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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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Inbound References:

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


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

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

Other New Christian Commentary

John the Baptist 1

Elijah 1

Leathern girdle, the, which john the Baptist wore 1

Locusts 1

Raiment 1

Reed shaken with the wind 1

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 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
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 The Lord's Baptism: Matthew
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Arcana Coelestia #7571

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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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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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 7583, 7647, 7676, 7689, 8902, 9141, 9230, 9262, 9372, 9391, 9936, 10137


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 503

Other New Christian Commentary

Herb 1


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Arcana Coelestia #3579

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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3579. And God shall give thee of the dew of heaven. That this signifies from Divine truth, and that “of the fat things of the earth” signifies from Divine good, is evident from the signification of the “dew of heaven,” as being truth (of which in what follows); and from the signification of “fat things,” as being good (n. 353), both Divine in the supreme sense, in which they are predicated of the Lord. With the multiplication of truth and fructification of good the case is this: When the rational flows into the natural, it there presents its good in a general form; through this good it produces truths therein, almost as the life in man builds up fibers, and disposes them into forms according to uses. This good, through these truths disposed into heavenly order, produces further good; and through this good further truths, which are derivations. Such a natural idea may be had of the formation of truth from good, and further of good through truth, whereby again truth is formed; but a spiritual idea cannot be had except by those who are in the other life, for there ideas are formed from the light of heaven, in which is intelligence.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 353)


[2] That “dew” signifies truth is evident also from the Word elsewhere, as in Zechariah:

The seed of peace, the vine shall give her fruit and the earth shall give her produce, and the heavens shall give their dew (Zech. 8:12);

speaking of a new church, where the “vine giving its fruit” denotes the spiritual of the church or the truth of faith, giving good; and the “earth giving its produce,” the celestial of the church or the good of charity, giving truth; these are the “dew which the heavens shall give.”

In Haggai:

Because of Mine house that lieth waste over you the heavens are closed from dew, and the earth is closed from her produce (Haggai 1:9-10); where the “dew of the heavens and the produce of the earth,” which were restrained, have a like signification.

[3] In David:

From the womb of the dawning, thou hast the dew of thy birth (Psalms 110:3); concerning the Lord; the “dew of birth” denoting the celestial of love.

In Moses:

Blessed of Jehovah be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep lying beneath (Deuteronomy 33:13); concerning Joseph; the “precious things of heaven” are spiritual things (n. 3166), which are signified by “dew;” the “deep lying beneath” signifies natural things. Again:

Israel dwelt securely, alone at the fountain of Jacob, in a land of corn and new wine, yea his heavens dropped down dew (Deuteronomy 33:28); where also the “dew which the heavens dropped” denotes the spiritual things which are of truth.

[4] In the genuine sense “dew” is the truth of good which is from a state of innocence and peace; for by “morning” or “day-dawn,” when the dew descends, are signified these states (see n. 2333, 2405, 2540, 2780); hence also the manna which was from heaven was with the dew that descended in the morning, as may be seen from Moses:

In the morning the dew was laid round about the camp; and when the laying of the dew withdrew, behold on the faces of the wilderness a small round thing, small as the hoar frost on the ground (Exodus 16:13-14). When the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it (Numbers 11:9).

As the manna was heavenly bread, in the supreme sense it signified the Lord as to the Divine good; hence with men the celestial of love, for this is from the Divine of the the Lord, (n. 276

680, 1798, 2165, 2177, 3464, 3478); the “dew” in which and with which the manna descended, in the supreme sense denotes the Divine truth; and in the relative sense, the spiritual truth with men; “morning” is the state of peace in which these goods are (n. 92, 93, 1726, 2780, 3170).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 92-93)


[5] Inasmuch as “dew” signifies the truth which is from good, or what is the same, the spiritual which is from the celestial, therefore also in the Word spiritual truth is compared to “dew;” for things which signify serve also for comparison with the same thing, as in Isaiah:

Thus hath Jehovah said unto me, I will be still, and I will behold in My dwelling-place; like serene heat upon light; like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest (Isaiah 18:4).

In Hosea:

O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For your holiness is as a cloud of the dawn, and as the dew that falleth in the morning (Hos. 6:4; 13:3).

Again:

I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, and shall fix his roots as Lebanon (Hos. 14:5).

In Micah:

The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples as dew from Jehovah, as drops upon the herb (Micah 5:7).

In David:

Like the goodly oil upon the head that came down upon the border of Aaron’s garments; like the dew of Hermon that cometh down upon the mountains of Zion; for there Jehovah commanded the blessing of life forevermore (Psalms 133:2-3

And in Moses:

My doctrine shall drop as the rain, My word shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the grass; and as drops upon the herb (Deuteronomy 32:2); where “dew” denotes the multiplication of truth from good, and the fructification of good through truth; and as the dew is that which every morning renders the field and vineyard fruitful, good itself and truth are signified by “corn and new wine,” concerning which in what follows.

(References: Genesis 27:28)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 3593, 3600, 4231, 4242, 7571, 8455, 9086, 9272, 9325, 9828, 10445

Divine Love and Wisdom 377

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 23, 24, 121, 186, 246


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 69, 177, 242, 375, 376, 411

Other New Christian Commentary

Dew 1


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