From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

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 drafts, indexes & diaries:

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

   Swedenborg Research Tools

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.

 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?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 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.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

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

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #8588

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

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)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 8788, 8918, 9166, 9229, 9259, 9320, 9372, 9380, 9409, 9962, 10396, 10401, 10436, 10490, 10493, 10499

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 248

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 130, 433, 443

   Swedenborg Research Tools

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Fake It Until You Make It

Word or Phrase Explanations:

Massah and Meribah

Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg

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

From Swedenborg's Works


Arcana Coelestia #9942

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

9942. 'And you shall weave the tunic in checker work of fine linen' means the inmost things of the spiritual kingdom, emanating from the truths of celestial love. This is clear from the meaning of Aaron's garments in general as the spiritual kingdom lying adjacent to the celestial kingdom, dealt with in 9814, and since the tunic was the inmost of those garments the inmost things of that kingdom are meant by it (for the meaning of 'Aaron's tunic' as Divine Truth in the spiritual kingdom, emanating directly from the Divine Celestial, see 9826); and from the meaning of 'fine linen' as truth from a celestial origin, dealt with in 9469. In the words stating that the tunic should be woven in checker work something produced by a weaver should be understood by 'checker work'; and by 'the work of a weaver' is meant that which is from the celestial, 9915. The same word is used in the original language to express the idea of producing checker work as is used to mean weaving.

(References: Genesis 3:21)

[2] The fact that this tunic was woven, or was made from the work of a weaver, is clear from the following words in the Book of Exodus,

They made the tunics of fine linen, the work of a weaver, for Aaron and his sons. Exodus 39:27.

The reason why the tunic consisted of checker work or was woven from fine linen was in order that it might represent that which emanates directly from the celestial; in comparison it resembles a continuation from it. For what emanates from the celestial is akin to what does so from the will part of a person's mind, in that everything which belongs to a person's understanding emanates from that will part. What emanates from the will part and exists more internally is so to speak continuous from it, in contrast to what does so but exists more externally. Therefore that more internal emanation from the will has primarily the affection for truth within it; for all affection belonging to love that is present in the understanding flows in from its will part. A similar situation exists in the heavens, where the celestial kingdom corresponds to the will part of a person's mind, and the spiritual kingdom to the understanding part, see 9835. And since Aaron's garments represented the Lord's spiritual kingdom lying adjacent to His celestial kingdom, 9814, the tunic represented that which is inmost there, namely that which emanates from and exists closest to the celestial kingdom; for the tunic was the inmost garment. From this it is evident why it was woven or made of checker work, and why it was made from fine linen. For 'woven' means that which originates in the will part or the celestial, 9915, and 'fine linen' means truth that springs from celestial love, 9469.

[3] What is spiritual emanating from what is celestial is also meant in other places in the Word by tunics, for example by the tunics of skin which Jehovah God is said to have made for the man and his wife after they ate from the tree of knowledge, Genesis 3:20-21. No one can know that truth from a celestial origin is meant by those 'tunics' unless the inner meaning of the details of that story is unfolded; therefore it must be explained. 'The man and his wife' there is used to mean the celestial Church, 'the man' as the husband to mean that Church in respect of good, and 'his wife' that Church in respect of truth; this truth and that good were the celestial Church's truth and good. But then came the fall of that Church, which was brought about by reasonings, based on factual knowledge, about God's truths, meant in the internal sense by 'the serpent' who persuaded them. The first state after the fall of that Church is what is described here, its truth by 'the tunics of skin'.

[4] It should be remembered that the creation of heaven and earth in the first chapter of Genesis means and describes in the internal sense the new creation or regeneration of the member of the Church then, thus the establishment of the celestial Church; that paradise means and describes the wisdom and intelligence of that Church, and eating from the tree of knowledge its fall, brought about by their reasoning, based on factual knowledge, about Divine matters. For more which demonstrates that all this is so, see what has been shown regarding these matters in the explanations to those chapters. For all the narratives contained in the early chapters of Genesis are made-up history, in the internal sense of which there are Divine matters regarding the new creation or the regeneration of the member of the celestial Church, as has been stated. This was the customary way of writing in most ancient times, not only among those who belonged to the Church but also among those outside the Church, for example among the Arabians, Syrians, and Greeks, as is evident from the books of those times, both sacred and secular.

