io manderò in MoabMoab un fuocofuoco, che divorerà i palazzipalazzi di Keriot; e MoabMoab perirà in mezzo al tumultotumulto, ai gridi di guerra e al suon delle trombetrombe;
e sterminerò di mezzo ad esso il giudicegiudice, e ucciderò tutti i suoi capi con lui, dicedicel’Eternol’Eterno.
Così parla l’Eternol’Eterno: Per tretremisfattimisfatti di GiudaGiuda, anzi per quattroquattro, io non revocherò la mia sentenza. Perché han sprezzato al legge dell’Eterno e non hanno osservato i suoi statuti, e perché si son lasciati sviare dai loro falsi dèi, dietro ai quali già i padripadri loro erano andati,
perché bramano veder la polverepolvere della terraterra sul capo de’ miseri, e violano il diritto degli umili, e figlio e padrepadre vanno dalla stessa femmina, per profanare il nomenome mio santosanto.
Si stendono presso ogni altarealtare su vestivesti ricevute in pegno, e nella casacasa dei loro dèi bevono il vinovino di quelli che han colpito d’ammenda.
Eppure, io distrussi dinanzi a loro l’Amoreo, la cui altezza era come l’altezza dei cedri, e ch’era forteforte come le querce; e io distrussi il suo fruttofrutto in altoalto e le sue radiciradici in basso.
Eppure, io vi trassi fuori del paese d’EgittoEgitto, e vi condussi per quarantquarant’anni nel desertodeserto, per farvi possedere il paese dell’Amoreo.
In the Book of Amos, chapter two begins with the Lord declaring his anger against the people of Moab, Judea, and Israel. They have committed various wrongs against the Lord and the church, despite His efforts to guide them, and the chapter goes on to suggest that the Lord is losing faith in His people.
Verses 1-8 of this chapter describe the specific ways in which people can destroy or misuse the good and truth of the Word.
Verses 1-3 discuss the Moabites specifically. They represent people who corrupt the good and truth of the church, meaning they would twist what they learned from the Word to suit their own selfish purposes. Bones represent natural truths that we can use as a framework to support all higher knowledge that we learn, so the fact that people were ‘burning bones’ means they destroyed their own foundation to gain spiritual knowledge. In verse 3, the Lord says that he will cut off the judge and the prince, meaning that the Moabites’ failure to determine what is good (like the judge), and lead a life based in truth (like the prince) will not stand against the real spiritual principles of the Lord.
Verses 4-5 are about people who destroy celestial things from the Word, by turning their hearts away from the Lord. The people of Judea had believed they were the Lord’s chosen people for so many generations at this point that they grew complacent, and no longer felt they needed to obey the Lord’s commandments.
Verses 6-8 tell what can happen when people pervert spiritual truths from the church, and turn them into falsities. Swedenborg writes that most of the images from these verses - silver, shoes, dust, wine - can all represent either falsity, or only the most external type of truth. The Israelites were turning to these falsities and to their own greed, instead of using the Lord’s truths to help the poor and the meek.
In verses 9-11, the Lord reminds the children of Israel of everything he has done to prepare them for salvation. He fought for them and delivered them from Egypt, lifted up their leaders and prophets, and provided them with the truths they would need in order to be regenerated.
He also shows that He has the strength to punish them, because He’s already overcome the Amorites, who symbolize evil in general (Secrets of Heaven 6306).
Verses 12-16 describe how the Israelites perverted the knowledge the Lord tried to give them. Instead of trusting what the Lord had taught them, they turned to their own self-righteousness for guidance. Since they thought they had all the answers, they corrupted the Nazarites and silenced the prophets. Without a proper understanding of the Lord’s teachings, the people were no longer equipped to fight against evils or to grow spiritually.
At face value, this chapter depicts the Lord as an angry god who will punish those who disobey him. What seems to be anger is actually the Lord fiercely protecting us, and calling us to follow Him. This chapter reminds us to turn our hearts toward the Lord, and to live according to the truths of the Word.
