(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 10603

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10603. Hew thee two tables of stones like the former ones. That this signifies the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship, such as it was on account of that nation, is evident from the signification of the "tables of stones," as being the external of the Word (see n. 10453, 10461). The external of the Word is the sense of its letter. That it also denotes the external of the church and of worship is because the church is from the Word, and also worship; for all the truth that is of faith and the good that is of love, which make the church and also worship, must be from the Word; consequently as there are in the Word an external and an internal, there are also an external and an internal in the church, and in worship. And from the signification of "hewing" them, when done by Moses, as being to make the external such on account of that nation (of which in what follows); and from the signification of "like the former ones," as being in imitation, for the former ones were made by Jehovah, but these by Moses.
[2] That the former ones, made by Jehovah, were broken by Moses when he saw the worship by that nation of the golden calf as jehovah,* was of Providence, because the external of the Word, which is signified by the "two tables of stones," could not be so written among that nation, which at heart was merely idolatrous. Hence it was that the former tables were broken, and that it is now said to Moses that he should hew others in imitation of the former ones. It is said "in imitation," because the internal sense remained the same, and the external sense was changed. The internal sense is signified by Jehovah writing upon these tables the same words that were upon the former ones.
[3] That this subject may appear in clearer light, it may here be explained in what manner the external sense, or sense of the letter, was changed for the sake of that nation. On account of that nation, altars, burnt-offerings, sacrifices, meat-offerings and drink-offerings were commanded, and therefore in both the historic and the prophetic Word these things are mentioned as the most holy things of worship; when yet they were allowed merely because they were first instituted by Eber, and had been quite unknown in the ancient representative church (see n. 1128, 2180, 2818).
[4] It was on account of that nation also that there was Divine worship in Jerusalem alone, and that for this reason that city was esteemed holy, and was also called holy in both the historic and the prophetic Word. The reason was that that nation was at heart idolatrous, and therefore unless they had all come together unto that city at each feast, everyone in his own place would have worshiped some god of the Gentiles, or else a graven and molten image. On account of that nation also it was forbidden to have holy worship upon mountains and in groves, as had the ancients; which was done to prevent them from placing idols there, and worshiping the trees themselves.
[5] On account of that nation also a plurality of wives was permitted, a thing quite unknown in ancient times; and likewise the putting away of their wives for various causes. Consequently laws were enacted relating to such marriages and divorces, which otherwise would not have entered into the external of the Word. Wherefore this external is spoken of by the Lord as given by Moses; and as having been granted because of the hardness of their hearts (Matt. 19:8). On account of that nation mention is so often made of Jacob, and likewise of the twelve sons of Israel, as the only elect and heirs (as in Rev. 7:4-8, and in other places), although they were such as are described in the Song of Moses (Deut. 32:15-43), and also in the prophets throughout, and by the Lord Himself. Not to mention other things whence comes the external of the Word on account of that nation.
[6] This is the external which is signified by the two tables hewn by Moses. That nevertheless within this external the Divine internal is not changed, is signified by Jehovah writing upon these tables the same words that were upon the former tables.
* The name "jehovah" is in this connection given by Swedenborg with a small initial letter, doubtless because as applied to the golden calf the name is profane and unworthy of veneration. The same remark applies to "divine" as here used, for contrary to his usual custom Swedenborg here writes this word with a small initial letter. See also n. 10566, 10603. [REVISER.]


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