Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 9643

Previous Number Next Number Next Translation See Latin 

9643. 'And forty bases of silver' means complete support received through truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'forty' as completeness, dealt with in 9437; from the meaning of 'bases' as support, since bases serve as supports; and from the meaning of 'silver' as truth, dealt with in 1551, 2954, 5658, 6112, 6914, 6917, 7999. The bases were made from silver and the boards overlaid with gold because good is meant by 'the boards', 9634, and truth by 'the bases', and good possesses power and on this account lends support through truth. As regards good, that it possesses power through truth, see 6344, 6423, 9327, 9410, and that 'gold' means good and 'silver' truth, 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 8932, 9490, 9510. Good possesses power through truth because truth gives shape to good, which means that good also possesses specific quality; for outward shape exists where specific quality does so. The good can then be a real influence among things, in one way or another. So it is that the ability resides potentially in good, but that this cannot be exercised except through truth. Ability so exercised is actual power, consequently power that provides support.

[2] Bases also correspond to a person's feet and soles of the feet; in general they correspond to the bones, which lend support to all the fleshy parts in the body. By the feet and likewise the bones truth that provides support is meant, and by the fleshy parts in the body good which supports itself by means of truth.

All things on the natural level resemble the human form, and carry the same meaning as the parts of it they resemble, see 9496. 'Flesh' means good, 3813, 6968, 7850, 9127. 'Feet' means the natural, thus truth that has power from good within it, 5327, 5328. 'Body' means good, 6135. 'Bones' means truth that provides support, 3812 (end), 8005.

[3] So it is also that by 'foundations', which are a general base, the truth of faith and faith itself are meant, as becomes clear from places in the Word where 'foundations' are mentioned, for example in Isaiah,

Do you not know, do you not hear, do you not understand the foundations of the earth? Isa 40:21.

A person unacquainted with what 'the foundations' and what 'the earth' mean inevitably takes 'the foundations of the earth' here to denote the inner depths of the planet, even though he may realize, if he stops to think about it, that something other than them is meant; for what meaning can knowing, hearing, and understanding the foundations of the earth have? From this it becomes clear that by 'the foundations of the earth' such things as have to do with the Church are meant. The fact that 'the earth' in the Word means the Church is plainly evident from places in the Word where 'the earth' is mentioned, see those quoted in 9325. And the fact that its foundations are the truths of faith, for these truths serve the Church as foundations, becomes clearer still from the following places: In David,

They do not acknowledge, neither do they understand; they walk in darkness. All the foundations of the earth are unstable. Ps 82:5.

It is not the foundations of the earth that are unstable but, as is self-evident, it is the truths of the Church with those who neither acknowledge nor understand them and walk in darkness. In the same author,

The earth quaked and trembled, and the foundations of the mountains shook and quaked. Ps 18:7.

'The mountains' are forms of the good of love, 795, 4210, 6435, 8327, their 'foundations' are the truths of faith. In Isaiah,

The floodgates from on high have been opened, and the foundations of the earth have been shaken. Isa 24:18.

Since 'the foundations' means the truth of faith, and 'city' doctrine based on it, therefore also the Word speaks of 'the foundations of the city' when the truth of doctrine is meant. For the meaning of 'city' as doctrinal teachings based on truth, see 402, 2449, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493.

[4] This goes to show what the meaning is of 'the foundations of the city, the holy Jerusalem' in John,

The wall of the city, the holy Jerusalem, had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of precious stone. Rev 21:14, 19, 20.

A person unacquainted with what 'the holy Jerusalem', 'the city', 'the wall', 'the foundations', and 'the twelve apostles' mean cannot see any arcanum at all that lies within this description. Nevertheless 'the holy Jerusalem' means the Lord's New Church which will take the place of the one that is ours at the present day;a 'the city' doctrinal teachings; 'the wall' the truth protecting and defending, and 'its foundations' the truths of faith; and 'the twelve apostles' all forms of the good of love and the truths of faith in their entirety. From this it becomes clear why it says that there will be twelve foundations, adorned with every kind of precious stone; for 'precious stone' means the truth of faith springing from the good of love, 114, 3858, 6640, 9476, and 'the twelve apostles' all aspects of love and faith in their entirety, 3488, 3858 (end), 6397.

[5] From all this it is evident what is meant by 'the foundations' in those verses in John and also by 'the foundations' in Isaiah,

Behold, I am arranging your stones with antimony, and will lay your foundations in sapphires. Isa 54:11.

'Sapphires' are interior truths, 9407. In the same prophet,

Jehovah will strike Asshur with a rod. At that time every strokeb will be that of the rod of the foundation on which Jehovah will cause [him] to rest. Isa 30:31, 32.

'The rod of the foundation' is the power of truth. For the meaning of 'the rod' as power, see 4013, 4015, 4876, 4936, 6947, 7011, 7026. And in Jeremiah,

They shall not take from you a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations. Jer 51:26.

'A stone for foundations' stands for the truths of faith.

[6] In Job,

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.c Who determined the measures of it, if you know? Onto what [were] its bases [fastened]? Or who laid its corner-stone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God bellowed? Job 38:4-7.

A person unacquainted with what 'the earth', 'its measures', and 'its bases' mean in the internal sense, and also what 'corner-stone', 'morning stars', and 'the sons of God' mean, sees no arcanum at all in this description. He will suppose that the actual earth, and also the foundations, measures, bases, and corner-stone of it are what is meant. Nor will he have any idea at all of what is meant by 'the morning stars sang' and 'the sons of God bellowed'. But a person will pass from darkness to light if he knows that 'the earth' is the Church, 'its foundations' are the truth of faith, 'its measures' the state of good and truth, 'its bases' the actual truths that provide support, 'the corner-stone' the power of truth, 'the morning stars' cognitions or knowledge of good and of truth springing from good, and 'the sons of God' God's truths. These sons are said 'to bellow' when they come into existence, those stars 'to sing' when they rise.


a The Latin volume in which these words appear was published in 1756.
b lit. every passage or going across
c lit. if you know intelligence

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church