Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 11:1
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AR 485. Verse 1. And there was given me a reed like a staff, signifies that the faculty and power of knowing and seeing the state of the church in heaven and in the world was given to him by the Lord. By "a reed" is signified feeble power, such as man has from himself; and by "staff," is signified great power, such as man has from the Lord; therefore by "a reed was given like a staff," is signified power from the Lord. That it is the faculty and power of knowing and seeing the state of the church in heaven and in the world, is plain from what follows in this chapter to the end. That by "a reed" or cane, is signified feeble power, such as man has from himself, is evident from these passages:--

Lo, thou trustest in the staff of a broken reed, on Egypt; on which when a man leans it will go into his hand, and pierce it (Isa. 36:6).

And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know, that I am Jehovah, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel; when they held thee by the hand thou didst break, and perforate all their shoulder (Ezek. 29:6, 7).

By "Egypt" is signified the natural man who trusts in his own strength, therefore he is called "the staff of a bruised reed." By "reed" is signified feeble power, in Isaiah:--

A bruised reed shall be not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench (Isa. 42:3).

But by a "staff" is signified strong power, which is from the Lord; here of knowing the state of the church, because "the temple and altar were measured" with a staff; and by "measuring" is signified to know, and by "the temple and altar" is signified the church; as will be seen presently. "A staff" signifies power, because wood, of which staffs were made among the ancient people, signifies good; and because it is instead of the right hand, and supports it, and by "the right hand" is signified power; hence it is, that a sceptre is a short staff and by "a sceptre" is signified the power of a king; and a "sceptre" and "staff" are the same word in the Hebrew language. That a staff signifies power, is evident from these passages:--

Say ye, How is the staff of strength broken, the staff of beauty; descend from glory, and sit in thirst (Jer. 48:17, 18).

Jehovah will send the staff of thy strength out of Zion (Ps. 110:2).

Thou didst strike through with staffs the head of the unbelieving (Hab. 3:14).

Israel the staff of Jehovah‘s inheritance (Jer. 10:16; 51:19).

Thy rod and Thy staff shall comfort me (Ps. 23:4).

Jehovah hath broken the staff of the wicked (Isa. 9:4; 14:5; Ps. 125:3).

My people inquire of wood; and his staff answers them (Hos. 4:12).

Jehovah that removeth from Jerusalem the whole staff of bread and the whole staff of water (Isa. 3:1; Ezek. 4:16; 5:16; 14:13; Ps. 105:16; Lev. 26:26).

By "the staff of bread and water" the power of good and truth is signified, and by "Jerusalem" the church:--

The staff of Levi, upon which Aaron’s name was, which blossomed with almonds in the tent (Num. 17:2-10),

signifies nothing else in the spiritual sense but the power of truth and good, because by "Levi" and "Aaron" the truth and good of the church were signified. That power is signified by "a staff" is manifest from the power of Moses‘ staff:--

That by the stretching out of the staff the waters were turned into blood (Exod. 7:20).

That by it frogs came up upon the land of Egypt (Exod. 8:1).

That by it there became lice (Exod. 8:16).

That by it there were thunders and hail (Exod. 9:23).

That by it the locusts went forth (Exod. 10:12).

That by it the Red Sea was divided and turned back (Exod. 14:16, 21, 26).

That by it the waters flowed forth from the rock of Horeb (Exod. 17:5; Num. 20:7-13).

That by it Joshua with Moses prevailed over the Amalekites (Exod. 17:9-12).

That fire went forth out of the rock by the staff of the angel (Judges 6:21).

From these passages it is manifest that by "a staff" power is signified; and also elsewhere (Isaiah 10:5, 24, 26; 11:4; 14:5; 30:31, 32; Ezekiel 19:10-14; Lamentations 3:1; Micah 7:14; Zechariah 10:11; Numbers 21:18).

AR 486. And the angel stood by, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that adore in it, signifies the Lord’s presence and His command, that he should see and know the state of the church in the New Heaven. By "angel" is meant the Lord, here as in (n. 5, 415), because an angel never does anything from himself, but only from the Lord; therefore he says, "I will give My two witnesses" (ver. 3), and these were the Lord‘s witnesses. By "standing by" is signified the Lord’s presence; and by "saying" is signified His command; by "rise and measure are signified to see and know; that "to measure" signifies to know and scrutinize the quality of a state, will be seen below. By "the temple, the altar, and them that adore in it," is signified the state of the church in the New Heaven; by "the temple," the church as to the truth of doctrine (n. 191); by "the altar," the church as to the good of love (n. 392); and by "them that adore" is signified the church as to worship from these two. By "them that adore" is here signified adoration, which is worship, because the spiritual sense is abstracted from the persons (n. 78, 79, 96); that this is the case in the present passage, is evident from this, that he was told "to measure" them that adore; for these three things make the church, the truth of doctrine, the good of love, and worship from them. That it is the church in the New Heaven which is meant, is plain from the last verse of this chapter, where it is said, that "the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in the temple the ark of the covenant" (ver. 19). The reason why "the measuring the temple" is spoken of at the beginning of this chapter, is, in order that the state of the church in heaven, before it was brought into conjunction with the church in the world, might be seen and known. The church in the world is meant by "the court without the temple, which was not to be measured, because it was given to the Gentiles" (ver. 2); and then it is described by "the great city, which is called Sodom and Egypt" (verses 7, 8); but afterwards "that great city fell" (ver. 13); it follows that the church "was become the Lord‘s" (ver. 15). It is to be known, that there is a church in the heavens as well as on earth; and that they make one, like the internal and external with man; wherefore the church in the heavens is first provided by the Lord, and from it, or by it, the church on earth; thence, it is said, that the New Jerusalem came down from God out of the New Heaven (Apoc. 21:1, 2). By "the New Heaven" is meant the New Heaven from Christians, which is frequently treated of in the following pages. "To measure" signifies to know and scrutinize the quality; because by "a measure" is signified the quality of a thing, or state; this is signified by all the measures of the New Jerusalem (chapter 21); and also by these words, which occur there:--

The angel having a golden reed, measured the city and the gates thereof; and he measured the wall, one hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, that is, of an angel (Apoc. 21:15, 17).

And as by "the New Jerusalem" in signified the New Church, it is plain by "measuring" it and the things which are of it, is signified to know the quality. The same is signified by "measuring" in Ezekiel, where it is said that:--

The angel measured the house of God, the temple, the altar, the court, the chambers (Ezekiel. 40:3-17; 41:1-5, 13, 14, 22; 42:1; 43:1).

And that:--

He measured the waters (Ezekiel 47:3-5).

And therefore it is said:--

Show the form to the house of Israel, and let them be ashamed of their iniquities: and they shall measure the form and its exit and its entrance and all the forms of it, that they may guard all the form (Ezek. 43:10, 11).

The same is signified by "measuring" in these places:--

I lifted up my eyes, and behold, a man, in whose hand was a measuring line; and I said, Whither goest thou? and he said, To measure Jerusalem (Zech. 2:1, 2).

He stood and measured the earth (Hab. 3:6).

The Lord Jehovah measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out the heavens with the span, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance (Isa. 40:12).

Where wast thou when I founded the earth? who set the measures of it? and who stretched out the line upon it (Job 38:4-5)?

REVELATION 11:1     -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  Full Page

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