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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

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Arcana Coelestia #7643

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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.


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.


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

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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

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

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Arcana Coelestia #2576

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2576. Behold it is unto thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee. That this signifies that rational truths are like a covering or clothing to spiritual truths, is evident from the signification of a “covering” (concerning which presently); and from the signification of the “eyes,” as being things intellectual (as is evident from very many passages in the Word); and also from the signification of “seeing,” as being to understand (n. 2150, 2325). Everyone can see that in everything in this verse there are arcana which cannot be revealed except by some interior sense; such as the statement that he gave a thousand of silver, and that this is said to have been given, not to her husband, but to her brother; that it was a covering of the eyes both to her and to all that were with her, and also with all; and that thereby she was vindicated. Many historical conjectures might possibly be drawn from the sense of the letter, but without having anything spiritual in them, still less anything Divine; and yet this is what the Word is.

[2] As regards rational truths being like a covering or clothing to spiritual truths, the case is this: Man’s inmost things are those of his soul, and his outer things are those of his body; the former are goods and truths, from which the soul has its life, for otherwise the soul would not be a soul: the latter draw their life therefrom, and are all like a body, or what is the same, a covering or clothing. This is especially evident from the things that appear in the other life; as from angels when presented to view; for their interiors shine forth from their faces; their exteriors being represented in both their bodies and their dress; and this so fully that everyone there can know their quality from their garments alone; for these are real substances, and thus essences in form. The same is the case with the angels seen and described in respect to their faces and dress in the Word, such as those seen in the Lord’s sepulcher (Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5); and the four and twenty elders around the throne (Revelation 4:4); and others. Nor is this the case with the angels only, but also with all other things that are mentioned in the Word, even those which are inanimate; in all cases their exteriors are a covering or clothing; as for example the ark of the covenant and the tent that was round about it; the ark, being the inmost, represented the Lord Himself, for therein was the Testimony; and the tent outside of it represented the Lord’s kingdom. The clothing, that is, the veils and coverings, each and all represented the more exterior celestial and spiritual things in His kingdom, that is, in the three heavens; as is evident from the fact that the form of the Tent was shown to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9; 26:30). From this it had its holiness, and not from the gold, the silver, and the carvings, that were in it.

[3] Since rational truths are now treated of, as being a kind of veil or clothing to spiritual truths, and as the tent is described in Moses in respect to its clothing or coverings, and also in respect to its veils which were before the entrance, for the sake of illustration we may explain what was specifically signified by the veils; but what was signified by the encompassing coverings will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be told elsewhere. The veils of the tent were three: the first, which made the division between the holy and the holy of holies; the second, which is called the hanging for the door of the tent; and the third, which was the hanging for the gate of the court.

[4] Concerning the veil itself, which was the first, before the ark, we read in Moses:

Thou shalt make a veil of hyacinthine, and bright crimson, and double-dyed scarlet, and fine twined linen, the work of a designer, thou shall make it with cherubim; and thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, and their hooks of gold; upon four bases of silver; and thou shalt hang the veil under the clasps; and thou shalt bring in thither, within the veil, the Ark of the Testimony; and the veil shall divide unto you between the Holy and the Holy of Holies (Exodus 26:31-34; 36:35-36).

This veil represented the nearest and inmost appearances of rational good and truth, in which are the angels of the third heaven; which appearances are described by the hyacinthine, the bright crimson, the double-dyed scarlet, and the fine twined linen; in which the red color represented the goods of love, and the white its truths. The same is true also of the gold and silver with which the pillars were overlaid, and of which the hooks and the bases were made. (That colors are representative may be seen above, n. 1042, 1043, 1053, 1624; that “gold” is the good of love, n. 113, 1551, 1552; and that “silver” is truth, n. 1551, 2048)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1042-1043, Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552; Exodus 26:31-33)

[5] From this we can see what is signified by the veil of the temple being rent in twain (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45), namely, that the Lord entered into the Divine Itself by dispersing all appearances; and that He at the same time opened the way to His Divine Itself through His Human made Divine.

[6] Concerning the second veil, or the hanging for the door of the tent, we read in Moses:

Thou shalt make a hanging for the door of the tent, of hyacinthine, and bright crimson, and double-dyed scarlet, and fine-twined linen, the work of the embroiderer; and thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold; and thou shalt cast for them five bases of brass (Exodus 26:36-37; 36:37-38).

