Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 7893

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7893. 'No work shall be done on them' means abstention during that time from earthly and worldly pursuits. This is clear from the meaning of work' as toils and endeavours that have things of a worldly and earthly nature in view, and therefore 'no work shall be done on them' means abstention from such pursuits. The reason why they were forbidden so strictly to do any work during feasts and sabbaths was in order that on those occasions a complete representative state, that is, the kinds of things that represented celestial and spiritual realities, might exist among them. That state would have been thrown into disorder if they had done any kinds of work that had the world or earth in view. For the representative acts of the Church among the descendants of Jacob were established in order that through those acts heaven might be put in communication with mankind, the end for which the Church exists. That communication would not have been achieved unless those people had been forbidden under pain of death to do any work on feast and sabbath days. For their minds were firmly fixed on worldly and earthly pursuits in which they engrossed themselves with all their heart, since they were worldly and earthly themselves. If therefore they had been free at the same time on those days to engage in such pursuits, the communication effected through representative acts would have been completely severed and would have ceased to exist. In later times however the same feasts were kept in being for the sake of heavenly life experienced on those occasions, and for the sake of teaching they received then which enabled them to learn what faith and charity were.

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