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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
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
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Arcana Coelestia #7643

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

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7643. Behold tomorrow I bring the locust into thy border. That this signifies that falsity will take possession of their extremes, 1 is evident from the signification of “the locust,” as being falsities in the extremes (of which below); from the signification of “border,” as being the extremes; and from the signification of “bringing,” because predicated of falsity, as being to take possession of. It is said that “Jehovah will bring,” but thereby is meant that it will be brought, that is, by evil. The case is the same here as when it is attributed to Jehovah (that is, to the Lord) that He made heavy Pharaoh’s heart, when yet this is from man, from his evil in him, as shown above (n. 7632). That evil is not from the Lord, but that it arises from man, is because man turns to himself that good which flows in from the Lord, and instead of regarding the Lord and what is of the Lord in all things, he regards himself. Hence comes the concupiscence of reigning over all, and of possessing all that belongs to others; and hence come contempt for others, and hatred, revenge, and cruelty toward those who do not favor and be friendly to one’s self; hence also comes contempt for all things that are of faith and charity, because when these flow in from the Lord they are turned to self, thus away from the Lord.

[2] From all this it can be seen that man turns into evil the very good which flows in from the Lord. From this also it is that the evil in the other life remove as far as possible from heaven; for when heaven comes near them, that is, when good and truth flow in more strongly, they then rush the more strongly into the opposite, that is, into evil and falsity; and in the degree that evil and falsity increase, they expel truth from themselves, and devastate themselves; and then also in the same degree they rush into the evils of penalty, for in the other life evils and their penalties are joined together.

[3] The Lord is continually bringing the heavens into order, and is constantly receiving new residents of heaven, to whom He gives dwelling places and inheritances; and when He does this, heaven approaches, that is, flows in more strongly, causing the infernal spirits to rush more strongly into evils and falsities, and into the penalties of these; and in consequence of this rushing into evils and falsities, they as before said vastate themselves; and this does not cease with them until they have completely devastated themselves, and cast themselves deeply into the hells. From all this it can be seen that nothing else than good proceeds from the Lord, and that the evil is from those themselves who are in evil. All this shows how is to be understood what is said of Jehovah (that is, of the Lord), that “He made heavy Pharaoh’s heart,” and here that “He brings the locust,” by which is signified falsity from evil in the extremes.

[4] In the Word, where the vastation of the evil is treated of, mention is sometimes made of the “locust” and of the “caterpillar,” and by the “locust” in the internal sense is there meant the falsity which vastates the extremes. For as before shown, the natural with man is interior and exterior; the falsity which is in the extremes of the natural, being meant by the “locust,” and the evil therein by the “caterpillar.” As by the “locust” is meant the falsity which is in the extremes of the natural, therefore it is said that the locust would be brought “into the border,” and would “cover the surface of the earth;” and afterward (verse 14), “the locust went up upon the land of Egypt, and rested in all the border of Egypt, and it covered the surface of the whole land.” By the “border” and by the “surface” are signified the extremes and ultimates in which the interiors rest, that is, terminate.

(References: Exodus 10:14-15)


[5] The same is meant by the “locust” and the “caterpillar” in David:

He sent among them swarms, which consumed them; and the frog, which destroyed them; and He gave their produce to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust (Psalms 78:45-46).

He said that the locust should come, and the caterpillar, so that there was no number (Psalms 105:34).

These things are said of Egypt, and the “caterpillar” is mentioned, although there is no mention made of it in Moses, but only of the “locust.” The reason why the “caterpillar” also is mentioned, is that by it is signified evil; and by the “locust” falsity; each in the extremes of the natural. But when the “locust” alone is mentioned, it signifies both falsity and evil together, for the “locust” denotes falsity from evil.

[6] In Nahum:

There shall the fire devour thee, the sword shall cut thee off, it shall devour thee like the caterpillar; multiply thyself like the caterpillar, multiply thyself like the locust. Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of the heavens; the caterpillar hath spread himself, and hath flown away. Thy crowned ones are as the locust, thy commanders are as the locust of the locusts (Nah. 3:15-17).

