Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 12:4
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AR 541. Verse 4. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth, signifies that by falsifications of the truths of the Word they have alienated all spiritual knowledges of good and truth from the church, and, by applications to falsities, have entirely destroyed them. By "the tail," when the subject treated of relates to those who have confirmed heretical things from the Word, are signified the truths of the Word falsified (n. 438); by "stars" are signified spiritual knowledges of good and truth (n. 51, 420); by "the third part" is signified all (n. 400, 505); and by "drawing them from heaven, and casting them to the earth," is signified to alienate them from the church, and to destroy them utterly; for when they are drawn down from heaven, they are also drawn down from the church, because every truth of the Word is insinuated from the Lord through heaven into the man of the church; nor are truths drawn down by anything else than by falsifications of them in the Word, since there and thence are the truths of heaven and the church. That all the truths of the Word have been destroyed by those who are meant by "the dragon" spoken of in (n. 537), cannot be believed by anyone in the world, and yet they have been so destroyed, so that not one doctrinal truth remains; this was examined into in the spiritual world, with the learned of the clergy, and was found to be so. The reasons I know, but I shall here mention only one of them. They assert, that whatsoever proceeds from man‘s will and judgment is not good; and that therefore the goods of charity, or good works, being done by man, contribute nothing to salvation, but faith only; when, nevertheless, that alone, by virtue of which man is man, and by which he is conjoined with the Lord, is that he can do good and believe truth, as from himself, that is, as from his own will according to his own judgment. If this faculty were taken away from him, all power of conjunction of man with the Lord, and of the Lord with man, would also he taken away at the same time; for this is the reciprocal of love, which the Lord gives to everyone who is born a man, and which He also preserves in him to the end of his life, and afterwards to eternity. If this were taken away from man, every truth and good of the Word would also be taken away, insomuch that the Word would be nothing but a dead letter and an empty volume; for the Word teaches nothing but the conjunction of man with the Lord by charity and faith, and both from man as from himself. They who are meant by "the dragon" (spoken of in, n. 537), have broken this only bond of conjunction, by asserting that the goods of charity, or good works, which proceed from man, and his will and judgment, are only moral, civil, and political works, by which man has conjunction with the world, and none at all with God and with heaven; and when that bond is thus broken, there is then no doctrinal truth of the Word remaining; and if the truths of the Word are applied to confirm faith alone as saving without the works of the law, then they are all falsified; and if the falsification proceeds so far as to affirm, that the Lord has not commanded good works in the Word for the sake of man’s conjunction with Himself, but only for the sake of his conjunction with the world, then the truths of the Word are profaned; for thus the Word becomes no longer a Holy Book, but a profane book; but see the experience on this subject at the end of the chapter., The like things are signified by these words in Daniel, concerning the he-goat:--

The he-goat with his horn cast down some of the host of heaven and of the stars to the earth, and trampled upon them; and he cast down truth to the earth (Daniel 8:10, 12).

AR 542. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, that after she had brought forth, he might devour her offspring, signifies that they who are meant by "the dragon" will endeavor to extinguish the doctrine of the New Church in its first origin. Who they are that are meant by "the dragon" may be seen in (n. 537); that by "the woman" is signified the New Church (n. 533); that by "bringing forth" is signified to receive the goods and truths of doctrine from the Word (n. 535); that by "the offspring" which she brought forth is signified the doctrine of the New Church, will be seen in the next article. "To devour" signifies to extinguish, because by "the offspring" is signified doctrine; and when "to devour" is said in relation to the offspring, to extinguish is said in relation to doctrine. The reason why this was the case its first origin, is because it is said, that "the dragon" stood before the woman, to devour her offspring after she had brought forth.

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