Spiritual Meaning of
|Back to Words index||Back to Religious words index|
It is said of Aaron, by whom the doctrine of the external sense of the Word apart from the internal was represented, that he made an idol, or golden calf (Exod. 32:2-5, 20, 35; Deut. 9:21). Moreover in the Word such doctrines are described by idols, as in the prophets throughout. In Ezekiel:--
I went in and saw all the idols of the house of Israel portrayed upon the wall round about. And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and each had his censer in his hand; and abundance of a cloud of incense went up (Ezek. 8:10, 11);
here the idols of the house of Israel denote doctrines from the external sense only of the Word, not through enlightenment from the Lord, but through man's own intelligence, thus falsities; worship in accordance with these is signified by a censer in the hand of each, and by abundance of a cloud of incense.
 In Hosea:--
They sin more and more, they make them a molten image of their silver, in their own intelligence, all the work of the craftsmen; saying to them, sacrificing a man, they kiss calves (Hosea 13:2);
a molten image of silver, and the work of the craftsmen, denote doctrine from one's own intelligence, and not from the Lord, thus from the external sense of the Word separate from the internal sense, which is the case with those who are solely in external things, and not at the same time in internal things; that is, with those who are in the loves of self and of the world, and not in love to the Lord and in love toward the neighbor.
 In Isaiah:--
In that day a man shall cast away the idols of his silver, and the idols of his gold, which they made for themselves, to bow down to moles and to bats; to enter into the clefts of the rocks, and into the clefts of the crags (Isa. 2:20, 21; 31:7);
the idols of silver denote falsities of doctrine; and the idols of gold, evils of doctrine; to bow down to moles and bats, and to enter into the clefts of the rocks and the crags denotes worship from the falsities and the evils of faith.
 In the same:--
Ye shall judge unclean the covering of the graven images of thy silver, and the clothing of the molten image of thy gold; thou shalt scatter them as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt call it dung (Isa. 30:22);
the covering of the graven images of silver, and the clothing of the molten image of gold denote memory-knowledges of falsity and evil, which are acknowledged and worshiped instead of truths and goods. In the same:--
I told thee thenceforth, lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done these things, and my graven image; and my molten image hath commanded them (Isa. 48:5);
here also idol, graven image, and molten image, denote doctrinal things from man's own intelligence.
 In like manner in Jeremiah:--
Every man is become foolish from knowledge; every founder is put to shame by his graven image; because his molten image is a He, and there is no breath in them; they are vanity, a work of delusions (Jer. 10:14, 15);
here also graven image and molten image denote doctrinal things from man's own intelligence, which in the external form, because from the external sense of the Word, appear like truths, but in their internal form are falsities; therefore such a man is said to be foolish from knowledge, and his molten image a lie, and that there is no breath in them; they are also called vanity, and a work of delusions. In like manner in Habakkuk:--
What profiteth the graven image, that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and the teacher of a He, that the fabricator of his figment trusteth therein? (Habakkuk 2:18).
 In Isaiah:--
The craftsman foundeth a graven image, and the metal-caster overlayeth it with gold, and casteth chains of silver; he seeketh for himself a wise craftsman to prepare a graven image (Isa. 40:19, 20);
here in like manner a graven image denotes doctrine from man's own intelligence. The likeness to truth, induced on it through the Word from its external sense only, and at the same time from fallacies and outward appearances, is signified by the metal-caster overlaying it with gold, and casting chains of silver, and seeking a wise craftsman to prepare it
 In the same:--
They that fashion a graven image are all vanity, and their most wished for things do not profit. He fashioneth the iron with the tongs, and worketh in the coals, and shapeth it with sharp hammers, and worketh it with the arm of his strength. He fashioneth wood, he stretcheth out a line, and marketh it out with a rule; he maketh it in the corners, and marketh it out with the compasses, and maketh it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house (Isa. 44:9, 13);
here is described the formation of doctrine from man's own intelligence, and not from any enlightenment from the Lord; and how a likeness of truth is induced on falsities by applications of the Word from its external sense alone, and by reasonings from the fallacies of the senses. Wherefore it is said that he maketh it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in the house. From this there is a likeness of truth in the external form; but falsity in the internal. There is falsity in the internal form when truths are not thought of rightly; for one and the same truth is thought of differently by one person from what it is by another; but falsely by all who are in evil; for one truth consists of an infinite number of other truths; but in the case of those who are in evil it consists of an infinite number of falsities. Consequently with the latter there is no life in this truth; and this is meant by there being no breath in them, and by their not hearing, nor seeing, nor understanding (Jer. 51:17; Ps. 115:4-6). This is like the portrait of a man, which is inwardly nothing but clay, as compared with the form of the man himself, within which there is life, and heavenly beauty, if truths from good are therein.
from AC 9424
Back to Words index, Back to Religious words index
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|