6344. And the beginning of my forces. That this signifies that through it is the first power in truth, is evident from the signification of the "beginning of forces," as being the first power; and as "forces" are predicated of truth, it is the first power in truth that is signified, in like manner as in Isaiah:
Jehovah giveth strength to the wearied one, and to him that hath no forces He multiplieth power (Isa. 40:29);
where "strength" is predicated of good, and "forces" of truth, and "power" of both. How it is to be understood that through faith there is power in good, and the first power in truth, which is signified by "Reuben, my firstborn, thou art my strength, and the beginning of my forces," shall be briefly told. All the power in the spiritual world is from good through truth. Without good, truth has no power whatever, for truth is like a body, and good is like the soul of this body, and in order that the soul may do anything, it must be by means of the body. Hence it is plain that truth without good has no power whatever, just as the body without the soul has no power; for the body is then a carcass, and so also is truth without good.
 When the faith of truth through good is first born, the power appears to be in truth. This power is what is called the "first power in truth through faith," and is signified by the "beginning of forces," as also elsewhere in the Word where "birthright" is treated of; as in David:
He smote all the firstborn in Egypt, the beginning of forces in the tents of Ham (Ps. 78:51).
And in another place:
He smote all the firstborn in their land, the beginning of all their forces (Ps. 105:36).
Also in Deuteronomy:
He shall acknowledge the firstborn son of the hated one, to give him two parts of all that shall be found for him; in that he is the beginning of his forces, the right of the birthright is his (Deut. 21:17).
 As by the "firstborn" is signified in the genuine sense the good that is of charity, but in the sense according to the appearance the truth that is of faith (see n. 3325, 4925, 4926, 4928, 4930), and as these two are the foundations of the church, therefore by the ancients the firstborn was called the "strength of the father, and the beginning of his forces." That such was the signification is plainly evident from the fact that every firstborn belonged to Jehovah or the Lord, and that in the stead of all the firstborn the tribe of Levi was accepted and the priesthood given to it.
 Scarcely anyone in this world can know what is the nature of the power that is in truth from good; but it is known to those who are in the other life; thus by revelation thence. They who are in truth from good, that is, in faith from charity, are in power through truth from good. In this power are all the angels, and from this the angels are called in the Word "powers;" for they are in the power of restraining evil spirits, one angel being able to restrain a thousand all at once. They exercise their power chiefly when with man, in defending him at times against many hells, and this in a thousand and a thousand ways.
 They have this power by means of the truth that is of faith from the good that is of charity; but as they have their faith from the Lord, it is the Lord alone who is the power in them. This power which is through faith from the Lord is meant by the Lord's words to Peter:
Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in the heavens (Matt. 16:18, 19).
This was said to Peter, because by him was represented faith (see preface to Gen. 22, and also n. 3750, 4738, 6000, 6073); and by "Peter," wherever in the Word he is called "Peter," as here, is signified in the internal sense, faith, and in the supreme sense the Lord as to faith.