113. The History of Israel. Hebrews of the Hebrews, by virtue of the primogeniture of direct descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the people of Israel now enter upon the stage as the last representatives in the sacred drama of the "Correspondences of Canaan."
A wicked and adulterous brood, the history of whose two thousand years is an almost unbroken record of vice and crime, it nevertheless represents, as no other nation in the annals of mankind, everything good as well as evil of the actual spiritual Church which was to be established by the Lord in His human, and re-established at His Second Coming. The one qualification for this their representative role was their extraordinary conceit and obstinate insistence upon being "the chosen people," together with their one occasional virtue of blind obedience to the letter of the Divine Command. Internally worse than all their wicked neighbors, yet this insistence and this unreasoning conservatism formed a most ultimate plane upon which the Lord could build—not a true Church, indeed, but the purely histrionic representative of a real Church.
The first conception of this representative of a Church took place when Jehovah revealed Himself to Abraham, and afterwards to Isaac and Jacob, but these patriarchs never knew Him by His true name, nor possessed His Law; the covenant made with them was but the promise of things to come. The descent of Israel and his sons into Egypt represented the preparation for a spiritual Church by means of a preliminary education in the scientifics of the sensual mind. The oppression by the Egyptians signified the dominion of the sensual before regeneration had begun. The actual beginning of a Church by means of a new Divine Revelation and its reception, resulting in separation from the Old Church, instruction, temptation and reformation, was represented by the appearance of Jehovah before Moses, the call of the people, the Exodus, the Revelation on Sinai, and the forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
Then followed the Conquest of Canaan, representing the victorious establishment of an Internal Church by the expulsion of interior evils and falses, and the orderly arrangement of all goods and truths in the rational mind. The theocracy under the Judges stood for the highest and relatively celestial state of the triumphant Church under the immediate government of the Divine Truth. The beginning of a decline into a celestial- spiritual, and then into a merely spiritual state, is represented by the government of the people first by priest-judges and then by kings. The separation of charity and faith in the declining Church is signified by the separation of the nation into the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The kingdom of Israel, representing the perverted spiritual Church, was destroyed by Assyria,—the false reasonings of the love of the world; whereas the kingdom of Judah, representing the perverted celestial Church, was carried away captive by Babylon, the love of self and of dominion. Compare the history of the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches!
The seventy years of captivity in Babylon represented the complete vastation of all internal things of the Church. After the return to Jerusalem, the Jewish worship was indeed restored, and the Jews were more orthodox than ever. But the nation now represented nothing but the dead shell of a Church, for the voice of prophecy was no longer heard therein, until the time when John appeared and was beheaded, and the Lord Himself preached and was crucified. The new Divine Revelation was wholly rejected except by a small remnant who formed the nucleus of a new Church, which for a short time remained a genuine Church in which the mere types were abolished by the open truths. The Jews themselves, however, still continued as a representative nation,—representative now of the Christian Church such as it would become in its last days of consummation. The tragic siege and destruction of Jerusalem, and the final dispersion of the people, are indeed a most dramatic representation of the Last Judgment upon the dead Christian Church.
114. The Tribes of Israel. In the following rapid survey of the sons of Jacob in their spiritual signification, we shall follow the order of their birth, confining our exposition as much as possible to the representative meaning of the geographical position of the tribes descended from them, as illustrating in a most striking manner the wonderful exactness of the Science of Correspondences. To each tribe there was allotted, after the Conquest, a portion or "inheritance" of the land, which, as to physical conditions and intertribal situation, was in complete harmony with the spiritual representation of the tribe possessing it. If we can obtain a clear bird's-eye view of the spiritual geography of the Twelve Tribes in Canaan, we shall gain at the same time a correct chart of all the general goods and truths and conditions of the Church in their mutual inter-relation.
The reason for this signification is to be found first of all in the meaning of the number, Twelve, which signifies what is complete and full, both of good and of truth, and this in a specially all-inclusive sense. For this number is the multiple of Three and Four; and Three signifies the all of truth, and Four, the all of good.
This signification of the number Twelve is impressed upon the very ultimates of Nature,—the moon causing the twelve months of the year, and the sun the twelve hours of the day. The moon and the sun are the universal symbols of Faith and Charity, and the months and the hours therefore signify all the general and particular states of truth and of good in the life of man.
From the Rook of Nature this correspondence of the number Twelve was transferred to the written Word. Twelve were the sons of Israel, the ancestors of the twelve tribes which composed the Israelitish Church, and the names of these were inscribed on the twelve stones of the Urim and Thumim, one name on each precious stone. The same representative number was transferred by the Lord to the Christian Church, when He chose His twelve Apostles to represent all the goods and truths of the Church, each Apostle assuming the signification of a corresponding Tribe of Israel. And the same number is especially prominent in the Revelation of John, where it is prophetically transferred to the Church of the New Jerusalem, the crown and fulfillment of all the previous Churches.
Thus we read there that there would be twelve thousand "sealed" of each of the twelve tribes of Israel; that the Woman clothed with the Sun would have upon her head a crown with twelve stars; that the holy city, New Jerusalem, had a wall of twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. The City itself lieth four-square, the measure thereof twelve thousand furlongs; the wall measures a hundred and forty-four cubits, "the measure of a man, that is, of an angel." And the foundations of the wall are twelve precious stones, and the twelve gates are twelve precious pearls. And finally, in the midst of the street of the City, and on each side of the river of water of life, is the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, and yielding its fruit every month. All these things represent, with an infinite variety of application, the same cardinal and fundamental principles of Heaven and the Church that are represented by the twelve Tribes of Israel.
