Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 1:16
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AR 51. Verse 16. And having in His right hand seven stars, signifies all the knowledges of good and truth in the Word, which are thence with the angels of heaven and with the men of the church. Around the angels, when they are below the heavens, there appear, as it were, little stars in great abundance; and in like manner, around spirits, who, when they lived in the world, had acquired to themselves knowledges of good and truth, or truths of life and doctrine from the Word. These stars appear fixed, with those who are in genuine truths from the Word; but wandering with those who are in falsified truths. Concerning those little stars, as also concerning the stars which appear there in the firmament, I could relate wonderful things, but it does not belong to this work: hence it is evident that by "stars" are signified the knowledges of good and truth from the Word. "The Son of man had them in His right hand," signifies, that they are from the Lord alone through the Word. That "seven" signify all, may be seen in (n. 10). That the knowledges of good and truth from the Word, are signified by "stars," may also appear from these passages:--

I will lay the earth waste; The stars of the heavens and the constellations thereof shall not give their light (Isa. 13:9, 10).

"The earth" which shall be laid waste, is the church; which being vastated, the knowledges of good and truth in the Word do not appear:--

And when I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heavens and make the stars thereof dark: All the luminaries of light will I make dark over thee, and I will set darkness upon the land (Ezek. 32:7, 8).

"Darkness upon the land," means falsities in the church:--

The sun and the moon have been darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their splendor (Joel 2:10; 3:15).

After the affliction of those days shall the sun be obscured, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven (Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24).

The stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs (Apoc. 6:13).

A star fell from heaven to the earth (Apoc. 9:1).

By "stars falling from heaven" are not meant stars, but that the knowledges of good and truth will perish. This is still more evident from its being said, that:--

The dragon drew down the third part of the stars from heaven (Apoc. 12:4).

Also that:--

The he-goat cast down some of the stars and trampled them (Dan. 8:9-11).

Therefore in the next verse, in Daniel, it is also said, that:--

It cast down the truth to the earth (Daniel 8:12).

The knowledges of good and truth are also signified by "stars," in these passages:--

Jehovah telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by names (Ps. 147:4).

Praise Jehovah, all ye stars of light (Ps. 148:3).

The stars fought in their ways (Judges 5:20).

From hence it appears what is meant by these words in Daniel:--

And the intelligent shall be resplendent as the splendor of the expanse, justifying many as the stars for ages of ages (Daniel 12:3).

The "intelligent" are those who are in truths; "justifying" those who are in goods.

AR 52. And out of his mouth a sharp two-edged sword going forth, signifies the dispersion of falsities by the Word, and by doctrine thence from the Lord. Mention is very often made in the Word of "sword," "sabre," and "long sword," and by them nothing else is signified but truth fighting against falsities and destroying them; and, also, in the opposite sense, the falsity fighting against truths; for by "wars" in the Word, are signified spiritual wars, which are wars of truth against falsity, and of falsity against truth; wherefore, by "the arms of war," such things are signified as are made use of in spiritual wars. That the dispersion of falsities by the Lord is here meant by sword (romphoea) is evident, because, it was seen "to go out of his mouth;" and to go out of the mouth of the Lord, is to go out of the Word, for this the Lord spake with His mouth; and as the Word is understood by doctrine, thence this is also signified. It is called "a sharp two-edged sword," because it penetrates the heart and soul. To show that by "sword" is here meant the dispersion of falsities by the Word from the Lord, some passages shall be adduced in which sword (gladius) is mentioned:--

A sword against Babylon, her princes, and her wise ones; O sword against the liars that they may become foolish; O sword against the mighty, that they may be dismayed; O sword against her horses, and her chariots; O sword against her treasures, that they may be despoiled. A drought is upon her waters, that they may be dried up (Jer. 50:35-38).

These things are said of Babylon, by which those are meant who falsify and adulterate the Word, therefore by the "liars" who will become foolish, and the "horses and chariots" upon whom there is a sword, and the "treasures" which will be despoiled, are signified the falsities of their doctrine. That the "waters" upon which is a drought that they may be dried up, signify truths, may be seen in (n. 50).

