(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 9836

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9836. It shall have two shoulders joined at the two extremities thereof; and it shall be joined together. That this signifies the preservation, by a complete unition, of good and truth on all sides and forever, with all exertion and power, is evident from the signification of "the shoulders," as being all force and power (see n. 1085, 4931-4937); but by "putting on the shoulders," and by "carrying" upon them (as is said in what follows of the two onyx stones on which were graven the names of the sons of Israel), is meant the preservation of good and truth forever (for by "the names of the sons of Israel" are signified all goods and truths in the complex, on which subject see below); from the signification of "being joined together," and "being conjoined," as being a complete unition; and from the signification of "the two extremities," that is, at the right and at the left, as being on all sides (n. 8613).
[2] The case herein is this. By the ephod (as shown above) was represented the external of the Lord's spiritual kingdom, and therefore by its shoulder pieces, on which were placed the two onyx stones with the names of the sons of Israel, was represented the perpetual preservation of good and truth; and by the joining together of the ephod on the shoulders, and also before the breast and behind the back, there was represented a complete unition. From this it can be seen what is signified by what is said below about the shoulderpieces and the engravings upon them; namely, the preservation of good and truth forever with all exertion and power; thus the preservation of the heavens. These stones with the names of the sons of Israel were placed on the shoulderpieces of the ephod, by which was represented the external of the spiritual kingdom, for the reason that all preservation depends on the state of the ultimates, for all the interior things cease there, and form a plane there in which they may subsist. Ultimates are like the soles and the feet, on which the whole body stands, and are also like the hands and the arms, by means of which the body exerts its powers, and into which the body transfers its forces. It is also from this that the hands and the arms, as well as the soles and the feet, correspond to the ultimates of heaven. That power and strength reside in ultimates was represented in the Ancient Church by the hair with the Nazirites, in which resided their strength, as is plain from Samson (Judges 14-16), and also their sanctity (n. 3301). (That the hair, which with them was the Naziriteship, corresponds to the ultimates of good and truth, or to good and truth in ultimates, see n. 3301, 5247, 6437.)
[3] That power resides in ultimates, and also the conservation of the interiors in their state, can be understood by those who know how the case is in nature with things successive and thence simultaneous; namely, that successive things at last form in ultimates what is simultaneous, in which these successive things are in a like order side by side. Wherefore simultaneous things, which are ultimate, serve successive things, which are prior, as corresponding supports on which they may lean, and thus by means of which they may be preserved.
[4] That "shoulders" signify all force and power in resisting, in breaking, and in acting, is evident in these passages:
Ye push with side and with shoulder, and thrust all the feeble sheep with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad (Ezek. 34:21).
Egypt is a staff of reed to the house of Israel. When they took hold of thee by the hand, thou didst break, and didst pierce through all their shoulder (Ezek. 29:6, 7);
"to pierce through all the shoulder" denotes to deprive of all power to comprehend truths; "Egypt" denotes the perverted memory-knowledge which deprives.
[5] In Zechariah:
They refused to hearken, and turned a stubborn shoulder (Zech. 7:11);
"to turn a stubborn shoulder" denotes to resist. In David:
They thought a wicked device, they did not prevail, for thou shalt offer to them the shoulder (Ps. 21:11, 12);
"to offer to them the shoulder" also denotes to resist; thus it denotes power. That "the shoulder" denotes power, is plain from the representatives in the other life, where they who resist seem to oppose the shoulder.
[6] That "to put upon the shoulders and carry" denotes to preserve in a state of good and truth forever with all exertion and power, is evident in Isaiah:
The nations shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and they shall carry thy daughters upon the shoulder (Isa. 49:22);
the subject here treated of is the New Church; by "the sons" are signified truths, and by "the daughters," goods; "to carry upon the shoulder" denotes to preserve them. The preservation of good in its state was also represented by the sons of Israel, when they went forth out of Egypt, carrying the dough on the shoulder (Exod. 12:34); and by the sons of Kohath carrying the works of what is holy upon the shoulder (Num. 7:9).
From this it is that the Lord, who spoke by correspondences, said of the lost sheep when it was found, that "he laid it on his shoulder rejoicing" (Luke 15:5); "the sheep that was lost and was found" denotes the good with the man who repents.
[7] As this was signified by "carrying on the shoulder," therefore also it is said of the gold and silver which they love and preserve, that "they carry them on their shoulder" (Isa. 46:7). (That "to carry" denotes also to hold together in its state, see n. 9500.) From all this it is evident what was signified by the names of the sons of Israel engraved on two onyx stones being placed upon the shoulder pieces of the ephod, and by its being said that Aaron should bear or carry them upon his two shoulders for a remembrance (verse 12). That "carrying upon the shoulder," when said of subjection, signifies servitude, may be seen in Gen. 49:15; Ps. 81:6; Isa. 9:4; 10:27; Matt. 23:4; Zeph. 3:9; but that when said of command, it signifies supreme power, Isa. 9:6; 22:22.


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