391. I saw under the altar, signifies those who were preserved under heaven. This is evident from the signification of "to see," as being to make manifest (see above, n. 351; also from the signification of "altar" as being, in the nearest sense, worship from the good of love to the Lord; in a more interior sense, heaven and the church, which are in that love; and in the inmost sense, the Lord's Divine Human in relation to the Divine good of the Divine love. "Under the altar" signifies those who were preserved under heaven, because it is said that he "saw under the altar the souls of those slain because of the Word of God, and because of the testimony that they held," and by these are meant those who were preserved under heaven until the Last Judgment; but as this is not yet known in the world, I will tell how it is. In the small work on The Last Judgement it has been shown that before the Last Judgement took place there was a semblance of heaven which is meant by "the former heaven that passed away" (Revelation 21:1) and that this heaven consisted of those who were in external worship without internal, and who therefore lived an external moral life, although they were merely natural and not spiritual. Those of whom this heaven consisted before the Last Judgment were seen in the spiritual world above the earth, also upon mountains, hills, and rocks, and therefore believed themselves to be in heaven; but those of whom this heaven consisted, because they were in an external moral life only and not at the same time in an internal spiritual life, were cast down; and when these had been cast down, all those who had been preserved by the Lord, and concealed here and there, for the most part in the lower earth, were elevated and transferred to these same places, that is, upon the mountains, hills, and rocks where the others had formerly been, and out of these a new heaven was formed. These who had been preserved and then elevated were from those in the world who had lived a life of charity, and who were in the spiritual affection of truth. The elevation of these into the places of the others I have often witnessed. It is these who are meant by "the souls of those slain seen under the altar," and because they were guarded by the Lord in the lower earth, and this earth is under heaven, so "I saw under the altar" signifies those who were preserved under heaven. But these are particularly treated of in Revelation 20:4-5, 12-13, where more will be told about them; meanwhile see what is said in the small work on The Last Judgement (n. 65-72) of "the former heaven that passed away," and "the new heaven" that was formed by the Lord after the Last Judgment. This much will suffice to afford some light for understanding what is said in the two following verses, namely, that they who were under the altar "cried out with a great voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on those that dwell on the earth? And there were given to them white robes; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet a little time, until their fellow-servants, as well as their brethren, who were to be killed, as they also were, should be fulfilled."
 "Under the altar" signifies under heaven, because the "altar," in the highest sense, signifies the Lord, and in a relative sense, heaven and the church, for the Lord is heaven and the church, since everything of heaven and the church, or everything of love and faith which make heaven and the church with angel and man, are from the Lord, and thence are His; but in a general sense the "altar" signifies all worship of the Lord and especially representative worship, such as there was with the sons of Israel. "The altar" signifies all worship, because "worship" in that church consisted mainly in offering burnt-offerings and sacrifices; for these were offered for every sin and guilt, also from good will to please Jehovah (these were called eucharistic or voluntary sacrifices), also for cleansings of every kind. Moreover, by burnt-offerings and sacrifices inaugurations were also effected into everything holy of the church, as is evident from the sacrifices at the inauguration of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood, the inauguration of the tent of meeting, and afterwards of the temple. And as the worship of Jehovah, that is, of the Lord, consisted chiefly in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, these also were offered daily, namely, every morning and evening, and were called in one word "the continual," besides a great number at every feast; so in the Word the "continual-offering" signifies all representative worship. From this it can be seen that worship, and particularly the representative worship of that nation, consisted chiefly in burnt-offerings and sacrifices. For this reason the altar upon which these were made, and which contained them, signifies in the Word all worship in general. Worship means not external worship only, but also internal worship; and internal worship comprehends everything of love and everything of faith, thus everything that constitutes the church or, heaven with man, in a word, that causes the Lord to be with him.
Heaven was represented before John by an altar, for this reason also, that the whole Word was written by representatives, and by such representatives as were with the sons of Israel; in order, therefore, that the Word might be similar in both Testaments, the things in this book and that were seen by John, are like those in other parts, that is, an altar of incense was seen, the incense itself with the censers, likewise the tabernacle, the ark, and other like things. But at the present day such things never appear to any angel, or to any man whose sight is opened into heaven. The altar, the ark, and like things do not appear in heaven at the present day, because to the ancients sacrifices were wholly unknown, and after the Lord's coming they were entirely abolished. Sacrifices were begun by Eber, and were continued afterwards among his posterity, who were called Hebrews, and were tolerated among the sons of Israel who were from Eber, especially because a worship once begun and rooted in the mind is not abolished by the Lord, but is bent to signify what is holy in religion (see Arcana Coelestia 1343, 2180, 2818, 10042, 1343, 2180, 2818, 10042).
 That "the altar" signifies, in the highest sense, the Lord's Divine Human in relation to the Divine good of the Divine love, and that in a relative sense it signifies heaven and the church, and in general all worship, and in particular representative worship, can be seen from the following passages in the Word. In David:
O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; let them bring me unto the mountain of Thy holiness, and to Thy habitations, that I may come unto the altar of God, unto God (Psalms 43:3-4).
It is clearly evident that "the altar of God" here means the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, for these words treat of the way to heaven and to the Lord there; the way to heaven is meant by "send out Thy light and truth; let them lead me;" "light" meaning the illustration in which truths appear; heaven, into which it leads is meant by "let them bring me unto the mountain of holiness, and to Thy habitations;" "mountain of holiness" meaning heaven where the Lord's celestial kingdom is, in which the good of love reigns; while those heavens are called "habitations" where the Lord's spiritual kingdom is, in which truth from that good reigns; and as both are meant it is said, "that I may go unto the altar of God, unto God," "altar of God" meaning where the Lord is in the good of love, and "God" where the Lord is in truth from that good; for the Lord is called "God," from Divine truth, and "Jehovah" from Divine good. In the Jewish Church there were two things that, in the highest sense, signified the Lord's Divine Human, namely, the altar and the temple; the altar, the Divine Human in relation to Divine good; the temple, in relation to Divine truth proceeding from that good. These two signified the Lord in respect to His Divine Human, because all things of worship in that church represented the Divine things that proceed from the Lord, called celestial and spiritual, and the worship itself was chiefly performed upon the altar and in the temple, therefore, these two represented the Lord Himself.