115. A general view of their significance. Before entering upon the special representation of each tribe, it will be useful to obtain a general view of the signification of the twelve sons of Israel, in the order of their birth. It should be observed, to begin with, that the twelve sons are to be divided into three classes or series; the first four sons,—Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,—represent the four general successive states of the regenerate life; the next four,—Dan. Naphtali, Gad, and Asher,— represent the general media of regeneration; while the last four, —Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph, and Benjamin,—represent the states of the resulting conjunction of the external and internal man. (AC 3902, 3941.)
1) Reuben, so named from "seeing," is the first general state of faith in the understanding, resulting from the first sight of spiritual truth.
2) Simeon, named from "hearing," is the next general state, when man, through obedience to the truth, begins to receive it also in the will.
3) Levi, named from "adhering," is the subsequent state of conjunction of will and understanding in the life of charity.
4) Judah, named from "confession," is the final and crowning state, when, from the perfection of charity, the regenerating man comes into the love of the Lord.
Then follows the description of the successive media through which man is initiated into the successive states of regeneration.
5) Dan, named from "judging," is the first medium through which the gateway is opened into the Church, i. e., the affirmative acknowledgment of the Divine Truth, on the one hand, and of the necessity of repentance on the other.
6) Naphtali, named from "struggling," represents the next medium of temptation, which immediately follows when man, through acknowledgment, has entered upon the life of regeneration.
7) Gad, named from "a troop," represents the multitude of good works and uses in the natural man, upon which he enters after each successful combat in temptation.
8) Asher, named from "blessedness," is the medium of heavenly delight, which blesses a life of uses and opens the way for more internal progress.
9) Issachar, named from "reward," represents the interior conjunction of good and truth, and the consequent mutual love which is the reward of those who delight in the performance of uses for the sake of the neighbor.
10) Zebulon, named from "cohabitation," is the conjugial itself, external as well as internal, which is the noblest fruit of mutual love.
11) Joseph, named from "adding,'" represents the perfected state of will and understanding with the spiritual man,—a state when, through the heavenly marriage within him, there descends from within a new intelligence and a new will. These are represented by the two sons of Joseph:
a) Ephraim, named from "fruitfulness," representing the new intellectual, prolific in an abundance of spiritual ideas, and
b) Manasseh, named from "forgetfulness," representing the state of the new voluntary, through which there is a forgetfulness, i. e., removal of evils, both actual and hereditary, in the external man.
12) And, finally, Benjamin, the "son of the right hand," is the truth of good, the spiritual of the celestial, the interior Perception from the new-born will; in other words, the light proceeding from true charity and love of the Lord, through which all the things of the external man, (all the rest of the brethren), are at last brought into harmony with the will of the Lord in the internal man.
We may now consider each of the tribes in particular.
116. Reuben. The first-born son of Jacob represents the first state in the life of regeneration, when the seed of Divine Truth is received in the understanding of the external man. Hence Reuben was named from sight, for at his birth his mother said: "Behold, a son (reu-ben), for she said, Jehovah hath seen my affliction," (rau-beonyi). The sight or understanding of truth is always the first step in. the new birth, even as the sense of sight is the first of the particular senses to be opened with a newborn child. For there is no approach to the Father except through the Son. There is no way of gaining what is good except through the knowledge and understanding of what is true. "Faith in the understanding always precedes faith in the will: for when anything is unknown, as heavenly good is, man must first learn to know that it exists, and understand its nature, before he can will it." (AC 3863.)
As Cain was born before Abel, as Jacob received the primogeniture before Esau, as Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob, and as Peter was the first of the Apostles, so faith in the understanding must always, in point of time, and as to the appearance, precede charity in the will. But as Abel was preferred above Cain; as Esau was the first-born by right; as Judah received the primogeniture in the last blessing of Jacob upon his sons; and as John was the best beloved of the disciples, so good or charity possesses the actual primogeniture as to the end involved, which is that of salvation.
To the tribe of Reuben, at the time of the Conquest, there was given a tract of land on the eastern side of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, bounded by the land of Moab in the south and the land of Ammon in the north. This region included Mt. Nebo, whence Moses obtained his first and last view of the land of Promise, and it was from this land the Israelites made their passage across the Jordan when entering the land. The trans-Jordan district represents the external Church, corresponding to the external and introductory state of those who as yet have gained only the first sight of the Divine Truth. While a man remains in this state he is continually threatened by two great evils. On the one hand lurk the fierce and cruel Ammonites, spirits who are in natural truth falsified, and who seek to snatch away spiritual truth from man by inspiring conceit of knowledge and contempt of others, thus faith alone. And on the other hand the Moabites, corrupt but wealthy and self-satisfied, revelling in what is merely natural good opposed to spiritual good, seeking to seduce faith by suggesting that it does not matter what you believe, so long as you "do good." Skepticism and Sentimentalism are two brothers, equally hostile to rational faith.
117. Simeon. The second son of Jacob represents the second universal means of regeneration and the consequent second general state of spiritual life, i. e., the state when the man who has received the Divine Truth in his understanding, compels himself to obey it in act. In order to represent this state Simeon was named from "hearing," which corresponds to Obedience. ("Shimeon," from shania, to hear.) At his birth Leah said: "For Jehovah hath heard that I was hated, and hath given me this also." For Leah, the weak-eyed external affection of truth, is hated and despised by the natural man, until by self-compelled obedience to the Truth he begins to realize the good to which it leads. A new will, the will of good, is then conceived in the new understanding, but at first it is only an external voluntary from an external faith,—a willingness which is largely induced from without by means of various hinds of fear, and discretely distinct from genuine charity, (Levi), and still more from the love of the Lord, (Judah).
