The Third Commandment

[This is taken from Emanuel Swedenborg's Spiritual Life and the Word of God.]


The third commandment is, to keep the Sabbath holy.

The third and fourth commandments of the Decalogue contain things that must be done, namely, that the Sabbath must be kept holy, and that parents must be honored.  The other commandments contain things that are not to be done, namely, that other gods must not be worshipped; that the name of God must not be profaned; that one must not steal, must not commit adultery, must not bear false witness, must not covet the goods of others.  These two commandments are commandments to be done because the sanctification of the rest of the commandments depends upon these, for the “Sabbath” signifies the union in the Lord of the Divine itself and the Divine Human, also His conjunction with heaven and the church, and thus the marriage of good and truth in the man who is being regenerated.  This being the signification of the Sabbath, it was the chief representative of all things of worship in the Israelitish Church, as is evident in Jeremiah (xvii. 20-27), and elsewhere.  It was the chief representative of all things of worship, because the first thing in all things of worship is the acknowledgment of the Divine in the Lord’s Human, for without that acknowledgment man can believe and do only from self, and to believe from self is to believe falsities, and to do from self is to do evils, as is also evident from the Lord’s words in John:

To those asking, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom God hath sent” (vi. 28, 29).

And in the same,

“He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for apart from Me ye can do nothing” (xv. 5).

That the Sabbath represented that union and the holy acknowledgment of it, has been fully shown in the Arcana Coelestia, namely, that the “Sabbath” signified in the highest sense the union of the Divine itself and the Divine Human in the Lord, in the internal sense the conjunction of the Lord’s Human with heaven and with the church, in general the conjunction of good and truth, thus the heavenly marriage (n. 8495, 10356, 10730).  Therefore the rest on the Sabbath day signified the state of that union, because the Lord then has rest; also through that union there is peace and salvation in the heavens and on the earth.  In a relative sense it signified the conjunction of man with the Lord, because man then has peace and salvation (n. 8494, 8510, 10360, 10367, 10370, 10374, 10668, 10730).  The six days preceding the Sabbath signified the labors and combats that precede union and conjunction (n.  8510, 8888, 9431, 10360, 10667).  The man who is being regenerated is in two states, the first when he is in truths and by means of truths is being led to good and into good, the other when he is in good.  When man is in the first state he is in combats or temptations; but when he is in the second state he is in the tranquility of peace.  The former state is signified by the six days of labor that precede the Sabbath; and the latter state is signified by the rest on the Sabbath day (n. 9274, 9431, 10360).  The Lord also was in two states: the first when He was Divine truth and from it fought against the hells and subjugated them, the other when He was made Divine good by union with the very Divine in Himself. The former state was signified in the highest sense by the six days of labor, and the latter by the Sabbath (n. 10360). Because such things were represented by the Sabbath, it was the chief representative of worship, and the holiest of all (n. 10357, 10372).  “To do work on the Sabbath day” signified to be led not by the Lord but by self, thus to be disjoined (n. 7893, 8495, 10360, 10362, 10365).  The Sabbath day is not now representative, but is a day of instruction (n. 10360 at the end).  (A.E., n. 965.)





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