 That the temple represented His Divine Human He teaches in plain terms in John:
The Jews said, What sign showest Thou that Thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But He was speaking of the temple of His body (John 2:18-23; also Matthew 26:61 elsewhere).
When the disciples were showing Him the buildings of the temple, the Lord said:
That there shall not be left stone upon stone that shall not be thrown down (Matthew 24:1-2);
signifying that the Lord was wholly denied among them, on which account also the temple was destroyed from its foundation.
 That "the altar" also signified the Lord's Divine Human, may be concluded from the Lord's words in Matthew:
Woe unto you, ye blind guides, for ye say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple it is nothing, but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple he is guilty. Ye fools and blind! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? Also, whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind! Which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? For he that sweareth by the altar sweareth by it and by everything thereon. And he that sweareth by the temple sweareth by it and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that sweareth by heaven sweareth by the throne of God and by him that sitteth thereon (Matthew 23:16-22).
It is here said that the temple sanctifies the gold that is in it, and that the altar sanctifies the gift that is upon it; and thus that the temple and the altar were most holy, and that all sanctification was from them; therefore "the temple" and "altar" signify the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, for from that everything holy of heaven and the church proceeds. If this is not the meaning how could the temple or the altar sanctify anything? Nor can worship itself sanctify, but the Lord alone, who is worshiped, and from whom is the good and truth of worship; for this reason it is said that the gift does not sanctify, but the altar, "the gift" meaning the sacrifices that constituted the worship; and because the Jews did not understand this, but taught otherwise, they were called by the Lord "fools and blind."
 Because this was signified by the altar, all who touched it were sanctified as is evident in Moses:
Seven days thou shalt sanctify [the altar], that the altar may be the holy of holies; whosoever shall touch the altar shall be sanctified (Exodus 29:37).
"To touch" signifies to communicate, to transfer, and to receive (see Arcana Coelestia 10130), here the Divine that proceeds from the Lord; and as this was signified by "touching," and those who touched were sanctified, it follows that in the highest sense the Lord Himself is signified by the "altar," for there is nothing holy from any other source. Moreover, all worship is worship of the Lord and from the Lord; and as worship in that church consisted chiefly of burnt-offerings and sacrifices, so the "altar" signified the Divine Itself from which [a quo] and this Divine is the Lord's Divine Human.
 It was therefore also commanded:
That the fire upon the altar should burn continually, and never be extinguished (Leviticus 6:12-13);
also that from that fire the lamps should be lighted in the tent of meeting, and that they were to take from that fire in the censers and burn incense; for "the fire" signified the Divine love which is in the Lord alone (see above, n. 68).
 Because "the fire of the altar" signifies the Divine love, the prophet Isaiah was sanctified by it:
Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, in whose hand was a burning coal, which he had taken from off the altar, and he touched my mouth, and said, This hath touched thy lips; therefore thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is expiated (Isaiah 6:6-7).
What these words signify in their series can be seen when it is known that "the altar" signifies the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, and "the fire" on it the Divine good of his Divine love; that the prophet's "mouth and lips" signify the doctrine of good and truth; and that "to touch" signifies to communicate; "iniquity which was taken away" signifies falsity, and "sin" evil; for "iniquity" is predicated of the life of falsity, that is, of a life contrary to truths, and "sin" of the life of evil, that is, of a life contrary to good.
 In Isaiah:
All the flocks of Arabia shall be brought together unto Thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto Thee; they shall come up to Mine altar with acceptance; thus will I adorn the house of Mine adornment (Isaiah 60:7).
This treats of the Lord's coming, and this is said of the Lord Himself; "all the flocks of Arabia that are to be brought together," and "the rams of Nebaioth that are to minister" signify all spiritual goods, external and internal, "flocks" signify external goods, and "rams" internal goods, and "Arabia" and "Nebaioth" things spiritual; "they shall come up to Mine altar with acceptance; thus will I adorn the house of Mine adornment" signifies the Lord's Divine Human, in which they will be, "altar" signifying His Divine Human in relation to Divine good, and "house of adornment" the same in relation to Divine truth. That the Lord in respect to the Divine Human is here meant is evident from the preceding part of that chapter, where it is said that "Jehovah shall arise upon Thee, and His glory shall be seen upon Thee," with what follows, which describes the Divine wisdom with which the Lord will be filled in respect to His Human.
 As "the altar" signifies in the highest sense the Lord's Divine Human, "altar" therefore signifies also heaven and the church; for the angelic heaven, viewed in itself, is from the Divine that proceeds from the Lord's Divine Human; from this it is that the angelic heaven in the whole complex is as one man; wherefore that heaven is called the Greatest Man (see what is said about this in Heaven and Hell 59-86; and about the church, n. 57). And as all worship is from the Lord, for it is the Divine communicated to man from the Lord, in which is the Lord Himself, thence "altar" signifies also in general, everything of worship that proceeds from the good of love; and "temple" the worship that proceeds from truths from that good; for all worship is either from love or from faith, either from good or from truth; worship from the good of love is such as exists in the Lord's celestial kingdom, and worship from truths from that good, which truths are called the truths of faith, is such as exists in the Lord's spiritual kingdom (about which see also in the same work, n. 20-28).
