Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 18:23
AR 796. Verse 23. And the light of a lamp shall not shine in thee any more, signifies that they who are in that religious persuasion from doctrine and from a life according to it, have no enlightenment from the Lord, and thence no perception of spiritual truth. By "the light of a lamp" is signified enlightenment from the Lord and thence the perception of spiritual truth; for by "light" is meant the light of heaven, in which the angels are, and men also as to the understanding; which light in its essence is the Divine wisdom; for it proceeds from the Lord as the sun of the spiritual world, which in its substance is the Divine love of the Divine wisdom; from which no other light can proceed than that which is of the Divine wisdom, nor any other heat than that which is of the Divine love. That it is so, is demonstrated in The Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom (DLW n. 83-172). Since that light is from the Lord, and the Lord is omnipresent by it and in it, therefore all enlightenment is effected by it, and thence the perception of spiritual truth, which those have who love Divine truths spiritually, that is, who love truths because they are truths, thus because they are Divine. That this is to love the Lord, is manifest; for the Lord is omnipresent in that light, because the Divine love and the Divine wisdom are not in place, but are where they are received, and according to the reception. That they who are in the Roman Catholic religious persuasion have not any enlightenment, and perception of spiritual truth thence, may be evident from this, that they do not love any spiritual light; for the origin of spiritual light is from the Lord, as was said; and no others can accept that light, nor receive it, but they who are conjoined with the Lord; and conjunction with the Lord is effected solely by the acknowledgment and worship of Him, and at the same time by a life according to His commandments from the Word. The acknowledgment and worship of the Lord, and the reading of the Word, cause the presence of the Lord; but these two together with a life according to His commandments effect conjunction with Him. In Babylon it is the contrary; there the Lord is acknowledged, but without dominion; and the Word is acknowledged, but without the reading of it. Instead of the Lord the pope is there worshiped, and instead of the Word the papal bulls are acknowledged, according to which they live, and not according to the commandments of the Word. And those bulls have for their end the dominion of the pope and his ministers over heaven and the world, and the commandments of the Word have for their end the Lord‘s dominion over heaven and the world; and these are diametrically opposite to each other, like hell and heaven. These things are said, that it may be known, that they have altogether no light of a lamp, that is, enlightenment and thence the perception of spiritual truth, who are in the Babylonish religious persuasion from doctrine and from a life according to it. That the Lord is the Light, from which is all the enlightenment and perception of spiritual truth, is manifest from these passages:--
He was the true Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:4-12).
This is concerning the Lord:--
This is the judgment, that the Light is come into the world; he that doeth the truth cometh to the Light (John 3:19, 21).
Jesus said, Yet a little while is the Light with you; walk while ye have the Light, lest darkness seize upon you; while ye have the Light, believe in the Light, that ye may be sons of the Light (John 12:35, 36).
Jesus said, I am come a Light into the world, that everyone who believeth in Me, may not abide in darkness (John 12:46).
Jesus said, I am the Light of the world (John 9:5).
Simeon said, Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, a Light for the revelation of the nations (Luke 2:30-32).
The people sitting in darkness have seen a great Light; and to them that sit in the region and shadow of death, Light has arisen (Matt. 4:16; Isa. 9:2).
I have given thee for a Light of the nations, that thou mayest be My salvation even unto the extremity of the earth (Isa. 49:6).
The city New Jerusalem hath no need of the sun and moon to shine in it, for the glory of God enlighteneth it, and the Lamp of it is the Lamb (Apoc. 21:23; 22:5).
It is manifest from these passages, that the Lord is the Light, from which are all enlightenment and thence perception of truth; and because the Lord is the Light, the devil is thick darkness; and the devil is the love of ruling over all the holy Divine things of the Lord, and thus over Himself; and as far as dominion is given to it, so far it darkens, extinguishes, sets on fire, and burns up, the holy Divine things of the Lord.
AR 797. And the voice of bridegroom and of bride shall not be hard in thee any more, signifies that they who are in that religious persuasion from doctrine and from life according to it, have no conjunction of good and truth, which makes the church. By "voice" is here signified joy, because it is that of a bridegroom and bride. By "a bridegroom," in the highest sense, is meant the Lord as to the Divine good; and by "a bride" the church is meant as to the Divine truth from the Lord. For the church is a church from the reception of the Lord’s Divine good in the Divine truths which are from Him. That the Lord is called the Bridegroom, and likewise the Husband; and that the church is called the Bride and also the Wife, is manifest from the Word. It is from this that the heavenly marriage, which is the conjunction of good and truth, is therefrom, will be seen in the small work on Marriage. Now because this heavenly marriage is effected by the reception of the Divine good from the Lord in the Divine truths from the Word by the men of the church, it is manifest that there is no conjunction of good and truth with those who are in that religious persuasion from doctrine and life thence, because they have no conjunction with the Lord; but they have conjunction with men living and dead. And this conjunction, with those who are in the love of dominating from the love of self over the holy Divine things of the Lord, and over the Lord, is like conjunction with the devil, who, as was said in the preceding article, is that love; and to approach the devil that through him one may come to God, is detestable. That the Lord is called the Bridegroom, and the church the Bride, is manifest from these passages:--
He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom; but the friend of the Bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoiceth with joy because of the Bridegroom‘s voice (John 3:29).
