor, and to worship their gods, was to profane worship.

In Ezekiel:

The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with astonishment, and the hands of the people of the land shall be terrified; I will deal with them after their way (Ezekiel 7:27); where the “king” in like manner denotes truth in general, and the “prince,” its primaries.

[12] Again:

The prince that is in the midst of them shall be borne upon the shoulder in the dark, and shall go forth; they shall dig through the wall to bring out through it; he will veil over his faces that he see not the earth at his eye (Ezekiel 12:12).

That a “prince” here does not mean a prince, but the truth of the church, is very manifest; and when it is said of this that it shall be “borne on the shoulder in the dark,” it means that with all their might it should be conveyed down among falsities, for “darkness” is falsities; “to veil over the faces” denotes that truth should not be seen at all; his “not seeing the earth at his eye,” means that nothing of the church would be seen. (That the “earth” is the church may be seen above, n. 662, 1066, 1068, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 at the end, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535.) In Hosea:

The sons of Israel shall sit many days, there is no king, and no prince, and no sacrifice, and no pillar, and no ephod, and no teraphim (Hos. 3:4).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)


[13] And in David:

The king’s daughter is all glorious within; and of inweavings of gold is her garment, in needlework shall she be brought to the king; instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons, thou shalt set them for princes in the whole earth (Psalms 45:13-16).

The “king’s daughter” is the Lord’s spiritual kingdom, which is called His spiritual kingdom from the Lord’s Divine truth, here described by her garment of inweavings of gold and of needlework; “sons” are the truths of that kingdom which are from the Lord’s Divine, which must be “princes,” that is, primary truths. The “prince” who together with his possessions in the New Jerusalem and in the new earth is described in Ezekiel (44:3; 45:7-8, 17; 46:8, 10, 12, 16, 18; 48:21) signifies in general the truth which is from the Lord’s Divine; for by the “New Jerusalem,” the “new temple,” and the “new earth” there, is meant the Lord’s kingdom in heaven and on earth, which is there described by representatives such as are found in other parts of the Word.

(References: Genesis 39:22; Psalms 45:13-14, 45:16)


Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 5043, 5047, 5082, 5236, 5290, 5313, 5321, 5323, 5619, 5922, 6015, 6087, 6125, 6148, 6410, 6413, 6432, 6508, 6524, 6651, 6659, 6742, 6745, 6766, 7351, 7524, 8142, 8314, 8330, 8491, 8712, 8904, 9093, 9139, 9144, 9146, 9212, 9222, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 121, 148, 200


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 27, 29, 63, 236, 365

Other New Christian Commentary

Doubt 1

Governor 1

Garment 1

Hang 1

Cord of formlessness, and the stone of the void 1

Plummet, or plumb line of emptiness 1

Government 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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


Translate: