Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 17:4
AR 725. Verse 4. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, signifies celestial Divine good and Divine truth, which are of the Word with them. By "purple" is signified celestial Divine good, and by "scarlet" is signified celestial Divine truth, as will be seen presently; by "being clothed" with them is signified to have them about them, consequently with them. The reason why these principles are with them from the Word, is because by "the scarlet beast" upon which the woman sat is signified the Word (n. 723). That the Divine good and truth of the Word is about them as a garment, thus with them, is known, for they adore the Word from without and not from within; they acknowledge it, because it treats of the Lord, and of His power over heaven and the church, which they have transferred to themselves; and it treats of the keys given to Peter, whose successors they say they are. And since upon these two they found their majesty, dignity, and authority, they of necessity acknowledge the holiness of the Word. But yet the Word to them is only like the garment of "purple and scarlet and of gold, precious stones and pearls," upon a harlot holding in her hand a golden cup, full of abominations and uncleanness of whoredom. Since "purple and scarlet" are mentioned, and then "gold, precious stones, and pearls," and by "purple and scarlet" is signified celestial Divine good and truth, and by "gold and precious stones" spiritual Divine good and truth, both from the Word, therefore something shall be said concerning the celestial Divine and the spiritual Divine. There are two kingdoms into which the whole heaven of the Lord is distinguished, the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom; the celestial kingdom consists of angels who are in love from the Lord, and the spiritual kingdom of angels who are in wisdom from the Lord. In both kingdoms there is good and truth; the good and truth with the angels of the celestial kingdom is signified by "purple and scarlet," and the good and truth with the angels of the spiritual kingdom is signified by "gold and precious stones." Both these goods and truths the angels have from the Lord through the Word; wherefore there are two interior senses in the Word, the celestial and the spiritual. This then is the reason why "the woman sitting upon the scarlet beast appeared arrayed in purple and scarlet, and inwrought with gold and precious stones, and pearls." The same which is signified by this woman is also signified by:--
The rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and indulged in delicacies every day splendidly at whose gateway Lazarus was cast, desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from his table (Luke 16:19-21).
By "the rich man clothed in purple and hue linen" the Jews are meant, who had the Word; and by "Lazarus" are meant the Gentiles, who had it not. Similar things are signified in the following passages:--
They that have eaten delicacies are devastated in the streets; they that were brought up in scarlet have embraced the dunghill (Lam. 4:5).
Therefore, thou wasted one, what wilt thou do? though thou clothest thyself in scarlet, though thou adornest thyself with an ornament of gold, in vain shalt thou make thyself beautiful (Jer. 4:30).
Daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet with delightful things, and who put an ornament of gold upon your apparel (2 Sam. 1:24).
Fine linen of needlework was that which thou spreadest forth, hyacinth and purple were thy covering (Ezek. 27:7).
This is said of Tyre, by which the knowledges of truth and good from the Word are signified. Since celestial good and truth are signified by "purple and scarlet," therefore the garments of Aaron, as also the veils and curtains of the tabernacle, were woven of hyacinth, purple, scarlet and fine linen (Exod. 26:4, 31, 36; 27:16; 28:6, 15); the curtains also (Exod. 26:1); and the veil before the ark (Exod. 26:31); the covering for the door of the tent (Exod. 26:36); and the covering of the gate of the court (Exod. 27:16); the ephod (Exod. 28:6); the belt (Exod. 28:8); the breastplate of judgment (Exod. 28:15); the skirts of the cloak of the ephod (Exod. 28:33); the cloth of scarlet over the bread of faces (Num. 4:8). It is manifest from these passages what is signified by "the purple and scarlet" with which the woman that sat upon the scarlet beast appeared arrayed. In like manner in the following passages, where it is said:--Alas, the great city, which was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, inwrought with gold and precious stone and pearls; for in one hour so great riches are devastated (Apoc. 18:16, 17). Also that purple and scarlet, gold, precious stone, and pearls, were among the merchandise of Babylon, see (Apoc. 18:12).
AR 726. And inwrought with gold and precious stone, signifies spiritual Divine good and Divine truth, which are of the Word, with them. By "gold" is signified good (n. 211); by "precious stone"is signified truth (n. 231, 540, 570); both from the Word. That spiritual good and truth are signified is because celestial good and truth are signified by "purple and scarlet;" and both are conjoined in the Word on account of the marriage of good and truth therein (n. 373); and celestial good and truth, because they are of love, are in their essence good; and spiritual good and truth, because they are of wisdom, are in their essence truth. That celestial good and truth are of love, and that spiritual good and truth are of wisdom, may be seen above (n. 725). What is meant besides by this woman’s being thus arrayed and adorned may be seen in the preceding article.
AR 727. And pearls, signifies the knowledges of good and truth which are of the Word with them. By "pearls," in the spiritual sense, are signified the knowledges of good and truth both celestial and spiritual which are from the Word, particularly from the sense of its letter; and because "pearls" signify those knowledges, they are therefore named after "purple and scarlet," and after "gold and precious stones." The same knowledges are signified by pearls in the following passages:--
The kingdom of the heavens is like unto a merchant seeking beautiful pearls; who, when he had found one precious pearl, went and sold all that he had, and bought it (Matt. 13:45, 46).
By this is signified knowledge concerning the Lord.
The twelve gates of the wall of the New Jerusalem were twelve pearls, everyone of the gates was one pearl (Apoc. 21:21).
"The gates of The New Jerusalem" signify introduction into the New Church, and introduction is effected by the knowledges of good and truth from the Word.
Neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and rend you (Matt. 7:6).
By "swine" are signified they who only love worldly riches, and not spiritual riches, which are the knowledges of good and truth from the Word. Because by "Babylon" is signified that religious persuasion by which all the knowledges of good and truth derived from the Word were rejected, it is said of her:--
And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over Babylon, for no one buyeth their merchandise; the merchandise of gold and silver, of precious stone and of pearls (Apoc. 18:11, 12).
AR 728. Having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and uncleanness of her whoredom, signifies that religious persuasion from the holy things of the Word profaned, and its goods and truths defiled by direful falsities. That by "a cup" or "chalice" the same thing is signified as by "wine" because it is what contains, may be seen above (n. 672), and by "the wine of Babylon" is signified that religious persuasion as to its direful falsities (n. 632, 635). By "abominations" are signified the profanations of what is holy; and by the "uncleanness of whoredom" are signified the defilements of the good and truth of the Word. Therefore by "having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and uncleanness of her whoredom," is signified that religious persuasion consisting of the holy things of the church profaned and defiled, and of the goods and truths of the Word profaned, by direful falsities. These things are similar to what the Lord said to the Scribes and Pharisees:--
Woe unto you hypocrites, for ye make yourselves like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of the bones of the dead, and of all uncleanness (Matt. 23:27).
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