587. And idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, signifies false doctrinals that are from self-intelligence, that favor the loves of the body and of the world, and principles derived therefrom. This is evident from the signification of "idols," as being the falsities of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, which are from self-intelligence. But what "idols of gold, of silver, of brass, of stone, and of wood," signify in particular can be seen from the signification of "gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood;" "gold" signifies spiritual good, "silver" spiritual truth, "brass" natural good, "stone" natural truth, and "wood" sensual good. All these goods and truths enter into genuine doctrine, because such doctrine is both from the spiritual and from the natural sense of the Word. When a false doctrinal is confirmed by the spiritual things of the Word it becomes an idol of gold and an idol of silver; but when it is confirmed by the natural things of the Word, such as belong to the sense of its letter, it becomes an idol of brass and stone; and when it is confirmed by the mere sense of the letter it becomes an idol of wood; for both the interior or spiritual and the exterior or natural senses of the Word can be applied to confirm falsities, as can be seen from innumerable heresies which are all confirmed thereby.
 Falsities become confirmed when the genuine sense of the Word is not understood, and for the reason that self-loves and the principles derived therefrom are dominant, and when these are dominant man sees nothing from the light of heaven, but whatever he sees is from the light of the world separated from the light of heaven; and when the light of the world is separated from the light of heaven there is thick darkness in things spiritual. It is to be known that the sons of Israel took from Egypt and also from the nations round about the foul custom of worshiping idols; and as they were merely external men they also had that worship implanted in them from natural inclination, as can be seen from the idolatries of so many of the kings of Judah and Israel related in the Word, and also from Solomon himself who was the wisest of them; but still these idols which they made for themselves and worshiped, when they are mentioned in the Word, signify in the spiritual sense false doctrinals from self-intelligence, from which and according to which is worship.
 This signification of idols, too, has its cause from the spiritual world; there evil spirits who have framed for themselves falsities of doctrine are seen fashioning idols and marking them in various ways until they appear to be in a human form; they also make selections from various representatives and fit them together so as to cohere, and thus counterfeit that form in externals. It has been permitted me to witness the formation of such idols by leaders of the church, who have persuaded themselves that falsities are truths; and as they excelled in ingenuity they knew how to join the particulars together assiduously, and afterwards to clothe them. Such an idol I have seen made by the English, by which they represented that faith alone is the essential of salvation, and that it produces the goods of charity without any cooperation from man. Idols are formed in the spiritual world by those who are in falsities of doctrine that are from self-intelligence, because Divine truths, from which is the genuine doctrine of the church, induce upon angels the human form; for this reason also angels signify in the Word Divine truths; and for this reason falsities of doctrine that are confirmed from the Word are presented as idols in the human form; truths of the Word that are falsified and that are used as confirmations induce that form, but because the truths are falsified an idol is presented that has no life.
 That "idols, graven images, and molten images," signify the falsities of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, can be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:
The artificer casteth a graven image, and the refiner spreadeth it over with gold and casteth chains of silver. He that is too impoverished for an oblation chooseth wood that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a wise artificer to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved (Isaiah 40:19, 20).
This describes how doctrine is fused and welded together by means of falsities, thus by means of such things as are from self-intelligence, for these are all falsities. The "artificer," the "refiner," and the "wise artificer," whom he seeketh unto him, mean one who fashions and forms such a doctrine. "To spread it over with gold" signifies that it may appear in the external form as good; "to cast chains of silver" signifies that falsities may fit together and appear as truths; "to choose wood that doth not rot, and to prepare a graven image that shall not be moved," signifies that the doctrine may be acknowledged and not seem to be false.
 In Jeremiah:
Every man has become foolish by knowledge; every refiner is put to shame by the graven image; for his molten image is a lie, and there is no breath in them; they are vanity, and a work of errors; in the time of their visitation they shall perish (Jeremiah 10:14, 15; 51:17, 18).
