This writing was left unpublished at Swedenborg's death, although it had apparently been carefully prepared for publication. Except towards the end it is almost exclusively an exposition of the spiritual sense of Scripture. Not only is every phrase in the Apocalypse (as far as covered) separately explained, but thousands of passages, gathered from all parts of the Word, are quoted and expounded. These expositions close with the tenth verse of the nineteenth chapter. Towards the end extended doctrinal discussions are introduced. Both for its exposition of passages of Scripture and for its doctrinal statements this is an exceedingly important and valuable work. It is especially instructive in its expositions of the Psalms, the Prophets, and the Gospels.
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Emanuel Swedenborg – A Biographical Primer
Apocalypse. Chapter 1.
Apocalypse. Chapter 2.
Apocalypse. Chapter 3.
Apocalypse. Chapter 4.
Apocalypse. Chapter 5
Apocalypse. Chapter 6.
Apocalypse. Chapter 7.
Apocalypse. Chapter 8.
Apocalypse. Chapter 9.
Apocalypse. Chapter 10.
Apocalypse. Chapter 11.
Apocalypse. Chapter 12
Apocalypse. Chapter 13.
Apocalypse. Chapter 14.
Apocalypse. Chapter 15.
Apocalypse. Chapter 16.
Apocalypse. Chapter 17.
Apocalypse. Chapter 18.
Apocalypse. Chapter 19.
Apocalypse Explained, Vol. 1, E. Swedenborg
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
By Thomas Hitchcock
Swedish philosopher, born in Stockholm, Jan. 29, 1688, died in London, England, March 29, 1772. He was the son of Jesper Swedberg, bishop of Skara, the name being changed to Swedenborg in 1719 on the occasion of the ennobling of the family. This advancement entitled him, as head of the family, to a seat in the house of nobles of the Swedish diet, but did not confer the title of baron, as has been supposed. Emanuel was educated at Upsal, completing his studies in 1709. After two years of travel in England, Holland, and France, he went to reside at Greifswald in Pomerania, then a Swedish town, and busied himself with scientific research. He also wrote some Latin fables, which were published under the title of Camena Borea. A collection of Latin poems, written by him during his travels, was also published about the same time in a volume entitled Ludus Heliconius. In 1716 he returned to Sweden and established a periodical called Dædalus Hyperboreus, devoted to mathematics and mechanics, which appeared irregularly for two years. During this time he had become intimate with Christopher Polhem, an eminent engineer, and Polhem introduced him to Charles XII., who appointed him assessor extraordinary of the college of mines, and associate engineer with Polhem. For two years Swedenborg maintained close personal relations with the king, and assisted him much in his military operations. During the siege of Frederickshald, at which Charles met his death, Swedenborg constructed, under Polhem's direction, the machines by which several vessels were transported overland from Strömstad to the Iddefiord, 14 miles. At the king's suggestion, it is said, Polhem betrothed his daughter to Swedenborg; but as the young lady preferred another man, Swedenborg relinquished his claim and never married. From 1717 to 1722 he published pamphlets on scientific subjects; among them one describing a method of determining longitude by means of the moon. In 1721 he made a short tour on the continent, visiting mines and smelting works. On his return in 1722 he was promoted to be full assessor of mines, and for the next 12 years he devoted himself to the duties of that office, refusing the professorship of mathematics at Upsal in 1724. In 1734 he published Opera Philosophica et Mineralia in three large folio volumes, illustrated with numerous plates, viz.: vol. i., Principia; vol. ii., De Ferro; vol. iii., De Cupro et Orichalco. In the same year also appeared his Prodromus de Infinito. In 1736 he began another tour of travel, which, with study and writing, occupied him for several years. In 1740-'41 he published his Œconomia Regni Animalis, in two parts, and in 1744-'5 his Regnum Animale, in three parts. Between 1729 and 1741 he was elected successively a member of the academy of sciences at Upsal, corresponding member of the imperial academy of sciences at St. Petersburg, and member of the academy of sciences at Stockholm. His series of scientific publications ended in 1745 with the treatise De Cultu et Amore Dei, &c., in which is set forth, under the form of a prose poem or allegory, his theory of the process of creation. Thereafter, as he says, he was called by God to the work of revealing to men a new system of religious truth. For that end he was permitted to converse with spirits and angels, and behold the wonders of the spiritual world. That he might be more free to perform his task, he resigned his assessorship, retaining half the salary by way of pension. He devoted himself first to the study of the Bible in the original, and then to the writing of books explanatory of his new doctrines, which were published entirely at his own expense. From 1749 to 1756 appeared the Arcana Cœlestia (8 vols. 4to), containing a commentary on Genesis and Exodus, interspersed with accounts of “wonderful things seen and heard in heaven and in hell.” This was followed in 1758 by the De Cœlo et Inferno, De Telluribus in Mundo, De Ultimo Judicio, De Nova Hierosolyma, and De Equo Albo. In 1763 were published the four doctrinal treatises: Doctrina Vitæ, De Fide, De Domino, and De Scriptura Sacra, with a Continuatio de Ultimo Judicio, and the treatise De Divino Amore et de Divina Sapientia. In 1764, the Divina Providentia appeared; in 1766, the Apocalypsis Revelata; in 1768, De Amore Conjugiali; in 1769, Summaria Expositio Doctrinæ and De Commercio Animæ et Corporis; and in 1771, the Vera Christiana Religio. Besides these, he left at his death an immense mass of manuscripts, of which the following have been since printed: Itinerarium, Clavis Hieroglyphica, Opuscula, Apocalypsis Explicata, Adversaria in Libros Veteris Testamenti, Diarium Spirituale, Index Biblicus, Sensus Internus Prophetarum et Psalmorum, Dicta Probantia, De Athanasio Symbolo, De Charitate, Canones, Coronis Veræ Christianæ Religionis, and Invitatio ad Novam Ecclesiam. Copies of a few of these manuscripts have recently been reproduced by the photolithographic process, by subscription, not so much for circulation as for the sake of preserving the contents of the originals from destruction by decay. — Swedenborg's manner of life was simple and modest. He spent much of his time, in later years, in Holland and England, for which countries he expressed great admiration on account of the freedom of speech and writing permitted there. He made no efforts to gain proselytes to his doctrines further than by printing and distributing his writings, and never referred to his intercourse with the spiritual