(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 3727

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3727. In regard to the signification of a "pillar," as being a holy boundary, thus the ultimate of order, this comes from the fact that in the most ancient times stones were placed at the boundaries, which marked the possession or inheritance of one person from that of another, and were for a sign and a witness that the boundaries were at that place. The most ancient people, who in every object, and in every pillar, thought of something celestial and spiritual (n. 1977, 2995), in these stones also which they set up, thought from them concerning the ultimates in man, and thus concerning the ultimate of order, which is truth in the natural man. The ancients who were after the flood received this from the most ancient people who were before the flood (n. 920, 1409, 2179, 2896, 2897), and began to account those stones holy which were set up in the boundaries, because as before said, they signified holy truth which is in the ultimate of order. They also called those stones "pillars;" and thus it came to pass that pillars were introduced into worship, and that they erected them in the places where they had their groves, and afterwards where they had their temples, and also that they anointed them with oil, concerning which something shall be said in what follows. For the worship of the Ancient Church consisted in the perceptives and significatives of the most ancient people who were before the flood, as is manifest from the sections just cited. As the most ancient people spoke with angels and were together with them while on earth, they were instructed from heaven that stones signify truth, and that wood signifies good (see above, n. 3720). This is the reason why "pillars" signify a holy boundary, thus the truth which is the ultimate of order in man; for the good that inflows through the internal man from the Lord is terminated in the external man, in the truth therein. Man's thought, speech, and action, which are the ultimates of order, are nothing else than truths from good, being the images or forms of good; for they belong to man's intellectual part, while the good which is in them, and from which they are, belongs to his will part.
[2] That pillars were erected for a sign and for a witness, and also for worship; and that in the internal sense they signify a holy boundary, or the truth in man's natural which is the ultimate of order, may be seen from other passages in the Word-as from the following, concerning the covenant between Laban and Jacob:
Come now, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee. And Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar. And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold the pillar which I have set up between me and thee; this heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap to me, and this pillar, for evil (Gen. 31:44-45, 51-52).
That in this passage a "pillar" signifies truth, will be seen in the explication of the passage.
[3] In Isaiah:
In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak with the lips of Canaan, and swear to Jehovah Zebaoth. In that day shall there be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the boundary thereof to Jehovah; which shall be for a sign and for a witness unto Jehovah Zebaoth in the land of Egypt (Isa. 19:18-20);
"Egypt" denotes the memory-knowledges that belong to the natural man; an "altar," Divine worship in general, for in the second Ancient Church, which began from Eber, the altar was made the primary representative of worship (n. 921, 1343, 2777, 2811); the "midst of the land of Egypt" denotes what is primary and inmost of worship (n. 2940, 2973, 3436); a "pillar," the truth which is the ultimate of order in the natural. That this is in the boundary for a sign and for a witness is manifest.
[4] In Moses:
Moses wrote all the words of Jehovah, and rose up early in the morning and builded an altar near Mount Sinai, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel (Exod. 24:4);
where in like manner an "altar" was representative of all worship, and indeed of good in worship; while the twelve pillars were a representative of the truth which is from good in worship. (That "twelve" denotes all things of truth in one complex may be seen above, n. 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272; and that the "twelve tribes" in like manner signify all things of the truth of the church, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be shown in the following chapter.)
[5] Inasmuch as altars were representative of all the good of worship, and as the Jewish Church was instituted in order that it might represent the celestial church which acknowledged no other truth than that which is from good, which is called celestial truth-for it was not in the least willing to separate truth from good, insomuch that it was not willing to mention anything of faith or truth unless it was thinking of good, and this from good, n. 202, 337, 2069, 2715, 2718, 3246-therefore there was a representative of truth by means of the stones of the altar, and it was forbidden to represent it by pillars, lest thereby truth should be separated from good, and should be representatively worshiped instead of good. For this reason it is written in Moses:
Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any tree beside the altar of Jehovah thy God which thou shalt make thee; and thou shalt not set thee up a pillar, which Jehovah thy God hateth (Deut. 16:21-22);
for to worship truth separate from good, or faith separate from charity, is contrary to the Divine, because contrary to order, and this is signified by the prohibition, "thou shalt not set thee up a pillar, which Jehovah thy God hateth."
[6] Nevertheless that they did set up pillars, and thereby represented those things which are contrary to order, is evident in Hosea:
Israel according to the multiplying of his fruit, multiplies his altars; according to the good of their land they make goodly pillars; but He shall overturn their altars; He shall lay waste their pillars (Hos. 10:1-2).
In the first book of Kings:
Judah did that which was evil in the eyes of Jehovah; they also built them high places, and pillars, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree (1 Kings 14:22-23).
In the second book of Kings:
The sons of Israel set them up pillars and groves on every high hill, and under every green tree (2 Kings 17:10).
Hezekiah removed the high places, and he brake the pillars and cut down the grove and ground to pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made, for they did burn incense to it (2 Kings 18:4).
[7] Inasmuch as the Gentiles also had by tradition the belief that the holy of worship was represented by altars and by pillars, and yet were in evil and falsity, therefore by "altars" among the gentiles are signified evils of worship, and by "pillars," falsities; for which reason it was commanded that they should be destroyed. As in Moses:
Ye shall overthrow their altars, and break in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their groves (Exod. 34:13; Deut. 7:5; 12:3).
Thou shalt not bow to their gods, nor worship them, nor do after their works; because destroying thou shalt destroy them, and breaking thou shalt break in pieces their pillars (Exod. 23:24);
the "gods" of the nations denote falsities; their "works," evils; to "break in pieces their pillars" denotes to destroy worship from falsity.
[8] In Jeremiah:
Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon shall break in pieces the pillars of the house of the sun that is in the land of Egypt, and the houses of the gods of Egypt shall he burn with fire (Jer. 43:13).
In Ezekiel:
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon with the hoofs of his horses shall tread down all thy streets; he shall slay the people with the sword, and shall cause the pillars of thy strength to go down to the earth (Ezek. 26:11);
speaking of Tyre. "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon" denotes that which causes vastation (n. 1327); the "hoofs of the horses" denote the lowest intellectual things, such as are memory-knowledges from mere things of sense; that "hoofs" are the lowest things will of the Lord's Divine mercy be confirmed elsewhere; "horses" denote intellectual things (n. 2760-2762); "streets," truths, and in the opposite sense, falsities (n. 2336); to "tread them down" is to destroy the knowledges of truth, which are signified by "Tyre" (that "Tyre," which is the subject here referred to, signifies the knowledges of truth, may be seen above, n. 1201); to "slay the people with the sword" denotes to destroy truths by that which is false. (That "people" is predicated of truth, may be seen above, n. 1259, 1260, 3295, 3581; and that a "sword" signifies falsity combating, n. 2799.) From all this we see what is meant by "causing the pillars of strength to come down to the earth." That "strength" is predicated of what is true and of what is false, is also evident from the Word.


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