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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 24:18, 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)

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Arcana Coelestia #9341

Arcana Coelestia (Potts translation)

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9341. And from the wilderness even unto the river. That this signifies from the delight of what is sensuous even to the good and truth of the rational, is evident from the signification of "setting a border," as being extension (as just above, n. 9340); from the signification of "a wilderness," as being a place uninhabited and not cultivated; thus in application to the spiritual things of faith and to the celestial things of love, "a wilderness" denotes where there is no good and no truth, as is the case with what is sensuous (that the sensuous of man is of this character, see n. 9331). As the sensuous has no celestial good and no spiritual truth, but has delight and pleasure from the body and the world, therefore by "a wilderness" is signified this outermost in the man of the church. And from the signification of "the Euphrates," which is here "the river," as being the good and truth of the rational. That "the Euphrates" has this signification is because Assyria was there, and by "Assyria," or "Asshur," is signified the rational (n. 119, 1186).

[2] This is meant by "the Euphrates" where it is said, "from the wilderness to the Euphrates," and "from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates;" as in the following passages:

From the wilderness, and Lebanon, even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, the whole land of the Hittites, and even unto the great sea toward the setting of the sun, shall be your border (Josh. 1:4).

To thy seed will I give this land, from the river of Egypt even unto the great river, the river Euphrates (Genesis 15:18).

Thou madest a vine to journey out of Egypt. Thou hast sent out its shoots even unto the sea, and its twigs unto the river (Psalms 80:8, 11);

"a vine out of Egypt" denotes the spiritual church represented by the sons of Israel; "unto the sea," and "unto the river," denote to interior truths and goods. In like manner in Micah:

They shall come unto thee from Assyria and from the cities of Egypt, and thence from Egypt even unto the river, and from sea to sea, and from mountain to mountain (Micah 7:12).

[3] But something else is signified by "the Euphrates" when it is looked at from the middle of the land of Canaan as its extreme limit on one side, or as what closes it in on one side; in this case by that river is signified that which is the ultimate of the Lord's kingdom, that is, which is the ultimate of heaven and the church, in respect to rational good and truth. (That the borders of the land of Canaan, which were rivers and seas, signified the ultimates in the Lord's kingdom, see n. 1585, 1866, 4116, 4240, 6516.) "The Euphrates" therefore signified such truths and such goods as belong to the sensuous mind, and correspond to the truths and goods of the rational. But as the sensuous of man stands forth nearest to the world and the earth, and receives its objects therefrom (n. 9331), it therefore acknowledges nothing else as good than that which delights the body; and nothing else as truth than that which favors this delight. By "the river Euphrates" therefore in this sense is signified the pleasure arising from the loves of self and of the world; and the falsity which confirms it by reasonings from the fallacies of the senses.

[4] This is what is meant by "the river Euphrates" in Revelation:

A voice said to the sixth angel, Loose the four angels which are bound at the great river Euphrates. They were loosed, and they killed the third part of men (Revelation 9:14, 15);

"the angels bound at the Euphrates" denote the falsities originating through reasonings from the fallacies of the senses, which falsities favor the delights of the loves of self and of the world. Again:

The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings who are from the sun rising might be prepared (Revelation 16:12);

"the Euphrates" here denotes falsities from a like origin; "the water dried up" denotes these falsities removed by the Lord; "the way of the kings from the east" denotes that then the truths of faith are seen by and revealed to those who are in love to the Lord. (That "waters" denote truths, and in the opposite sense falsities, see n. 705, 739, 756, 790, 839, 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 7307, 8137, 8138, 8568, 9323; that "a way" denotes truth seen and revealed, n. 627, 2333, 3477; that "kings" denote those who are in truths, n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148; that "the east" denotes the Lord, and also love from Him and to Him, n. 101, 1250, 3708; and in like manner "the sun," n. 1529, 1530, 2441, 2495, 3636, 3643, 4060, 4696, 5377, 7078, 7083, 7171, 7173, 8644, 8812)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1529-1530, 8137-8138; Revelation 9:14-15)


[5] In Jeremiah:

Thou hast forsaken Jehovah thy God, when He led thee into the way. And now what hast thou to do with the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Shihor? Or what hast thou to do with the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? (Jeremiah 2:17, 18);

"to lead into the way" denotes to teach truth; "what hast thou to do with the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Shihor?" denotes what hast thou to do with falsities which have been occasioned by memory-knowledges wrongly applied? "What hast thou to do with the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?" denotes what hast thou to do with the falsities which have arisen through reasonings from the fallacies of the senses in favor of the delights of the loves of self and of the world?

(References: Jeremiah 2:17-18)


[6] In the same:

Jehovah said unto the prophet, Take the girdle that thou hast bought, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a hole of the rock. So I went and hid it at the Euphrates. Afterward it came to pass at the end of many days, that Jehovah said, Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence. Wherefore he went to the Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where he had hidden it; but behold the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing (Jeremiah 13:3-7);

"the girdle of the loins" denotes the external bond containing all things of love and thence of faith; "to be hidden in a hole of the rock by the Euphrates" denotes where faith is in obscurity and has become no faith, through falsities from reasonings; "the girdle marred so that it was profitable for nothing" denotes that all things of love and of faith are then dissolved and dispersed.

[7] That Jeremiah was to tie a stone to the book written by him, and cast it into the midst of the Euphrates (Jeremiah 51:63); signified that the prophetic Word would perish through like things. In the same:

Let not the swift flee away, nor the strong one escape; toward the north near the shore of the river Euphrates they have stumbled and fallen. But Jehovah Zebaoth taketh vengeance on His adversaries. The Lord Jehovih Zebaoth hath a sacrifice in the land of the north by the river Euphrates (Jeremiah 46:6, 10); where also "the river Euphrates" denotes truths falsified, and goods adulterated, through reasonings from fallacies and the derivative memory-knowledges which favor the loves of self and of the world.

(References: Exodus 23:31)

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