7439. Let My people go, that they may serve Me. That this signifies that they should release those who are of the spiritual church in order that they may worship their God in freedom, is evident from the signification of "letting go," as being to release; from the representation of the sons of Israel, here "My people," as being those who are of the spiritual church (n. 6426, 6637, 6862, 6868, 7035, 7062, 7198, 7201, 7215, 7223); and from the signification of "serving Jehovah," as being to worship. That they should worship in freedom is plain from what follows (verses 21-23), and also from the fact that all worship which is truly worship must be in freedom.
 The sons of Israel being called "the people of Jehovah" was not because they were better than other nations, but because they represented the people of Jehovah, that is, those who are of the Lord's spiritual kingdom. That they were not better than other nations is plain from their life in the wilderness, in that they did not at all believe in Jehovah, but in their hearts believed in the gods of the Egyptians, as is evident from the golden calf which they made for themselves, and which they called their gods who had brought them forth out of the land of Egypt (Exod. 32:8). The same is evident also from their subsequent life in the land of Canaan, as described in the historicals of the Word, and from what was said of them by the prophets, and finally from what was said of them by the Lord.
 For this reason also few of them are in heaven, for they have received their lot in the other life according to their life. Therefore do not believe that they were elected to heaven in preference to others; for whoever so believes, does not believe that everyone's life remains with him after death, nor that man must be prepared for heaven by his whole life in the world, and that this is done of the Lord's mercy, and that none are admitted into heaven from mercy alone, regardless of how they have lived in the world. Such an opinion about heaven and the Lord's mercy is induced by the doctrine of faith alone, and of salvation by faith alone without good works; for those who hold this doctrine have no concern about the life, and so believe that evils can be washed away like dirt by water, and thus that man can in a moment pass into the life of good, and consequently be admitted into heaven. For they do not know that if the life of evil were taken away from the evil, they would have no life whatever, and that if they who are in a life of evil were admitted into heaven, they would feel hell in themselves, and this the more grievously, the more interiorly they were admitted into heaven.
 From all this it can now be seen that the Israelites and Jews were by no means elected, but only accepted to represent the things that belong to heaven; and that this must needs be done in the land of Canaan, because the Lord's church had been there from the most ancient times, and from this all the places there became representative of heavenly and Divine things. In this way also the Word could be written, and the names in it could signify such things as belong to the Lord and His kingdom.