Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 13:1
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AR 567. Verse 1. And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, signifies the laity in the churches of the Reformed who are in the doctrine and faith of the dragon concerning God and salvation. What the faith of the dragon is, and its quality, may be seen (n. 537). The same faith continues to be treated of in this chapter; and by this "beast" which "was seen to come up out of the sea," is meant that faith with the laity; but by "the beast out of the earth" (verse 11), is meant that faith with the clergy. That the dragon continues to be treated of here is evident from these things in this chapter; that "the dragon gave the beast coming up out of the sea his power, and throne, and great authority" (verse 2); and that "they adored the dragon which gave authority to the beast" (verse 4); and of "the beast from the earth, that he spake like the dragon" (verse 11); and that he exerciseth all the authority of the former beast before the dragon (verse 12). The reason why the laity are meant by "the beast out of the sea," and the clergy by "the beast out of the earth," is, because by "the sea" is signified the external of the church, and by "the earth" its internal (n. 398); and the laity are in the externals of the doctrine of the church, and the clergy are in its internals; on this account "the beast out of the earth" is also called, in what follows, "the false prophet." That they who are in the Churches of the Reformed are meant, is because the Reformed are treated of as far as chapter 16 inclusive, and the Roman Catholics in chapters 17 and 18, and afterwards the Last judgment, and finally the New Church. They were seen as "beasts," because a dragon is a beast, and because "a beast" in the Word signifies man as to his affections; harmless and useful beasts signify man as to good affections, and noxious and useless beasts signify man as to his evil affections; on which account the men of the church in general are called "sheep," and a congregation of them, "a flock," and their teacher is called "a pastor." Hence also it is, that the Word as to its power, affection, understanding, and wisdom, is described above, by "four animals," which were "a lion, a calf, an eagle, and a man" (chapter 4); and that the understanding of the Word is described by "horses" (chapter 6). The reason is, because the affections of a man, in the spiritual world, appear at a distance as beasts, as has been stated before; and beasts, considered in themselves, are nothing but forms of natural affections, but men are not only forms of natural, but of spiritual affections at the same time. That men, as to their affections, are meant by "beasts," may appear from these passages:--

Thou didst cause a bountiful rain to drop, Thou didst confirm Thy inheritance, when it was laboring; the beast of Thy assembly shall dwell in it (Ps. 68:9, 10).

Every wild beast of the forest is Mine, the beasts upon a thousand mountains. I know every bird of the mountains, the beasts of the fields are Mine (Ps. 50:10).

Assyria is a cedar in Lebanon, he has become of high stature, in his branches all the birds of the heavens made their nests, and under his branches all the beasts of the field have brought forth, and under his shadow have dwelt all great nations (Ezek. 31:3-6, 10, 13; Dan. 4:7-13).

In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beast of the field, and with the bird of the heavens, and I will betroth thee unto Me forever (Hos. 2:18, 19).

Rejoice and be glad, be not afraid, ye beasts of My fields, for the habitations of the wilderness have become herbaceous (Joel 2:21-22).

In that day there shall be a great tumult, Judah shall fight against Jerusalem, and there shall be a plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of every beast; then shall everyone that is left go up to Jerusalem (Zech. 14:13-16).

The birds shall abominate it, and every beast of the earth shall contemn it (Isa. 18:6).

Thou son of man say to the bird of every wing, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves to My sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel; so will I give My glory among the nations (Ezek. 39:17-21).

Jehovah gathered the outcasts of Israel; all ye beasts of My fields, come ye (Isa. 56:8, 9).

Jehovah will destroy Assyria, every wild beast of the nation shall rest in the midst of her; both the spoonbill and the bittern in her pomegranates (Zeph. 2:13, 14).

The sheep are scattered without a shepherd, and are food for every wild beast of the field (Ezek. 34:5, 8).

I will cast thee forth upon the faces of the field, and will make every bird of the heavens to dwell upon thee, and I will satisfy every wild beast of the earth from thee (Ezek. 32:4; 5:17; 29:5; 33:27; 39:4; Jer. 15:3; 16:4; 19:7; 27:5, 6).

The enemy reproacheth Jehovah; O give not to the beast the soul of the turtle-dove (Ps. 74:18, 19).

I saw in vision four beasts coming up out of the sea, the first was lq a lion, and had eagle’s wings, the second was like a bear, the third like a leopard, and the fourth was terrible (Dan. 7:2-7).

The spirit impelling Jesus made Him go into the wilderness, and Be was with the beasts, and the angels ministered unto Him (Mark. 1:12, 13).