In this series it is evident that Reuben represents the state of those who are in the spiritual-natural heaven, while Simeon represents the state of those in the celestial-natural heaven. The one stands for genuine natural truth, and the other for genuine natural good, which is the good of obedience. Levi, in the same series, stands for the spiritual heaven, or the good of spiritual charity, while Judah represents the celestial heaven, or the good of love to the Lord.
It is not surprising, therefore, to find the tribe of Simeon, or the celestial-natural, constantly associated in the Sacred History with the tribe of Judah, or the celestial itself, the two together constituting the Lord's Celestial Kingdom. On this account, after the Conquest of Canaan, there was given to the tribe of Simeon a large but rather sterile region, (the Negeb or south country), to the south of the tribe of Judah, and bordering upon the districts inhabited by the Edomites and Ishmaelites. For the good of obedience is associated on the one hand with love to the Lord, and on the other with the simple good of the Gentiles.
Like Reuben, the tribe of Simeon figures but little in the history of Israel, since both represent introductory and external states. As a tribe it disappeared before long, being amalgamated with the tribe of Judah.
118. Levi. As by continued obedience to the truth the regenerating man grows accustomed and habituated to the life of faith, this life gradually becomes delightful to him, and he begins to become affected by the truth on account of the evident blessings which it bestows. He begins to live it because he sees in it the hope of eternal salvation for himself and for mankind, and this love of the Lord's Truth on account of salvation gives birth to the third state of regeneration, which is that of spiritual Charity.
This charity is what is represented by Levi, and this not only because of the order of his birth but also because of the meaning of his name, which signifies "conjunction," from a root meaning "to twine, to adhere, to cleave to any one." And Leah said: "Now this time my man will cleave unto me, because I have borne to him three sons; therefore she called his name Levi." From the natural idea of cleaving to another, or joining oneself to another, there is but a step to the spiritual idea of mutual love or charity and from this we advance to the celestial idea of the Lord's own Divine Love, which is charity in the supreme and infinite degree, the Divine desire to join all His human creatures unto Himself and to one another, and to bless them with the supreme good of eternal salvation.
Within all genuine human charity the Divine Love of saving human souls burns as an inmost and holiest flame, a love which because it is supreme stands before every other love and therefore is called the priestly love. For the word "priest," (from prae-stare), means "one who stands before," i. e., in front of the altar and in front of the congregation.—one who from a supreme love of serving the Lord and the neighbor in the highest use of charity, acts as a leader in the worship and life of the Church. It is this priestly charity that is especially represented by Levi, and on this account the office of the priesthood in the Israelitish Church was adjoined to the tribe of Levi.
The fact that no special part of the land of Canaan was given as an inheritance to Levi, but that this tribe was distributed among all the tribes and received its support from the tithes of all the people,—"the Lord Himself being their inheritance,"— involves the fact that the priestly love and the priestly use must be universal throughout every genuine Church. Every man of the Church must be a priest within his own family, and every form of Charity within the Church must be inspired inmostly by the love of the eternal salvation of men, which is the sole reason for the existence of the Church on the earth. And for the Clergy as a distinct office it involves the lesson of supreme trust in the Divine Providence of the Lord, whose immediate servants they are, and the necessity for complete and exclusive devotion to their one heavenly use, which in itself is the greatest of all blessings, the richest, most delightful and most glorious inheritance that can possibly be given to immortal man.
119. Judah. As Reuben represents the first sight or understanding of the Divine Truth; Simeon the consequent obedience; Levi the will of truth resulting in good-will or charity towards the neighbor; so Judah, the fourth and last of the first group, represents the crown and fruition of all the preceding states,— the regenerate.state itself, the new-born will of good, which is the same as the love of the Lord. It was in order to represent this state that Leah said, at the birth of her fourth son: "This time I shall confess Jehovah; therefore she called his name Jehudah."
The name "Judah" or "Jehudah'' means literally "Confession of Jehovah," and it is an unquestioned historical fact that the posterity of this son of Israel, alone among all the tribes and nations of this world, remained to the end most persistently in the confession of Jehovah as the one and only God of heaven and earth. While it is true that their confession was almost wholly mere lip-worship, external, formal, selfish, and dead: and while it is equally true that this tribe was morally the most atrociously wicked among all the tribes of the worst nation on earth; yet the fact remains that this confession of Jehovah distinguished them for nearly two thousand years, in the midst of universal polytheism and idolatry, as the only remaining monotheists in the world. This persistent confession of Jehovah afforded a sufficient basis for the representation of Judah as the worship and love of the Lord.
The Jewish confession of the invisible Jehovah became, in the Christian Church, the confession and love of the crucified Savior, the Son of God who in His human had made manifest the Father, the Lamb of God who had taken the sins of the world away. To the early Christians the love of the Lord meant the love of the Divine Man, Jesus Christ; it was a simple, child-like, personal love, natural yet pure and exalted. This love has survived as the chief redeeming love with the remnant of simple-hearted Christians of all ages, but in the Christian Church as a whole it perished when the theologians divided the Godhead into three Divine persons, each one of whom is to be equally loved. The love of the Lord, thus divided, was love no more.
In the New Christian Church this lost love was restored, together with the restoration of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as the one and only Person in whom dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily. But in this New and Crowning Church this love of the Lord is not to remain a merely personal and therefore natural love. It is to become the love of the Lord in His Second Advent, the love of the Heavenly Doctrine through which He has appeared in His opened Word. For this Church will understand and love this teaching of the Lord Himself: "If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments; he that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me." (John 14:15)
Representing thus the greatest, supreme and inmost of all affections and loves in the Church, the tribe of Judah received as its inheritance the largest and most important portion in the inmost and highest region of the land of Canaan,—a mountainous district, yet rich and fertile in ancient times, when every mountain side was carefully terraced and covered with flourishing vineyards and olive groves. It was thus able to support a teeming population and a greater number of important cities and towns, than could be found in any other part of Palestine. Here was Hebron, the most ancient capital of the country, and Jerusalem with Zion and the Temple, representing the heart and lungs of the nation, the inmost of both the celestial and spiritual, of the life and the worship of the Church.
