1069. That 'he planted a vineyard' means a Church resulting from this, 'vineyard' being the spiritual Church, is clear from the meaning of 'a vineyard'. In the Word Churches are frequently described as 'gardens' and also as 'the trees of a garden', and are actually named such as well. They are so described from the fruits which the trees bear, which mean the things belonging to love or charity. Hence the saying that a man is known by his fruit. Comparisons of Churches to gardens, trees, and fruits have their origins in the representations in heaven, where also gardens of indescribable beauty are sometimes manifested in accordance with the spheres of faith. This also why the celestial Church was described as a paradisal garden containing trees of every kind. 'The trees of the garden' meant the perceptions of that Church, and 'the fruit' of every kind the goods that stem from love. The Ancient Church however, being spiritual, is described as 'a vineyard' on account of its fruit, namely grapes, which represent and mean charitable works. This is quite clear from many places in the Word, as in Isaiah,
 I will sing for My beloved a song of My beloved concerning his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill, 1
and He enclosed it, and surrounded it with stones, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it and also hewed out a winepress in it. And He looked for it to yield grapes, and it yielded wild grapes. And now, O inhabitant of Jerusalem and man of Judah, judge, I pray you, between Me and My vineyard. The vineyard of Jehovah Zebaoth is the house of Israel. Isaiah 5:1-3, 7.
Here 'a vineyard' means the Ancient, and so the spiritual, Church, which is referred to explicitly as 'the house of Israel', for 'Israel' in the Word means the spiritual Church, whereas 'Judah' means the celestial Church. In Jeremiah,
Again I will build you, and you will be built, O virgin of Israel! Again you will adorn yourself with your timbrels and will go forth in the dance of the merrymakers. Again you will plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria. Jeremiah 31:4-5.
Here 'vineyard' stands for the spiritual Church, the subject being Israel, which, as stated, means the spiritual Church.
 In Ezekiel,
When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples, they will dwell securely upon the land, and they will build houses and plant vineyards. Ezekiel 28:15, 16.
Here 'vineyard' stands for the spiritual Church, which is Israel. 'Planting vineyards' stands for being furnished with truths and goods of faith. In Amos,
I smote you with blight and mildew; your very many gardens, and your vineyards, and your fig trees and your olive groves the locust will devour. Thus will I do to you, O Israel. Amos 4:9, 12.
'Gardens' stands for the things of the Church; 'vineyards' stands for the spiritual things of the Church, 'fig trees' for the natural things, 'olive groves' for the celestial things - and so for the things of the spiritual Church, which is Israel. In the same prophet,
I will bring again the captivity; of My people Israel, and they will build the ruined cities and inhabit them. And they will plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they will make gardens and eat their fruit. Amos 9:14.
'Planting vineyards' stands for the planting of the spiritual Church, and so 'a vineyard' stands for the spiritual Church, which is Israel.
 As 'a vineyard' means the spiritual Church so also does 'the vine', for the vine is part of the vineyard. They are as Church and member of the Church, and therefore have the same meaning. In Jeremiah,
Is Israel a slave? Is he a home-born [servant]? Why has he become a prey? I had planted you, a wholly choice vine, a seed of truth. How have you turned from Me into the degraded branches of a strange vine? Jeremiah 2:14, 21.
'Vine' stands for the spiritual Church, which is Israel. In Ezekiel,
Take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel Your mother was like a vine in your likeness, planted beside the waters, fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. Ezekiel 19:1, 10.
'Vine' stands for the Ancient spiritual Church, meant by 'mother', and so for Israel; hence also the expression 'in your likeness'. In Hosea,
Israel is an empty vine, it bears fruit like itself. Hosea 10:1.
'Vine' stands for the spiritual Church, or Israel, in this case a desolated Church. In the same prophet,
Return, O Israel, to Jehovah your God. I will be as the dew to Israel. Those dwelling under His shadow will return, they will give life to the grain, and they will blossom out as the vine, the memory of it will be as the wine of Lebanon. Hosea 14:1, 5, 7.
Here 'vine' stands for the spiritual Church, which is Israel. In Moses,
Until Shiloh comes . . . binding his colt to the vine, and the foal of his she-ass to a choice vine. Genesis 49:10-11.
This is a prophecy concerning the Lord. 'Vine' and 'choice vine' stand for spiritual Churches.
 The Lord's parables about workers in vineyards similarly meant spiritual Churches, Matthew 20:1-16; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-18; Matthew 21:33-44.
Since 'the vine' means the spiritual Church, and the chief thing of the spiritual Church is charity within which the Lord is present, by means of which He joins Himself to man, and by means of which He alone works everything good, the Lord therefore compares Himself to the vine, and describes the member of the Church, that is, describes the spiritual Church, in the following way in John,
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, but every one that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you cannot do anything. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:1-5, 12.
From this it is clear what the spiritual Church is.
1. literally, on a horn of a son of oil
Genesis 9:20; John 1:1-10; Luke 20:9-16; Matthew 21:33-41)