(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 6756

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6756. And he went out unto his brethren. That this signifies conjunction with the truths of the church, is evident from the signification of "brethren," as being the truths of the church (of which in what follows) and from the signification of "going out unto them," as being to be conjoined with them. As regards "brethren," they sometimes signify the goods, and sometimes the truths of the church; when the celestial church is treated of, they signify goods, and when the spiritual church is treated of, they signify truths, because the celestial church is in good, but the spiritual church in truth. And in ancient times all who were of the church called themselves "brethren." They too who were of the spiritual church called themselves "brethren," from good (see n. 3803); but the men of the internal church did this with a difference according to the quality of the good, thus according to truths, for good has its quality from truths. Afterward, when the church turned aside from good, and hence also from truth, they then no longer called one another "brethren" from spiritual consanguinity and affinity, which are of charity and of faith, but only from natural consanguinity and affinity, and also from friendship. Moreover, they began to be indignant that one of meaner condition should call himself a "brother." The reason was that they made little or nothing of relationship from a spiritual origin, but very much, and indeed everything, of relationships from a natural and civil origin. (That the truths of the church are called "brethren," is evident from the fact that the sons of Jacob represented the truths of the church in the complex, see n. 5403, 5419, 5427, 5458, 5512.)
[2] The reason why in ancient times they were called "brethren" from spiritual affinity, was that the new birth, or regeneration, made consanguinities and affinities in a higher degree than natural birth; and because the former derive their origin from one father, that is, from the Lord. Hence it is that men after death, who come into heaven, no longer acknowledge any brother, nor even a mother or father, except from good and truth, in accordance with which they find there new brotherhoods. From this then it is that they who were of the church called one another "brethren."
[3] That the sons of Israel called all those "brethren" who were from Jacob, but others "companions," is plain from these passages:
I will commingle Egypt with Egypt, that a man shall fight against his brother, and a man against his companion (Isa. 19:2).
A man helpeth his companion, and he saith to his brother, Be courageous (Isa. 41:6).
Beware ye a man of his companion, and confide ye not upon any brother; for every brother supplanting will supplant, and every companion will slander (Jer. 9:4).
[4] That all who were from Jacob called themselves "brethren:"-
Then shall they bring all your brethren out of all nations, an offering to Jehovah, upon horses, upon chariot, and upon litters (Isa. 66:20).
Thou shalt surely set over them a king, whom Jehovah thy God shall choose; from the midst of thy brethren thou shalt set a king over them; thou mayest not put over them a man a foreigner, who is not their brother (Deut. 17:15).
They also called the sons of Esau "brethren," because they were from Jacob, as in Moses:
We passed over with our brethren the sons of Esau, who dwell in Seir (Deut. 2:8).
[5] That in ancient times they who were of the church called themselves "brethren," was as before said because they acknowledged the Lord as the one only Father, and because from Him they had a new soul and new life. Therefore the Lord says:
Be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren (Matt. 23:8).
As spiritual brotherhood is from love, namely, that one may be another's, and they who are in good are "in the Lord, and the Lord in them" (John 14:20), therefore they are called "brethren" by the Lord:
Jesus stretching forth His hand toward His disciples said, Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father who is in the heavens, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother (Matt. 12:49-50).
Insofar as ye have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it to Me (Matt. 25:40);
and He also calls the disciples "brethren" (Matt. 28:10; John 20:17). By "disciples" in the representative sense are meant all who are in the truths of faith and the good of charity.


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