By Joe David
A congregation is a group of people with common loves, interests, and purposes. It often refers to a church group.
In the Word it is almost always used to speak of the whole group of the Children of Israel, as the tabernacle of the congregation, or the people of the congregation. Sometimes the original Hebrew is translated as assembly, too.
This is a case where readers and translators need to be aware of the context and potential nuances of meaning. Swedenborg writes that,'The congregation of the people' stands for those who are ruled by truths constituting intelligence, since 'congregation' is used with reference to truths... as also is 'people'... 'the assembly of the old' stands for those who are ruled by good.
The usage of the term congregation also implies an ordering, or arrangement of truths.
417. Four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth, signifies the Divine proceeding from the Lord in the whole spiritual world. This is evident from the signification of "angels," as being the Divine proceeding from the Lord (see above, n. 130, 200, 302); and from the signification of "the four corners of the earth," as being the whole spiritual world; for "the four corners" signify the spiritual world because there are lands there as well as on our globe; for there, as here, there are mountains, hills, rocks, plains, valleys, and other things, as has been several times said above; and as the Last Judgment on all in the spiritual world is treated of in Revelation, and here the separation of the good from the evil there, therefore "the earth" means that world. "The earth" signifies the church, as has been frequently said before, because the face of the earth in the spiritual world is exactly like the face of the church with the spirits and angels there; the face of the earth is most beautiful where the angels of the higher heavens dwell, and also beautiful where the angels of the lower heavens dwell, but unbeautiful where evil spirits dwell; for where the angels dwell there are paradises, gardens, flower beds, palaces, and all things in heavenly form and harmony, from which enjoyments flow and inmostly delight the mind; but with the evil spirits all places are marshy, or stony, or barren, and they dwell in huts of a vile appearance, and also in caverns and caves.
 This has been said to make known that "the earth," in the nearest sense, means the spiritual world; nor could any other earth appear to John, since it was seen by him when he was in the spirit; and when man is in the spirit he sees nothing on our globe, but only what is in the spiritual world. This is why John saw four angels, and these were standing upon the four corners of that earth. There were four angels seen, because these standing "on four corners" signify the Divine proceeding from the Lord in the whole spiritual world, for the four quarters, namely, the eastern, western, southern, and northern, constitute the whole of that world, for that world is thus divided; and those who are in the good of love to the Lord dwell in the eastern quarter, likewise in the western, the former in clear because interior good of love, the latter in obscure because exterior good of love; those who are in the clear light of truth dwell in the southern quarter, and those who are in the obscure light of truth in the northern. (But on these quarters see in the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 141-153, where they are treated of.) And because all things have reference to the good of love and to the truth from that good, or in general to good and truth, therefore these four quarters also mean all things of heaven and the church. These quarters are meant also in the Word by "the four winds," and here by "the four corners." It is evident, therefore, that the angels were not seen standing on the four corners of the earth, but in the four quarters. The quarters are called "the four corners" because "corners" signify the outermost parts, and the outermost parts signify all things, because they include all.
 That "corners" signify quarters is evident from the passages in the Word, where quarters are designated as "corners," as in the following. In Moses:
Thou shalt make for the tabernacle twenty boards for the south corner southward. And for the second side of the tabernacle, towards the north corner, twenty boards (Exodus 26:18, 20; 27:9, 11; 36:21, 23, 25).
"For the south corner" means for the southern quarter; and "towards the north corner" means towards the northern quarter, for there were twenty boards for each side. So in Ezekiel:
Next the border of Dan, from the east corner even to the west corner, Asher one. And thence next the border of Asher, from the east corner even unto the corner towards the west (4 Ezekiel 48:1-8).
In the same:
These shall be the measures: the north corner four thousand and five hundred, and the south corner the same, and from the east corner the same, and the west corner the same, next the border to the east corner towards the west (Ezekiel 48:16, 17, 23-28, 33, 34; also Ezekiel 47:17-20).
Ye shall measure without the city the corner towards the east two thousand cubits, and the south corner the same, and the west corner and the north corner the same (Numbers 35:5).
Also in Joshua (Joshua 15:5; 18:12, 14, 15, 20). Here the east, south, west, and north corners mean the sides towards the east, south, west, and north quarters. This makes clear that the "four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth" mean not upon its four corners, but in its four quarters. So elsewhere in Revelation:
Satan shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth (Revelation 20:8).
 "Four corners" are mentioned, and not four quarters, because "corners" also signify all things, since they are outermost parts, for the outermost parts comprehend all things from the center to the last circumferences, for they are the last borders. This is why four horns were placed on the four corners of the altar, and upon them the blood was poured, and thus expiation was made for the whole altar (as is evident from Exodus 27:2; 29:12; 30:2, 3, 10; 38:2; Leviticus 4:7, 18, 25, 30, 34; 16:18, 19; Ezekiel 41:22; 43:20).