Because a "graven image" signifies the falsity of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, therefore it is said, "every man has become foolish by knowledge, and every refiner is put to shame by the graven image;" the "knowledge by which man becomes foolish" signifies self-intelligence, wherefore falsity therefrom is signified by "the graven image;" such falsity is also meant by "the molten image is a lie, vanity, and a work of errors." That there is no spiritual life in falsities, or in the things that are from self-intelligence, is meant by "there is no breath in them;" for life is solely in Divine truths, that is, in truths that are from the Lord, as He teaches:
The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life (John 6:63).
Jeremiah 10:14-15, Jeremiah 51:17-18)
 In Jeremiah:
He hath cut wood out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. He doth deck it with silver and with gold; he doth fasten them with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are rigid like a palm-tree, but they speak not; they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. They are both brutish and foolish; the wood is a teaching of vanities. Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman and of the hands of the refiner; their garment is hyacinthine and purple; they are all the work of the wise. But Jehovah is the God of truth, He is the living God, and the King of an age (Jeremiah 10:3-5, 8-10).
That the "graven image" here means the falsity of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, fashioned and formed by the ingenious by means of self-intelligence, is evident from the particulars of this description when viewed in the spiritual sense. The self-intelligence by means of which it is cut out and formed is meant by "the work of the hands with the axe," and by "the work of the workman and of the hands of the refiner," and by "the work of the wise." That "the work of the hands of the workman and artificer" signifies what is from self-intelligence has been shown in the preceding article; the falsities that are from it are signified by "they are both brutish and foolish, the wood is a teaching of vanities;" that these have no life is signified by "they are rigid like a palm-tree, they speak not, they cannot go;" "to speak" and "to go" signify to live, and to live means to live spiritually. Confirmations from the Word are signified by "silver spread into plates brought from Tarshish," and by "gold from Uphaz," also by "hyacinthine and purple" which was their garment; "silver from Tarshish" signifies the truth of the Word, and "gold from Uphaz" the good of the Word, both falsified; "hyacinthine and purple" have a similar meaning. That every truth of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, is from Jehovah, that is, from the Lord, is meant by "Jehovah is the God of truth, the living God, the King of an age;" for the Lord is called "God" from Divine truth, and also "living," and "King."
 In Isaiah:
They that form a graven image are all of them vanity, and their most desirable things do not profit; and they are witnesses to themselves that they see not, and know not. For all his fellows shall be ashamed, and the workmen themselves. He fashioneth iron with the tongs, and worketh it in the coal, and strengthens 1
it with sharp hammers, so he worketh it by the arm of his strength; yea, he is hungry until he hath no power, neither doth he drink water until he is exhausted. He fashioneth wood, he stretcheth out the line, and describeth it with a rule; he maketh it in its angles, and shapeth it by a circle, that he may make it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of man, to dwell in the house. To cut out for himself cedars, or he hath taken the box-tree or the oak; although it be for a man to burn, and he taketh of them to be warm, and also kindleth it to bake bread, yet he maketh a god and boweth himself down, he maketh of it a graven image and adoreth it. They know not nor discern, for they have forgotten so that their eyes do not see, and their hearts do not understand. And none taketh it into his heart, there is no knowledge or intelligence, neither doth he say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? (Isaiah 44:9-20).