By this hanging were represented appearances of good and truth that are lower or more external than the former, that is, the middle ones of the rational, in which are the angels of the second heaven; which appearances are described almost in the same manner as the first, with the difference however that for this hanging there were five pillars and five bases, by which number is signified what is comparatively but little; for these appearances do not so cohere together, or are not so heavenly, as are the appearances of the inmost or third heaven. (Concerning the number five as meaning a little, see above, n. 649, 1686.) And because these appearances look to natural things, it was commanded that the bases should be cast of brass; for by brass was represented and signified natural good (n. 425, 1551).

[7] Concerning the third veil, or the hanging for the gate of the court, we read in Moses:

For the gate of the court shall be a hanging of twenty cubits, of hyacinthine, and bright crimson, and double-dyed scarlet, and fine-twined linen, the work of the embroiderer; their pillars four, and their bases four; all the pillars of the court round about shall be filleted with silver, their hooks of silver, but their bases of brass (Exodus 27:16-17; 38:18-19).

By this hanging were represented still lower or more external appearances of good and truth, which are the lowest ones of the rational, in which are the angels of the first heaven. As these appearances correspond to interior things, they are described in a similar manner, yet with the difference that these pillars were not overlaid with gold, but filleted with silver, and that the hooks were of silver, by which are signified rational truths that derive their origin immediately from memory-knowledges; and the bases were of brass, by which are signified natural goods. All this shows that there was nothing in the Tent that was not representative of the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord’s kingdom, or that all things were made according to the type of celestial and spiritual things in the three heavens; also that the veilings or coverings signified the things that are like a body or dress around or without the inmost.

[8] Moreover that “veilings,” “coverings,” “clothing,” or “garments” signify relatively lower truths, is evident from many passages in the Word, as in Ezekiel:

Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was thy spread of sail; hyacinthine and bright crimson from the isles of Elishah was thy covering (Ezekiel 27:7); where Tyre is treated of, by which are signified interior knowledges of celestial and spiritual things, and consequently those who are in them (n. 1201); “broidered work from Egypt” denotes what is of memory-knowledge (that “Egypt” denotes this may be seen above, n. 1164, 1165, 1186, 1462); “hyacinthine and bright crimson from the isles of Elishah, which was the covering,” denote the rituals that correspond to internal worship ( n. 1156).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1156, 1164-1165)

[9] In the same:

All the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay aside their robes, and put off their broidered garments; they shall be clothed with tremblings, they shall sit upon the earth (Ezekiel 26:16);

also speaking of Tyre “robes” and “broidered garments” denote knowledges derived from the contents of the memory [cognitionibus ex scientificis], and thus lower truths.

[10] In the same:

I clothed thee with broidered work, and shod thee with badger, and girded thee about with fine linen, and covered thee with silk; I decked thee also with ornaments, and put bracelets upon thy hands, and a necklace upon thy throat. Thou didst take of thy garments, and madest for thee high places with divers colors, and didst commit whoredom upon them; thou tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them (Ezekiel 16:10-11, 16, 18);

speaking of Jerusalem, which is the spiritual church, described as it was of old, and such as it was afterwards, when perverted: its lower spiritual things and its doctrinal matters are the “garments of broidered work, fine linen, and silk.”

[11] In Isaiah:

The Lord Jehovih Zebaoth doth take away from Jerusalem the whole staff of bread and the staff of water. Then shall a man take hold of his brother, of the house of his father-Thou hast a garment, be thou our prince. In that day he shall lift up his voice, saying, I will not be a binder up, and in my house there is neither bread, nor garment; ye shall not make me a prince of the people. The Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion; and in that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their anklets, and their network, and crescents, and their collars, and chains, and plates; and the headtires, and the ankle chains, and the sashes, and the soul houses, and the ear-drops; the rings, and the nose jewels, the festival garments, and the mantles, and the robes, and the satchels, the mirrors, and the fine linen, and the turbans, and the cloaks (Isaiah 3:1, 6-7, 17-24).

“Jerusalem” denotes the spiritual church; “Judah” the celestial church; the “staff of bread and the staff of water, which will be removed,” denote good and truth; the “garment which the prince should have,” the truths which are of doctrine; the clothing and various ornaments of the daughters of Zion, which are enumerated, all and each, the kinds and varieties of good and truth, of which they would be deprived. Unless everything here mentioned signified something peculiar to the church, they would not be of the Word, in every expression of which there is what is Divine; but they are predicated of the daughters of Zion, and by these are signified the things of the church, as may be seen above (n. 2362).

