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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 #8588

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8588. And Meribah. That this signifies the quality of the complaining, is evident from the fact that in the original tongue “Meribah” means “contention,” or “quarreling,” and “quarreling” signifies complaining (see n. 8563, 8566); and because names signify the quality of the thing (n. 8587), therefore “Meribah” here signifies the quality of the complaining. As regards this temptation itself and its quality, be it known that in this passage are described those who in temptations almost yield, namely, those who complain against heaven and also against the Divine Itself, and at last almost disbelieve in the Divine Providence. These things are signified in the internal sense by what precedes, and also by what follows in this verse, namely, the quality of the state of the temptation, which is signified by “Massah,” and the quality of the complaining in the temptation, which is signified by “Meribah.” That this quality is here signified by “Meribah,” is plain in David:

Thou calledst upon Me in distress, and I rescued thee; I answered thee in the secret place, I proved thee at the waters of Meribah (Psalms 81:7).

[2] But in the internal historical sense, in which the subject treated of is the state of religion with the Israelitish nation, that nation is described in respect to its quality toward Jehovah, namely, that they were not willing by supplication to entreat Him for aid, but that they expostulated. The reason was, that at heart they did not acknowledge Jehovah as the supreme God, but only in the mouth, when they saw the miracles. That at heart they did not acknowledge Him is very evident from the Egyptian calf which they made for themselves and worshiped, saying that these were their gods; also from their frequent apostasy (of which see n. 8301). This is what is here described in the internal historical sense; but in the internal spiritual sense is described the quality of the temptation with those who before they are liberated are brought to the last of temptation.

[3] That the quality of the Israelitish nation and of its religiosity is described by contention with Moses at Massah and Meribah, is also evident in the following passages:

Harden not your heart, as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, where your fathers tempted Me; they tempted Me, and saw My work; for forty years did I feel loathing at the generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and the same have not known My ways, to whom I sware in Mine anger that they should not come unto My rest (Psalms 95:8-11).

Ye shall not tempt Jehovah your God, as ye tempted Him in Massah (Deuteronomy 6:16; 9:22, 24).

Of Leviticus he said, Thy Thummim and thy Urim are with the Holy Man, whom thou didst tempt at Massah, with whom thou didst contend at the waters of Meribah (Deuteronomy 33:8).

“The Holy Man” here denotes the Lord, whom they tempted, and whom Moses and Aaron did not sanctify.

(References: Deuteronomy 4:16, Deuteronomy 33:8-9)

[4] In the internal historical sense, in which the subject treated of is the religiosity of the Israelitish nation, by Moses and Aaron is not represented truth Divine, but the religiosity of that nation whose leaders and heads they were (n. 7041). Because this religiosity was such as said above, it was intimated to them that they should not bring the people into the land of Canaan, as is written in the book of Numbers:

Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye have not believed in Me, and sanctified Me in the eyes of the sons of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them; these are the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with Jehovah (Numbers 20:12-13; 27:14).

Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall not come into the land which I have given to the sons of Israel, because ye rebelled against My mouth at the waters of Meribah (Numbers 20:24).

The same is said of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:50-51).

[5] That still representative Divine worship was instituted with that nation, was because representative worship could be instituted with any nation that had holy externals of worship, and worshiped almost idolatrously; for what is representative does not regard the person, but the thing (n. 1361), and it was the genius of that nation, beyond any other nation, to worship merely external things as holy and Divine, without any internal; as for instance to worship as deities their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and afterward Moses and David, and moreover to account holy and as Divine, and to worship, every stone and every piece of wood that had been inaugurated in their Divine worship; as the arks, the tables therein, the lamp, the altar, the garments of Aaron, the Urim and Thummim, and afterward the temple. Of the Lord’s Providence there was then given a communication of the angels of heaven with man by means of such things. For there must needs be somewhere a church, or the representative of a church, in order that there may be communication of heaven with the human race; and as that nation, beyond any other nation, could make Divine worship consist in external things, and thus act the representative of a church, therefore that nation was taken.

