Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 35:1-4
AC 4537. Verses 1-4. And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and abide there; and make there an altar unto God who appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from before Esau thy brother. And Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the gods of the stranger which are in the midst of you, and purify yourselves, and change your garments; and let us arise, and go up to Bethel, and I will make there an altar unto God who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I walked. And they gave unto Jacob all the gods of the stranger which were in their hand, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. "And God said unto Jacob," signifies the perception of natural good, such as Jacob now was, from the Divine; "arise, go up to Bethel," signifies concerning the Divine natural; "and abide there," signifies life; "and make there an altar unto God who appeared unto thee," signifies what is holy there; "when thou fleddest from before Esau thy brother," signifies when truth was set before good; "and Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him," signifies disposition in natural good, such as there was then; "put away the gods of the stranger which are in the midst of you," signifies that falsities should be rejected; "and purify yourselves and change your garments," signifies holiness to be put on; "and let us arise and go up to Bethel," signifies the Divine natural; "and I will make there an altar to God," signifies the holy in which interior things are terminated; "who answered me in the day of my distress," signifies in the state of the setting of truth before good; "and was with me in the way which I walked," signifies His Divine providence; "and they gave unto Jacob all the gods of the stranger which were in their hand," signifies that it rejected all falsities as much as possible; "and the earrings which were in their ears," signifies things actual; "and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem," signifies eternal rejection; "the oak by Shechem" denotes the fallacious natural.
AC 4538. And God said unto Jacob. That this signifies the perception of natural good, such as Jacob now represents, from the Divine, is evident from the signification in the historicals of the Word of "to say," as being to perceive (n. 1602, 1791, 1815, 1822, 1898, 1919, 2061, 2080, 2238, 2260, 2619, 2862, 3395, 3509), wherefore that "God said" denotes perception from the Divine; and from the representation of Jacob, who here in the supreme sense is the Lord as to natural good. In the preceding pages it has been shown what Jacob represents in the Word; and as he represents various things, the subject shall be briefly explained.
 In the supreme sense Jacob represents in general the Lord‘s Divine natural. But as the Lord glorified His natural, it was different in the beginning from what it was in the progression, and at the end. Therefore Jacob represented various things, namely, in the beginning the Lord’s natural as to truth, in the progression the Lord‘s natural as to the good of truth, and at the end the Lord’s natural as to good. For the Lord‘s glorification proceeded from truth to the good of truth, and usually to good, as has already been frequently shown. Now as this is the end, Jacob represents the Lord as to natural good. See what has already been shown on these points, namely, that in the supreme sense Jacob represents the Lord’s Divine natural, in the beginning as to truth, (n. 3305, 3509, 3525, 3546, 3576, 3599); and in the progression, the Lord‘s Divine natural as to the good of truth, (n. 3659, 3669, 3677, 4234, 4273, 4337). The reason why Jacob now represents the Lord’s Divine natural as to good, is that this is the end, as before said.
 This was the process when the Lord made His natural Divine, and the process is similar also when the Lord regenerates man; for it pleased the Lord to make His Human Divine in the same order as that in which He makes man new. It is for this reason that it has been repeatedly stated that man‘s regeneration is an image of the Lord’s glorification (n. 3138, 3212, 3296, 3490, 4402). When the Lord makes man new He first instructs him in the truths of faith, for without the truths of faith man does not know what the Lord is, what heaven is, and what hell is, nor even that they exist; and still less does he know the in numerable things relating to the Lord, to His kingdom in heaven, and to His kingdom on earth, that is, to the church; neither does he know what and of what nature are the things opposite to these, which relate to hell.
 Before he has learned these things, he cannot know what good is, by which is not meant civil good and moral good, for these are learned in the world by means of laws and statutes, and by reflections upon the morals of men, and therefore the nations outside the church also know such things; but by good is meant spiritual good, which good is called in the Word charity; and this good is in general to will and do good to others for no selfish reason, but from the delight of the affection. This good is spiritual good, and to it no man can attain except by means of the truths of faith, which are taught by the Lord by means of the Word and teachings of the Word.
 After a man has been instructed in the truths of faith, he is gradually led by the Lord to will the truth, and also from willing to do it. This truth is called the good of truth, for the good of truth is truth in will and act; and it is called the good of truth because the truth which has been of doctrine then becomes of the life. At last, when the man perceives delight in willing good and in doing it from will, it is no longer called the good of truth, but good; for he is then regenerate, and no more wills and does good from truth, but truth from good; and the truth which he then does is also as it were good, for it derives its essence from its origin, which is good. From all this it is evident why and whence it is that Jacob in the supreme sense represents the Lord‘s natural as to good. The reason why Jacob here represents this good, is that in the internal sense further progress is now treated of, namely, toward the interior things of the natural, which are "Israel" (n. 4636). No one who is being regenerated by the Lord can be led to these interior things until the truth with him has become good.
AC 4539. Arise, go up to Bethel. That this signifies that the perception is concerning the Divine natural, is evident from the signification of "arising," as being elevation (n. 2401, 2785, 2912, 2927, 3171, 4103), here the elevation of the natural to the Divine; from the signification of "to go up," as being more toward the interiors; and from the signification of "Bethel," as being the Divine in the natural, or in the ultimate of order (n. 4089). For in the original language "Bethel" means the "house of God," and as the house of God is where the knowledges of good and truth are, by "Bethel" in the proximate sense are signified these knowledges (n. 1453). But as the interiors are terminated and closed in the ultimates of order, and are together there, and as it were dwell together in one house; and as the natural in man is the ultimate with him in which his interiors are terminated, therefore by "Bethel" or the "house of God" is properly signified the natural (n. 3729, 4089), and indeed the good there in, for in the internal sense a "house" is good (n. 2233, 2234, 3720, 3729); moreover knowledges are in the natural, or in the ultimate of order.
 That "to go up" denotes toward the interiors is because interior things are what are called higher things (n. 2148), and therefore when progress toward interior things is treated of in the internal sense, the expression "to go up" is employed, as "to go up" from Egypt to the land of Canaan, and in the land of Canaan itself "to go up" to the interior parts, and from all parts of it to Jerusalem, and in Jerusalem itself to the house of God there. For example "to go up" from Egypt to the land of Canaan, in Moses:
Pharaoh said to Joseph, Go up and bury thy father; and Joseph went up, and all the servants of Pharaoh went up with him; and there went up with him both chariots and horsemen (Gen. 50:6, 7, 9).
And in the book of Judges:
And the angel of Jehovah went up from Gilgal to Bochim, and he said, I made you Do up out of Egypt (Judges 2:1);
for by "Egypt" in the internal sense is signified that memory-knowledge which is to serve for apprehending the things of the Lord’s kingdom; and by the "land of Canaan" is signified the Lord‘s kingdom. And as memory-knowledges are lower, or what is the same, are exterior, and the things of the Lord’s kingdom are higher, or what is the same, interior, therefore one is said "to go up from Egypt to the land of Canaan," and on the other hand "to go down from the land of Canaan to Egypt" (Gen. 42:2, 3; 43:4, 5, 15).
 In the land of Canaan itself "to go up" to its interior parts, in Joshua:
Joshua said, Go up and spy out the land; and the men went up and spied out Ai; and they returned unto Joshua and said unto him, Let not all the people go up let about two thousand men or about three thousand men go up; so there went up thither of the people about three thousand men (Joshua 7:2-4);
as the "land of Canaan" signifies the Lord‘s kingdom, the parts which were more remote from its ultimate boundaries signified things interior, and therefore the expression "to go up" is here used. In like manner from all the surrounding parts to Jerusalem; and in Jerusalem to the house of God
(1 Kings 12:27, 28; 2 Kings 20:5, 8; Matt. 20:18; Mark 10:33; Luke 18:31).
For Jerusalem was the inmost of the land, because by it was signified the Lord’s spiritual kingdom; and the house of God was the inmost of Jerusalem, because by it was signified the Lord‘s celestial kingdom, and in the supreme sense the Lord Himself. Hence men spoke of "going up" to them. From all this it is evident what is signified by "arise, go up to Bethel," namely, progress toward the interiors, which is the subject treated of in this chapter (n. 4536).
AC 4540. And abide there. That this signifies life, is evident from the signification of "to abide," or "dwell," as being life (n. 1293, 3384, 3613, 4451).
AC 4541. And make there an altar unto God who appeared unto thee. That this signifies what is holy there, is evident from the signification of an "altar," as being the principal representative of the Lord (n. 921, 2777, 2811, 4489); and therefore "to make an altar to God" signifies what is holy of worship.
AC 4542. When thou fleddest from before Esau thy brother. That this signifies when truth was set before good, is evident from the representation of Esau, as being the Divine good of the Lord’s Divine natural (n. 3322, 3494, 3504, 3576, 3599). That the signification is when truth was set before good, may be seen from the explications given about Jacob in Genesis 27, when he fled before Esau, for the cause of his flight was that Jacob had taken away the birthright from Esau, by which is signified that truth had set itself before good; for Jacob there represents the truth of the Lord‘s natural, and Esau its good. The reason why truth had set itself before good was that when anyone is being regenerated, truth is apparently in the first place; but after he has been regenerated, good is in the first place and truth is in a secondary place (n. 3324, 3539, 3548, 3556, 3563, 3570, 3576, 3603, 3610, 3701, 4243, 4244, 4247, 4337). Hence it is, that "when thou fleddest from before Esau thy brother" signifies when truth was set before good.
AC 4543. And Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him. That this signifies disposition by natural good, such as there was then, is evident from the signification of "saying to his household and to all that were with him," as being disposition; and from the representation of Jacob, as here being natural good (n. 4538). The reason why "saying to his household and to all that were with him" denotes disposition, is that in what now follows the subject treated of in the internal sense is the disposition of truths by good. For when spiritual good (n. 4538) begins to act the first part in the natural mind, it then disposes into order the truths which are there.
AC 4544. Put away the gods of the stranger which are in the midst of you. That this signifies that falsities should be rejected, is evident from the signification of "to put away," as being to reject; and from the signification of the "gods of the stranger," as being falsities. For by "gods" in the Word are signified truths, and in the opposite sense falsities (n. 4402); and those were called "strangers" who were outside of the church, consequently those who were in falsities and evils (n. 2049, 2115). Therefore the "gods of the stranger" denote falsities.
AC 4545. And purify yourselves, and change your garments. That this signifies that holiness was to be put on, is evident from the signification of "to be purified" or "cleansed," as being to be sanctified; and from the signification of "changing the garments," as being to put on, here to put on holy truths; for in the internal sense of the Word by "garments" are signified truths. It is very evident that to change the garments was a representative received in the church, but what it represented no one can know unless he knows what garments signify in the internal sense (n. 2576). As the subject here treated of is the rejection of falsities and the disposition of truths by good in the natural, mention is made of the fact that they were commanded by Jacob to change their garments.
 That to change the garments was a representative that holy truths were to be put on, may be seen also from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah
Awake, awake, O Jerusalem, put on thy strength, O Zion, put on the garments of thy adornment, O Jerusalem, the holy city for there shall not continue to come into thee any more the uncircumcised and the unclean (Isa. 52:1)
as "Zion" is the celestial church, and "Jerusalem" the spiritual church, and as the celestial church is that which is in good from love to the Lord, and the spiritual church is that which is in truth from faith and charity, therefore "strength" is predicated of Zion, and "garments" of Jerusalem; and it is signified that thereby they were clean.
 In Zechariah:
Joshua was clothed with defiled garments, and stood thus before the angel; and [the angel] answered and said unto those that stood before him, saying, Remove the defiled garments from upon him; and unto him he said, See, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from upon thee by putting on thee change of garments (Zechariah 3:3, 4);
from this passage also it is evident that to remove the garments and to put on a change of garments, represented purification from falsities, for it is said, "I have made thine iniquity to pass from upon thee." It was also for this reason that men had changes of garments, and they were so called (whereof occasional mention is made in the Word) because representations were thereby exhibited.
 As such things were represented by changes of garments, therefore where the new temple is treated of in Ezekiel, by which in the internal sense is signified a new church, it is said:
When the priests enter in, they shall not go out of the holy place to the outer court, but there they shall lay aside their garments wherein they ministered, for they are holiness, and shall put on other garments, and shall approach to those things which pertain to the people (Ezek. 42:14).
When they go forth into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they minister, and shall lay them aside in the chambers of holiness, and they shall put on other garments, and shall sanctify the people with other garments (Ezek. 44:19).
 Everyone can see that by the new temple and by the holy city and land, here described by the prophet and in the chapters which precede and follow, is not meant any new temple, nor a new city and a new land, for mention is made of sacrifices and rituals as to be instituted anew which nevertheless were to be abrogated; and mention is also made by name of the tribes of Israel dividing the land into inheritances among themselves, which nevertheless have been dispersed and have never returned. Hence it is evident that by the rituals there mentioned are signified spiritual and celestial things of the church, similar to what are signified by the changes of garments when Aaron ministered, in uses:
When he maketh a burnt-offering he shall put on his clothing, and his linen breeches, the ashes he shall put beside the altar. Afterward he shall put off his garments, and shall put on other garments, and shall bring forth the ashes into a clean place outside the camp, and thus shall he make the burnt-offering (Lev. 6:9-11).
 That to be cleansed denotes to be sanctified, may be seen from the cleansings which were commanded, as that they should wash their flesh and their garments, and that they should be sprinkled with the waters of separation. That no one is sanctified by such things, everyone may know who has any knowledge about the spiritual man; for what has iniquity and sin in common with the garments with which a man is clothed? And yet it is sometimes said that after they had cleansed themselves, they should be holy. From this it is also manifest that the rituals enjoined upon the Israelites were holy simply because they represented holy things; consequently that those who were representative did not thereby become holy as to their persons; but that the holiness abstractedly represented by them affected the spirits who were with them, and thereby the angels in heaven (n. 4307).
 For of necessity there must be communication of heaven with man, in order that the human race may subsist, and this by means of the church, for otherwise they would become like beasts, devoid of internal and external bonds; and thus each would rush without restraint to accomplish the destruction of others, and they would annihilate each other. And as at that time this communication was not possible by means of any church, it was therefore provided by the Lord that it should be miraculously effected by means of representatives. That sanctification was represented by the ritual of washing and cleansing, is manifest from many passages in the Word, as when Jehovah came down upon Mount Sinai, He said to Moses:
Sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, and be ready against the third day (Exod. 19:10-11).
I will sprinkle upon you clean waters, and ye shall be cleansed from all your uncleannesses, and I will cleanse you from all your idols, and I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in the midst of you (Ezek. 36:25, 26);
where it is manifest that "sprinkling clean waters" represented the purification of the heart; thus that "to be cleansed" is to be sanctified.
AC 4546. And let us arise, and go up to Bethel. That this signifies the Divine natural, is evident from what was said above (n. 4539), where the same words occur.
AC 4547. And I will make there an altar to God. That this signifies the holy in which interior things are terminated, is evident from the signification of "making an altar to God," as being the holy of worship (n. 4541). It is said that interior things are terminated therein, because he was to make the altar in Bethel, which is here meant by "there," and because by "Bethel" is signified the natural, in which interior things are terminated (n. 4539).
AC 4548. Who answered me in the day of my distress. That this signifies in the state of the setting of truth before good, is evident from the signification of "day," as being state (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788, 3462, 3785). That by the "day of my distress" is signified the state of the setting of truth before good, may be seen from what was said above (n. 4542); for the "day of distress" here involves the same as the words there "when thou fleddest from before Esau thy brother."
AC 4549. And was with me in the way which I walked. That this signifies His Divine providence, is evident from the signification of "to be with anyone in the way which he walks," when predicated of the Divine or of the Lord, as being His Divine providence; for to provide is properly to be present with anyone, and to protect him from evils.
AC 4550. And they gave unto Jacob all the gods of the stranger which were in their hand. That this signifies that it rejected ad falsities as much as possible, is evident from the signification of the "gods of the stranger," as being falsities (n. 4544); and from the signification of "which were in their hand," as being as much as possible, for the "hand" signifies power (n. 878, 3387). Hence, "being in the hand" denotes being in their power, or as much as possible. Their "giving them to Jacob" denotes that good rejected them, for by Jacob in this chapter is represented the good of the natural (n. 4538).
AC 4551. And the earrings which were in their ears. That this signifies things actual, is evident from the signification of "earrings," as being badges representative of obedience, for the reason that the "ears" signify obedience (n. 2542, 3869); and the things of obedience are things actual, for to obey involves doing in act. Things actual are here predicated of the falsities that were to be rejected. A few words shall be said regarding the rejection of falsities, even those which are actual, which is here treated of in the internal sense. Before a man by regeneration from the Lord comes to good, and does truth from good, he has very many falsities mixed with truths; for he is introduced by means of truths of faith respecting which in his first age he had no other ideas than those of infancy and childhood; which ideas, as they arise from the external things of the world and the sensuous things of the body, cannot but be classed among fallacies, and consequently among falsities. These also become actual, for what a man believes, he does. It is these falsities which are here meant. They remain with a man until he is regenerate, that is, until he acts from good, and then the good that is, the Lord through the good reduces into order the truths so far learned, and when this is done, falsities are separated from the truths and are removed.
 Of all this the man is quite ignorant, and yet there is such a removal and rejection of falsities from his earliest childhood even to his last age, and this with every man, but especially with him who is being regenerated. The like takes place even with a man who is not being regenerated, for when he becomes an adult, and his judgment has attained its maturity, he then regards the judgments of his childhood as vain and absurd, and thus as removed far away from him. But the difference between the regenerate man and the unregenerate is that the regenerate regards those things as removed from him which do not agree with the good of faith and charity, but the unregenerate those which do not agree with the delight of the love in which he is. The latter therefore for the most part regards truths as falsities and falsities as truths. As regards earrings, they were of two kinds, those which were fastened above the nose to the forehead, and those which were fastened to the ears. Those which were fastened above the nose to the forehead were badges representative of good, and are called "nose jewels" (n. 3103); while those which were fastened to the ears were badges representative of obedience, and are "earrings." But in the original language both are expressed by the same word.