(References: Isaiah 3:17-23)

[12] In the same:

Awake! awake! put on thy strength, O Zion; put on the garments of thy beauty, O Jerusalem, the city of holiness; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean (Isaiah 52:1-2);

“Zion” denotes the celestial church; “Jerusalem” the spiritual church; and “garments of beauty” the holy things of faith. In the same:

Their webs shall not become a garment, neither shall they cover themselves with their works; their works are works of iniquity (Isaiah 59:6);

“webs” denote fictitious truths that do not become a garment; a “garment” denotes the exterior truths of doctrine and of worship; hence it is said, “neither shall they cover themselves with their works.”

[13] In the same:

Rejoicing I will rejoice in Jehovah, my soul shall exult in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

The “garments of salvation” denote the truths of faith; and the “robe of righteousness” the good of charity.

In John:

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis that have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy; he that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment (Revelation 3:4-5).

Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked (Revelation 16:15).

In the same:

Upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white garments (Revelation 4:4); where it is manifest that the “garments” are not garments, but the spiritual things of truth.

[14] So where the Lord said in reference to the consummation of the age that they should not return back to take their garments (Matthew 24:18; Mark 13:16), where that “garments” are truths may be seen above (n. 2454). Also in regard to the one not clothed in a wedding garment (Matthew 22:11-12). And concerning John:

What went ye out to see? a man clothed in bright 1 garments? Behold they that wear bright 1 garments are in kings’ houses (Matthew 11:8; Luke 7:25);

meaning that they were not in the externals of doctrine and worship, but in the internals; on which account He adds:

What went ye out to see? a prophet? yea, I say unto you and more than a prophet (Matthew 11:9);

a “prophet” denotes the externals of doctrine and of worship.

[15] As “garments” signified truths of every kind, it was commanded that the sons of Israel on going out of Egypt should borrow gold and silver, and garments, and put them upon their sons (Exodus 3:22; 12:35-36); also that garments of various kinds, or mixed garments, should not be worn (Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:11); and that they should make for themselves fringes on the borders of their garments, and should put a blue thread there, and that when they saw it they should call to mind the commandments, and do them (Numbers 15:38-40).

[16] Formerly also they rent their garments (as is seen in Josh. 7:6; Judges 11:35; 1 Samuel 4:12; 2 Samuel 1:2, 11-12; 3:31; 13:30-31; 15:32; 1 Kings 21:27; 2 Kings 5:7-8; 6:30; 22:11, 14, 19; Isaiah 36:22; 37:1); by which was signified zeal for doctrine and truth, which was thus torn to pieces; and also humiliation, because there was nothing appertaining to them that is signified by the adornment of garments.

(References: 2 Samuel 1:11, 13:31)

[17] That such things are signified by “veilings,” “coverings,” “clothing,” or “garments” is also manifest from the prophecy of Jacob, then Israel:

He shall bind his foal to the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he shall wash his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes (Genesis 49:11);

what these words signify can be known to none except from the internal sense; namely a “vine,” a “choice vine,” a “foal,” an “ass’s colt,” “wine,” the “blood of grapes,” “garments,” and “clothes”; but it is evident that they are predicated of the Lord, who is here called “Shiloh.” The subject spoken of is Judah, by whom is represented the Lord’s Divine celestial; and by the “garments he should wash in wine,” and “the vesture he should wash in the blood of grapes” are signified the Lord’s rational and natural, which He should make Divine.

[18] In like manner in Isaiah:

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah; this that is glorious in his apparel, marching in the multitude of his strength? Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garment like him that treadeth in the wine vat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the peoples there was none with me; their victory is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my raiment (Isaiah 63:1-3); where also “garments” and “raiment” denote the Lord’s Human which of His own power He made Divine by combats of temptations and by victories; on which account it is said, “I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the peoples there was none with me.” Isaac’s smelling the smell of Esau’s garments, and so blessing him (Genesis 27:27), involved the same.

[19] The Holy itself of the Lord’s Divine Human was also a garment which appeared as the light, and as white and glistening, when He was transfigured, concerning which we read in Matthew:

When Jesus was transfigured, His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became as the light (Matthew 17:2).

In Luke:

When Jesus prayed, the appearance of His countenance was changed, and His raiment became white and glistening (Luke 9:29).

And in Mark:

When Jesus was transfigured, His garments became shining, exceeding white like snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them (Mark 9:3).

The garments of holiness with which Aaron was clothed when he entered within the veil, and which were of linen, had a similar representation (Leviticus 16:2, 4): likewise the garments of holiness that were for glory and for beauty; and those of his ministry (Exodus 28:2 {ign3}, and 39:1 the end): for in these there was not one whit that was not representative.


1. Splendidis and splendida; but mollibus and mollia in n. 9372. [Rotch ed.]


(References: Exodus 28:2-43, 39; Isaiah 3:17-23; Matthew 11:8-9)

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