(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 8869

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8869. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image. That this signifies not from self-intelligence, is evident from the signification of "a graven image," as being that which is not from the Lord, but from what is man's own. That which is man's own of his intellect is signified by "a graven image," and that which is man's own of his will is signified by "a molten image." To have either the one or the other for a god, or to adore it, is to love above all things all that which proceeds from self. They who do this entirely disbelieve that anything of intelligence and wisdom flows in from the Divine, for they attribute all things to themselves; everything else that happens to them they ascribe either to fortune or to chance. They totally deny the Divine Providence in such things. They suppose that if there is anything of Deity present, it is in the order of nature, to which they ascribe all things. They do indeed say with their lips that some Creator God has impressed such things upon nature; but still in their heart they deny any God above nature. Much are they who from the heart attribute everything to themselves and to their own sagacity and intelligence, and nothing to the Divine; and those of them who love themselves, adore what belongs to themselves and also desire to be worshiped by others, even as gods, and would do so openly if the church did not forbid. These are the formers of graven images, and the graven images themselves are what they hatch from their own, and wish to be adored as things divine.
[2] That these things are signified in the Word by "graven images," is evident from the passages where they are mentioned, as in Jeremiah:
Every man is become a fool from knowledge; every founder 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);
as by "a graven image" is signified that which does not proceed from the Lord, but from self-intelligence, therefore it is said, "Every man is become a fool from knowledge, and every founder is put to shame by his graven image;" and as in those things which are hatched from self-intelligence there is nothing of spiritual life, which is solely from the Lord, therefore it is also said, "and there is no breath in them."
[3] In Habakkuk:
What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it, the molten image, and the teacher of a lie, because the maker of his invention trusteth upon this, when he maketh dumb gods? there is no breath in the midst of it (Hab. 2:18, 19); here the "graven image" denotes those things which are hatched from self-intelligence, wherein there is nothing of life from the Lord.
[4] In Jeremiah:
A drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried up; for it is a land of graven images, and they glory in horrors; therefore the ziim dwell with the iim, and the daughters of the owl dwell therein (Jer. 1:38. 39);
speaking of Chaldea and Babel; "a drought upon the waters, and they shall be dried up," denotes truths wherein there is nothing of life; "the ziim, and the iim, and the daughters of the owl, dwell therein," denotes evils and falsities, thus those things which are of death within; from this it is that they are called "a land of graven images."
[5] In Isaiah:
They that fashion a graven image are all of them vanity; and their most desirable things shall not profit; and they are witnesses to themselves, they see not nor know (Isa. 44:9-11);
"they that fashion a graven image," denotes those who hatch out doctrines which are not grounded in truths from the Word, but in self-intelligence, of which doctrines it is said that "their most desirable things do not profit," and that "they see not nor know." In what follows (verses 12-16 of that chapter) there is treated of the art of inventing and of hatching by reasonings from self-intelligence, things which they desire should be acknowledged as Divine, of which things it is thus finally said:
The residue thereof he maketh into a god, his graven image, he adoreth it, he boweth himself down, and yet they know not, neither do they understand; and their eyes do not see, that their hearts may not understand (Isa.44:17, 18);
that "they know not, and understand not, and see not" denotes that truths and goods are not within, for all things which go forth from self-intelligence are not inwardly truths and goods, but falsities and evils, because they proceed from one's own, and that this at its root is evil, see n. 210, 215, 694, 874-876, 987, 1023, 1044, 1047, 1581, 3812, 4328, 5660, 5786, 8480.
[6] In the same:
To whom will ye liken God? and what image will ye compare with Him. The craftsman casteth the graven image, and the founder overlayeth it with gold, and casteth silver chains. He that is destitute of an oblation chooseth wood that will not rot; he seeketh him a wise craft man to prepare a graven image that shall not be shaken (Isa. 40:18-20);
"the graven cage which the craftsman casteth" denotes false doctrine which is from man's own; "the founder overlayeth it with gold, and casteth silver chains," denotes that through reasonings he makes the falsities of doctrine appear as truths.
[7] In the same:
I Jehovah have called thee in righteousness, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound one from the prison, them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. I am Jehovah, this is My name, and My glory will I not give to another, nor My praise to graven images (Isa. 42:6-8);
speaking of the Lord, that He is Jehovah, and that from Him is all wisdom, and nothing of it from man. That the Lord is here treated of is evident. That He is "Jehovah" here is also evident, for it is said that "Jehovah hath called Him in righteousness," and then, "I am Jehovah, this is My name, and My glory will I not give to another." That from Him is the wisdom that belongs to life, is signified by His "opening the blind eyes," and "bringing out the bound one from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house;" that nothing of wisdom is from man, is signified by "I will not give My praise to graven images."
[8] By "graven images" are also signified the things of self-intelligence in the following passages:
And there cometh a chariot of a man, a pair of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babel is fallen; and all the graven images he hath broken into the earth (Isa. 21:9).
Then will ye judge unclean the covering of the graven images of their silver, and the clothing of the molten image of their gold; thou shalt scatter them as a menstruous cloth; it shall be called dung (Isa. 30:22).
Why have they provoked Me to anger by their graven images, by vanities of strangers? (Jer. 8:19).
They have called themselves, so they went for the sake of themselves; they sacrifice to the Baals, and burn incense to graven images (Hos. 11:2).
Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination to Jehovah, the work of the hands of the craftsman (Deut. 27:15).


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