Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 10217

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10217. 'As they have been numbered' means as they have been arranged and set in order. This is clear from the meaning of 'numbering' - when it refers to all things of the Church, which are truths and forms of the good of faith and love - as an arrangement and setting of them in order, so that 'those who have been numbered' means the things which have been arranged and set in order. 'Numbering' has this meaning because numbering implies reviewing, and that which the Lord reviews is also arranged and set in order by Him. Furthermore the word used here to express the idea of numbering means in the original language reviewing, counting up, taking note of, and also visiting, giving orders, and taking control of, thus arranging and setting in order. That word has these meanings because in the spiritual sense each of these activities implies the next, and the spiritual sense consists in that inner meaning which the words of languages, especially eastern ones, frequently possess.

[2] The fact that in the spiritual sense, in which truths and forms of the good of faith and love are the subject, 'numbering' means arranging and setting in order is also clear from places in the Word in which the verb 'numbering' or else the noun 'number' is used, as in Isaiah,

The noise of a tumult of the kingdoms of the nations gathered together! Jehovah Zebaoth is numbering (arranging in order) an army of war. Isa 13:4.

In the same prophet,

Lift up your eyes on high and see; who created these? He who brought out their host by number; He calls them all by name. From the multitude of the powerful and of the mighty not a man is lacking in strength. Isa 40:26.

In David,

Jehovah who counts the numbera of the stars gives names to them all. Ps 147:4.

In these places it is self-evident that 'numbering' means arranging and setting in order, for they refer to Jehovah, that is, the Lord, who does not number any army or count the stars, but arranges and sets such things in order as are meant by 'an army' and 'the stars', namely truths and forms of the good of faith and love. For the subject is not wars in the natural world but wars in the spiritual world, which are the wars or conflicts of truths springing from good against falsities arising from evil.

'Wars' in the spiritual sense are those kinds of conflicts, see 1664, 2686, 8273, 8295. 'An army' is the truths and forms of good belonging to the Church and heaven, 7988, 8019. 'The stars' are cognitions or knowledge of truth and good, 2495, 2849, 4697.

[3] Once it is known what 'numbering' and 'the children of Israel' mean it may be seen why it was that David was not allowed to number the people, and why after he had numbered them the prophet Gad was sent to him to intimate a punishment, 2 Sam 24:1-15, and why here [in Exod.30:12] it says that each one should make expiation for his soul, that there may be no plague among them when they are numbered. By 'the children of Israel' the Church's truths and forms of good are meant, and by 'numbering' arranging and setting in order is meant. The arranging and setting in order of the truths and forms of the good of faith and love that are present with each person in the Church and in heaven belongs to the Lord alone. Consequently when such numbering is done by man, as was done by David through Joab, an arranging and setting in order of those things by man, and not by the Lord, is meant; and this is not an arranging or setting in order but a destruction. If the numbering of the children of Israel had not held such things within it, no sin or guilt at all would have been attached to their being numbered.

[4] By 'the children of Israel' spiritual truths and forms of good, which are the Church's and heaven's truths and forms of good, are meant, see 5414, 5801, 5803, 5812, 5817, 5819, 5826, 5833, 5879, 5951, 7957, 8234, 8805. Much the same is meant by 'the tribes' into which the children of Israel were divided, 3858, 3926, 4060, 6335, 6397.

Since such things are meant by 'the children of Israel' and 'the tribes' and those things are countless, the Word states regarding them,

Their number will be as the sand of the sea, which will not be measured nor numbered. Hosea 1:10.
Who will number the dust of Jacob and the number of Israel? Num 23:10.

Jehovah said to Abraham,

I will make your seed as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, so also will it be that your seed may be numbered. Gen 13:16; 16:10.

And elsewhere,

Look towards heaven and number the stars, if you are able to number them. So will your seed be. Gen 15:5.

The expressions 'the children of Israel' and 'the seed of Abraham' were not used to mean his descendants but spiritual truths and forms of good, which are countless and also for the most part beyond description. This becomes clear from the consideration that they were no greater in number than any other nation, as also Moses bore witness,

Jehovah has desired you, that He might choose you, not because you are more in number than all peoples; indeed you are fewer than all peoples. Deut 7:7.

