Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 18:22
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AR 792. Verse 22. And the voice of harpers and musicians, and pipers and trumpeters, shall not be heard in thee any more, signifies that there will not be with them any affection of spiritual truth and good, nor any affection of celestial truth and good. By "voice" is meant sound, and every sound corresponds to any affection which is of love, since it arises therefrom. From this it is that the sounds of the harp, of music, and of the pipe, from correspondence, signify affections. But the affections are of two kinds, spiritual and celestial; spiritual affections are affections of wisdom, and celestial affections are affections of love. They differ from each other as the heavens, which are distinguished into two kingdoms, the celestial and the spiritual, as has several times been said above. There are therefore musical instruments whose sounds have relation to spiritual affections, and there are those which have relation to celestial affections. The voice or sound of "harpers and musicians" has relation to spiritual affections, and the voice or sound of "pipers and trumpeters" to celestial affections. For the instruments whose sounds are discrete, as stringed instruments, pertain to the class of spiritual affections; and the instruments whose sounds are continuous, as wind instruments, pertain to the class of celestial affections. Hence it is, that the voice or sound of "harpers and musicians" signifies the affection of spiritual good and truth, and the voice or sound of "pipers and trumpeters" signifies affection of celestial good and truth. That the sound of the harp from correspondence signifies confession from the affection of spiritual truth, may be seen (n. 276, 661). It is here meant that they who are in the evils and falsities of the Roman Catholic religious persuasion have no affections of spiritual truth and good, nor any affections of celestial truth and good, because it is said that "the voice of harpers and of musicians and of pipers and trumpeters shall not be heard in thee any more." The reason that they do not have them is because they cannot be given with them, for they have not any truth from the Word; and because they have no truth, neither have they any good. The latter is given to those only who desire truths: but no others desire truths from spiritual affection, but they who go to the Lord: these, according to this their desire, are instructed by the angels after death, and receive truths. The external affections in which they are while they are hearing masses, and in other devotions, which are without truths from the Lord through the Word, are merely natural, sensual, and corporeal; and as they are such, and are without internals from the Lord, it is not to be wondered at that in this thick darkness and blindness they are carried away to the worship of living and dead men, and to sacrifices to demons, who are called plutos, to make expiation for their souls.

AR 793. And no artificer of any art shall be found in thee any more, signifies that they who are in that religious persuasion from doctrine and from a life according to it, have no understanding of spiritual truth, and hence no thought of spiritual truth, so far as it is from themselves. By "an artificer" in the spiritual sense of the Word is signified one that is intelligent, and thinks from the understanding; in the good sense, one that from the understanding thinks truths, which are heavenly; and in the evil sense, one that from the understanding thinks falsities, which are infernal: and as the latter and the former are of many kinds, and each kind of many species, and each species again of many kinds and species, which, however, are called particulars and singulars, it is therefore said, "no artificer of any art." By artificers also, from their handicrafts and arts, such things are signified from correspondence as are of wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge. It is said, from correspondence, because all human work corresponds, and likewise every operation provided it be of any use, to such things as are of angelic intelligence. But the works of artificers in gold, silver, and precious stones correspond to one kind of matters or subjects of angelic intelligence; those of artificers in brass, iron, wood and stone to other kinds; and to others, those of artificers in other desirable uses, as cloths, linens, garments and clothings of various kinds. All these correspond, as has been said, because they are works. From these things it may appear, that by "an artificer of any art" shall not be found in Babylon, is not meant that there shall not be any artificers there, but that there will not be any understanding of spiritual truth, and thence no thought of spiritual truth; but this is only with those who are in that religious persuasion from its doctrine, and from a life according to it, and also as far as it is from themselves. That "an artificer" signifies those who are in the understanding of truth, and thence in the thought of truth, may appear from these passages:--

Bezaleel and Aholiab the artificers shall make the tabernacle, for they are filled with wisdom, intelligence, and science (Exod. 31:3; 36:1, 2).

And everyone wise in heart among them doing the work, they made the habitation, the work of the artificer (Exod. 36:8).

Thou shalt make the habitation of fine-twined linen, and blue and purple, and scarlet double-dyed, and cherubim, with the work of the artificer shalt thou make them (Exod. 26:1).

Thou shalt make the veil in like manner with the work of the artificer (Exod. 26:31; 35:35).

In like manner the ephod with the work of the artificer: as also the breastplate (Exod. 28:6; 39:8). Artificer is there expressed by a word which also signifies a designer:--

Thou shalt engrave two stones, which thou shalt put upon the shoulders of the ephod, with the work of an artificer in gems (Exod. 28:11).