This whole description of a "graven image" means the formation of doctrine from self-intelligence, and the particulars of the description signify the particulars of such formation. Why otherwise should there be in the Divine Word so extended a description of the mere formation of a graven image? That there is nothing but what is false, because it is from self-intelligence, is meant by "They that form a graven image are all of them vanity, and their most desirable things do not profit;" also by "they have no knowledge nor intelligence, neither doth he say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" The self-intelligence out of which the falsity of doctrine is formed is described by "He fashioneth iron with the tongs, and worketh it in the coal by the arm of his power;" "to fashion iron with the tongs, and to work it in the coal," signifies to hammer out falsities that favor self-loves; to join falsities with falsities by means of fallacies that make them seem to be truths, is described by "he stretched out the line, and describeth it with a rule, he maketh it in its angles, he defineth it by a circle, that he may make it in the form of a man, according to the beauty of man, to dwell in the house;" "the form of a man" signifies an appearance of truth, and "the beauty of man," an appearance of intelligence therefrom, and "to dwell in the house" signifies an appearance of spiritual life therefrom. That from this there is no life of intelligence or of the perception of truth and good is signified by "They know not nor understand, their eyes do not see, and their hearts do not understand." It would be too lengthy to explain what each single thing signifies in particular in this description; it is only necessary that everyone shall be able to see that there is something signified more interior and wise than the mere formation of a graven image. Let it be known that in this description heavenly wisdom which is ineffable lies hidden, and that the angels are in this wisdom when these things are read by man, although the man thinks of nothing but a graven image and its formation; for there are here as many correspondences and as many arcana of wisdom therefrom as there are words.
 In Habakkuk:
What profiteth the graven image? For the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image and the instructor of a lie? For the former of its lie trustest in it, since he maketh dumb gods. Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the silent stone, Be watchful, it shall instruct! Behold, it is fixed with gold and silver, and there is no breath in the midst of it. But Jehovah is in the temple of His holiness (Habakkuk 2:18-20).
As a "graven image" means the falsity of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, in which there is nothing of spiritual life because it is from self-intelligence, it is said "What profiteth the graven image? For the maker thereof hath given it; the molten image and the instructor of a lie? in which the former of the lie trustest;" a "lie" signifying falsity, and "the instructor and former of a lie" signifying him who frames it; that there is no intelligence or life in it or from it is signified by "he maketh dumb gods, and there is no breath in the midst of it;" that every truth of doctrine, of the church, and of worship, is from the Lord alone is signified by "Jehovah is in the temple of His holiness;" "temple of holiness" meaning heaven, where and from which is Divine truth.
 In David:
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of the hands of man. They have a mouth but they speak not, eyes have they but they see not (Psalms 115:4, 5; 135:15, 16).
"Their idols are silver and gold" signifies external worship without internal, confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word not understood, and also by the fallacies of the senses; "the work of the hands of man" signifies what is from self-intelligence (that "the work of the hands" means what is from self-intelligence, see in the preceding article). "They have a mouth but they speak not, eyes have they but they see not," signifies that from these there is no thought nor any understanding of truth.
Psalms 115:4-5, 135:15-16)
 From self-intelligence nothing but falsity comes, because man's self [proprium] is nothing but evil, for it favors his own love and his own intelligence; such, therefore, do not seek truths for the sake of truths, but only for the sake of reputation, renown, glory, and gain, and when these are dominant heaven cannot flow in with its light and open the sight and enlighten, consequently they see like owls, moles, and bats, in the dark, according to these words 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 the moles and to the bats (Isaiah 2:18, 20).
A drought is upon her waters and they have become dry; for this is a land of graven images, and they boast of horrible things. Therefore the tziim and the ijim shall dwell there, and the daughters of the owl shall dwell therein (Jeremiah 50:38, 39).
"A drought upon her waters" signifies that there is no truth; "the tziim and the ijim" signify infernal falsities and evils, and "the daughters of the owl" signify the affections of falsity. This is said of the land of Chaldea, and of Babylon, which signify the profanations of truth and good by falsities that favor evils, which such frame for themselves for the sake of dominion.
 In Hosea:
They have made for themselves a molten image of their silver, idols in their intelligence, all of them the work of the artificers; those that sacrifice man kiss the calves (Hosea 13:2).
Because a "molten image" signifies a doctrinal from self-intelligence it is said, "They have made a molten image of their silver, idols in their intelligence, all of them the work of the artificers;" and because by means of it they destroy spiritual life and put on what is merely natural, it is said, "those that sacrifice man kiss the calves," "to sacrifice man" signifying to destroy spiritual life, and "to kiss the calves" signifying to become merely natural.
 In Isaiah:
Behold they are all an iniquity, their works are nothing; their molten images are wind and emptiness (4 Isaiah 41:29).
