Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 12:3
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AR 536. Verse 3. And another sigh was seen in heaven, signifies revelation from the Lord concerning those who are against the New Church and its doctrine. By "a sign" is signified revelation from the Lord, as in (n. 532). It is called "another sign" because it is a revelation concerning those who will be against the New Church.

AR 537. And behold, a great red dragon, signifies those in the Church of the Reformed who make God three, and the Lord two, and separate charity from faith, and who make faith saving but not charity together with it. These are here meant, and in what follows, by "the dragon"; for they are against the two essentials of the New Church, which are, that God is one in essence and in Person, in whom there is a Trinity, and that the Lord is that God; also that charity and faith are one like an essence and its form; and that no others have charity and faith, but they who live according to the commandments of the Decalogue, which are that evils are not be done; and so far as anyone does not do evils, shunning them as sins against God, in the same proportion he does the goods which are of charity, and believes the truths which are of faith. That they who make God three, and the Lord two, and who separate charity from faith, and make faith saving, and not charity, are against those two essentials of the New Church, may be seen by anyone who considers the matter. It is said, they who make God three, and the Lord two, by whom are meant those who think of three Persons as three Gods, and separate the Lord’s Human from His Divine. And who thinks otherwise, or can think otherwise, whilst, according to a formula of faith, be prays, "That God the Father for the sake of the Son would send the Holy Spirit?" Does he not pray to God the Father as to one God, and for the sake of the Son as another, and concerning the Holy Spirit as a third? From which it is evident that although in thought he makes three Persons one God, still he divides them, that is, divides his idea into three gods when he so prays. The same formula of faith also makes the Lord two, since he thinks only of the Lord‘s Human, and not at the same time of His Divine; "for the sake of the Son" means for the sake of His Human which suffered the cross. From what has now been said, it may appear who they are that are meant by the dragon, who would devour the woman’s offspring, and afterwards "pursued the woman into the wilderness on account of her offspring." The reason why the dragon is called "great," is because all the Churches of the Reformed distinguish God into three Persons, and make faith alone saving, except some here and there, who do not think alike concerning the Trinity, and concerning faith. They who divide God into three Persons, and adhere to these words of the Athanasian doctrine, "There is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit"; and also to these, "The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God"; these, I say, cannot make one God out of three; they may indeed say that they are one God, but they cannot think so. In like manner they who think concerning the Lord‘s Divine from eternity as concerning the second Person of the Divinity, and concerning His Human in time as concerning the human of another man, cannot do otherwise than make the Lord two, although it is said in the Athanasian doctrine that His Divine and Human are one Person, united as the soul and the body. The dragon is called "red" because "red" signifies falsity from the evils of lusts, which is infernal falsity. Now because these two essentials of the doctrine in the Churches of Reformed are falsities, and as falsities devastate the church, since they take away its truths and goods, therefore they were represented by "a dragon." The reason is, because by "a dragon," in the Word, is signified the devastation of the church, as may appear from the following passages:--

I will make Jerusalem heaps, a habitation of dragons, and I will reduce the cities of Judah to a waste (Jer. 9:11).

Behold, a great tumult out of the land of the north, to reduce the cities of Judah to a waste, a habitation of dragons (Jer. 10:22).

Hazor shall become a habitation of dragons, a desolation forever (Jer. 49:13).

That it may be a habitation of dragons, a court for the daughters of the owl (Isa. 34:13).

In the habitation of dragons is his couch (Isa. 35:7).

I will go despoiled and naked, I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning like the daughters of the owl (Micah 1:8).

I cried, I am become a brother to dragons, and a companion to the daughters of the screech owl (Job 30:28, 29).

The ijim shall answer in his palaces, and dragons in temples (Isa. 13:22).

Babylon shall become heaps, a habitation of dragons, a hissing and an astonishment (Jer. 51:37).

Thou hast broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death (Ps. 44:19).

I have laid the mountains of Esau and his heritage a waste for the dragons of the wilderness (Mal. 1:3; Isa. 43:20; Jer. 14:6; Ps. 91:13, 14; Deut. 32:33).

That by "the dragon" are here meant those who are in faith alone, and reject the works of the law as not saving, has sometimes been testified to me in the spiritual world by living experience. I have seen several thousands of them assembled together, when from a distance they have appeared like a dragon with a long tail, that seemed set with spines like thorns, which signified falsities. Once, also, there was seen a dragon still larger, which raising his back and lifting up his tail towards heaven, endeavored to draw down the stars from thence. Thus it was made manifest before my eyes that no others are meant by "the dragon."

