847. In many parts in the Word it is said that some "were slain," "thrust through," and "dead," and yet it is not meant that they were slain, thrust through, and dead, but that they were rejected by those who were in evils and falsities (see n. 59, 325, 589). The like is signified by "the dead" in the following verse, where it is said, that "the rest of the dead lived not again, until the thousand years were finished," from which it is plain, that by those who are said "to have been beheaded," are signified that they were rejected by those who were in falsities from their own intelligence. That by "an axe" is signified falsity from their own intelligence, appears from the following passages:
The statutes of the nations are vanity, if one cutteth wood out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe (Jer. 10:3).
The voice of Egypt shall go like a serpent; they shall come with axes like hewers of wood (Jer. 46:22).
He is known as one lifting up axes in the thicket of trees. And now they break down the carved work thereof with axe and hammers; they have profaned the habitation of Thy name to the earth (Ps. 74:5-7).
When thou shalt besiege a city, thou shalt not destroy the tree thereof by forcing an axe against it (Deut. 20:19).
By "an axe" in these passages is signified falsity from their own intelligence; the reason is because "iron" signifies truth in ultimates, which is called sensual truth, which when separated from rational and spiritual truth, is turned into falsity; the reason why it means falsity from their own intelligence, is because the sensual is in the proprium (see n. 424). On account of this signification of "iron" and of "an axe," it was commanded that:
If an altar was built of stone, it should be built of whole stones, and that iron should not be moved upon the stones, lest it be profaned (Exod. 20:25; Deut. 27:5).
Therefore of the temple of Jerusalem it is said:
The house itself was built of whole stone; neither hammers nor axe, nor any instrument of iron, were heard in the house while it was building (1 Kings 6:7);
and, on the contrary, when graven images are treated of, by which is signified falsity from their own intelligence, these things are said:
That he maketh it with iron, with tongs, or with the axe and hammers (Isa. 44:12).
That falsity from their own intelligence is signified by "a graven image" and "an idol," may be seen above (n. 459).