[6] At that time communication with the angels in heaven was effected by means of representatives in the following way. Their external worship was communicated to angelic spirits who are simple, and who do not reflect upon internal things, but still are interiorly good. Such are they who in the Grand Man correspond to the outer skin. These pay no attention whatever to the internal of man, but only to his external. If this appears holy, they think holily of the internal also. The more interior angels of heaven saw in those spirits the things that were represented, consequently the heavenly and Divine things that corresponded; for they could be present with these spirits, and see those things; but not with the men except by means of the spirits. For angels dwell with men in things interior; but where there are no such things, they dwell in the interior things of simple spirits; for the angels have no interest in other than spiritual and heavenly things, which are the interior things contained in representatives. From these few words it can be seen how there could be communication with heaven by means of such a people. But see what has been previously shown on this subject, namely: That with the Jews the holy of worship was miraculously elevated into heaven quite apart from them (n. 4307); that whatever their quality might be, the descendants of Jacob could represent what is holy, provided they closely observed the rituals commanded (n. 3147, 3479, 3480, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4289, 4293, 4307, 4444, 4500, 4680, 4825, 4844, 4847, 4899, 4912, 6304, 6306, 7048, 7051, 8301).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3479-3480, 4288-4289; Deuteronomy 4:16, Deuteronomy 33:8-9)

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Arcana Coelestia #5321

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5321. 'And he made him ride in the second chariot' means an outward sign that the celestial of the spiritual was the source of all the teaching about goodness and truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'the chariot' as teaching which has reference to goodness and truth, dealt with below, so that 'making him ride in the chariot' is a sign denoting that the celestial of the spiritual was the source of that teaching. This particular matter is connected with what Pharaoh has stated previously, in verse 40,

You shall be over my house, and all my people shall kiss you on the mouth; only in the throne will I be great, more than you.

The reason why teaching that has reference to goodness and truth is meant by 'Joseph' is that 'Joseph' represents the Lord's Divine Spiritual, 3971, 4669, and so Divine Truth going forth from the Lord's Divine Human, 4723, 4717, the celestial of the spiritual being an extension of that Divine Truth. The reason why all the teaching about goodness and truth is derived from the celestial of the spiritual is that in a real sense the Lord is that teaching since every detail of it comes forth from Him and every detail of it has reference to Him. For all that teaching has reference to the good of love and the truth of faith; and since the Lord is the source of these, He is not merely present within them but in a real sense is both of them. From this it is clear that teaching which has reference to goodness and truth has reference to the Lord alone, and that such goes forth from His Divine Human.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 4727)

[2] No doctrine at all can possibly go forth from the Divine itself except through the Divine Human, that is, through the Word, which in the highest sense is Divine Truth coming from the Lord's Divine Human. That which goes forth directly from the Divine itself cannot be understood even by angels in the inmost heaven. The reason for this is that it is infinite and so surpasses all understanding, even that of angels. But that which goes forth from the Lord's Divine Human is capable of being understood, for such truth refers to God as Divine Man, of whom some idea can be formed from His Human. No matter what kind of idea has been formed about that Human, it is an acceptable one if only the good of innocence has been inspired into it and the good of charity is present within it. This is the meaning of the Lord's words in John,

Nobody has ever seen God; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known. John 1:18.

In the same gospel,

You have never heard the Father's voice nor seen His shape. John 5:37.

And in Matthew,

No one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him. Matthew 11:27.

