Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of a sanctuary, is the Lord, and heaven; or a representative of the Lord and of heaven when it was a tabernacle made of wood and covered all round with curtains, for this could not have been a sanctuary except by means of the representation. For a sanctuary denotes holiness itself, and nothing is holy except the Divine alone, thus the Lord alone (AC 9229). That heaven is a sanctuary, is because heaven is heaven from what is Divine there; for the angels who are there make heaven in proportion as they have (something) from the Divine of the Lord; but in proportion as they have (anything) from themselves, they do not make heaven. From this it is plain how it is to be understood that the Lord is the all in all of heaven. That the Lord dwells in His own, thus in the Divine with the angels, and thus in heaven, (AC 9338).

[2] That in the supreme sense the sanctuary denotes the Lord, because He alone is holy, and that alone is holy which proceeds from Him; and also that the sanctuary denotes heaven, and likewise the church, and that those things are sanctuaries which are in heaven and in the church from the Lord, is evident from the passages in the Word in which a sanctuary and sanctuaries are spoken of; as in Ezekiel:--

The Lord Jehovah said, I will scatter them in the lands, and I will be to them a little sanctuary in the lands whither they shall come (Ezek. 11:16);

where a sanctuary denotes the Lord Himself; for the Lord Jehovih, and Jehovah, in the Word, denote the Lord (AC 9373). Again:--

Look forth from the heavens, and behold from the habitation of Thy holiness (Isa. 63:15).

As the throne of glory, the height from eternity, is the place of the sanctuary (Jer. 17:12);

in which passages the habitation of holiness, and the sanctuary, denote heaven.

[3] Again:--

Little is lacking but that Thou wilt possess the people of Thy holiness; our adversaries have trodden down Thy sanctuary (Isa. 63:18).

The nations have come into His sanctuary (Lam. 1:10).

The Lord hath cast off His altar, He hath abhorred His sanctuary (Lam. 2:7).

The Lord Jehovih said, Behold I will profane My sanctuary, the magnificence of your strength, the desire of your eyes (Ezek. 24:21).

I will make your cities a waste, and will desolate your sanctuaries (Lev. 26:31).

In these passages the sanctuary denotes the church, and sanctuaries, the things that belong to the church. From all this it is evident why the tabernacle is called a sanctuary, namely, from the fact that by it was represented heaven and the church, and that by the holy things therein were represented Divine things that are from the Lord in heaven and in the church.

from AC 9479

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