The subject here treated of is the “city of bloods,” by which is signified the doctrine of falsity; and because falsity and evil are especially multiplied in the extremes of the natural, for therein are the fallacies of the senses that originate from the objects of the world, and of the earth, and also pleasures from various kinds of appetites, therefore the multiplication of evil and falsity is also described by “the caterpillar and the locust,” as also in the book of Judges (6:5; 7:12), and in Jeremiah (46:23). (That the sensuous, which is the lowest of the natural, is very full of fallacies and the derivative falsities, see n. 5084, 5089, 5094, 6310, 6311, 6313, 6318, 6598, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6624, 6948, 6949.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6310-6311, 6948-6949)


[7] In Joel:

That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust devoured; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm devoured; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar devoured. Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine, in that it is cut off. For a nation will come up upon My land, strong, and without number, and will reduce My vine into a waste, and My fig-tree into froth (Joel 1:4-7).

The threshing floors are full of pure grain, and the vats overflow with new wine and oil; and I will compensate to you the years that the locust hath consumed, the cankerworm, the caterpillar, and the palmerworm (Joel 2:24-25); where the “locust” denotes falsity in the extremes vastating truths and goods.

In Moses:

Thou shalt bring out much seed into the field, but shalt gather little, because the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, but thou shalt neither drink the wine, nor gather; for the worm shall devour it (Deuteronomy 28:38-39); where the “locust” denotes falsity from evil.

[8] In John:

Out of the smoke of the opened abyss there went forth locusts on the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power; and it was said unto them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any tree, but only such men as had not the seal of God upon their foreheads; and it was given them that they should not kill them, but should torment them five months; and the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared for war; and upon their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as it were the faces of men; and they had hair as the hair of women; and their teeth were as the teeth of lions; and they had breastplates, as it were of iron; and the voice of their wings was as the voice of the chariots of many horses running to war; and they had tails like scorpions; and stings were in their tails, that they might hurt men five months. They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in the Greek he hath the name Apollyon (Revelation 9:3-11);

what is signified by all these things no one can see except from the internal sense. From the details clearly seen therein according to the internal sense, it is evident that by “locusts” are there signified reasonings from fallacies and the falsities thence derived, also confirmed by philosophical things. Thus also by the “locusts” are signified the falsities which are in the extremes with man, and which are more earthly and corporeal than all other falsities; and by which man may be easily deceived and seduced, for he apprehends what is obvious to the senses, and with difficulty what is opposed to the senses.

[9] That it may be known that such is the signification of “locusts,” the contents of this passage may be set forth in detail. The “abyss out of which the locusts came up” denotes hell; the “grass of the earth which they were not to hurt” denotes memory-knowledge; the “tree” denotes the knowledges of good and truth; the “men” denote the affections of good; their “hurting these, and not the grass of the earth and the tree,” denotes that truth and good can be understood although the life is not in accordance therewith; “they who have the seal upon their foreheads” denotes those who have been regenerated; their “tormenting five months those who had not the seal of God upon their foreheads” denotes that they should vastate them; that “the locusts were like horses prepared for war,” denotes reasonings from falsities, whereby there is combat against the truths of the church; “crowns upon their heads like gold, and their faces as men’s faces,” denotes that the reasonings appear like truth, and as it were from good; “hair as of women, and teeth as the teeth of lions,” denotes the external things of the natural, that is, sensuous things, or the fallacies therein, which make an appearance of good; “breastplates of iron” denote external things which make an appearance of truth; “the voice of the wings like that of the chariots of many horses running to war,” denotes the falsities of doctrine from which and for which they fight; “tails like scorpions and stings in their tails” denote the harm which such things bring; the “king of the abyss” denotes infernal falsity; “Abaddon” denotes perdition; “Apollyon” denotes reasoning from falsities appearing as from truth, especially if by those who are believed wise it is confirmed by philosophical things wrongly applied, for the blind admiration of their wisdom leads to faith in them.

[10] By the “locust” in a good sense is signified ultimate and most general truth, and also its pleasantness; hence John’s food was “locusts and wild honey” (Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6). These were his food for the reason that John represented the Word, and by his food, as also by his clothing which was of camel’s hair with a leathern girdle, he represented the Word in the external sense, for external pleasantness is signified by the “locust and wild honey” (see n. 5620); and external truth by the “garment of camel’s hair” and by the “leathern girdle” (n. 3301). Hence it is that by John is meant Elias, who was to come and announce the advent of the Lord. (That “Elias” denotes the Word, see the preface to the eighteenth chapter of Genesis, and n. 2762, 5247) That locusts are among the small animals to be eaten, see Leviticus 11:22.

