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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 #6148

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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6148. Only the ground of the priests bought he not. That this signifies that the internal procured for itself from the natural, capacities to receive good, because these are from itself, is evident from the representation of Joseph, of whom these things are said, as being the internal (of which above); from the signification of the “ground,” as being the receptacle of truth (of which also above, n. 6135-6137), here the capacity to receive good, for capacity is receptibility, and this must be within it, in order that a receptacle may be a receptacle. This capacity comes from good, that is, through good from the Lord; for unless the good of love flowed in from the Lord, no man would have the capacity to receive either truth or good. It is the influx of good of love from the Lord which causes all things within man to be disposed for reception. That the capacity to receive good is from the natural, is signified by the ground being in Egypt, for by “Egypt” is signified the natural in respect to memory-knowledges (n. 6142). The internal sense as given above is further evident from the signification of “priests,” as being good (of which in what follows); and from the signification of “not buying,” as being not to appropriate to himself these capacities as he had appropriated to himself truths and the goods of truth with their receptacles (which was done by means of desolations and sustainings), for the reason that these capacities were from himself, that is, from the internal. Thus it is that by these words, “Only the ground of the priests bought he not” is signified that the internal procured for itself from the natural, capacities to receive good, because these are from itself.

[2] The case herein is this. The capacities in man to receive truth and good are immediately from the Lord, nor does man render any aid in the procuring of them. For man is always kept in the capacity to receive good and truth, and from this capacity he has understanding and will; but a man’s not receiving them is the result of his turning to evil: the capacity does indeed then remain, but the approach to the thought and feeling of them is closed against him; and therefore the capacity to see truth and feel good perishes in proportion as a man turns himself to evil and confirms himself therein in life and faith. That man contributes nothing whatever to the capacity to receive truth and good, is known from the doctrine of the church, that nothing of the truth of faith and nothing of the good of charity comes from man, but that all comes from the Lord. Nevertheless a man can destroy this capacity in himself. From this it may now be seen how it is to be understood that the internal procured for itself from the natural, capacities to receive good, because these are from itself. It is said “from the natural,” because the influx of good from the Lord is effected by the Lord through the internal into the natural. When a capacity to receive has been acquired in the natural, then there is influx, for then there is reception (as may be seen above, n. 5828).

[3] In regard to goods being signified by “priests,” be it known that there are two things which proceed from the Lord, namely, good and truth. The Divine good was represented by priests, and the Divine truth by kings. Hence it is that by “priests” are signified goods, and by “kings” truths. (Concerning the priesthood and royalty which are predicated of the Lord, see n. 1728, 2015, 3670.) In the Ancient Representative Church the priesthood and the royalty were joined together in one person, because the good and truth which proceed from the Lord are united, and in heaven with the angels are also joined together.

[4] The person in whom these two things in the Ancient Church were joined together was called “Melchizedek,” or “King of Righteousness,” as may be seen from the Melchizedek who came to Abraham, of whom it is thus written:

Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was priest to God Most High; and he blessed Abraham (Genesis 14:18-19).

That he represented the Lord as to both is manifest from the fact that he was king and at the same time priest, and that he was allowed to bless Abraham and to offer him bread and wine, which at that time also were symbols of the good of love and the truth of faith. That Melchizedek represented the Lord as to both is further manifest from David:

Jehovah hath sworn and He will not repent, Thou art a priest eternally after the manner of Melchizedek (Psalms 110:4);

which was said of the Lord; “after the manner of Melchizedek” means that he was both king and priest, that is, in the supreme sense, that from Him proceed the Divine good and the Divine truth together.

