Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 25:10-16
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AC 9484. Verses 10-16. And let them make an ark of shittim wood; two cubits and a half the length thereof and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, from within and from without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a border of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them upon the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark withal. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it. And thou shalt put into the ark the Testimony which I shall give thee. "And let them make an ark," signifies the inmost heaven; "of shittim wood," signifies righteousness; "two cubits and a half the length thereof," signifies all in respect to good; "and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof," signifies full in respect to truth; "and a cubit and a half the height thereof," signifies full in respect to degrees; "and thou shalt overlay it with pure gold," signifies that all these things must be founded on good; "from within and from without shalt thou overlay it," signifies everywhere; "and shalt make upon it a border of gold round about," signifies a fixing of the bounds by good, lest they be approached and injured by evils; "and thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it," signifies the Divine truth conjoined with Divine good that is round about on all sides; "and put them upon the four corners thereof," signifies stability; "and two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it," signifies the marriage of truth with good and of good with truth; "and thou shalt make staves of shittim wood," signifies the power thence derived; "and overlay them with gold,"signifies good everywhere; "and thou shalt put the staves into the rings," signifies the power of the Divine sphere; "On the sides of the ark," signifies in ultimates; "to carry the ark withal," signifies thus the coming-forth and subsistence of heaven; "the staves shall be in the rings of the ark," signifies that the power shall endure from the Divine sphere of good and truth; "they shall not be removed from it," signifies forever, without change; "and thou shalt put into the ark the Testimony," signifies the Divine truth, which is the Lord in heaven; "which I shall give thee," signifies its representative.

AC 9485. And let them make an ark. That this signifies the inmost heaven, is evident from the signification of the "ark," as being the inmost heaven; for by the "testimony" or "law" in the ark is signified the Lord, for the reason that the "testimony" denotes the Divine truth, and Divine truth is the Lord in heaven (n. 9503). It is from this that the ark signifies the inmost heaven; and therefore it was a most holy thing, and was worshiped by the people as Jehovah; for it was believed that Jehovah dwelt there, and between the cherubs, as is evident in David:--

We heard in Ephrathah; we will enter into His habitation; we will bow at the footstool of His feet. Arise O Jehovah unto Thy rest; Thou, and the ark of Thy strength (Ps. 132:6-8);

treating of the Lord; "Ephrathah" is Bethlehem, where the Lord was born (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:6); the "habitation" denotes heaven where the Lord is; "Thou and the ark of Thy strength" denote the Lord and His representative.

[2] That the ark is a representative of the Lord, is plain in Jeremiah:--

I will bring you back to Zion; in those days they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant; neither shall it come up upon the heart; neither shall they make mention of it; neither shall they long for it; neither shall it be repaired any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and all the nations shall be gathered together to it, on account of the name of Jehovah, to Jerusalem (Jer. 3:14, 16, 17);

treating of a new church. The representative of the former church, which representative was then to be abolished, is meant by "the ark," which was "not to be spoken of any more, neither to come up upon the heart, nor to be repaired." "Jerusalem, to which the nations were to be gathered," denotes this new church. From this it is plain that by "the ark" is signified a representative of the Lord and of the worship of Him in the church, the same as was signified by "the continual (burnt-offering)," and by "the habitation of the sanctuary," in (Daniel 8:11).

[3] That the ark was worshiped as Jehovah by the Israelitish and Jewish people, and that it was believed that He dwelt therein, and between the cherubs, is manifest in these passages:

David made them bring up the ark of God, the name of which is called the name of Jehovah Zebaoth, that sitteth on the cherubs upon it (2 Sam. 6:2).

When the ark set forward, Moses said, Rise up, Jehovah, let Thine enemies be scattered. When it rested, he said, Return, Jehovah, unto the ten thousands of the thousands of Israel (Num. 10:33-36).

That the inmost heaven was signified by "the ark," was because by the whole tabernacle or tent was represented the universal angelic heaven; its ultimate by the court; its middle by the habitation where the priest ministered; and its inmost by the habitation within the veil, where was the ark in which was the testimony.

