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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 #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 #9325

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

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9325. 'None will suffer miscarriage or be barren in [your] land' means that forms of good and truths will develop in their proper order, in continuous progression. This is clear from the meaning of 'none will suffer miscarriage or be barren' as the process of regeneration in its proper order, and therefore the development of forms of good and of truths in their proper order, in continuous progression, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'in the land' as in the Church. In the Word 'the land' or 'the earth' means the Church, see 566, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118 (end), 2571, 2928, 3355, 3368, 3379, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 8732; and the reason why 'the land' means the Church is that it implies the land of Canaan, where the Church existed, indeed where it had existed since most ancient times, 3686, 4447, 4454, 4516, 4517, 5136, 6306, 6516, 8317. In the spiritual world furthermore, when a land is spoken of no one envisages a land but what the people and their religion in a land are like. Consequently when 'the land' is mentioned in the Word and it implies the land of Canaan, the Church is envisaged. All this goes to show what a new heaven and a new earth is used to mean in the prophetical parts of the Word, namely the internal Church and the external Church, 1850, 3355, 4535; for there are internal people and there are external people.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1066-1067, 2117-2118, Arcana Coelestia 4516-4517)


[2] The reason why 'none will suffer miscarriage or be barren in the land' means that forms of good and truths will develop in their proper order, in continuous progression, is that all things connected with childbirth are used in the internal sense of the Word to mean such things as are connected with spiritual birth, thus such as are connected with regeneration, 2584, 3860, 3868, 3905, 3915. The things connected with spiritual birth or regeneration are the truths of faith and forms of the good of charity; for through these a person is conceived and born anew. It is evident from a large number of places in the Word that such things are meant by 'births', and plainly so from the Lord's words to Nicodemus,

Jesus said to him, Truly, truly I say to you, Unless a person is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said, How can a person be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born? Jesus answered, Truly, truly I say to you, Unless a person has been born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, but that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. Nicodemus said, How can these things happen? Jesus answered, Are you a teacher in Israel, and do not know these things? John 3:3-6, 9-10.

'Being born through water and the Spirit' means being born again through the truths of faith and the good of love, see the places referred to in 9274.

[3] The origin of this meaning of 'births' in the Word lies in the correspondence of marriages on earth with the heavenly marriage, which is the marriage of goodness and truth. Regarding this correspondence, see 2727-2759. But scarcely anyone at the present day knows, and perhaps scarcely anyone is willing to recognize that truly conjugial love comes down from that marriage; for earthly and bodily things are before people's eyes, and those things have a dampening and smothering effect when they think about such correspondence. Furthermore, since that is the source of truly conjugial love, 'births' and 'generations' in the internal sense of the Word mean things connected with new birth and generation effected by the Lord. So it is also that father, mother, sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandsons, and many more who are the product of marriages, mean forms of good and truths, and derivations from them, dealt with many times in explanatory sections.

[4] From all this it now becomes clear that 'none will suffer miscarriage or be barren in the land' means that forms of good and truths will develop in their proper order, in continuous progression. The fact that 'one suffering miscarriage' and 'one who is barren' mean instances of miscarriage and barrenness in a spiritual sense, that is, the perversions of goodness and truth, and also the destruction and total rejections of them, is evident from the following places: In Hosea,

Ephraim, when I saw it reaching as far as Tyre, was planted in a beautiful [place]; and Ephraim must lead out its sons to the killer. Give them, O Jehovah, a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. On account of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house. Hosea 9:13-15.

Unless people know what it is that 'Ephraim', 'Tyre', 'the killer', 'sons', 'a miscarrying womb', and 'dry breasts' mean in the internal sense, they cannot have any knowledge at all of what those prophetic statements imply. 'Ephraim' is the Church's power of understanding, which is an understanding enlightened in regard to the truths and forms of the good of faith obtained from the Word, see 3969, 5354, 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267; 'Tyre' is the cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 1201; and from this it is evident what 'Ephraim, when I saw it reaching as far as Tyre, was planted in a beautiful place' means. 'A killer' is one who deprives another of spiritual life, that is, the life provided by truth and good, 3607, 6767, 8902; 'sons' are the truths of faith, 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2813, 3373, 3704, 4257; and from this it is evident what 'Ephraim must lead out its sons to the killer' means. 'Breasts' are affections for goodness and truth, 6432, so that 'dry breasts' are the absence of affections, and desires to pervert instead; and from this it is evident what 'a miscarrying womb' means, namely a perversion of goodness and truth. Things connected with spiritual life are clearly meant by all these words, for it says, 'On account of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house', 'out of Jehovah's house' meaning out of the Church and out of heaven, 2233, 2234, 3720, 5640.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234)


[5] In Malachi,

I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that he does not ruin for you the fruit of the land, nor will the vine in the field miscarry for you. All the nations will declare you blessed, and you will be a land of delight. Malachi 3:11-12.

The prophecy that the vine in the field would not miscarry means that the truths and forms of the good of faith among those who are within the Church will develop in their proper order; for 'the vine' is the spiritual Church's truth and good, 1069, 6375, 6376, 9277, and 'the field' is the Church, 2971, 3766, 7502, 9139, 9295. 'A land of delight' is a Church pleasing to the Lord; for everyone within the Church who has been regenerated through truth and good is an embodiment of the Church. From this it is evident what it is that 'you will be a land of delight' means, 'a land' being the Church, see above.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6375-6376)


[6] In Moses,

If you hear My judgements, to keep and do them, you will be blessed above every people; none will be unfruitful or barren among you, or among [your] beasts. Jehovah will take away all sickness from you, and all the evil diseases of Egypt. Deuteronomy 7:12, 14-15.

