Ancient Churches Lexicon Entry:


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The first Ancient Church, meant by Noah and his sons, was spread throughout many kingdoms, including Egypt (AC 1238). While the Ancient Church was in Egypt, all kinds of knowledge flourished there (AC 1462). The correspondences, representatives, and significatives known to the Ancient Church were theobjects of special care and attention for the people of Egypt at this time. This knowledge was used to explain what had been written in the books of the church, and to explain the things that were done in their sacred worship (AC 5223). In fact, the Ancient Church in Egypt consisted chiefly of this kind of knowledge, which was handed down from one generation to another (AC 4964).

At the time when the Ancient Church was spread throughout Asia, the Egyptians excelled above all others in the knowledge of correspondences and representations. This was the case because they were acquainted with both the external and internal things of the church——the external things being the rites, statutes, judgments, and commandments that represented and corresponded to the heavenly (internal) things (AC 10437, AC 9391). But in course of time, the same thing happened to the Egyptians that happened to all who were part of the Ancient Church, that is, they changed from being internal people to being external people, and made all worship consist in external things. When this happened, the knowledge of correspondences and representations was turned into magic, because the interior things of worship (which are love and faith) were blotted out. Yet some knowledge of the internal things still remained, along with the external worship that represented those things (AC 10437).

Idolatry in Egypt arose from the loss of the knowledge of correspondences. Earlier, the Egyptians had made images for themselves that corresponded to spiritual things, and they took delight in them because they symbolized things relating to heaven and the church. They put these images in their houses and temples, not as objects of worship, but to remind themselves of the heavenly things that they symbolized. However, after the knowledge of correspondences was extinguished, their descendants, who did not know what these images symbolized, began to worship the images themselves——first as holy objects, and eventually as deities, because they had been placed in and around temples (Verbo 7). The hieroglyphics of Egypt were of the same origin as idolatry, since they too originated in correspondences but were used to pervert Divine order (DP 255, AC 6692, Verbo 7).

The rituals surrounding idolatry came from the Egyptians’ probing into spiritual and celestial things by means of reasonings, and thereby devising a form of worship for themselves. The rituals of this worship, called fact-constituted forms of ritual (ritualia scientifica), existed merely as items of knowledge, and had nothing spiritual or celestial within them. Because the Egyptian rituals were of such an origin, they utterly rejected the religious practices of the Ancient Church (AC 1195). In fact, every aspect of the Hebrew Church (the Second Ancient Church) was an abomination to the Egyptians because, although they had initially a part of the Ancient Church, the Egyptians later rejected Jehovah (the God of the Ancient Church), served idols, and turned correspondences into magic (AC 5702).

See also:

Communication with the Spiritual World, Correspondences, Doctrine, Eber, Hieroglyphics, Idolatry, Magic, Names of the Lord, Noah, Polytheism, Representatives, Rituals, Significatives, Temples, Worship, Worship of Humans as Gods

Passages relating to Egypt and the Ancient Churches:

AC 1195; AC 1238; AC 1343; AC 1462; AC 2385; AC 4749; AC 4964; AC 5223; AC 5700; AC 5702; AC 6692; AC 6846; AC 6917; AC 7097; AC 7456; AC 7779; AC 9011; AC 9391; AC 10177; AC 10437; AE 391; AE 422; AE 654; AE 827; CL 76; CL 342; Coro 39; Coro 44; DP 255; DP 264; DP 328; HD 51; HD 261; HH 87; HH 327; SE 269; SE 4848; SS 20; SS 21; SS 23; SS 102; TCR 201; TCR 202; TCR 205; TCR 275; TCR 279; TCR 833; Verbo 7; Verbo 15; WH 12
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