Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 2986

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2986. 'From the sons of Heth' means that it consisted of gentiles. This becomes clear from the meaning of 'the sons of Heth'. The sons of Heth were not those among whom the Church was established but those by whom that Church is represented, for all things in the Word are representative and do not mean the actual persons whose names are mentioned but things that belong to the Lord's kingdom and Church. It has been stated in various places already that 'the sons of Heth' means a new Church, or what amounts to the same, those who belong to that new Church. But that it was a new Church consisting of or drawn from the gentiles is evident from what Abraham said to the sons of Heth, 'I am a stranger and an inhabitant among you', verse 4, which meant that the Lord was not known to them, yet He was nevertheless able to be with them, 2915. From this it is evident that 'the sons of Heth' means a Church consisting of gentiles. It cannot be said of any others that the Lord is not known to them.

[2] Furthermore it should be recognized that when any Church ceases to be a Church, that is, when charity perishes, and a new one is established by the Lord, rarely if ever is this done among those with whom the old Church existed. Instead it is established among those with whom no Church existed previously, that is, among gentiles. This is what happened when the Most Ancient Church perished. At that time a new one which was called Noah, or the Ancient Church following the Flood, was established among gentiles, that is, among those where no Church existed previously. It was similar when this Church perished. At that time the semblance of a Church was introduced among Abraham's descendants through Jacob, and so again among gentiles; for Abraham at the time of his call was a gentile, see 1356, 1992, 2559. The actual descendants of Jacob in Egypt became more gentile still, so much so that they had no knowledge at all of Jehovah or consequently of any Divine worship. After this semblance of a Church had come to an end, the Primitive Church was established from among the gentiles, the Jews having been rejected. It will be similar with the Church existing at present called the Christian Church.

[3] The reason why it is among gentiles that the Lord establishes a new Church is that they do not possess any false assumptions that are contrary to the truths of faith, for they have no knowledge of the truths of faith. False assumptions absorbed from early childhood and subsequently confirmed must first of all be dispelled before a person can be regenerated and become a member of the Church.a Indeed gentiles are not able to profane holy things by means of evils of life, for no one can profane what is holy if he does not know what it is, 593, 1008, 1010, 1059. As gentiles do not have such knowledge, there are no stumbling-blocks to hinder them. Thus their state is such that they are better able to receive truths than those who belong to the Church; and all those among them who are leading a good life receive truths without difficulty, see 932, 1032, 1059, 1327, 1328, 1366, 2049, 2051, 2589-2604.


a Or, reading what Sw has in his rough draft become the Church

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