Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 6877

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6877. 'And they may say to me, What is His name?' means, What is His essential nature? This is clear from the meaning of 'name' as essential nature, dealt with in 1754, 1896, 2009, 2628, 2724, 3006, 6674. This question asked by Moses shows what the descendants of Jacob were like. It shows that not only had they forgotten the name Jehovah, but also that they acknowledged a number of gods, one of whom was greater than another; and that was why they wished to know that god's name. They also believed that it was enough if merely God's name was acknowledged. The reason why the descendants of Jacob were like this was that they were acquainted only with the outward aspects of things, not with their inner aspects; and people unacquainted with those inner aspects cannot have any other kind of belief with regard to God since they are unable to receive any light from heaven which would shine on more internal levels of their minds. To the end therefore that they might acknowledge Jehovah they were told that the God of their fathers - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob - had appeared to Moses, and that He had sent him. Thus what led them to acknowledge Jehovah was blind veneration of their forefathers, not any inner perception. For that people it was enough if they did worship Jehovah merely in name, for the further reason that they were unable to accept anything other than the outer aspect of the Church, thus solely that which was to represent the inner aspect of it. That outer aspect, furthermore, was established among them to the end that the inward form of what they were to represent might be displayed in heaven; then in some kind of way heaven would still be joined to mankind.

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