Here, then, throned the "lion of Judah" on his mountains, surrounded by Dan in the west and Reuben in the east; by Simeon to the south and Benjamin to the north. For Dan signifies the acknowledgment of the Lord, the affirmative disposition which is a celestial disposition. And Reuben signifies faith in the Lord, which in itself is a celestial Faith. Simeon signifies obedience to the Lord, which is the basis of all celestial virtues. And Benjamin signifies perception from the love of the Lord; and perception is the same as celestial intelligence.
120. Dan. The successive births of the first four sons of Jacob describe "the state of the Church, or of the man who is becoming a Church, as to the ascent from the truth which is of faith to the good which is of love." The next four sons of Jacob represent "the conjunction of natural truth with spiritual good by means of media, and this in the order in which it is effected with the man who is being regenerated." (AC 3902.) The first of these media, in the order of time, is the acknowledgment of truth, represented by Dan.
The name Dan in the Hebrew means a "judge," and he represents in the supreme sense the Divine Judge, the Lord as to His Divine Truth, and in a general sense the acknowledgment of the Divine Truth by the man who is to become an individual church of the Lord, for it is this acknowledgment which judges, i. e., discriminates between truth and falsity and thus separates the things which are of the Church from those which are not of the Church. Before there is such acknowledgment the man has not even entered upon the threshold of the Lord's kingdom, but the moment that he admits and affirms that the Doctrines of the Church are the Lord's own teaching and therefore Divinely true, he has entered the gate of the Kingdom. It was on this account that the judges in ancient times sat at the gates of the cities and towns, and from this custom it is that the Turkish government calls itself to this day "the supreme Port." For there are gates in the world of spirits leading into heaven, but no one can enter in who does not acknowledge the Divine authority of the Lord in His Word. Acknowledgment, therefore, is the first means or medium of entrance, and thus of communication and conjunction with all things of the Church and of Heaven.
In harmony with this representation there was given to the tribe of Dan a tract of land in the extreme west, along the Mediterranean Sea, to the north of the land of the Philistines, including the city of Joppa, which was then, as now, the only sea-port of the land of Canaan. The sea and the west signify the obscure state of those outside the Church who are as yet only in literal and sensuous appearances of truth, and for these there is no way of entering into the interior things of the regenerate life except by the humble acknowledgment that the spiritual things of the Lord's revelation are superior to the lumen of the natural man. The only gateway is through Joppa in the country of Dan.
When man is in this introductory state he is more or less in a state of truth alone, bordering upon the Philistine state of faith alone. He differs from the Philistines, however, by possessing an affirmative affection of interior truth, which needs but time and experience to blossom into the affection of good. But though he will make progress into the interiors of the land, he will not leave the gate unguarded, but will descend from the mountains of Judah in times of war to give battle to the Philistines. Michael, the celestial man, discriminates more than any other angel between truth and falsity, and fights especially against that greatest of all heresies, the faith alone which is a living denial of the Lord.
In order still further to represent acknowledgment as the gateway into the Church, a colony of Danites were permitted to take possession of the city of Laish, at the extreme northern boundary of Canaan, and to re-name it Dan. Hence, "from Dan to Beersheba" came to mean the whole extent of the land from north to south. And thus Dan became, in a twofold sense, the gate of entrance into the Holy Land, for the only natural approach from the north was through the Lebanon valley of Coeli-Syria through northern Dan into the valley of the Jordan. The north signifies a state of ignorance; Syria, the knowledges of doctrine; and Lebanon, the natural rational. The investigator, on his way to the heavenly Canaan, is at first in a state of ignorance: then he acquires an external knowledge of the Doctrines, which he examines in the light of natural reason, but he cannot enter the Church itself until he has passed through Dan,—until he has acknowledged that the Doctrine is Divine.
121. Naphtali. Jacob's second son by Bilhah, the handmaid of Rachel, was named from the "wrestlings" of Rachel with her sister, that is, the struggles of the interior affection of truth with the exterior affection to become the mistress of the regenerating mind. Naphtali, therefore, signifies that spiritual wrestling which is called temptation, and which is the second general medium of regeneration.
That such is the signification of Naphtali is evident not only from the meaning of his name, but also from everything that is known of the history and location of this tribe. Inhabiting the mountainous region of northern Canaan, through which the highway leads from Syria into the Holy Land, the tribe of Naphtali always had to bear the brunt of attacks from invading Syrians, Ammonites, and Assyrians, and hence, of necessity, it became a warlike tribe. It was Barak, the hero of Naphtali, who with his own tribe and that of Zebulon, defeated the hosts of Sisera, in that battle by the river Kishon when "the stars in their courses fought against Sisera." (Judges 5:20.) Naphtali bears the same signification in the New Testament, when, after the Lord had endured the forty clays of temptation in the wilderness, "He came and dwelt in the borders of Zebulon and Nephtalim." (Matth. 4:13.) For Naphtali represents not only the temptations themselves, but also the happy state that follows after a successful struggle against evil.