 That "corners" signify all things because the outermost parts (for the reason stated above, that the outermost parts include and comprehend all things) is clearly evident from some of the statutes given to the sons of Israel, as:
That they should not round or shave the corner of their head (Leviticus 19:27).
That they should not shave off the corner of their beard (Leviticus 19:27; 21:5).
And that they should not wholly finish the corners of their field when they reaped (Leviticus 19:9; 23:22).
Why such statutes were given them cannot be known unless it is known what is signified by "the hair of the head," by "the beard," by "the field," and also by "the corner;" "the hair of the head," and "the beard" signify the ultimate of man's life, which is called the corporeal sensual; and "field" signifies the church, and "reaping" the truth of doctrine. By these statutes, therefore, it was represented that the ultimates must be preserved because they signify all things; for unless there are outermost things, the middle things are not kept together, but are dispersed, comparatively as the interior parts of man would be dispersed if he were not encompassed by skins. It is similar in everything, thus in what is signified by "the hair of the head," by "the beard," and by "the harvest of the field." (That "the hair of the head" signifies the outermost of man's life, which is called the corporeal sensual, may be seen above, n. 66; and that "the beard" has a like signification, see Arcana Coelestia 9960; that the outermosts or ultimates signify all things in the complex, thus the whole, n. 10044, 10329, 10335.) And as "a field" signified the church, and "harvest" its truths, so "not to finish wholly the corners of thy field when thou reapest" signifies the conservation of all things that are signified by "the harvest of the field."
(Odkazy: The Apocalypse Explained 66)
 That "corners" signify all things because they signify outermost things can be seen also from the following passages. In Moses:
I will hurl them into the extreme corners; I will make the remembrance of them to cease from man (Deuteronomy 32:26).
"To hurl into the extreme corners" signifies to be deprived of all good and truth; it is therefore added, "I will make the remembrance of them to cease from a man," which signifies that they would no longer have anything of spiritual life, which comes to pass when man is merely in the ultimates of life, called the corporeal sensual, in which alone most of those are who acquire nothing of spiritual life; for such then become not unlike the beasts, for this is the kind of life beasts have, but with this difference, that as man is born a man he is able to speak and to reason, but this he does from the fallacies of the senses, or of the outermost things of nature, of the world, and of the body; this is what is meant here by "being hurled into the extreme corners."
 In Jeremiah:
Their camels shall be for a prey, and the multitude of their cattle for a spoil; and I will disperse them unto every wind among the cut off of the corner; and from all the passages thereof I will bring calamity (Jeremiah 49:32).
This is said of the devastation of Arabia and Hazor by the king of Babylon; and "Arabia" and "Hazor" signify the knowledges of good and truth, and "the king of Babylon" signifies evil and falsity laying waste. The vastation of all confirming knowledges (scientifica), and cognitions of good and truth is signified by "their camels shall be for a prey, and the multitude of their cattle for a spoil;" "camels" meaning confirming knowledges (scientifica), and "cattle" the cognitions of good and truth. Vastation in respect to all things of good and truth, so that there is nothing left, is signified by "I will disperse them unto every wind, among the cut off of the corner;" "the cut off of the corner" meaning the outermost parts where there is no longer any good and truth. That evils and falsities will then break in on every side is signified by "from all the passages thereof I will bring calamity;" for in the spiritual world where the evil are, on every side ways from the hells are open, and evils and their falsities break in through these; and all who are in like evils and falsities go through these ways and consociate themselves with the evil there. This has been said to make known what is signified by "from all the passages I will bring calamity;" "to be for a prey and a spoil," and "to disperse and to bring calamity" signify devastation.
 In the same:
Behold, the days come in which I will visit upon everyone that is circumcised in the foreskin; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the sons of Ammon, and Moab, and all the cut off of the corner that dwell in the wilderness; for all nations are uncircumcised, and the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart (Jeremiah 9:25, 26).