 From this it can be seen what is signified by "altar" in the following passages. In David:
How amiable are Thy tabernacles, O Jehovah of Hosts! My soul is eager, yea, it is consumed for the courts of Jehovah; my heart and my flesh sing for joy unto the living God. Yea, the bird hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, Thine altars, O Jehovah of Hosts, my King and my God! Blessed are they that dwell in thy house (Psalms 84:1-4).
"Altars" here mean the heavens, for it is said, "How amiable are Thy tabernacles; my soul is eager, yea, it is consumed for the courts of Jehovah," and afterwards it is said "Thine altars, O Jehovah of hosts;" "tabernacles" mean the higher heavens, and "courts" the lower heavens where is the entrance; these are also called "altars" from worship; and as all worship is from the good of love by means of truths it is said "Thine altars, O Jehovah of Hosts, my King and my God;" for the Lord is called "Jehovah" from Divine good, and "King" and "God" from Divine truth; and because the heavens are meant, it is also said, "Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house," "the house of Jehovah God" meaning heaven in the whole complex. It is also said, "yea, the bird hath found a house, and the swallow her nest," because "bird" signifies spiritual truth and "swallow" natural truth, by which there is worship; and as all truth by which there is worship is from the good of love, it is first said, "my heart and my flesh sing for joy unto the living God," "heart and flesh" signifying the good of love, and "sing for joy" worship from the delight of good.
 Heaven and the church are also meant by "altar" in these passages in Revelation:
There was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood and said to me, Rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein (Revelation 11:1).
I heard another angel out of the altar saying, Yea, O Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments (Rev. 16:7).
I wash mine hands in innocence, and compass Thine altar, O Jehovah, that I may make the voice of confession to be heard (Psalms 26:6-7).
"To wash the hands in innocence" signifies to be purified from evils and falsities; "to compass Thine altar, O Jehovah" signifies conjunction with the Lord by worship from the good of love; and because this is a worship by means of truths from good, it is added, "that I may make the voice of confession to be heard," "to make the voice of confession to be heard" meaning worship from truths. "To compass Thine altar, O Jehovah" signifies the conjunction of the Lord by means of worship from the good of love, because "Jehovah" is predicated of the good of love, and "to compass" signifies to embrace with worship, thus to be conjoined.
 In Isaiah:
In that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak with the lips of Canaan, and that swear to Jehovah of Hosts; every one of them shall be called Ir Cheres [the city of Cheres]. In that day there shall be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to Jehovah beside the border thereof (Isaiah 19:18-19).
"Egypt" signifies the natural man, and its knowing faculty [scientificum]; "in that day" signifies the Lord's coming and the state of those who will then be in true knowledges [scientifica] from the Lord; "five cities in the land of Egypt that speak with the lips of Canaan" signify many truths of doctrine which are genuine truths of the church, "five" meaning many, "cities" the truths of doctrine, and "the lips of Canaan" genuine doctrinals of the church; "to swear to Jehovah of Hosts" signifies those that confess the Lord; "Jehovah of Hosts," mentioned here and in many other passages in the Word, means the Lord in respect to all good and truth; for "Hosts" [Zebaoth] in the original signifies armies, and "armies" signify in the spiritual sense all the goods and truths of heaven and the church (see Arcana Coelestia 3448, 7236, 7988, 8019). This, therefore is the meaning of "Jehovah Zebaoth" or "Jehovah of Hosts;" "every one of them shall be called Ir Cheres" signifies the doctrine glittering from spiritual truths in natural, for "Ir" means city, and "city" signifies doctrine; "Cheres" means a glittering like that of the sun; "in that day there shall be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt" signifies that there shall then be worship of the Lord from the good of love by means of true knowledges that are in the natural man; "an altar to Jehovah" signifying the worship of the Lord from the good of love, "in the midst of the land of Egypt" signifying by means of knowledges that are in the natural man, true knowledges meaning also cognitions from the sense of the letter of the Word; "and a pillar to Jehovah besides the border thereof" signifies the worship of the Lord from the truths of faith, "a pillar (statue)" signifying worship from the truths of faith, and "the border of Egypt" signifying the ultimates; the ultimates of the natural man are things of the senses.
 In the same:
When he shall lay all the stones of the altar as chalk stones scattered, the groves and sun statues shall rise no more (Isaiah 27:9).
This is said of Jacob and Israel, by whom the church is signified, here the church that is to be destroyed; its destruction in respect to the truths of worship is described by "laying the stones of the altar as chalk stones scattered," "the stones of the altar" meaning the truths of worship, "as chalk stones scattered" mean as falsities that do not cohere; "the groves and sun statues shall rise no more" signifies that there shall no longer be any worship from spiritual and natural truths, "groves" signifying worship from spiritual truths, and "sun statues" worship from natural truths.
