Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 878

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878. 'He put out his hand' means his own power. 'And he took hold of it, and brought it in to himself into the ark' means that self was the source of the good he did and of the truth he thought. This is clear from the meaning of 'the hand' as power. Here therefore his own power from which he acts is meant. Indeed 'putting out his hand and taking hold of the dove and bringing it in to himself' is attaching and attributing to himself the truth meant by the dove. That 'the hand' means power, and also the exercise of power, and resulting self-confidence, is clear from many places in the Word, as in Isaiah,

I will visit upon the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Asshur, for he has said, By the power of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding. Isa 10:12, 13.

Here 'hand' clearly stands for his own power to which he attributed what he had done, on account of which visitation was made on him.

[2] In the same prophet,

Moab will stretch out his hands in the midst of him as swimmer does to swim, but He will lay low his pride together with the powerfulnessa of his hands. Isa 15:11.

'Hands' stands for his own power resulting from projection of self above others, and so from pride. In the same prophet,

Their inhabitants were shorn of power,b they were dismayed and filled with shame. Isa 37:27.
'Shorn of power'b stands for having no power. In the same prophet, Will the clay say to its potter, What are you making? or your work [say], He has no hands? Isa 45:9.

'He has no hands' stands for no power to it. In Ezekiel,

The king will mourn, and the prince will be wrapped in stupidity, and the hands of the people of the land will be all atremble. Ezek 7:17.

Here 'the hands' stands for power. In Micah,

Woe to those devising iniquity and working out evil upon their beds, which they carry out at morning light, and because they make their own hand their god! Micah 2:1.

'Hand' stands for their own power which they trust in as their god. In Zechariah,

Woe to the worthless shepherd deserting the flock! The sword will fall upon his arm and upon his right eye. His arm will be wholly withered, and his right eye utterly darkened. Zech 11:17.

[3] Since 'hands' means powers, men's evils and falsities are throughout the Word therefore called 'the works of their hands'. Evils come from the will side of man's proprium, falsities from the understanding side. The fact that this is the source of evils and falsities becomes quite clear from the nature of the human proprium, that it is nothing but evil and falsity. That this is the nature of the proprium see what has been stated already in 39, 41, 141, 150, 154, 210, 215. Because 'the hands' in general means power, the Word therefore frequently attributes hands to Jehovah, or the Lord. And in those contexts 'hands' in the internal sense means omnipotence, as in Isaiah, Jehovah, Your hand has been lifted up. Isa 26:11. 'Hand' stands for Divine power. In the same prophet,

Jehovah stretches outc His hand, they are all destroyed. Isa 31:3.

'Hand' stands for Divine power. In the same prophet,

Over the work of My hands command Me. My hands stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. Isa 45:11, 12.

'Hands' stands for Divine power. In the Word regenerate people are often called 'the work of Jehovah's hands'. In the same prophet,

My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand measured out the heavens. Isa 48:13.

'Hand' and 'right hand' stand for omnipotence.

[4] In the same prophet,

Has My hand been shortened, that it cannot redeem? Is there no power in Me to deliver? Isa 50:2.

'Hand' and 'power' stand for Divine power. In Jeremiah,

You did bring Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm. Jer. 32. 17, 21.

'Power' in verse 17 and 'hand' in verse 21 stand for Divine power. It is quite often stated that 'they were brought out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm': in Ezekiel,

Thus said the Lord Jehovih, On the day I chose Israel and lifted up My hand to the seed of the house of Jacob and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I lifted up My hand to them, to lead them out of the land of Egypt. Ezek 20:5, 6, 23.

In Moses,

Israel saw the great workd which Jehovah did on the Egyptians. Exod 14:31.

[5] All these quotations plainly show that 'the hand' means power. Indeed so much was the hand the symbol of power that it also became its representative, as is clear from the miracles performed in Egypt, when Moses was commanded to stretch out his rod or his hand and they were accomplished -

Moses stretched out his hand and there was hail all over Egypt. Exod 9:22, 23.
Moses stretched out his hand and there was darkness. Exod 10:21, 22. Moses stretched out his hand and rod over the Sea Suph and it was dried up, and he stretched out his hand and it returned. Exod 14:11, 27.e No mentally normal person can believe that any power resided in Moses' hand or rod. Rather, because the lifting up and stretching out of the hand symbolized Divine power, that action also became its representative in the Jewish Church.

[6] The same applies to Joshua's stretching out his javelin, described as follows,

Jehovah said, Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand towards Ai, for I will give it into your hand. When Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand, they entered the city and took it. And Joshua did not draw back the hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Josh 8:18, 19, 26.

This also makes clear the nature of the representatives which comprised the external features of the Jewish Church. Consequently the Word is such that details recorded in its external sense do not give the appearance of being representatives of the Lord and His kingdom, such as the reference in these quotations to Moses or Joshua stretching out his hand, and all other details recorded there. In these it is never evident that such things are being represented as long as the mind is fixed solely on the historical details of the letter. From this it is also evident how far the Jews had receded from a true understanding of the Word and of the religious practices of their Church by focusing the whole of their worship purely on things of an external nature, even to the extent of attributing power to Moses' rod and to Joshua's javelin, when in fact these had no more power in them than a piece of wood. Yet because they did symbolize the Lord's omnipotence, which was at the time understood in heaven, signs and miracles were accomplished when by command they stretched out their hand or rod. Something similar happened when Moses on the hilltop held up his hands. When he did so Joshua was winning, but when he dropped them he was losing. So they held his hands up for him. Exod 17:9-13.

[7] It was similar with the laying on of hands when men were being consecrated, as the people did to the Levites, Num 8:9, 10, 12, and as Moses did to Joshua when the latter was to succeed him, Num 27:18, 23 - the purpose being to confer power. And this is why in our own times the ceremonies of ordination and of blessing are accompanied by the laying on of hands. To what extent the hand meant and represented power becomes clear from the following references in the Word to Uzzah and Jeroboam,

Of Uzzah it says that he reached out (his hand) to the Ark of God and took hold of it, and as a consequence died. 2 Sam 6:6, 7.

'The Ark' represented the Lord, and so everything holy and heavenly. 'Uzzah reached out to the Ark' represented man's own power, which is his proprium. And because the proprium is unholy the word 'hand' is left out but nevertheless understood. It is left out to prevent angels perceiving anything so profane as his touching with his hand that which was holy. And because he 'reached out' he died.

[8] In reference to Jeroboam,

It happened, when he heard the saying of the man of God which he cried out against the altar, that Jeroboam reached out his hand from above the altar saying, Lay hold of him. And his hand which he reached out against him dried up, and he could not draw it back to himself. He said to the man of God, Entreat now the facef of Jehovah your God, that my hand may be restored to me. And the man of God entreated the facef of Jehovah and his hand was restored to him, and became as it was before. 1 Kings 13:4-6.

Here similarly 'reaching out his hand' mean's mans own power, or proprium, which is unholy. He was willing to violate what was holy by stretching out his hand against the man of God, as a consequence of which his hand was dried up. Yet because he was an idolater and therefore not able to profane, as stated already, his hand was restored. The fact that 'the hand' means and represents power becomes clear from representatives in the world of spirits. In that world a bare arm sometimes comes into sight possessing so much strength that it can break bones to bits and crush their inner marrow to nothing at all. It consequently strikes so much terror as to cause heart-failure. It really does possess such strength.


a lit. with the cataracts or the floodgates
b lit. short in the hand
c or has stretched out
d lit. the great hand
e verses 15, 16, of Exod. 14 were possibly intended in this reference as well as verses 21, 27.
f lit. the faces

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