We are taught that the love of self and the world "cannot be dissipated by any other medium than the affirmation and acknowledgment of the holy of faith and of the good of love. This is Dan. And then through temptation, which is the second medium, and is signified by Naphtali, for this medium follows the other." (A. C. 3228.) As soon as the pilgrim to Canaan has passed through the gateway of Dan, he finds himself in the rugged mountain district of Naphtali. Here are lofty peaks, with great forests and deep, dark ravines. The highland gradually slopes down on all sides: on the west towards the coast where dwelt the tribe of Asher; on the east towards the Jordan valley, on the other side of which dwelt the northern half of the tribe of Manasseh; and on the south towards the fertile region inhabited by the tribes of Zebulon and Issachar. Asher, in general, signifies delight; Eastern Manasseh, genuine good works; Zebulon and Issachar, the conjugial; and Naphtali in the midst of them, and introductory to them all, signifies the perception, and the joy of perceiving, the opening of all these heavenly blessings, after the regenerating man has been victorious in the dark struggles of temptation.
As surely as the region of Naphtali follows upon the gateway of Dan, so surely do temptations follow upon the affirmative acknowledgment that the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem is Divine. Doubts immediately begin to assail, for there are many appearances contradicting the new acknowledgment. The newborn faith must be tried in the crucible in order to become pure metal. The new wine must undergo the foul and turbulent process of fermentation in order to become a clear, noble and generous spirit. But the storm and stress will not last forever, for after each six days of labor there comes a day of rest. There are forests and ravines in Naphtali, but also mountain peaks with beautiful vistas of comfort and consolation after each bitter struggle. The "blessedness of Asher" then smiles upon the wanderer,—the delight of fellowship with the angels and with brethren in' the Church, refreshing the strength and the courage by the sphere of a new, spiritual, and therefore genuine charity. The plains of Bashan, where Manasseh dwells, roll forth their riches with perception of good works and uses for the eternal salvation of man. And, sweetest of all consolation, there is the prospect of Zebulon and Issachar, the conjunction of good with truth, the conjugial of an eternal "cohabitation" with the partner of the soul.
122. Gad. From the perception of uses which follows upon victory in temptations, the regenerating man now enters upon the third means or medium of regeneration, that is, the performance of these uses themselves, or the good works which are represented by Gad. These works are manifold: on every side a host of them appear to the perception; Leah said, "A troop cometh; and she called his name, Gad." In the Hebrew the word Gad means "a troop."
There are in general three kinds of good works. The first is the works done by those who are in natural good but despise spiritual truth; these are represented by the Moabites and Ammonites. The second kind of good works is done by those who are as yet in external faith, "works done from truth and not yet from good." (AC 6404); "works without judgment, for they who do works from truth and not yet from good, have an obscure understanding, whereas they who do works from good have an enlightened understanding because good enlightens," (AC 6405); the former are represented by Gad. The third kind is done by those who do genuine good works from a spiritual good-will towards the neighbor; these are represented by the eastern half of the tribe of Manasseh, who inhabited the plain of Bashan, to the north of Gad.
The good works represented by Gad are therefore the works of the beginner in the Church, the works of the new convert, whether born in the Church or not, who in his early zeal is going to "do something" for the beloved cause. Having learned a few initiatory and general truths, such persons have been known to declare that they now have enough of truth for some time to come, and they are now to do good. They burn to be "helpful" to the thirsting and hungering multitudes without, and so they are apt to rush headlong into hasty, ill-considered, indiscriminate work, which, once ultimated in action, they adore as their work, and are unwilling to be corrected and improved by a more internal study of the Heavenly Doctrine.
In itself this state is not an evil one, but a state of mixed good, initiatory good, in which there is something of good intention and of innocence in the midst of ignorance and conceit. If a man confirms himself in this state, and obstinately refuses to enter into more internal good, he surrenders to the Ammonite spirits who formerly inhabited his land, and he becomes a source of evil instead of good to the Church. But if the state be but transitory, it is a delightful, beautiful and useful state of good, the happy though external good of youthfulness, the good of the honeymoon state of regeneration.
In correspondence with this good there was given to the tribe of Gad the beautiful land of Gilead, on the outer side of the Jordan, representing the external Church, with Reuben to the south and Manasseh to the north. This land was famous for its beauty and fertility and balsamic spices, all of which signified "the first good, which is that of the sensuous things of the body, for it is the good or pleasure of these things into which the regenerating man is first initiated." (AC 4117.)
The land of Gilead was the first possession of the Israelites when entering the Promised Land after their forty years of trial and temptation in the wilderness, and hence this region ever afterwards represented the first delight of rest and comfort, with promises of greater blessings yet to come. There is holiness and there is healing in this state, the holiness and innocence of childhood and youth. There is in its early enthusiasm something to look back to for comfort and consolation in the weary struggles and temptations of subsequent more internal states, even as there is a fountain of strength and promise to the conjugial life in the memory of the honey-moon bliss of the youthful husband and wife. Thus there is ever "balm in Gilead for the healing of the people."
123. Asher. The eighth "son of Jacob was named from "blessedness." This is a state of the affections, and on this account Leah said at his birth: "In my blessedness, because the daughters will make me blessed. And she called his name Asher." (Gen. 30:13.)
There are many kinds and degrees of blessedness or, what is the same, delight, and Asher stands for any of these degrees, according to the connection in which he is mentioned in the Word. In the external and most general sense he signifies the delight which a regenerating man perceives more or less obscurely in this world from the affections of love and charity in the doing of the good works signified by Gad. In the internal sense he signifies the eternal blessedness of these affections, which is almost imperceptible in this life, but which is nevertheless hidden within the general sensation of delight and comes to full flower and fruition in the life to come. Still more interiorly, Asher signifies eternal life itself, and, in the supreme sense, he signifies the One who alone is and bestows eternal life, heavenly blessedness, and natural delight and pleasure. (AC 4609; AR 353.) When the regenerating man begins to perceive the delight arising from the ability to be of service to the neighbor,—a delight which corresponds to the eternal blessedness of heaven,—then his external man begins to be conjoined with his internal man, or his earth begins to be conjoined with his heaven, for it is delight which opens the way for this conjunction and thus leads into the next state,—Issachar, who signifies this conjunction itself.