 In Lamentations:
The Lord hath cast off His altar; He hath abhorred His sanctuary; He hath shut up in the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces (Lamentations 2:7).
This is a lamentation over the vastation of all things of the church; that the church has been vastated in respect to all goods is signified by "the Lord hath cast off His altar;" that it has been vastated in respect to all truths is signified by "He hath abhorred His sanctuary." (That "sanctuary" is predicated of the church in respect to truths, see above, n. 204.) That falsities and evils have entered into all things of the church is signified by "He hath shut up in the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces;" "enemy" signifies evil and falsity, "to shut up in his hands" signifies that these have seized and entered, "the walls of palaces" signifies all protecting truths, "palaces" mean the things of doctrine.
Everyone that keepeth the sabbath, and holdeth to My covenant, them will I bring in upon the mountain of My holiness, and will make them glad in the house of My prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be well pleasing upon My altar (Isaiah 56:6-7).
"Sabbath" signifies the conjunction of the Lord with heaven and the church, thus with those who are therein; so "to keep the sabbath" signifies to be in conjunction with the Lord; and "to hold to his covenant" signifies conjunction by a life according to the Lord's commandments; "covenant" means conjunction, and a life according to the commandments is what conjoins; for this reason the commandments of the Decalogue were called "a covenant;" "them will I bring in upon the mountain of holiness" signifies that He will endow them with the good of love, "the mountain of holiness" meaning the heaven in which the good of love to the Lord is, consequently also such good of love as there is in that heaven; "I will make them glad in the house of My prayer" signifies that He will endow them with spiritual truths, "the house of prayer," or the temple, meaning the heaven where spiritual truths are, consequently also such spiritual truths as there are in that heaven; "their burnt-offerings and sacrifices shall be well pleasing upon Mine altar" signifies worship from the good of love grateful from spiritual truths, "burnt-offerings" signifying worship from the good of love, and "sacrifices" worship from truths that are from that good; truths from good are what are called spiritual truths; "upon the altar" signifies in heaven and the church.
 In David:
Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion; build Thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt Thou be delighted with the sacrifices of righteousness, and with whole burnt-offering; then shall they offer up bullocks upon Thine altar (Psalms 51:18-19).
"Zion" means the church that is in the good of love, and "Jerusalem" the church that is in the truths of doctrine; therefore, "to do good in good pleasure unto Zion, and to build the walls of Jerusalem" signifies to restore the church by leading it into the good of love and by instructing it in the truths of doctrine. Worship then from the good of love is signified by "then shalt Thou be delighted with the sacrifices of righteousness and with whole burnt-offering," "righteousness" is predicated of celestial good, and "whole burnt-offering" signifies love; and worship then from the good of charity is signified by "then shall they offer up bullocks upon Thine altar," "bullocks" signifying natural good, which is the good of charity.
 In the same:
God is Jehovah who enlighteneth us; bind the festal-offering with ropes even to the horns of the altar. Thou art my God (Psalms 118:27-28).
"To enlighten" signifies to illustrate in truths; "to bind the festal-offering with ropes even to the horns of the altar" signifies to conjoin all things of worship, "to bind with ropes" meaning to conjoin, "the festal-offering to the horns of the altar" meaning all things of worship, "horns" mean all things because they are the ultimates, and "the festal-offering" and "altar" mean worship. All things of worship are conjoined when externals are conjoined with internals, and goods with truths.
 In Luke:
The blood of all the prophets shed from the foundation of the world shall be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zachariah, slain between the altar and the temple (Luke 11:50-51).
This does not mean that the blood of all the prophets from the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel, shall be required of the Jewish nation, for blood is not required from anyone but of him who sheds it; but these words mean that that nation had falsified all truth and adulterated all good; for "the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world" signifies the falsification of all the truth there had ever been in the church; "blood" meaning falsification, "prophets" the truths of doctrine, and "from the foundation of the world," meaning all that there had ever been in the church; "the foundation of the world" meaning the establishment of the church. "From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zachariah, slain between the altar and the temple," signifies the adulteration of all good, and the consequent extinction of the worship of the Lord; "the blood of Abel unto Zachariah" means the adulteration of all good; "to be slain between the altar and the temple" means the extinction of all good and all truth in worship, for "altar" signifies worship from good, and "temple" the worship from truth, as has been said above; "between these" means where there is conjunction, and where there is not conjunction there is neither good nor truth. The altar was outside the tent of meeting, and outside the temple; therefore what was done between the two signified communication and conjunction (see Arcana Coelestia 10001, 10025; and that "Abel" signifies the good of charity, n. 342, 374, 1179, 3325). It is evident that neither Abel nor Zachariah is meant here in the spiritual sense, since in the Word names signify things.
Jesus said, if thou shalt offer thy gift upon the altar, and shalt there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave the gift before the altar, and go; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming offer thy gift (Matthew 5:23-24).
