Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 12:1
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AR 532. Verse 1. And a great sign was seen in heaven, signifies revelation from the Lord concerning His New Church in the heavens and on earth, and concerning the difficult reception and resistance to its doctrine. By "a sign from heaven" is here meant a revelation concerning things to come; and by "a great sign seen in heaven" is meant a revelation concerning the New Church, for "the woman clothed with the sun," which is the subject treated of in this chapter, signifies that church. "The male" which she brought forth signifies its doctrine; her being pained to bring forth signifies its difficult reception; "the dragon desiring to devour the male" and afterward "he persecuted the woman," signifies the resistance it meets with. These things are meant by "a great sign was seen in heaven.’ "A sign" is mentioned in the Word of things to come, and then it is revelation; it is also spoken of truth, and then it is testification; and it is also spoken of the quality of any state or thing, and then it is manifestation. "A sign" is spoken of things to come, and then it is revelation, in the following passages:--

They shall tell you what shall happen, that we may know their end, or make you hear things to come; show signs of the future (Isa. 41:22, 23).

The disciples said unto Jesus, What shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the age? (Matt. 24:3; Mark 13:4; Luke 21:7).

There shall be signs from heaven, and signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars (Luke 21:11, 25).

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man (Matt. 24:30).

It was said unto king Hezekiah, This shall be a sign unto thee that Jehovah will do this thing, the shadow on the degrees of Ahaz shall be brought back. Afterwards Hezekiah said, What is the sign that I shall go up into the house of Jehovah? (Isa. 38:7, 8, 22).

That "a sign" is said of truth, and then it is testification, and also it is said of the quality of any state, and then it is manifestation, is evident from other passages in the Word.

AR 533. A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, signifies the Lord‘s New Church in the heavens, which is the New Heaven, and the Lord’s New Church about to be upon earth, which is the New Jerusalem. That the Lord‘s New Church is signified by this "woman," is evident from the particulars in this chapter understood in the spiritual sense; that by "a woman," in other parts of the Word also, the church is signified, may be seen (n. 434); and the church is signified, because the church is called the Bride and Wife of the Lord. The reason why she was seen "clothed with the sun," is because the church is in love to the Lord, for it acknowledges Him and does His commandments, and this is to love Him (John 14:21-24). That "the sun" signifies love (n. 53). The reason why "the moon" was seen under the woman’s feet is because the church on earth, which is not yet conjoined with the church in the heavens, is meant. By "the moon" is signified intelligence in the natural man, and faith (n. 423); and by being seen "under the feet," is signified that it is about to be upon earth; otherwise by "feet" is signified the church itself when it is conjoined. It is to be known, that there is a church the heavens as well as on earth, for there also is the Word; there are temples also, and preachings in them, and there are ministerial and priestly offices. For all angels there were men, and their departure out of the world was only a continuation of their life; therefore they are also perfected in love and wisdom, everyone according to the degree of the affection of truth and good which he took with him out of the world. The church among them is here meant by "the woman clothed with the sun," who had upon her head a crown of twelve stars;" but because the church in the heavens cannot subsist, except there be also a church on earth, which is in concordant love and wisdom, and as this was about to be, therefore "the moon was seen under the feet of the woman," which here specifically signifies faith, by which, such as it is at this day, there is no conjunction. The reason why the church cannot subsist in the heavens unless there is a church on earth in conjunction with it, is because heaven where angels are, and the church where men are, act as one, like the internal and the external with man; and the internal with man cannot subsist with its state, unless an external be conjoined with it; for an internal without an external is like a house without a foundation, or like seed upon the ground and not in the ground, thus like anything without a root; in a word, like a cause without an effect in which it may exist. From these things, it may be seen how absolutely necessary it is that there should be a church somewhere in the world, where the Word is, and where by it the Lord is known.

AR 534. And upon her head a crown of twelve stars, signifies its wisdom and intelligence from knowledges of Divine good and Divine truth from the Word. By "the crown upon the head" is signified wisdom and intelligence (n. 189, 235, 252); by "stars" are signified the knowledges of Divine good and Divine truth from the Word (n. 51, 420); and by "twelve" are signified all things of the church, which have relation to its good and truth (n. 348); consequently, by "a crown of twelve stars on the woman‘s head," is signified the wisdom and intelligence of the New Church from the knowledges of Divine good and Divine truth from the Word.

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