Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 10579

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10579. 'For no one will see Me and live' means that the essential nature of the Divine Himself can be seen only through the Lord in heaven. This may be recognized from the truth that no one has ever seen Jehovah the Father, but that when He has been seen the Lord is the One who has been seen, because the Lord is the very face of Jehovah.

No one has ever seen Jehovah the Father This is clear from the words of the Lord Himself in John,

Nobody has ever seen God; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known. John 1:18.

In the same gospel,

You have never heard the Father's voice nor seen His shape. John 5:37.

In Matthew,

No one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him. Matt 11:27.

[2] When Jehovah the Father has been seen the Lord is the One who has been seen This too is the Lord's teaching in John,

Jesus said, If you recognize Me you recognize My Father also, and from now on you recognize Him and have seen Him. Philip said, Lord, show us the Father. Jesus said to him, Have I been with you for so long and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. So why do you say, Show us the Father? John 14:7-9.

In the same gospel,

Abraham your father rejoiced to see My day, and saw it and was glad. Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:56,58.

From these statements it becomes clear that the Lord - His Divine Human - is the One whom people have seen when they have seen Jehovah, thus that He is the face of Jehovah.

[3] The Lord is the face of Jehovah This too is clear from the Word, as in Isaiah,

He became their Saviour. The angel of Jehovah's face delivered them; because of His love and His compassion He redeemed them, and took them and carried them all the days of eternity. Isa 63:8,9.

Similarly in Exodus,

Behold, I send an angel before you to keep you safe on the way, and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. Take notice of His face, lest you provoke Him, for He will not bear your transgression; for My name is in the middle of Him. Exod 23:20,21.

[4] Before the Lord's Coming into the world, whenever Jehovah appeared to people He did so in the form of an angel; for when He passed through heaven He took on that form, which was a human form. For the whole of heaven, by virtue of what is Divine there, exists as one complete human being, as has been shown in much detail where the Grand Man, which is heaven, has been the subject; and this was how the Divine Human in those times came into being. And since Jehovah appeared in the human form of an angel it is evident that [this Divine Human] was nevertheless Jehovah Himself and that that actual form also was His, being what was Divine and His in heaven; and this was the Lord from eternity. But because Jehovah took on that human form by passing through heaven, and yet in order to save the human race it was necessary for Him to be a human being - in all reality and essentially such - He was pleased to undergo human birth, and so to take on a truly human form in which He - Jehovah Himself - was present. The Lord teaches that this is so in John,

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. John 14:11.

And elsewhere,

I and the Father are one. John 10:30.

[5] The Lord's existence from eternity is also taught by Him in John,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1-3,14.

In the same gospel,

I came out from the Father and have come into the world; again I am leaving the world and going to the Father. John 16:28,29.

In the same gospel,

Jesus said, Father, glorify Me in Your Own Self with the glory I had with You before the world was. John 17:5.

And in the same gospel,

Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:58.

[6] These places show plainly that the Lord's Human as well is Jehovah, thus that His Human is Divine. It is on account of this that it says in John, The Word was God, and the Word became flesh, and also, 'Before Abraham was, I am', not 'I was', because Jehovah is I Am, Exod 3:14.

From all this it may now be recognized that 'no one will see Me and live' means that the essential nature of the Divine Himself cannot be seen, except through the Lord in heaven. The expression 'through the Lord in heaven' is used because the Lord, being the Sun of heaven, is above the heavens, yet is present within them. Divine Truth is present within them, and Divine Truth emanating from the Lord as the Sun is the Lord in heaven; therefore the Divine Truth there is His face.

[7] It has been stated above in 10567, 10568, that things which are interior and Divine in the Word, the Church, and worship are meant by 'Jehovah's face'. The reason for this is that Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, thus the Lord in heaven, composes the things that are interior and Divine in the Word, the Church, and worship. This Truth is what is meant by 'Jehovah's face' wherever this is referred to in the Word, as in Matthew,

See that you do not despise any of these tiny ones; for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of [My] Father who is in heaven. Matt 18:10.

In the Book of Revelation,

The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the holy Jerusalem, and His servants will minister to Him. And they will see His face. Rev 22:3,4.

[8] In Moses,

Jehovah will make His face shine upon you and be merciful to you. Jehovah will lift up His face upon you and give you peace. Num 6:25,26.

In David,

Many are saying, Who will show us good? Lift up the light of Your face upon us, O Jehovah. Ps 4:6.

In the same author,

How long, O Jehovah, do You hide Your face from me? Ps 13:1.

In the same author,

To You my heart said, Seek My face! Your face, O Jehovah, I seek. Ps 27:8.

In the same author,

God will be merciful to us and bless us; He will make His face shine upon us. Ps 67:1.

In the same author,

Turn us back, O God, and make Your face shine, that we may be saved. Ps 80:3, 7, 19.

In the same author,

Blessed are Your people, who walk in the light of Your face. Ps 89:15.

In the same author,

O Jehovah, do not hide Your face from me. Ps 102:2.

In the same author,

You hide Your face, they are dismayed. Ps 104:29.

[9] Anyone can understand what 'Jehovah's face' serves to mean in these places, namely the Divine and everything which is an attribute of the Divine. Thus His 'face' serves to mean mercy, peace, and every kind of good, but in the universal sense Divine Truth since Divine Truth encompasses every kind of good. Both among people in the world and among angels in heaven Divine Good is embodied within Divine Truth; without it Divine Good does not exist, for truth is the receiver of good, thus also of mercy and peace. From this it now follows that where Divine Good does not exist within Divine Truth, neither does Jehovah's face. It also follows that where evil exists within falsity the Divine is not seen. This is what Jehovah's hiding His face and turning it away is used to mean in the following places: In Isaiah,

Your sins have hidden Jehovah's face from you. Isa 59:2.

In Jeremiah,

On account of their wickedness I have hidden My face from this city. Jer 33:5.

In Ezekiel,

I turn My face away from them, and they profane My secret place. Ezek 7:22.

And in Micah,

Jehovah will hide His face from them, as they have rendered their deeds evil. Micah 3:4.

But it should be recognized that Jehovah, that is, the Lord, never turns His face away from a person, but that a person ruled by evil turns his face away from the Lord; and since, when he does so, the Divine is behind his back the appearance is that the Divine hides Himself or turns Himself away. The reality is that all hellish spirits turn their back to the Lord as the Sun, but angels always turn their face towards Him; and as to their spirit people behave in the same way while they live in the world.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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