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VII. And finally, the beginning of a new church is treated of, which is meant by the words which were last explained, viz. by these, “And he shall send “ forth his angels with a trumpet and a great voice, " and they shall gather together his elect from the “ four winds, from the extreme of the heavens even “ to the extreme thereof,” verse 31; that by these words the beginning of a new charch is meant, may be seen, n. 4060 at the end.
4230. When the end of an old church and the beginning of a new is at hand, then is a last judgment; that this time is what is meant in the word by the last judgment, may be seen, n. 2117 to 2133, 3353, 4057; and also by the coming of the Son of Man. The subject now treated of is concerning the coming itself, respecting which the disciples inquired of the Lord, saying, "Tell us, when shall these things come " to pass ? especially what is the sign of thy coming, " and of the consummation of the age ?" verse 3, chap. xxiv. in Matthew. Now therefore follows an explication of what the Lord predicted concerning the very time of his coming, and of the consummation of the age, which is the last judgment; but in the preface to this chapter we shall explain only the things contained in verses 32, 33, 34, 35, which are these, “ But learn a parable from the fig-tree: When its “ branch is now tender, and its leaves spring forth, ye “ know that summer is near, So ye likewise, when ye “ shall see all these things, know ye that it is near at " the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation " shall not pass away, until all these things come to
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my “ words shall not pass away.
Tlie internal sense of these words is as follows.
4231. But learn a parable from the fig-tree: When its branch is tender, and the leaves spring forth, ye know that summer is nigh, signifies the first of a new church; fig tree denotes good of the natural principle, branch
is the affection thereof, and leaves are truths; the parable from which they should learn is, that those things are signified. He who doth not know the internal sense of the word, cannot possibly know what is involved in the comparison of the Lord's coming with the fig-tree, and its branch and leaves; but inasmuch as all comparitives in the word are also significatives, see n. 3579, it may hence be known what those things mean; fig-tree, wheresoever it is named in the word, in the internal sense signifies good of the natural principle, see n. 217; the ground and reason why branch denotes the affection thereof, is, because affection springs and flourishes from good as a branch from its trunk; that leaves denote truths, see n. 885. Hence then it is evident what this parable involves, viz. that when a new church is created by the Lord, then first of all appears good of the natural principle, that is, good in an external form with its affection and truths; by good of the natural principle is not meant the good into which man is born, or which he derives from his parents, but the good which is spiritual as to its origin, into which good no one is born, but is led into it of the Lord by the knowledges of good and truth ; wherefore until man is in this good, viz. in spiritual good, he is not a man of the church, howsoever it may appear from connate good that he is so. So also ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is nigh at the doors, signifies when those things appear, which are signified in the internal sense by. the words spoken immediately above, verses 29, 30, 31, and by these words concerning the fig-tree, that then is the consummation of the church, that is, the last judgment, and the coming of the Lord; consequently, that then the old church is rejected, and the new established. It is said at the doors, becausė the good of the natural principle and its truths are the first which are insinuated into man, whilst he is regenerating and becometh a church. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, until all these things come to pass, signifies the Jewish nation, that it shall not be extirpated as other nations, the reason whereof may be seen, n. 3479. Heaven and earth shall pass uway, but my words shall not pass away, signifies the internals and externals of the former church, that they should perish, but that the word of the Lord should abide; that heaven is. the internal of the church, and earth its external, see n. 82, 1411, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355. That the words of the Lord are not only those which were here spoken concerning his coming and the consummation of the age, but also all that are contained in the word, is evident. These words were spoken immediately after what was said concerning the Jewish nation, because the Jewish nation was preserved for the sake of the word, as may appear from the passage cited, n. 3479. From these considerations then it is manifest, that the beginnings of the new church are here predicted.
1 Anu Jacob went to his way; and the angels of God met into him.
2 And Jacob said, as he saw them, This is the camp of God: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
3 And Jacob sent messengers before himself to Esau his brother, the land Seir, the field of Edom.
4 And commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say to my lord Esau ; Thus saith thy servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried even until now:
5 And I had ox and ass, flock, and man-servant and maid-servant, and I send to indicate to my lord, to find favour in thine eyes.
6 And the messengers returned unto Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother to Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
7 And Jacob feared exceedingly, and he had straitness; and he halved the people which was with him, and the flock, and the herd, and the camels, into two camps;
8 And said, If Esau shall come to one camp, and shall smite it, and there shall be a camp left for escape.
9 And Jacob said, God' of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, Jehovah, saying unto me, Return to thy land, and to thy nativity, and I will do well with thee.
10 I am less than all the mercies, and than all the truths, which thou hast done with thy servant, because in my staff I have passed this Jordan, and now am into two camps.
11 Snatch me, I pray thee, out of the band of my brother, out of the hand of Esau; because I fear him, peradventure he may come, and smite me, the mother upon the sons.
12 And thou hast said, In doing well I will do well with thee, and will place thy seed as the sand of the sea, wbich is not numbered for multitude.
13 And he passed the night there in that night, and took of what came into his hand a present for Esau his brother ;
14 Two hundred she-goats, and twenty he-goats, two hundred sheep, and twenty rams,
15 Thirty milch camels and their sons, forty cows and ten oxen, twenty she-asses and ten foals,
16 And gave into the hand of his servants, drove drove apart; and said to his servants, Pass ye before me, and set a space between drove and between drove.
17 And he commanded the first, saying, That Esau my brother shall meet thee, and shall ask thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest tbou? and whose are these before thee?
18 And thou shalt say, Thy servant Jacob's; this is a present sent to my lord Esau, and behold also he is after us.
19 And he commanded also the second, also the third, also all that went after the droves, saying, According to this word ye shall speak to Esau, in your finding him.
20 And ye shall say also, Behold thy servant Jacob is after us. Because he said, I will expiate his faces in a present going before me, and afterwards I will see his faces, peradventure he will take up my faces.
21 And the present passed over before him, and be passed the night in that night in the camp.
22 And he arose in that night, and took his two women, and his two handmaids, and his eleven sons, and passed the passage of Jabbok.
23 And he took them, and caused them to pass the river, and caused to pass what he had.
24 And Jacob he remained alone; and a man. wrestled with bim, until the day-dawn arose.
25 And he saw that he did not prevail over him, and he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint in his wrestling with him.
26 And he said, Send me, because the day-dawn ariseth. And he said, I will not send thee, unless thou shalt bless me.