Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 20:8
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AR 858. Verse 8.And shall go forth to seduce the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to war, signifies that they who are here meant by the dragon, would draw to their party all those who were from the earths, in the whole world of spirits, and lived there in external natural worship alone, and in no internal spiritual worship, and would arouse them against those who worshiped the Lord, and lived according to His commandments in the Word. By "going out to seduce the nations which are in the four corners of the earth," is signified that they who are meant by "the dragon," of whom above (n. 856, 857), would draw to their party all who were in the whole world of spirits; by "seducing" is here signified to draw to their party; by "nations" are signified both the good and the evil (n. 483); by "the four corners of the earth" is signified the whole spiritual world (n. 342), here those who were in the whole world of spirits, which is midway between heaven and hell, and where all after their departure from the earth first assemble, concerning which (n. 784, 791); for those who were in hell could not come into the sight of the dragon, nor they who were in the heavens. By "Gog and Magog" are signified they who are in external natural worship separate from internal spiritual worship, as will be shown in the next article; by "gathering them together to war" is signified to arouse those who are meant by "the nations" against those who worship the Lord and live according to his commandments in the Word, because all who do not worship the Lord and do not live according to His commandments, are evil, and the evil act together with the dragon or the dragonists; that by "war" is meant spiritual war, which is that of falsity against truth and of truth against falsity, may be seen above (n. 500, 586).

AR 859. That by "Gog and Magog" are signified they who are in external worship and not in any internal worship, may appear in Ezekiel xxxviii., where it treats of Gog from beginning to end; and from (Ezekiel 39:1-16); but that these are signified by "Gog and Magog" does not clearly appear there, except from the spiritual sense; which because it has been disclosed to me, shall be opened; first what those signify which are contained in those two chapters. In (Ezekiel 38:1, 2): "It treats of those who are in the sense of the letter of the Word alone, and thence in external worship without internal, which is `Gog’; that each and all things of that worship will perish (Ezekiel 38:3-7); that that worship will take possession of the church, vastate it, and thus it will be in externals without internals (Ezekiel 38:8-16); that the state of the church will thereby be changed (Ezekiel 38:17-19); that thence the truths and goods of religion will perish, and falsities succeed (Ezekiel 38:20-23)." In the thirty-ninth chapter of the same prophet are these things: "Of those who are in the sense of the letter of the Word alone and in external worship, that they will come into the church, which is `Gog,‘ but that they will perish (Ezekiel 39:1-6); that this will come to pass when the Lord comes and establishes the church (Ezekiel 39:7, 8); that this church will then disperse all their evils and falsities (Ezekiel 39:9, 10); that it will altogether destroy them (Ezekiel 39:11-16); that the New Church to be established by the Lord will be informed in truths and goods of every kind, and be imbued with goods of every kind (Ezekiel 39:17-21); and that the former church will be destroyed on account of evils and falsities (Ezekiel 39:23, 24); that then the church will be collected by the Lord from all nations (Ezekiel 39:25-29)." But something shall be said of those who are in external worship without internal spiritual worship. These are they who frequent temples on sabbaths and festivals, and then sing psalms and pray, hearken to preachings, and then attend to the eloquence, and little or nothing to the substance, and are somewhat moved by prayers uttered with affection, as that they are sinners, but never reflect upon themselves and their life; who also go to the Sacrament of the Supper yearly; pour out prayers morning and evening, and also pray at dinners and suppers and sometimes discourse about God, heaven, and eternal life, and then also they know how to repeat some passages from the Word, and simulate Christians, although they are not; for after they have done these things, they make nothing of adulteries, and obscenities, revenges and hatreds, clandestine thefts and depredations, lies and blasphemies, and lusts and intentions of evils of every kind. They who are such do not believe in any God, much less in the Lord; if they are asked what the good and truth of religion is, they know nothing, and think it of no importance to know; in a word, they live to themselves and the world, thus to their inclinations and bodies, and not to God and the neighbor, thus not to the spirit and soul; from which it is plain that their worship is external without internal worship; these also readily receive the heresy of faith alone, especially when they hear that man cannot do good of himself, and that they are not under the yoke of the law; this is the reason why it is said "the dragon will go forth to seduce the nations, Gog and Magog." By "Gog and Magog" also, in the Hebrew language, is signified a roof and a floor, thus what is external.

AR 860. The number of whom is as the sand of the sea, signifies the multitude of such. The multitude of them is compared to "the sand of the sea," because by "the sea" is signified the external of the church (n. 402, 403, 404, 470), and by " sand" that which is of no use in the sea but to make the bottom. Because the number of them is so great, therefore it is called:--

The valley of their burial, the multitude of Gog, and the name of the city where they are, multitude (Ezek. 39:15, 16).

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