The Bible

Matthew 17:24-27 : The Temple Tax

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24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

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Commentary on this chapter:


Explanation(s) or references from Swedenborg's works:

Arcana Coelestia 6394

Apocalypse Revealed 405

Show references from Swedenborg's unpublished works


Incorporating the New

By Rev. Todd Beiswenger

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There's an old saying that says, "When the student is ready the master will appear." The idea is that the student must incorporate everything they've already been taught into their life before the next master will come to teach them the next steps. We see something similar in the Word, where Jesus opens the eyes of Peter, James and John to a new spiritual reality, but now they have a difficult time trying to synthesize what they've just been taught with everything they've always believed. *note - Pastor offers his apologies where he mistakenly says in this audio that the "spiritual serves the natural"... he meant to say, "natural serves the spiritual."

(References: Arcana Coelestia 6394; Matthew 17:24-27, 17:14-20; The Apocalypse Explained 64, 405)

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Explained #64

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

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64. Clothed with a garment down to the foot. That this signifies Divine truth proceeding from Him, is evident from the signification of garments, as being truths which invest good (concerning which see Arcana Coelestia, n. 1073, 2576, 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216, 9952, 10,536). Mention is here made only of a garment reaching to the foot, which is a general covering; by which, as the Lord is treated of, is therefore signified in general all Divine truth. But as the Lord is here described as to the Divine Human, which in this case is the Son of man appearing in the midst of the lampstands, and it is said that He was "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle," and afterwards that "His face shone as the sun in his power," I desire to give the explanation of what is related in the Evangelists concerning the Lord when He was transfigured, where some similar expressions occur; and then of what is said concerning the soldiers dividing His garments, and casting lots upon His vesture.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1073, Arcana Coelestia 2576, Arcana Coelestia 5248, 5319, Arcana Coelestia 5954, Arcana Coelestia 9212, Arcana Coelestia 9216, Arcana Coelestia 9952, Arcana Coelestia 10536; Revelation 1:13)

[2] Concerning the Lord's transfiguration it is thus written: Jesus took Peter, James, and John into an exceedingly high mountain, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became white as the light. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matt. xvii. 1-5; Mark ix. 2-8; Luke ix. 28-36). The reason why the Lord took Peter, James, and John, was, that they represented the church as to faith, charity, and the works of charity. He took them into a high mountain, because by mountain is signified heaven. His face shone as the sun, because the face signifies the interiors, which, being Divine, shone as the sun; for the sun is the Divine love. His garments became white as the light, because garments signify Divine truth proceeding from Him; the same is also signified by light. Moses and Elias appeared, because they both signify the Word, Moses the historical Word, and Elias the prophetical Word. A bright cloud overshadowed them, because a bright cloud signifies the Word in the letter, in which is the internal sense. The voice out of the cloud said, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him, because a voice out of a cloud signifies Divine truth from the Word, and beloved Son, the Lord's Divine Human; and because Divine truth, and therefore all the truth of the church, is from Him, it was said out of the cloud, "In whom I am well pleased; hear ye him."

(References: Luke 9:28-36; Mark 9:2-8; Matthew 17:1-5)

[3] That the Divine Human of the Lord was thus seen, is clear, because the Divine itself cannot appear to any except by means of the Divine Human; this the Lord teaches also in John:

"No one hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath brought him forth to view" (i. 18).

And in another place:

"Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape" (John v. 37).

(That such things are signified by these words in the Evangelists, is evident from Arcana Coelestia, where it is shown that, in the Word by Peter, James, and John are signified faith, charity, and the works of charity, n. 3750, and above, n. 9; that by a high mountain is signified heaven, n. 8327, 8805, 9420, 9422, 9434, 10,608; that by face are signified the interiors of the mind, n. 1999, 2434, 3527, 4066, 4796, 5102, 9306, 9546, and by the face of the Lord, mercy, peace, and every good, n. 222, 223, 5585, 9306, 9546, 9888. That by the sun is signified Divine love, see n. 2495, 4060, 7083, and in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 116-125. That by garments, when the Lord is treated of, is signified Divine truth, see n. 9212, 9216; that the same is signified by light, see n. 3195, 3222, 5400, 8644, 9399, 9548, 9684, and in the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 126-140. That Moses and Elias signify the Word; that Moses does so, see Arcana Coelestia, n. 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 9372, 10,234; and that Elias does, see n. 2762, 5247. That clouds signify the Word [in the letter], see above, n. 36; that beloved Son is the Divine Human of the Lord is evident.) From the signification of the Lord's garments, as being Divine truth, it may be known what is signified by the soldiers dividing the Lord's garments among them, and casting lots upon His vesture, concerning which it is thus written in John,

"The soldiers took his garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also his coat; now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not divide it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my garments among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did" (xix. 23, 24).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 222-223, Arcana Coelestia 1999, 2434, 2495, Arcana Coelestia 2762, 3195, 3222, 3527, 3750, 4060, 4066, Arcana Coelestia 4796, 5102, 5247, Arcana Coelestia 5400, 5585, 5922, Arcana Coelestia 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7083, 7089, 7382, Arcana Coelestia 8327, 8644, 8805, Arcana Coelestia 9212, Arcana Coelestia 9216, Arcana Coelestia 9306, 9372, 9399, 9420, 9422, 9434, 9546, 9548, 9684, Arcana Coelestia 9888, Arcana Coelestia 10234, Arcana Coelestia 10608; Heaven and Hell 116-125, 126-140; John 1:18, 1:2, John 5:37, 19:23-24; The Apocalypse Explained 8-9, 36)

[4] He who does not know that in every particular of the Word there is an internal sense, which is spiritual, cannot see any arcanum in these things; he only knows that the soldiers divided the garments and not the coat, and he perceives nothing more than this, when, nevertheless, there is not only a Divine arcanum contained in this circumstance, but also in every particular of the things recorded concerning the Lord's passion. The arcanum which is contained in this circumstance is, that the Lord's garments signified Divine truth, thus the Word, because the Word is Divine truth; the garments which they divided, the Word in the letter, and the coat, the Word in the internal sense. To divide them, signifies to disperse and falsify; and soldiers signify those who belong to the church, who fight for Divine truth; wherefore it is said, "These things therefore the soldiers did." It is therefore clear, that by these words in the spiritual sense, is meant, that the Jewish Church dispersed the Divine truth which is in the sense of the letter; but that they could not disperse the Divine truth which is in the internal sense. (That the Lord's garments signified Divine truth, thus the Word, was shown above; that His coat signified Divine truth, or the Word, in the internal sense, may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 9826, 9942; that to divide is to disperse and separate from good and truth, thus to falsify, may be seen, n. 4424, 6360, 6361, 9094. That soldiers signify those who belong to the church, in this place to the Jewish church, who fought for Divine truth, is evident from the spiritual sense of warfare and of war; that war signifies spiritual combats, which are those of truth against falsity, may be seen, n. 1659, 1664, 8295, 10,455; it is therefore said concerning the Levites, whose function was to deal with the things of the church, that they should go out to the warfare, and should serve in the warfare, by exercising the ministry in the tent of the assembly (Numb. iv. 23, 35, 39, 43, 47; viii. 23, 24).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1659, 1664, Arcana Coelestia 4424, Arcana Coelestia 6360-6361, Arcana Coelestia 8295, Arcana Coelestia 9094, Arcana Coelestia 9826, Arcana Coelestia 9942, Arcana Coelestia 10455; John 1:2; Numbers 4:47, 4:43, 4:39, 4:35, 4:23, 8:23-24; Revelation 1:13)

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