Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 17:2
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AR 720. Verse 2. With whom the kings of the earth have committed whoredom, signifies that it has adulterated the truths and goods of the church which are from the Word. "To commit whoredom" signifies to falsify and adulterate truths, as above (n. 719); by "the kings of the earth" are signified the truths of the church which are from the Word, by "kings," truths from good, and by "earth," the church. That by "kings" are signified those who are in truths from good from the Lord, and thence abstractly the truths from good, may be seen above (n. 20, 664); here those truths adulterated and profaned. It is said that "the kings of the earth" committed whoredom with the great harlot, as though the truths of the church which are from the Word, which are signified by "the kings of the earth," had so done; but this is according to the style of the Word in the sense of the letter, in which are ascribed to God and to the Divine things which are from Him, such as are the truths of the Word, the things which come nevertheless from man and his evils, as has been frequently observed above. Therefore the genuine sense, which is the spiritual sense, is, that that religious persuasion adulterated, yea, profaned the truths of the church which are from the Word. He who does not know the spiritual sense of the Word may easily be misled, by believing that by "the kings of the earth" are meant kings of the earth, when yet kings are not meant, but truths from good, and, in the opposite sense, falsities from evil. To render it more fully evident, that by "the kings of the earth" nothing else but the truths or falsities of the church are meant, and by "their whoredoms," the truths of the church, which are from the Word, falsified, adulterated, and profaned, some passages shall be adduced from the Apocalypse and from Daniel, from which anyone capable of reflection may see that kings are not meant, which are:--

Jesus Christ hath made us kings and priests (Apoc. 1:6).

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign over the earth (Apoc. 5:10).

That ye may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of horses and of them that sit on them (Apoc. 19:18).

The seven heads of the scarlet beast are seven mountains. And they are seven kings; five have fallen, and one is and the beast is the eighth king, and is of the seven (Apoc. 17:9-11).

The ten horns are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom (Apoc. 17:12).

It is also said as here, that:--

The kings of the earth committed whoredom, and lived luxuriously with the harlot (Apoc. 18:3, 9).

Who that is able to reflect at all, may not see that "kings" here do not mean kings? In like manner that by "the rough goat" is meant the king of Grecia, in Daniel:--

And the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king; and when transgressors are come to the full, a king, hard of face and understanding subtle things, shall rise up (Dan. 8:21, 23).

That the four beasts coming out of the sea were four kings, who shall arise from the earth and that the ten horns of the fourth beast were ten kings, and that another should rise after them who should humble the three kings (Dan. 7:17, 24).

In like manner, that the king of the south and the king of the north should fight with each other; and that the king of the south should send his daughter to the king of the north; and that this king should exalt himself against God, and acknowledge a strange god; and that he should honor with gold and silver, and with precious stones, and desirable things, those who acknowledged that god, and should cause them to have dominion over many, and divide the land for a price; and that he should plant the tent of his tabernacle between the seas, around the mountain of the ornament of holiness; but that he should come to his end; with much more to the same purpose (Dan. 11:1-45).

By "the king of the south" is signified the kingdom or church of those who are in truths, and by "the king of the north" is signified the kingdom and church of those who are in falsities; for it is a prophecy concerning the churches to come, showing their quality in the beginning, and afterwards. The reason why they who are in truths from good from the Lord are called "kings," is because they are called "the sons" of the Lord; and because they are regenerated by Him, they are called "born from Him," and also "heirs;" and because the Lord is Himself a King, and heaven and the church are His kingdom.

AR 721. And the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom, signifies the insanity in spiritual things from the adulteration of the Word with those who are in that religious persuasion. By "being made drunk with the wine of whoredom" is signified to be insane in spiritual things from the falsification of the truths of the Word, here from their adulteration; by "wine" the Divine truth of the Word is signified (n. 316), and by "whoredom" is signified its falsification and adulteration (n. 134, 620, 632, 635). Therefore by "being made drunk with that wine" is signified to be insane in spiritual things; by "the inhabitants of the earth" are signified they who are in the church, as above (Apoc. 11:10; 12:12; 13:13, 14; 14:6); but here, they who are in that religious persuasion since the church is not there, because they do not approach the Lord, nor read the Word, and because they invoke the dead, see above (n. 718). "To be made drunk with that wine" signifies to be insane in spiritual things, may indeed be seen without confirmation from other passages in the Word; but as many are not able to see this, on account of their not thinking spiritually but sensually, that is, materially, concerning the particulars of the Word, when they read it, I will adduce some passages from the Word, to confirm that there "to be made drunk" signifies insanity in spiritual, that is, in theological things; thus:--

They are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink (Isa. 29:9).

Hear, thou afflicted, drunken, but not with wine (Isa. 51:21).

A cup of gold is Babel in the hand of Jehovah, making the whole earth drunken; the nations have drunk of her wine, therefore the nations are mad (Jer. 51:7).

Babel shall be a hissing; when they have become warm I will make their banquets, and I will make them drunken, that they may exult, and may sleep the sleep of an age, and not awake (Jer. 51:37, 39).

Babylon is fallen, is fallen, because she hath made all the nations drink of the wine of her whoredom (Apoc. 14:8; 18:3).

Every bottle shall be filled with wine; behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, kings, priests, and prophets, with drunkenness (Jer. 13:12, 13).

Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sadness, with the cup of devastation and desolation (Ezek. 23:32, 33).

Daughter of Edom, even to thee shall the cup pass; thou shalt be drunken and shalt be uncovered (Lam. 4:21).

Thou also shalt be drunken (Nah. 3:11).

Drink and be drunken, and vomit, and fall so as not to rise again (Jer. 25:27).

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and intelligent before their own faces; woe to them that are heroes to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink (Isa. 5:21, 22; Isa. 19:11, 12, 14; 24:20; 28:1, 3, 7, 8; 56:12; Jer. 23:9, 10; Lam. 3:15; Hos. 4:11, 12, 17, 18; Joel 1:5-7; Hab. 2:15; Ps. 75:8; 107:27).

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