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Footnotes:

1. These “extremes” (Latin, extrema) are defined in n. 7693e as being sensuale hominis—“the sensuous of man,” which is the lowest part of his mind, and therefore is the extreme or extremity of it.—Reviser.

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(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 10:4, 10:14-15)

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Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 7649, 7674, 7681, 7682, 7686, 7702, 7703, 7705, 7710, 7797, 7877, 7989, 8151, 8228, 8284, 8483, 8678, 8764, 8875, 9033, 9052, 9313, 9320, 9331, 9335, 9372, 10071

The White Horse 2, 8

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 81, 107, 121, 170, 308


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 19, 66, 83, 130, 194, 315, 355, 710

Other New Christian Commentary

What is Evil? 1

Grasshoppers 1

Joel 1: Locust Invasion 1


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Apocalypse Explained #315

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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315. As it were slain. That this signifies as yet acknowledged by few, is evident from the signification of being slain, when said of the Lord, as denoting His not being acknowledged; in the present case, its being acknowledged by few that His Human is Divine, for it is said, "A lamb standing as it were slain"; and by the lamb is signified the Lord as to the Divine Human (as was shown just above, n. 314). The case is similar with what was said concerning the Lord (i. 18), "and was dead," by which is signified that [He was] rejected (concerning which see above, n. 83). By being slain, in the spiritual or internal sense, is not meant to be slain as to the body but as to the soul; and a man is slain as to the soul when he is no longer in any good of faith, for then he has no spiritual life, but instead thereof death, which is called spiritual death; but when "slain" is mentioned concerning the Lord, it does not signify this, because the Lord is Life itself, and gives to every one spiritual life; but it means either that He is rejected, or that He is not acknowledged; for, with those who do not acknowledge Him, He is as it were no one, and especially with those who deny Him. The Lord Himself is indeed acknowledged in the church, and also His Divine, but, as to the Human, as a man only, and not as God; hence it is that His Divine Human is not acknowledged; this, therefore, is what is meant by a lamb standing, as it were slain. But that the Lord even as to the Human is God, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 280-310), and will be seen at the end of this work, where it will be clearly shown.

(References: Revelation 1:18, 5:6; The Apocalypse Explained 83, 280-310, The Apocalypse Explained 314)


[2] Those who think from the sense of the letter of the Word only, and not at the same time from the doctrine of genuine truth, suppose that by being slain in the Word is meant being slain as to the body; but that to be slain as to the soul is meant, will appear from the passages which will be adduced presently. For it is acknowledged that the Word in its bosom is spiritual, although in the sense of the letter it is natural; and to be slain spiritually is to perish as to the soul, as is the case with those who do not receive the life of heaven, which is called life eternal, and also simply life, and who thus have instead thereof death, which is damnation. And because this is confessed, it follows that by being slain in the Word is meant to perish from falsities and evils. But the Lord is said spiritually to be slain, when the truth is denied and the good is rejected, these being from Him; among these also He is not acknowledged; for he who denies and rejects those things that are from Him, also denies and rejects Him, for the Lord is with man in His own truths and goods.

[3] But here His Divine Human is treated of; that it is not as yet acknowledged, is known. I will mention the reasons: One is, that the pontifical nation has transferred to its own Primate all Divine power, which is the Lord's even as to the Human, they being unwilling to hear that it was Divine, because from His Human. The other reason is, that those who are not of that nation have made faith alone the only means of salvation, and not a life of charity; and those who do this, can perceive the Lord's Human only as the human of another man; therefore also they remain blindly in the doctrine of the Trinity from the creed of Athanasius, and cannot be enlightened.

[4] That to be slain in the Word signifies to be spiritually slain, is evident from the following passages:

In Isaiah:

"Thou as an abominable shoot, the raiment of the slain, thrust through with the sword: for thou hast destroyed thy land, thou hast slain thy people. Prepare slaughter for his sons" (xiv. 19-21).

These [things are said] concerning Babel, by which is signified the profanation of good and truth, and thence the destruction of the church. It is compared with the raiment of the slain who are thrust through with the sword, because the raiment of the slain signifies abominable falsity, defiling and destroying the things of the church, which are therefore said to be thrust through with the sword, because a sword signifies falsity destroying truth. Hence it is said, "Thou hast destroyed thy land, thou hast slain thy people." By the land is meant the church, and by the people those therein who are in truths, whom to slay is to destroy by falsities. Prepare slaughter for his sons, signifies that their falsities are to be destroyed, his sons denoting falsities.

