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.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 6394

Apocalypse Revealed 405


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 513, 820

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 30:12, 16

2 Kings 6:7

2 Chronicles 24:6, 9

Nehemiah 10:33

Word/Phrase Explanations

Money
'Money' relates to truth.

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

peter
Peter – born Simon, son of Jonah – is certainly one of the Bible's most important figures, second only to Jesus in the New Testament....

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

Simon
'Simon, son of Jonah,' as in John 21:15, signifies faith from charity. 'Simon' signifies worship and obedience, and 'Jonah,' a dove, which also signifies charity.

the kings of
The kings of Media and Persia' represent people who are in faith separate from charity.

kings
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Strangers
In Ezekiel 28:7, 'strangers' signify falsities which destroy truths, and 'the terrible of the nations,' evils which destroy good.

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

sea
'The sea and the waves roaring' means heresy and controversies in the church and individual.

cast
For something to be cast down or cast out generally refers to a rather dramatic move from a higher spiritual state to a lower one....

Fish
Fish signify sensual affections which are the ultimate affections of the natural man. Also, those who are in common truths, which are also ultimates of...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

mouth
In most cases, "mouth" in the Bible represents thought and logic, especially the kind of active, concrete thought that is connected with speech. The reason...

Find
To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Finding the Deeper Meaning of the Word
Lesson and activities looking at the inner meaning of the Old and New Testaments.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 How Does God Lead People?
The Bible lays out a path to happiness. By making God's truth our Guide and following Him we can hear His voice through friends, conscience, inspiring books or by reflecting on events we experience.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 How Does the Lord Lead People?
Lesson and activities looking at ways the Lord leaves us while leaving us in freedom.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Mountains Moved by Faith
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Lord Is Transfigured
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 The Transfiguration
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Transfiguration
Since His resurrection, the Lord appears in heaven much as He looked when He was transfigured so this is a wonderful project for children to do! 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Transfiguration
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Transfiguration (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Transfiguration (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Transfiguration (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Transfiguration: A Wonderful Vision
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Transfiguration: One Lord, Two Prophets, Three Disciples
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Ways That the Lord Appeared to People on Earth
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

Commentary

 

Incorporating the New      

By Rev. Todd Beiswenger


To continue browsing while you listen, play the audio in a new window.

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 - Todd offers his apologies for an error; 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 17:14-20, 17:24-27; The Apocalypse Explained 64, 405)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #820

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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820. Whereas in a preceding article (n. 817), it was shown that, in the Word, by Cain, Reuben, and the Philistines, are represented those who are in truths separated from good, it shall now be shown, that by Peter the apostle, in the Word of the Evangelists, is meant truth from good, which is from the Lord, and also, in the opposite sense, truth separated from good. And because truth pertains to faith, and good to charity, therefore by Peter is also meant faith from charity, and also faith separated from charity. For the twelve apostles, like the twelve tribes of Israel, represented the church as to all things belonging to it, thus as to truths and goods; for all things of the church have relation to these two, as to faith and love; for truths pertain to faith, and goods to love. In general, Peter, James, and John, represented faith, charity, and the works of charity. Wherefore these three, in preference to the rest, followed the Lord; and hence it is said of them in Mark,

"He did not permit any to follow him save Peter, James, and John" (v. 37).

(References: Mark 5:37; Revelation 13:12; The Apocalypse Explained 817)


[2] And because truth from good, which is from the Lord, is the primary thing of the church, therefore Peter was first called by Andrew his brother, and afterwards James and John, as is clear in Matthew:

"Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he said unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him" (iv. 18-20).

In John:

Andrew "findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. Therefore he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a stone" (i. 41-43).

And in Mark:

"Jesus goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would, first Simon, and surnamed him Peter; afterwards James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James" (iii. 13, 16, 17).

The reason why Peter was the first of the apostles, was, because truth from good is the primary thing of the church. For a man does not know from the world anything about heaven and hell, nor a life after death, nor even about God. His natural light (lumen) teaches nothing but what has entered by the eyes, thus, nothing but what relates to self and the world. His life also is therefrom; and so long as he remains only in these things, he is in hell. In order, therefore, that he may be withdrawn from them, and be led to heaven, it is necessary for him to learn truths, which not only teach that there is a God, that there are a heaven and a hell, and a life after death, but also teach the way to heaven. It is therefore evident that truth is the primary thing by which the church is formed in a man; but truth from good. For truth without good is only a knowledge that a thing is so. And mere knowledge has no other effect than to render a man capable of becoming a church. But this is not brought about until he lives according to knowledges, in which case truth is conjoined to good, and man is introduced into the church. Truths also teach how a man ought to live, and when he is affected with them for their own sake, that is, when he loves to live according to them, then he is led of the Lord, and conjunction is afforded him with heaven and he becomes spiritual, and, after death, an angel of heaven. Nevertheless, it is to be observed that truths do not produce those effects, but good by means of truths; and good is from the Lord.