AR 538. Having seven heads, signifies insanity from the truths of the Word falsified and profaned. By "the head" is signified wisdom and intelligence, and, in the opposite sense insanity; but by "seven heads" here, because they were the dragon’s is properly signified insanity from the truths of the Word falsified and profaned; for "seven" is predicated of things holy, and, in the opposite sense, of things profane (n. 10); therefore, it follows, that on his heads were seen "seven diadems," and by "diadems" are signified the truths of the Word, here falsified and profaned. That by "the head" is signified wisdom and intelligence, is plain from these passages:--

I will give you men wise, and intelligent, and make them your heads (Deut. 1:13).

Jehovah hath closed your eyes, the prophets, and your heads, the seers, hath be covered (Isa. 29:10).

By the head of Nebuchadnezzar‘s image of pure gold (Dan. 2:32), nothing else is signified but the wisdom of the first age, which was with the men of the Most Ancient Church. By "the head" in the opposite sense is signified insanity and folly; in David:--

God shall wound the head of the enemies, the hairy crown of him who goeth on in his guilt (Ps. 68:21).

Nor is anything else signified by "the head of the serpent," which was to be trodden down (Gen. 3:15); and by "smiting the head over many countries" (Ps. 110:6, 7); also by "putting dust on the head;" and by "inducing baldness," and by "putting the hand on the head," when they were ashamed, or grieved at having acted insanely against wisdom (Isa. 7:20; 15:2; Ezek. 7:18; 27:30; Jer. 2:37; 14:3, 4; Lam. 2:10; 2 Sam. 13:19). But by "seven heads" is also signified insanity from truths falsified and profaned (Apocalypse 13:1, 3; 17:3, 7, 9).

AR 539. And ten horns, signifies much power. "A horn" signifies power (n. 270), and "ten" signifies much (n. 101). The reason why it is said that the dragon has much power, is, because the salvation of man by faith alone, without the works of the law, which faith is meant by "the dragon," captivates minds, and then confirmations persuade. It captivates, because man, on hearing that the damnation of the law is taken away, and the Lord’s merit is imputed to him through faith alone in this, he can indulge in the pleasures of his mind and holy, without any fear of hell; hence comes the power which is signified by "the ten horns of the dragon." That such has been his power, evidently appears from the reception of that faith everywhere throughout the Reformed Christian world.

AR 540. And upon his heads, seven diadems, signifies all the truths of the Word falsified and profaned. By "diadems" or precious stones, are signified the truths of the Word; specifically, the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, but here, those truths falsified and profaned, from their being seen "upon the seven heads of the dragon," by which is signified insanity from truths falsified and profaned (n. 538). That by "diadems," or precious stones, are signified the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, may be seen in (Sacred n. 43-45); where it is shown that Divine truths in ultimates, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, are signified by:--

The twelve precious stones in the breastplate of Aaron, which was the Urim and Thummim (Exodus. 28:6, 15-21, 30).

And by the precious stones in the garden of Eden, in which the king of Tyre is said to have been (Ezek. 28:12, 13).

Also by the twelve precious stones, of which the foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem consisted (Apoc. 21:17-20).

The truths of the sense of the letter of the Word are signified by "diadems," or precious stones, because all things of the sense of the letter of the Word are transparent before angels, from its spiritual sense, thus from the light of heaven, in which the spiritual truths of the Word are; for "a stone," in the Word, signifies truth in ultimates; hence, "a precious stone" signifies that truth transparent. The reason why the truths of the Word, when falsified and profaned, are also called "diadems," is because they shine from themselves, whether they be possessed by this person or that; in the same manner as diadems on earth, in whosesoever hand they are. It has some times been given me to see adulterous women, on their first coming from the earth into the world of spirits, decked with diadems; and Jews, likewise, selling diadems, which they had procured to themselves from heaven; from which it was plain, that evils and falsities, with such, do not change the light and splendor of the truths of the Word. Therefore the like is signified by-:--

The ten diadems upon the horns of the beast which came up out of the sea (Apoc. 13:1).

And by the precious stones on the woman who sat on the scarlet beast (Apoc. 17:3-5).

That the truths of the Word are what are signified by "diadems," appears manifestly in the Apocalypse, that:--

There were seen upon the head of Him who sat upon the white horse, and whose name was the Word of God, many diadems (Apoc. 19:12, 13).

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