(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 402

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402. That by the "city that was built" is signified all the doctrinal and heretical teaching that came from that heresy, is evident from every passage of the Word in which the name of any city occurs; for in none of them does it ever mean a city, but always something doctrinal or else heretical. The angels are altogether ignorant of what a city is, and of the name of any city; since they neither have nor can have any idea of a city, in consequence of their ideas being spiritual and celestial, as was shown above. They perceive only what a city and its name signify. Thus by the "holy city" which is also called the "holy Jerusalem" nothing else is meant than the kingdom of the Lord in general, or in each individual in particular in whom is that kingdom. The "city" and "mountain of Zion" also are similarly understood; the latter denoting the celestial of faith, and the former its spiritual.
[2] The celestial and spiritual itself is also described by "cities" "palaces" "houses" "walls" "foundations of walls" "ramparts" "gates" "bars" and the "temple" in the midst; as in Ezekiel 48; in Revelation 21:15 to the end, where it is also called the Holy Jerusalem, verses 2, 10; and in Jeremiah 31:38. In David it is called "the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High" (Ps. 46:4); in Ezekiel, "the city, Jehovah there" (Ezek. 48:35), and of which it is written in Isaiah:
The sons of the stranger shall build thy walls, all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet, and they shall call thee the city of Jehovah, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 60:10, 14).
In Zechariah:
Jerusalem shall be called the city of truth; and the mountain of Zion, the mountain of holiness (Zech. 8:3),
where the "city of truth" or "Jerusalem" signifies the spiritual things of faith; and the "mountain of holiness" or "of Zion" the celestial things of faith. [3] As the celestial and spiritual things of faith are represented by a city, so also are all doctrinal things signified by the cities of Judah and of Israel, each of which when named has its own specific signification of something doctrinal, but what that is no one can know except from the internal sense. As doctrinal things are signified by "cities" so also are heresies, and in this case every particular city, according to its name, signifies some particular heretical opinion. At present we shall only show from the following passages of the Word, that in general a "city" signifies something doctrinal, or else heretical.
[4] Thus we read in Isaiah:
In that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt speaking with the lip of Canaan, and swearing to Jehovah Zebaoth; one shall be called the city Heres (Isa. 19:18),
where the subject treated of is the memory-knowledge [scientia] of spiritual and celestial things at the time of the Lord's advent. So again, when treating of the valley of vision, that is, of phantasy:
Thou art full of tumults, a tumultuous city, an exulting city (Isa. 22:2).
In Jeremiah, speaking of those who are "in the south" that is, in the light of truth, and who extinguish it:
The cities of the south have been shut up, and none shall open them (Jer. 13:19).
Jehovah hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion; therefore He maketh the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together. Her gates are sunk into the ground; He hath destroyed and broken her bars (Lam. 2:8-9),
where anyone may see that by a "wall" a "rampart" "gates" and "bars" doctrinal things only are meant.
[5] In like manner in Isaiah:
This song shall be sung in the land of Judah, We have a strong city; salvation will set the walls and the bulwark; open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth fidelities may enter in (Isa. 26:1-2).
I will exalt thee, I will confess to Thy name, for Thou hast made of a city a heap, of a defensed city a ruin; a palace of strangers shall not be built of the city forever. Therefore shall the strong people honor Thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear Thee (Isa. 25:1-3),
in which passage there is no reference to any particular city. In the prophecy of Balaam:
Edom shall be an inheritance, and out of Jacob shall one have dominion, and shall destroy the residue of the city (Num. 24:18-19)where it must be plain to everyone that "city" here does not mean a city. In Isaiah:
The city of emptiness is broken; every house is shut, that the cry over wine in the streets cannot enter (Isa. 24:10-11),
where the "city of emptiness" denotes emptinesses of doctrine; and "streets" signify here as elsewhere the things which belong to the city, whether falsities or truths. In John:
When the seventh angel poured out his vial, the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell (Rev. 16:17, 19).
That the "great city" denotes something heretical, and that the "cities of the nations" do so too, must be evident to everyone. It is also explained that the great city was the woman that John saw (Rev. 17:18); and that the woman denotes a church of that character has been shown before.


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