[3] Chariots are mentioned in very many places in the Word, yet scarcely anyone knows that matters of doctrine concerning goodness and truth, and also factual knowledge attached to those matters of doctrine, are meant by 'chariots'. The reason for such lack of knowledge is that nothing spiritual, only what is natural and historical, enters their thinking when 'a chariot' is mentioned, or similarly when the horses in front of a chariot are mentioned. But in the Word the powers of the understanding are meant by 'horses', 2760-2762, 3117, and therefore 'a chariot' means matters of doctrine and associated factual knowledge.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3217)

[4] It has become clear to me from the chariots which I have seen so many times in the next life that 'chariots' means the matters of doctrine and also the factual knowledge which the Church possesses. There is also a place over on the right, around the lower earth, where chariots and horses, together with rows of stables, appear. In that place people who in the world were considered learned, and who thought that life was the end in view of learning, stroll and converse with one another. The origin of such chariots and horses seen by them lies with the angels in higher heavens; when these angels' conversation turns to intellectual concepts, and to matters of doctrine and to known facts, those chariots and horses are seen by the spirits around the lower earth.

[5] The fact that such things are meant by 'chariots and horses' is perfectly plain from the occasion when Elijah was seen riding into heaven in a chariot of fire with horses of fire, and from what both he and Elisha were called - 'the chariot of Israel and its horsemen'. The two of them are spoken of in the second Book of Kings as follows,

Behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire came between them, and Elijah went up in a whirlwind into heaven; Elisha saw this and cried out, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen. 2 Kings 2:11-12.

And in a reference to Elisha in the same book,

When Elisha was sick with the illness from which he died, Joash the king of Israel came down to him and wept before his face and said, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen. 2 Kings 13:14.

The reason they were called this is that both of them - Elijah and Elisha - represented the Lord as to the Word, see Preface to Genesis 18, and 2762, 5247 (end). The Word itself is primarily doctrinal teaching about what is good and true, for the Word is the source of all doctrinal teaching. It was for the same reason that Elisha's servant, whose eyes had been opened by Jehovah, saw around Elisha,

A mountain full of horses and chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:17.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)

[6] The fact that 'chariot' means matters of doctrine and 'horse' intellectual concepts is also clear from other places in the Word, as in Ezekiel,

You will be filled at My table with horse and chariot, with mighty man and every man of war. Thus will I bring My glory to the nations. Ezekiel 39:20, 11; Revelation 19:18.

This refers to the Lord's Coming. Anyone can see that here 'horse and chariot' does not mean horse and chariot, for people are not going to be filled with these at the Lord's table but with such things as are meant spiritually by 'horse and chariot', which are intellectual concepts and matters of doctrine regarding what is good and true.

(References: Ezekiel 39:20-21)

[7] Much the same is meant by 'horses' and 'chariots' in the following places: In David,

The chariots of God are myriad on myriad, 1 thousands of peacemakers; the Lord is within them, Sinai is within the sanctuary. Psalms 68:17.

In the same author,

Jehovah covers Himself with light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a curtain, laying the beams for His upper chambers 2 on the waters; He makes the clouds His chariots; He walks on the wings of the wind. Psalms 104:2-3.

In Isaiah,

The prophecy of the wilderness of the sea. Thus said the Lord to me, Set a watchman; let him announce what he sees. He therefore saw a chariot, a pair of horsemen, a chariot of asses, a chariot of camels, and he listened diligently, with great care. For a lion cried out on the watchtower, O Lord, I am standing continually during the daytime, and at my post I have been set every night. Now behold, a chariot of men, a pair of horsemen. And he said, Fallen, fallen has Babylon. Isaiah 21:1, 6-9.

[8] In the same prophet,

At that time they will bring all your brothers in all nations as an offering to Jehovah, on horses, and in chariots, and in covered waggons, and on mules, and on fast runners, to My holy mountain, Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:20.

In the same prophet,

Behold, Jehovah will come in fire, and His chariots will be like a whirlwind. Isaiah 66:15.

In Habakkuk,

Has Jehovah been displeased with the rivers? Has Your anger turned against the rivers, has Your wrath turned against the sea, that You ride on Your horses, Your chariots being salvation? Habakkuk 3:8.

In Zechariah,

I lifted up my eyes and saw, and behold, four chariots coming out from between two mountains; but the mountains were mountains of bronze. The horses coupled to the first chariot were reddish, the horses coupled to the second chariot were black, the horses coupled to the third chariot were white, and the horses coupled to the fourth chariot were mottled. Zechariah 6:1-3.