AC 9486. Of shittim wood. That this signifies righteousness, is evident from the signification of "shittim wood," as being the good of merit that belongs to the Lord alone (n. 9472), thus also righteousness, which is the good of merit. For by His own power the Lord reduced the universal heaven into order, and subjugated the hells, and at the same time made the Human in Himself Divine, whereby He has merit and righteousness; and therefore the only good that reigns in heaven and makes heaven, is the good of merit and the righteousness of the Lord; thus His Divine Human, for this was made merit and righteousness.

[2] That these things were done by the Lord of His own power, is evident in the following passages:--

Who is this that cometh from Edom? I that speak in righteousness, Great to save. I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with Me. I looked around, but there was none to help; and I was amazed, but there was none to uphold; therefore Mine own arm brought salvation to Me (Isa. 63:1-5).

He saw that there was no man, and was amazed that there was none to intercede; therefore His own arm brought salvation to Him; and His righteousness, it upheld Him. He put on righteousness as a coat of mail (Isa. 59:16, 17).

This is His name whereby they shall call Him, Jehovah our righteousness (Jer. 23:8; 33:15, 16).

I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from Me; I lay it down of Myself; I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again (John 10:17, 18).

From these passages it is plain that in respect to the Divine Human the Lord has merit and righteousness from Himself. As by "the ark" is signified heaven where the Lord is, there was employed in its construction shittim wood, by which this good is signified; for by "wood" in general is signified good (n. 643, 3720, 8354); and therefore they who place merit in works appear in the other life to cut wood, beneath which there is something of the Lord (n. 1110, 4943, 8740). Consequently by cutting the wood of the burnt-offering is signified the good of merit, or the good of works (n. 2784, 2812).

AC 9487. Two cubits and a half the length thereof. That this signifies all in respect to good, is evident from the signification of "two and a half," as being much, and what is full; and when spoken of the Divine, as being all. That "two and a half" denotes much, and what is full, is because this number signifies the like as five, ten, a hundred, and a thousand; for the double of two and a half is five, the double of five is ten, ten times ten is a hundred, and when numbers are doubled and multiplied they signify the like as the simple numbers of which they are compounded (n. 5291, 5335, 5708, 7973). That the number "five" signifies much, and what is full, (n. 5708, 5956, 9102); in like manner "ten," (n. 3107, 4638); also "a hundred," (n. 2636, 4400); and "a thousand," (n. 2575, 8715). Hence these numbers, when said of the Divine, denote all. And from the signification of "length," as being good (n. 1613, 8898).

[2] That "length" in the Word signifies good, and "breadth" truth, may seem a paradox, but still it is so. It originates in the fact that each and all things in the Word signify such things as belong to heaven and the church, thus as bear relation to the good of love, and to the truth of faith. Nothing of space - such as implies length and breadth - can be predicated of these; but instead of space the state of being, which is the state of good, and from this the state of manifestation, which is the state of truth. Moreover in heaven spaces are appearances arising from these states (n. 4882, 9440). From all this it can be seen that real things are signified by the measures and dimensions in Ezekiel 40-47, where the new temple and the new earth are treated of; consequently here also, where the ark, the Habitation, and the court, the tables therein, and the altars, are treated of; and in like manner in the description of the temple of Jerusalem; and again in that of the holy Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, in that it was four-square, its length as great as its breadth (Rev. 21:16; Zech. 2:1, 2); for by "Jerusalem" is signified the New Church; and by its measurement as to length, the quality of its good; and as to breadth, the quality of its truth.

[3] That by "breadth" is signified truth, is very manifest in the following passages:--

In straitness I called upon Jah; He answereth me in breadth (Ps. 118:5).

Thou hast made my feet to stand in breadth (Ps. 31:8).

The stretching out of the wings of Asshur shall be the fullness of the breadth of the land (Isa. 8:8).

I raise up the Chaldeans, a bitter and swift nation, that walketh in the breadths of the land (Hab. 1:6);

"to walk in the breadths of the land," when said of the Chaldeans, denotes to destroy the truths of faith.