Prophesy, and say, A sword is sharpened, and also furbished, sharpened to make a great slaughter; and let the sword be repeated the third time; the sword of the pierced; the sword of a great piercing, penetrating the inner parts, that stumbling blocks may be multiplied (Ezek. 21:9-20).

By "sword" is here also meant the devastation of truth in the church.

Jehovah will plead by His sword with all flesh, and the pierced of Jehovah shall be multiplied (Isa. 66:16).

They are called "the pierced of Jehovah" here, and in other parts of the Word, who perish by falsities.

The wasters are come upon all the hills in the wilderness; the sword of Jehovah is devouring from the end of the earth, even to the end of the earth (Jer. 12:12).

We get our bread with the peril of our lives, because of the sword of the wilderness (Lam. 5:9).

Woe to the worthless shepherd that deserteth the flock; the sword shall be upon his arm and upon his right eye (Zech. 11:17).

The sword upon the right eye of the shepherd is the falsity of his understanding.

The sons of men are inflamed, their tongue is a sharp sword (Ps. 57:4).

Behold they belch out with their mouth; a sword is in their lips (Ps. 59:7).

The workers of iniquity whet their tongue like a sword (Ps. 64:3).

The same is signified by sword in other places, as in (Isa. 13:13, 15; 21:14, 15; 27:1; 31:7, 8; Jer. 2:30; 5:12; 11:22; 14:13-18; Ezek. 7:15; 32:10-12). Hence it may appear what the Lord meant by" sword" in the following passages:--

Jesus said, He came not to send peace on earth, but a sword (Matt. 10:34).

Jesus said, He that hath not a purse and a scrip, let him sell his garments and buy a sword. The disciples said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said unto them, It is enough (Luke 22:36, 38).

All they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword (Matt. 26:51, 52).

Jesus says, concerning the consummation of the age:--

They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations, and at length Jerusalem shall be trodden down (Luke 21:24).

"The consummation of the age" is the last time of the church; "the sword" is falsity destroying truth; the "nations" are evils; "Jerusalem" which shall be trodden down, is the church. Hence, then, it is evident, that by "a sharp sword going out of the mouth of the Son of man," is signified the dispersion of falsities by the Lord by means of the Word. The same is signified in the following passages in the Apocalypse:--

And there was given unto him who sat upon the red horse a great sword (Apoc. 6:4).

And out of the mouth of Him who sat upon the white horse goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse (Apoc. 19:15, 21).

By "Him who sat upon the white horse," the Lord as to the Word, is meant, which is plainly declared (Apoc 19:13, 16). The same is meant in David:--

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O Mighty One. Ride upon the word of truth. Thine arrows are sharp (Ps. 45:3-5);

speaking of the Lord. And in another place:--

The saints shall exult, and the sword of their mouths is in their hand (Ps. 149:5, 6).

And in Isaiah:--

Jehovah hath made my mouth a sharp sword (Isa. 49:2).

AR 53. And His face was as the sun shineth in His power, signifies the Divine love and the Divine wisdom, which are Himself, and proceed from Himself. That by "the face of Jehovah," or of the Lord, is meant the Divine Himself in His Essence, which is the Divine love and the Divine wisdom thus Himself, will be seen in the explanations below, where mention is made of "the face of God." The same is signified by "the sun shining in His power." That the Lord is seen as a sun in heaven before the angels, and that it is His Divine love together with His Divine wisdom, which so appear, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell (HH n. 116-125); and in The Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom (DLW n. 83-172). It remains here only to be confirmed from the Word, that the "sun," when mentioned in reference to the Lord, signifies His Divine love, and at the same time His Divine wisdom; this may appear from the following places:--

In that day the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, it shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days (Isa. 30:26).

"That day" is the advent of the Lord when the old church is destroyed, and a new one is about to be established; "the light of the moon" is faith from charity, and "the light of the sun" is intelligence and wisdom from love, and thus from the Lord.

Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for Jehovah shall be an everlasting light (Isa. 60:20).

The sun which shall not set, is love and wisdom from the Lord.

The rock of Israel spake unto me, as the light of the morning when the sun ariseth (2 Sam. 23:3, 4).

The "rock of Israel" is the Lord:--

His throne shall be as a sun (Ps. 89:36, 37).

This is said of David; but by "David" is there meant the Lord.

They shall fear thee with the sun. In his days shall the just flourish, and abundance of peace until there is no moon; the name of the Son shall be before the sun; and all nations shall be blessed in Him (Ps. 72:5, 7, 17).

This also is said of the Lord. Because the Lord appears as a sun in heaven before the angels, therefore:--

When He was transfigured, His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment became as the light (Matt. 17:1, 2).

And it is said of the strong angel who came down from heaven, that:--

He was clothed with a cloud, and His face was as it were the sun (Apoc. 10:1);

and of the woman, that:--

She was seen clothed with the sun (Apoc. 12:1).

"The sun" in these passages also signifies love and wisdom from the Lord; "the woman" is the church, which is called the New Jerusalem. Since, by "the sun," is meant the Lord as to love and wisdom, it is evident what is signified by "the sun" in the following places:--

Behold the fierce day of Jehovah cometh; the sun shall be darkened in its rising, and the moon shall not make her light to shine; I will visit upon the world its wickedness, and upon the impious their iniquity (Isa. 13:9-11; Isa. 24:21, 23).

And when I shall have extinguished thee, I will cover the heavens, and I will make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine, and I will set darkness upon thy land (Ezek. 32:7, 8).

The day of Jehovah cometh, a day of darkness, the sun and the moon shall not make their light to shine, and the stars have withdrawn their splendor (Joel 2:10).

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great day of Jehovah cometh (Joel 2:31).

The day of Jehovah is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened (Joel 3:14, 15).

The fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, the third part of the stars, and the day shone not for a third part of it (Apoc. 8:12).

The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood (Apoc. 6:12).

The sun was obscured by the smoke of the pit (Apoc. 9:2).

In these passages by "sun" is not meant the sun of this world, but the sun of the angelic heaven, which is the Divine love and the Divine wisdom of the Lord; these are said to be "obscured," "darkened," "covered," and "blackened" when there are evils and falsities with man. Hence it is evident, that similar things are meant by the Lord‘s words, where He speaks of the consummation of the age, which is the last time of the church:--

Immediately after the affliction of those days shall the sun be obscured, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven (Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24, 25).

And in like manner in the following passages:--

And the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall grow black over them (Micah 3:5, 6).

In that day I will cause the sun to set at noon, and I will darken the earth in the day of light (Amos 8:9).

She that hath borne seven shall breathe out her soul; her sun is set while it is yet day (Jer. 15:9).

This is said of the Jewish church, which was "to breathe out its soul," that is, would perish; "the sun shall set," signifies that there will be no longer any love and charity. It is said in Joshua, that:--

The sun stood still in Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon (Joshua 10:12, 13).

This appears as if it was historical, but it is prophetic, being quoted from the book of Jasher, which was a prophetic book; for it is said:--

Is not this written in the book of Jasher? (Joshua 10:13).

The same book is also mentioned as prophetic by David (2 Sam. 1:17, 18); something similar is also said in Habakkuk:--

The mountains were moved, the sun and moon stood in their seat (Habakkuk 3:10, 11).

Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon be withdrawn (Isa. 60:20).

For to make the sun and moon stand still would be to destroy the universe. Since the Lord as to the Divine love and the Divine wisdom is meant by "the sun," therefore the ancients in their holy worship turned their face to the rising of the sun; and also their temples, which custom still continues. That the sun of the world is not meant in these places by "the sun," is evident from its having been considered profane and abominable to adore the sun and moon of the world, as may be seen in (Num. 25:1-4; Deut. 4:19; 17:3, 5; Jer. 8:1, 2; 43:10, 13; 44:17-19, 25; Ezek. 8:16); for by "the sun of the world" is meant the love of self and the pride of one’s own intelligence; and the love of self is diametrically opposite to the Divine love; and the pride of one‘s own intelligence is opposite to the Divine wisdom. To adore the sun of the world is also to acknowledge nature as the creator, and one’s own prudence to be effective of all things, which involves the denial of God, and the denial of the Divine providence.

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