Here "the cut off of the corner" signify those who are in the ultimates of the church separate from the interiors, which are spiritual, thus those who are only in things sensual, which are the ultimates of the natural man. (Respecting those who are merely sensual, who and of what quality they are see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 50.) These are signified by "the cut off of the corner," because "corners" signify the quarters of the spiritual world, and the quarters of the spiritual world signify all the goods and truths of heaven and the church, as has been said previously. The habitations of spirits and angels in that world succeed in such an order that those who are in the highest wisdom and intelligence are in the midst, and from the midst even to the last circumferences those in less and less degree; and these diminutions are in exact accord with the distances from the midst; in the ultimates are those who are in no wisdom or intelligence, and outside of these are those who are in evils and falsities therefrom. These are the ones meant by "the cut off of the corner;" and as these are desert places, they are said "to dwell in the wilderness." (On these diminutions in the spiritual world, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 43, 50, 189.) The same are meant by "the uncircumcised nations" and "the house of Israel uncircumcised in heart;" "the uncircumcised" signifying those who are without love and charity, thus without good, and therefore in the loves of self and of the world; and those who are in these loves are in the ultimates of the natural man wholly separate from things spiritual; therefore they are "the cut off of the corner that dwell in the wilderness;" "Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, and Moab," mean all who, through these loves, have separated from themselves the goods and truths of the church, consequently are outside of these, and thus are "the cut off of the corner":
The cut off of the corners (Jeremiah 25:23);
have a similar signification.
(Odkazy: Jeremiah 9:25-26)
 In Moses:
There shall arise a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall arise out of Israel, which shall break in pieces the corners of Moab (Numbers 24:17).
"The corners of Moab" mean all things that are signified by "Moab;" and "Moab" signifies those who are in the ultimates of the Word, of the church, and of worship; and in the contrary sense those who adulterate these by turning themselves towards self, and having regard to their own honor in every particular of these; therefore "the corners of Moab" mean adulterations of the Word, and thence of the church and of worship, such as are with those of that character:
The corner of Moab (Jeremiah 48:45);
has a similar signification.
 In Zephaniah:
A day of the trumpet and alarm upon the fenced cities and upon the high corners (Zephaniah 1:16).
"A day of the trumpet and alarm" signifies spiritual combat, which is against falsities and evils; "fenced cities" signify false doctrinals that have been confirmed; and "high corners" signify those things that favor their loves. This makes clear what is signified by "a day of the trumpet and alarm upon the fenced cities and upon the high corners." In the same:
I will cut off the nations; their corners shall be laid waste; I will make desolate their streets that none may pass by; and I will lay waste their cities so that there is no inhabitant (Zephaniah 3:6).
The destruction of all the goods of the church is signified by "I will cut off the nations, and their corners shall be laid waste;" "nations" meaning the goods of the church, and "corners" all things of it, because its outermost parts (as above). The destruction of the truths of doctrine is signified by "I will make desolate their streets and I will lay waste their cities;" "streets" meaning truths, and "cities" doctrinals; total destruction even until there is no truth and good left is signified by "that none pass by, and there is no inhabitant;" for "to pass by" in the Word is predicated of truths, and "to dwell" of goods.
 In the book of Judges:
All the sons of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba. And the corners of all the people, all the tribes of Israel presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God (Judges 20:1, 2).
"The corners of all the people presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God" signifies all on every side, or from every quarter, as is clearly evident from its being said that "all the sons of Israel and all the tribes of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled from Dan to Beersheba;" but in the spiritual sense, "the corners of all the people" signify all the truths and goods of the church; so, too, "all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba," signify all these from the last to the first, and "the assembly of the people of God" signifies consideration of the things of the church; for in the histories of the Word, as well as in the prophecies, there is everywhere a spiritual sense; therefore in the historical sense "corners" signify quarters, such as are in the spiritual world; but in the spiritual sense they signify all the truths and goods of the church, for the reason given above.
(Odkazy: Judges 20:1-2)
 From this what is signified by "corner stone" in the following passages becomes evident. In Isaiah:
I will lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a proved stone, a precious corner stone, of a foundation that is founded (Isaiah 28:16).
They shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone of foundations (Jeremiah 51:26).
Out of Judah the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the bow of war (Zechariah 10:4).
The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner (Psalms 118:22; see also Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10, 11; Luke 20:17, 18).
"The stone of the corner" signifies all Divine truth upon which heaven and the church are founded, thus every foundation; and as the foundation is the ultimate upon which a house or temple rests, therefore it signifies all things. Because "the stone of the corner" signifies all things upon which the church is founded it is said "I will lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a proved stone, a precious cornerstone, of a foundation that is founded;" and it is called also "a stone for a corner" and "a stone of foundations;" and because "the stone of the corner" signifies all Divine truth upon which the church is founded, it also signifies the Lord in respect to His Divine Human; because all Divine truth proceeds from that; "the builders" (or architects) who rejected that stone, as is read in the Gospels, are those who are of the church, here of the Jewish Church, which rejected the Lord, and with Him all Divine truth; for with them there was nothing but vain traditions drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word in which the truths themselves of the Word were falsified and its goods adulterated. (That ultimates signify all things, see Arcana Coelestia 634, 5897, 6239, 6451, 6465, 9216, 9824, 9828, 9836, 9905, 10044, 10099, 10329, 10335, 10548)