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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 #9093

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9093. And they shall divide the silver of it. That this signifies that the truth thereof shall be dissipated, is evident from the signification of “dividing,” as being to banish and dissipate (see n. 6360, 6361); and from the signification of “silver,” as being truth (n. 1551, 2048, 5658, 6112, 6914, 6917, 7999). That “to divide” denotes to dissipate, is because if those things which have been associated together are divided, they are also scattered, as he who divides his mind destroys it. For the mind of man is an association of two parts, one part being called the understanding, the other the will. He who divides these two parts scatters the things which belong to one part, for one part must live from the other; consequently the other also perishes. It is the same with him who divides truth from good, or what is the same, faith from charity. He who does this destroys both. In a word, all things which ought to be united in a one, if divided perish.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6360-6361)

[2] This division is meant by the Lord’s words in Luke:

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will prefer the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Luke 16:13).

That is, by faith serve the Lord, and by love the world; thus acknowledge truth, and do evil. He who does this has a divided mind, from which comes its destruction. From all this it is evident whence it is that “to divide” denotes to dissipate; as is also evident in Matthew:

The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall divide him, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites (Matthew 24:50-51); where “to divide” denotes to separate and remove from goods and truths (n. 4424), thus to dissipate.

(References: Luke 19:11-19, 22:24-27, 22:30)

[3] In Moses:

Cursed be their anger, for it was vehement; and their wrath, for it was hard. I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel (Genesis 49:7); where Israel speaks prophetically of Simeon and Levi. By Simeon and Leviticus are there represented those who are in faith separate from charity (n. 6352), by Jacob and Israel the church external and internal, and also the external and internal man (n. 4286, 4598, 5973, 6360, 6361). “To divide them in Jacob” denotes to expel them from the external church; and “to scatter them in Israel” denotes from the internal church; thus to dissipate the goods and the truths of the church appertaining to them.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6360-6361)

[4] That “dividing” has this signification is also plain from the words written on the wall when Belshazzar king of Babel, together with his lords, his wives, and his concubines, drank wine from the vessels of gold and of silver which belonged to the temple that was at Jerusalem. The writing was:

Numbered, numbered, weighed, and divided (Daniel 5:2-4, 25-28); where “divided” means separated from the kingdom. In this passage it is plain how all things were at that time representative. In it is described the profanation of good and truth, which is signified by “Babel” (that Babel” denotes profanation, see n. 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304-1308, 1321, 1322, 1326); “vessels of gold and of silver” denote the goods of love and the truths of faith from the the Lord, (n. 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917). Profanation is signified by “drinking therefrom, and at the same time praising the gods of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone,” as we read in the fourth verse of the chapter, which denote evils and falsities in a series (n. 4402, 4544, 7873, 8941). By the “temple at Jerusalem” from which the vessels came, is signified in the supreme sense the Lord, in the representative sense His kingdom and church (n. 3720). The kingdom of Belshazzar being “divided” signified the dissipation of good and truth, and he himself being “slain that night” signified the loss of the life of truth and good, thus damnation; for “to be divided” denotes to be dissipated; “a King” denotes the truth of good (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148); the like is signified by “kingdom” (n. 1672, 2547, 4691); “to be slain” denotes to be deprived of the life of truth and good (n. 3607, 6767, 8902); and the “night” in which he was slain denotes a state of evil and falsity (n. 2353, 7776, 7851, 7870, 7947). From this it is plain that all things there were representative.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1321-1322, 1551-1552; Daniel 5:25, Daniel 5:28)

[5] We read in the following passages:

They divided My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast a lot (Psalms 22:18).

They divided His garments, casting a lot; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet (Matthew 27:35).

The soldiers took His garments, and made four parts; and the tunic, the tunic was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore, Let us not divide it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the Scripture might be fulfilled (John 19:23-24).

