(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 8940

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8940. And if thou make Me an altar of stones. That this signifies a representative of worship in general from truths, is evident from the signification of "an altar," as being a representative of Divine worship in general (see n. 921, 2777, 2811, 4489); and from the signification of "stones," as being truths (n. 643, 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798, 6426, 8609). There is worship of the Lord from good, and there is worship of Him from truth. The worship of the Lord from good was represented by an altar of ground, and the worship from truth by an altar of stone (as to both kinds of worship, see above, n. 8935). As an "altar of stone" signified worship from truth, it was therefore commanded that such an altar should be erected as soon as they passed over the Jordan and came into the land of Canaan, and upon it were to be written the commandments of the law, that is, truths Divine from heaven; for by the "ten commandments" are signified all truths Divine in sum total. Concerning this altar it is thus written in Moses:
When ye shall pass over Jordan, thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster; and then thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law. After, thou shalt build there an altar unto Jehovah thy God, an altar of stones, upon which thou shalt not strike iron. Thou shalt build the altar of Jehovah thy God of whole stones, and thou shalt cause to go up upon it burnt-offerings, and thank-offerings. And thou shalt write upon the stones of the altar the words of the law very plainly (Deut. 27:1-8; Josh. 8:30-32).
[2] The reason why the words of the law were to be written upon the stones of the altar, was that by "stones" were signified truths, and by "an altar of stones," worship from truths. This also was the reason why the ten commandments, which signified Divine truths in the complex, were written on tables of stone. That this was to be done as soon as they had passed over the Jordan, was because the Jordan, which was the first and the last boundary of the land of Canaan on the side of the wilderness, signified introduction into the church or heaven, which is effected by means of the knowledges of truth and good, thus by means of truths from the Word (n. 4255); for all the rivers which were boundaries of that land signified the first and the last things of the Lord's kingdom (n. 4116, 4240). By the "stones of the altar" are signified the truths of faith also in Isaiah:
He shall take away sin when He maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are scattered (Isa. 27:9);
speaking of the vastation of the church; "the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are scattered" denotes that so it shall be with the truths of faith which are of worship. As regards altars in general, they were of ground, of stones, of brass, of wood, and also of gold-of brass, wood, and gold, because these signified good. (Concerning an altar of brass, see Ezekiel 9:2; concerning an altar of wood, 41:22; and concerning an altar of gold, which was the altar of incense, see 1 Kings 6:22; 7:48; Rev. 8:3.) (That "brass" signifies good, see n. 425, 1551; that "wood" does so, n. 643, 2784, 2812, 3720, 8354; and likewise "gold," see n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658.)


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