Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 18:3
previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AR 758. Verse 3. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the anger of her whoredom, and the kings of the earth committed whoredom with her, signifies that they have put forth wicked dogmas, which are adulterations and profanations of the good and truth of the Word, and have imbued with them all that have been born and educated in the kingdoms under their domination. That this is signified by these words may be evident from the explanations above (n. 631, 632, 720, 721); where are like things, to which there is no need of adding more; only that similar things are said of Babel in Jeremiah:--

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


Let Babel be a hissing, when they have grown 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 (Jeremiah 51:37, 39).

By "the wine" which they drink, and by which they are made drunk, their dogmas are signified; and how wicked these are, may be seen above (n. 754). Among them also is this wicked one, that the works which they do according to their doctrinals make merits, by transcribing into them, and thus into themselves, the Lord‘s merit and justice; when yet all of charity and all of faith, or all good and truth, are from the Lord; and what is from the Lord remains the Lord’s With the recipients. For what is from the Lord is Divine, which can never become man‘s own. The Divine can be with a man, but not in his proprium, for man’s proprium is nothing but evil: wherefore he who attributes to himself what is Divine as his own, not only defiles it, but also profanes it. The Divine from the Lord is exquisitely separated from man‘s proprium and is elevated above it, and is never immersed in it. But because they have transferred to themselves all the Divine of the Lord and thus have appropriated it to themselves, it flows like bituminous water, when it rains, from a spring which is bitumen. It is similar with that dogma, that justification is real sanctification; and that their saints are holy in themselves, when yet the Lord alone is holy (Apoc. 15:4). More may be seen concerning merit in the work concerning The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine, published at London in the year 1758 (HD n. 150-158).

AR 759. And the merchants of the earth have become rich from the abundance of her luxuries, signifies the greater and the less in rank in that hierarchy, who through dominion over holy things strive for Divine majesty and super-regal glory, and continually aim to establish them firmly by the multiplication of monasteries and of possessions under them, and by the treasures which without end they gather together and accumulate from the world, and thus procure for themselves corporeal and natural delights and pleasures from the celestial and spiritual dominion attributed to themselves. No others can be meant by "the merchants of Babylon" than the greater and the lesser in rank in their ecclesiastical hierarchy, because in (verse 23) of this chapter it is said that they are "the great ones of the earth;" and by "the abundance of her luxuries by which they have become rich," nothing else can be meant than the dogmas, by which, as means, they procure for themselves dominion over the souls of men, and thus also over their possessions and wealth. That they gather these together without end, and distend their treasures with them, is known. Then also that they make traffic of the holy things of the church, as that by offerings and gifts made to the monasteries and their saints and images, and by various masses, indulgences, and dispensations, they sell salvation, that is, heaven. Who cannot see that if the papal dominion had not been broken at the time of the Reformation, they would have scraped together the possessions and wealth of all the kingdoms in the whole of Europe? and then that they would have become the sole lords, and all the rest slaves? Have they not extraordinary opulence from former ages, when they had authority over emperors and kings, whom, if they were not obedient, they could excommunicate and dethrone? and have they not still annual incomes which are immense, and great treasuries full of gold, silver, and precious stones? A like barbarous dominion is seated still in the minds (animus) of very many of them; and it is restrained solely through the fear of its loss, if it is extended beyond bounds. But of what use are such great revenues, treasures, and possessions, except that they may delight and take pride in them, and confirm their domination to eternity? From this it is evident, what is here signified by "the merchants of the earth," who have become rich from the abundance of the luxuries of Babylon. They are called "merchants" also in Isaiah:--

The inhabitants of Babel have become as stubble, the fire hath burned them up; they shall not deliver their soul from the hand of the flame; such are thy merchants from thy youth (Isa. 47:14, 15).

By trafficking and trading is signified in the Word to procure for themselves spiritual riches, which are the knowledges of truth and good, and in the opposite sense the knowledges of falsity and evil; and to gain the world by the latter, and to gain heaven by the former. Wherefore the Lord compared: The kingdom of the heavens to a merchantman seeking beautiful pearls (Matt. 13:45, 46); And the men of the church to servants, to whom the talents were given, with which they should trade and make gain (Matt. 25:14-20); And to whom ten pounds were given, with which they should in like manner trade and make gain (Luke 19:12-26) And because the church as to the knowledges of truth and good is signified by "Tyre," therefore it treats of her traffic and gain in the whole of chapter 27 of Ezekiel; and it is said of her:--

In thy wisdom and in thy intelligence thou hast made for thyself gold and silver in thy treasures, and by the multitude of wisdom in thy traffic hast thou multiplied for thyself wealth (Ezek. 28:4, 5).

And elsewhere:--

Tyre is devastated, whose merchants were princes, and her traders the honorable of the earth (Isa. 23:1-8).

And the church perverted with the Jews in the land of Canaan is called the land of trading (Ezek. 16:3, 29; 21:30; 24:14; 17:4; 28:18).

REVELATION 18:3    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  Full Page

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