[5] It was in imitation of those books, since he derived it from them, that Solomon composed the Song of Songs, a book that is not a sacred one because it does not inwardly contain heavenly and Divine matters forming a continuous train of thought, such as sacred books contain. The Book of Job too is a book of the Ancient Church. Mention is also made in Moses of sacred books of the Ancient Church which have now been lost, in Numbers 21:14-15, 27ff, the historical sections of which were called The Wars of Jehovah and the prophetical parts The Utterances, see 2686, 2897. The fact that such was the style in the historical narratives of the sections called The Wars of Jehovah is evident from the parts of them which were extracted and quoted by Moses. Their historical narratives were therefore such as came near to a kind of prophetic style, the kind that would allow young children and also simple people to retain things in their memory. The fact that the books referred to in Numbers 21 were sacred is evident from the parts of them extant in verses 28-30 of that chapter, when compared with Jeremiah 48:45-46, where similar words occur. This kind of style was the most common, virtually the one and only style adopted among those who were outside the Church, as is plain from the myths and legends of those writers who were outside the Church which held within them notions of right and wrong or such as have to do with what people feel and how they conduct their life.

(References: Acts of the Apostles 1:1; Numbers 21:28-30, 21:28-29, 21:30; Romans 1:1)

[6] In the narratives consisting not of made-up but of genuine history - which are those that appear in the Books of Moses after the chapters of made-up history, and also those in the Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings - spiritual truth and good of truth emanating from celestial truth and good are again meant by 'tunics'. (It should be remembered that spiritual truth and good is the kind of truth and good that spiritual angels in the middle or second heaven enjoy, but that celestial truth and good is the truth and good such as angels in the third and inmost heaven enjoy, see the places referred to in 9277.) The Books of Moses mention that Israel the father of Joseph gave his son a tunic of various colours, and that because of that tunic his brothers were annoyed; and that subsequently they stripped him of it, dipped it in blood, and sent it in that condition to their father, Genesis 37:3, 23, 31-33. All this was part of genuine history; and since it in like manner contained inwardly or in its internal sense the holy things of heaven and the Church, thus those that were Divine, that tunic of various colours served to mean the state of the good and truth which Joseph was to represent, namely the state of spiritual truth and good emanating from the celestial, see 3971, 4286, 4592, 4963, 5249, 5307, 5584, 5869, 5877, 6417, 6526, 9671. For all the sons of Jacob represented things such as belong to heaven and the Church in their proper order, 3858, 3926, 4060, 4603 and subsequent paragraphs, 6335, 6337, 6397, 6640, 7836, 7891, 7996. But in the chapter referred to above they represented the opposite.

(References: Genesis 37:3-4)

[7] Since all things that are in the books of the Word are representative of and serve to mean Divine celestial and spiritual realities, both those things in the historical books and those in the prophetical books, the affection for spiritual truth is described in David by 'the king's daughter' and the actual truth by her garments,

Daughters of kings are among your precious ones; at your right hand stands the queen in the finest gold of Ophir. The daughter of Tyre will bring an offering, the rich of the people will entreat your face. All glorious is the king's daughter within, from woven threads (or checker work) of gold will her vesture (her tunic) be; in an embroidered [robe] she will be led to the king. Psalms 45:9ff.