'None will be unfruitful or barren' stands for not being devoid of the life provided by truth and good; thus it is a promise that spiritually they will have life. Since 'barrenness' had such a meaning, women in the ancient Churches did not think of themselves as being alive if they were barren. This was so with Rachel, who spoke of herself to Jacob - see 3908 - in the following words,

Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob [any children]; and she said to Jacob, Give me sons; if you do not, I am dead. Genesis 30:1.

(References: Deuteronomy 7:15)


[7] 'The barren' also means those who are without good because they do not possess truths, yet have a desire for truths in order that they may be governed by good, as with upright nations outside the Church. An example of this meaning occurs in Isaiah,

Sing, O barren one that did not bear; resound with singing and cry out with joy, O one that has not been in travail, for the sons of her that is desolate will be more than the sons of her that was married. Isaiah 54:1.

In David,

Jehovah lifts one who is crushed out of the dust, He raises the needy one from the dunghill, to set him with the princes of His people. He causes the barren one of the house to dwell as a joyful mother of children. Psalms 113:7-9.

[8] In Hannah's prophetic utterance after she had given birth to Samuel,

The full have been hired out [for bread], and the hungry have ceased [to be hungry], till she who was barren has borne seven, while the one who has many children has become feeble. 1 Samuel 2:5.

In these places 'the barren' is used to mean gentile nations who are being summoned to the Church, and to whom the Church is transferred when the old Church has come to an end, that is, when those who formerly belonged to the Church no longer possess faith because they do not have any charity. This old Church is meant by 'the one who has many children has become feeble' and by 'her that was married', while the new one among gentile nations is meant by 'her that is barren and desolate who will have many more sons' and by 'the barren one of the house [who dwells as] a joyful mother of children'. 'Bearing seven' means being regenerated completely, for 'seven' in this prophetic utterance does not mean seven but to completion, 9228. From all this it is evident what the following words spoken by the Lord serve to mean,

The days will come in which they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the breasts which have not nursed! Luke 23:29.

This refers to the close of the age, which is the final period of the Church.

[9] In the second Book of Kings,

The men of Jericho said to Elisha, Behold, the city's situation is good, but the water is bad and the land barren. Then Elisha told them to put salt in a new dish and to throw the salt from it into the source of the water. And the water was healed, and no more death or barrenness came from it. 2 Kings 2:19-21.

No one can know what this description holds within it except from the internal sense; for all the miracles described in the Word hold within them the kinds of things that happen within the Lord's kingdom, that is, within the Church, 7337, 7465, 8364, 9086. A person needs to know therefore what 'Elisha' represented, what 'the city of Jericho' meant, what 'bad water and barren land' meant, what 'a new dish and salt in it' meant, and also what 'the source of the water' into which they were to throw the salt meant. 'Elisha' represented the Lord in respect of the Word, see 2762. 'Water' means the truths of faith, 28, 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 6346, 7307, 8137, 8138, 8568, and therefore 'bad water' means truths devoid of good, while 'barren land' means the Church's good which as a consequence is not alive. 'A new dish' or new vessel means factual knowledge and cognitions of goodness and truth, 3068, 3079, 3316, 3318. 'Salt' means truth's desire for good, 9207. 'The source of the water' means the human natural which receives the cognitions or knowledge of truth and good and is improved by truth's desire for good.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 8137-8138)


[10] From all this it is evident what that miracle held within it, namely the improvement of the Church and its life by the Lord's Word and by truth's desire for good from there. The improvement is brought about when the human natural receives truths from the Word as a result of such a desire. The reason why the miracle took place at the city of Jericho was that this city was located not far from the Jordan, and 'the Jordan' means that with a member of the Church which first receives truths, which is the natural, 1585, 4255. The human natural is the first to receive truths from the Lord which are present in the Word, but it is regenerated last; and when it has been regenerated the whole person has been regenerated. This was meant by the Lord's words to Peter when He washed the disciples' feet,

Jesus said, He who has been washed has no need except to wash his feet, and the whole person is clean. John 13:10.

'The feet' are those things that belong to the human natural, and in general are the natural, see 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280, 4938-4952, 5327, 5328. The natural or external man must be in agreement with the spiritual or internal man if a person is to be regenerated. Thus a person has not been regenerated until the natural has been, see 2850, 3167, 3286, 3321, 3470, 3493, 3508, 3509, 3518, 3573, 3576, 3579, 3620, 3623, 3671, 3882, 3969, 4353, 4588, 4612, 4618, 5168, 5326, 5373, 5651, 6299, 6454, 7442, 7443, 8742-8747, 9043, 9046, 9061.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 3508-3509, Arcana Coelestia 5327-5328, Arcana Coelestia 7442-7443; Exodus 23:26)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9326, 9334, 9345, 9348, 9433, 9595, 9643, 9674, 10033, 10038, 10042, 10044, 10061, 10137, 10208, 10217, 10238, 10248, 10287, 10300, 10373, 10406, 10439, 10446, 10507, 10526, 10530, 10545, 10559, 10570, 10634, 10640, 10676

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1, 5, 186


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 29, 175, 242, 381, 388, 475, 946


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


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