(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 10406

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10406. And formed it with a graving tool. That this signifies from their own intelligence, is evident from the signification of "forming with a graving tool," when said concerning an idol, as being to prepare false doctrine from one's own intelligence, which is effected by the application of the sense of the letter of the Word in favor of the loves of self and of the world; for when these loves reign, the man is not in any enlightenment from heaven, but takes all things from his own intelligence, and confirms them from the sense of the letter of the Word, which he falsifies by a wrong application and a perverted interpretation, and afterward favors such things because they are from himself.
[2] In the Word throughout mention is made of "graven images" and "molten images." They who apprehend the Word merely according to the letter suppose that idols only are meant by these images. Nevertheless idols are not meant, but false doctrinal things of the church, such as are formed by man himself under the guidance of some love of his. The forming of these falsities to cohere, and to appear as if they were truths, is signified by a "graven image." The joining of them together to favor external loves, so that evils may appear as goods, is signified by a "molten image." As both are meant by the "golden calf," therefore it is here said that Aaron "formed it with a graving tool," by which is meant the forming of falsities so as to appear as if they were truths; and by its being said that he "made the gold a molten calf." And afterward that he "cast it into the fire, and it came forth a calf" (verse 24), means the joining together to favor external loves so that evils may appear as goods. Such moreover is the case with all doctrine that is made from man, and not from the Lord; and it is made from man when he has as his end his own glory or his own profit; but it is from the Lord when the good of the neighbor and the good of the Lord's kingdom are regarded as the end.
[3] Such things are signified by "graven images" and "molten images" in the following passages. In Isaiah:
Ye shall judge unclean the covering of the graven images of thy silver, and the clothing of the molten image of thy gold (Isa. 30:22);
"the covering of the graven images of silver" denotes the appearing of falsities as if they were truths; "the clothing of the molten image of gold" denotes the appearing of evils as if they were goods; for "covering" and "clothing" denote outward appearances which are put on, or with which things are invested. "Silver" denotes truth, and therefore graven images are said to be "of silver;" and "gold" denotes good (n. 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9874, 9881).
[4] Again:
The artificer casteth a graven image, and the metal-caster spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. He seeketh unto him a wise artificer to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved (Isa. 40:19, 20);
there is here described the forming of falsities so as to cohere and to appear as if they were truths; a "graven image" denotes this falsity; an "artificer" denotes a man who forms it from his own intelligence; "the metal-caster spreadeth it over with gold" denotes when he causes it to appear as good; "he casteth silver chains" denotes by means of coherence; "that shall not be moved" denotes which on this account cannot be weakened and destroyed.
[5] Again:
They that form a graven image are vanity, and their most desirable things do not profit. Who hath formed a god, and cast a molten image that profiteth not? All his fellows shall be ashamed; and the workmen themselves. He fashioneth the iron with the tongs, he both worketh in the coals and formeth it with sharp hammers, so he worketh it with his strong arm; he fashioneth wood; he stretcheth out a line; he marketh it out with a rule; he maketh it into its corners; and he marketh it out with the compasses; and maketh it into the form of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house (Isa. 44:9-13);
here also is described in what manner false doctrinal things are formed so that they may cohere, and appear as truths and as goods. By every detail is here described how this is effected, when done from man's own intelligence under the guidance of pleasure, of cupidity, and of love. That this is so can be seen by those who know that all things in the Word have an internal sense, by which they are spiritually understood. Otherwise to what purpose would be such a description of the forming of a graven image? That it may appear as truth and as good is signified by "making it in the form of a man [vir] according to the beauty of a man" [homo]; for in the internal sense "a man" [vir] denotes truth, and "a man" [homo], the good of this truth.
[6] In Jeremiah:
Every man is become a fool from knowledge; every metal-caster is put to shame by his graven image; for his molten image is a lie, and there is no breath in them (Jer. 10:14; 51:17);
that a "graven image" here denotes that which is from man's own intelligence; and a "molten image" that which is according to the love, is very manifest; for it is said that "every man is become a fool by knowledge, and every metal-caster is put to shame by his graven image," and that "his molten image is a lie;" "knowledge" here denotes man's own intelligence, and "a lie," the falsity of evil; because there is not what is Divine in them, it is said that "there is no breath in them."