world except when questioned. Several instances are reported of his obtaining information from departed souls respecting affairs unknown even to their families, and describing events in distant places in advance of news by the ordinary means of communication. It is related that, as he lay on his deathbed in London, Ferelius, a Swedish clergyman, solemnly adjured him to tell the truth in regard to his teachings. Swedenborg raised himself half upright in bed, and placing his hand on his breast said with emphasis: “As true as you see me before you, so true is everything I have written. I could have said more had I been permitted. When you come into eternity, you will see all things as I have stated and described them, and we shall have much to say concerning them to each other.” He then received the holy supper from Ferelius, and presented him with a copy of his Arcana Cœlestia. A day or two afterward he peacefully breathed his last. His body was buried in a vault of the Swedish church in Prince's square, a little east of the tower. A eulogium was pronounced upon him in the Swedish house of nobles in October, 1772, by Samuel Sandels, which accords him high praise, not merely for learning and talent, but also for uprightness and fidelity in the discharge of his duties as a public functionary. Several of his acquaintances have also left written testimony to his virtuous character. — Swedenborg's scientific works have long since ceased to be of practical value, but are still highly interesting as collections of facts, and as exhibiting their author's peculiar method of philosophizing. The system he followed was substantially that of Descartes, of whom he continued to the end of his life to speak with admiration, and this led him to conclusions resembling in some striking points those of Spinoza, who was likewise a Cartesian. His “Economy of the Animal Kingdom” is the best of his many productions anterior to his theological career. In it he attempts to deduce a knowledge of the soul from an anatomical and physiological knowledge of the body, and evolves many doctrines which he afterward elaborated in his theological works. Indeed, some of his disciples hold that his seership was the natural result of his intellectual and moral development, and by no means an abnormal condition of mind. According to his own account, it came upon him gradually, and neither astonished nor alarmed him, although in its early stages he was subject to great mental excitement, the phenomena of which may have given rise to exaggerated stories of his insanity. The works written by him subsequent to this change in his mind are quite as systematic and coherent as his earlier productions, and only his claim to a divine mission, and his frequent descriptions of what he saw and heard in the spiritual world, mark them as peculiar. They are consistent from first to last, and though they appeared at intervals during a period of 27 years, they nowhere deviate from the fundamental principles laid down at the outset. — The general features of Swedenborg's theology are presented in his treatise called the “True Christian Religion.” He teaches that God is one in essence and in person, and has been revealed to men as the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Lord is a trinity, not of persons but of principles, and it is these principles which are spoken of in the Scriptures as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father is the divine love, the Son the divine wisdom, and the Holy Ghost the divine operation or energy acting upon the universe. The Lord is infinite, eternal, self-existent, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, and not only the creator but the sustainer of all creation, which without him would cease to exist. For the sake of redeeming mankind he assumed a natural body born of the Virgin Mary, and glorified it or made it divine, so that it is now invisible to men, and also usually to the angels except as the sun of heaven. Redemption consisted, not in suffering vicariously the punishment of men's sins (for that could not be done, and, if it could, would be useless), but in actual combats, by means of the assumed humanity, with the powers of hell, and overcoming them. This victory restored to man spiritual freedom, which had begun to be impaired by diabolic possessions as narrated in the Gospels, and enabled him to work out his salvation. This he does by looking to the Lord, with faith in him, by repentance, and above all by a life according to the commandments of the decalogue. The chief points that Swedenborg insists on in religion are faith in the Lord and the avoidance of evils as sins against him. Upon everything else, such as outward worship, prayer and meditation, and works of eleemosynary charity, he lays but little stress. The essence of charity is love to the neighbor and occupation in some useful employment. The Word, he says, is the divine truth itself, written to reveal the Lord to man and to serve as a medium of conjunction between earth and heaven. This Word consists of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, the Psalms, the prophecies, the four Gospels, and the Apocalypse. The other books bound up with these in our Bibles are not the Word, although good and useful to the church. The distinction between the two consists in this: that the Word contains an internal or spiritual sense, which the rest of the Bible has not. This spiritual sense is symbolical, and may be discerned by the application of the law of symbolism resulting from the universal correspondence of natural with spiritual things. Thus, the garden of Eden and all things mentioned as existing in it symbolize the human soul and its affections and thoughts; and the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the alienation of mankind at a remote period from their original state of innocence. Hence, too, the decalogue forbids not merely outward sins, but the inward spiritual sins corresponding to them, and the Psalms and prophecies relate not merely to David and the Jews, but to experiences of the human soul independent of dates and localities. At the same time the literal sense alone can be relied on as a basis of doctrine, and Swedenborg is careful to cite it profusely in support of his teachings. The reason he gives for his mission is that the knowledge of true doctrine had been lost and the church destroyed by a false theology and accompanying evils of life. By the promulgation of the truth revealed to him a new church has been established by the Lord, and thus the prophecies in the Apocalypse of the descent of the New Jerusalem have been fulfilled in their symbolical sense. The second coming of the Lord, predicted in Matt, xxiv., has also been accomplished in the same way, a last judgment having been effected in the spiritual world in the year 1757, so that we are now living under