(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 1361

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1361. That from being idolatrous the church became representative, no one can know unless he knows what a representative is. The things that were represented in the Jewish Church, and in the Word, are the Lord and His kingdom, consequently the celestial things of love, and the spiritual things of faith: these are what were represented, besides many things that pertain to these, such as all things that belong to the church. The representing objects are either persons or things that are in the world or upon the earth; in a word, all things that are objects of the senses, insomuch that there is scarcely any object that cannot be a representative. But it is a general law of representation that there is no reflection upon the person or upon the thing which represents, but only upon that thing itself which is represented.

[2] For example, every king, whoever he was, in Judah and Israel, and even in Egypt and elsewhere, could represent the Lord. Their royalty itself is what is representative. So that the worst of all kings could represent, such as the Pharaoh who set Joseph over the land of Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon (Dan. 2:37-38), Saul, and the other kings of Judah and of Israel, of whatever character they were. The anointing itself-from which they were called Jehovah's anointed-involved this. In like manner all priests, how many soever they were, represented the Lord; the priestly function itself being what is representative; and so in like manner the priests who were evil and impure; because in representatives there is no reflection upon the person, in regard to what his quality is. And not only did men represent, but also beasts, such as all that were offered in sacrifice; the lambs and sheep representing celestial things; the doves and turtledoves, spiritual things; and in like manner the rams, goats, bullocks, and oxen represented lower celestial and spiritual things.
[3] And not only were animate things used as representatives, but also inanimate things, such as the altar and even the stones of the altar, the ark and the tabernacle with all that was in them, and, as everyone may know, the temple with all that was therein, such as the lamps, the breads, and the garments of Aaron. Nor these things only, but also all the rites in the Jewish Church were representative. In the Ancient Churches, representatives extended to all the objects of the senses, to mountains and hills, to valleys, plains, rivers, brooks, fountains, and pools, to groves and trees in general, and to every tree in particular, insomuch that each tree had some definite signification; all which, afterwards, when the significative church had ceased, were made representatives. From all this it may be seen what is meant by representatives. And as things celestial and spiritual-that is-the things of the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, and of the Lord's kingdom on earth could be represented not only by men, whosoever and of what quality soever they were, but also by beasts, and even by inanimate things, it may now be seen what a representative church is.
[4] The representatives were of such an efficacy that all things that were done according to the rites commanded appeared holy before the spirits and angels, as for instance when the high priest washed himself with water, when he ministered clothed in his pontifical garments, when he stood before the burning lights, no matter what kind of man he was, even if most impure, and in his heart an idolater. The case was the same with all the other priests. For, as before said, in representatives the person was not reflected upon, but only the thing itself that was represented, quite abstractly from the person, as it was abstractly from the oxen, the bullocks, and the lambs that were sacrificed, or from the blood that was poured round about the altar, and also abstractly from the altar itself; and so on.
[5] This representative church was instituted-after all internal worship was lost, and when worship had become not only merely external, but also idolatrous-in order that there might be some conjunction of heaven with earth, that is, of the Lord through heaven with man, even after the conjunction by the internal things of worship had perished. But what kind of conjunction this is by representatives alone, shall of the Lord's Divine mercy be told in what follows. Representatives do not begin until the following chapter; in which, and in those that follow, all things in general and in particular are purely representative. Here, the subject treated of is the state of those who were the fathers, before certain of them and their descendants became representative; and it has been shown above that they were in idolatrous worship.


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