"To offer a gift upon the altar" means in the spiritual sense to worship God, and to worship God means worship both internal and external, namely, from love and from faith, and thus from the life; this is meant because in the Jewish Church worship consisted chiefly in offering sacrifices or gifts upon the altar, and the chief thing is taken for the whole. From this the meaning of these words of the Lord in the spiritual sense can be seen, namely, that Divine worship consists primarily in charity towards the neighbor, and not in piety without that; "to offer a gift upon the altar" means worship from piety, and "to be reconciled to a brother" means worship from charity, and this is truly worship, and such as this is such is the worship from piety. (On this see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 123-129; and in the work on Heaven and Hell 222, 224, 358-360, 528, 529, 535; and above, n. 325.)
 That "If thou shalt offer thy gift upon the altar" signifies in all worship, is evident from the Lord's words in Luke 17:4 [Matthew 18:22, where it is said that the brother or neighbor must be forgiven all the time, "seventy times seven" there signifying always.
Because such things are signified by "altar," the altar was made either of wood or of ground, or of whole stones, upon which iron had not been moved, also it was overlaid with brass. The altar was made of wood, because "wood" signifies good; it was also made of ground because "ground" has a like signification; it was made of whole stones, because such "stones" signified truths formed out of good, or good in form, and it was forbidden to fit these stones by any hammer, axe, or instrument of iron, to signify that nothing of self-intelligence must come near to the formation of it; that it was overlaid with brass signified that it represented good in every part, for "brass" signifies good in externals.
 That the altar was made of wood is evident in Moses:
Thou shalt make the altar of shittim-wood, five cubits long and broad; it shall be foursquare. And thou shalt make horns for it. And thou shalt make for it a grating of network of brass; the board-work shall be hollow (Exodus 27:1-8).
And in Ezekiel:
The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and the length of it two cubits; its corners, the length of it, and the walls of it, were of wood. Then he said unto me, This is the table that is before Jehovah (Ezekiel 41:22).
Moreover, the altar was made of wood, and overlaid with brass, for the sake of use, that it might be carried about, and removed from place to place in the wilderness, where the sons of Israel then were; also because "wood" signifies good, and "shittim-wood" good of righteousness, or the good of the Lord's merit. (That "wood" signifies good, see Arcana Coelestia 643Arcana Coelestia 643[1-4], 3720, 8354; and that "shittim-wood" signifies the good of righteousness or of merit, which belongs to the Lord only, n. 9472, 9486, 9528, 9715, 10178.) But that the altar was built also of ground, and if of stones, then of whole stones, and not hewn by any iron instrument, is further evident in Moses:
An altar [of ground] thou shalt make unto Me, that thou mayest sacrifice thereon thy burnt-offerings and thy peace-offering. If thou makest to Me an altar of stones thou shalt not build it of hewn stones, for if thou move a tool upon it thou wilt profane it (Exodus 20:24-25).
If an altar of stones be built, no iron shall be struck upon the stones (Deuteronomy 27:5-6).
 Thus far it has been shown what "altar" signifies in the genuine sense; from this it is clear what "altar" signifies in the contrary sense, namely, idolatrous worship, or infernal worship, which has place only with those who profess religion, but yet love and thus worship self and the world above all things; and when they do this they love evil and falsity; therefore "the altar," in reference to such, signifies worship from evil, and "the statues" which they also had, worship from falsity, and therefore also hell. That this is the signification of "altar," in the contrary sense, is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:
In that day shall a man have respect to his Maker, and his eyes shall look to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not have respect to altars, the work of his hands, and he shall not look 1
to that which his fingers have made, or to the groves or the sun-statues (Isaiah 17:7-8).
This treats of the establishment of a new church by the Lord; that men shall then be led into the goods of life, and be instructed in the truths of doctrine, is meant by "In that day shall a man have respect to his Maker, and his eyes shall look to the Holy One of Israel." The Lord is called "Maker" because He leads into the goods of life, for these make man; and He is called "the Holy One of Israel" because He teaches the truths of doctrine; therefore it is added, "a man shall have respect," and "his eyes shall look;" man is called "man" from the good of life, and "eyes" are predicated of the understanding of truth, thus of the truths of doctrine. That there will then be no worship from self-love, from which are the evils of life, nor from self-intelligence, from which are the falsities of doctrine, is signified by "he shall not have respect to altars, the work of his hands, and he shall not look to that which his fingers have made," "altars, the work of his hands," mean worship from self-love, from which are evils of life, and "that which his fingers have made" means worship from self-intelligence, from which are the falsities of doctrine; "groves and sun-statues" signify a religion from falsities and evils therefrom, "groves," a religious principle from falsities, and "sun-statues" a religious principle from the evils of falsity.
