By Joe David
A congregation is a group of people with common loves, interests, and purposes. It often refers to a church group.
In the Word it is almost always used to speak of the whole group of the Children of Israel, as the tabernacle of the congregation, or the people of the congregation. Sometimes the original Hebrew is translated as assembly, too.
This is a case where readers and translators need to be aware of the context and potential nuances of meaning. Swedenborg writes that,'The congregation of the people' stands for those who are ruled by truths constituting intelligence, since 'congregation' is used with reference to truths... as also is 'people'... 'the assembly of the old' stands for those who are ruled by good.
The usage of the term congregation also implies an ordering, or arrangement of truths.
7891. 'And on the first day there shall be a holy convocation' means that at the beginning all must be together. This is clear from the meaning of 'the first day' as the beginning, that is to say, of the deliverance from those who have molested, and so from damnation; and from the meaning of 'a holy convocation' as the regulation that all must be together. The people were called to convocations in order that the whole of Israel might be assembled together and so represent heaven; for all were divided into tribes, tribes into families, and families into households. Regarding the representation of heaven and the communities there by the tribes, families, and households of the children of Israel, see 7836. Here was the reason why those convocations were called 'holy' and were held at each feast, Leviticus 23:27, 36; Numbers 28:26; 29:1, 7, 12. And the feasts themselves were consequently called 'holy convocations', for all male persons were commanded to be present at them. The fact that the feasts were referred to as 'holy convocations' is clear in Moses,
These are the appointed feasts of Jehovah, which you shall call holy convocations, to present a fire-offering to Jehovah. Leviticus 23:37.
The fact that all male persons were to be present on those occasions is clear in the same author,
Three times in the year all your male persons shall appear before Jehovah your God in the place which He will have chosen - at the feast of unleavened bread, at the feast of weeks, and at the feast of tabernacles. Deuteronomy 16:16.
(Odkazy: Exodus 12:16)