To the tribe of Asher there was given a region of Canaan fully corresponding to its spiritual signification. It consisted of a long and narrow strip of land along the sea-board, south of Phoenicia, and flanked on the east by the territories of northern Dan, Naphtali, Zebulon, and Issachar, with Manasseh to the south. It was one of the richest and loveliest regions in Palestine and included the fruitful plain of Accho, or Acre, beautiful Mt. Carmel with its thousand vineyards, and the northern part of the flowery plain of Sharon. This highly favored district well fulfilled the promise involved in the name of "Asher," and the "blessings" pronounced upon him by Jacob and Moses. Here were to be found in abundance the oil in which "Asher" was to "dip his foot," the "bread," which was to be "fat," and the "royal dainties" in which he was to revel. Here, also, in the metallic manufactures of the neighboring Phoenicians, were to be found the "iron and brass for his shoes." Protected from the north-wind by the Lebanon range, from the blistering south-wind by Mt. Carmel, and from the destructive breath of the eastern desert by the mountains of Naphtali, this delightful garden land was cooled by the zephyrs of the Great Sea which was in view from every point of the territory of Asher. For delight accompanies all the stages of the pilgrim's progress into the Promised Land. There is delight in acquiring the Phoenician knowledges concerning the Church: there is delight in entering into the acknowledgment of Dan ; delight follows upon victories in the temptations of Naphtali; the greatest of all delights is the conjugial, external and internal, signified by Zebulon and Issachar, leading into the heavenly joy of the new will of good, signified by Manasseh. And from every state there is the delight of contemplating the great infinite ocean of eternity, into whose bosom will be gathered finally all the little brooks and rivulets of individual existence.
124. Issachar and Zebulon. The birth of these two brothers introduces a new series among the sons of Israel. As has been stated above, the first series, consisting of Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, represents the four most general states or stages of the process of regeneration. The next series, consisting of Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher, represents the four most general means or media by which the external man is conjoined with the internal man. And the final series, consisting of Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph and Benjamin, represents the four most general states of the regenerate life itself, resulting from this conjunction of the external with the internal man, that is, of truth with good, or of the spiritual with the celestial. On this account this final series is introduced by the incident of the dudaim, (mandrakes, or "love-apples"), which Reqben found in the field, the mandrakes signifying the conjugial of good and truth., (AC 3941.)
Both Issachar and Zebulon represent this interior marriage of good and truth, or the heavenly conjugial, (AC 3952), and hence these two tribes were always intimately associated. But while Issachar represents the interior conjugial itself, as ultimated in a life of mutual love, Zebulon represents the further ultimation of this conjunction in a life of actual conjugial love between husband and wife, for this also is one of the fundamental and universal things of heaven and the church.
The name Issachar, (Yissaskar), signifies literally "there is a reward," or "hire." To the external thought the connection of "hire" or "reward" with the idea of the interior conjugial and mutual love would seem somewhat remote, yet in the internal sense the connection of ideas is easily seen. For "reward is of service as a means of conjunction to those who are not yet initiated," such as children and young people. (A. C. 3816.) By rewards there is established a mutuality or reciprocation between children and parents, between pupils and teachers, and between servants and masters, and thus a complete circle of action and reaction, resulting in mutual love.
As long as a man remains in the desire for reward, he remains in a persuasion of his own merit, a conceit of self-preeminence, with which there is associated a more or less conscious contempt of others in comparison with himself. (AC 3956.) But if he advances in the life of regeneration his ideas of reward gradually become less gross; he begins to look for heavenly, instead of earthly rewards, and, finally, the desire for reward vanishes altogether in the joy of serving the Lord and the neighbor for the sake of the use itself. And thus he comes into the reward itself, the onlv reward which remains to eternity, —the bliss of being able and allowed to perform uses and of seeing that these uses are accepted. This is that inmost delight which those enjoy who are in the affection of mutual love.
When the man has reached this state then there is within him a full conjunction of his faith with his charity, of his understanding with his will, i. e., that heavenly and internal marriage of truth with good, which finds its spontaneous expression in a life of mutual love. And this interior love will, in the Lord's own good time,—in this world or in the next—find one most special object, one closest neighbor and eternal counterpart, upon whom mutual love will be concentrated in the intensest measure and resulting in the intensest joys,—in that holiest of all loves which is "the jewel of human life," that sweetest and best of all rewards which is called "love truly conjugial." This is Zebulon, so named from "cohabitation."
To the tribe of Issachar there was given in the land of Canaan a territory which included almost the whole of the famous plain of Jezreel or Esdraelon, extending from Mt. Carmel in the west to the Jordan in the east, and from Mt. Gilboa in the south to Mt. Tabor in the north. This territory was and still is the richest and most fruitful of all regions in Palestine, as is indicated, indeed, by the original name, Jezreel, meaning "the seed-plot of God." For the internal conjugial of good and truth is verily the "seed-plot of God," whence come all spiritual prolification in the regenerate life, and all natural potency and fruitfulness in marriage.
Situated in the plain of Jezreel, midway in the land, the territory of Issachar served as the great highway of communication from north to south, and from east to west in the land, even as the interior of the natural rational, (which is the seat of the marriage of good and truth in the conscious mind), is the highway of communication and conjunction between the spiritual mind and the natural. Here also, as for ages on the plain of Esdraelon, is that great spiritual field of battle where the great decisive combats must be fought out by the regenerating man against the foreign enemies invading through his proprium.