He who reads these words and knows nothing of the internal sense of the Word, is not aware that anything secret lies hidden in them, when yet in each word there is a Divine secret. The secret was that Divine truths had been dissipated by the Jews, for the Lord was the Divine truth; and hence He is called “the Word” (John 1). “The Word” denotes Divine truth; His garments represented truths in the external form; and His tunic, truths in the internal form; the division of the garments represented the dissipation of the truths of faith by the Jews. (That “garments” denote truths in the external form, see n. 2576, 5248, 5954, 6918; also that “a tunic” denotes truth in the internal form, n. 4677.) Truths in the external form are such as are those of the Word in the literal sense; but truths in the internal form are such as are those of the Word in the spiritual sense. The division of the garments into four parts signified total dissipation, in like manner as the division in Zechariah 14:4, and in other passages; likewise the division into two parts, as we read of the veil of the temple (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38). The rending of the rocks also at that time (Matthew 27:51) represented the dissipation of all things of faith, for a “rock” denotes the Lord as to faith, consequently it denotes faith from the Lord.

(References: Daniel 5:25, Daniel 5:28; Exodus 21:35; John 1:1)

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Arcana Coelestia #3708

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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3708. 'And you will break forth towards the sea, and towards the east' means infinite extension of good, while 'towards the north, and towards the south' means infinite extension of truth - thus every state of good and truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'breaking forth' as extension, here infinite extension since it has reference to the Lord; from the meaning of 'the sea' or the west as good which is as yet obscure and so at only an initial stage; from the meaning of 'the east' as bright and so perfected good; from the meaning of 'the north' as truth which is still shrouded in obscurity; and from the meaning of 'the south' as truth bathed in light.

[2] Many references are made in the Word to the sea or west, the east, the north, and the south. But because nobody up to now has known that, as with every other single expression, these possessed an internal sense in which they did not mean things to do with the world, as they do in the sense of the letter, but spiritual and celestial things, and that in the highest sense those expressions meant Divine things belonging to the Lord Himself, what else could people have known therefore other than that west, east, north, and south are used in the Word simply to mean the four quarters? What else other than that 'breaking forth' towards those four quarters means a multiplying? But the fact that they do not mean the four quarters or the multiplying of any group of people, but states of good and truth, and the extension of these, may become clear from all the places in the Word, especially those in the Prophets, where reference is made to them. For what west, east, north, or south are is totally unknown in heaven. There the Sun, which is the Lord - unlike the sun of this world which rises and sets, reaching its highest point at midday and its lowest at night - is visible all the time, though how visible depends on the states of those receiving its light; for the light from it holds wisdom and intelligence within it, see 1619-1632, 2776, 3138, 3167, 3190, 3195, 3222, 3223, 3339, 3341, 3485, 3636, 3643. Consequently it is visible to each individual according to the wisdom and intelligence existing with him. Among those with whom good and truth are present - which are warmth and light, but of the celestial and spiritual kind - the sun is as it is when rising and at midday; but among those with whom good and truth are not present the sun is as it is when setting and at night. From this it is evident that in the internal sense of the Word 'east, south, west, and north' means states of good and truth.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3222-3223)

[3] It should be recognized that the Word does not use only the four quarters, as indicated, to describe states of good and truth. It also uses both the annual seasons or states of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and the daily times or states of morning, midday, evening, and night. These are used for a similar purpose; but when the subject is the extension of good and truth, the four quarters are employed to describe it. What each one means specifically however may be seen from the places where they are mentioned in the Word. 'East' means the Lord and also the good of love and charity, which comes from the Lord, as shown already in 101, 1250, 3249, and 'south' means the truth bathed in light, in 1458, 3195.

[4] But what 'west' and what 'north' mean in the genuine sense, and what they mean in the contrary sense, may be seen from the following places: In Isaiah,

Fear not, for I am with you; from the east I will bring your seed, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not withhold. Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the end of the earth. Isaiah 43:5-6

This refers to a new spiritual Church, meant here by Jacob and Israel. 'Bringing the seed from the east and gathering from the west' stands for people governed by good; 'saying to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not withhold' stands for those governed by truth.

[5] In David,

The redeemed of Jehovah will speak, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy and gathered together out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the sea. They wandered in the wilderness, in a desolate way; they did not find an inhabited city. 1 Psalms 107:2-4.

This refers to people who are without knowledge of good and truth. 'From the east and from the west' stands for those without knowledge of good, 'from the north and from the sea' for those without knowledge of truth. Those without knowledge of good are referred to as 'wandering in the wilderness', and those without knowledge of truth as doing so 'in a desolate way'. And those without knowledge of both are referred to as their not finding an inhabited city - 'a city' meaning doctrinal teaching consisting of truth, see 402, 2449, 2943, 3216, and 'a habitation' being used in reference to good, 268, 2451, 2712.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2268)

[6] In Isaiah,

Behold, these will come from afar, and behold, those from the north and from the west, and those from the land of Sinim. Isaiah 49:12.