a new dispensation. The treatise on “Heaven and Hell” embodies Swedenborg's teachings on the nature of those two realms, and their relations to this world. They exist, he says, not in some other region of space, but within the natural world, as the soul of man exists within his body, being in fact in the souls of men and resting in them as our souls rest in our bodies. At death the body, which is the material envelope of the soul, is cast aside, never to be resumed, and consequently its resurrection is not to be looked for. The soul is the man himself, and is a perfect human being, with a spiritual body of its own, and rises into a conscious perception of the spiritual world, of which the man had previously been unconsciously an inhabitant. He sees and feels and possesses all the other senses, and retains all his personal characteristics. After a longer or shorter preparation in an intermediate state called the world of spirits, which lies between heaven and hell, he is drawn by his own elective affinity to the place where he belongs, and remains there to eternity. Both heaven and hell consist of innumerable societies, each composed of human beings of similar and concordant affections; and both are divided into three distinct regions, according to the degrees of perfection or depravity of their inhabitants. The Arcana Cœlestia, Swedenborg's largest work, is mainly an exposition of the internal or symbolical sense of Genesis and Exodus, with accounts of his experiences in the spiritual world, and various doctrinal teachings interspersed between the chapters. “The Apocalypse Revealed” and “The Apocalypse Explained” are similar expositions of the Apocalypse. In his “Conjugial Love” Swedenborg expounds his doctrine of the relations of the sexes. Males, he says, are masculine and females feminine in soul as well as in body. The masculine element is love clothed with wisdom, while the feminine is wisdom clothed with love. Hence the characteristic of man is wisdom or understanding, and that of woman love or affection. Marriage is the conjunction of two souls who complement each other, and by their union make one complete being, just as the will and the understanding make the individual. Hence the only true marriage is of one man and one woman, and it exists in the next world as well as in this. Polygamy is a degraded state, but not a sin with those whose religion permits it; but adultery is destructive of the life of the soul, and closes heaven against those who confirm themselves in it. The treatises on the “Divine Love and Wisdom” and the “Divine Providence” embody Swedenborg's spiritual philosophy, and exhibit the symmetrical relations of the various parts of his religious system. Love, he says, is the life of man. God alone is Love itself and Life itself, and angels and men are but recipients of life from him. He is very Man, and our humanity is derived from him, so that it is literally true that we are created in his image and likeness. His infinite love clothes itself with infinite wisdom and manifests itself in ceaseless operation, producing, maintaining, and reproducing the boundless universe, with all its innumerable parts and inhabitants. In like manner men, being made in the image of God, also have love or the will, and wisdom or the understanding, and the two produce in them their finite operation. It being the nature of love to desire objects upon which to exercise itself, God could not but create the universe. The creation of this and other solar systems, all of which are inhabited, was effected by a spiritual sun, which is the first emanation proceeding from God, and which is seen in the spiritual world as our sun is seen by us. By means of this spiritual sun natural suns were created, and from them atmospheres, waters, earths, plants, animals, and finally man. Angels, spirits, and devils are men who have been born and died on this or some similar planet. Hence, all things were created from God, and not out of nothing. The spiritual world is related to the natural as cause is to effect, and the supreme first cause of all is God himself. These three, end, cause, and effect, constitute three distinct or discrete degrees, which are repeated in various forms in all created things, and on a grand scale in the universe as a whole. Creation, being from God, is, like the individual man, an image of him, and hence is in the human form in its greatest and least parts, and with more or less approximation to perfection. As we are finitely men, because God is an infinite Man, so all animals, plants, and even minerals wear a resemblance to man, and throughout all nature there is an incessant effort to evolve the human form. In the sight of God and the angels, larger and smaller bodies of human beings and the societies of heaven and hell appear organized like men, and Swedenborg calls the universe the Grand Man (Maximus Homo). As infinite love was the end and infinite wisdom the cause of creation, so the divine life and power are constantly active in sustaining and directing it. This activity is the Divine Providence, and it reaches to every smallest particular of nature and humanity. Man has freedom, because without it he could not be an adequate recipient of the divine love, and by the abuse of his freedom he has introduced evil into the world. The Divine Providence seeks, without destroying this freedom, to lead man back to his original integrity. Hence all the wonderful dealings of God with man recorded in the Scriptures; hence the incarnation; and hence the various forms of religion which exist in the world, all of which embody more or less the essentials of salvation, namely, the worship of God and abstinence from evils as sins against him. The smaller treatises of Swedenborg are mostly extracts from his larger works, with amplifications and additions. — The fullest account of him and his writings is that of William White (2 vols., London, 1867, since republished in one volume). See, also, “Documents concerning Swedenborg,” by R. L. Tafel (London, 1875 et seq.). All of his theological and some of his scientific works have been translated into English. The theological works have also been reprinted in Latin by Dr. J. F. I. Tafel, of Tübingen, Germany, and partially translated and published in French, German, Italian, Danish, and Swedish. Societies for promoting their circulation are in operation both in the United States and in Europe. The principal writers who have undertaken the exposition of Swedenborg's doctrines in England are John Clowes, Robert Hindmarsh, C. A. Tulk, Samuel Noble, J. J. G. Wilkinson, and Jonathan Bayley; in France, E. Richer and J. F. Les Boys-des-Guays; and in the United States, George Bush, Theophilus Parsons, E. H. Sears, Henry James, B. F. Barrett, W. B. Hayden, and Chauncey Giles. For an account of the ecclesiastical organization based upon Swedenborg's doctrines.