AC 9488. And a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. That this signifies full in respect to truth, is evident from the signification of "one and a half," as being what is full. The reason why this number signifies what is full, is that "three" has this signification; for the half of a number signifies the like as double the number, because when a number is multiplied it retains the signification the simple number had before it was multiplied (n. 5291, 5335). That "three" denotes what is full, (n. 2788, 7718, 9188); and that all numbers in the Word signify real thing, (n. 482, 487, 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252, 4264, 4495, 4670, 5265, 5291, 5335, 5708, 6175, 7973). And from the signification of "breadth," as being truth (n. 9487).

AC 9489. And a cubit and a half the height thereof. That this signifies full in respect to degrees, is evident from the signification of "height," as being degrees in respect to good, and in respect to truth. "Height" has this signification because all good and the derivative truth proceed from the Lord, and the Lord is in the highest, and is therefore called "the Highest" (n. 8153); for He is the sun of heaven (n. 5097, 8812), and the sun is above theĎ heavens, and is the center from which the universal heaven that is beneath comes forth and subsists. All the heights in heaven, being determined from its sun as the center, are differences of good and of the derivative truth. Consequently they who are in the inmost heaven are nearer to the Lord, because they are in the good of love to Him; thus are in good above all others. Those who are in the middle heaven are more distant from Him, because they are in a lower good; and still more distant are those who are in the ultimate heaven. But those who are in hell have been altogether removed from the Lord, because they are in evil and the derivative falsity. These do not even look toward the sun, but backward from it; and therefore when they are looked at by the angels, they appear in an inverted position, with feet upward and head downward. Now as the distances and spaces in the other life are appearances in accordance with the states of good and the derivative truth (n. 9440), therefore in the spiritual sense "height" signifies degrees in respect to good, and in respect to truth, or degrees from the Highest, who is the Lord, and thus the Divine good itself.

[2] From this it is evident what is signified by "height" in the following passages; as in Jeremiah:--

They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together unto the good of Jehovah, and their soul shall be as a watered garden (Jer. 31:12);

where "the height of Zion" denotes celestial good, which is the good above spiritual good; and because "height" denotes good, therefore it is said that "they shall flow together to the good of Jehovah." In Ezekiel:--

Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon. Its height was made high, and its branches became long by reason of many waters. It was beautiful in its greatness, In the length of its branches (Ezek. 31:3, 5, 7);

"Asshur" denotes an enlightened rational; " a cedar in Lebanon," the spiritual church; and its "height," the degree of good.

[3] Again:--

In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it (Ezek. 17:23).

In the mountain of My holiness, and in the mountain of the height of Israel, all the house of Israel shall serve Me (Ezek. 20:40).

"The mountain of the height of Israel" denotes the highest degree of good and of the derivative truth with those who are of the spiritual church. As most expressions in the Word have an opposite sense, so also has "height," and in this sense it signifies the evil of the love of self, thus self-exaltation of mind; as in (Isaiah 14:14; Ezekiel 31:10, 14; 32:5; Amos. 2:9). A further reason why "height" denotes degrees in respect to good and the derivative truth, is that what is "high" signifies what is internal, and good is perfect according to the degrees toward interior things. That what is "high" denotes what is internal, (n. 1735, 2148, 4210, 4599).

AC 9490. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold. That this signifies that all these things must be founded on good, is evident from the signification of "overlaying," when said of heaven which is signified by "the ark," as being to lay the foundation; and from the signification of "gold," as being good (n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917). That "overlaying" denotes to lay the foundation, is because the good that proceeds from the Lord as a sun (for the heat from this sun is the good of love) encompasses not only heaven in general, but also the heavenly societies in heaven in particular, and likewise every angel individually, and thus protects them from the breaking in of evil from hell That which in heaven encompasses, forms also the foundation, for heaven leans or rests upon it as a house upon its foundation, and as the outermost parts of the body rest on the air and ether which press round them; for that which encompasses, bounds, encloses, and holds together; consequently supports and sustains. From this it is plain that by "overlaying" is signified to lay the foundation; and by "overlaying with gold," to lay the foundation upon good.