'The north' stands for people in obscurity as regards truth, 'the west' for those in obscurity as regards good. They are said 'to come from afar' because they are remote from the light which flows from the Lord.

[7] In Amos,

Behold, the days are going to come in which I will send a famine on the land. And they will wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east they will run to and fro to seek the Word of Jehovah, and will not find it. Amos 8:11-12.

'A famine' stands for a lack and absence of cognitions, 1460, 3364. 'Wandering from sea to sea' stands for searching for the place where cognitions may be found - 'seas' meaning cognitions in general, 28, 2850. 'Running to and fro from the north even to the east' stands for going from those cognitions that are in obscurity to cognitions that are in the light. As regards cognitions being meant, this is evident because the words 'to seek the Word of God and will not find it' are used.

[8] In Jeremiah,

Proclaim these words towards the north, and say, Return, backsliding Israel; I will not cause My face to fall upon you, for I am merciful. In those days the house of Judah will go to the house of Israel, and together they will come out of the north land over the land I gave as a heritage to your fathers. Jeremiah 3:12, 18.

This refers to the restoration of the Church from among the gentiles. 'The north' stands for people without knowledge of truth but who lead a good life. It is evident that neither the north nor the north land is meant here for the reason that Israel did not exist any longer.

[9] In the same prophet,

The living Jehovah who caused the children of Israel to come up out of the north land. Jeremiah 16:15.

'North' in a similar way stands for being without knowledge of truth. In the same prophet,

Behold, I am bringing them from the north land, and I will gather them from the furthest parts of the earth, among them the blind one and the lame. Jeremiah 31:8.

The 'north land' stands for no knowledge of good because of no knowledge of truth. Now because the land of Canaan represented the Lord's kingdom - and therefore also represented good, see above in 3705 - and places within that land, such as Zion and Jerusalem, represented inmost good to which truth was joined, the places which lay away from that land consequently represented obscurity so far as good and truth were concerned. Everything that lies in obscurity is called 'the north land' and also 'the furthest parts of the earth'.

[10] In addition to this, since all good that flows in with light from the Lord is confined within man's obscurity, the north is also called 'an assembly' as in Isaiah,

You said in your heart, I will go up the heavens, above the stars of God I will raise my throne, and I will sit on the mount of assembly, in the furthest parts of the north. Isaiah 14:13.

In the same prophet,

Wail, O gate; cry, O city; you have melted away, O Philistia, all of you, for smoke comes from the north, and not a solitary person in the assemblies. Isaiah 14:31.

In David,

Great is Jehovah and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, the mountain of His holiness - the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, the furthest parts of the north, the city of the great King. Psalms 48:1-2.

And again in the same author,

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours. The world and the fullness of it You have founded; the north and the right hand 2 You have created. Psalms 89:11-12.

'The north' here stands for those who are more remote from the light of good and truth, 'the right hand' for those who are closer to them. For the latter are on the Lord's right hand, see 1274, 1276.

[11] In Zechariah,

He saw four chariots coming out between two mountains of bronze. The horses coupled to them were reddish, black, white, and mottled - strong ones. The angel said, These are the four winds of heaven, which go forth from standing before the Lord of the whole earth, the black horses going into the north land; and the white have gone out after them, and the mottled have gone out into the south land. Those going towards the north land have caused My spirit to rest on the north land. Zechariah 6:1-8.

'Chariots coming out between two mountains of bronze' stands for matters of doctrine concerning good. For 'chariots' means matters of doctrine, as will be shown elsewhere, while 'a mountain' means love, see 795, 1430, 2722, and two mountains therefore two kinds of love - celestial love, which is love to the Lord, and spiritual love, which is love towards the neighbour. 'Bronze' is good originating in those loves as it exists within the natural, 425, 1551; 'horses' things of the understanding, and so an understanding of matters of doctrine concerning good, 2760-2762, 3217; 'the south land' stands for people who possess cognitions of good and truth, 1458, 3195, 'the north land' for those who are without knowledge of good and truth but who lead a good life, as upright gentiles do among whom, when a new Church is established, God's Spirit is said to rest.

