Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 20:9
AR 861. Verse 9.And they went up upon the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints, and the beloved city, signifies that being aroused by the dragonists, they spurned every truth of the church, and endeavored to destroy all things of the New Church, and its very doctrine concerning the Lord and concerning life. "To go up upon the breadth of the earth," signifies to spurn every truth of the church, for by "going up" is signified to climb over and pass by, thus to spurn; and by "the breadth of the earth" is signified the truth of the church, as will be seen presently: "to encompass the camp of the saints," signifies to besiege and to wish to destroy all things of the New Church, as will be shown in the next article; and by "the beloved city" is signified the doctrine of the New Church; that by "a city" is signified the doctrine of the church, may be seen above (n. 194, 501, 502, 712), which is called "beloved," because it treats of the Lord and of life, for it is the doctrine of the New Jerusalem which is here meant. That this is the signification of these words, no one can perceive except by the spiritual sense of the Word, for it could never enter into anyone’s thought, that by "the breadth of the earth" is signified the truth of the church, and that by "the camp of the saints" are signified all things of the New Church, both its truths and goods, and that by "the city" is signified its doctrine. Wherefore, lest the mind should remain in doubt, it is necessary to demonstrate what "the breadth" and what "the camp of the saints" signify in the spiritual sense, from which it may afterwards be seen that such is the sense of these words. The reason why the "breadth of the earth" signifies the truth of the church, is because in the spiritual world there are four quarters, east, west, south, and north, and the east and west constitute its length, and the south and north its breadth; and because they dwell in the east and west who are in the good of love, and thence by "east" and "west" is signified good, therefore the same is meant by "length;" and because they dwell in the south and north who are in the truths of wisdom, and thence by "south" and " north" is signified truth, therefore the same is meant by "breadth;" but on this more may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell, published at London in 1758 (HH n. 141-153). That by "breadth" is signified truth, may appear from these passages in the Word:
O Jehovah, Thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast made my feet to stand in a broad place (Ps. 31:8).
I called upon Jah in straitness, He answered me in a broad place (Ps. 118:5)
Jehovah led me forth also into a broad place, He delivered me (Ps. 18:19).
I raise up the Chaldeans, a nation bitter and swift, that walketh in the breadths of the earth (Hab. 1:6).
Ashur shall pass through Judah, he shall overflow and go over, and the stretching out of his wings is the fullness of the breadth (Isa. 8:8).
Jehovah shall feed them as a sheep in a broad place (Hos. 4:16; Ps. 4:1; 66:12; Deut. 33:20).
Nor is anything else meant by:--
The breadth of the city New Jerusalem (Apoc. 21:16).
For when by "the New Jerusalem" is meant the New Church, by "the breadth and length of it" breadth and length cannot be signified, but its truth and good; for these are the things of the church, as also in Zechariah:--
I said to the angel, Whither goest thou? He said, To measure Jerusalem, to see what is the breadth thereof and what is the length thereof (Zechariah 2:2).
The same by:--The breadth and length of the new temple, and of the new earth (Ezek. 40-47). Also by "the length and breadth of the altar of burnt-offering, of the tabernacle, of the table upon which was bread, of the altar of incense, and of the ark therein; and also by "the length and breadth" of the temple at Jerusalem, and of many other things, which are described by measures.
AR 862. It was said that by" they encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city," is signified that they would endeavor to destroy all things of the New Church, both its truths and its goods, and the doctrine itself concerning the Lord and concerning life, as is said in the preceding article. The reason why these are signified, is, because by "the camp of the saints" are signified all the truths and goods of the church which is the New Jerusalem. That "a camp" in the spiritual sense signifies all things of the church which have relation to its truths and goods may appear from the following passages:--
The sun and moon were blackened, and the stars withdrew their shining; Jehovah uttered His voice before His army; for His camp is very great, for numberless are they that do His Word (Joel 2:10, 11).
I will encamp about my house because of the army (Zech. 9:8).
God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee, because God hath rejected them (Ps. 53:5).
The angel of Jehovah encampeth about them that fear Him, and delivereth them (Ps. 34:7).
The angels of God met Jacob, and Jacob said, This is God‘s camp, therefore he called the name of that place Mahanaim (the two camps) (Gen. 32:2; Isa. 29:3; Ezek. 1:24; Ps. 27:3).
That by "an army" in the Word are signified the truths and goods of the church, also its falsities and evils, may be seen (n. 447, 826, 833); the same is also signified by "camps." Since by the sons of Israel, and their twelve tribes, is signified the church as to all its truths and goods (n. 349, 350), they were therefore called "the army of Jehovah" (Exod. 7:4; 12:41, 51); and when they halted and were assembled, they were called " the camp" (Lev. 4:12; 8:17; 13:46; 14:8; 16:26, 28; 24:14, 23; Num. 1. 2. 3. 4:5; 5:2-4; 9:17-23; 10:2-8; 11:31, 32; 12:14, 15; 21:10-25; 33:1-49; Deut. 23:9-14; Amos 4:10). From these things it is plain, that by "they encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city," is signified that they would endeavor to destroy all the truths and goods of the New Church which is the New Jerusalem, and also its doctrine concerning the Lord and concerning life. The like is signified by this passage in Luke:--
When ye shall see Jerusalem encompassed by armies, then know that the devastation is near; at length Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the nations until the times of the nations shall be fulfilled (Luke 21:20, 24).
This is concerning the consummation of the age, which is the last time of the church; by "Jerusalem" is here also signified the church. That "Gog and Magog," that is, they who are in external worship separated from internal worship, will then invade the church, and endeavor to destroy it, is also said in (Ezekiel 38:8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16; 39:2); and that then there will be a New Church from the Lord (Ezekiel 39:17-29).
AR 863. And fire came down from God out of heaven, and consumed them, signifies that they perished by the lusts of infernal love. By "fire coming down out of heaven which consumed them," are signified the lusts of evils, or of infernal love (n. 494, 748), because they who are in external worship separated from internal worship, are in all kinds of evils and lusts, because with them evils are not removed by any actual repentance (n. 859). It is said that "fire came down from God out of heaven;" this was done in ancient times, when all things of the church were represented before their eyes, consequently when churches were representative; but at this day, when representatives have ceased, the like is said, and the signification is the same as formerly when the thing was represented. That fire came down out of heaven upon those who profaned things holy, may be seen above (n. 494, 748). The same is said of "Gog and Magog" in Ezekiel:--
I will cause it to rain upon Gog, and upon his wings, and upon many people that are with him, fire and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:22).
I will send fire upon Magog (Ezekiel 39:6).
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|