Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 16:2
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AR 677. Verse 2. And the first went and poured out his vial upon the earth, signifies influx into those who are in the interiors of the church of the Reformed and study the doctrine of justification by faith alone, who are called the clergy. By "pouring out his vial" is signified influx, as above (n. 676). By "the earth" is signified the church (n. 285), here those therein who are in its interiors who are such as study the doctrine of justification by faith alone. These also say that they know its interior things; but these interior things are only confirmations of this single position, that faith alone justifies without the works of the Law. Other interior things they do not know; and as these are chiefly priests, professors of theology, and lecturers in colleges, in short doctors and pastors, therefore this first influx was into them, who are called the clergy. The reason why they are meant, is because it is said that the first angel poured out his vial into "the earth" and the second angel into "the sea," and then by "the earth," is meant the church with those who are in its internals, and by "the sea" is meant the church with those who are in its externals, as above (n. 398, 403, 420, 470); that these are meant, is also evident from its being said that there came "a sore" upon them.

AR 678. And there came an evil and noxious sore, signifies interior evils and falsities destructive of all good and truth in the church. By "a sore," here nothing else is signified but evil originating in a life according to this head of doctrine, that faith alone without the works of the Law justifies and saves; because it came "upon the men who had the mark of the beast, and adored his image," by which that faith, and a life according to it, are signified; wherefore by "an evil and noxious sore" are signified interior evils and falsities, destructive of all good and truth in the church. By "noxious" is signified what is destructive, for evil cannot but destroy good, and falsity truth. "A sore" has this signification because the sores of the body originate from a corrupt state of the blood, or from some other interior malignity. It is the same with sores meant in the spiritual sense, these originate from lusts and their delights, which are interior causes. The evil itself which is signified by "a sore" and which appears in externals as delightful, conceals within it the lusts whence it originates, and of which it is composed. It should be clearly known, that the interiors of the human mind exist in successive order and in simultaneous order with everyone. They are in successive order from its higher or prior things to its lower or posterior things. They are in simultaneous order in the ultimates or postremes, but in these latter they exist from interior things to exterior, as from a centre to its circumference. This is shown in many places in The Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom (n. 173-281), where degrees are treated of: from which it is evident that the ultimate is the complex of all the prior things. Hence it follows, that all the lusts of evil exist in simultaneous order inwardly in the very evil which the man perceives in himself, every evil which a man perceives in himself being in ultimates; for which reason when a man rejects evil from himself, he at the same time rejects its lusts; but still not from himself, but from the Lord. A man can indeed of himself reject evil, but not its lusts; wherefore, when be wills to reject evil, by fighting against it, he will look up to the Lord; for the Lord operates from inmosts to ultimates, for He enters through the soul of man, and purifies him. These things are said that it may be known that "a sore" signifies the evil appearing in ultimates or extremes, and originating from internal malignity. This takes place with all who persuade themselves that faith alone saves, and therefore they do not reflect upon any evil in themselves, nor do they look to the Lord. "Ulcers" and "wounds" signify evils in the extremes, springing from interior evils, which are lusts, also in the following passages From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness; wound and scar, and a fresh stroke; they have not been pressed out nor bound up, nor softened with oil (Isa. 1:6).

My iniquities have gone over my head; my wounds have putrefied, they have wasted away, because of my foolishness (Ps. 38:4, 5).

In the day that Jehovah shall bind up the breach of His people, and shall heal the wound of their stroke (Isa. 30:26).

If thou wilt not obey the voice of Jehovah observing to do His commandments, Jehovah will smite thee with the sore of Egypt, with emerods and with the scab, and with the itch, and with an evil sore upon the knees and thighs, of which thou canst not be healed, from the sole of the foot even to thy crown (Deut. 28:15, 27, 35).

The sore with blains breaking out on man and on beast in Egypt (Exod. 9:8-11) signifies nothing else; for the miracles done there signify the evils and falsities in which they were. And because the Jewish nation was in the profanation of the Word, and this is signified by leprosy, therefore they had leprosy not only in their flesh, but also in their garments, houses, and vessels; and the kinds of profanation are signified by the various evils of leprosy, which were:--

Tumors, ulcerous tumors, white and red pimples, abscesses, burnings, tetters, scurfs, etc. (Lev. 13:1-59).

For the church with that nation was a representative church, in which internal things were represented by external things which corresponded.

AR 679. Upon the men that had the mark of the beast, and that adored his image, signified with those who live faith alone, and receive its doctrine. By "having the mark of the beast" is signified to acknowledge faith alone, to confirm it in one’s self, and to live according to it; and by "adoring his image" is signified to receive its doctrine, see above (n. 602, 634, 637). By living faith alone, and receiving its doctrine, is meant to make no account of life for the sake of salvation, nor of any truth, believing that if they only pray to God the Father, to have mercy for the Son‘s sake, they will be saved. This is especially the case with those who know and acknowledge the interiors of that doctrine; such being here treated of, see above (n. 677).

REVELATION 16:2    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  Full Page

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