AC 9491. From within and from without shalt thou overlay it. That this signifies everywhere, is evident from the signification of "within and without," as being everywhere, namely, round about; because it is said, "thou shalt overlay it." For within there was shittim wood, which was overlaid with gold, and by "shittim wood" is signified the good itself that proceeds from the Divine Human of the Lord (n. 9472, 9486); but from without and from within there was gold, by which is also signified good, but such good as appears before the senses, thus relatively external. By "everywhere round about, from within and from without,"when said of heaven which is signified by "the ark," is meant heaven in general, and every heavenly society in particular; heaven in general is meant by "from without," and the heavenly societies by "from within," because they are within heaven.

AC 9492. And shalt make upon it a border of gold round about. That this signifies a fixing of the bounds by good, lest they be approached and injured by evils, is evident from the signification of "a border," as being a fixing of the bounds; and from the signification of "gold," as being good (n. 9490). It is said "lest they be approached and injured by evils," because the good that proceeds from the Lord protects those who are in heaven, lest they be approached and injured by evils from hell. For the bells continually breathe evil, and endeavor to destroy heaven (n. 8295); whence there appears there as it were an effervescence, and as it were a boiling up (n. 8209). For in the minds of those who are in the hells is seated hatred against the neighbor and hatred against God; and therefore they are infuriated when they perceive the bliss of the upright (n. 1974). But the good that proceeds from the Lord, which encompasses heaven in general, and the heavenly societies and individual angels there in particular, protects, and represses the assaults, and this continually. That a sphere of endeavors to do evil and to destroy is perpetual from the hells; and a sphere of endeavors to do good and to protect is perpetual from the Lord, (n. 8209). This bounding good, by which the Lord protects heaven, is signified by "the border of gold round about the ark."

AC 9493. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it. That this signifies the Divine truth conjoined with Divine good that is round about on all sides, is evident from the signification of "rings," as being the conjunction of good and truth; here of Divine truth with Divine good, because by "the ark" is signified heaven where the Lord is (n. 9496). That there were four rings was because by this number is signified conjunction (n. 1686, 8877); and that they were of gold was because by "gold" is signified good (n. 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914), and good is that with which truth is conjoined, for good is like soil, and truth is like the seed.

AC 9494. And put them upon the four corners thereof. That this signifies stability is evident from the signification of "corners," as being strength and stability. That "corners" have this signification is because in the corners there is the greatest resistance, and also the binding together of the whole. As a "corner" denotes strength and stability, such as is that of Divine truth from Divine good, therefore the Lord is called "the cornerstone" in the following passages:--

The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner (Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42).

Out of Judah shall come forth the cornerstone, out of him the nail, and out of him the war-bow (Zech. 10:4).

The Lord Jehovih layeth in Zion a tried stone, a precious corner of foundation (Isa. 28:16);

where in like manner a "corner" denotes the stability of the doctrine that is from the truth which is from good.

[2] In Jeremiah:--

They shall not take from thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone of foundations (Jer. 51:26).

As by "corners" is signified stability, therefore horns were placed upon the four corners of the altar, of which we read in Thou shalt make the horns of the altar upon the four corners; out of itself shall its horns be (Exod. 27:2). That "horns" denote the power of truth from good, thus strength and stability (n. 2832, 9081).

[3] By "corners" are signified strength and power also in these passages:--

A fire is gone forth out of Heshbon which hath devoured the corners of Moab (Jer. 48:45).

There shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall bruise the corners of Moab (Num. 24:17).

"Moab," whose power was to be "destroyed," denotes those who adulterate the goods of the church (n. 2468); their "corners" denote the powers of falsity from adulterated goods. As "corners" denote power and strength, therefore they who are not in the power of truth from good are called "corners cut off" (Jer. 9:26; 25:23). What is signified by "corners" when the quarters of the world, or the winds, are meant by them, (n. 9642).

