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Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746

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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


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Arcana Coelestia #7571

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7571. And upon every herb of the field in the land of Egypt. That this signifies every truth of the church in the natural mind, is evident from the signification of “herb,” as being truth (of which in what follows); from the signification of “field,” as being the church (of which above, n. 7557); and from the signification of “the land of Egypt,” as being the natural mind (of which also above, n. 7569). That “herb” signifies truth is because the “land” signifies the church, also a “field;” and hence all the produce from it signifies either the truth that is of faith, or the good that is of charity, for these are of the church. By the “herb of the field” is meant all in general that comes from the field, as is plain from the Lord’s parable in Matthew:

The kingdom of the heavens is likened unto a man who sowed good seed in his field, but when the herb sprouted forth and bore fruit, then appeared the tares (Matthew 13:24, 26); where “the herb” stands for the produce of the field. That by “the herb” is here signified the truth of the church, and by “tares” falsity is evident; it is indeed a comparison, but all the comparisons in the Word are from significatives (n. 3579).

In David:

Who causeth grass to sprout forth for the beast, and herb for the ministry of man; to bring forth bread out of the earth (Psalms 104:14); where also “herb” stands for the produce of the field, and by it in the internal sense is here signified truth.

(References: Matthew 13:28)


[2] In the same:

In pastures of herb He will make me lie down, unto the waters of rests He will lead me, He will create anew my soul (Psalms 23:2-3);

“pastures of herb” denote the spiritual nourishment which is of the soul, and therefore it is said “He will create anew my soul.”

In Isaiah:

The waters of Nimrim shall be desolations, because the grass is dried up, the herb is consumed, there is no green thing (Isaiah 15:6).

I will make waste mountains and hills, and I will dry up all their herb, and I will make the rivers islands, and I will lead the blind in a way that they have not known (Isaiah 42:15).

How long shall the land mourn, and the herb of every field wither? For the wickedness of them that dwell therein the beasts and the bird shall be consumed (Jeremiah 12:4).

The hind calved in the field, but forsook it, because there was no herb, and the wild asses stood on the hills, they snuffed the wind like whales because there was no herb (Jeremiah 14:5-6).

Be not afraid, ye beasts of my fields, for the habitations of the wilderness are become grassy, for the tree will bear her fruit, the fig tree and the vine will yield its strength (Joel 2:22).

When the locusts had completed the devouring of the herb of the land, I said, O Lord Jehovih, forgive, I beseech Thee; how shall Jacob stand when he is little? (Amos. 7:2.)

Ask ye of Jehovah the latter rain in season; Jehovah will make clouds, and will give them a shower of rain, to a man herb in the field (Zech. 10:1).

The fifth angel sounded, and it was said that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree (Revelation 9:1, 4).

(References: Isaiah 37:27, 42:15-16)


[3] Everyone can see that in these passages grass and herb are not meant, but instead of them such things as are of the church; that by the “herb of the land” and the “herb of the field” is meant the truth which is of faith is plain. Without such a spiritual sense no one would ever know why it should be said, in John, when the fifth angel sounded, that “they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing”; nor would anyone know what is meant in Jeremiah, “The hind calved in the field, but forsook it, because there was no herb, and the wild asses snuffed the wind like whales because there was no herb”; nor what is meant in many other passages. From this it is evident how little the Word is understood, and how earthly an idea would be had of very many things contained therein, unless it were known what they signify; at least that there is what is holy in every detail.

(References: Exodus 9:22; Isaiah 42:15-16)

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Arcana Coelestia #8902

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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8902. 'You shall not kill' means not taking the spiritual life away from anyone, also not destroying faith and charity, and not hating the neighbour. This is clear from the meaning of 'killing' as depriving of spiritual life. The reason why 'killing' has this meaning in the internal sense is that the internal sense deals with the spiritual life or life of heaven with a person; and since the spiritual life or life of heaven with a person is the life of faith and charity, 'not killing' also means not destroying the faith and charity present with anyone. The reason why 'not killing' also means in the internal sense not hating the neighbour is that someone who hates his neighbour is wanting all the time to kill him and would actually do so if there were no fear of punishment, of loss of life or reputation, or other such fears to hold him back. For hatred springs from evil, is opposed to charity, and is intent on nothing other than the murder of the one who is hated - in the world the murder of his body, in the next life the murder of his soul. This is meant by the Lord's words in Matthew,

You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgement. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without cause will be liable to judgement. Whoever indeed says to his brother, Raca! will be liable to the Sanhedrin. And whoever says, You fool! will be liable to the Gehenna of fire. Matthew 5:21-22ff.

