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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 #6914

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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6914. And I will give this people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. That this signifies the fear of those who are in falsities before those who are of the spiritual church, by reason of the plagues, is evident from the signification of "giving favor," as being fear by reason of plagues (of which below); from the representation of the sons of Israel, who are here "the people," as being those who are of the spiritual church (see n. 6637); and from the representation of the Egyptians, as being those who are in falsities (of which frequently above). That "to give favor in the eyes of the Egyptians" signifies fear by reason of plagues with those who are in falsities, is evident from the meaning of the things in the internal sense, for those who are in falsities are treated of, who are signified by the "Egyptians," in that truths and goods were to be taken away from them, and to be transferred to those who are of the spiritual church; and as those who are in falsities are treated of, by "favor" is not meant favor, for they who are in falsities and evils never have any favor for anyone; but if they benefit anyone, or do not injure him, it is from fear of plagues; this is the source of their favor, and this is the "favor" which is here meant in the internal sense. The internal sense sets forth things such as they are, not such as they are presented in the letter; and applies each to the subject. That this is so, is plain also from what follows concerning the Egyptians, in that they did not let the sons of Israel go from any favor, but from fear on account of further plagues (Exodus 11:1; 12:33).

[2] As the spoiling of the Egyptians is treated of in these two verses by the women of Israel asking from the Egyptian women silver, gold, and garments, and as it cannot possibly be known how this is, except from revelation about the things that take place in the other life, for the internal sense involves such things as take place among angels and spirits, therefore it shall be told. That before the Lord's coming the lower part of heaven was occupied by evil genii and spirits, and that they were afterward expelled thence and that region given to those of the spiritual church, may be seen above (n. 6858). So long as the evil genii and spirits were there, they were under the continual view of the angels of the higher heaven, and by this they were restrained from doing evils openly. At this day also some who are more deceitful than others, because they deceive by a pretence of innocence and charity, are under the view of the celestials, and so long as this is the case they are withheld from their wicked arts. They are directly above the head, and the celestial angels, under whose view they are, are still higher. From this it has been given me to know what was the state of the evil genii and spirits who before the coming of the Lord occupied the lower region of heaven, namely, that at that time they were withheld by the angels of the higher heaven from doing evils openly.

[3] But in what manner they were withheld from doing evils openly, it has also been given me to know. They were kept in external bonds, namely, in fear of the loss of honor and reputation, and in fear of the deprivation of possessions in that region of heaven, and of being thrust down into hell; and then there were joined to them simple good spirits; as is the case with men in the world, who, though inwardly devils, are nevertheless kept by such external bonds in the pretence of what is honorable and just, and in well-doing; and in order that they may be so kept, there are joined to them spirits who are in simple good. This was the case with the evil who were in the lower region of heaven before the coming of the Lord; and then they also could be driven to speak truth and to do good by means of their own loves; no otherwise than evil priests, even the worst, who are devils inwardly, who can preach the doctrinal things of their own church with such ardor and pretended zeal as to move the hearts of their hearers to piety, and yet at the same time they are in the love of self and of the world. For thought about honor and gain is what universally reigns within them, and from this fire they are stirred up so to preach. It is the evil spirits with whom they are, and who are in similar love, and thence in similar thought, who lead them; and to these are joined simple good spirits. From all this it can be seen what the state of heaven was before the Lord's coming.

[4] But after His coming the states of heaven and of hell were quite changed, for then the evil genii and spirits who occupied the lower region of heaven were cast down, and in their stead they who were of the spiritual church were taken up thither. The evil who were cast down were then deprived of the external bonds which as before said were fears of the loss of honor and reputation, and of the losing of possessions in that region; and in this way they were left to their interiors, which were no other than diabolical and infernal, and so they were consigned to the hells. The taking away of external bonds is effected in the other life by the removal of the good spirits who had been joined to the evil ones. When these are removed, the infernals can no longer be in any pretence of what is good, just, and honorable, but are such as they had been inwardly in the world, that is, such as they had been in thought and will, which they had there concealed from others; and then they desire nothing else than to do evil. These simple good spirits who were taken away from them, were given or joined to those who were of the spiritual church, to whom that region of heaven was given for a possession; and it was from this that these latter were enriched with the truths and goods which were before in the possession of the evil genii and spirits; for enrichment in truths and goods in the other life is effected by the adjoining of spirits who are in truth and good, because through these is effected communication.

[5] This is what is signified by the sons of Israel not going empty from Egypt, and by a woman asking of her neighbor, and of her that sojourned in her house, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and thus spoiling the Egyptians. Everyone can see that unless such things had been represented, the Divine would never have commanded that the sons of Israel should use such guile against the Egyptians; for every such thing is very far from the Divine. But as the Israelitish people was altogether representative, it was permitted them by the Divine to do so, because it was so done with the evil in the other life. Be it known that very many things which were commanded by Jehovah or the Lord, in the internal sense do not signify that they were commanded, but that they were permitted.

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