768. Something shall here be said concerning that truth which the Lord said to Peter respecting the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and respecting the authority to bind and loose (Matt. 16:15-20). They say that that authority was given to Peter, and that it has been transferred to them as his successors; and that the Lord thus left to Peter, and after him to them, all His authority; and that he should act as His vicar on earth. But still it is plainly manifest from the Lord's words themselves, that he did not give the least of authority to Peter; for the Lord says, "Upon this rock I will build My church." By a "rock" the Lord is signified as to His Divine truth; and the Divine truth which is the rock, is there what Peter confessed, before the Lord said those words; which is this:
Jesus said to the disciples, But who say ye that I am? Simon Peter answering said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:15-16).
This is the truth upon which the Lord builds His church, and Peter then represented that truth. From which it is manifest, that the confession of the Lord, that He is the Son of the living God, who has power over heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18), is that upon which the Lord builds His church; and thus upon Himself, and not upon Peter. It is known in the church that the Lord is meant by a rock.
 I once spoke with the Babylonian nation, in the spiritual world, concerning the keys given to Peter, whether they believe that authority over heaven and hell was transferred by the Lord to him. Which, as it was the head of their religion, they vehemently insisted upon; saying that there was no doubt of it, because it is manifestly said. But to the inquiry, whether they knew that in everything in the Word there is a spiritual sense, which is the sense of the Word in heaven, they said at first that they did not know it; but afterwards they said they would inquire. And when they inquired, they were instructed that there is a spiritual sense in each thing of the Word, which differs from the sense of the letter as spiritual from natural; and they were further instructed that no person named in the Word is named in heaven, but that instead something spiritual is there understood. They were informed at length, that for "Peter" in the Word the truth of the church from good is meant, and the same by the rock, which is mentioned together with Peter; and that it may thereby be known, that not any authority was given to Peter, but to truth from good; for all authority in the heavens belongs to truth from good, or is of good by truth. And as all good and all truth are from the Lord, and nothing from man, that all authority belongs to the Lord. On hearing this, being indignant, they said that they wished to know whether there is that spiritual sense in those words. Whereupon the Word which is in heaven was given to them, in which Word there is not the natural sense, but the spiritual; because it is for the angels, who are spiritual. And when they read it, they saw manifestly that Peter was not mentioned there, but instead of him "Truth from good which is from the Lord." On seeing this, they rejected it from anger, and would almost have torn it in pieces with their teeth, unless at that moment it had been taken away from them. They were thence convinced, although they were not willing to be convinced, that to the Lord alone that authority belongs, and not in the least to any man, because it is a Divine authority.