(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 4580

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4580. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place in which He spoke with him, a pillar of stone. That this signifies the holy of truth in that Divine state, is evident from the signification of a "pillar," as being the holy of truth (of which in what follows); and from the signification of "in the place in which He spoke with him," as being in that state (see just above, n. 4578). Something shall first be said with regard to the origin of the setting up of pillars, and of the pouring a drink-offering upon them, and of pouring oil upon them.
[2] The pillars set up in ancient times were either for a sign, or for a witness, or for worship. Those for worship were anointed, and were then holy, and worship was also held there, thus in temples, in groves, in forests under the trees, and in other places. This ritual derived its representation from the fact that in the most ancient times stones were set up on the boundaries between families of nations, lest they should pass over the boundaries to do one another evil (as for instance in the case of Laban and Jacob, Gen. 31:52). That they should not pass the boundaries to do evil was to them a law of nations. And as the stones were on the boundaries, when the most ancient people (who in everything on the earth saw a corresponding celestial and spiritual thing) saw these stones as boundaries, they thought about the truths which are the ultimates of order. But their descendants, who beheld in objects less of what is spiritual and celestial, and more of what is worldly, began to think of them with sanctity merely from the veneration derived from old time. And at last the descendants of the most ancient people who lived immediately before the flood, and who no longer saw anything spiritual and celestial in earthly and worldly things regarded as objects, began to regard these stones as holy, pouring drink-offerings upon them, and anointing them with oil; and they were then called "pillars," and were used for worship.
[3] This remained after the flood in the Ancient Church, which was representative, but with the difference that the pillars served these people as a means for attaining to internal worship; for the infants and children were instructed by their parents in regard to what they represented, and were thus brought to know holy things, and to be affected with the things which the pillars represented. It is for this reason that the ancients had pillars for worship in their temples, groves, and forests, and upon hills and mountains. But when the internal of worship altogether perished with the Ancient Church, and they began to hold the externals as holy and Divine, and thus to worship them idolatrously, they then erected pillars for their several gods. And as the posterity of Jacob were most prone to idolatrous things, they were forbidden to erect pillars, and also to have groves, and even to hold any worship upon mountains and hills; but they were to be gathered together to one place, where the ark was, and afterwards where the temple was, thus to Jerusalem; otherwise each family would have had its own externals and idols that they would have worshiped, and consequently a representative of a church could not have been instituted with that nation. (See what was above shown concerning pillars, n. 3727.) All this shows what was the origin of the pillars, and what they signified, and that when they were employed in worship they represented holy truth, and therefore it is here said "a pillar of stone," for a "stone" signifies truth in the ultimate of order (n. 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798). Be it known moreover that what is holy is especially predicated of Divine truth; for the Divine is in the Lord, and Divine truth proceeds from Him (n. 3704, 4577), and is called the Holy.


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