Hatred towards the neighbour is meant by 'being angry without cause with his brother', and degrees of greater hatred are described by saying to him, Raca! and calling him, You fool' Regarding 'anger', that it is a turning away from charity and springs from evil, thus that it is hatred, see 357, 4164, 5034, 5798, 5887, 5888.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 5887-5888)


[2] The fact that 'killing' in the internal sense means taking the spiritual life away from anyone, consequently destroying faith and charity, is clear from almost all the places in the Word that mention 'killing', such as in Isaiah,

Behold, the day of Jehovah comes, cruel, and [full] of indignation and wrath and anger, to make the earth a waste, so that 1 He may destroy its sinners from it. At that time the stars of heaven and their constellations will not shine with their light. The sun will be darkened in its rising, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. I will visit the world for its malice, and the wicked for their iniquity I will make man (homo) more rare than pure gold, and the son of man than the gold of Ophir. Everyone that is found will be slain, and everyone that is gathered will fall by the sword. Their young children will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered, and their wives will be ravished. Bows 2 will dash the young men to pieces; the eye 2 will not spare sons. Isaiah 13:9ff.

This refers to the final period of the Church, when faith and charity do not exist any longer; that period is meant by 'the day of Jehovah, cruel, full of indignation, wrath, and anger'. Anyone may see that something other is meant here than that which the words describe literally; yet what is meant cannot be known except from the meanings which the words carry in the spiritual sense. In the spiritual sense 'the earth' or 'the land' is the Church, see 566, 662, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 8732, so that 'making the earth a waste, and destroying sinners from it' means the members of the Church at that time, devoid of faith and charity.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118; Isaiah 13:9-12, 13:15-16, 13:18)


[3] 'Stars and constellations' are cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, see 2120, 2495, 2849, 4697. These are said 'not to shine with their light' when they are no longer lit by the light of heaven which flows in through faith accompanying charity. 'The sun' is love to the Lord, and 'the moon' belief in Him, 2120, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4321 (end), 4696, 5097, 5377, 7078, 7083, 7171, 7173, 8644, 8812, so that 'the sun being darkened in its rising' means that love to the Lord cannot come to exist with a person and 'the moon not causing its light to shine' means that charity and faith cannot do so, thus that the person can no longer be regenerated.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2494)


[4] 'Making man more rare than pure gold, and the son of man than the gold of Ophir' means that good will not be seen any longer, and neither will truth; for 'man' means the Church's good, 4287, 8547, and 'the son of man' truth springing from good, in the highest sense Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, 1729, 1733, 2813, 3704. 'Everyone that is found will be slain' means that all are going to be destroyed because of the evil of falsity, and 'everyone that is gathered will fall by the sword' means that all are going to be destroyed because of falsity. For the meaning of 'being slain' as being destroyed because of the evil of falsity, 4503; and for 'falling by the sword' as being destroyed because of falsity, 2799, 4499, 7102, 8294.

[5] 'Young children being dashed to pieces' means that they will completely annihilate innocence, for 'young children' are innocence, 430, 2126, 3183, 3494, 5608. 'Wives will be ravished' means that forms of the good of truth will be perverted by evils of falsity; for 'wives' are forms of the good of truth, 2517, 4510, 4823, 7022, and 'being ravished' is being perverted, 2466, 4865. 'Bows will dash the young men to pieces' means that the truths of good are going to be destroyed by false teachings arising from evil; for 'a bow' is teachings that are true, and in the contrary sense those that are false, 2686, 6422, 8800, and 'young men' are truths that have been corroborated, 7668. 'The eye will not spare sons' means that those who have an understanding of truths will nevertheless annihilate them; for 'sons' are truths, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2803, 2813, 3373, 4257, 5542, and eye is the understanding seeing truth, 2701, 4403-4421, 4523-4534.

All this now makes plain what should be understood by the prophet's words, namely that when the Church reaches its end all faith and all charity, that is, all truth and all good, are going to be destroyed. It is also evident that 'being thrust through' and 'being dashed to pieces', in short 'being killed', is the annihilation of faith and charity.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4403, 4421, Arcana Coelestia 4523, 4534)


[6] In Jeremiah,

Drag them away like sheep for the slaughter, and destine them to the day of killing. How long will the land mourn and the plant of every field wither, on account of the wickedness of those who dwell in it? The beasts and the birds will be devoured. Jeremiah 12:3-4.