 In Jeremiah:
The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, with a point of a diamond; it is graven 2
upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; as I remember their sons, their altar, and their groves, by the green tree upon the high hills (Jeremiah 17:1-2
This declares that the idolatrous worship of the Jewish nation was so deeply rooted that it could not be removed. That it was too deeply rooted to be removed is signified by "the sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, with a point of a diamond, it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of their altars;" deeply-rooted falsity is meant by "it is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond," and deeply-rooted evil is meant by "it is graven upon the table of the heart, and upon the horns of their altars;" it is said "upon the horns of the altars," because idolatrous worship is meant. The "sons whom He remembers," signify the falsities of evil; "the altars" idolatrous worship from evil; "the groves by the green tree" such worship from falsities; "upon the high hills" signifies the adulteration of good and the falsification of truths; for at that time, when all things of worship were representative of celestial and spiritual things, they had worship in groves and upon hills, for the reason that "trees," of which groves consist, signify the knowledges and perceptions of truth and good, and this according to the kind of trees; and because "hills" signified the goods of charity, and spiritual angels who dwell in the spiritual world upon hills are in such goods, so in ancient times worship was performed upon hills; but this was forbidden to the Jewish and Israelitish nation, lest they should profane the holy things that were represented; for in respect to worship that nation was in externals only, their internal was merely idolatrous. (That trees signify the knowledges and perceptions of truth and good, according to their kind, see Arcana Coelestia 2163, 2682, 2722, 2972, 7692; for this reason the ancients worshiped in groves under trees, according to their significations, n. 2722, 4552; why this was forbidden to the Jewish and Israelitish nations, n . 2722; why "hills" signify goods of charity, n. 6435, 10438)
 In Hosea:
Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit like unto himself; when his fruit is plentiful he multiplieth altars; when his land is good they make goodly statues. Their heart is smooth, now are they laid waste; he shall demolish their altars, he shall devastate their statues (Hosea 10:1-2);
"Israel" here signifies the church, which is called "an empty vine" when there is no longer any truth; its worship from evils is meant by "the altars which he multiplies;" and worship from falsities is meant by the "statues which he makes goodly;" that this is done so far as these abound is signified by "when his fruit is plentiful" and "when his land is good." That worship from evils and falsities shall be destroyed is signified by "he shall demolish their altars, and shall devastate their statues." (That "statues" signify worship from truths, and in a contrary sense, worship from falsities, thus idolatrous worship, see Arcana Coelestia 3727Arcana Coelestia 3727[1-8], 4580, 10643.)
 In Ezekiel:
Thus said the Lord Jehovih to the mountains and to the hills, to the water courses and to the valleys, I bring in a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places; and your altar shall be laid waste; your sun images shall be broken; yea, I will make your slain to fall before your idols (Ezekiel 6:3, 4, 6, 13).
"The Lord Jehovih said to the mountains, hills, water courses, and valleys," does not signify to all who dwell there, but to all idolaters, that is, to all who instituted worship upon mountains and hills, and near water-courses and in valleys, which was done because of the representation and consequent signification of these; "to bring a sword upon you, and to destroy the high places, and to lay waste the altars, and to break the sun images" signifies to destroy all things of idolatrous worship by means of falsities and evils, for it is by means of these that idolatrous worship destroys itself; "the sword" signifies falsities destroying, "the high places" idolatrous worship in general, "altars" the same from evil loves, and "sun images" the same from the falsities of doctrine; "to make the slain to fall before the idols" signifies the damnation of those who perish by falsities; "slain" signifying those who perish by falsities, "idols" the falsities of worship in general, and "to fall" to be damned.
Ephraim hath multiplied altars for sinning, they have made 3
for him altars for sinning (Hosea 8:11).
"Ephraim" signifies the intellect of the church, here the intellect perverted; "to multiply altars for sinning" signifies to pervert worship by means of falsities; and "to make altars for sinning" signifies to pervert worship by means of evils; for in the Word, "to multiply" is predicated of truths, and in a contrary sense of falsities, and "to make" is predicated of good, and in a contrary sense of evil; this is why the two are mentioned, and yet it is not a vain repetition.
 In the same:
Samaria is discomfited, her king is as foam upon the faces of the waters and the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed; the thorn and the thistle come up on their altars (Hosea 10:7-8).
"Samaria" signified the spiritual church, that is the church in which charity and faith make one; but after it became perverted "Samaria" signified the church in which charity is separated from faith, and in which faith is even declared to be the essential; therefore also it then signified the church in which there is no longer any truth, because there is no good, but in place of good the evil of life, and in place of truth the falsity of doctrine. This is here signified by "Samaria is discomfited;" the falsity of its doctrine is signified by "her king is as foam upon the faces of the waters," "king" signifying truth, and in a contrary sense, as here, falsity; "foam upon the faces of the waters" signifying what is empty and separated from truths, "waters" meaning truths; "the high places of Aven shall be destroyed" signifies the destruction of principles of falsity and of the reasonings therefrom of those who are in that worship, which viewed in itself is interiorly idolatrous; for those who are in the evil of life and the falsities of doctrine worship themselves and the world; "the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars" signifies that truth falsified and evil therefrom, shall be in all their worship, "altars" meaning all worship.