In the opposite sense, by "the work of an artificer" is signified that work which is done from oneís own intelligence, from which nothing else can be produced but falsity. This is meant by "the work of the artificer" in these passages:--

They shall make a molten image of their silver in their own intelligence, the whole the work of artificers (Hos. 13:2).

The artificer casteth the graven image, and the founder spreadeth it over with gold, and maketh silver chains; he seeketh a wise artificer (Isa. 40:19, 20).

He cutteth wood out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman; silver is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the artificer; blue and purple are their garments, the whole the work of the wise (Jer. 10:3, 9; Deut. 27:15).

That "idols" signify falsities of worship and religion from oneĎs own intelligence, may be seen above (n. 459, 460).

AR 794. And the voice of a millstone shall not be heard any more in thee, signifies that they who are in that religious persuasion from doctrine, and from a life according to it, make no inquiry after, examination, and confirmation of spiritual truth, because falsity received and confirmed, and thus implanted, stands in the way. By "the voice of the mill," nothing else is signified but the inquiry after, examination, and confirmation of spiritual truth, especially from the Word. The reason why this is signified by the voice of the mill, or by grinding, is because what and barley, which are ground, signify celestial and spiritual good, and therefore meal and fine flour signify truth from that good; for all truth is from good, and all truth which is not from spiritual good, is not spiritual. It is said "the voice of the mill," because things spiritual throughout the Word are denoted by things instrumental, which are the ultimates of nature; as for example, spiritual truths and goods are denoted by cups, vials, bottles, platters, and many other vessels, as may be seen above (n. 672). By "wheat" is signified the good of the church from the Word (n. 315); and by "fine flour of wheat" is signified the truth from that good (n. 778). That "a mill" signifies inquiry after, examination, and confirmation of spiritual truth, see the following passages:--

Jesus said, in the consummation of the age, two shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left; two shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left (Matt. 24:40, 41).

By "the consummation of the age" is meant the end of the church, when the Last Judgment is executed; by "the field" the church is signified, because the harvest is there: by "them that grind at the mill" are signified those in the church who search after truths; by "those that are taken" they who find and receive them are signified; and by "them that are left," those who do not search after nor receive them, because they are in falsities:--

I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride, the voice of the mills, and the light of a lamp (Jer. 25:10).

By "the voice of the mills" in this passage the like is signified as here in the Apocalypse:--

Thou shalt not take the mill nor the millstone to pledge, for he taketh the soul to pledge (Deut. 24:6).

The mill is here called the soul, because by "the soul" is signified the truth of wisdom and faith (n. 681). In the opposite sense, the investigation and confirmation of falsity is signified by a mill, as is evident in these passages:--

They led away the young men to grind at the mill, and the boys fell down under the wood (Lam. 5:13).

Sit in the dust, O daughter of Babel; take the mill and grind meal; uncover thy locks, uncover thy thighs, pass over the streams, let thy nakedness be uncovered, and let thy shame be seen (Isa. 47:1-3).

"Take the mill and grind meal" signifies to search after and investigate falsities, for the sake of confirming them.

AR 795. But this shall be illustrated by an example. Who cannot see that they who are in Babylon, have searched after and investigated how they could confirm this enormous falsity, that the bread and wine in the eucharist should be divided, that the bread should be given to the laity and the wine to the clergy. This may be seen from merely reading the confirmation decreed in the Council of Trent, and established by a bull, which reads thus:--That immediately after consecration the true body and the true blood of Jesus Christ, together with His soul and Divinity, are truly, really, and substantially contained in the bread and wine, His body under the appearance of bread, and His blood under the appearance of wine, from the force of the words; but the body itself under the appearance of wine, and the blood under the appearance of bread, and the soul under both by the force of the natural connexion and concomitancy, whereby the parts of the Lord Christ are united to each other, and His Divinity by reason of that admirable hypostatic union with the body and soul; and that just as much is contained under each kind as under both; and that the whole and entire Christ exists under the appearance of bread, and under every part of that appearance, and the whole also under the, appearance of wine, and the parts thereof. Also that water is to be mixed with the wine. These are their very words, and that these words are contrary to the force of the Lordís words they themselves confess. Who that is of sound judgment does not here see truths themselves inverted, and changed into falsities by reasonings which the upright in heart cannot but abominate? But to what end is all this? Is it not solely for the sake of masses, which they call propitiatory sacrifices, most holy, pure, and in them nothing but what is holy, through which they infuse sanctity into the bodily senses of men, and at the same time night into all things of faith and spiritual life, and this to the end that in the midst of thick darkness, they may have dominion and gain? And also to cherish the idea concerning the ministers that they are fall of the Lord, and that the Lord is in them. And that lest they should be fatigued the wine is for them, and to prevent inebriation, that water must be in the wine?

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