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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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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

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 John the Baptist
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Arcana Coelestia #7439

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7439. Let My people go, that they may serve Me. That this signifies that they should release those who are of the spiritual church in order that they may worship their God in freedom, is evident from the signification of “letting go,” as being to release; from the representation of the sons of Israel, here “My people,” as being those who are of the spiritual church (n. 6426, 6637, 6862, 6868, 7035, 7062, 7198, 7201, 7215, 7223); and from the signification of “serving Jehovah,” as being to worship. That they should worship in freedom is plain from what follows (verses 21-23), and also from the fact that all worship which is truly worship must be in freedom.

[2] The sons of Israel being called “the people of Jehovah” was not because they were better than other nations, but because they represented the people of Jehovah, that is, those who are of the Lord’s spiritual kingdom. That they were not better than other nations is plain from their life in the wilderness, in that they did not at all believe in Jehovah, but in their hearts believed in the gods of the Egyptians, as is evident from the golden calf which they made for themselves, and which they called their gods who had brought them forth out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 32:8). The same is evident also from their subsequent life in the land of Canaan, as described in the historicals of the Word, and from what was said of them by the prophets, and finally from what was said of them by the Lord.

[3] For this reason also few of them are in heaven, for they have received their lot in the other life according to their life. Therefore do not believe that they were elected to heaven in preference to others; for whoever so believes, does not believe that everyone’s life remains with him after death, nor that man must be prepared for heaven by his whole life in the world, and that this is done of the Lord’s mercy, and that none are admitted into heaven from mercy alone, regardless of how they have lived in the world. Such an opinion about heaven and the Lord’s mercy is induced by the doctrine of faith alone, and of salvation by faith alone without good works; for those who hold this doctrine have no concern about the life, and so believe that evils can be washed away like dirt by water, and thus that man can in a moment pass into the life of good, and consequently be admitted into heaven. For they do not know that if the life of evil were taken away from the evil, they would have no life whatever, and that if they who are in a life of evil were admitted into heaven, they would feel hell in themselves, and this the more grievously, the more interiorly they were admitted into heaven.

[4] From all this it can now be seen that the Israelites and Jews were by no means elected, but only accepted to represent the things that belong to heaven; and that this must needs be done in the land of Canaan, because the Lord’s church had been there from the most ancient times, and from this all the places there became representative of heavenly and Divine things. In this way also the Word could be written, and the names in it could signify such things as belong to the Lord and His kingdom.

(References: Exodus 8:16)

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Arcana Coelestia 7440, 7443, 7445, 9229, 9320, 9372, 10097, 10396, 10430

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 130, 433, 443, 710


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Apocalypse Explained #83

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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83. And was dead. That this signifies that He is rejected, is evident from this, that the Lord is said to be dead, when there are no longer faith in and love to Him; for the Lord lives with those who are in love and in faith to Him; but with those who are not in love and in faith He does not live, but is said to be dead, because rejected. This is what is here meant, in the internal sense, by "and was dead," but in the sense of the letter it denotes that He was crucified. The Lord's being crucified also similarly signifies, in the internal sense, that He was rejected and so treated by the Jews. For the Lord, when He was in the world, was Divine truth itself; and because Divine truth was altogether rejected by the Jews, therefore also the Lord, who was the Divine truth, suffered Himself to be crucified. Such things are signified by all the facts related by the Evangelists concerning the Lord's passion; the particulars relating thereto, even the most detailed, involve such a signification; therefore, when the Lord speaks of His passion, He calls Himself the Son of man, that is, Divine truth (as may be seen above, n. 63). That the Divine truth was entirely rejected by the Jews is well known, for they did not acknowledge anything said by Him, not even that He was the Son of God.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2762, 4958, 4976, 5247, 5360, 5376, 7643, 8568, 9372; Daniel 9:20, Daniel 9:27; John 1:14, John 19:28; Luke 9:22, 17:25, Luke 18:31-33, Luke 24:44; Mark 9:12; Matthew 17:12; Revelation 1:18; The Apocalypse Explained 63; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 294-295, 302, 305)


[2] From these considerations it can be known how those things also are to be understood which the Lord spake to His disciples concerning His rejection by the Jews. Thus in Luke:

"The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes" (ix. 22).

And again:

"The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation" (xvii. 25).

in Mark:

"It is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought" (ix. 12).

In Luke:

"When Jesus took unto him the twelve, he said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things foretold by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished; that he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and spitefully entreated, and spit upon; and afterwards they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again" (xviii. 31, 32, 33).

The particulars here mentioned show how the Jews treated the Divine truth, which was from the Word. Jerusalem, in this passage, is the Jewish church; to be delivered to the Gentiles, to be mocked, to be spitefully entreated, to be spit upon, to be scourged, to be put to death, denote the wicked ways in which they treated Divine truth; and because the Lord was Divine truth itself, as being the Word (John l. 14), and it was foretold in the prophets that Divine truth would be so treated in the end of the church, therefore it is said that all things should be accomplished which are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man.

(References: Luke 9:22, Luke 17:25, Luke 18:31-33; Mark 9:12)


[3] Similarly it is said in another passage:

"These are the words which I spake 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 xxiv. 44).

That all things were accomplished, when Jesus was crucified, He Himself said, when He was upon the cross:

"When Jesus knew that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he saith, I thirst" (John xix. 28).

The reason why He then said, I thirst, was, because He desired a new church, which should acknowledge Him. (That to thirst, in the spiritual sense, signifies to desire, and that it is said of the truths of the church, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 4958, 4976, 8568.) These are also the things which are predicted by Daniel concerning vastation and desolation:

"After sixty and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, so that its end shall be with a flood. At last upon the bird of abominations shall be desolation, and even to the consummation and decision it shall drop upon the devastation" (ix. 26, 27).

Desolation and vastation signify reprobation and rejection of Divine truth, with those who are of the church (as may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 5360, 5376).

(References: Daniel 9:26-27; John 19:28; Luke 24:44)


[4] That Divine truth, which is the Word, was so rejected by the Jews, is also meant by these words in Matthew:

"I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise also shall the Son of man suffer of them" (xvii. 12).

By Elias is signified the Word (as may be seen in Arcana Coelestia, in the preface to Gen. chap. xviii., and n. 2762, 5247), and also by John the Baptist, therefore he was called Elias (n. 7643, 9372). Hence it is plain what is signified by its being said that Elias was come, and that they had done to him whatsoever they listed, and that the Son of man would in like manner suffer of them. How the Jews explained the Word, and thus rejected it, is evident from very many passages in the Evangelists, where the Lord makes it, clear. From these considerations it is now evident, that by "I was dead," is signified that He was rejected. (That the Lord also by the passion of the cross, glorified His Human, that is, made it Divine, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 294, 295, 302, 305.)

(References: Daniel 9:26-27; Matthew 17:12; Revelation 1:18)

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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 75, 86, 114, 122, 315, 328, 329, 386, 401, 412, 627, 652, 655, 805


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


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