1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show unto His servants the things which must quickly come to pass, and signified, sending by His angel, unto His servant John. 2. Who bare witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, whatsoever things he saw. 3. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear, the words of the prophecy, and keep the things which are written therein; for the time is near. 4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come; and from the seven spirits which are in sight of His throne; 5. And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the Firstborn from the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loveth us, and washeth us from our sins in His blood; 6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father: to Him be the glory and the might unto the ages of the ages. Amen. 7. Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth shall lament over Him. Even so; Amen. 8. I am the Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and End, saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. 9. I, John, who also am your brother and partaker in the affliction and in the kingdom and patient expectation of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day; and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11. Saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last; and what thou seest write in a book, and send to the churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and Smyrna, and Pergamum, and Thyatira, and Sardis, and Philadelphia, and Laodicea. 12. And I turned to see the voice which spake with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, 13. And in the midst of the seven lampstands one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the paps with a golden girdle. 14. And His head and hairs white as white wool, as snow: and His eyes as a flame of fire. 15. And His feet like unto burnished brass, as if glowing in a furnace; and His voice as the voice of many waters. 16. And having in His right hand seven stars; and out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword going forth; and His face as the sun shineth in his power. 17. And when I saw Him I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the First and the Last; 18. And the Living One; and I became dead; and behold I am alive unto the ages of the ages, Amen: and I have the keys of hell and of death. 19. Write the things which thou sawest, and the things which are, and the things which are to be hereafter. 20. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven lampstands which thou sawest are the seven churches. Many have expounded this prophetical book called Revelation, but none of them understood the internal or spiritual sense of the Word. They have therefore applied the particular things in the book to the successive states of the church, which they have learned from histories; many things, moreover, they have applied to civil affairs. For this reason those expositions are for the most part conjectures, which can never appear in such light that they can be affirmed as truths. As soon, therefore, as they are read, they are put aside as speculations. The expositions of Revelation now extant are of this character, because, as has been said, their authors had no knowledge of the internal or spiritual sense of the Word. Yet, in fact, all things recorded in Revelation are written in a style similar to that of the Old Testament prophecies, and to the style, in general in which everything in the Word is written. The Word in the letter is natural, but in its bosom it is spiritual; and being such, it contains within it a sense that is not at all apparent in the letter. How the one sense differs from the other may be seen from what is said and shown in the small work on the White Horse and in the appendix there from the Arcana Coelestia.
From this it is evident that Revelation, equally with the Old Testament prophecies, can in no wise be understood, nor can anything therein be understood, unless the spiritual sense be known, and furthermore unless there be revelation from heaven, where the whole Word is understood according to that sense. That this is so the exposition itself that follows will establish.
In the following exposition many passages are cited from the Arcana Coelestia; be it known, therefore, that they are from that work.
EXPOSITION Verses 1-3.The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show unto His servants the things which must quickly come to pass, and signified, sending by His angel, unto His servant John, who bare witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, whatsoever things he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear, the words of the prophecy, and keep the things which are written therein; for the time is near. 1. "The revelation of Jesus Christ," signifies predictions from the Lord respecting the last times of the church (n. 5); "which God gave Him to show unto His servants," signifies for those who are in truths from good (n. 6); "the things which must quickly come to pass," signifies which will certainly be (n. 7); "and signified, sending by His angel, unto His servant John," signifies which are revealed out of heaven to those who are in the good of love (n. 8, 9); 2. "who bare witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ," signifies to those who in heart acknowledge Divine truth, and the Divine of the Lord in His Human (n. 10); "whatsoever things he saw," signifies having their understanding enlightened (n. 11); 3. "Blessed," signifies those in whom is heaven (n. 12); "is he that readeth" signifies that they have perception (n. 13); "and they that hear the words of the prophecy," signifies that they live according to the doctrine of heaven (n. 14); "and keep the things which are written therein," signifies from the delight of the love of truth (n. 15); "for the time is near," signifies such an interior state (n. 16).
Verse 1. The revelation of Jesus Christ, signifies predictions from the Lord respecting the last times of the church. This is evident from the signification of "revelation," as being predictions; and since these are from the Lord alone, it is said, "the revelation of Jesus Christ." The revelation, or predictions, are respecting the last times of the church, since those times are especially treated of. It may be supposed that in Revelation the successive states of the church from beginning to end are treated of; these, however, are not there treated of, but only the state of heaven and of the church near the end, when the Last Judgment takes place, thus the last times. The successive states of the church were foretold by the Lord Himself in Matthew 24, 25; and also in Mark 13; yet what is there given is written in the Divine prophetic style, that is, by means of correspondences; consequently it is of such a character that it can only be revealed and made evident by the internal or spiritual sense. (It has therefore been granted me from the Lord to unfold these things in the Arcana Coelestia, at the beginning of chapters 26 to 40 of Genesis; which explanations may be seen in their order, in the following places: n. 3353-3356, 3486-3489, 3650-3655, 3751-3757, 3897-3901, 4056-4060, 4229-4231, 4332-4335, 4422-4424, 4635-4638, 4661-4664, 4807-4810, 4954-4959, 5063-5071.)
