Spiritual Meaning of
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That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis xviii.; and (AC 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).
 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, (AC 2135a, 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:--
Alter 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 (Matt. 11:7-15; 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.
 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, (AC 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.
 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 (AC 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 (AC 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 (AC 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and kings, from truth (AC 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.
 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 (AC 2534, 7269); and those who are born, or are the sons, of women denote truths (AC 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).
 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.
 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 spake to them of John the Baptist (Matt. 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, (AC 2803, 2813, 3704).
 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 (Mal. 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 (Matt. 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 knowledge' of truth and of good out of the Word; by locusts are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by wild honey," their pleasantness.
 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; and that food or meat denotes spiritual nourishment, (AC 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, (AC 9341); that leather denotes what is external, (AC 3540); and thus a leathern girdle denotes an external bond; that hairs denote ultimate or most general truths, (AC 3301, 5569-5573); that a camel denotes memory-knowledge in general, (AC 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156); that a locust denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, (AC 7643); and that honey denotes the pleasantness thereof, (AC 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called wild honey, or honey of the field, because by a field is signified the church (AC 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.
 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, (AC 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.
 From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spake 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 (AC 2135a, 5922, 8427).
from AC 9372
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|