Ancient Churches Lexicon Entry:


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The most ancient people who lived before the Flood saw something representative and significative of celestial and spiritual things in everything of nature (AC 2722). The ancients made images that corresponded to these things and took delight in them, placing them in marketplaces and in streets, and in their temples and houses, arranging them according to their significations (Verbo 7, Coro 43). They did this, not for the purpose of worshipping them, but to call to mind the heavenly things that were signified by them (Verbo 7).

But in the course of time, the ancients began to worship merely external things without the internal. And as they began to recede from charity, heaven also receded from them, and they were led by spirits from hell instead (AC 4680). After the knowledge of correspondences was lost, the descendants of these people, who did not know what the images set up by the ancients signified, began to worship the images as holy, and eventually as deities, because they had been placed in and near temples (Verbo 7). The Ancient Church fell so far away from charity and into falsities and evils that eventually all their rites became idolatrous (AC 2243). The church was consummated and destroyed by these idolatries, which filled the whole world, including Asia and its neighboring islands, as well as Africa and Europe (TCR 760, DP 255). By the time of the Last Judgment of the Ancient Church, almost all the people who belonged to that church had become idolaters (AC 2118).

In order to root out idolatry, the Divine Providence brought about a new religion, the Mohammedan religion. This religion was adapted to the disposition of the Orientals, in order that it might destroy the idolatry practiced by so many nations, and give the people some knowledge about the Lord before they entered the spiritual world (DP 255).

See also:

Charity, Correspondences, The Fall, Last Judgments, Magic, Names, Rituals, Temples

Passages relating to Idolatry and the Ancient Churches:

AC 922; AC 1195; AC 1241; AC 1242; AC 1328; AC 1343; AC 1361; AC 2118; AC 2177; AC 2180; AC 2243; AC 2441; AC 2605; AC 2722; AC 4112; AC 4162; AC 4288; AC 4431; AC 4449; AC 4552; AC 4680; AC 4847; AC 5702; AC 6435; AC 6832; AC 6846; AC 9193; AC 9391; AC 10437; AC 10603; AE 279; AE 827; AE 1177; AR 503; CL 78; CL 342; CL 532; Coro 42; Coro 43; Coro 44; Coro 51; DP 255; DP 264; SS 22; SS 23; SS 117; TCR 159; TCR 204; TCR 205; TCR 275; TCR 291; TCR 760; TCR 833; TCR 846; Verbo 7; WHapp 1
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