(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 10643

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10643. And ye shall break their pillars. That this signifies that the falsities of evil must be dispersed, is evident from the signification of "pillars," as being representatives of the worship of the Lord from truths (see n. 4580, 4582, 9388-9389), and in the opposite sense representatives of idolatrous worship from falsities. The reason why "pillars" were representative of worship, was that it was in use among the ancients to set up pillars and anoint them with oil and thus sanctify them. The ancients held their worship chiefly upon mountains, upon hills, and in groves, and there they set up pillars. That they held worship upon mountains was because mountains signified the heaven where celestial love reigns, which is love to the Lord; that they held it upon hills was because hills signified the heaven where spiritual love reigns, which is love toward the neighbor; and that they held it in groves was because groves signified heavenly wisdom and intelligence. All these things are from correspondences. The pillars that were set up there signified Divine truth; for the pillars were stones, and a stone signifies truth. Therefore in respect to Divine truth the Lord is called in the Word "the Stone of Israel." From this then it is that "pillars" signified the worship of the Lord from truths.
[2] But when the representatives of the church which existed among the ancients began to be turned partly into idolatry and partly into magic, then such things were abrogated, especially among the Israelitish nation, which at heart was idolatrous. Hence it is that by "pillars" is signified idolatrous worship from falsities. This is the case with all worship when man becomes external, as when he regards himself and the world as the end, and the Divine things of the church as the means; for then all the things of worship, with those who remain in worship, become idols, because external things are worshiped apart from internal things. Consequently the truths of worship and of doctrine become falsities, for they are falsified by the ideas of self and of the world in them, to which are adjoined many other ideas which withdraw the Divine from these truths, and transfer them to self and to the world. This can also be seen from the altars of the nations, upon which their sacrifices were abominations, although they sacrificed in the same way as the Israelitish nation.
[3] That pillars were in use among the ancients, and signified what is holy of worship, is evident from the pillar set up by Jacob, of which we read in Genesis:
And Jacob took the stone that he had placed for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar. And he said, If I return in peace to my father's house, this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house (Gen. 28:18, 21, 22).
And from the twelve pillars set up by Moses under Mount Sinai, of which we read in Exodus:
Moses wrote all the words of Jehovah, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel (Exod. 24:4; see also n. 9389).
And from these passages:
In that day shall there be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to Jehovah (Isa. 19:19).
The sons of Israel shall sit many days without king, and without prince, and without sacrifice, and without pillar (Hos. 3:4).
In these passages by "pillars" is signified worship from truths, for the reason, as before said, that a "stone" signified Divine truth, and a "pillar anointed with oil," Divine truth from Divine good.
[4] But when these representatives began to be idolatrously worshiped, it was then commanded that such things should be overturned and broken, as in this verse, and also in Exodus 23:24; Deuteronomy 7:5; 12:3. And as the Israelitish nation was at heart idolatrous, therefore lest they should set up pillars upon mountains and hills, and in groves, and should worship them idolatrously, they were forbidden to set up pillars and to plant groves, although among the ancients such things were holy things of worship. That this was forbidden to that nation is evident in Moses:
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any tree near the altar of Jehovah thy God, which thou shalt make for thee. And thou shalt not set thee up a pillar, which Jehovah thy God hateth (Deut. 16:21, 22).
And that it was forbidden because they worshiped these things idolatrously, is evident from these passages:
Judah did evil in the eyes of Jehovah; they built them high places, and pillars, on every high hill, and under every green tree (1 Kings 14:22, 23).
The like is said of the sons of Israel in 2 Kings 17:10.
I will cut off thy graven images and thy pillars out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no longer adore the work of thine hands. And I will root out thy groves from the midst of thee (Micah 5:13, 14).
Ye have inflamed yourselves with gods under every green tree (Isa. 57:5).
With the hoofs of his horses shall Nebuchadrezzar tread down all thy streets; he shall slay thy people with the sword, and the pillars of thy strength shall he make to go down to the earth (Ezek. 26:11);
besides other places. From these passages also it is evident what is signified by "pillars" in the internal sense.


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