[7] Again:
O sword against her horses, and against her chariots, against her treasures, that they may be plundered; a drought is upon her waters that they may dry up; for a land of graven images is this (Jer. 50:37, 38).
That "a land of graven images" denotes the church where falsities reign, is also plainly evident from every detail there understood in its spiritual sense; without which sense, what would be "a sword against horses, against chariots, against treasures," and "a drought upon waters," but sounding words without any spirit in them? Whereas from every detail understood in its internal sense it is plain that the destruction of the church as to truths is here described, and thus that falsities would reign therein, which are "a land of graven images." For a "sword" denotes falsity fighting with and destroying truths; "horses" denote an understanding which is enlightened; "chariots" denote doctrinal things; "treasures," the knowledges of truth and good; "waters upon which is a drought," denote truths, that they are no more; and "land" denotes the church. (That a "sword" denotes truth fighting against falsity; and in the opposite sense falsity fighting against truth and destroying them, see n. 2799, 6353, 7102, 8294; that "horses" denote an understanding which is enlightened, n. 2760-2762, 3217, 6534; that "chariots" denote doctrinal things, n. 5321, 8146, 8148, 8215; "treasures," the knowledges of truth and of good, n. 10227; "waters," truths, n. 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8137, 8138, 8568, 9323, 10238; and "land" or "earth," the church, see the places cited in n. 9325.) From this it is evident what is meant by "a drought upon the waters that they may dry up," and what by "a land of graven images."
[8] In Habakkuk:
What profiteth the graven image, that the maker thereof hath graven it, and the molten image and the teacher of a lie, that the maker of his invention trusteth thereupon? (Hab. 2:18);
from these words it is also evident that by a "graven image" and a "molten image" are not meant a graven and a molten image; but falsity which is invented, and evil which falsity defends; for it is said "the maker of his invention," and "the teacher of a lie." [9] Like things are signified by a "graven image" and a "molten image" in the following passages:
Babylon is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath cast forth unto the ground (Isa. 21:9).
They shall all be greatly ashamed that trust in a graven image, that say unto a molten image, Ye are our gods (Isa. 42:17).
I have declared it to thee, and I made thee hear it, lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done this; my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them (Isa. 48:5).
They called themselves, and they went from their faces; they sacrificed to the baals, and burned incense to graven images (Hos. 11:2).
All the graven images of Samaria shall be ground to pieces, and all her harlot hires shall be burned with fire, and all her Idols will I make a waste (Micah 1:7).
[10] Inasmuch as falsities and evils of doctrine, which are signified by "graven and molten images," are fabricated by man's own intelligence under the guidance of his love, therefore also in the Word they are called "the work of man's hands," "the work of the hands of the artificer," and "the work of the hands of the workman;" as in the following passages:
They sin more and more, they make them a molten image of their silver, idols in their own intelligence, all of them the work of the artificers (Hos. 13:2).
Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto Jehovah, the work of the hands of the artificer (Deut. 27:15).
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man's hands (Ps. 115:4; 135:15).
They have burned incense unto other gods, and have bowed themselves to the works of their own hands (Jer. 1:16).
One cutteth wood out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers (Jer. 10:3, 4).
[11] "The work of the hands" denotes that which is from man's own, thus that which is from his own understanding and his own will; and those things are from his own, of both understanding and will, which are of the love of self; this is the origin of all the falsities in the church. As all falsities are from what is man's own, and by "the work of the hands" is signified that which is from this, it was therefore forbidden to move an iron, an axe, or a graving tool, upon the stones of which the altar was built, and also the temple, as is evident in these passages:
If thou wilt make Me an altar of stones, thou shall not build it of hewn stones; for if thou move thy tool upon it, thou shalt profane it (Exod. 20:25).
If thou shalt build to Jehovah an altar of stones, thou shalt not move an iron upon them (Deut. 27:5).
The house was built of entire stone, as it was brought; for there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any instrument of iron, heard in the house, while it was being built (1 Kings 6:7).
These things have been adduced in order that it may be known what is meant by Aaron's "forming the gold with a graving tool, and making it a molten calf."


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