Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 6846

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6846. 'And He said, I am the God of your father' means Him who was the God of the Ancient Church. This is clear from the meaning of 'father' as the Ancient Church, dealt with in 6075. The reason why the Ancient Church is called 'father' is that from it the Churches that came after it were born - the Hebrew Church, and later on the Church among the descendants of Jacob. For the religious practices and the statutes decreed through Moses for Jacob's descendants were not new but had existed previously in the ancient Churches and were merely re-established among the children of Jacob. They were re-established because among other nations they had become idolatrous practices, and in Egypt and Babel they had been converted into magical ones. The fact that the same things had existed in ancient Churches becomes clear from a large number of places in the Word. So it is then that the Ancient Church is meant by 'father', and also that it is called 'father' in the Word where the subject is the Church. The God whom people worshipped in the Ancient Church was the Lord in respect of His Divine Human; and it was well known to those people that the Lord was the One who was represented in each particular religious observance of their Church. A large number of them also knew that the Lord was going to come into the world, when He would make the Human within Himself Divine. Nor did the people of that Church take Jehovah to mean anyone else, for whenever He appeared to them He did so as a Divine Man, and was called Jehovah, 1343, 5663, as He also appeared at a later time to Abraham, Gen 18:2 and following verses; to Joshua, Josh 5:13-15; to Gideon, Judg 6:11 and following verses; and to Manoah and his wife, Judg 13:3 and following verses. He was acknowledged as God overall, and as the one and only God whom they were to adore. From all this one may now see that 'the God of your father' is used to mean in the internal sense Him who was the God of the Ancient Church, namely the Lord. But in the external sense written as history 'father' is used to mean Abraham, also Isaac, and Jacob too.

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