Evils of doctrine, of religion, and of worship, are signified by "they are all an iniquity, their works are nothing," and falsities by "their molten images are wind and emptiness;" "wind and emptiness" are predicated in the Word of falsities from self. In Jeremiah:
Why have they provoked Me to anger with their graven images and with the vanities of aliens? (Jeremiah 8:19).
"Vanities of aliens" also signify the falsities of religion, like as "graven images," therefore it is said, "with their graven images, with the vanities of aliens."
 In Ezekiel:
Every man of the house of Israel who shall make idols to ascend upon his heart, and shall put the stumbling block of iniquity before his faces, shall yet come to the prophet; shall I, Jehovah, answer him who cometh with a multitude of his idols? (Ezekiel 14:4).
Here, too, "idols" stand for the falsities of doctrine which are from self-intelligence; to accept these falsities and to acknowledge them is signified by "making idols to ascend upon his heart;" and to be affected by them and live according to them is signified by "putting the stumbling block of iniquity before his faces;" that to such the Lord cannot reveal the genuine truths of doctrine so long as they are in these falsities is signified by "if he shall come to the prophet, shall I, Jehovah, answer him who cometh with a multitude of his idols?" A "prophet" means one who teaches truths, and in the abstract sense the doctrine of genuine truth which is from the Lord; and "a multitude of idols" signifies falsities in abundance, for from one falsity assumed as a principle, falsities flow forth in abundance, together with falsities in a series from their connection; this is why they are called "idols," in the plural, and "a multitude of idols."
 In the same:
I will sprinkle clean waters upon you that ye may be cleansed from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols will I cleanse you (Ezekiel 36:25).
Because "idols" signify falsities of doctrine it is said, "I will sprinkle clean waters upon you;" "clean waters" signifying genuine truths, and "to sprinkle them upon them" signifies to purify from falsities; these falsities are also called "uncleannesses," because they are falsities from evil, and falsities producing evil.
 In Micah:
I will make Samaria into a heap of the field, and I will make its stones to flow down into the valley, and I will open its foundations. Then all her graven images shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hire of her whoredom shall be burned up with fire, and all their idols will I lay waste; for she hath gathered them from the hire of a harlot, therefore to the hire of a harlot shall they return (Micah 1:6, 7).
"Samaria when it became idolatrous" represented the church devastated in respect to the truths of doctrine and the goods of life, or destroyed by the falsities of doctrine and by the evils of life; devastation in respect to all the truths of the church is signified by "it shall be made into a heap of the field, and its stones shall flow down into the valley, and its foundations shall be opened;" "the field" meaning the church; "the heap of the field" its devastation; "the stones" the truths of the church, and "foundations" the natural truths upon which the church is founded; the complete devastation of these is signified by "the stones shall flow down into the valley, and the foundations shall be opened;" the destruction of the church by the falsities of doctrine is signified by "her graven images shall be beaten to pieces, and her idols laid waste;" "the hire of whoredom which shall be burned up with the fire," signifies the falsification of truth by applications to favor the loves of self and of the world.
 "Graven images," "molten images," and "idols," have a similar signification in the following passages. In Isaiah:
As My hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols and their graven images of Jerusalem and Samaria, shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? (Isaiah 10:10, 11).
Ye shall judge unclean the covering of the graven images of thy silver, and the plating of the molten images of thy gold; thou shalt disperse them as a menstruous thing; thou shalt call it dung (Isaiah 30:22).
In that day a man shall cast away the idols of his silver and the idols of his gold, which your hands have made for you a sin (Isaiah 31:7).
Lest thou say, Mine idol hath done these things, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them (Isaiah 48:5).
They shall be turned backward, they shall be ashamed with shame, that trust in a graven image, that say to a molten image, Ye are our gods (Isaiah 42:17).
A lion upon a watchtower said Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the earth (Isaiah 21:8, 9).
