From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #9372

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of "He said," as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:18, Exodus 24:16)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was "Elias who was to come." He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings' houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by "the wilderness" in which he was, also what by "a reed shaken by the wind," and likewise by "soft raiment in kings' houses;" and further what is signified by his being "more than a prophet," and by "none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he," and lastly by his being "Elias." For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by "the wilderness of Judea in which John was" is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was "in the wilderness," that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That "a wilderness" denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to "a reed shaken by the wind" when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense "a reed" denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their "not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings' houses." That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of "raiment," or "garments," as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of "kings' houses," as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for "houses" are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and "kings," from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called "sons of the kingdom," "sons of the king," and also "kings."

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by "what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;" and by, "there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;" for in the internal sense "a prophet" denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and "those who are born," or are the sons, "of women" denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, "he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;" for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, "all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being "Elias who is to come."

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That "Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished" signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by "even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them." (That "the Son of man" denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the "clothing" and "food" of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By "clothing," or a "garment," when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by "camel's hair" are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the "leathern girdle" is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by "food" is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by "locusts" are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by "wild honey" their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by "clothing" and "food" has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that "clothing," or a "garment," denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that "food" or "meat" denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that "a girdle" denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that "leather" denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus "a leathern girdle" denotes an external bond; that "hairs" denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that "a camel" denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that "a locust" denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that "honey" denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called "wild honey," or "honey of the field," because by "a field" is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was "not Elias, nor the prophet," and that he was "not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord's shoe," as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word ("Moses" the historic Word, and "Elias" the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that "Moses and Elias were seen in glory," for "glory" denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the "cloud" its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

From Swedenborg's Works

Arcana Coelestia #9139

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →

9139. When a man shall desolate a field, or a vineyard. That this signifies the deprivation of the good and the truth of the church through cupidities, is evident from the signification of "to desolate," as being to deprive through cupidities (see n. 9141); from the signification of "a field," as being the church as to good (n. 2791, 3766, 4982, 7502), thus the good of the church; and from the signification of "a vineyard," as being the church as to truth, thus the truth of the church. That "a field" denotes the church as to good, is because the things of a field, such as wheat and barley, signify internal and external goods of the church (n. 3941, 7602, 7605); and that "a vineyard" denotes the church as to truth, is because "wine," which belongs to a vineyard, signifies the truth of good (n. 1071, 6377).

[2] That "field" and "vineyard" have this signification has its origin from the representatives in the spiritual world. For fields full of wheat and barley appear before spirits when the angels in a heaven above them are conversing about an assemblage of those who are in good; and there appear vineyards full of grapes, with winepresses, when the angels are conversing about an assemblage of those who are in the truth of good. These representatives are not from the fact that there are such things upon earth; but from the correspondences, in that wheat and barley, or the bread made therefrom, nourish the body, as the good of love and of charity nourishes the soul; and in that wine, as drink, acts in like manner. From this it is that in the Word the goods of love and the truths of faith are called "meats and drinks;" in this sense also they are heavenly meats and drinks (see n. 56-58, 680, 681, 1973, 1974, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 680-681, 1973-1974)


[3] That a "vineyard" denotes the church as to the good and the truth of faith, which church is called the spiritual church, is evident from the passages in the Word where a "vineyard" is mentioned; as in Jeremiah:

Many shepherds have destroyed My vineyard, they have trodden under foot My field, they have made My field of desire into a desert of solitude; he has made it [the vineyard] into a solitude (Jeremiah 12:10-11); where "vineyard" and "field" manifestly denote the church; and as the church is the church from the truth and good of faith and of charity, it is clear that the "vineyard" here denotes the church as to truth, and the "field," the church as to good.

In Isaiah:

Jehovah cometh into judgment with the elders of His people, and the princes thereof; ye have set on fire the vineyard (Isaiah 3:14);

here also "the vineyard" plainly denotes the church in respect to the good and truth of faith; for "the elders with whom Jehovah will come into judgment," denote the goods of the church (see n. 6524, 6525); and "the princes," its truths (n. 5044).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6524-6525)


[4] Again:

I will sing to my beloved a song of my friend touching His vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard in a horn of the son of oil; and he enclosed it, and planted it with a noble vine (Isaiah 5:1-2

this is said of the Lord, who is the "beloved" and the "friend;" the "vineyard" denotes His spiritual church; a "noble vine" denotes the good of faith of this church; and a "horn of the son of oil," the good of the faith of that church from the good of love. He who knows nothing of the internal sense of the Word, cannot possibly know what is signified by "a vineyard in a horn of the son of oil." Yet in these words there lies hidden a secret that cannot be expressed in words. By these words is fully described the conjunction of the Lord's spiritual kingdom with His celestial kingdom; that is, the conjunction of the second heaven with the third; consequently the conjunction of the good of faith in the Lord, which is of the spiritual kingdom, with the good of love to the Lord, which is of the celestial kingdom. The "vineyard" denotes the spiritual kingdom; "in a horn" denotes in power, thus in this kingdom; and "the son of oil" denotes the external good of love of the celestial kingdom. The celestial kingdom, which is the inmost heaven of the Lord, is called an "olive-tree" or an "olive-yard," because "oil" denotes the good of celestial love (n. 886, 4582, 4638). Be it known that the kingdom of the Lord on earth is the church. (That there are two kingdoms, the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom, and that the spiritual kingdom constitutes the second heaven, and the celestial kingdom the third heaven, see n. 3887, 4138, 4279, 4286; of the conjunction of these, see n. 6435

[5] Again:

In that day a vineyard of pure wine, answer ye to it; I Jehovah do keep it; I will water it every moment (Isaiah 27:2-3); where "a vineyard of pure wine" [merum] denotes the spiritual church.

In Amos:

In all vineyards shall be wailing; I will pass through thee. Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! What to you is the day of Jehovah? It is of darkness and not of light (Amos 5:17-18);

this is said of the last time of the church, when there is no longer any good and truth of faith, which time is "the day of Jehovah, a day of darkness and not of light;" whence it is said, "in all vineyards shall be wailing."

In John in Revelation:

The angel put forth His sickle into the earth, and vintaged the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great Winepress of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:19);

"to vintage the vine of the earth" denotes to consume the truth and good of the church; "the earth" here being the church. From all this it can be seen why the Lord so often likened the kingdom of the heavens to a "vineyard" (as in Matthew 20:1, and the following verses; 21:28, 29, 33-41; Mark 12:1-12); and why the Lord called Himself "the vine," in John:

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. Without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:4-6);

"the vine" denotes faith in the Lord, consequently the Lord as to faith; for the Lord is faith, because faith is from Him; for no faith is faith save that which is from Him. Hence also "the vine" denotes the faith which is directed to Him.

(References: Exodus 22:5; John 15:4-5, 15:1-5; Matthew 20:1-16, 21:28-29, 21:31-41)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous    Next →


Translate: