9256. Bringing back thou shalt bring it back to him. That this signifies instruction and amendment, is evident from the signification of "bringing back," when said of those outside the church who are in good and truth not genuine, as being to instruct and amend; for in this way they are brought back. That benefits ought to be imparted to those who are outside the church, is also meant by the Lord's words in Matthew:
Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and benefit those who hate you. For if ye love those who love you, what reward have ye? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more? (Matt. 5:43-47);
here also by "enemies" and by "those who hate" are meant in the spiritual sense those who are at variance in respect to the goods and truths of faith, and in general those who are outside the church; because the Jewish nation considered these as enemies, whom they were permitted to utterly destroy, and to kill with impunity. That these are meant in the spiritual sense by "enemies," is plain, because it is said, "if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more?" for all were called "brethren" who were born of Jacob, thus who were within the church.
 As further regards those who are outside the church, and are called "Gentiles," they are indeed in falsities of doctrine, but from ignorance, because they have not the Word; and yet when they are instructed they are in a clearer and consequently more inward perception about the heavenly life with man than are Christians. The reason is that they have not confirmed themselves against the truths of faith, as have very many Christians; and therefore their internal man is not closed, but, as with little children, is readily opened and receptive of truth. For those who have confirmed themselves against the truths and goods of faith, as do all who live an evil life, close in themselves the internal man above, and open it beneath. The result is that their internal man looks only at those things which are beneath, that is, into the external or natural man, and through this at the things in the world, and at those around their body and upon the earth; and when this is the case, they look downward, which is to look toward hell.
 With such persons the internal man cannot be opened toward heaven unless the things which deny truth, or affirm falsity, which have closed it, are dispersed; which must be done in this world. This cannot be effected except by a complete inversion of the life, thus the course of many years. For falsities arrange themselves in series, establishing a continuous connection among one another; and they form the natural mind itself, and its mode of viewing those things which are of the church and of heaven. From this it is that all things which are of faith and charity, that is, of the doctrine of the church, or of the Word, and in general all heavenly and Divine things, are thick darkness with such persons; and that on the other hand worldly and earthly things are light to them. From this it is plain that to destroy the falsities with such persons is to destroy their very life; and that if they are to have any new life, the falsities must be uprooted gradually, and truths and goods be implanted in their place, which will in like manner form a continuous connection with one another, and be arranged in series. This is meant by the "complete inversion of the life," which is possible only in the course of many years. Therefore he who believes that a man can be made new in a moment, is very much mistaken.
 But those who have not confirmed themselves against the goods and truths of faith-as is the case with those who are outside the church, and yet have lived in some kind of faith and charity according to their religion-have not been able to close the internal man in themselves by negations of truth, and by confirmations of falsity against the truth of faith from the Word; and therefore the internal of these persons is opened upward (that is, into heaven and toward the Lord), if not in this world, yet in the other life; and then all the earthly and worldly things they have brought with them from their life in the world, are at the same time uplifted so as together to look upward; whereby they are in a state to receive the truths of faith and the goods of charity from the Lord, and to become imbued with intelligence and wisdom, and thus to be endowed with eternal happiness. Such is the lot of all who have lived in good in accordance with their religion; and therefore the Lord's church is spread throughout the whole world. But the Lord's church itself on earth is like the Grand Man in the heavens, whose heart and lungs are where the Word is, and the rest of whose members and viscera, which live from the heart and the lungs, are where the Word is not.
 From all this also it can be seen why a new church is always set up among the Gentiles who are outside the church (n. 2986, 4747), which as before said takes place when the old church has closed heaven against itself. For this reason the church was transferred from the Jewish people to the Gentiles, and the present church is also now being transferred to the Gentiles.
 That the church is transferred to the Gentiles who acknowledge the Lord, is evident from many passages in the Word, as from these which follow. In Isaiah:
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, Thou hast made great their joy (Isa. 9:2, 3).
It shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, which standeth for an ensign of the peoples, shall the Gentiles seek; and His rest shall be glory (Isa. 11:10).
I Jehovah have called Thee in righteousness, and I will take hold of Thy hand, for I will keep Thee, and will give Thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (Isa. 42:6, 7).
Behold I have given Him for a witness to the peoples, a prince and lawgiver to the Gentiles. Behold thou shalt call a nation that thou hast not known, and a nation that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of Jehovah thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 55:4-5).
The Gentiles shall walk to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, they all gather themselves together, they come to thee; thy sons come from afar, and thy daughters are carried by nurses at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall be amazed and be enlarged; because the multitude of the sea is converted unto thee, the armies of the Gentiles shall come (Isa. 60:3-5).
And in the prophecy of Simeon concerning the Lord when a child:
Mine eyes have seen the salvation of God, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; a light for the revelation of the Gentiles (Luke 2:30-32).
 In all these passages the subject treated of is the Lord, in that the Gentiles shall come unto Him; and they come unto Him when they acknowledge Him as their God. And wonderful to say, the Gentiles worship the one only God under a human form; and therefore when they hear about the Lord, they receive and acknowledge Him; nor can a new church be set up with others. That the church is set up again with such, is further evident from the Lord's words in Matthew:
Have ye not read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation that doeth the fruits (Matt. 21:42-43);
"the stone" denotes the Lord (n. 6426); "the builders" denote those who are of the church. That these would be last, and the Gentiles first, is thus said in Luke:
They shall come from the east, and west, and from the north, and south, and shall recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last (Luke 13:29-30).