Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 1:14
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AR 47. Verse 14. And his head, and hairs, were white as wool, like snow, signifies the Divine love of the Divine wisdom in firsts and in ultimates. By the head of man is signified the all of his life; and the all of man‘s life has relation to love and wisdom, therefore by "the head" is signified wisdom, and also love. But as there is no love without its wisdom, nor wisdom without its love, therefore it is the love of wisdom, which is meant by "the head;" and when the Lord is spoken of, it is the Divine love of the Divine wisdom. But the signification of "the head" will be shown from the Word, below (n. 538, 568). Since, therefore, by "the head" is meant love and at the same time wisdom in their firsts, it follows that by "hair" is meant love and wisdom in their ultimates; and because "hairs" are here spoken of the Son of man, who is the Lord as to the Word, by His "hairs" are signified the Divine good which is of love, and the Divine truth which is of wisdom, in the ultimates of the Word; and the ultimates of the Word are what are contained in the sense of its letter. That the Word in this sense is signified by "the hairs of the Son of man," or of the Lord, seems a paradox, but yet it is true; this may appear from the passages in the Word quoted in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (Sacred n. 35-39); where it is also shown, that the Nazarites in the Israelitish church represented the Lord as to the Word in ultimates, which is the sense of its letter. For "Nazarite," in the Hebrew language is hair, or lock of hair; hence Samson, who was a Nazarite from the womb, had power in his hairs. That in like manner the Divine truth is in its power, in the sense of the letter of the Word, may be seen in the above-mentioned Doctrine concerning the Sacred Scripture (Sacred n. 37-49). Therefore, also, the high priest and his sons were severely prohibited from shaving the head. For this reason, forty-two boys were torn in pieces by two bears, because they called Elisha, "bald." Elisha, like Elijah, represented the Lord as to the Word; "bald" signifies the Word without its ultimate, which, as was observed, is the sense of the letter, and "bears" signify that sense of the Word separated from its internal sense. They who separate them, appear also in the spiritual world, at a distance, like bears, whence it is evident why it was so done with the boys. Therefore also to induce baldness was the greatest disgrace, and a mark of extreme mourning. For which reason, when the Israelitish nation had perverted all the sense of the letter of the Word, this lamentation was made over them:--

Her Nazarites were whiter than snow, bright-white above milk; their form was darkened more than blackness, they are not known in the streets (Lam. 4:7, 8).


Every head was made bald, and every shoulder was plucked of its hair (Ezek. 29:18).

Shame shall be upon all faces, and baldness upon all heads (Ezek. 7:18; Isa. 15:2; Jer. 48:37; Amos 8:10).

Because the sons of Israel dispersed by falsities all the sense of the letter of the Word, therefore the Prophet Ezekiel was commanded to represent it by this, that:--

He should shave the head with a razor, and burn with fire a third part of the hairs, a third part he should smite with a sword, and scatter a third part in the wind, and bind up some in his skirts, and afterwards cast them also into the fire (Ezek. 5:1-4).

Therefore, also, it is said in Micah:--

Induce baldness and poll thee for sons of thy delights, enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are removed from thee (Micah 1:16).

The "sons of delights" are the genuine truths of the church from the Word. And as Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, represented the Babylonian falsification of the Word, and destruction of all truth therein, therefore it came to pass that:--

His hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers (Dan. 4:33).

By reason that "hairs" signified that holiness of the Word it is said of the Nazarite that:--

They should not shave the hair of his head, because that is the Naziriteship of God upon their head (Num. 6:1-21);

and therefore it was ordained that:--

The high priest and his sons should not shave their head, lest they should die, and lest wrath should come upon the whole house of Israel (Lev. 10:6).

Now as by "hairs" is signified the Divine truth in ultimates, which, in the church, is the Word in the sense of the letter, therefore, also the like is said of "the Ancient of Days" in Daniel:--

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, His garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like clean wool (Daniel 7:9).

That "the Ancient of Days" is the Lord, appears evidently in Micah:--

Thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall go forth unto Me He who shall be ruler in Israel, and whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity (Micah 5:2).