 In Amos:
In the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him, I will visit upon the altars of Bethel, that the horns of the altar may be hewn down and fall to the earth (Amos 3:14).
"To visit the transgressions of Israel upon him" signifies their last state, in the spiritual sense their state after death, when they are to be judged; it is said "to visit," instead of to judge, because visitation always precedes judgment; "the altars of Bethel" signify the worship from evil; "the horns of the altar" signify worship from falsities, thus these signify all things of worship; and that these are to be destroyed is signified by "the horns shall be hewn down and fall to the earth." It is said, "I will visit upon the altars of Bethel," because Jeroboam separated the Israelites from the Jews, and erected two altars, one in Bethel and the other in Dan; and as "Bethel" and "Dan" signify the ultimates in the church, and the ultimates in the man of the church are called natural-sensual things, or natural-worldly and corporeal, so these are signified by "Bethel," and "Dan," the ultimates of good by "Bethel," and the ultimates of truth by "Dan;" therefore these two altars signify worship in ultimates or in things most external, such as is the worship of those who separate charity from their faith, and acknowledge faith alone to be the means of salvation.
Such persons therefore, think of religion in the natural-sensual; consequently they neither understand nor desire to understand any of the things they say they believe, saying that the understanding must be under obedience to faith. Such as these were represented by the Israelites separated from the Jews, or by Samaria separated from Jerusalem, and the worship of such was represented by the altars in Bethel and Dan; such worship, insofar as it is separated from charity, is no worship, for in it the mouth speaks apart from the understanding and the will, that is, apart from the mind; apart from the understanding, because they say that men ought to believe even though they do not understand; and apart from the will because they put aside deeds or goods of charity.
 That such worship is no worship is signified by what is said in the first book of Kings:
When Jeroboam stood by the altar in Bethel, the man of God cried out to him that the altar should be rent, and the ashes poured out; and so it came to pass (1 Kings 12:26 the end; 1 Kings 13:1-6).
"The altar should be rent and the ashes poured out" signifies that there was no worship whatever. Faith separated from charity was then signified by "Samaria," because the Jewish kingdom signified the celestial church, that is, the church that is in the good of love, and the Israelitish kingdom signified the spiritual church which is in the truths from that good. This was signified by the Jewish and Israelitish kingdom while they were under one king, or while they were united; but when they were separated, the Israelitish kingdom signified truth separated from good, or what is the same, faith separated from charity. Moreover, worship is signified by "the altar," because it is signified by the burnt-offerings and sacrifices that were offered upon it, in many other passages too numerous to be cited. And because idolatrous worship was signified by "the altars of the nations," therefore it was commanded that they should be everywhere destroyed (see Deuteronomy 7:5; 12:3; Judges 2:2).
 This makes clear that altars were in use among all the posterity of Eber, thus among all who were called Hebrews, who for the most part were in the land of Canaan and its immediate neighborhood; likewise in Syria, from which Abraham came. That there were altars in the land of Canaan and its neighborhood is evident from the altars mentioned there as destroyed:
That there were altars in Syria is evident from the account of those built by Balaam, who was from Syria (Numbers 23:1).
Also from the Egyptian abominating the Hebrews on account of their sacrifices (Exodus 8:26);
Even so that they were unwilling to eat bread with them (Genesis 43:32).
The reason of this was that to the Ancient Church, which was a representative church and extended through a great part of the Asiatic world, sacrifices were unknown, and when they were instituted by Eber it looked upon them as abominable, that is, that they should wish to appease God by the slaughter of different animals, thus by blood. Among those who were of the Ancient Church were also the Egyptians; but as they applied representatives to magic that church became extinct among them. They were unwilling to eat bread with the Hebrews, because at that time "dinners" and "suppers" represented and thus signified spiritual consociation, which is consociation and conjunction through those things that pertain to the church; and "bread" signified in general all spiritual food and thus "dining" and "supping" all conjunction.
 (That the Ancient Church extended through a great part of the Asiatic world, namely through Assyria, Mesopotamia, Syria, Ethiopia, Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Philistia, even to Tyre and Zidon, through the land of Canaan, on both sides of the Jordan, see Arcana Coelestia 1238, 2385; that it was a representative church, n. 519, 521, 2896; respecting the church instituted by Eber, which was called the Hebrew Church, n. 1238, 1341, 1343, 4516, 4517. That sacrifices were first begun by Eber, and were afterwards in use among his posterity, n. 1128, 1343, 2180, 10042. That sacrifices were not commanded, but only permitted, shown from the Word; why they were said to have been commanded, n. 922, 2180, 2818; that it was necessary that altars and sacrifices should be mentioned, and that Divine worship should be signified by them, because the Word was written in that nation, and the historical Word treated of that nation, n. 10453, 10461, 10603-10604)
1. The photolithograph has "they shall not look;" the Hebrew has "he shall not look," so also, AE 585; AC 2722.
2. The photolithograph has "they have made," the Hebrew "they are," as also AC 921.
3. The photolithograph has "thy," but Hebrew has "their," as also AC 6804.