[12] In Jeremiah,

Jehovah who brought up and led back the seed of the house of Israel out of the land towards the north and out of all the lands to where I have driven them, so that they might dwell on their own land. Jeremiah 23:8.

'Out of the land towards the north' stands for away from the obscurity that is due to a lack of knowledge about what is good and true. In the same prophet,

Can one break iron, iron from the north, and bronze? Jeremiah 15:12.

'Iron' stands for natural truth, 425, 426, 'bronze' for natural good, 425, 1551. These are said to come 'from the north' because they derive from the natural which, though lying in obscurity compared with other degrees, serves as the outer limit of these. It is evident without explanation that this prophetic utterance does not mean the use of iron and bronze from the north, for what would be Divine about that, indeed what connection would it have with what goes before and after if no more than iron and bronze from there were meant?

(References: Arcana Coelestia 425-426)

[13] In Matthew,

I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Matthew 8:11; Luke 13:29.

'Many from the east and from the west' stands for those who possess cognitions and lead a good life, and also for those who are in obscurity and have no knowledge of such cognitions; and so it stands for people inside the Church and those outside it. It has been stated above that states of good are meant by the east and the west. 'Reclining with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob' means being with the Lord, see 3305 (end). And the Prophets in a similar way speak of people coming from east and west who are going to be with the Lord in His kingdom or Church, as in Isaiah,

From the east I will bring your seed, and from the west I will gather you. Isaiah 43:5.

Elsewhere in the same prophet,

They will fear the name of Jehovah from the west, and His glory from the east. Isaiah 59:19.

Elsewhere in the same,

From the rising of the sun and from its setting they will know that there is none besides Me; I am Jehovah and there is no one else. Isaiah 45:6.

Elsewhere in the same,

I will stir up one from the north, and he will come; from the rising of the sun he will call on My name. Isaiah 41:25.

[14] In addition one may see that east, west, south, and north have these meanings from the following: The Construction of the Tabernacle; The Children of Israel when they were encamped and when they journeyed; The Description of the Land of Canaan; also, The Description of the New Temple, New Jerusalem, and New Land:


Everything in it was positioned according to the four quarters, see Exodus 38 - what went on the east and west sides, and what on the south and north, is stated in Exodus 26:18, 20, 22, 27; 27:9, 12, 13; and the requirement that the lampstand was to be placed towards the south across from the table, the table itself being on the north side, Exodus 26:35; 40:22.

(References: Exodus 27:11-13, 27:14, Exodus 38:9-13)


Here also positions were determined according to the four quarters. That is to say, they encamped around the Tent of Meeting, with the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun towards the east; the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad towards the south; the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin towards the west; and the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali towards the north, Numbers 2:1- end. In addition to this, the Levites encamped with the Gershonites towards the west, the Kohathites towards the south, the Merarites towards the north; and Moses, Aaron and his sons in front of the Tabernacle towards the east, Numbers 3:23-38. In this way the heavenly order which in the Lord's kingdom exists in accordance with states of good and truth was represented. Towards the south side also they were to sound the call for them to begin their journeys, Numbers 10:6. And even as they took up specific positions when they encamped, so they did when they journeyed, Numbers 2:34.

(References: Numbers 2)


First Moses described its border lands - those indeed in the south, those in the west, those in the north, and those in the east, Numbers 34:2-12, as they were again described when the land had been apportioned to the tribes by lot, in Joshua 15 Chapters-19 of Joshua. From these circumstances, and also from the most ancient people who dwelt in the land of Canaan, all places in that land became representatives and meaningful signs determined by their position, distance, and boundaries in relation to the four quarters, 1607, 1866.