Which God gave Him, to show unto His servants, signifies for those who are in truths from good. This is evident from the signification of "gave Him to show the revelation," as being to declare predictions, that is to say, predictions for those; and from the signification of "His servants," as being, who are in truths from good. Such are meant by servants of God, because those who hearken to and obey God are called, in the Word, servants of God. Hearkening and obedience take place with those who are in truths from good, but not with those who are in truths alone, or in truths without good; for these have truths in the memory only, and not in the life; whereas those who are in truths from good have truths in the life, and those who have truths in the life do them from the heart, that is, from love. Be it known, that no truth ever enters into the life of man unless the man be in good, for good is of love, and love makes the whole man; man therefore receives into his life all truths that are in accord. This may be abundantly seen from the fact, that whatever a man loves he appropriates to himself; and everything else he casts from him, yea, holds it in aversion. By good is here meant the good of love to the Lord and the good of love towards the neighbor; for this good is the only spiritual good, and with this truths of faith are in accord.
Things which must quickly come to pass, signifies which will certainly be. This is evident from the signification of "things which must come to pass," as being things that must needs be; and from the signification of "quickly," as meaning what is certain and full (Arcana Coelestia, n. 5284, 6783). Those who look at all things in the Word according to the sense of the letter do not know otherwise than that "quickly" signifies quickly; thus here, that the things predicted in Revelation were to occur quickly; from which they are led to wonder that nevertheless so long a time has elapsed before the Last Judgment took place. But those who know the internal sense of the Word, do not understand "quickly," but certainly. They see that "quickly" means certainly, because quickly involves time, and time is proper to nature; thus quickly is a natural, not a spiritual expression; and in the Word, all natural expressions signify the spiritual things that correspond to them; for the Word in its bosom is spiritual, while in the letter it is natural. Thence it is that "quickly" signifies what is certain. (That time is proper to nature, and, in the spiritual world, corresponds to state of life, may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell, in the chapter on Time in Heaven, n. 162-169.)
And signified, sending by His angel, to His servant John, signifies which are revealed out of heaven to those who are in the good of love. This is evident from the signification of "signified," as being the things in the sense of the letter that contain and thus signify those that are in the internal sense; for it is said, "the revelation which God gave to show, and signified;" and by the things that He signified are meant those that are in the sense of the letter, because all these signify, while the things that are signified are those that are contained in the internal sense. For all things in the Word are significative of spiritual things, which are in the internal sense. This is also evident from the signification of "sending by His angel," as meaning, which are revealed out of heaven; for "to send" is to reveal, and "by an angel" is out of heaven. "To send" is to reveal, because everything that is sent out of heaven is revelation; for that which is there is what is revealed; and this is the spiritual which relates to the church and its state; but with man this is changed into the natural, such as is expressed in the sense of the letter in Revelation and elsewhere in the Word. That which comes out of heaven can be presented to man in no other way; for the spiritual falls into its corresponding natural when it descends out of the spiritual world into the natural. This is why the prophetic Word in the sense of the letter is such as it is, and being such, is in its bosom spiritual and is Divine. By "angel" is meant "out of heaven," because that which an angel speaks is out of heaven; for when an angel communicates to man such things as pertain to heaven and the church, he does not speak as man speaks with man, who brings forth out of his memory what another has told him; but that which an angel speaks flows in continuously, not into his memory, but immediately into his understanding, and from that into words. From this it is that all things that the angels spoke to the prophets are Divine, and nothing at all from the angels. Whether it be said, that these revelations are out of heaven, or are from the Lord, it is the same; because the Divine of the Lord with the angels constitutes heaven, and nothing whatever from the angels' proprium . (But this may be better understood from what is said and shown in Heaven and Hell, n. 2-12, 254.) The things revealed out of heaven are said to be for those who are in the good of love, because it is said, "sending by His angel to His servant John," and by "John" those who are in the good of love are represented and meant. For by the twelve apostles are represented and signified all in the church who are in truths from good; consequently, all truths from good, from which is the church; and by each of the apostles in particular something special; thus by "Peter" faith; by "James" charity; and by "John" the good of charity or the good of love. Because John represented this good, the revelation was made to him; for revelation out of heaven, such as this, can be made only to those who are in the good of charity or of love. Others, indeed, can hear the things that are from heaven, but they cannot perceive them. Only those who are in the good of love have spiritual perception. This is because they receive heavenly things not only with the hearing, but also with the love; and to receive with the love is to receive fully, since the things so received are loved; moreover, those who thus receive, see these things in their understanding, where the sensation of their internal sight is. That this is so has been proven to me by much experience. It might also be elucidated by much rational argument; but the subject cannot just now be amplified so far. It is here only necessary to say, that all names mentioned in the Word signify not persons but things; that "John," for instance, signifies such as are in the good of love, thus in the abstract the good of love itself. (That all names in the Word signify things may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 768, 1888, 4310, 4442, 10329. That the names of persons and places in the Word cannot enter heaven, but that they are changed into the things that they signify, n. 1876, 5225, 6516, 10216, 10282, 10432. How exquisite the internal sense of the Word is, even where mere names are mentioned, illustrated by examples, n. 1224, 1264, 1888. That the twelve disciples of the Lord represented, and thence signified, all things of faith and love in the complex, in like manner as the twelve tribes of Israel, n. 2129, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397. That "Peter," "James," and "John" represented, and thence signified, faith, charity, and the good of charity, in their order, see preface to Genesis 18, and 22, and n. 3934, 8581, 10087.)