'Daughter' in general means the affection for spiritual truth and good, and so means the Church as well, see 2362, 3024, 3963, 9055 (end); and 'king', when this refers to the Lord, means Divine Truth, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4581, 4966, 5068, 6148. From this it is evident that everything mentioned in that Psalm regarding 'the king's daughter' means such things as belong to the affection for truth and good received from the Lord in the Church. When it says that 'the daughter of Tyre will bring an offering' cognitions or knowledge of good and truth are meant, 'Tyre' meaning these, see 1201. The like is meant by 'the rich of the people', for nothing other than cognitions of good and truth is meant in the spiritual sense by 'riches', 1694, 4508. From this it is evident what the meaning is of the declaration that the king's daughter is 'all glorious within', and that her vesture was made 'from woven threads of gold'. By 'her vesture' a tunic should be understood, as is evident from the meaning that word has in the original language; for the word in that language means a garment worn next to the body. The fact that a tunic is meant is clear in John 19:24, where reference is made to the Lord's tunic, which David in Psalms 22:18 calls by the same word 'vesture'. It is also clear in 2 Samuel 13:18, where it says that the king's daughters were clothed with tunics of various colours; this matter is dealt with just below. By 'woven threads of gold' in David something similar is meant to what is meant by the checker work of Aaron's tunic, the same term being used in the original language. As regards what 'an embroidered [robe]' is in which she will be led to the king, see 9688.

[8] Since the king's daughter and her vesture or tunic served to represent such things, a king's daughters at that time wore that kind of clothing, as is clear in the second Book of Samuel,

On Tamar there was a tunic of various colours, for daughters of the king wore such clothes. 2 Samuel 13:18.

[9] Since, then, spiritual forms of good and truths were represented by tunics it may be seen what it is that Aaron's 'tunic' means, and also what is meant by his sons' tunics, mentioned in the next verse of this chapter, which says that for Aaron's sons they were to make tunics, belts, and headdresses, for glorious adornment. And since their tunics served to represent those holy forms of good and truths, it was declared that Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu, who were devoured by fire from heaven because they were offering incense on foreign 1 fire, should be taken outside the camp in their tunics, Leviticus 10:1-5. For 'foreign fire' means love from a source other than what is heavenly, since 'sacred fire' in the Word denotes love that is heavenly or Divine, 6832, 6834, 6849, 7324, 9434. Because of what his sons had done spiritual forms of good and truths, meant by their 'tunics', had been defiled, and this was why they were taken outside the camp in their tunics.

[10] 'Tunic' is used with a similar meaning in Micah,

My people have taken a stand as an enemy on account of the garment; you strip the tunic from those confidently passing through. Micah 2:8.

Here a different word is used in the original language for 'tunic'; even so spiritual truth and good is meant. 'Stripping the tunic from those passing through in confidence' means depriving of their spiritual truths those who lead a life of simple goodness. 'Having [them] as enemy on account of the garment' means doing ill to them on account of the truth they think, when in fact no one ought to suffer harm on account of whatever he believes to be true, provided that he is governed by good, 1798, 1799, 1834, 1844.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1798-1799)

[11] From all this it may now be seen what 'tunic' means in Matthew,

Jesus said, You shall not swear at all, neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by Jerusalem, nor by [your] head. Let your words be, Yes, yes; No, no; anything beyond this is from evil. 2 If anyone wishes to drag you to court and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. Matthew 5:34-37, 40.

Anyone unacquainted with what the angelic state is like in the Lord's celestial kingdom cannot have any idea at all of what these the Lord's words imply. For they refer to the state of goodness and truth with those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom, with whom all truth resides within, imprinted on their hearts. For the good of love to the Lord leads them to know all truth, so completely that they never engage in any reasoning about it, as those in the spiritual kingdom do. Therefore whenever truths are referred to they say simply, Yes, yes; or, No, no. Nor indeed in that kingdom do they even make mention of faith. Regarding the state of these angels, see the places referred to in 9277. From this it is now evident what the meaning is of the command that they must not swear at all; for 'swearing' means confirming truths, 3375, 9166, which is done in the spiritual kingdom by the use of reason and factual knowledge drawn from the Word. 'Dragging to court and wishing to take away the tunic' means arguing about truths and wishing to convince others that something is not true, 'tunic' meaning truth from a celestial origin; for [those who are celestial] leave every one with the truth he has and do not go on to reason with him.