(References: Isaiah 14:19-21)


[5] In Jeremiah:

"The slain of Jehovah shall be at that day from the end of the earth unto the end of the earth" (xxv. 33).

By the slain of Jehovah being from the end of the earth unto the end of the earth, are signified those with whom all the truths of the church are destroyed by falsities; the slain of Jehovah signify those with whom they are destroyed; and from the end of the earth unto the end of the earth, signifies all things of the church.

(References: Jeremiah 25:33)


[6] In the same:

"Therefore deliver up their sons to the famine, and cause them to flow down upon the hands of the sword, that men may become rare, slain with death, their young men smitten with the sword in war" (xviii. 21).

To give sons to the famine, and to cause them to flow down upon the hands of the sword, signifies to extinguish the truths of the church through a lack of the knowledges of truth, and through falsities; sons denote truths, a famine denotes the lack of knowledges, and the sword denotes falsity destroying truth. "That men may become rare, slain with death," signifies that there is no affection of truth, and hence no wisdom; men signify the affection of truth, and hence wisdom (as may be seen above n. 280). "Their young men smitten with the sword in war," signifies, because truths have been destroyed by the assaults of falsity; young men denote truths, the sword denotes falsity destroying, and war denotes the assault thereof.

(References: Jeremiah 18:21; The Apocalypse Explained 280)


[7] In Ezekiel:

"Go ye through" Jerusalem, "and smite, neither let your eye spare, slay ye to perdition the old man, the young man, and the virgin, and the infant; but draw not near against any man upon whom is the sign" (ix. 5, 6).

These words were spoken by the man clothed in linen garments, or by an angel to other angels, and were heard by the prophet. It is not meant by this that they should pass through Jerusalem, and should smite and slay old men, young men, maidens, and infants unto perdition; but by Jerusalem is meant the church as to doctrine, and that it is altogether vastated as to all the goods and truths which constitute it. By an old man is meant wisdom belonging to good; by a young man, intelligence belonging to truth; by a maiden, the affection thereof; and by an infant, every rising good and truth, specifically the good of innocence, by means of which all things of the church with man are born. By the man (vir) upon whom was the sign, and to whom they should not come near, is signified truth from good.

(References: Ezekiel 9:5-6)


[8] In the same:

"Hence they shall stone them with stone, they shall cleave them asunder with swords, they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire" (xxiii. 47).

These things are said concerning Samaria and Jerusalem, which are there called Aholah and Aholibah; by which are signified the spiritual and the celestial churches, in the present case, those churches devastated by falsities and evils. To stone with stone, and to cleave asunder with swords, signify the destruction of truth by falsities; for stoning signified punishment and death, on account of violence offered to the Divine truth, similarly the cleaving asunder by swords. To slay sons and daughters, signifies to destroy all truths and goods, sons denoting truths, and daughters goods. And to burn houses with fire, signifies to destroy all things of love and charity, by the evils of the love of self and of the world; houses denote the interior [things] of man, thus those of his love; here that [those things are] destroyed, fire denoting love in both senses.

(References: Ezekiel 23:47)


[9] In Jeremiah:

"They lay on the earth, the boy and the old man in the streets; my virgins and my, young men have fallen by the sword; Thou hast slain in the day of thine anger, Thou hast not spared" (Lam. ii. 21).

Here also it treats of the church devastated. To lie on the ground and in the streets, signifies, destroyed by evils and falsities. The boy and the old man, the virgins and the young men, have fallen by the sword, signify, here as above, all goods and truths together with intelligence and wisdom. Their extinction is signified by, "Thou hast slain in the day of thine anger, Thou hast not spared"; the day of anger signifies the last state of the church, when judgment takes place. It is ascribed to Jehovah that He slew, that is, extinguished those things; but it is man himself who does this. It is the character of the sense of the letter to ascribe to Jehovah what is of the man himself (as may be seen, n. 2447, 5798, 6071, 6991, 6997, 7533, 7632, 7643, 7677, 7679, 7710, 7926, 8227, 8282, 8483, 8632, 9010, 9128, 9306, 10,431).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2447, Arcana Coelestia 5798, 6071, 6991, 6997, 7533, 7632, 7643, 7679, 7710, 7877, 7926, 8227, 8282, 8483, 8632, 9010, 9128, Arcana Coelestia 9306, 10431; Lamentations 2:21)


[10] In Amos:

"I will cut off the judge out of the midst of Moab, and all his princes will I slay with him" (ii. 2, 3).