(References: John 1:40-42, 1:41-43; Mark 3:13, 3:16-17; Matthew 4:18-20; The Apocalypse Explained 411, 443)


[3] Because truth from good, which is from the Lord, is the primary thing of the church, therefore Peter was first called, and was the first of the apostles, and was also named by the Lord Cephas, meaning a rock (petra); but, that it might be the name of a person, he is called Peter (Petrus); for by rock, in the highest sense, is signified the Lord as to Divine truth, or Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; and therefore, in the relative sense, by rock is signified truth from good, which is from the Lord, the same as by Peter. That rock signifies such things (see above, n. 411). What Simon son of Jona signifies, may also be seen above (n. 443).

[4] The reason why these three apostles were fishermen, and why the Lord said unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men, was that to fish signifies to instruct natural men; for there were at that time, as well within as without the church, natural men, who, according as they received the Lord, and received truths from Him, became spiritual. From these things it may be concluded what is signified by the Lord's words to Peter concerning the keys; as in Matthew:

When some said that Jesus was John the Baptist, others Elias, others Jeremias, or another of the prophets, Jesus said to the disciples, "But whom say ye that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in the heavens; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven" (xvi. 14-19).

Because truth from good, which is from the Lord, is the primary thing of the church, and is signified by Peter, therefore these things were said by the Lord to Peter. And they were said when he acknowledged the Lord as the Messiah or Christ, and as the Son of the living God; for without this acknowledgment truth is not truth. For truth derives its origin, essence, and life from good; and good, from the Lord. Because truth from good, which is from the Lord, is the primary thing of the church, therefore the Lord says, "Upon this rock will I build my church." That by Peter or rock, in the highest sense, is signified Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and, in the relative sense, truth from good, which is from the Lord, was shown just above. That the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, signifies that falsities from evil, which are from the hells, will not dare to rise up against those of the church who are in truths from good from the Lord. By the gates of hell are signified all things of hell, in all of which there are gates through which falsities from evil exhale and rise up. By the keys of the heavens, is signified introduction into heaven to all those who are in truths from good from the Lord. Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, signifies that heaven is opened by the Lord to those who are in truths from good from Him; and that it is closed to those who are not.

These things are said unto Peter. But because by Peter is meant truth from good, which is from the Lord, therefore they are said of the Lord, from whom good and truth therefrom proceed. Wherefore they were said when Peter acknowledged the Lord as the Messiah or Christ, and as the Son of the living God. Moreover, as soon as good is implanted in truths with a man, he is conjoined with the angels; but so long as good is not implanted in truths with him, so long heaven is closed to him; for then instead of good he has evil, and instead of truths, falsities. From these things it is evident, how sensuously those think who attribute such power to Peter, when nevertheless that power belongs to the Lord alone.

That by Peter is signified truth from good, which is from the Lord, has been made clear to me from heaven, as may be seen in the small work concerning the Last Judgment (n. 57).

(References: Matthew 16:14-19)


[5] Because Peter signified truth from good, which is from the Lord, and thence also doctrine, and so represented those who are in truths from good, and in the doctrine of genuine truth from the Lord; and because these are they who instruct others, and who are instructed by the Lord; therefore Peter so often spoke with the Lord, and was also instructed by Him. He spoke with the Lord at His transfiguration,

Concerning the making of three tabernacles (Matt. xvii. 1-5; Mark ix. 2-8; Luke ix. 26-36),

on which occasion the Lord represented the Word, which is Divine truth; and by tabernacles is signified the worship of the Lord from the good of love, and the truths therefrom (see above concerning the transfiguration of the Lord, n. 594); and concerning the signification of tabernacles (n. 799). He spoke of the Lord,

As being the Christ, the Son of the living God (John vi. 67-69).

He was instructed by the Lord,

About charity, that a brother was to be forgiven as often as he sinned (Matt. xviii. 21, 22);

About regeneration, which is signified by him who is once washed not having need to be washed except as to his feet (John xiii. 3-6);

About the power of truth from good from the Lord, which is meant by the power of those who have the faith of God (Mark xi. 21, 23, 24);

About sins, that they are remitted to those who are in faith from love (Luke vii. 40-48);

About men who are spiritual, as being free; and those who are natural, as being servants; by which Peter was instructed when he took the piece of money out of the mouth of a fish, and gave it for tribute; for by a fish is signified the natural man, and the same by one that pays tribute (Matt. xvii. 24-27).

Besides several other things (concerning which see Matt. xiv. 26-31; xix. 27, 28; Mark x. 28 and following; xiii. 3 and following; xvi. 7; Luke xxii. 8 and following; xxiv. 12, 33, 34; John xviii. 10, 11; xx. 3-8; xxi. 1-11).