John the Baptist says this of the Lord.
Jesus said, As long as the Bridegroom is with them, the sons of the marriage cannot fast; the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them, then shall they fast (Matt. 9:15; Mark 2:19, 20; Luke 5:34, 35).
I saw the holy city New Jerusalem prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband (Apoc. 21:2).
The angel said, Come, and I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife (Apoc. 21:9, 10).
The time of the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Wife hath made herself ready. Happy are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Apoc. 19:7, 9).
By the Bridegroom, whom the ten virgins went out to meet (Matt. 25:1, 2), the Lord is also meant. It is manifest from this what is signified by the voice and the joy of the bridegroom and the bride in the following passages:--
As the joy of the bridegroom over the bride, thy God shall rejoice over thee (Isa. 62:5).
My soul shalt exult over God, as a bridegroom putteth on a mitre, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Isa. 61:10).
There shall still be heard in this place the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, and the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, saying, Let us confess unto Jehovah of hosts (Jer. 33:10, 11).
Let the bridegroom go forth out of his chamber, and the bride out of her bride-chamber (Joel 2:16).
I will cause to cease from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride (Jer. 7:34; 16:9).
I will deprive them of the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, and the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of the mills, and the light of a lamp, and the whole land shall be for a desolation by the king of Babel (Jer. 25:10, 11).
From what has now been said the series of the things in these two verses may now be seen, which is, that they who are in that religious persuasion have not any affection of spiritual truth and good (n. 792); that they have not any understanding of spiritual truth, and hence not any thought of it (n. 793): for thought is from affection and according to it; that neither have they any searching after, investigation and confirmation of spiritual truth (n. 794); that neither do they have any enlightenment from the Lord, and hence no perception of spiritual truth (n. 796); and finally, that they do not have any conjunction of good and truth, which makes the church (n. 797). These things also thus follow each other in order.
AR 798. Since it is said that they have not any conjunction of good and truth, because with them there is not the marriage of the Lord and the church, something shall here be said of the authority of opening and shutting heaven, which acts as one with the authority of remitting and retaining sins, which they claim for themselves as the successors of Peter and the apostles. The Lord said to Peter:--
Upon this same rock will I build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail over it; I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in the heavens (Matt. 16:18, 19).
The Divine truth which is meant by "the rock" upon which the Lord will build His church, is what Peter then confessed; which was: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16). By "the keys of the kingdom of the heavens" which are, that whatsoever that Rock, which is the Lord, "shall bind on earth shall be bound in the heavens, and whatsoever it shall loose on earth shall be loosed in the heavens," is meant that the Lord has power over heaven and earth, as He also says (Matt. 28:18); thus the power of saving the men who from faith of heart are in that confession of Peter. The Lord‘s Divine operation to save men is from firsts by ultimates; and this is what is meant by "whatsoever He shall bind or loose on earth shall be bound or loosed in heaven." The ultimates by which the Lord operates are on earth, and indeed with men. On account of this, that the Lord Himself might be in the ultimates as He is in the firsts, He came into the world, and put on the Human. That all the Lord’s Divine operation is from firsts by ultimates, thus from Himself in the firsts and from Himself in the ultimates, may be seen in The Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom (DLW n. 217-219, 221); and that it is thence that the Lord is called "The First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty," may be seen above (n. 29-31, 38, 57). Who cannot see, if he will, that the salvation of man is the continuous operation of the Lord with man from the first of his infancy even to the last of his life, and that this is a work purely Divine, and can never be given to any man? It is so Divine that it is at once the work of omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence; and that man‘s reformation and regeneration, thus his salvation, are all of the Lord’s Divine Providence, may be seen in The Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Providence, from beginning to end. The very coming of the Lord into the world was solely on account of man‘s salvation. For the sake of this He assumed the Human, removed the hells, and glorified Himself, and put on omnipotence even in the ultimates, which is meant by "sitting at the right hand of God." What, therefore, is more abominable, than to found a religious persuasion, by which it is sanctioned that the Divine authority and power belong to man and no longer to the Lord; and that heaven will be opened and shut, if only a priest says, "I absolve," or "I excommunicate;" and that sin, even if enormous, is remitted, provided he says, "I remit"? There are many devils in the world, who, in order to escape temporal punishments, seek and obtain absolution from a diabolical crime by arts and gifts. Who can be so insane as to believe that the authority is given of admitting devils into heaven? It was said above (n. 790), that "Peter" represented the truth of faith of the church, "James" the good of charity of the church, and "John" the good works of the men of the church; and that the twelve apostles together represented the church as to all things of it. It is clearly manifest that they represented them, from the Lord’s words to them in Matthew:--
When the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30).