By Moab, in the Word, are meant those who adulterate the goods of the church; by the judge who shall be cut off and by the princes who shall be slain, are signified the good that is adulterated, and the truths that are thence falsified, a judge denoting good, and a prince denoting truth.

(References: Amos 2:3)


[11] In Zechariah:

"There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds, that their eminence is devastated. Thus said Jehovah my God, Feed the sheep of the slaughter, which their possessors slay. I have fed the sheep of the slaughter for your sakes, O miserable of the flock" (xi. 3-5, 7).

By the sheep of the slaughter, which their possessors slay, are signified those who are in good, and are seduced by falsities of doctrine; they are called sheep who are in the good of charity; shepherds denote those who teach truths, and thereby lead to good.

(References: Zechariah 11:3-5, 11:7)


[12] In David:

"We are slain every day; we are reputed as a flock of the slaughter. Awake, O Lord! forsake us not for ever" (Ps. xliv. 22, 23).

"We are slain every day," signifies, that of ourselves we are perpetually falling into falsities, and are seduced by them, especially in the time when falsities rule; hence it is evident what a flock of the slaughter signifies. That we may be elevated out of them by the Lord is signified by, "Awake, O Lord! forsake us not for ever."

(References: Ezekiel 28:7-8; Psalms 44:22-23)


[13] In Ezekiel:

"They shall draw the swords upon the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring [thee] down to the pit, and thou shalt die by the death of the slain" (xxviii. 7, 8).

These things are spoken of the prince of Tyre, by whom is signified intelligence from the knowledges of truth, here those extinguished by falsities. To draw swords upon the beauty of thy wisdom, signifies its extinction by falsities; to bring down to the pit, signifies immersion in them; and to die by the death of the slain, signifies destruction and damnation; the slain signify those with whom all truth is extinguished (as may be seen, n. 4503, 9262), and death signifies damnation.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4503, Arcana Coelestia 9262; Ezekiel 28:7-8)


[14] In Isaiah:

"Hath he smitten him according to the stroke of him that smiteth him? Is he slain according to the slaughter of his slain? " (xxvii. 7).

These things are said concerning Jacob and Israel, by whom the church is signified; by Jacob the external church, and by Israel the internal. The temptations of those who belong to the church are thus described, which are signified by, "Hath he smitten him according to the stroke of him that smiteth him?" And that they should not yield, and thus perish in temptations, is signified by, "Is he slain according to the slaughter of the slain?" the slaughter of the slain signifies perdition by falsities.

(References: Isaiah 27:7)


[15] Slaughter signifies perdition and damnation also elsewhere in the same:

"In the day of the great slaughter, the towers shall fall" (xxx. 25).

The day of the great slaughter signifies the Last Judgment, when the wicked are condemned and perish; towers signify the doctrines of falsity.

(References: Isaiah 30:25)


[16] In the same:

"I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant" (xiv. 30).

These things are said respecting Philistea, by which is signified truth without good, or faith without charity. To kill the root with famine, signifies to perish entirely from having no good; the root denotes everything from which a thing lives; therefore it is also said, he shall slay thy remnant; by remnant are signified all the remains of the church.

(References: Isaiah 14:30)


[17] In Jeremiah:

"I have heard the voice of the daughter of Zion; she sigheth and spreadeth her hands, for my soul is wearied by the slayers" (iv. 31).

Thus is described the grief of the church falling from truths into falsities. The daughter of Zion denotes the church, "She sigheth and spreadeth the hands," signifies grief; "For my soul is wearied by the slavers," signifies by the falsities which extinguish spiritual life, slayers denoting those falsities.

(References: Jeremiah 4:31)


[18] In Isaiah:

"Behold, Jehovah going forth out of his place to visit the iniquity of the earth; then shall the earth reveal her bloods, and shall no longer hide her slain" (xxvi. 21).

This is said of the day of visitation or judgment, when the iniquities of all shall be uncovered, which is meant by, "Then the earth shall reveal her bloods, and shall no longer hide her slain the earth signifies the church, here the evil who are therein bloods denote the evils that have destroyed the goods thereof and the slain denote the falsities that have destroyed the truths thereof; hence, whether it be said that the slain signify falsities, or those who are in falsities, it is the same thing because they are in falsities, and falsities in them, and the falsities in them destroy. The same is signified by the slain elsewhere in Isaiah:

"What will ye do in the day of visitation and of desolation? They shall fall down under the slain" (x. 3, 4).

