Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 13:13
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AR 598. Verse 13. And he doeth great signs, signifies testifications that the things they teach are true, although they are false. By "signs" are signified testifications that things are true, because formerly signs were wrought to bear testimony to the truth. But after signs and miracles ceased, their signification still remains, which is a testification of the truth But here, by "signs" are signified testifications from the beast or false prophet, that his falsities were truths, by reason that after they are confirmed they do not appear otherwise. That the testifications that it is the truth are signified by signs, may appear from the following passages:--

In the consummation of the age there shall arise false Christs and false-prophets, and shall give great signs and portents, and, if it were possible, they shall lead into error the very elect (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22).

There shall also be dreadful signs from heaven; and there shall be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, the sea and the waves roaring (Luke 21:11, 25).

Jehovah maketh void the signs of the liars. He maketh the diviners mad, rejecting the wise men backward and maketh their science foolish (Isa. 44:25).

Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed by the signs of the heavens (Jer. 10:2).

They are the spirits of demons working signs to gather them to the battle of that great day (Apoc. 16:14).

The beast was taken, and with him the false-prophet that did signs before him, and seduced (Apoc. 19:20).

That "signs" were testifications that it was truth, appears further from the following passages:--

The disciples said to Jesus, What sign doest Thou, that we may believe Thee? what dost Thou work? (John 6:30-33.)

The Jews, Scribes, and Pharisees sought a sign of the Lord, that they might know that He was the Christ (Matt. 12:38-40; 16:1-4; Mark 8:11, 12; Luke 11:16, 29, 30; John 2:16, 18, 19).

The disciples said to Jesus, What is the sign of Thy coming and of the consummation of the age? (Matt. 24:3; Mark 13:4.)

If they will not believe thee, nor hear to the voice of the first sign, yet they will believe the voice of the latter sign (Exod. 4:8).

"The voice of a sign" is testification.

They showed among them the words of His signs (Ps. 105:27).

He said unto Ahaz, Ask thee a sign from Jehovah (Isa. 7:11, 14).

This shall be a sign from Jehovah unto thee, behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun-dial of Ahaz (Isa. 38:7, 8).

Hezekiah had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of Jehovah? (Isa. 38:22.)

This shall be a sign unto you, that I will visit upon you in this place, that ye may know that my words shall stand (Jer. 44:29, 30).

O Jehovah, make me a sign for good, that they which hate me may see and be ashamed (Ps. 86:17).

Let them announce to you what shall happen, that we may set our heart; show a sign of what is to come, that we may know that ye are gods (Isa. 41:22, 23).

Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy festival, they have set up their signs for signs (Ps. 74:3, 4, 9;Isa. 45:11, 13; Jer. 32:20, 21; Ezek. 4:3; Ps. 65:6-8; 78:42, 43; Exod. 7:3; Num. 14:11, 22; Deut. 4:34; 13:1-3; Judges 6:17, 21; 1 Sam. 2:34; 14:10; Mark 16:17, 18, 20; Luke 2:11, 12, 16).

The like is signified by "the sign of the covenant" (Gen. 9:13; 17:11; Ezek. 20:12, 20). Hence it may clearly be seen, that by "the great signs," which this beast of the dragon works, are not meant signs, but the testifications by them that what they teach are truths; for every heretic who has confirmed himself in falsities, after confirmation strives to prove that his falsities are truths; for then he no longer sees truths, inasmuch as the confirmation of falsity is the denial of truth, and a truth denied loses its light; and so far as falsities shine from the light of confirmation, which is a fatuous light, so far the light of truth becomes darkness, as may be seen in (n. 566).

AR 599. So that he also maketh fire to come down from heaven upon earth before men, signifies attestations that their falsities are truths of heaven, and that they who receive them are saved, and that they who do not receive them perish. The reason why this is signified by these words, is, because the greatest signs were made by fire from heaven; whence it was a common expression among the ancients in confirmation of anything, when the attestation of truth was spoken of, that "they could bring down fire from heaven and testify it;" by which was signified that they could testify even to that extent. That the truth was also attested by "fire from heaven," appears from the following passages:--

That the burnt-offering which was offered by Aaron was consumed by fire from heaven (Lev. 9:24).

In like manner the burnt-offering offered by Elijah (1 Kings 18:38). "Fire from heaven," in the opposite sense, was a sign testifying that they were in evils and thence in falsities and that they would perish; but this fire was a consuming fire; as:--

The fire from heaven that consumed the two sons of Aaron (Lev. 10:1-6).

That which consumed two hundred and fifty men (Num. 26:10). That which consumed the uttermost parts of the camp (Num. 11:1-4). That which twice consumed fifty men sent by the king to Elijah (2 Kings 1:10, 12). The fire and brimstone from heaven upon Sodom (Gen. 19:24, 25).

The fire from heaven which consumed those who compassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city (Apoc. 20:9).

The disciples being angry with the impenitent, said to Jesus, Lord, wilt Thou that we call fire to come down from heaven and consume them? (Luke 9:54.)

These passages are adduced to show that "fire from heaven" signifies a testification, yea, an attestation, that truth is truth, and, in the opposite sense, that falsity is truth, as here. "Fire" also signifies celestial love, and thus zeal for the truth, and in the opposite sense, infernal love, and thence zeal for falsity (n. 468, 494).

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