[12] 'Tunic' again means truth from a celestial origin elsewhere in Matthew,

Jesus sent the twelve to preach the kingdom of heaven, saying, that they should not possess gold, or silver, or bronze in their belts, nor a bag for the road, nor two tunics, or [pairs of] shoes, or rods. Matthew 10:9-10.

All this served to represent that those with forms of good and truths received from the Lord possess no good or truth at all that originates in themselves, but that every truth and form of good they have comes from the Lord. The twelve disciples represented all whose forms of good and truths come from the Lord, and in the abstract sense represented all forms of the good of love and all truths of faith derived from the Lord, 3488, 3858 (end), 6397. Forms of good and truths that originate in the self and not in the Lord are meant by 'possessing gold, silver, and bronze in their belts' and by 'a bag'. But truths and forms of good coming from the Lord are meant by 'tunic, shoe, and rod', inner truth or truth from a celestial origin by 'tunic', outer truth or truth in the natural by 'shoe', 1748, 6844, and the power of truth by 'rod', 4876, 4936, 6947, 7011, 7026. By 'two tunics' however, 'two [pairs of] shoes, and two rods' are meant truths and their powers that originate both in the Lord and in the self. The fact that they were allowed to have one tunic, one pair of shoes, and one rod is clear in Mark 6:8-9, and Luke 9:2-3.

(References: Luke 9:3; Matthew 10:5, 10:7)

[13] Once it is known from all this what 'a tunic' means it is evident what 'the Lord's tunic' referred to in John means,

They took the garments and made four parts, a part for each soldier, and the tunic. And the tunic was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said, Do not let us divide it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it may be - so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saying, They divided My garments for themselves, and for My tunic they cast lots. The soldiers did these things. John 19:23-24; Psalms 22:18.

Is there anyone, thinking with reason that is to some extent enlightened, who cannot see that in all this Divine things were meant, and that if this had not been so none of it would have been prophesied in David? Yet no one can know what is meant without the internal sense, thus without knowledge gained from that sense no one can know what is meant by 'the garments', 'casting lots for' or 'dividing them', 'the tunic' and its being 'without seam' or 'woven from the top throughout', and 'the soldiers'. From the internal sense it is evident that truths are meant by 'garments', and Divine Truths by 'the Lord's garments'; 'casting lots for' and 'dividing them' pulling apart and dispersing them, 9093; and 'the tunic' Divine Truth on the spiritual level, emanating from the Divine Celestial, the same as is meant by 'Aaron's tunic' since Aaron represented the Lord, for which reason also its being 'without seam' or 'woven from the top throughout' has the same meaning as 'checkered' or 'woven', which describes Aaron's tunic. The tunic's not being divided was a sign that Divine Truth on the spiritual level, emanating directly from Divine Truth on the celestial level, could not be dispersed, because this truth is the inner truth of the Word, such as exists with angels in heaven.

[14] When it says that 'the soldiers did it' the meaning is that it was done by those who ought to have been fighting for truths, that is, the Jews themselves with whom the Word existed, but whose characters were nevertheless such that they would disperse it. For they had the Word, yet nevertheless did not wish to know from it that the Lord was the Messiah and Son of God who was to come. Nor did they wish to know anything of the inner meaning of the Word, only the outward, which they also drafted to serve their own loves, which were self-love and love of the world, and so to support their desires gushing out of those loves. These things are meant by dividing up the Lord's garments; for whatever they did to the Lord represented the state of Divine Truth and Good among them then, thus the way they treated God's truths was similar to that in which they were treating Him; for while in the world the Lord was Divine Truth itself, see the places referred to in 9199 (end), 9315 (end).


1. i.e. unauthorized or profane fire

2. or from the evil one


(References: Exodus 28:39)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9947, 10004, 10005, 10373, 10545

Apocalypse Revealed 45

The White Horse 16

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 247, 261

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 29, 64, 195, 229, 375

   Swedenborg Research Tools

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