And in Isaiah, where He is called "the Father of Eternity" (Isa. 9:6). From these passages, and many others, which are not adduced by reason of their abundance, it may appear, that by the "head" and "hairs" of the Son of man, which were "bright-white like wool, like snow," is meant the Divine of love and wisdom, in firsts and in ultimates. And as by the Son of man, the Lord is meant as to the Word, it follows, that this also is meant in firsts and in ultimates. Otherwise to what purpose would the Lord here in the Apocalypse, and the Ancient of Days in Daniel, be described as to the hair? That by "hair," the sense of the letter of the Word is signified, appears evidently from those who are in the spiritual world; they who have held the sense of the letter of the Word in contempt, appear bald there; and on the contrary, they who have loved the sense of the letter of the Word, appear there with becoming hair. It is said "as wool," and "as snow," because "wool" signifies good in ultimates, and "snow," truth in ultimates; as also in (Isaiah 1:18); for "wool" is from sheep, by which is signified the good of charity, and "snow" is from water, by which are signified the truths of faith.

AR 48. And His eyes were as a flame of fire, signifies the Divine wisdom of the Divine love. By "eyes," in the Word, is meant the understanding, and thence, by the sight of the eyes, intelligence; therefore, when spoken of the Lord, the Divine wisdom is meant; but by a "flame of fire," is signified spiritual love, which is charity; wherefore, when spoken of the Lord, the Divine love is meant; hence, then, by "His eyes were like a flame of fire," is signified the Divine wisdom of the Divine love. That the "eye" signifies the understanding, is, because they correspond; for as the eye sees from natural light, so does the understanding from spiritual light; wherefore "to see" is predicated of both. That by "eye" in the Word, the understanding is signified, is evident from the following passages:--

Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears (Isa. 43:8).

In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness (Isa. 29:18).

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf (Isa. 35:5).

I will give thee for a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind (Isa. 42:6, 7).

This is spoken of the Lord, who, when He comes, will open the understanding of those who are in ignorance of the truth. That this is meant by "opening the eyes," is further evident from these passages:--

Make the heart of this people fat, and smear their eyes, lest they perchance see with their eyes (Isa. 6:9, 10; John 12:40).

Jehovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets, and your heads, the seers, hath He covered (Isa. 29:10; 30:10).

Who shutteth his eyes lest he should see evil (Isa. 33:15).

Hear ye this, O foolish people, which have eyes and see not (Ezek. 12:2).

The punishment of the shepherd that deserteth the flock; the sword shall be upon his right eye, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened (Zech. 11:17).

The plague with which Jehovah shall smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; their eyes shall consume away in their sockets (Zech. 14:12).

I will smite every horse with amazement, and every horse of the people with blindness (Zech. 12:4).

"Horse," in the spiritual sense, is the understanding of the Word (n. 298).

Hear me, O Jehovah, my God, enlighten mine eyes, lest I sleep death (Ps. 13:3).

That in these passages, by "eyes" is signified the understanding, everyone sees. Hence it is evident what the Lord meant by "eye" in these places:--

The lamp of the body is the eye; if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be light; if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be darkened. If therefore the light (lumen) that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness (Matt. 6:22, 23; Luke 11:34).

If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast out into the Gehenna of fire (Matt. 5:29; 18:9).

By "eye" in these places is not meant the eye, but the understanding of truth. Since by "eye" is signified the understanding of truth, therefore it was among the statutes of the sons of Israel, that:--

One blind, or disordered in the eye from the seed of Aaron, should not come nigh to offer sacrifice; nor enter within the veil (Lev. 21:18, 20);

Then that anything blind should not be offered in sacrifice (Lev. 22:22; Mal. 1:8).

From these things it is evident what is meant by "eye," when predicated of a man; hence it follows, that by "eye," when predicated of the Lord, His Divine wisdom is meant, as also His Divine omniscience and providence; as in these passages:--

Open thine eyes, O Jehovah, and see (Isa. 37:17).

I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will build them (Jer. 24:6).

Behold the eye of Jehovah is upon them that fear Him (Ps. 33:18).

Jehovah is in the temple of holiness, His eyes behold, His eyelids try the sons of man (Ps. 11:4).

Since by" cherubs" is signified the guard and providence of the Lord lest the spiritual sense of the Word should be injured; therefore it is said of the four animals which were cherubs, that:--

They were full of eyes before and behind, and their wings were likewise full of eyes (Apoc. 4:6, 8);

also, that:--

The wheels upon which the cherubs were drawn, were full of eyes round about (Ezek. 10:12).

That by "a flame of fire" is meant His Divine love, will be seen in what follows, where "flame" and "fire" are mentioned; and because it is said, that "His eyes were as a flame of fire," the Divine wisdom of the Divine love is signified. That in the Lord there is the Divine love of the Divine wisdom, and the Divine wisdom of the Divine love, and thus a reciprocal union of both, is an arcanum disclosed in The Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom (DLW n. 34-39).

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info