AC 9495. And two rings shall be on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. That this signifies the marriage of truth with good and of good with truth, is evident from the signification of "rings," as being the conjunction or marriage of good with truth (n. 9493). This marriage is reciprocal, that is, of truth with good and of good with truth. An idea of this marriage may be had from the conjunction of the heart and the lungs. The heart conjoins itself with the lungs, and the lungs in turn conjoin themselves with the heart; for the heart from its right side sends forth blood into the lungs, and the lungs in turn send it back into the heart; but into its left side, and so on continually. Such also is the marriage in heaven of good with truth and of truth with good, where also the heart corresponds to the good which is of love, and the lungs to the truth which is of faith (n. 3883-3896, 9300). That two rings were to be on the one side and two rings on the other side, was because "two" signifies conjunction (n. 1686, 5194, 8423), and "the side" signifies the good that is to be conjoined with truth, in order that there may be power therefrom.

AC 9496. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood. That this signifies the power thence derived, is evident from the signification of "staves," as being the power that belongs to truth from good; and from the signification of "shittim wood," as being the good of merit that belongs to the Lord alone (n. 9472, 9486). It shall now be told why it was that heaven could be represented by the ark and the Habitation; the fixing of the bounds by the border; stability by the corners; the conjunction of good with truth by the rings; and power by the staves. It has been shown that all nature, with each and all things therein that are in order, is representative of the Lordís kingdom, that is, of heaven and the heavenly things therein (n. 9280). It has also been shown that the universal heaven bears relation to a man, and that for this reason heaven is called the Grand Man (n. 9276). From this it now follows that all the forms by which heavenly things are represented, bear relation to the human form, and have their signification in accordance with their agreement with this form.

[2] From this it is now plain why it is that when "the ark" signifies heaven where the Lord is, "the border of the ark" signifies the fixing of the bounds; "the sides," the good with which truth is to be conjoined; "the corners," stability; "the rings," the conjunction itself; and "the staves," power. For the staves bear relation to the arms in man, and therefore they signify the same as the arms; the rings bear relation to the joints or sockets by which the arms are joined to the breast; the corners, to the projections themselves, where this joining is effected; the sides, to the chest or thorax; the border, to the circumference in which the bounds are fixed. From this it can be seen that by "the staves," as by "the arms," is signified power. That the "arms," and "hands," denote power, (n. 878, 4931-4937, 5327, 5328, 6292, 6947, 7188, 7189, 7205, 7518, 7673, 8050, 8153, 8281, 9025, 9133); and that by "the sides" is signified the same as by "the chest" or "thorax" of the body, namely, good; for in this part are the heart and lungs, and by "the heart" is signified celestial good, and by "the lungs" spiritual good, (n. 3883-3896, 9300). From this it is plain that by "the rings" is signified the same as by the joints or joinings of the chest to the shoulders, and of the shoulders to the arms; namely, the conjunction of good with truth; and that by "the corners" is signified stability, for there the strength of the body puts itself forth, and its strength and power come forth through the arms. From all this it can be seen why it is that natural forms not living represent the same as living forms, that is, as the forms in the human body; namely, from the fact that heaven bears relation to a man, and the things in heaven to those which are in man, as can be seen from what has been abundantly shown concerning the correspondence of man with the Grand Man, or with heaven (n. 9276).

[3] As the staves by which the ark was carried signified power, so also did the staves or bars by which the gates of cities were fastened, as is evident from the following passages. In Hosea:--

The sword falls upon his cities, and consumes his bars (Hosea 11:6);

"the sword" denotes truth fighting against falsity; "cities" denote doctrinal things; and "bars," power. Again:--

For your sake I have sent to Babel, and I will throw down all her bars (Isa. 43:14).

The mighty men of Babel sit in their strongholds; their power is given to oblivion; her bars are broken (Jer. 51:30).

I will break the bar of Damascus (Amos 1:5).

I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron (Isa. 45:2; Ps. 105:16).

They have neither gates, nor bars; they dwell alone (Jer. 49:31).

They all dwell without wall; having neither bars nor gates (Ezek. 38:11).

Her gates are sunk into the earth; He hath destroyed and broken in pieces her bars (Lam. 2:9).

Praise thy God, O Zion, for He strengtheneth the bars of thy gates (Ps. 147:12, 13).

