Ancient Churches Lexicon Entry:


Back to: Lexicon Index | Lexicon Home

In the Golden Age, when tribes, families, and households lived separately, and not under governments, dignity was associated with the head of the family. These heads of families were loved, respected, and venerated by their children, not because their parents gave them birth, but because they gave them instruction and wisdom, which was a second birth, the birth of their spirit (DP 215).

After that time, though, when the love of ruling crept in, enmity and hostility rose up against those who would not submit to be ruled. Out of necessity, tribes, families, and households banded together into communities and protected themselves with towers, walls, and earthworks. They also set over themselves a person whom they called first a judge, and afterwards a prince, and finally a king or emperor. From the judge, prince, king or emperor, the lust of dominion spread like a disease to many (DP 215).

In the representative Ancient Church, the two offices of king and priest had existed jointly in one person, as was the case with Melchizedek, for example (AC 6148). But when worldly and bodily loves began to close up the higher regions of the understanding, then governments were established under a sole monarch (TCR 9).

The ancients originated several customs of monarchical government, customs that were still followed in Swedenborg’s day. The customs surrounding the coronation of a monarch originated in ancient times, such as sitting on a silver throne, wearing a purple robe, being anointed with oil, wearing a crown, holding a scepter, sword, and keys, riding on a white horse with horseshoes made of silver, and being waited on at a table by the chief nobles of the kingdom (AC 4966). The throne became a symbol of a king in most ancient times, which is why it now denotes the office of a monarch (AC 5313). The scepter also became a royal emblem in ancient times, because it represented power (AC 4013). Monarchs are anointed with oil because in ancient times this ritual represented the good of love (AC 9954).

See also:

Anointings, Cities, Families, Four Ages, Melchizedek, Names of the Lord, Worship

Passages relating to Monarchs and the Ancient Churches:

AC 4013; AC 4581; AC 4966; AC 5313; AC 6148; AC 9954; DP 215; TCR 9
Help with References and Abbreviations