4231. Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh;
signifies the first of a new church; the "fig-tree" is the good of the natural; her "branch" is the affection of this; and the "leaves" are truths. The "parable from which they should learn" is that these things are signified. He who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word, cannot possibly know what is involved in the comparison of the Lord's coming to a fig-tree and its branch and leaves; but as all the comparisons in the Word are also significative (n. 3579), it may be known from this signification what is meant. A "fig-tree" wherever mentioned in the Word signifies in the internal sense the good of the natural (n. 217); that her "branch" is the affection of this, is because affection springs forth from good as a branch from its trunk; and that "leaves" are truths may be seen above (n. 885). From all this it is now evident what the parable involves, namely, that when a new church is being created by the Lord, there then appears first of all the good of the natural, that is, good in the external form together with its affection and truths. By the good of the natural is not meant the good into which man is born, or which he derives from his parents, but a good which is spiritual in respect to its origin. Into this no one is born, but is led into it by the Lord through the knowledges of good and truth. Therefore until a man is in this good (that is, in spiritual good), he is not a man of the church, however much from a good that is born with him he may appear to be so.
 So also ye, when ye see all these things, know that it is nigh, even at the doors;
signifies that when those things appear which are signified in the internal sense by the words spoken just before (verses 29-31), and by these concerning the fig-tree, then it is the consummation of the church, that is, the Last Judgment, and the Coming of the Lord; consequently that the old church is then being rejected, and a new one is being set up. It is said, "at the doors," because the good of the natural and its truths are the first things which are insinuated into a man when he is being regenerated and is becoming the church.
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished;
signifies that the Jewish nation shall not be extirpated like other nations, for the reason shown above (n. 3479).
 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away;
signifies that the internals and the externals of the former church would perish, but that the Word of the Lord would abide. (That "heaven" is the internal of the church, and "earth" its external, may be seen above, n. 82, 1411, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355e). By the Lord's "words" are plainly meant not only these now spoken respecting His coming and the consummation of the age, but also all that are in the Word. These words were said immediately after what was said about the Jewish nation, because that nation was preserved for the sake of the Word, as may be seen from the number already cited (n. 3479). From all this it is now evident that the beginnings of a New Church are here foretold.
1. And Jacob went to his way, and the angels of God ran to meet him.
2. And Jacob said when he saw them, This is the camp of God; and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
3. And Jacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom.
4. And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau: Thus saith thy servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and have tarried until now.
5. And I had ox and ass, flock and manservant and handmaid; and I send to tell my lord, to find grace in thine eyes.
6. And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother, to Esau, and moreover he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
7. And Jacob feared exceedingly, and was distressed; and he halved the people that was with him, and the flock, and the herd, and the camels, into two camps.
8. And he said, If Esau come to the one camp, and smite it, then there will be a camp left for escape.
9. And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, O Jehovah, that saith unto me, Return unto thy land, and to thy birth, and I will do well with thee;
10. I am less than all the mercies, and all the truth, which Thou hast done with Thy servant; for in my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I am in two camps.
11. Rescue me I pray from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, the mother upon the sons.
12. And Thou saidst, I will surely do well with thee, and I will make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which is not numbered for multitude.
13. And he passed the night there in that night, and he took of that which came into his hand a present for Esau his brother:
14. Two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams:
15. Thirty milch camels and their colts, forty heifers and ten bullocks, twenty she-asses and ten foals.
16. And he gave into the hand of his servants each drove by itself; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space between drove and drove.
17. And he commanded the first, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?
18. Then thou shalt say, Thy servant Jacob's; this is a present sent unto my lord Esau; and behold he also is behind us.
19. And he commanded also the second, and the third, and all that went after the droves, saying, According to this word shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.
20. And ye shall also say, Behold thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will expiate his faces in a present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his faces; peradventure he will lift up my faces.
21. And the present passed over before him, and he passed the night in that night in the camp.
22. And he rose up in that night, and took his two women, and his two handmaids, and his eleven sons, and passed over 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 remained alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the dawn arose.
25. And he saw that he prevailed not 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, Let me go, for the dawn ariseth. And he said, I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me.
27. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28. And he said, Thy name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou contended with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29. And Jacob asked and said, Tell I pray thy name. And he said, Wherefore is this that thou dost ask after my name? And he
blessed him there.
30. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; for I have seen God faces to faces, and my soul is delivered.
31. And the sun arose to him as he passed over Penuel, and he halted upon his thigh.
32. Therefore the sons of Israel eat not the nerve of that which was displaced, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, even unto this day, because he touched in the hollow of Jacob's thigh the nerve of that which was displaced.