When one knows that all names in the Word signify things, and that the names of the twelve sons of Jacob, or of the twelve tribes, signify all truths and goods of the church in the complex; and in like manner, the names of the twelve disciples of the Lord; and that "Peter," "James," and "John" signify faith, charity, and the good of charity; he can see many arcana in the Word; as for example, why: The Lord gave the name Peter to Simon, and to James and John the name Boanerges, which means sons of thunder (Mark 3:16-17). For "Peter," like petra , signifies the Lord as to truth from good, or faith from charity; and "sons of thunder" signify those who from affection, which is of love, receive the truths of heaven. (That "rock" signifies the Lord in respect to truth from good, or faith from charity, see Arcana Coelestia, n. 8581, 10580; in like manner the "stone of Israel," n. 6426; and that "thunders" signify Divine truths from heaven, n. 7573, 8914; and "lightning" the splendors thereof, n. 8813; whence thunders were also called "voices," n. 7573, 8914.) I will here mention some arcana that may be seen by those who are aware that "Peter" signifies faith, and "John" the good of charity. First, why the Lord said to Peter: I also say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build My church; and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 16:18-19). It appears from the letter, as if that power was given to Peter, when in fact no power was given to Peter; but it was so said to him because "Peter" signified truth from good, which is from the Lord; and truth from good, which is from the Lord, has all power, thus the Lord has all power from good through truth. (That this is so may be seen illustrated in the small work on The Last Judgment, n. 57.) A second arcanum that may be seen, when it is known that "Peter" signifies faith, is, why the Lord said to him, that: Before the cock crowed, he would deny Him thrice; which also came to pass (Matt. 26:34 seq.). By these words is signified, that in the last time of the church there would be no faith in the Lord, because no charity; for "cock-crowing," as well as "twilight," signifies the last time of the church (n. 10134); and "three" or "thrice," signifies what is complete to the end (n. 2788, 4495, 5159, 9198, 10127. That the end of the church is when there is no faith, because no charity, see in the small work on The Last Judgment n. 33-39, seq.). A third arcanum that may be seen is what is signified by the following words concerning Peter and John: Jesus saith to Peter, 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 lambs. He saith to him again a second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Tend My sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? And he saith unto Him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast younger, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou shall be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and bear thee whither thou wouldest not. And when He had thus spoken, He saith unto him, Follow Me. Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved, following, and he saith, Lord, What shall this one ? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me (John 21:15-22). What these things signify no one can know unless he knows the internal sense, and knows that "Peter" signifies faith, and "John" the good of charity, thus that "Peter" signifies those in the church who are in faith, and "John" those who are in the good of charity. That Jesus said to Peter three times, "Lovest thou Me?" and that Peter said three times. "Thou knowest that I love Thee," and that Jesus then said, "Feed My lambs," and "Feed My sheep," signifies that those who are in faith from love, ought to instruct those who are in the good of love to the Lord, and in the good of charity towards the neighbor; for those who are in faith from love are also in truths, and those who from this are in truths, instruct concerning good, and lead to good; for all spiritual good that a man has, is gained and implanted by truths. (That "lambs" signify those who are in the good of innocence and of love to the Lord, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia, n. 3994, 10132; that "sheep" signify those who are in the good of charity towards the neighbor, n. 4169, 4809; and that "to feed" is to instruct, n. 5201, 6078.) Faith, as it was to be in the first period of the church and as it was to be in the last, is then described by the Lord. The first period of the church is meant by "when thou wast younger," and its last by "when thou shalt be old." That when Peter "was younger he girded himself and walked whither he would," signifies that in the first period of the church men would imbibe truths from the good of charity and would act from freedom; for to act from freedom is to act from the affection of truth from good. "When thou shalt be old thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and lead thee whither thou wouldest not," signifies that in the last period of the church they would no longer imbibe truths from the good of charity, thus would not know them in any other way than as declared by another; and thus would be in a servile state; for a servile state ensues when good does not lead. (That "garments" signify truths, see Arcana Coelestia, n. 1073, 2576, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216, 9952, 10536; and that therefore to "gird oneself" denotes to imbibe and perceive truths, n. 9952. That to "walk" is to act and live; to act from freedom is to act from love or affection, since what a man loves that he does freely, n. 2870, 3158, 8987, 8990, 9585, 9591. That every church begins from charity, but that in process of time it turns aside to faith, and at length to faith alone, n. 1834, 1835, 2231, 4683, 8094.) Since, in the last period of the church, faith becomes such that it rejects the good of charity, saying that faith alone constitutes the church and is saving, and not the good of life which is charity, Jesus said to Peter, by whom such faith is here meant, "Follow Me; and Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved, following; and he saith, Lord, what shall this one ?" By this is signified that faith, in the last period of the church, would turn itself away from the Lord; for it is said of Peter, by whom such faith is signified, that "turning about, he saw;" also that he said of the disciple whom Jesus loved, or of John, by whom is signified the good of charity, "what shall this one ?" that is, that he is not anything. But Jesus said to him, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me." By this is signified that the good of charity will follow the Lord, and will acknowledge Him, even to the last period of the old church, and the first of the new. (That the last period of the old church is called "the consummation of the age," and the beginning of the new church "the coming of the Lord," see Arcana Coelestia, n. 4535, 10622.) A