He was not with beasts, but with devils, who are here meant by "beasts;" besides other passages where "beasts" and "wild beasts" are named (Isa. 35:9; 43:20; Jer. 12:4, 8-10; Ezek. 8:10; 34:23, 25, 28; 38:18-20; Hos. 4:2, 3; 13:8; Joel 1:16, 18, 20; Hab. 2:17; Dan. 2:37, 38; Ps. 8:6-8; 80:13; 104:10, 11, 14, 20, 25; 148:7, 10; Exod. 23:28-30; Lev. 26:6; Deut. 7:22; 32:24). In all these places by "beasts" are signified men as to their affections. By "man and beast" together is signified man as to spiritual and natural affection, as in the following passages: (Jer. 7:20; 21:6; 27:5; 31:27; 32:43; 33:10-12; 36:29; 50:3; Ezek. 14:13, 17, 19; 25:13; 32:13; 36:11; Zeph. 1:2, 3; Zech. 2:4; 8:9, 10; Jonah 3:7, 8; Ps. 36:6; Num. 18:15). By all the beasts that were sacrificed were signified good affections; and likewise by the beasts which were eaten; but the contrary by the beasts which were not to be eaten (Lev. 20:25, 26).

AR 568. Having seven heads, signifies insanity from mere falsities, in like manner as by "the seven heads of the dragon" (n. 538).

AR 569. And ten horns, signifies much power, in like manner as the horns of the dragon, which also were ten (n. 539).

AR 570. And upon his horns ten diadems, signifies the power of falsifying many truths of the Word. By "a horn" is signified power (n. 539); by "ten" is signified much (n. 101); and by "diadems" are signified the truths of the Word falsified (n. 540); therefore by "upon his horns ten diadems," is signified to have it in his power to falsify many truths of the Word. Of the dragon it is said that he had "seven diadems" on his heads, but of this beast that he had "ten diadems" on his horns; the reason is, because here it signifies the power of falsifying many truths of the Word, but there the falsification of all; for the laity are able, but do not; for they who are in falsities and in the belief of them, are opposed to truths, consequently, when they see truths in the Word, they falsify them.

AR 571. And upon his heads the name of blasphemy, signifies the denial of the Lord‘s Divine Human and the doctrine of the church derived not from the Word, but from one’s own intelligence. By "seven heads" is signified insanity from mere falsities, as in (n. 568); and this insanity speaks blasphemy, when it denies the Lord‘s Divine in His Human; and also when it does not draw the doctrine of the church from the Word, but hatches it from its own intelligence. As to the first, that it is blasphemy to deny the Lord’s Divine in His Human, the reason is that he who denies it is opposed to the faith received throughout the whole Christian world, named from Athanasius, where it is expressly said, that in Jesus Christ, God and Man, that is, the Divine and the Human, are not two but one, and that they are one Person, united like soul and body. Therefore they who deny the Divine in His Human, are not far from the Socinians and Arians, especially when they think of the Lord‘s Human alone as of that of another man, and nothing at all of His Divine from eternity. As to the second, that it is blasphemy not to draw the doctrine of the church from the Word, but to hatch it out of one’s own intelligence, the reason is, because the church is from the Word, and its quality is according to the understanding of the Word, as may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (Sacred n. 76-79). And the doctrine that faith alone, that is, faith without the works of the law, justifies and saves, is not from the Word, but from a single expression of Paul falsely understood (Rom. 3:28; n. 417); and every falsity of doctrine is derived from no other source than from one‘s own intelligence. For what is more universally taught in the Word, than to shun evil and do good? and what is more evident than that God and the neighbor ought to be loved? And who does not see, that no one can love the neighbor, unless he lives according to the works of the law, and he who does not love his neighbor does not love God? for in the love of the neighbor the Lord conjoins himself with man, and man conjoins himself with the Lord, that is, the Lord and man are together in that love. And what is it to love the neighbor but not to do him evil, according to the commandments of the Decalogue (Rom. 13:8-11)? And as far as man does not will to do evil to the neighbor, so far he is willing to do him good; hence it is evident that it is blasphemy to exclude the works of this law from salvation, as they do, who make faith alone saving, which is faith separated from good works. By "blasphemy" (Matt. 12:31, 32; Apoc. 17:3; Isa. 37:6, 7, 23, 24) is meant to deny the Lord’s Divine, as the Socinians do, and to deny the Word; for they who thus deny the Lord‘s Divine cannot enter heaven, for the Lord’s Divine is the all in all in heaven, and he who denies the Word denies all things of religion.

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