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In the Word we frequently read of a prophet; and in the sense of the letter prophet signifies those to whom revelation is made, also abstractedly, revelation itself; but in the internal sense a prophet signifies one who teaches, and also abstractedly doctrine itself; and as the Lord (as before said) is doctrine itself, that is, the Word which teaches, He is called a Prophet, as in Moses:--

A Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, will Jehovah thy God raise up unto Him shall ye be obedient (Deut. 18:15, 18).

It is said like unto me, because the Lord was represented by Moses, as well as by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and many more; and because they expected Him it is said in John:--

The men, seeing the sign which Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world (John 6:14).

[2] It is because the Lord is the Prophet in the highest sense, and that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10), that in the internal sense of the Word a prophet signifies one who teaches, and also abstractedly, doctrine; which is plainly evident from the following passages. In Luke:--

Thou child shalt be called the prophet of the Highest (Luke 1:76).

This was said by Zacharias of his son John the Baptist, who himself said that he was not the prophet, but one preparing the way by teaching and preaching concerning the Lord's coming:--

They asked him, What art thou? art thou Elias? but he said, I am not. Art thou that 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 (John 1:21-23).

[3] In Matthew:--

Many will say in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name? (Matthew 7:22),

where it is manifest that to prophesy is to teach. In John:--

Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings (Rev. 10:11);

to prophesy denotes to teach; and what peoples, nations, tongues, and kings mean, has been stated and shown before. In the same:--

The nations shall trample the holy city forty-two months but I will give to My two witnesses that they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth (Rev. 11:2, 3);

where also to prophesy denotes to teach. In Moses:--

Jehovah said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet (Exod. 7:1);

where prophet denotes the one who should teach or speak what Moses would say. In Joel:--

I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy (Joel 2:28);

shall prophesy denotes shall teach.

[4] In Isaiah:--

Jehovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your heads, the seers, hath He covered; the vision of all hath become like the words of a sealed book, which they give to him that knoweth letters, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed (Isaiah 29:10, 11);

where by prophets are meant those who teach truth; and by seers those who see truth; who are said to be covered when they know and see nothing of the truth. As in ancient times those who taught were called prophets, they were therefore called also seers, because to see signifies to understand (AC 2150, 2325); that they were called seers may be seen (1 Sam. 9:9; 2 Sam. 24:11). They were also called men of God, from the signification of man (AC 158, 265, 749, 915, 1007, 2517); that they were called men of God, (2 Kings 1:9-16; 4:7, 9, 16, 21, 22, 25, 27, 40, 42; 5:8, 14, 20; 13:19; 23:16, 17).

[5] That in the internal sense by prophets are signified those who teach, is evident in Jeremiah in the whole of chapter 23, and in Ezekiel in the whole of chapter 13, where prophets are specifically treated of; as also in many other places where they are mentioned Hence also by false prophets are signified those who teach falsities; as in Matthew:--

In the consummation of the age many false prophets shall arise, and shall mislead many. There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs, and shall mislead if possible even the elect (Matthew 24:11, 24);

where by false prophets no others are signified. In like manner by the false prophet in (Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10).

[6] This shows how greatly the internal sense of the Word is obscured by the ideas that have been formed from the representatives of the Jewish Church; for whenever a prophet is mentioned in the Word, there at once occurs the idea of prophets such as they were at that time; which idea is a great obstacle to perceiving what is signified by them. Yet the wiser anyone is, the more easily is the idea gathered from those representatives removed; as for example where the temple is mentioned, they who think more wisely do not perceive the temple at Jerusalem, but the Temple of the Lord; where Mount Zion, or Zion, is mentioned, they do not perceive that mountain at Jerusalem, but the Lord's kingdom; and where Jerusalem is mentioned, they do not perceive the city that was in the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, but the holy and heavenly Jerusalem.

from AC 2534

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info