Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 18:2
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AR 755. Verse 2. And he cried out mightily with a great voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, signifies that he made it known that by the Lordís Divine power all who have been in that religious persuasion, and at the same time in the love of dominion from it, are destroyed in the spiritual world, and are cast into many hells. That this is signified by these words may be evident from the small work on The Last Judgment and the Destruction of Babylon, published at London in the year 1758; where its destruction is described (n. 53-64); from which it may be seen that those of that religious persuasion who from the heat of the love of self have exercised dominion over the holy Divine things of the Lord, which are those of heaven and the church, and who have been mere idolaters, were destroyed and cast into hell. But that those of the same religious persuasion, who had lived according to the precepts of the Decalogue, shunning evils as sins, and at the same time looked to the Lord, were saved, may be seen in The Continuation Concerning the Let Judgment and Concerning the Spiritual World (n. 58): to which there is no need to add more. The like is said of Babel in Isaiah:--

A lion cried upon the watch-towers, and said, Babel is fallen, is fallen, and all the graven images of her gods hath he broken on the earth (Isaiah 21:8, 9).

Similar ones are collected from that religious persuasion since the Last Judgment, and from time to time are sent to their like.

AR 756. And is become the habitation of demons, signifies that their hells are the hells of the lusts of dominion from the heat of the love of self, and of the lusts of profaning the truths of heaven from the spurious zeal of that love. By "demons" the lusts of evils are signified (n. 458), and also the lusts of falsifying truths. But demons, like lusts, are of many kinds; but the worst are those who are lusts of having dominion over the holy things of the church and over heaven from the heat of the love of self. And because this domineering disposition is seated in their hearts, they are also lusts of profaning the truths of heaven from the spurious zeal of that love. And as these, when they become demons, which takes place after death, know that the Lord alone rules over heaven and earth, they become hatreds against Him, till at length, as after the lapse of an age, they cannot endure to hear Him named. It is manifest from this, that by "Babylon has become a habitation of demons," is signified that their hells are the hells of the lusts of having dominion from the heat of the love of self, and the lusts of profaning the truths of heaven from the spurious zeal of that love. It is not known in the world, that all after death become affections of the ruling love in themselves. Those become good affections, who have looked to the Lord and to heaven, and at the same time have shunned evils as sins; but those become evil affections, which are lusts, who have looked only to themselves and the world, and have shunned evils not as sins, but only as hurtful to oneĎs reputation and honor. Those affections appear to the life and are perceived in the spiritual world, but in the natural world, only the thoughts from the affections. Hence it is, that man does not know that hell is in the affections of the love of evil, and heaven in the affections of the love of good. That man does not know and that he does not perceive it, is because the lusts of the love of evil derive from heredity that they are delightful in the will, and thence are pleasant in the understanding; and a man does not reflect upon that which is delightful and pleasant, because it leads his mind (animus) along, as the current of a swift river carries a vessel. Wherefore they who have immersed themselves in those delights and pleasures cannot come to the delights and pleasures of the affections of the love of good and truth any otherwise than as those who urge the oars against the current of the swift river with the strong power of the arms. But it is otherwise with those who have not immersed themselves deeply.

AR 757. And the hold of every unclean spirit, and the hold of every unclean and hateful bird, signifies that the evils of the will and thence of the deed, and the falsities of thought and thence of design, of those who are in those hells, are diabolical, because they are turned away from the Lord to themselves. By "a hold" is signified hell, because there they are imprisoned; by "spirit" is signified everything that is of the affection or the will and thence of the deed; and by "bird" is signified everything that is of the thought or the understanding and thence of the design. Therefore by "unclean spirit" and "unclean bird" are signified all the evils which are of the will and thence of the deed, and all the falsities which are of the thought and thence of the design. And because these are with them in the hells, it is therefore signified that they are diabolical; and because they are turned away from the Lord to themselves, it is also called, "a hateful bird." Babel is described by similar things in the prophets; thus in Isaiah:--

Babel shall be as Godís overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah; it shall not be inhabited to eternity, so that the Arab shall not tarry there: the ziim shall lie down there, and their houses shall be filled with ochim, and the daughters of the owl shall dwell there, and sadĎs shall dance there; the ziim also shall answer in her palaces, and the dragons in her palaces of luxuries (Isaiah 13:19-22).

