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

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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 9094, 9144, 9163, 9212, 9372, 9391, 9477, 9595, 9688, 9806, 9942, 9952, 10258, 10536

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Apocalypse Explained 38, 373, 946

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Arcana Coelestia #5313

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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5313. 'Only in the throne will I be great, more than you' means that the natural will be seen as sovereign, because the celestial of the spiritual acts through the natural. This is clear from the meaning of 'being great, more than another' as being greater, in this case so far as what is seen or appears to be so; and from the meaning of 'the throne' at this point as the natural. The natural is meant by 'the throne' when the celestial of the spiritual is meant by the one who is seated on it; for the natural is like a throne for the spiritual or in this case the celestial of the spiritual. Generally what is lower is like a throne for what is higher; for the higher exists and acts within the lower, indeed acts through the lower. What is done by it seems to be the work of the lower because, as stated, it acts through the lower. This is the meaning of what Pharaoh said to Joseph - Only in the throne will I be great, more than you.

[2] 'Throne' is used frequently in the Word when reference is made to Divine Truth and judgement based on this. In these places 'throne' means in the internal sense that which is the essence of Divine kingship, and 'the one seated on it' is the Lord Himself acting as King or Judge. But the exact meaning of 'the throne', as with the meaning of quite a number of other things, is determined by the context. When the Lord's essential Divine Being and His Divine Human are meant by 'the one seated on the throne', Divine Truth going forth from Him is meant by 'the throne'. When however Divine Truth going forth from the Lord is meant by 'the one seated on the throne', the whole of heaven, which Divine Truth suffuses, is meant by 'the throne'. And when the Lord present with Divine Truth in the higher heavens is meant by 'the one seated on the throne', Divine Truth as this exists in the lowest heaven, and also as it exists in the Church, is meant by 'the throne'. Thus the context decides whatever specific meaning 'the throne' may have. The reason 'the throne' means that which belongs to Divine Truth is that in the Word 'king' means truth, and so too does 'kingdom'. For the meaning of 'king', see 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068; and for that of 'kingdom', 1672, 2547, 4691.

(References: Revelation 21:2)

[3] The specific meaning that 'throne' has at any point in the Word is evident from the train of thought in which it occurs, as in Matthew,

I say to you, You shall not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is His footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Matthew 5:34-35.

And elsewhere in the same gospel,

He who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by Him who sits on it. Matthew 23:22.

Here it is explicitly stated that heaven is 'God's throne'. 'The earth', which is called 'a footstool', means that which is beneath heaven, and so means the Church - the Church being meant by 'the earth', see 566, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535. A similar usage is seen in Isaiah,

Thus said Jehovah, The heavens are My throne and the earth My footstool. Isaiah 66:1.

And in David,

Jehovah has established His throne in the heavens. Psalms 103:19.

In Matthew,

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Matthew 25:31.

This refers to a last judgement, 'the one seated on the throne' being called 'the King', in verses 34, 40 In the internal sense here 'the throne of glory' is the Divine Truth that flows from Divine Good in heaven, 'the one seated on the throne' being the Lord, who - inasmuch as He is a judge by virtue of Divine Truth - is called 'the King'.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1068, Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118; Matthew 25:34, 25:40)

[4] In Luke,

He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord will give Him the throne of David His father. Luke 1:32.

These words were spoken by the angel to Mary. It is clear to anyone that here 'the throne of David' is not the kingdom which David possessed; for it is not a kingdom on earth but one in heaven. Nor therefore is David meant by 'David' but the Lord's Divine kingship, while 'the throne' means Divine Truth that goes forth and constitutes His kingdom. In John,

I was in the spirit, and behold, a throne set in heaven, and one seated upon the throne. And the one seated was in appearance like a jasper stone and a sardis. There was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting. From the throne were coming forth lightnings and thunders and voices, and likewise seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. In addition, before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. Then in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind. Whenever the four living creatures gave glory and honour and thanks to the one seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders would fall down before the one seated on the throne and would worship the one who lives for ever and ever, and would cast their crowns before the throne. Revelation 4:2-end.

(References: Revelation 4:2-11, 4:2-10)

[5] This description of the throne of the Lord's glory is used to depict Divine Truth which goes forth from Him. Representatives are used, but if someone has no knowledge of what is meant by these he will hardly be able to know anything at all about what the details of this prophecy hold within them and will suppose that all such details are devoid of any deeper Divine content. The person who knows no better cannot do other than conceive of the heavenly kingdom as one that is similar to a kingdom in the world. But in fact 'a throne set in heaven' means Divine Truth there, and so heaven as regards Divine Truth. 'One seated upon a throne' is used to mean the Lord; and the reason why in appearance He looked like 'a jasper stone and a sardis' is that those stones, like all precious stones in the Word, mean Divine Truth, 114, 3858, 3862, while stones in general mean the truths of faith, 643, 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798.

