The Third Commandment
Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work. And the seventh day is the Sabbath to Jehovah thy God. Thou shalt not do any work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and thy beast, and thy sojourner who is within thy gates.
AC 8888. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work. That this signifies the combat which precedes and prepares for this marriage, is evident from the signification of "six days," as being states of combat... and from the signification of "laboring and doing one's work," as being to do those things which are necessary to life, here those which are necessary to spiritual life, that is, to the life in heaven.
AC 8888:2. Moreover by the combat which precedes and prepares for the heavenly marriage is meant spiritual combat or temptation. For before he enters into the heavenly marriage, that is, before he is regenerated, the man is in combat against the evils and falsities in himself, because these must be removed before the truth and good which are from the Lord can be received. These evils and falsities are removed by means of the truths of faith, for by means of these the man not only learns what good is, but is also led to good.
This state is the first state of the man who is being regenerated, and is called the state which precedes and prepares for the heavenly marriage. But when the man is in good and is led by the Lord through good, he is then in the heavenly marriage, thus in heaven, for the heavenly marriage is heaven. The former state is what is signified by "the six days" which precede the seventh, and the latter state by "the seventh day"...
AC 8888:3. As by "the Sabbath" is signified the heavenly marriage, that is, heaven, therefore the kingdom of the Lord in the heavens is called a perpetual Sabbath, thus a perpetual rest and peace, and there are no longer six days of labor there.
AC 8889. And the seventh day is the Sabbath to Jehovah thy God... The meaning of "the Sabbath" is the heavenly marriage... Thus [the Sabbath means] good implanted by means of truths, and afterward formed by them. For the good with man is not spiritual good until it has been formed by truths; and when it has been formed by truths, there is then the heavenly marriage. For the heavenly marriage is the conjunction of good and truth, and is heaven itself with man. From this also it is that "the seventh day" signifies a holy state...
AC 8890. Thou shalt not do any work, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and thy beast, and thy sojourner who is within thy gates. This means that in this case heaven and blessedness are in each and all things in the internal and in the external of man. This is evident from the meaning of "not doing any work," as being rest and peace, thus heaven. For when man is in heaven, he is free from all worry, unrest, and anxiety, and when he is free from these he has blessedness. And it is evident from the meaning of "thou, thy son, thy daughter, thy manservant, thy maidservant, thy beast, the sojourner within thy gates," as being each and all things in the internal and in the external of man. For by "thou" is meant the man himself; by "son" is meant his understanding, by "daughter" his will, both in the internal man. By "manservant" is signified the natural as to truth, and by "maidservant" the natural as to good, thus both that are in the external man. But by "beast" is signified affection in general, and by "the sojourner within the gates," memory-knowledge in general. Thus there are signified each and all things...
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- Arcana Coelestia 9349:4 says that the words “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” are a commandment that must be altogether observed and done; but that the rest of the third commandment (verses 9–11) “may serve a use if one so pleases,” that is, if we wish to. (There is also a third category in the laws given through Moses, laws which the Lord has completely done away with.) So the Lord does not literally require that we do our work in six days and rest on the Sabbath. Looking at the spiritual meaning, what aspects of the spiritual sense of verses 9–11 are required of us?
- Do you think that even if your work prevents you from coming to church very often, it is important to keep a Sabbath, a day of rest and remembering the Lord, once every seven days?
- AC 8888:3 says that in heaven there is perpetual rest, and no longer the six days of labor. How does that fit with the teachings that heaven is a kingdom of uses, where everyone loves the work they do?
- Why is the good we do not spiritual good until it is formed by truths? (AC 8889)