[5] 'Numbering' again means arranging and setting in order in Jeremiah,

In the cities of Jerusalem and Judah flocks will again pass under the hands of him who numbers them. Jer 33:13.

By 'flocks' too the Church's forms of good and its truths are meant, 6048, 8937, 9135, while 'under the hands of him who numbers them' means according to the order set by the Lord. In David,

Who knows the strength of Your anger? Teach usb to number our days, that we may gainc a heart of wisdom. Ps 90:11,12.

'Numbering days' stands for arranging and setting states of life in order; and days are said to be numbered after they have been arranged and set in order, thus when they are finished, as in Isaiah,

Through the cutting off of my daysd I shall go away to the gates of hell; I am numbered [as to]e the residue of my years. Isa 38:10.

And in Daniel,

The writing appeared before Belshazzar the king, Numbered, weighed, and divided. Dan 5:25.

When 'numbering' means arranging and setting in order, 'numbered' means what is brought to a conclusion, as when a line is drawn under a list of figures at the end of a calculation.

[6] 'Numbering' means arranging and setting in order because 'number' means the specific quality of some reality or some state, and that quality is defined by the number attached to it. Consequently numbering something means bringing specific quality to it, and specific quality is brought to spiritual realities through their being arranged and set in order by the Lord. This is what 'the number' means in John,

He causes all to receivef a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and no one to be able to buy or sell except him who has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of its name. Hereg is wisdom. Let him who has intelligence reckon the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man (homo), that is, its number is six hundred and sixty-six. Rev 13:16-18.

[7] This chapter deals with the beast from the sea and the beast from the land. 'The beast from the sea' means the Church's truth falsified by factual knowledge derived from the world, and 'the beast from the land' means the Church's truth falsified by the use of the literal sense of the Word to support the evils of self-love and love of the world. For 'the land' means the Church in respect of its goodness and truth, see the places referred to in 9325; and 'the sea' means factual knowledge in general, 28, 2120, 2850. 'Having its mark on the hand and on the forehead' means accepting and loving those falsities; 'having its name' or 'the number of its name' means accepting all things, irrespective of what they are like. For 'the forehead' means the love, 9936, and 'name' the whole nature of the one who is the subject, 3006, 3421, 6674, 8274, 9310.

[8] 'Reckoning the number of the beast' means examining and becoming acquainted with those falsified truths of the Church. 'The number of a man' means the reality that is the Church and the state of that Church; 'six hundred and sixty-six' means its specific quality so far as all its falsified truths and falsities arising from evil in their entirety are concerned, also its profanation of what is holy, and its end as well. Being acquainted with them and examining them is an attribute of one who possesses wisdom and understanding, and that is why it says, 'Hereg is wisdom. Let him who has intelligence reckon its number'. For the number 'six' has the same meaning as the number 'twelve', since it is a half of it, 3960(end), 7973, 8148; and 'twelve' means all the truths and forms of good the Church possesses in their entirety, 2129(end), 2130(end), 3272, 3858, 3913, 7973, and therefore also in the contrary sense all falsities and evils in their entirety. The tripling of the digit 'six' also implies the end, and the end comes when truth has been made altogether profane.

[9] From all this it is plainly evident that numbers in the Word have to do with different realities and states, each serving to mean a specific quality that accords with its numerical value, as also in these words John,

The angel measured the wall of the holy Jerusalem, a hundred and forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man (homo), that is, of an angel. Rev 21:17.

The numerical value here serves to mean all truths springing from good in their entirety; for 'a hundred and forty-four' has the same meaning as 'twelve', 7973, being the product of twelve multiplied by itself. Therefore also it says in this verse that the measure of it is 'the measure of a man', just as in the verses explained above it says that the number given there is 'the number of a man'. But since truths springing from good are meant in this verse it states in addition that that measure is the measure 'of an angel'; for in the Word 'an angel' means truths springing from good, an angel being a recipient of Divine Truth from the Lord, 8192.


a lit. numbers the number
b lit. Make [us] rightly to know
c lit. that we may put on
d i.e. When I am in the prime of life
e i.e. I have been deprived of
f lit. He causes that he might give to all
g Reading hic (here) for haec (this)

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