AC 4552. And Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. That this signifies eternal rejection, is evident from the signification of "hiding," as being to reject and bury as dead; and from the signification of "under the oak," as being to eternity; for as the oak is a very long-lived tree, when anything was hidden under it, it signified what is perpetual; and it also signified what is entangled, and moreover what is fallacious and false, because the lowest of the natural is relatively entangled and fallacious in so far as it derives its knowledge and its pleasure from the sensuous things of the body, and thus from fallacies. For by the "oak" is specifically signified the lowest of the natural, consequently in a good sense the truths and goods which are therein, and in the opposite sense the evils and falsities which are therein.
 Moreover when falsities are removed in a regenerate man, they are rejected to the lowest of the natural; and therefore when a man becomes mature in judgment and clearsighted, and especially when he becomes intelligent and wise, they appear still further removed from his interior sight. For with the regenerate man truths are in the inmost of his natural near good, which is like a little sun there; and the truths which depend on these are distant therefrom according to the degrees of so to speak their consanguinity and affinity with good. Fallacious truths are in the more outward circumferences, and falsities are rejected to the outermost ones. The latter remain with man forever, but are in this order when the man suffers himself to be led by the Lord, for this order is heavenly order, inasmuch as heaven itself is in such an order. But when a man does not suffer himself to be led by the Lord, but by evil, these things are then in the opposite order, evil with falsities then being in the middle, truths being rejected to the circumferences, and the veriest Divine truths to the outermost circumferences, which order is infernal, for in such an order is hell, the outermost circumferences being the lowest things of the natural.
 That "oaks" denote the falsities which are the lowest things of the natural, is because in the Ancient Church, when there was external worship representative of the Lord’s kingdom, all trees of whatever kind signified something spiritual or celestial; for instance the olive and the oil from it signified the things which are of celestial love; the vine and the wine from it, the things which are of charity and its derivative faith; and so with the other trees, as the cedar, the fig, the poplar, the beech, and the oak, the signification of which has been occasionally shown in the explications. It is for this reason that they are so often mentioned in the Word, and also in general gardens, groves, and forests, and that men had their worship in these under certain trees. But as this worship became idolatrous, and the posterity of Jacob, with whom the representative of a church was instituted, was prone to idolatry, and consequently set up so many idols therein, they were forbidden to hold worship in gardens and groves, and under the trees therein; nevertheless the trees retained their signification, and therefore not only the more noble, as the olive, the vine, and the cedar, but also the poplar, the beech, and the oak, where mentioned in the Word, are each significative as in the Ancient Church.
 That "oaks" in a good sense signify the truths and goods which are lowest of the natural, and in the opposite sense falsities and evils, is evident from the passages in the Word where they are mentioned, when understood in the internal sense, as in Isaiah:
They who forsake Jehovah shall be consumed, for they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired; and ye shall be as an oak that casteth its leaves, and as a garden that hath no water (Isa. 1:28-30).
In the same:
The day of Jehovah Zebaoth shall be upon everyone lifted up and low, and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, and upon all the oaks of Bashan (Isa. 2:12, 13);
that the day of Jehovah will not be upon the cedars and the oaks, everyone may know, but upon those who are signified by them. Again:--
He who formeth a god heweth him down cedars, and taketh the beech and the oak, and strengtheneth for himself in the trees of the forest (Isa. 44:14).
 In Ezekiel:
Ye shall acknowledge that I am Jehovah when their pierced ones shall be in the midst of the idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the heads of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every tangled oak, the place where they have given an odor of rest to all their idols (Ezek. 6:13).
Moreover the ancients had worship upon hills and mountains because hills and mountains signified celestial love; but when the worship was performed by idolaters, as here, they signify the love of self and of the world (n. 795, 796, 1430, 2722, 4210); and they held it under trees, because as before said these were significative according to their species. "Under the tangled oak" here denotes that the worship was from falsities, which are the lowest things of the natural, for these are in an entangled state (n. 2831). In Hosea:
They sacrifice upon the heads of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under the oak, the poplar, and the hard oak, because the shade thereof is good; therefore your daughters commit whoredom, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery (Hosea 4:13).
"To commit whoredom" is to falsify truths, and "to commit adultery" is to pervert goods, (n. 2466, 2729, 3399). In Zechariah:
Open thy doors, O Lebanon, and let the fire devour the cedars, because the magnificent ones are laid waste; howl, ye oaks of Bashan, for the forest of Bazar is come down (Zech. 11:1, 2).
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