Your altars shall be destroyed, and your sun images shall be broken; and I will make your slain to fall before your idols. And I will lay the carcasses of the sons of Israel before their idols (Ezekiel 6:4, 5).
In that day I will cut off thy graven images and thy statues out of the midst of thee; that thou mayest no longer worship the work of thy hands (Micah 5:10, 13).
And I will cast your bodies upon the bodies of your idols, and My soul shall abhor you (Leviticus 26:30).
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn up with fire; thou shalt not covet the silver or gold that is on them to take it unto thee, for it is an abomination to thy God (Deuteronomy 7:25).
Cursed be he who shall make a graven and a molten image, an abomination unto Jehovah, the work of the hands of the artificer, and shall put it in a secret place (Deuteronomy 27:15).
Ezekiel 6:4-5; Isaiah 10:10-11, 21:8-9)
 "Idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood," have a similar signification as:
The gods of gold, of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone, that king Belshazzar praised when he drank wine with his nobles and wives out of the vessels of gold and silver that were brought from the temple of Jerusalem; on account of which the handwriting appeared on the wall, and the king [Nebuchadnezzar] 2
was himself driven out from man, and became like a beast (Daniel 5:1, et seq.).
"The vessels of gold and silver of the temple of Jerusalem" signified the holy goods and truths of the church; "the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone, which the king of Babylon then praised," have a similar meaning as "idols" of the same, and these signify the evils and falsities of doctrine and of worship; "to praise" signifying to worship; "to drink out of the vessels of the temple of Jerusalem and at the same time to praise or worship those gods" signifies the profanation of good and truth by evils and falsities in worship; and because by profanation everything spiritual in man is destroyed, and man without the spiritual is not a man, so Nebuchadnezzar was driven away from man and became like a beast.
Daniel 5, 5:2-5)
 Because an external without an internal must not be worshiped, but only an external from an internal, thus the internal in the external, it was forbidden to make any graven image in the likeness of anything living on the earth, in Moses:
Ye shall not make you a graven image, the shape of any similitude, the figure of male or female, the figure of any beast that is on the earth, the figure of any winged bird that flieth under heaven, the figure of anything that creepeth on the ground, the figure of any fish that is in the waters under the earth (Deuteronomy 4:16-18; 5:8).
This was prohibited because the Jewish nation, more than all other nations, was in externals without internals, and thus in the worship of all the external things that the nations called holy; and to worship external things other than those that represented heavenly things, which were the altar, the sacrifice upon it, the Tent of meeting, and the temple, was idolatrous. The Jewish worship of these, indeed, was also an idolatrous worship, but inasmuch as the church with them was a representative church their worship was accepted for the sake of the representation, although it did not affect them in respect to their soul, as can be seen from the various things shown respecting that nation in Arcana Coelestia (see what is collected in the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 248). And as the worship of an external anywhere else than where it was commanded, which was beside the tent in the desert and beside the temple and in the temple in Jerusalem, was the worship of the representative itself without any intuition of the thing represented, thus a worship of what is merely earthly apart from anything heavenly, therefore this was forbidden them, even to the extent that they should not make for themselves any graven images of such things; for the nature of that nation was such that as soon as they saw them made they worshiped them.
 That the idolatrous nations worshiped the images, not only of men but also of various beasts, birds, and creeping things, came from its having been handed down from the ancients that these objects signified things celestial and spiritual; as that "beasts" signified affections; "birds" the thoughts therefrom; and "creeping things" and "fishes" the same in the sensual-natural man. From this it came that when those who were in external worship without any internal heard that the holy things of heaven and the church were signified by these objects, they began to worship them; as the Egyptians, and from them the sons of Israel in the wilderness and afterwards in Samaria, worshiped calves, because "calves" with the ancients signified the good affections of the natural man.
1. Latin has "strengthens," the Hebrew "formeth," as also found in AE 386; AC 8941, 9424.
2. Latin has "the king," i.e., Belshazzar, the Chaldee has "Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 5:2-5; Ezekiel 14:3-6; Revelation 9:20)