In the same:--

I will cut off from Babel the name and remnant; I will make her an inheritance for the bittern (Isaiah 14:22, 23).

And in Jeremiah:--

In Babel shall dwell the ziim and ijim and daughters of the owl, according to Godís overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and its villages; no son of man shall dwell there (Jer. 50:39, 40).

It is manifest from these passages, that by "the hold of every unclean spirit, and of every unclean and hateful bird," is signified that the evils of the will and thence of the deed, and the falsities of the thought and thence of the design, of those who are in those hells, are diabolical, because they are turned away from the Lord to themselves. It is manifest from the Word, that "birds" signify such things as are of the understanding and thought and thence of design, in each sense, both evil and good. In the evil sense they are mentioned in these passages:

In the midst of the week I will make the sacrifice to cease, at length upon the bird of abominations shall be desolation, unto the consummation it shall drop upon the devastation (Dan. 9:27).

The cormorant and the bittern shall possess the land, the screech-owl and the raven shall dwell in it (Isa. 34:11).

Nothing else but infernal falsities are signified by "the ochim," "the ziim," "the daughters of the owl," and "the dragons," in the passages adduced above; also by:--

The birds which came down upon the carcasses, which Abram drove away (Gen. 15:11).

By the birds to which their carcasses should be given for food (Jer. 7:33; 15:3; 16:4; 19:7; 34:20; Ezek. 29:5; Ps. 79:1, 2);

Also by the birds which devour that which was sowed (Matt. 13:3, 4).

In the good sense, in these passages:--

Let the creeping thing and the bird praise the name of Jehovah (Ps. 148:10).

I will make a covenant for them in that day with the bird of the heavens and the creeping thing of the earth (Hos. 2:18).

Ask the beasts and they shall teach thee, and the birds of heaven and they shall declare unto thee, who from all these hath not known that the hand of Jehovah doeth it? (Job 12:7-9).

I saw, when, behold, there was no man, every bird of the heavens flew away (Jer. 4:22-26).

From the bird of the heavens even to the beast they are fled, because I will see Jerusalem heaps, the habitation of dragons (Jer. 4:10, 11 12:9).

There is no truth, no mercy, no knowledge of God; therefore the land shall mourn as to the beast of the field and as to the bird of the heavens (Hos. 4:1, 3).

I am God, that calls the bird from the east, the man of My counsel out of a land afar off (Isa. 46:9, 11).

Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon; all the birds of the heavens nested in its branches, and in its shadow dwelt all great nations (Ezek. 31:3, 6).

Things similar to this are said of Ashur as a cedar elsewhere, as in (Ezek. 17:23; Dan. 4:10-14, 20, 21; Matt. 13:31, 32; Mark 4:32; Luke 13:19):--

Say to the bird of every wing, and to every beast of the field, come to the great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel; so will I give My glory among the nations (Ezek. 39:17, 21; Apoc. 19:17; Isa. 18:1, 6; Ezek. 38:20; Hos. 9:11; 11:9, 11; Zeph. 1:3; Ps. 8:6-8; 50:11; 104:10, 12).

That "birds" signify the things which are of the understanding and thence of thought and design is clearly manifest from the birds in the spiritual world, where there appear also birds of every genus and every species; in heaven most beautiful ones, birds of paradise, turtle-doves, and doves, in hell dragons, screech-owls, horned owls, and other similar ones; all of which are representations to the life, of thoughts from good affections in heaven, and of thoughts from evil affections in hell.

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