fourth arcanum that may be seen is, why the Lord loved John above the rest of the disciples, and consequently why John lay on the breast or in the bosom of the Lord (John 13:23; 21:20); namely, because the good of love was what the Lord saw when He beheld John, who represented and signified that good; since it is that good that constitutes heaven and the church (see the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 13-19). A fifth arcanum is manifest when it is known that John represented the good of love, namely, what is signified by the words of the Lord from the cross to the mother Mary and to John: When Jesus therefore seeth His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then He saith to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home (John 19:26, 27). By "mother" and by "woman" is here meant the church, and by "John" the good of charity; and by the things here said, that the church will be where the good of charity is. (That by "woman," in the Word, is meant the church, may be seen in Arcana Coelestia, n. 252-253, 749, 770, 3160, 6014, 7337, 8994; that the like is signified by "mother," n. 289, 2691, 2717, 3703, 4257, 5581, 8897, 10490. That to "take her unto his own home" is that these should dwell together, is evident.) From this it can now be seen how great arcana lie concealed in the Word, which are laid open to those only who know its internal or spiritual sense. Apart from that sense it cannot be known, moreover, what is signified when it is said: That the apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones, and shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30). By "apostles" here are meant not apostles, but all truths from good, which are from the Lord; thus by these words is signified that the Lord alone will judge all from truths that are from good, thus that everyone will be judged according to those truths.
Verse 2. Who bare witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, signifies to those who in heart acknowledge Divine truth, and the Divine of the Lord in His Human. This is evident from the signification of "hearing witness," as meaning to acknowledge in heart (of which hereafter), and from the signification of "the Word," or speech of God, as meaning Divine truth (see AC, n. 4692, 5075, 9987); and from the signification of " Jesus Christ," as meaning the acknowledgment of the Lord's Divine in His Human. This is signified by "the testimony of Jesus Christ," because "to testify" signifies to acknowledge in heart, and to acknowledge Jesus Christ in heart is to acknowledge the Divine in His Human; for he that acknowledges the Lord, and does not at the same time acknowledge the Divine in His Human, does not acknowledge the Lord; since His Divine is in His Human, and not out of it; for the Divine is in Its Human as the soul is in the body, consequently to think of the Lord's Human, and not at the same time of His Divine, is like thinking of a man abstractly from his soul or life, which is not thinking of a man. That the Lord's Divine is in His Human, and that together they are one person, the doctrine received throughout the Christian world teaches; which teaching is as follows: "Although Christ is God and Man, yet they are not two, but one Christ; one, but not by a change of the Divine into the Human, but the Divine took the Human to Itself. Altogether one, not by confusion of the two natures, but by unity of person; for as soul and body make one man, so God and Man are one Christ" (Athanasian Creed). From this it is manifest, moreover, that those who separate the Divine into three persons, when they think of the Lord as a second person, ought to think of both together, the Human and the Divine; for it is said that they are a single person, and that they are one, as soul and body are. Therefore those that think otherwise do not think of the Lord; and those that do not think of the Lord in that way are unable to think of the Divine that is called the Father's, for the Lord saith: I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but through Me (John 14:6). Since this acknowledgment is signified by the "testimony of Jesus Christ," it is said that: The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10). "The spirit of prophecy" is the life and soul of doctrine (that "spirit" in the internal sense of the Word, signifies life or soul, may be seen Arcana Coelestia n. 5222, 9281, 9818; and that "prophecy" signifies doctrine, n. 2534, 7269); and the acknowledgment of the Lord is the very life or soul of all doctrine in the church. But of this more will be said in what follows. To "bear witness" is to acknowledge in heart, because spiritual things are treated of; and no one can bear witness respecting spiritual things except from the heart, because from no other source does he perceive that they are so. To bear witness of things that have existence in the world is to bear witness from knowledge, or from memory and thought, because the man has so seen or heard; but it is otherwise with things spiritual, for these fill the whole life and constitute it. The spirit of man, in which his life primarily resides, is nothing else than his will or his love, and his understanding and faith therefrom, and "heart" in the Word signifies the will and love, and understanding and faith therefrom. From this it is evident whence it is that by "bearing witness" in the spiritual sense, is meant to acknowledge in heart. Since by the "heart" is signified the good of love, and this alone is what acknowledges Divine truth, and the Divine of the Lord in His Human, and since that good is signified by "John," it is also said by John that he "bears witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ." So also in another place: And he that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye may believe (John 19:35); and in another place: This is the disciple that beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his witness is true (John 21:24).
Whatsoever things he saw signifies their understanding enlightened. This is evident from the signification of "seeing," as being to understand (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 2150, 2325, 2807, 3764, 3863, 3869, 4403-4421, 10705); here, to understand from enlightenment, because the things of the church and of heaven are treated of, which are not understood and perceived except from enlightenment; for things of the church and of heaven, which are called spiritual things, do not enter into man's understanding, except by means of the light of heaven, and the light of heaven enlightens the understanding. For this reason the Word, in which are contained the things of the church and of heaven, cannot be understood except by one who is enlightened, and those only are enlightened who are in the affection of truth from good, thus who are in love to the Lord and in charity towards the neighbor. This good is spiritual good, with which and from which is the light of heaven, which enlightens.