[6] 'A rainbow around the throne' means truths made translucent by good, for in the next life colours are products of the light of heaven, and the light of heaven is Divine Truth. Regarding rainbows in the next life. see 1042, 1043, 1053, 1623-1625; and regarding colours there, 1053, 1624, 3993, 4530, 4922, 4677, 4741, 4742. By 'the thrones of the twenty-four elders around the throne' are meant all aspects of truth in their entirety, like the things meant by 'twelve'; for 'twelve' means all aspects of truth in their entirety, see 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913. 'The lightnings, thunders, and voices which were coming forth from the throne' means the feelings of terror which Divine Truth produces in those who are not governed by good. 'The seven lamps of fire burning' are affections for truth which is rooted in good, which likewise usher in harmful consequences for those who are not governed by good and which are therefore called 'the seven spirits of God', who, as is evident from what comes later on, 1 did usher in harmful consequences.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1042-1043, Arcana Coelestia 2129-2130, Arcana Coelestia 4741-4742)

[7] 'The sea of glass before the throne' is every truth within the natural, thus the cognitions and the factual knowledge present there; for these are meant by 'the sea', see 28, 2850.'The four living creatures which were in the midst of the throne and around the throne, and which were full of eyes in front and behind' are ideas in the understanding which are received from the Divine in heaven. 'Four' means the joining of those ideas to desires present in the will; for truths belong to the understanding part and forms of good to the will part of the human mind. This explains why it is said that 'they were full of eyes in front and behind', for 'the eyes' means ideas in the understanding and therefore in a higher sense matters of belief, 2701, 3820, 4403-4421, 4523-4534. 'Four' means a joining together, as likewise does 'two', 1686, 3519, 5194. The holiness of Divine Truth going forth from the Lord is described in what follows at this point [in the Book of Revelation].

[8] Because 'the twenty-four thrones' and 'the twenty-four elders' mean all aspects of truth, or all aspects of faith, in their entirety, and 'twelve' has a similar meaning, as has just been stated, one may consequently see what 'the twelve thrones on which the twelve apostles were seated' is used to mean in the internal sense, namely all aspects of truth, the grounds upon which, and the standard by which judgement takes place. Their thrones are referred to in Matthew as follows,

Jesus said to the disciples, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in this generation, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28.

And in Luke,

I bestow on you, just as My Father bestowed on Me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22:29-30.

'The twelve apostles' means all aspects of truth, see 2129, 2553, 3354, 3488, 3858, as do 'the twelve sons of Jacob' and therefore 'the twelve tribes of Israel', 3858, 3921, 3926, 3939, 4060, 4603. The apostles have no power to judge anyone at all, 2129, 2557.

[9] Similarly in John,

I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgement was given to them. Revelation 20:4.

Here also 'thrones' means all aspects of truth, which are the grounds upon which, and the standard by which judgement takes place. Much the same is also meant by 'the angels' with whom the Lord will come to the judgement, in Matthew 25:31. When 'angels' are mentioned in the Word some attribute of the Lord is meant, see 1705, 1925, 2320, 2821, 3039, 4085, in this case truths received from the Divine, which truths are called 'judgements' in the Word, 2235.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2319)

[10] There are very many more places in which Jehovah or the Lord has a throne attributed to Him because thrones embody within themselves that which is representative of the kingdom. When in a higher heaven they are talking about Divine Truth and judgement, a throne is seen in the lowest heaven. This is the reason why a throne is, as has been stated, representative and therefore why a throne is mentioned so many times in the prophetical part of the Word. It is also the reason why in most ancient times a throne became the sign to distinguish the king and why as such a sign it now denotes the office of a monarch. Further examples of the attribution of a throne to the Lord occur in the following places: In Moses,

Moses built an altar, and called its name Jehovah Nissi. Moreover he said, Because the hand is upon the throne of Jah, Jehovah will have war against Amalek from generation to generation. Exodus 17:15-16.

No one can know what is meant by 'the hand upon the throne of Jah' or by 'Jehovah having war against Amalek from generation to generation except from the internal sense, and so unless he knows what is meant by 'the throne' and by 'Amalek'. In the Word 'Amalek' means falsities which assail truths, 1679, and 'the throne' the Divine Truth that is assailed.

[11] In David,

O Jehovah, You have maintained my judgement and my cause; You sat upon the throne, a Judge of righteousness. Jehovah will remain there for ever; He has prepared His throne for judgement. Psalms 9:4, 7.

