10642. Wherefore ye shall overturn their altars. That this signifies that the evil of such a religious persuasion and of the consequent worship must be rejected, is evident from the signification of an "altar" as being the principal representative of the Lord and of the worship of Him from good (see n. 921, 2777, 2811, 4541, 8935, 8940, 9388, 9389, 9714, 9964, 10242, 10245), and therefore in the opposite sense it is a representative of idolatrous worship, thus worship from evil (of which below); and from the signification of "to overturn," as being to reject; for it is said of the altars that they are to be overturned; but of the evils of worship which are signified by the altars of the nations, that they are to be rejected.
 Mention is made in this verse of "altars," "pillars," and "groves," and by these in general are signified all things of idolatrous worship; by "altars," worship from evil; by "pillars," worship from the falsity of evil; and by "groves," the teachings of these. The reason why these things were to be extirpated, was that the Lord was not worshiped by means of these representatives; but gods were worshiped that were men, as the baals, and many others. And this worship was diabolical and infernal; for to worship men instead of God Himself, who is the Lord, is diabolical, because a man is conjoined with him whom he worships.
 But the case herein is this. If a man is worshiped as a god, then someone from hell is conjoined with him, for faith and love conjoin. The faith of truth and the love of good conjoin the man with the Lord; but the faith of falsity and the love of evil conjoin the man with hell; for there are with every man spirits from hell, and also angels from heaven. Without these a man cannot live. If anyone is worshiped who had been a man, then the spirits from hell suppose that they themselves are worshiped; for everyone in hell wishes to be a god, and these spirits communicate such worship to the infernal society from which they are. In proportion therefore as these are worshiped, in the same proportion the angels who are from heaven recede; consequently the man is carried away into infernal cupidities, and finally becomes like these spirits in respect to his whole life; and moreover, comes among them after death. But on the other hand, when the Lord is worshiped, who is the God of heaven and earth, then the angels from heaven who are with the man do not claim to themselves anything of worship, because they attribute all truth of faith and good of love to the Lord, and nothing to themselves; consequently there is opened through them a way even to the Lord Himself, who conjoins them with Himself in faith and love. From all this it can be seen how important it is to worship the Lord Himself, who has all power in the heavens and on earth, as He Himself says in Matthew 28:18.