Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 402

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402. 'A city that was built' means all doctrinal or heretical teaching founded on that heresy. This is clear from the Word wherever the name of any city occurs. In the Word 'city' never means a city but something doctrinal or else something heretical. For angels are totally ignorant of what a city is or what the name of any city is. They never do nor can have any city in mind, for their ideas are of spiritual and celestial things, as shown already. Their perception is solely of what is meant spiritually by cities, and the names of them. For example, by the Holy City, which is also called the Holy Jerusalem, they understand nothing other than the Lord's kingdom in general, or as it exists with each individual who has the Lord's kingdom within him. And the city of Zion or Mount Zion they understand in a similar way, the latter being the celestial degree of faith, the former the spiritual.

[2] And the celestial and spiritual itself is also described by cities, palaces, houses, walls, the foundations of walls, ramparts, gates, bars, and by the temple at the centre, as in Ezek. 48, and in Rev 21:15-end. In Rev 21:2, 10, it is called 'the Holy Jerusalem'; in Jer 31:38 ['the city for Jehovah']; in David, Ps 46:4, 'the city of God, the holy place of the dwellings of the Most High'; and in Ezek 48:35, it is called 'the city, Jehovah is there'. And in Isaiah,

The sons of the foreigner will build up your walls. They will bend down to the soles of your feet, all who disapprove of you, and they will call you the City of Jehovah, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Isa 60:10, 14.

In Zechariah,

Jerusalem [will be called] the city of truth, and Mount Zion the mountain of holiness. Zech 8:3

Here 'city of truth', which is Jerusalem, means the spiritual things of faith, and 'the holy mountain', which is Zion, the celestial things of faith. And whereas the celestial and spiritual things of faith were represented by a city, so all matters of doctrine were meant by the cities of Judah and Israel, each one, when mentioned by name, meaning some specific point of doctrine, though exactly which nobody can know except from the internal sense.

[3] As cities meant matters of doctrine, cities also meant heretical ideas, each one when mentioned by name meaning some specific heretical idea. But at this point solely the consideration that in general a city means doctrinal teaching or else heretical may be established from the following places:

[4] In Isaiah,

On that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt which speak in the lip of Canaan and swear to Jehovah Zebaoth. One of these will be called the city Heres. Isa 19:18.

This refers to man's knowledge of spiritual and celestial things at the time of the Lord's Coming. In the same prophet,

Full of tumults, a tumultuous city, an exultant city. Isa 22:1, 2.

This refers to 'the valley of vision', which is delusion. In Jeremiah,

The cities of the south are shut up, with none opening them. Jer 13:10.
This refers to people who are in 'the south', that is, who dwell in the light of truth, but blot it out. In the same prophet,

Jehovah thought to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion. He causes rampart and wall to mourn; they have languished together. Her gates have sunk into the ground, He has destroyed and broken in pieces her bars. Lam 2:8, 9.

Here anyone may see that nothing else is meant by 'wall, rampart, gates and bars' than matters of doctrine.

[5] Similarly in Isaiah,

This song will be sung in the land of Judah, Ours is a strong city, salvation will establish walls and a rampart. Open the gates that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in. Isa 26:1, 2.

In the same prophet,

I will exalt You, I will confess Your name. You have made the city into a heap, the fortified city into a ruin; let not a palace of aliens be built of the city for ever. Therefore a strong people will honour You, the city of terrifying nations will fear You. Isa 25:1-3.

Nor does this refer to any actual city. In Balaam's prophecy,

Edom will be an inheritance, and out of Jacob one will have dominion, and he will accomplish the destruction of the remnant of the city. Num 24:18, 19.

Here anyone may see that 'the city' does not mean an actual city. In Isaiah,

The city of hollowness has been broken down, every house has been shut up so that none may enter in. There is an outcry in the streets over the wine. Isa 24:10, 11.

Here 'city of hollowness' stands for hollowness of doctrine. In this and other places 'streets' means the things that constitute a city, namely falsities or truths. In John,

When the seventh angel poured out his bowl the great city was split into three parts and the cities of the nations fell. Rev 16:17, 19.

That 'a great city' means something heretical, as do 'the cities of the nations', may be clear to anyone. The explanation is also given in Rev 17:18 that the great city means the woman whom John saw, 'the woman', as shown already, being a Church of that nature.

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