Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 9457

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9457. 'And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying' means instructions regarding the holy things of heaven which had to be represented. This is clear from the verses that follow, for the things which Jehovah told Moses mean the holy things of heaven that were to be represented. Among the Israelite people a Church was being established in which outward forms would exist displaying in a representative fashion the celestial realities belonging to the good of love, and the spiritual realities belonging to the good and truth of faith, as such realities exist in heaven and ought to do so in the Church. From all this it is clear that 'Jehovah spoke' means instructions regarding the holy things of heaven which had to be represented. Since the matters described in the verses that follow are representative of the celestial and spiritual realities from the Lord in the heavens, something needs to be said about what a representative Church is and why it exists.

[2] There are three heavens - the inmost or third, the middle or second, and the lowest or first. In the inmost heaven the good of love to the Lord reigns, in the middle heaven the good of charity towards the neighbour reigns, and in the lowest the things which are thought, spoken, and come into being in the middle and inmost heavens are represented. The representatives there are countless, such as paradise parks, gardens, forests, fields, plains, as well as cities, palaces, and houses; also flocks and herds, as well as very many kinds of animals and birds; and countless other phenomena. These appear before the eyes of angelic spirits in that heaven more plainly than any such things do on earth in the light at midday; and what is astonishing, those spirits also discern what realities are meant by the things which appear.

[3] Such phenomena also appeared to prophets when their inner sight, which is the sight of the spirit, had been opened, for instance the horses that appeared to Zechariah 6:1-8; the living creatures which were cherubs, and afterwards the new temple and everything in it that appeared to Ezekiel, Chapters 1, 9, 10, 40-48; the lampstand, thrones, living creatures (which again were cherubs), horses, new Jerusalem, and very many other phenomena, which appeared to John and are described in the Book of Revelation; and similarly the fiery horses and chariots that appeared to Elisha's servant, 2 Kings 6:17. Things such as these are constantly making their appearance in heaven before the eyes of spirits and angels. They are natural forms in which the inward things of heaven terminate and are given shape. The things which present themselves visually before the spirits and angels' actual eyes in this way are representations.

[4] A representative Church exists therefore when the holy, inner realities of love and faith which are derived from the Lord and look towards the Lord present themselves by means of visual forms in the world, such as those which are the subject in this and following chapters - the ark, the mercy-seat, the cherubs, the tables there, the lampstand, and everything else that was part of the tabernacle. For that tabernacle was constructed in such a way that it might represent the three heavens and everything there, the ark which contained the Testimony representing the inmost heaven and the Lord Himself there. This is why, when Moses was shown on the mountain the form it should take, Jehovah said at the same time, To the end that they may make for Him a sanctuary and He may dwell in their midst, verse 8. Everyone endowed with any ability to think on a deeper level can see that Jehovah could not have dwelt in a tent but that He dwells in heaven, and that this tent is called the sanctuary only because it presents an image of heaven, and the celestial and spiritual realities there. Let everyone ask himself, What would it have been for Jehovah, Creator of heaven and earth, to dwell in a small dwelling-place that was made of wood, overlaid with gold, and surrounded by curtains, if heaven and the things of heaven had not been represented there in outward forms?

[5] For the realities which are represented in outward forms do indeed reveal themselves in a similar way in the lowest or first heaven before the spirits there. But those in the higher heavens perceive the inner things that are being represented, which, as has been stated, are the celestial realities belonging to love to the Lord and the spiritual realities belonging to faith in the Lord. It was things of this nature that filled heaven when Moses and the people, moved by outward holiness, venerated that tent as the dwelling-place of Jehovah Himself. From this it is evident what a representative was, and also that by means of it heaven, and so the Lord, was present with mankind.

[6] A representative Church therefore was established among the Israelite people, when the ancient Church came to an end, in order that by means of such representatives heaven, and so the Lord, might be joined to the human race. (If the Lord did not join Himself to people through heaven they would cease to exist; for it is as a result of this joining of Himself to them that people possess the life they have.) Those representatives however were no more than outward means serving to conjoin, yet to which the Lord joined heaven in a wondrous manner, 4311. But when the joining together through those means also was about to perish the Lord came into the world and laid bare the actual realities which were being merely represented up to then, that is, the inner realities which belong to love to and faith in Him. These realities themselves now effect that joining together. But the only means by which such a joining together is effected at the present day is still the Word, since this has been written in such a way that every single part of it has a correspondence and as a consequence represents and serves to mean the Divine realities present in the heavens.

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