Verse 3. Blessed, signifies those in whom is heaven. This is evident from the signification of "the blessed," as meaning those who are happy to eternity, thus in whom is heaven. Blessedness that is not eternal is indeed called blessedness, yet comparatively it is not, for it passes away, and that which passes away, in comparison with that which does not pass away, is as nothing. It is said, "in whom is heaven," because heaven is in man; the heaven that is outside of man flows into the heaven that is within him, and is received so far as there is correspondence. (That heaven is in man, and that the internal of a man who is in heavenly love is heaven in the least form, corresponding to the greatest, may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 51-58; and that he who has heaven in himself comes into heaven may be seen in New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, n. 232-236.)
Is he that readeth, signifies that they have perception. This is evident from the signification of "reading" the Word, as being to understand from enlightenment, thus to perceive, since to "read" signifies the like as to "see," because he who reads, sees, and to "see" signifies to perceive from enlightenment, as was shown just above (n. 11).
And they that hear the words of the prophecy, signifies that they live according to the doctrine of heaven. This is evident from the signification of "hearing," as being to perceive and obey (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 2542, 3869, 4653, 5017, 7216, 8361, 8990, 9311, 9397, 10061); thus also to live according to that doctrine; for those who perceive and obey the doctrine of heaven live according to it; and from the signification of "the words of the prophecy," as being the truths that pertain to the doctrine of heaven; for "words" are truths (n. 4692, 5075); and "prophecy" is doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); here it is the doctrine of heaven, since it is prophecy belonging to the Word, and the Word is from heaven. To "hear" is to obey and to live, because with celestial angels the things that are heard enter into the life; but as this is a thing unknown, I would like to explain it briefly. There are two senses given to man which serve as means of receiving the things whereby the rational is formed, and also the things by which man is reformed; these are the sense of sight and the sense of hearing; the other senses are for other uses. The things that enter by the sense of sight enter into man's understanding and enlighten it, for which reason by "sight" is signified the understanding enlightened, for the understanding corresponds to the sight of the eye, as the light of heaven corresponds to the light of the world. The things, however, that enter by the sense of hearing enter both into the understanding and into the will, and for this reason by "the hearing" is signified perception and obedience. Consequently, in human language, to "hear" anyone, and to "give ear to" anyone, also to "listen to," and "hearken to," are common expressions; and by "hearing anyone" is meant to perceive, and by "giving ear to," as also by "listening to" is meant to obey; while "hearkening to" means either perceiving or obeying. These expressions flowed down into human language out of the spiritual world, where man's spirit is. Their origin in the spiritual world shall also be explained. Those there who are in the province of the ear are obediences from perception. (That all who are in the spiritual world are in some province that is named from the members, organs, or viscera of man, because they correspond thereto, may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 87-102.) Moreover, the province of the ear is in the axis of heaven; into it, therefore, or into those who are there, the whole spiritual world flows in, with the perception that "thus must it be done;" for this is the reigning perception in heaven; from this it is that those who are in that province are obediences from perception. That the things that enter by hearing enter immediately through the understanding into the will, may be further illustrated by the way in which angels of the celestial kingdom, who are most wise, are instructed. These angels receive all their wisdom by hearing, and not by sight; for whatsoever they hear about Divine things, they receive in the will from veneration and love, and make it of their life; and because they receive these things not first in the memory, but immediately in the life, they do not speak about matters of faith, but when these are mentioned by others, they answer, "Yea, yea," or "Nay, nay," according to the Lord's words in Matthew 5:37. From this it is evident that hearing is given to man chiefly for the reception of wisdom, and sight for the reception of intelligence. Wisdom is to perceive, to will, and to do; and intelligence is to know and to perceive. (That the celestial angels imbibe wisdom by hearing, not by sight, may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell, n. 270, 271; and more concerning those angels, n. 20-28.)
And keep the things which are written therein, signifies from the love of truth. This is evident from the signification of "observing" and "keeping," as being to perceive, to will, and to do according thereto, here according to the doctrine of heaven; and from the signification of "the things which are written therein," as being, from the love of truth, or from the delight of that love; for what is done from love is done from delight; delight is from no other source. This is signified by "the things which are written therein," because the things contained in the doctrine of heaven are written on the heart, and thus on the life, of those here described; and things written on the heart and life are written on the love; for "heart" in the Word signifies love (Arcana Coelestia, n. 7542, 9050, 10336). The love of truth is meant, because these things are said of the doctrine of heaven, and the doctrine of heaven is from truths. In the Word frequent mention is made of observing and keeping the precepts, the commandments, the words, and the law: and by observing and keeping is there signified to understand, to will, and to do, as in Matthew: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you (Matt. 28:20); in Luke: Blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28); in John: Verily, verily, I say unto you, if anyone keep My word he shall never see death (John 8:51); in the same: If any one love Me he will keep My word: He that loveth Me not, keepeth not My words (John 14:15, 23-24); and in the same: If ye keep My commandments ye shall abide in My love. Ye are My friends if ye do the things which I command you (John 15:10, 14). To do is to will, and to will is to do; because in deeds the will is everything.
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