'The day of killing' stands for the time when the Church has been laid waste, which is its final period when faith no longer exists because there is no charity. 'The land will mourn' stands for the Church; 'the plant of every field will wither' stands for the withering of every truth of the Church; and 'the beasts and the birds will be devoured' stands for the devourment of forms of good and truths. For the meaning of 'the land' as the Church, see just above; for 'the plant of the field' as the truth of the Church, 7571, 'the field' being the Church, 2971, 3310, 3766; for 'the beasts' as forms of good, and affections for good, 45, 46, 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 719, 1823, 2179, 2180, 3218, 3519, 5198; and for 'the birds' as truths, and affections for truth, 5149, 7441. From all this one may see what the internal sense of those words is. One may also see that some spiritual and holy feature of the Church and of heaven is present in every detail, and that without the internal sense no one would have any understanding at all of what 'the day of killing' means, what 'the land will mourn' means, or 'the plant of every field will wither', or 'the beasts and the birds will at that time be devoured'.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 45-46, 142-143, 714-715, Arcana Coelestia 2179-2180, Arcana Coelestia 8902)


[7] In Zechariah,

Thus said Jehovah my 3 God, Feed the sheep for killing, whose owners kill them and do not acknowledge themselves guilty. Zechariah 11:4-5.

'The sheep for killing' are those who are governed by simple good, with whom the truths of faith are annihilated not through their own fault but that of their teachers.

[8] In Isaiah,

Those who are to come Jacob will cause to take root Israel will blossom and flower, so that the face of the earth (orbis) may be filled with produce. Has he struck him as with the stroke of one who strikes? Has he been killed as at the slaughter of his killed ones? Isaiah 27:6-7.

Behold, Jehovah is coming out of His place to visit the iniquity of the earth; at that time the earth (terra) will disclose her blood, 4 and will not conceal her killed ones. Isaiah 26:21.

This too refers in the internal sense to the final period of the Church, when a new Church will be raised up as the old is passing out of existence. 'Jacob' stands for those in the external part of the Church, 'Israel' for those in the internal part. 'The face of the earth' (orbis) stands for the Church in general, 'the earth' (terra) for the old Church, 'the killed ones' for those with whom there is no faith because there is no charity.

[9] In the same prophet,

You are cast out from your sepulchre like an abominable branch, [like] a garment of the killed, [like] those slain with the sword. You will not be united with them in the sepulchre, for you have destroyed your land, you have killed your people. Isa, 14:19-20.

'The killed' stands for those who have been deprived of spiritual life, 'you have killed your people' stands for the destruction of the truths and forms of the good of faith. This is said in reference to Babel, by which the profanation of good is meant, 1182, 1283, 1295, 1306-1308, 1321, 1322, 1326, and also its being laid waste, 1327 (end).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1321-1322)


[10] In Jeremiah,

I have heard the voice of the daughter of Zion; she sighs, she spreads out her hands, [saying,] Woe is me now, for my soul has been wearied by killers! Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem and see now, and take note, and search in its broad places, if you can find a man, if there is anyone executing judgement and seeking truth. Jeremiah 4:31; 5:1.

'The daughter of Zion' stands for the celestial Church, 'killers' for those who destroy forms of good and truths, 'a man' and 'anyone executing judgement' for those guided by truths rooted in good.

[11] In Ezekiel,

You have desecrated Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for crusts of bread, to kill souls that ought not to die, and to keep alive souls that ought not to live. Ezekiel 13:19.

Here 'killing souls' plainly stands for taking spiritual life away. Because 'killing' had this meaning also, the actions that were cursed on Mount Ebal included killing a companion secretly and taking a bribe to kill an innocent person, 5 Deuteronomy 27:24-25.

[12] In Matthew,

At the close of the age they will deliver you up to affliction, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. Matthew 24:9.

And in John,

Jesus said to the disciples, The hour will come that everyone who kills you will think that he offers holy worship to God. And these things they will do because they do not know the Father nor Me. John 16:2-3.

In these places also 'killing' means depriving of spiritual life, that is, of faith and charity; for all aspects of the truth and good of faith and charity are meant by 'the disciples', 3488, 3858 (end), 6397. The fact that it is not the disciples to whom the Lord was speaking who are meant there is evident from the consideration that in those places the subject is the close of the age, when the Lord is going to come in the clouds of heaven. And the close of the age which the disciples asked Him about means the final period of the Church, at which time the disciples would not be alive, see 3488.