It is significant that Issachar, though born before Zebulon, received an inheritance to the south of the latter, or interior to it. The reason appears to be that the interior conjugial, or some beginning of it, must have been born within each individual, before an orderly external marriage is to take place. Actual conjugial love, while it is the home of all heavenly loves, is at the same time an ultimate love. To Zebulon, therefore, was assigned a territory to the north of Issachar, a beautiful wooded and hilly district extending from Mt. Carmel to the Sea of Galilee, and from Nazareth in the south to Cana in the north,— the very region, indeed, where the Lord in His Human was to spend the greater part of His life on earth, His labors and victories effecting the heavenly marriage between Himself and His Church, and the infinite Union of the Divine and the Human.
125. Joseph. "In the preceding series, by the sons of Jacob from Leah and the handmaidens, it has treated of the reception and acknowledgement of general truths, and finally of their conjunction with the interior man; thus of the regeneration of man even until he becomes spiritual. Joseph is this spiritual man." (AC 3971.) At his birth Rachel said, "God hath taken away my reproach; and she called his name Joseph, saying, Let Jehovah add to me another son." (Gen. 30:23, 24.) The Hebrew text suggests a two-fold signification of the name Joseph,—one who "takes away," (from asaph), and one who adds or causes increase, (from yasaph),—involving a prophecy, perhaps, of the two sons of Joseph: Manasseh. whose name means "forgetfulness," and Ephraim, which means "fruitfulness."
Joseph, the tempted and persecuted youth who finally became ruler over the whole land of Egypt, represented in general the crowning state of the natural man who by the labors of temptation has at length become a spiritual man, a man who by obedience to spiritual truth has gained genuine spiritual good. This good, therefore, is called the good of truth, or the celestial of the spiritual,—not the celestial itself, represented by Judah, who has arrived to his supreme heights by a shorter and quicker route,—but the celestial of the spiritual, which is the inmost of the Lord's Spiritual Kingdom. (AR 355; AE 448; AC 6417.)
Within this regenerated spiritual man there are now born two new and spiritual faculties of life, a new voluntary and a new intellectual, to take the place of the old will and the old understanding of the natural man. It was in order to represent this new duality that the house of Joseph was divided into the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, and also in order to retain the significant number of "twelve" in the tribal districts in Canaan, since the tribe of Levi did not receive any geographical allottment in the land. Historically, no doubt, the double portion thus given to the house of Joseph was bestowed in recognition of the eminent services of Joseph to his father and brethren, and of the pre-eminent social position and influence of his descendants. Reuben and Simeon, at the deathbed of Israel, were cursed rather than blessed, (on account of the heinous crimes which they had committed in their youth), and Ephraim, or the new intellectual, was accepted as the first-born in place of Reuben, or mere faith,—and Manasseh, or the new voluntary, in place of Simeon, or blind obedience. (AC 5354.) On the same occasion, also, Israel bestowed the primogeniture upon Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph, instead of Manasseh, who was aerially the first-born, just as Jacob himself had long before stolen the birthright from Esau. The significance of the transfer is the same in each case, for to the natural man, even though regenerated to the spiritual degree, the appearance remains that truth and things intellectual, because they take precedence in point of time, are of primary importance, and that good and the things of affection and love are secondary, because they seem to be the fruits of faith. (AC 5354, 6269.)
126. Ephraim. At the birth of his second son Joseph said, "For God hath made me fruitful in the land of my affliction; and he called his name Ephraim," by which is signified the propagation of good and the multiplication of truth indefinitely after a life of victorious combats of temptation." (AC 5355, 5356.) Literally, the name Ephraim is a dual form, meaning "two-fold fruitfulness," i. e., both of good and of truth, in and from the new intellectual with the regenerated man.
To the tribe of Ephraim, as the possessor of the primogeniture of Joseph, there was given a superb region of Canaan, in the very center of the land, extending from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, and bordered by Benjamin and Dan in the south, and by Manasseh in the north. It was a rich and beautiful hill country, (in heaven the spiritual angels dwell on hills, while the celestial dwell on mountains); it was well watered and richlywooded, abounding in corn fields and orchards, and secure from attacks of foreign foes. This district, which included the greater part of the region afterwards called Samaria, contained numerous important towns and cities, among these, Shiloh, where the ark and the tabernacle were deposited for several hundred years, making this the religious center of the nation during the entire period of the Judges and the early monarchy; Shechem, between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerezim, once occupied by the ancient Hittites and later on venerated as the burial place of Jacob; and, finally, Samaria, which throughout the history of the separate kingdom of Israel remained the capital of the northern kingdom.
In the kingdom of Israel the predominance of the tribe of Ephraim was so complete as to cause the entire realm to be called Ephraim, instead of Israel, in many places in the Old Testament, especially in the Prophets. From the beginning Ephraim was a militant and heroic tribe, domineering, haughty, and jealous. Joshua, the conqueror of Canaan, was of the tribe of Ephraim, and this tribe retained the hegemony until in the time of David the ark and the capital of the nation were transferred to Jerusalem and the tribe of Judah. Proud Ephraim now began to alienate itself from the united monarchy, and after the oppressive reign of Solomon it eagerly seized upon the first opportunity to establish its independence. Ephraim, the intellectual of the Spiritual Church, then became the leader of Israel, or the Spiritual Kingdom, but, being hostile to Judah, or the Celestial Church, it now represented a Church of faith alone, like the Protestant Church, and, like it, doomed to destruction by the Assyrian cohorts of false reasonings.