In these passages "cities" signify doctrinal things (n. 2449, 2712, 3216, 4492, 4493); "gates" signify stability and protection; and "bars" (or "staves") signify the power belonging to the truth that is from good. That all power belongs to truth, but to the truth which is from good, (n. 6344, 6423, 8200, 8304, 9133, 9327, 9410).

AC 9497. And overlay them with gold. That this signifies good everywhere, is evident from the signification of "overlaying," as being to encompass, thus to be everywhere; and from the signification of "gold," as being good (n. 9490).

AC 9498. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings. That this signifies the power of the Divine sphere, is evident from the signification of "staves," as being power (n. 9496); and from the signification of "the rings," as being Divine truth conjoined with Divine good, which is everywhere round about (n. 9493), thus the Divine sphere which encompasses and encloses heaven in general, and the heavenly societies and the individual angels themselves in particular, according to what has been before shown (n. 9490, 9492). For the Divine truth that proceeds from the Divine good of the Lord is not to be conceived of as speech and the influx thereof into the ear; but as a sphere from the sun, which by degrees, as it is removed from the sun, decreases in ardor and brightness, and at last becomes so tempered as to be accommodated to the reception of the angels. Within this sphere, but far from the sun on account of its ardor and brightness, is the angelic heaven. This sphere also extends outside heaven down into hell, but those who are there do not receive it in a suitable manner, but turn it into the opposite. From this it can be seen what is meant by the Divine sphere which encloses and holds together heaven, namely, that it is Divine truth conjoined with Divine good, which is everywhere around heaven, and around those who are in heaven. The heat that proceeds from the Lord as the sun in heaven is the Divine good of His Divine love accommodated to the reception of the angels who are in heaven; and the light that proceeds from the Lord as the sun is the Divine truth of His Divine good. Nevertheless both together are called "the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord."

AC 9499. On the sees of the ark. That this signifies in ultimates, is evident from the signification of "the sides of the ark," as being the Divine sphere that encompasses heaven in its ultimates; for "the sides" denote the boundaries, here, those of heaven. But the ultimates and boundaries in heaven differ from those in the world in this respect, that in the world they are such relatively to spaces, but in heaven relatively to goods conjoined with truths. The Divine good conjoined with the Divine truth, which is the ultimate of heaven, and by which it is bounded, enclosed, and held together, is comparatively as is the atmosphere in the world, which flows around man and holds together all the surface of his body in its connection, so as to prevent its dissolution; but in the world that which does this is natural, and operates on the human body as on what is material; whereas in heaven it is the Divine celestial and the Divine spiritual from the Lord which operates around an angel, and holds him together in his form and power.

AC 9500. To carry the ark withal. That this signifies thus the coming-forth and subsistence of heaven, is evident from the signification of "bearing," as being continually in a state of good and truth, thus to come forth and subsist; for by "the staves in the rings" is signified the power of the Divine sphere, that is, the power of Divine truth conjoined with Divine good (n. 9498), thus the coming-forth and the subsistence, because heaven subsists through this power; and from the signification of "the ark," as being heaven (n. 9485).

AC 9501. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark. That this signifies that the power shall endure from the Divine sphere of good and truth, is evident from the signification of "the rings of the ark," as being the Divine sphere of good and truth; and from the signification of "the staves," as being power (n. 9498).

AC 9502. They shall not be removed from it. That this signifies forever without change, is evident from the signification of "not being removed," as being the coming-forth and subsistence forever and without change. For heaven came forth and was created through the Divine sphere of good and truth that encompasses and encloses heaven in general and in particular; and through the same sphere it subsists and is preserved; for subsistence is a perpetual coming-forth, and preservation is a perpetual creation. Perpetuity without change was represented by the non-removal of the staves from the ark; and the eternal protection of heaven through the Divine sphere of good and truth from the Lord was represented by the staves being under the wings of the cherubs, and by their being "covered;" as is evident from the first book of Kings:--

The cherubs spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubs covered the ark and the staves thereof from above. And the staves were drawn out, and He heads of the staves were seen from the holy place toward the faces of the sanctuary; but they were not seen without (1 Kings 8:7, 8).

