Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 13:3
AR 576. Verse 3. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded unto death, signifies that this point of doctrine, which is the head of the rest, that man is justified and saved by faith alone without the works of the law, does not agree with the Word, where works are so often commanded. By "one of the heads" is signified the chief and fundamental article of the whole doctrine of the church of the Reformed. For the beast had seven heads, by which is signified insanity from mere falsities (n. 568); thus also all falsities in the aggregate: for by "seven" in the Word is signified all (n. 10, 391). And as all the falsities of their doctrine concerning salvation depend on this one, that man is justified and saved by faith alone without the works of the law, it is this which is signified by "one of the heads of the beast." By its being "as it were wounded unto death," is signified that it does not agree with the Word, where works are so often commanded. For everything of the doctrine of the church, which does not agree with the Word, is not sound, but is sick with a deadly disease; for the doctrine of the church must be from the Word, and from no other source.
AR 577. And the stroke of his death was healed, signifies the healing of that head of the doctrine by this reasoning, that no one can do a good work of himself, and fulfil the law, and that there is on that account provided another means of salvation instead, which is faith in the justice and merit of Christ, who suffered for man, and thereby took away the condemnation of the law. That this is the healing for "the wounded head," and is also applied, is known, when by the wounded head is meant that which precedes (n. 576); and therefore there is no need to explain it further.
AR 578. And the whole earth wondered after the beast, signifies that then that faith was received with joy, and became the doctrine of the whole church, because they thus would not be servants under the law, but free under faith. And "it wondered," signifies astonishment that the stroke of death was healed, and thence reception with joy. By "the whole earth" is signified the whole church of the Reformed, for the earth is the church (n. 285); therefore by "the whole earth wondered after the beast" is signified that this faith was received with joy, and became the doctrine of the whole church. It is received with joy because they thus are not bondmen under the law, but free under faith; not knowing that the very reverse is true, namely, that they who believe themselves to be free under faith, or from that faith, or through that faith, are slaves under sin, that is under the devil, for sin and the devil are one and the same; for thus they believe that the law does not condemn, and therefore that to sin without the condemnation of the law is freedom, provided they have faith; when nevertheless this is slavery itself; but man when he shuns sin, that is, the devil, from being a slave becomes free.
Here I will add this Relation: I spoke in the world of spirits with some doctors of the church, about what they meant by "works of the law," and what by "the law" under whose yoke, servitude, and condemnation, they say they are not. They said they meant the works of the law of the Decalogue. And I then said, "What are the things decreed in the Decalogue? are they not these: `Thou shalt not kill;’ `thou shalt not commit whoredom;‘ `thou shalt not steal;’ `thou shalt not bear false witness‘? Are these the works of the law, which you separate from faith, saying, that `faith alone, without the works of the law, justifies and saves,’ and are these what Christ made satisfaction for?" And they replied, "They are." And then there was heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Who can be so insane?" And immediately their faces were turned towards some diabolical spirits, among whom was Machiavel, and several from the order of Jesuits, who permit all these things provided they guard themselves from the laws of the world; and they would have associated themselves with these, had not a society interposed which separated them.
It is said that "all the earth wondered after the beast;" that "after" the boast means to follow and obey it, appears from these passages:--
David hath kept My commandments, and hath walked after Me with the whole heart (1 Kings 14:8).
The sons of Jesse went after Saul to the war (1 Sam. 17:13).
Thou shalt not go after many to do evil. Thou shalt not answer in a cause after many, to pervert (Exod. 23:2).
Go not after other gods, whom ye know not (Jer. 7:9).
They went after other gods to serve them (Jer. 11:10; Deut. 8:19).
The men that went after Baalpeor Jehovah will destroy (Deut. 4:3)
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|