Also in the Apocalypse:

"The blood of the prophets and of saints was found in Babylon, and of all that were slain on the earth" (xviii. 24).

What is signified by these words will be seen in what comes after.

(References: Isaiah 10:3-4, Isaiah 26:21; Revelation 18:24)


[19] In Isaiah:

"I will visit evil upon the world. Every one found shall be thrust through; and every one gathered together shall fall by the sword" (xiii. 11, 15).

This also is said of Babylon. "Every one found shall be thrust through," signifies that they shall perish by evil; and "Every one gathered together shall fall by the sword," signifies [that they shall perish] by falsity.

(References: Isaiah 10:3-4, Isaiah 13:11, 13:15)


[20] In Matthew:

"In the consummation of the age they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you" (xxiv. 9).

In John:

"They shall cut you off from the synagogues; yea, the hour cometh that any one who killeth you, will think that he offereth holy worship to God" (xvi. 2, 3).

These things were said to the disciples; and by the disciples, in the spiritual-representative sense, are meant all the truths and goods of the church; hence it is evident, what is meant in that sense by, "they shall kill them," namely, that they shall then destroy the truths and goods of the church.

(References: John 16:2, John 16:2-3; Matthew 24:9)


[21] In Mark:

"In the consummation of the age "the brother shall deliver the brother to death, the father the children; the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall slay them" (xiii. 12).

The consummation of the age is the last time of the church, when falsities shall destroy truths, and evils shall destroy goods. By brother, father, and children are not meant here, a brother, a father, and children, but falsity and truth, also good and evil. That the brother shall deliver the brother to death, signifies that falsity shall destroy good, specifically that faith alone shall destroy charity, for faith in the Word is called the brother of charity. That the father shall deliver the children to death, signifies that the good of the church shall perish by the falsities of evil; father denoting the good of the church, and children denoting the falsities of evil. That the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall slay them, signifies that the falsities of evil shall assault the goods and truths of the church, and destroy them.

(References: Mark 13:12)


[22] In Luke:

The man who planted a vineyard "sent a servant, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard; but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant; and beating him also, they sent him away empty. Again he sent a third, and wounding him they cast him forth. Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. But they said, This is the heir; come, let us kill him; and casting him out of the vineyard, they killed him" (xx. 10-16; Mark xii. 2-9).

These things are said concerning the church instituted amongst the Jews, and thereby is described the perversion and falsification of every truth they possessed from the Word, by traditions and by applications to themselves. Every particular there contains a spiritual sense; for whatever the Lord spake, He spake also spiritually, because from the Divine. By the vineyard which the man planted, is signified the church which is in truths; by the servants whom he sent thrice, is meant the Word given to them, through Moses and the prophets; "thrice" is mentioned, because three signifies what is full and complete that they beat them, wounded, and sent them away empty from the vineyard, signifies that they falsified and perverted the truths that are there; to send them away empty from the vineyard, signifies that they deprived the Word of its goods and truths. By the beloved son is meant the Lord as to Divine truth, who is also thence called the Word; that they cast Him out of the vineyard and killed Him, signifies not only [that they killed] Him, but also all Divine truth which is from Him (as may be seen also above, n. 83).

(References: Luke 20:10-16; Mark 12:2-9; The Apocalypse Explained 83)


[23] In Daniel:

"After threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself" (ix. 26).

By the Messiah also is meant the Lord as to Divine truth (as may be seen in n. 3008, 3009). That He shall be cut off, signifies not only Himself, but also all Divine truth with that people; but not for Himself, signifies that it should revive with those who are in the New Church, in like manner as was said above in the first chapter of the Apocalypse: "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold I am alive for evermore" (v. 18).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3008-3009; Daniel 9:26; John 16:2-3; Revelation 1:18, Revelation 5:6)

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From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 312, 328, 329, 337, 374, 547, 579, 589, 643, 651, 676, 807, 833, 1194

Other New Christian Commentary

Weary 1

Parents 1

Pastor, or shepherd 1

Slaughter 1

Towers 1

The Meaning of the Book of Revelation: the Four Horsemen 1


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


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