6640. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. That these signify this process from beginning to end, namely, that of the setting up anew of the church, to be described in what follows, is evident from the signification of the sons of Jacob, and also of the tribes named from them, as being all things of good and of truth, that is, all things of love and of faith, in the complex (see n. 3858, 3926, 3939, 4060, 6335); but with variety according to the order in which they are named (see n. 3862, 3926, 3939, 4603 seq.); thus things innumerable, and all things of the Lord's church and kingdom both in general and in particular (n. 6337). But what they specifically signify when named in this or in another order, no one knows but the Lord alone, nor anyone in heaven but from the Lord, where the truths and goods which are signified are shown by means of lights to which is adjoined perception.
 As the twelve tribes represented the Lord's kingdom and all things therein, therefore in order that these lights also might be represented, and thereby all the truths and goods of the church, twelve precious stones in their order were engraved and set in gold, one stone for each tribe, and this was called the "breastplate," and was placed on Aaron's ephod, and from this by varying flashes of light they received answers, to which was adjoined either a living voice, or an internal perception. Hence also it is evident that the twelve tribes of Israel signify all the truths and goods of the Lord's kingdom and church in the complex, and this variously according to the order in which they are named. That they are here named in another order than that of birth, is plain from the fact that Issachar and Zebulun are named before Dan and Naphtali, though the latter were born before them; also Benjamin before Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher, when yet Benjamin was born last; also that Gad and Asher are named last of all. In like manner in other parts of the Word, where they are named in still different orders.