(References: Joshua 16:1, 17:1, 18:1)


These also are described in Ezekiel in relation to the four quarters. The structure of the city, for example, started from the south. When dealing with the gateway to the building he says that its sides faced towards the east, towards the north, and towards the south, Ezekiel 40:2, 6, 19, 20-46. When dealing with the measurement of the Temple, he says that its doors looked towards the north and the south, Ezekiel 41:11, while the outer court looked towards the north, the east, the south, and the west, Ezekiel 42:1, 4, 11, 16-19. He also says that the glory of Jehovah the God of Israel came in from the way of the east, Ezekiel 43:1-2, 4. The gates to the outer court are dealt with in Ezekiel 44:1-2, 4; 46:1, 9, 10, 19, 20; and the boundaries of the Holy Land in Chapter 47 - towards the north in verses 15-17, towards the east in verse 18, towards the south in verse 19, towards the west in verse 20; while Chapter 48 specifies in relation to the four quarters the territories allotted to each tribe. And in the description of the Holy Jerusalem it is said that the gates were on the east, north, south, and west, Revelation 21:13. From these references it is quite evident that the four quarters of the world in relation to which those holy things, or representatives of what is holy, were arrayed do not mean in the internal sense the four quarters but states of good and truth within the Lord's kingdom.

(References: Ezekiel 40:19-46, 41:1-2, 41:4, 42:10-11, 42:17-20, 43:2, 44:1, 44:2, 44:9-10, 44:19-20, 47:5-17, 47:15-17, 47:18, 47:19, 47:20, 48:1)

[18] In the contrary sense 'the north' and 'the west' mean falsity and evil, as may be seen from the following places: In Jeremiah,

The word of Jehovah came to me a second time, saying, What do you see? I said, I am seeing an open pot with it's face towards the north. And Jehovah said, From the north evil will be opened over all the inhabitants of the land. Lo, I am calling all the families of the north to come. Jeremiah 1:13-15.

In the same prophet,

Set up a standard towards Zion; assemble, stay not, for I am bringing evil from the north, and a great destruction. Jeremiah 4:6.

In the same prophet,

The sound of crashing; behold, it is coming, and a great commotion out of the land of the north to reduce the cities of Judah into a waste. Jeremiah 10:22.

In the same prophet,

In Tekoa sound the trumpet, for evil stares from the north, and great destruction. Behold, a people coming from the land of the north, a mighty nation will be stirred up from the furthest parts of the earth. Jeremiah 6:1, 22.

In the same prophet,

I took the cup from Jehovah's hand and made all the nations drink it - Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, and its kings, Pharaoh king of Egypt, and the whole western crowd; all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the west, dwelling in the wilderness, and all the kings of the north, far and near. Jeremiah 25:17-26.

(References: Jeremiah 25:17-20, 25:24, 25:26)

[19] In the same prophet,

The swift will not flee away, nor the strong man escape. Northwards on the bank of the River Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen. Who is this coming up like a river? Egypt comes up like the river, for he said, I will go up, I will cover the earth, I will destroy the city and those who dwell in it. But that day is to the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth a day of vengeance - for the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth holds a sacrifice in the land of the north by the River Euphrates. A very beautiful heifer is Egypt, but destruction from the north has come. The daughter of Egypt has been put to shame; she has been delivered into the hand of a people from the north. Jeremiah 46:6-10, 20, 24.

In the same prophet,

Thus said Jehovah, Behold, waters rising out of the north which are like a deluging stream, and they will deluge the land and all that fills it, the city and those who dwell in it. Jeremiah 47:2.

(References: Jeremiah 46:6-8, 46:10)

[20] In the same prophet,

[The word which] Jehovah spoke against Babel: There will come up against her a nation from the north, which will make her land a desolation so that none may dwell in it. Jeremiah 50:1, 3.

In the same prophet,

Behold, I am stirring up and bringing up against Babel an assembly of great nations out of the north land, and they will array themselves against her; from there she will be taken. Behold, a people coming out of the north, a mighty nation, and many kings will be stirred up from the furthest parts of the earth. Jeremiah 50:9, 41.

In the same prophet,

Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them, will sing over Babel, because those who lay waste will come out of the north. Jeremiah 51:48.

In Ezekiel,

Say to Gog, You will come out of your place from the furthest parts of the north, you and many peoples with you. You will come up against My people Israel, like a cloud to cover the land. Ezekiel 38:14-16.

In the same prophet,

Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince. I will make you turn back and will split you into six, and make you come up from the furthest parts of the north and bring you onto the mountains of Israel. On the mountains of Israel you will fall. On the surface of the field you will fall. Ezekiel 39:1-2, 4-5.

In Zechariah,

Ho! Flee from the land of the north, says Jehovah, for like the four winds of the heavens I will spread you abroad. Ho, Zion! escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babel. Zechariah 2:6-7.