(References: John 6:67-69, 13:3-10, John 13:10, John 18:10-11, John 20:2-8, 20:3-8, 21:1-11; Luke 7:40-48, 9:26-36, 9:28-36, 22:8, Luke 24:12, 24:33-34; Mark 9:2-8, 10:28, Mark 11:21-24, 11:21, 11:23-24, 13:3, Mark 16:7; Matthew 14:26-31, Matthew 17:1-5, 17:24-27, 18:21-22, 19:27-28; The Apocalypse Explained 594, The Apocalypse Explained 799; The Last Judgment 57)


[6] Since those who are in truths from the good of love to the Lord, or in doctrine from them, were represented by Peter, and they are those who instruct others, therefore the Lord said to Peter, when he answered that he loved Him, that he should feed His lambs and sheep, concerning which is it thus written in John:

"After they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon [son of] Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon [son of] Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he said to him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus said unto him, Feed my sheep" (xxi. 15-17).

From these words it is quite clear, that Peter represented truth from the good of love to the Lord. Wherefore also he was now called Simon, son of Jonas; for by Simon, son of Jonas, is signified faith from charity - Simon signifying hearkening and obedience, and Jonas a dove, by which is signified charity.

That those who are in the doctrine of truth from love to the Lord are to instruct those who will belong to the Lord's Church is meant by the Lord's question, "Lovest thou me?" and by His saying afterwards, "Feed my lambs, and my sheep." Not that Peter only was to instruct, but all those represented by Peter; who, as was said above, are those who are in love to the Lord, and thence in truths from the Lord. By Peter's being questioned three times is signified the full time of the church from its beginning to its end. For the number three has this signification. Wherefore, when he was questioned the third time, it is said that Peter was grieved. And because the third questioning signified the end of the church, therefore these words of the Lord to Peter immediately follow:

(References: John 21:15-17)


[7] "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou art old, thou shalt stretch forth thine hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldest not. And when he had spoken this, he said unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved, following; which also leaned on his breast at supper. Peter, seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that this disciple should not die. Yet Jesus said not unto him, he shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?" (xxi. 18-23).

No one can know what these words signify unless he knows that by Peter is signified faith from charity, and also faith without charity. Faith from charity in the church, when it commences, and faith without charity when the church declines; thus that Peter, when he was young, signifies the faith of the church in its commencement, and when he was old, the faith of the church at its end; and that by girding himself and walking is signified to learn truths and live according to them. It is evident therefore that by these words, "When thou wast young thou girdedst thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest," is signified that the church in its beginning would be instructed in truths which are from good, and thereby be led of the Lord; and that by these words, "When thou art old, thou shalt stretch forth thine hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldest not," is signified that the church at its end would not know truths, but falsities which pertain to faith without charity, and be led thereby. To gird himself signifies to be instructed in truths, the same as being clothed; for garments signify truths, clothing good, as may be seen above (n. 195, 395, 637). And to walk signifies to live according to them, as may also be seen above (n. 97). Hence to gird himself and walk whither he would, signifies to exercise free circumspection, and to see truths, and do them. But to stretch forth the hands, signifies not to be in that freedom; for the hands signify the power of truth from the understanding and perception thereof; and to stretch forth the hands, signifies not to have that power, nor thence the liberty of thinking and seeing truth. Another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldest not, signifies to acknowledge for truth what another dictates, and not to see for himself, as is the case at this day with the religion of faith alone. Hence, then, this faith also is meant by Peter. Therefore it is said, that Peter turning about saw the disciple whom Jesus loved, following, and said of him, "But what shall this man do?" Also that Jesus said to Peter, "What is that to thee?" By the disciple following Jesus, is signified goods of life, which are good works; that these should not perish to the end of life, is signified by the words following.

(References: John 21:18-23; The Apocalypse Explained 97, 195, 395, The Apocalypse Explained 637)


[8] From these things it is evident, that by Peter is also signified faith separate from charity, as also when,

"He denied the Lord thrice" (Matt. xxvi. 69-75; Mark xiv. 29-31, 54, 66-72; Luke xxii. 33, 34, 50, 51, 55-62; John xiii. 36-38; xviii. 16-18, 25-27).

Also,

"When the Lord turning away from Peter, said to him, Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things which are of God, but those that be of men" (Matt. xvi. 21-23).

And when the Lord said to him,

"Simon, Simon, lo, Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat" (Luke xxii. 31).

All these things have been adduced that it may be known, that by Peter, in the representative sense, in the Evangelists, is signified truth from good, which is from the Lord; also faith from charity; and, in the opposite sense, truth separate from good, which in itself is falsity; also faith separate from charity, which in itself is not faith.

(References: John 1:40-42, John 13:3-10, John 13:36-38, John 18:16-18, 18:25-27, John 21:15-23; Luke 22:31, 22:33-34, 22:50-51, 22:55-62; Mark 11:21-24, Mark 14:29-31, 14:54, 14:66-72; Matthew 16:21-23, Matthew 26:69-75; Revelation 13:12)

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   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 821, 836

Other New Christian Commentary

Peter 1

Having Faith in the Lord 1

Simon, son of Jonah 1


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Peter's Denial
There is something so familiar about Peter. He was sometimes strong and sometimes weak. This is the nature of faith.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The First Disciples
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Twelve Apostles
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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