By these words nothing else can be signified than that the Lord will judge all according to the goods and truths of the church. If this was not meant by these words, but the apostles themselves, all in the great city Babylon, who say they are the successors of the apostles, might claim to themselves that they will sit upon thrones as many in number as themselves, from the pontiff even to a monk, and that they will judge all in the whole world.
AR 799. For thy great men were the merchants of the earth, signifies that the higher ones in the ecclesiastical hierarchy are such, because by various arbitrary rights, left to them in the statutes of the order, they traffic and make profit. By "the great men" are meant the higher ones in their ecclesiastical hierarchy, who are called cardinals, bishops, and primates; who are called "merchants" because they make gain by the holy things of the church, as by merchandise (n. 771, 783); here, who by various and even arbitrary rights, left to them in the statutes of the order, traffic and make profit. Why this is said is manifest from what precedes, for this is a consequence of them. In what precedes, it is said that "there shall not be heard any more in Babylon the voice of harpers, of musicians, of pipers and of trumpeters"; that "there shall not he there an artificer of any art"; "the voice of the mill shall not be heard there"; "the light of a lamp shall not be there"; neither "the voice of bridegroom and of bride"; by which is signified that in Babylon there is not any affection of spiritual truth, nor any understanding of it and thought thence; nor any search after and investigation of it, nor enlightenment and perception of it, and thence there is no conjunction of good and truth, which makes the church; see above (n. 792-794, 796, 797). The reason that they have not these, is because the higher ones in the order also traffic and make gain, and thus set an example to the lower ones. This therefore is why it is said, "For thy great men were the merchants of the earth." But some one perhaps may say, "What are those arbitrary rights, which can be called tradings?" They are not their annual revenues and stipends, but they are dispensations from the authority of the keys; which are, that they remit sins, even enormous ones, and thereby release from temporal punishment; that by intercessions with the pope, they get power for contracting matrimonies within the prohibited degrees, and for separating them within degrees not prohibited; and do it themselves without intercession by toleration; by granting the privileges which are within their jurisdiction; by ordinations of ministers, and confirmations; by general and particular gratuities from the monasteries; by the appropriation of revenues from other sources which belong by right to others; and by many other means. These, and not their annual revenues, if they were content with them, cause that they have no affection of thought, investigation and perception of spiritual truth, and no conjunction of truth and good, because they are the gains of the unjust mammon; and the unjust perpetually lust for natural wealth, and are averse to spiritual riches which are Divine truths from the Word. From this it may now be evident, that by "because thy great men were the merchants of the earth," is signified that the higher ones in their ecclesiastical hierarchy are such, because by various and even arbitrary rights, left to them in the statutes of the order, they traffic and make profit. Something further shall be said here concerning dispensation by the authority of the keys, over crimes, even enormous ones, by which they not only liberate the guilty from eternal punishments, but even from temporal punishments; and if they do not liberate them, they still protect by asylums. Who does not see that this does not belong to ecclesiastical jurisdiction, but to civil jurisdiction; and that it is to extend their dominion over everything secular, and to destroy the public security; also that by this authority still reserved to them, they are in the power of bringing back their former despotic domination over all tribunals established by kings, and thus over the judges, even the highest; which also they would do, if they did not fear withdrawal? This is meant in Daniel, by:--
The fourth beast coming up out of the sea will think to change times and right (Daniel 7:25).
AR 800. Because by thy sorcery all the nations have been seduced, signifies their wicked arts and devices, by which they have led away the minds of all from the holy worship of the Lord to the profane worship of living and dead men and idols. By "the sorcery by which all the nations have been seduced," are signified the wicked arts and devices by which they have been deluded and persuaded, so that they might be worshiped and adored instead of the Lord, and thus like the Lord; and because the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, as He Himself teaches (Matt. 28:18), thus like gods. It may be seen above (n. 798), that they transferred the Lord‘s Divine authority to themselves. And because this is signified by those words, they also signify that by wicked arts and devices they have led away the minds of all from the holy worship of the Lord to the profane worship of men living and dead, and of idols. That nevertheless these things will come to an end, and are already at an end in the spiritual world, has been said and shown before. This is thus described in Isaiah:--
Persist in thy enchantments, O Babel, and in the multitude of thy sorceries, in which thou hast labored from thy youth: if so be they could profit, if so be thou mayest become terrible; thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels; let now the observers of the heavens, the star-gazers, the diviners by the months, stand up, and save thee. Behold, they are become as stubble, the fire hath burned them up; they shall not deliver their soul from the hand of the flame. Such have thy merchants become from thy youth; everyone hath wandered to his own quarter, there is none to save thee (Isaiah 47:12-15).
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|