Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 3479

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3479. The Jews who lived before the Lord's Coming, as also those who have lived since then, had no other notion regarding the religious observances of their Church than that Divine worship consisted solely in things that were external. They were quite unconcerned about what those observances represented and meant. Indeed they neither knew nor wished to know that there was any internal element in worship or in the Word, nor thus that there was any life after death, nor consequently that there was any heaven; for they were entirely sensory- and bodily-minded. Now because they were engrossed in external things separated from internal, worship in their case was nothing but idolatrous, and for this reason they were very much inclined to worship any gods at all, provided they were convinced that those gods could enable them to prosper.

[2] Yet because a sense of holiness within external things could exist with that nation, so that they were able to regard as holy the religious observances by which the heavenly things of the Lord's kingdom were represented; and because they were able to venerate Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, also Moses and Aaron, and after these David, all of whom represented the Lord; and above all because they were able to have a deep and holy respect for the Word in which every single thing was representative and a meaningful sign of Divine things, the representative Church was therefore established among that nation. But if that nation had known of internal things to the extent that they acknowledged them they would have rendered them profane and in so doing would have possessed simultaneously external holiness and internal unholiness, so that there could not have been any communication at all of representatives with heaven by means of that nation. This is why interior things were not disclosed to them, not even the truth that the Lord would come to save their souls.

[3] Because this was the case with the tribe of Judah more than with all the other tribes, and because today as in former times they regard as holy the religious observances which can be performed outside Jerusalem; because also they venerate their patriarchs, and above all have a deep and holy respect for the Old Testament Word; and because it was foreseen that Christians would virtually reject the Old Testament and also would befoul their own internals with things that are unholy, that nation has been preserved up to the present day, in accordance with the Lord's words in Matthew 24:34. With Christians it was to be different, as they were to have knowledge of internal things and were also to live as internally-minded people. If Christians had in fact done so, the Jewish nation would like others have been annihilated before many centuries had gone by. With that nation however the situation is that their external holiness, or holiness of worship, can have no affect on them internally, for internally they are defiled from filthy self-love and filthy love of the world, and also from the idolatry in which they worship external things devoid of internal. And because accordingly they have nothing of heaven within themselves, they are not able to take anything heavenly with them into the next life, with the exception of the few who are governed by mutual love and so do not live in contempt of others compared with themselves.

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