127. Manasseh. The name of the first-born son of Joseph means literally “one who causes to forget,” and to forget means to remove from the memory. At his birth Joseph said, “Because God hath made me forget all my labors and all my father’s house,” by which is signified not only the removal of the memory of the bitter labors of temptation in the struggle for regeneration, but also “the removal of the evils themselves, both actual and hereditary, [’all my father’s house’] for when these have been removed, there rises up a new voluntary.” (AC 5351, 5353)
This "new voluntary" consists of a genuine will towards the neighbor, a willingness to serve and be of use, forgetful of all considerations of self-interest. And Manasseh represents not only the willingness to serve, but also the act of serving, thus good works from a genuine good will, for the will is the conatus or endeavor of every act, and where there is this endeavor, there also it is ultimated in act, whenever possible. (AR 355.) In order, therefore, to represent this duality of will and act, a double inheritance was given to the tribe of Manasseh in the land of Canaan. The main body of the tribe dwelt in the interior of the land, to the north of Ephraim and south of Asher and Issachar, in a region extending from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, and including the beautiful plain of Sharon and the southern parts of the plains of Megiddo and Esdraelon. This part of the tribe represented the new voluntary itself within the spiritual man. The other part of the tribe, generally known as Eastern Manasseh, dwelt on the farther side of the Jordan, where they enjoyed the possession of nearly the whole of the land of Bashan, than whicl1 there was no richer region in the whole of Canaan. This half of the tribe represented the willingness to serve in the act o f serving, and it is this ultimation of good will that reaps t h e most bountiful harvests and the richest increase. Eastern Manasseh, like Gad, thus represents good works, but while the latter stands for "works from truth," or early works from mixed motives, the former stands for "works from good," or genuine good works. Like Gad, this half-tribe of Manasseh dwelt On the farther side of the Jordan, to represent the fact that these good works, though genuine, still, as acts, belong to the external of the Church. (AE 440.)
128. Benjamin. The twelfth and last son of Jacob was born near Bethlehem; by his father he was named Benjamin, which means a "son of the right hand." A "son" always signifies truth; the "right," good; and "hand," power. Hence Benjamin signifies the saving power of that spiritual truth which flows from celestial good. (A. C. 4592.)
Joseph stands for the regenerated or spiritual man in general, but more especially for the good of this spiritual man, or the celestial of the spiritual, which is as distinct from the celestial itself, signified by Judah, as the spiritual love of the neighbor is distinct from the celestial love of the Lord. Benjamin, who followed Joseph in the order of birth, signifies the truth that flows from this spiritual good, the spiritual of this celestial, the faculty of perception which is the greatest and final gift to the regenerated man of the spiritual genius. This significance of Benjamin may be illustrated by the growth of a plant. The earlier sons of Jacob may be compared to the stem, branches and green leaves, through which the sap or natural love is strained and purified, producing finally the flowers or spiritual conjunctions of good and truth, represented by Issachar and Zebulon. Then, from the further purification of the sap in the tender petals, there is formed the sweet, ripe fruit which corresponds to spiritual good, the celestial of the spiritual, or Joseph. And, finally, inmostly within the fruit, there is formed the seed, corresponding to the new truth, the truth from good, the spiritual of the celestial, or Benjamin.
Truth from good, with man, is the same as the perception of truth from the love of good, a new and instantaneous vision from which a new light is shed upon all the things which formerly were viewed from the outside only, an affirmative wisdom which reconciles all the lower truths and goods which formerly appeared conflicting, even as Benjamin was the medium of reconciliation between Joseph and his brethren. When the regenerating man has attained unto this perception, he no longer is becoming a church, but is a church, for in this new truth alone there is life from good. (AC 5806.) Hence Benjamin was the last-born of Israel.
This perception of truth mediates not only between the natural and the spiritual, causing the man to view all natural things from a spiritual point of view, but it mediates also more interiorly between the celestial and the spiritual, enabling the former to inflow with life and affection into the latter. In order to represent this close association of the truth of good with the celestial itself, on the one hand, and with the spiritual itself, on the other, "the inheritance of the tribe of Benjamin was between the children of Judah and the children of Joseph." (AE 449.) The region thus given to Benjamin was a small but high plateau, extending from Bethlehem and Jerusalem in the south to Bethel in the north, and commanding all the means of communication between Judah and Ephraim, and between Dan in the west and Gad in the east on the other side of the Jordan.
Within this district there were very many places of great prominence in sacred history. Here was the eminence of Ramah, an ancient sanctuary famous as the residence of Samuel; the "watch-tower" of Mizpeh where the great assemblies of all Israel were held in the time of the Judges; Bethel, "the house of God," where Jacob beheld heaven opened; Gibeon, "the great high place;" and Gilboa, the birth-place and residence of Saul. Closely bordering upon Benjamin was the city of Bethlehem, which, like Benjamin, who was, born there, signifies the truth of good, or the spiritual of the celestial, for beth, or house, signifies truth, and lechem, or bread, signifies good. This was the reason why the Lord in His human was born in Bethlehem, for He alone of all men was born a spiritual-celestial man. With Him alone the natural was from the beginning eager for good and filled with longing for truth. (AC 4594; AE 449.)
Jerusalem, finally, was partly within the border of Benjamin, that is to say, the upper and fortified part originally occupied by the Jebusites, where Zion was afterwards built; the lower part of the city, with Mt. Moriah and the Temple, had come into the possession of Judah. Jerusalem, as a city, signifies the Church as to Doctrine, and all the Doctrine of the Church is in itself spiritual-celestial, being the Divine truth of the Divine Good of the Lord,—Benjamin in the supreme sense. (AE 449: AR 361; AC 4592.)