(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 4835

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4835. Come to thy brother's wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her. That this signifies that he should continue it, namely, the representative of the church, is evident from the signification of "to come" or "enter to a brother's wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her," as being to preserve and continue that which is of the church. The commandment in the Mosaic law that if any man died childless, his brother should take the widow to wife and raise up seed to his brother, and that the firstborn should be called by the name of the deceased brother, but the rest of the sons should be his own, was called "the duty of the husband's brother." That this statute was not a new thing originating in the Jewish Church, but had been in use before, is evident from this history, and the same is true of many other statutes that were commanded the Israelites by Moses-as that they should not take wives of the daughters of the Canaanites, and that they should marry within their families (Gen. 24:3-4; 28:1-2). From these and many other instances it is evident that there had been a church before, in which such things had been instituted as were afterwards promulgated and enjoined upon the sons of Jacob. That altars and sacrifices had been in use from ancient times is plain from Genesis 8:20-21; 22:3, 7-8, 13. From this it is clear that the Jewish Church was not a new church, but that it was a resuscitation of the Ancient Church which had perished.
[2] What the law in regard to the husband's brother had been is evident in Moses:
If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the deceased shall not marry without, to a strange man; her husband's brother shall enter to her, and take her to him to wife, and thus perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her. Then it shall be that the first-born whom she beareth shall stand upon the name of his deceased brother, that his name be not blotted out of Israel. But if the man will not marry his brother's wife, his brother's wife shall go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuses to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother unto me. Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him; and if he stand and say, I desire not to take her; then shall his brother's wife come near unto him in the sight of the elders, and shall draw his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto the man that doth not build up his brother's house; whence his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe taken off (Deut. 25:5-10).
[3] One who does not know what the duty of a husband's brother represents, can have no other belief than that it was merely for the sake of preserving the name, and hence the inheritance; but the preservation of a name and of an inheritance was not of so much importance that for the sake of it a brother should enter into marriage with his brother's wife; but this was enjoined that thereby might be represented the preservation and continuation of the church. For marriage represented the marriage of good and truth, that is, the heavenly marriage, and consequently the church also, for the church is a church from the marriage of good and truth; and when the church is in this marriage it makes one with heaven, which is the heavenly marriage itself. As marriage has this representation, therefore sons and daughters represented and also signified truths and goods; wherefore to be childless signified a deprivation of good and truth, thus that there was no longer any representative of the church in that house, consequently that it was out of communion. Moreover, the brother represented kindred good, with which might be conjoined the truth which was represented by the widowed wife; for in order that truth may be the truth which has life and produces fruit, and so continue that which is of the church, it cannot be conjoined with any other than its own and kindred good. This is what is perceived in heaven by the duty prescribed to the husband's brother.
[4] That if the man would not perform the duty of a husband's brother, his brother's wife should take his shoe from off his foot and spit in his face, signified that, as one who was devoid of external and internal good and truth, he would destroy the things of the church; for a "shoe" is what is external (n. 1748), and the "face" is what is internal (n. 1999, 2434, 3527, 4066, 4796). From this it is evident that by the duty of the husband's brother was represented the preservation and continuation of the church. But when the representatives of internal things ceased by the coming of the Lord, then this law was abolished. This is circumstanced as are the soul or spirit of man and his body. The soul or spirit of man is his internal, and the body is his external; or what is the same, the soul or spirit is the very form of man, but the body is his representative image; and when a man rises again, his representative image, or his external, which is the body, is put off; for he is then in his internal, or in his form itself. It is circumstanced also as is one who is in darkness, and from it sees the things which are of the light; or what is the same as is one who is in the light of the world, and from this sees the things which are of the light of heaven; for the light of the world in comparison with the light of heaven is as darkness. In darkness, or in the light of the world, the things which are of the light of heaven do not appear such as they are in themselves, but as in a representative image, as the mind of man appears in his face; and therefore when the light of heaven appears in its clearness, the darkness or representative image is dissipated. This was effected by the coming of the Lord.

4835a. And raise up seed to thy brother. That this signifies lest the church should perish, is evident from the signification of "seed," as being truth from good, or the faith of charity (n. 1025, 1447, 1610, 1940, 2848, 3310, 3373, 3671). The like is also signified by the "firstborn who was to stand upon the name of the deceased brother" (n. 352, 367, 2435, 3325, 3494). To "raise up the seed to a brother" is to continue that which is of the church, according to what was said just above (see n. 4834), thus lest the church should perish.


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