[13] Similarly in Mark,

Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his children; the children will rise up against parents and kill them. Mark 13:12.

This too refers to the last times, and again 'killing' means depriving of the truths and forms of the good of faith and charity, thus depriving of spiritual life.

[14] In Luke,

I will send them prophets and apostles, but some of them they will kill and persecute. From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah the prophet it will be required of this generation. Luke 11:49, 51.

'Prophets and apostles' stands in the spiritual sense for the Church's truths and forms of good, 'killing' for annihilating them, and 'the blood of Abel' for the annihilation of charity. For the meaning of 'prophets' as truths contained in teachings derived from the Word, see 2534, 7269; and for 'the blood of Abel' as the annihilation of charity, 374.

[15] Similarly in John,

The blood of saints and prophets, and of the killed, was found in Babylon. Revelation 18:24.

Here also 'the blood of saints and prophets' stands for the annihilation of the good and truth of faith and charity, 'the killed' for those who have lost their spiritual life - 'blood' being violence done to charity, as well as all evil in general, 374, 1005, and the profanation of truth in particular, 4735, 6978, 7317, 7326.

[16] Since the annihilation of goodness and truth is meant by one who has been 'killed' or 'slain', and since all that had been established in the Jewish Church was representative of spiritual and celestial realities in the Lord's kingdom, and in the highest sense of Divine attributes in the Lord, the following procedure to expiate the people was commanded if someone was found slain, lying in the field,

They were to measure the distances to the cities from the one slain, lying in the field. Then the elders of the nearest city were to take a heifer by means of which no work had been done, and on which the yoke had not yet been laid, and to bring it down to a fast-flowing river. The priests, the sons of Levi, were to break its neck there, and then the elders of the city were to wash their hands over the heifer and to say that their hands had not shed that blood, nor had their eyes seen it, and that in this way the blood would be expiated. Deuteronomy 21:1-8.

Could anyone ever know why such a procedure was established on account of someone who had been slain and was lying in the field, unless it were known from the internal sense what is meant by 'one slain, in the field', by 'the nearest city', by 'a heifer', by 'a fast-flowing river', by 'washing the hands', and by everything else in the procedure? 'One slain, in the field' means truth and good that have been annihilated, 4503, 'the field' being the Church, 2971, 3310, 3766 'The city' means teachings composed of truth, 402, 2449, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493, 'the elders of the city' meaning truths that accord with what is good, 6524, 6525, 8578, 8585. 'A heifer on which the yoke had not yet been laid' means truth that has not yet been corroborated - for what 'a heifer' means, see 1824, 1825. 'Washing the hands over the heifer at a fast-flowing river' means purification from that evil because the commission of it has been due to the excessive zeal of one who does not know what the truth is.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1824-1825, Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493, Arcana Coelestia 6524-6525)


[17] From these as from all other places one may see what the arcana are, and how great they are, which every part of the Word contains. They will not, it is true, be seen as arcana by a person if he believes that the literal sense is all there is to the Word, and so believes that nothing holier or more heavenly lies inwardly in it. However, the literal sense is for a person in the world, that is, for the natural man, whereas the internal sense is for one in heaven, that is, for the spiritual man. From this one may see what the commandment about not killing holds within it, namely not only that a person's body must not be killed but that his soul must not be killed either, thus not only that he must not be deprived of life in the world but in particular that he must not be deprived of life in heaven. If that commandment had not at the same time held the latter prohibition within it, ]Jehovah Himself, that is, the Lord, would not have declared it on Mount Sinai in so miraculous a way by an actual voice. For all peoples and nations without direct revelation know, and also their laws decree that a person must not be killed, even as they know that adultery, theft, and false witness are forbidden. Nor should anyone think that the Israelite nation were so stupid that they alone did not know what all throughout the world knew. But because the Word that has been revealed comes from God Himself, it in addition conceals deeper and more universal truths within itself, namely the kind that have to do with heaven; that is, it holds not only truths which concern the life of the body but also those that concern the life of the soul or eternal life. This makes the Word different, far removed from and superior to anything else that has been written.

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Footnotes:

1. Reading ut (so that) for et (and)

2. i.e. of the Medes

3. The Latin means your but the Hebrew means my, which Swedenborg has in another place where he quotes this verse.

4. literally, bloods

5. literally, to kill the soul of innocent blood

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(References: Exodus 20:13)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 8902, 9013, 9093, 9205, 9325, 10288, 10458, 10490

Other New Christian Commentary

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


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