[9] And in Jeremiah,

There will enter through the gates of this city kings and princes seated on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city will be inhabited for ever. Jeremiah 17:25; 12:4.

'The city that will be inhabited for ever' is not Jerusalem but the Lord's Church meant by 'Jerusalem', 402, 2117, 3654. The kings who will enter through the gates of that city are not kings but truths known to the Church, 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068. Thus 'princes' are not princes but the first and foremost aspects of truth, 1482, 2089, 5044. Those 'seated on the throne of David' are Divine Truths which go forth from the Lord, 5313; and those 'riding in chariots and on horses' are consequently intellectual concepts and matters of doctrine. Chariots are also mentioned many times in historical descriptions in the Word; and since historical events are representative of, and the words used to describe them mean, the kinds of things that exist in the Lord's kingdom and in the Church, 'chariots' have a similar meaning there also.

(References: Jeremiah 22:4)

[10] Since most things in the Word also have a contrary meaning, so too does 'chariots'. In that contrary sense matters of doctrine maintaining what is evil and false, also factual knowledge used to lend support to these, are meant by 'chariots', as in the following places: In Isaiah,

Woe to those who go down into Egypt for help and rely on horses and trust in chariots because they are many, and on horsemen because they are extremely strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 31:1.

In the same prophet,

By the hand of your 3 servants you have spoken ill of the Lord and have said, By the multitude of my chariots I have gone up [to] the height of the mountains, the sides of Lebanon, where I will cut down the tallness of its cedars, the choice of its fir trees. Isaiah 37:24.

This is a prophecy delivered in response to the haughty words spoken by the Rabshakeh, a leader serving the king of Assyria. In Jeremiah,

Behold, waters rising out of the north which will become a deluging stream, and they will deluge the land and all that fills it, the city and those who dwell in it. And every inhabitant of the land will wail at the sound of the beat of the hoofs of the horses his mighty ones, at the noise of his chariot, the rumble of its wheels. Jeremiah 47:2-3.

[11] In Ezekiel,

By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust will cover you; by reason of the noise of horsemen, and wheels, and chariots, your walls will be shaken, when he comes into your gates, like the entry into a city that has been breached. By means of the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets. Ezekiel 26:10-11.

In Haggai,

I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations. I will also overthrow the chariots and those riding in them; the horses and their riders will come down. Haggai 2:22.

In Zechariah,

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, I will cut off the battle bow. On the other hand He will speak peace to the nations. Zechariah 9:10.

In Jeremiah,

Egypt comes up like the river, like the rivers his waters are tossed about. For he said, I will go up, I will cover the earth, I will destroy the city and those who dwell in it. Go up, O horses; rage, O chariots. Jeremiah 46:8-9.

[12] The horses and chariots with which the Egyptians pursued the children of Israel and with which Pharaoh entered the Sea Suph, when the wheels of the chariots were made to come off, and much else regarding the horses and chariots which forms the major part of the description - Exodus 14:6-7, 9, 17, 23, 25-26; 15:4, 19 - mean intellectual concepts, matters of doctrine, and known facts which maintain what is false. They also mean therefore reasonings which pervert and destroy the truths known to the Church. The destruction and death of such reasonings is described there.


1. literally, two myriads

2. literally, His couches

3. The Latin means my, but the Hebrew means your.


(References: Ezekiel 39:20-21; Genesis 41:43)

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Arcana Coelestia 5354, 5895, 5945, 6029, 6125, 6400, 6533, 6534, 7024, 7102, 7297, 7503, 7729, 8029, 8146, 8156, 8185, 8265, 8764, 9194, 9293, 9394, 9396, 9420, 9433, 9818, 10033, 10227, 10236, 10283, 10360, 10406, 10458

Heaven and Hell 86

The White Horse 1, 2

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 305, 306

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Apocalypse Explained 36, 278, 281, 336, 448

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