AC 9503. And thou shalt put into the ark the Testimony. That this signifies the Divine truth which is the Lord in heaven, is evident from the signification of "the ark," as being heaven; and from the signification of "the Testimony," as being the Divine truth, and thus the Lord in heaven. That Divine truth is the Lord in heaven, is because the Lord is good itself and truth itself, both of which proceed from Him, and that which proceeds from Him is Himself. Hence it is that the Lord is heaven; for the Divine truth which is from Him and is received by the angels, makes heaven; consequently the more perfectly the angels receive the Divine truth which is from the Lord, thus the more perfectly they receive the Lord, the more perfect human forms they are, and finally so perfect that their beauty surpasses belief. He who shall see, as I have, will be amazed; for they are heavenly loves and charities in form, which form is the truly human form. The reason why the angels are human forms, is that the Divine in heaven is the Lord, and they who receive from Him the Divine truth in good are images of Him.

[2] As to the signification of "the Testimony," a distinction is made in the Word between "laws," "statutes," "judgments," "precepts," "testimonies," "words," "commands," "truths," and "covenants," as can be seen from very many passages; especially in David, in Psalms cxix., where these are all mentioned, but "testimonies," in (Ps. 119:2, 14, 31, 46, 59, 88, 95, 111, 119, 129, 138, 144, 168); and likewise in other places in David:--

The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of Jehovah is steadfast, making wise the simple. The commandments of Jehovah are right, making glad the heart; the precept of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes. The judgments of Jehovah are truth, they are righteous altogether (Ps. 19:7-9);

and also in Moses (Deut. 4:45; 6:17, 20); and in (Jeremiah 44:23). From all this it can be seen that "the Testimony" denotes the Divine truth which testifies concerning the Lord; thus the Word, for in the supreme sense the Word treats of the Lord alone, and consequently in the internal sense it testifies concerning Him; that is it teaches Him and the truths of faith and the goods of love which are from Him. In this sense "testimony" is used also in the Revelation:--

Who were slain for the word of Gad, and for the testimony which they held (Rev. 6:9).

They overcame the dragon by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony (Rev. 12:11)

"the blood of the Lamb" denotes the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord (n. 7846, 7877, 9127, 9393), and "the word of the testimony" denotes the Divine truth received by man; in like manner in (Rev. 12:17; 19:10).

[3] That the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord is called "the testimony," is because it testifies concerning the Lord, as is evident from the words of the Lord Himself in John:--

He that cometh from heaven is above all. What He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth. He that receiveth His testimony hath set his seal to this, that God is true (John 3:31-33).

I am He that testifieth of Myself, and the Father that sent Me testifieth of Me (John 8:18).

Search the Scriptures, and these are they which testify of Me (John 5:39).

The Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, He shall testify of Me (John 15:26).

From these passages it is evident that the Divine truth is called "the testimony" for the reason that it testifies concerning the Lord. This Divine truth is the Word, for as before said, in the supreme sense the Word treats of the Lord alone; consequently the Word is Divine, and from this comes its holiness. The Ten Words also, that is, the Law promulgated from Mount Sinai, and inscribed on the two tables, and stored up in the ark, is what is here called "the Testimony". That this Law signifies the Word, that is, the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, in its whole complex, (n. 9416). That it is the Lord from whom comes the Divine truth, is plain from His words to Pilate:--

Pilate saith, Art thou a King? Jesus answered, Thou sayest I am a King. To this was I born, and for this am I come into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth (John 18:37);

by "a king" in the internal sense is signified the Divine truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148); and therefore He said "I am a king, and to this was I born, that I should give testimony to the truth," that is, that He is the Divine truth. From all this it is now plain that by "the Testimony" in the ark is signified the Divine truth, thus the Lord in heaven.

AC 9504. Which I shall give thee. That hereby is signified its representative, is evident from the representation of Moses, to whom it was to be given, as being the Lord as to Divine truth (n. 9372).

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info