(References: Genesis 4:18-19)

[5] Moreover as a representative church was instituted with the posterity of Jacob, therefore in one person conjointly was represented the Divine good and the Divine truth which proceed united from the Lord. But on account of the wars and of the idolatry of that people, these two offices were at first divided, and they who ruled over the people were called “leaders,” and afterward “judges;” while they who officiated in holy things were called “priests,” and were of the seed of Aaron, and Levites. Yet afterward these two offices were joined together in one person, as in Eli and in Samuel. But because the people were of such a character that a representative church could not be instituted among them, but only the representative of a church, by reason of the idolatrous disposition which prevailed among them, therefore it was permitted that the two offices should be separated, and that the Lord as to Divine truth should be represented by kings, and as to Divine good by priests. That this was done at the will of the people, and not of the Lord’s good pleasure, is manifest from the word of Jehovah unto Samuel:

Obey the voice of the people in all that they shall say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them; and thou shalt show them the king’s right (1 Samuel 8:7 to22 (1_Samuel 12:19-20) he end; 12:19, 20).

(References: 1 Samuel 8:7-22, 12:19-20)

[6] The reason why these two offices were not to be separated, was that the Divine truth separated from the Divine good condemns everyone; whereas the Divine truth united to the Divine good saves. For from the Divine truth man is condemned to hell, but by the Divine good he is taken out therefrom, and is elevated into heaven. Salvation is of mercy, thus from the Divine good; but damnation is when man refuses mercy, and thus rejects from himself the Divine good; wherefore he is left to judgment from truth. (That kings represented the Divine truth may be seen, n. 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068.)

[7] That priests represented the Lord as to Divine good, and that from this they signify good, may be seen from all those things in the internal sense which were instituted with respect to the priesthood when Aaron was chosen, and afterward the Levites; as that the high priest alone should enter into the Holy of holies and there minister; that the holy things of Jehovah should be for the priest (Leviticus 23:20; 27:21); that they should not have a portion and inheritance in the land, but that Jehovah should be their portion and inheritance (Numbers 18:20; Deuteronomy 10:9; 18:1); that the Levites were given to Jehovah instead of the firstborn, and that by Jehovah they were given to Aaron (Numbers 3:9, 12-13, 40, {ign3}; 8:16-19); that the high priest with the Levites should be in the midst of the camp when they pitched and when they set forward (Numbers 1:50-54; 2:17; 3:23-38; 4:1 {ign3}); that no one of the seed of Aaron in whom was any blemish should come near to offer burnt-offerings and sacrifices (Leviticus 21:17-21); besides many other things (see Leviticus 21:9-13, and elsewhere).

(References: Leviticus 16, 21:17-20; Numbers 3:40-51, 4)

[8] All these things represented in the supreme sense the Divine good of the Lord, and thus in the relative sense the good which is of love and of charity. But the garments of Aaron, which were called the “garments of holiness,” represented the Divine truth from the Divine good; concerning which garments of the Lord’s Divine mercy more shall be said in the explications of what is written in Exodus.

[9] As truth is signified by “kings,” and good by “priests,” therefore in the Word “kings and priests” are frequently mentioned together; as in Revelation:

Jesus Christ hath made us kings and priests to God and His Father (Revelation 1:5-6; 5:10);

“kings” are said to be “made” from the truth which is of faith, and “priests” from the good which is of charity. Thus with those who are in the Lord truth and good are joined together, as they are in heaven (as was said above), and this is meant by “being made kings and priests.”

(References: Revelation 1:6)

[10] In Jeremiah:

It shall come to pass in that day that the heart of the king and of the princes shall perish; and the priests shall be amazed; and the prophets shall wonder (Jeremiah 4:9).


The house of Israel are ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets (Jeremiah 2:26).


The kings of Judah, the princes, the priests, and the prophets, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 8:1).

In these passages “kings” denote truths; “princes,” primary truths (n. 1482, 2089, 5044); “priests,” goods; and “prophets,” those who teach (n. 2534).

[11] Be it known further that the fact of Joseph’s not buying the ground of the priests was a representative that all capacity to receive truth and good is from the Lord, is evident from a similar law concerning the fields of the Levites in Moses:

The field of the suburbs of the cities of the Levites may not be sold; for it is their eternal possession (Leviticus 25:34);

by this is meant in the internal sense that no man ought to claim for himself anything of the good of the church, which is the good of love and of charity, because this is from the Lord alone.

(References: Genesis 47:22)

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