[21] These quotations show what 'the north' means in the contrary sense, namely falsity which is the source of evil, or falsity which is the result of evil. Because falsity which is the source of evil originates in reasoning about Divine things and against Divine things, which reasoning is based on factual knowledge belonging to the natural man, it is called 'a people from the north out of Egypt' - 'Egypt' meaning such factual knowledge, see 1164, 1165, 2588 (end). And because falsity which is the result of evil originates in worship which to outward appearance is holy but interiorly is unholy, it is called 'a nation from the north out of Babel' - 'Babel' meaning such, see 1182, 1283, 1295, 1304, 1306-1308, 1321, 1322, 1326, as well as that which lays waste, 1327. Both types of falsity - that which is the source of evil, and that which is the result of evil - are said to come out of Gog, for 'Gog' is worship consisting in external observances devoid of anything internal, which is idolatrous worship, as at all times was that of the Jews. That 'Gog' means such worship, see 1151.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1164-1165, 1321-1322)

[22] Out of the obscurity in which the natural man dwells either truth can arise or falsity can do so. When anyone allows himself to be enlightened by means of the Word from the Lord his obscurity is turned into brightness, for the internal path is opened and so influx and communication from the Lord by way of heaven takes place. But when he does not allow himself to be enlightened by means of the Word from the Lord, but by his own intelligence, his obscurity is turned into darkness and so into falsity, for the internal path is closed and no influx and communication from the Lord by way of heaven takes place, apart from such as enables him to be seen outwardly to be human, when he thinks and so speaks from evil and falsity. This is why 'the north' means truth with those who allow themselves to be enlightened, falsity with those who do not. For the former come up from obscurity, that is, they are raised up to light, but the latter go down from obscurity, that is, remove themselves from light. The former are accordingly brought into [the light of] the south, the latter into [the gloom of] Tartarus.

[23] The fact that 'the north' means the thick darkness of falsity and 'the south' the light of truth is quite evident in Daniel where the ram and the he-goat are the subject, and also where the king of the south and the king of the north are. Referring to the ram and the he-goat it is said that the ram butted with his horns towards the west and towards the north and towards the south, so that none of the beasts could stand before him, and that a he-goat came from the west across the surface of the whole earth, and out of one of his horns there came forth a [little] horn which grew exceedingly towards the south, and towards the east, and towards the glorious [land], Daniel 8:4-5, 9. And referring to the king of the south and the king of the north in the place where 'the king of the south' means those possessing cognitions of truth, and 'the king of the north' those who are governed by falsity, it is said that

After some years they will make an alliance, as a result of which the daughter of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to negotiate equitable terms but her arm will not gain strength. One will rise from that stem who will enter into the fortress of the king of the north and will prevail and will carry [the gods] they have captured into Egypt. The king of the south will come into the kingdom and fight with the king of the north, and the king of the north will return and raise a multitude greater than the former. Many will stand up against the king of the south. The king of the north will come and take the fortified city and destroy much. The king of the south will be stirred up to battle with a great army, but he will not stand, for they will devise plots against him. After that he will return, but it will not be as previously. The people consisting of those who know their God will stand firm. At length, at the time of the end, the king of the south will clash with him; therefore the king of the north will rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen. In the glorious land many will fall. But rumours will terrify him from the east and from the north, so that he goes forth with great fury. He will come to his end, with none to help him. Daniel 11:1-end.

The fact that 'the king of the south' means those who dwell in the light of truth, 'the king of the north' those who first dwell in shade and then in the thick darkness of falsity, may become clear from the details in that chapter. So it is a description of how the state of the Church is in course of time perverted. They are called kings of the south and of the north because 'kings' in the internal sense of the Word means truths, and in the contrary sense falsities, 1672, 2015, 2069, while 'kingdoms' means things that belong to truth, and in the contrary sense those that belong to falsity, 1672, 2547.


1. literally, city of habitation

2. i.e. the south


(References: Daniel 11, 11:6-45; Exodus 38:9-13; Genesis 28:14)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 4060, 4769, 4818, 5215, 5643, 5672, 7679, 9042, 9340, 9341, 9648, 9653, 9684, 9685, 9758, 9760, 9927, 10061, 10105, 10134, 10179, 10189, 10227

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121, 246

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 31, 130, 179, 277

Other New Christian Commentary

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