Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1361

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1361. The fact that the Church became representative as the result of idolatry nobody is able to 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, and therefore the celestial things of love and the spiritual things of faith. These are the things that are represented, in addition to many things that go with them, such as everything belonging to the Church. Those that represent are either persons or else things in the universe or on this earth; in short, all things that are objects of the senses, so much so that scarcely any object is incapable of being representative. It is a general law of representation however that no attention is paid to the representative person or thing, but to the actual subject being represented.

[2] For example: Every king who has lived - in Judah or Israel, or even in Egypt and elsewhere - could represent the Lord Their royal status itself is representative, and thus the worst king of all was able to represent Him, such as the Pharaoh who promoted Joseph over the land of Egypt, or Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, Dan 2:37, 38, or Saul and all the other kings of Judah and Israel, no matter what kind of men they were. The anointing of them, by virtue of which they were called 'Jehovah's anointed', carried that representation with it. In the same way all priests, however many there were, represented the Lord. Their priestly status itself is representative. This applies even to priests who were evil and immoral, for in representatives no attention is paid to the character of the person involved. And not only human beings but also animals were representative, for example all those used in sacrifice. Lambs and sheep represented celestial things, doves and turtle doves spiritual, as did rams, he-goats, young bulls, and oxen, though these latter represented lower types of celestial and spiritual things.

[3] Nor, as has been stated, was it just living creatures that were representative but also inanimate objects, such as the altar and even the stones of the altar; also the Ark and the Tabernacle together with everything in it; and the Temple too together with everything in it, a fact that anyone is capable of seeing. The lamps, the loaves, and Aaron's garments were accordingly representative. And not only these but also all the religious ceremonies in the Jewish Church. In the Ancient Churches representatives extended to every object of the senses, such as mountains and hills, and valleys, plains, rivers, streams, springs, reservoirs, woods, trees in general, and every kind of tree in particular, so that every single tree had some definite meaning. Once the Church of meaningful signs had come to an end these things became representatives. These considerations make clear what is to be understood by representatives. And seeing that not only human beings, no matter who or of what character, but also animals and even inanimate objects, could represent celestial and spiritual things - which are things belonging to the Lord's kingdom in heaven and those belonging to the Lord's kingdom on earth - it is consequently clear what a representative Church is.

[4] Representatives were such that to spirits and angels all things that were carried out according to the prescribed ritual appeared holy, as when the high priest, who had washed himself with water, ministered dressed in the robes of his office, and stood before the lighted candles, no matter what kind of man he was, even the most immoral and an idolater at heart. And the same applied to all other priests, for, as has been stated, in representatives no attention is paid to the person, but only to the actual thing being represented. The representation was completely abstracted from the person, as it was from the oxen, young bulls, or lambs that were sacrificed, or from the blood that was poured out around the altar, or again from the altar itself, and so on.

[5] This representative Church was established after all internal worship had perished, when worship became not only wholly external but also idolatrous It was established so that heaven might be joined in some measure to the earth, that is, the Lord might be joined to human beings by means of heaven. And this came about after conjunction by means of the internal things of worship had perished. The nature of this conjunction by means of representatives alone will in the Lord's Divine mercy be discussed later on. Representatives do not start until the next chapter, where every single thing from then on is purely representative. At the moment the subject is the state of those who were their forefathers, before some of them and their descendants became representative, whose worship, as shown above, was idolatrous.

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