In the same author,

Your throne, O God, will be for ever and ever (in saeculum et aeternum); a sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of Your kingdom. Psalms 45:6.

In the same author,

Cloud and thick darkness are round Him, righteousness and judgement are the foundation of His throne. Psalms 97:2.

In Jeremiah,

At that time they will call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah, and all the nations will be gathered to it. Jeremiah 3:17.

[12] 'Jerusalem" stands for the Lord's spiritual kingdom. This kingdom is again meant by the new Jerusalem in Ezekiel, and also by 'the holy Jerusalem coming down from heaven' in the Book of Revelation. The Lord's spiritual kingdom exists where that which is pre-eminent is Divine Truth holding Divine Good within it, whereas the Lord's celestial kingdom exists where that which is pre-eminent is Divine Good from which Divine Truth flows. From this one may see why Jerusalem is called 'the throne of Jehovah'. And in David,

In Jerusalem they sit - the thrones for judgement. Psalms 122:5.

But Zion is called 'the throne of Jehovah's glory' in Jeremiah,

Have you utterly rejected Judah, has your soul loathed Zion? Do not spurn [us], for Your name's sake; do not dishonour the throne of your glory. Jeremiah 14:19, 21.

'Zion' is used to mean the Lord's celestial kingdom.

(References: Ezekiel 1:1; Revelation 21:1, Revelation 22:1)

[13] The way in which the Lord when executing judgement is represented in heaven, where visual scenes like those described in various places in the Prophets come before people's eyes, may be seen in Daniel,

I saw, until thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days was seated. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was a flame of fire, its wheels burning fire. A river of fire issued and came forth before Him, a thousand thousands served Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The judgement sat down, and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10.

Sights like this occur constantly in heaven; all are representatives. They have their origin in what angels are discussing in the higher heavens, which discussion comes down from there and manifests itself in visual scenes. The angelic spirits to whom the Lord imparts perception know what is meant by such scenes. They know what is meant by 'the Ancient of Days', 'clothing white as snow', 'hair of the head like pure wool', 'a throne like a flame of fire', 'wheels that are a burning fire', and 'a river of fire going forth from Him'. 'A flame of fire' and 'a river of fire' in this case represent the Good of Divine Love, 974, 4906, 5071, 5215.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 934, Arcana Coelestia 1906)

[14] It is similar with what is said in Ezekiel,

Above the expanse that was above the heads of the cherubim, in appearance like a sapphire stone, there was the likeness of a throne, and above the likeness of a throne there was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it. Ezekiel 1:26; 10:1.

Likewise with what is said in the first Book of Kings,

I saw - the prophet Micah said - Jehovah sitting on His throne, and the entire host of heaven standing beside Him, on His right hand and on His left. 1 Kings 22:19.

Anyone who does not know what these particular descriptions represent, or what their consequent spiritual meanings are, cannot help supposing that the Lord has a throne in the way kings on earth do, and that things actually do exist as they are described by the prophets. But no such phenomena occur in the [higher] heavens; rather they are sights presented to those in the lowest heaven, within which - as within images - they see Divine arcana.

[15] The Lord's kingship, by which one means the Divine Truth that goes forth from Him, was also represented by the throne that Solomon built, described in the first Book of Kings as follows,

Solomon made a large throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. There were six steps to the throne, and a rounded top to the throne at the back of it; there were armrests 2 on either side at the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the armrests, 2 and twelve lions standing there, above the six steps on either side. 1 Kings 10:18-20.

It was a throne of glory that was represented by all this. 'Lions' are Divine Truths engaged in conflict and overcoming, 'twelve lions' being all those Truths in their entirety.

(References: 1 Kings 10:18-21)

[16] Since almost everything in the Word has a contrary meaning, 'a throne' has such too. Its contrary meaning is a kingdom of falsity, as in John,

To the angel of the Church which is in Pergamum, I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Revelation 1:12-13.

In the same book,

The dragon gave the beast coming up out of the sea his power, and his throne, and great authority. Revelation 13:2.

In the same book,

The fifth angel poured out his bowl onto the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened. Revelation 16:10.

In Isaiah,

You said in your heart, I will go up into the heavens, above the stars of God I will raise my throne. Isaiah 14:13.

This refers to Babel.


1. i.e. in Chapter 8 of the Book of Revelation

2. literally, hands


(References: Revelation 2:12-13, 2:13, 4:2-10)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 5321, 5322, 5417, 6524, 6832, 7779, 8625, 9166, 9407, 9408, 9714, 9741, 9857, 9917, 9930, 10360

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 121

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 25, 31, 134, 205, 448

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