Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 21:12
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AR 898. Verse 12. Having a wall great and high, signifies the Word in the sense of the letter from which is the doctrine of the New Church. When the Lordís New Church as to doctrine is meant by "the holy city Jerusalem," nothing else is meant by its "wall" but the Word in the sense of the letter, from which the doctrine is; for that sense protects the spiritual sense, which lies hidden within, as the wall does a city and its inhabitants. That the sense of the letter is the basis, the containant, and the support of its spiritual sense, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (Sacred n. 27-36). And that this sense is the guard, lest the interior Divine truths, which are those of the spiritual sense, should be injured (n. 97 there). Also that the doctrine of the church is to be drawn from the sense of the letter of the Word, and to be confirmed by it (n. 50-61). It is called "a wall great and high," because the Word is meant as to the Divine good and the Divine truth; for "great" is predicated of good, and "high" of truth, as above (n. 896). By "a wall" is signified that which protects; and, in speaking of the church, the Word in the sense of the letter is signified in the following passages:--

I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem; they shall not be silent day and night, that make mention of Jehovah (Isa. 62:6).

They shall call thee the city of Jehovah, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel; and thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise (Isa. 60:14, 18).

Jehovah will be a wall of fire round about, and a glory in the midst of her (Zech. 2:5).

The sons of Arvad were upon thy walls, and the Gammadians hung their shields upon thy walls round about: thy have made thy beauty perfect (Ezek. 27:11).

This is concerning Tyre, by which is signified the church as to knowledges of truth from the Word.

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see if there is any that seeketh truth; go up on her walls, and cast down (Jer. 5:1, 10).

Jehovah hath thought to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion, He made the rampart and the wall to mourn, they languish together, the law and the prophets are no more (Lam. 2:8, 9).

They shall run to and fro in the city, they shall run on the wall, they shall go up into the houses, they shall enter in through the windows (Joel 2:9).

These are concerning the falsifications of truth:--

Day and night the wicked go about in the city, upon its walls, destructions are in the midst of them (Ps. 55:10; Isa. 22:5; 56:5; Jer. 1:15; Ezek. 27:11; Lam. 2:7).

That the Word in the sense of the letter is signified by "a wall," is clearly manifest from what follows in this chapter, where the wall, its gates, foundations, and measures are much treated of. The reason is, because the doctrine of the New Church, which is signified by "the city," is solely from the sense of the letter of the Word.

AR 899. Having twelve gates, signifies all the knowledges of truth and good there, by which a man is introduced into the church. By "the gates" are signified the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, because by them a man is introduced into the church; for "the wall," in which the gates were, signifies the Word; as explained just above (n. 898); and it is said in what follows, that "the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each one of the gates was one pearl" (ver. 21); and by "pearls" the knowledges of truth and good are signified (n. 727). That a man is introduced into the church by them, as through the gates into a city is manifest. That "twelve" signifies all, may be seen above (n. 348). Knowledges of truth and good are also signified by "gates" in these passages:--

I will lay thy foundations with sapphires, and I will make thy suns of ruby, and thy gates in stones of carbuncle (Isa. 54:11, 12).

Jehovah loveth the gates of Zion more than all the habitations of Jacob, glorious things are to be declared in thee, O city of God (Ps. 87:2, 3).

Enter through His gates with confession, confess unto Him, bless His name (Ps. 100:4).

Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem; Jerusalem is built as a city that coheres together (Ps. 122:2, 3).

Praise Jehovah, O Jerusalem, for He makes firm the bars of thy gates, He blesseth thy sons in the midst of thee (Ps. 147:12, 13).

That I may enumerate all thy praises in the gates of the daughter of Zion (Ps. 9:14).

Open ye the gates, that the just nation that keepeth faithfulness may enter in (Isa. 26:2).

Lift up the voice, that they may come into the gates of the princes (Isa. 13:2).

Happy are they that do His commandments, and enter in through the gates into the city (Apoc. 22:14).

Lift up your heads, O ye gates, that the King of glory may come in (Ps. 24:7, 9).

The ways of Zion do mourn, all her gates are devastated, her priests groan (Lam. 1:4).

Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof lauguish (Jer. 14:2).

Jehovah hath thought to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion, her gates have subsided into the earth (Lam. 2:8, 9).

Who make a man to sin in a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate (Isa. 24:21).

He chose new gods, then he began to assault the gates (Judg. 5:8; Isa. 3:25, 26; 14:31; 22:7; 24:12; 28:6; 62:10; Jer. 1:15; 15:7; 31:38, 40; Micah 2:13; Nah. 3:13; Judg. 5:11).

Since "gates" signify introductory truths, which are knowledges from the Word, therefore the elders of a city sat in the gates, and judged; as is manifest from (Deut. 21:18-21; 22:15; Lam. 5:14; Amos 5:12, 15; Zech. 8:16).

AR 900. And over the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel, signifies the Divine truths and goods of heaven, which are also the Divine truths and goods of the church, in those knowledges, and also guards to prevent anyone from entering except he be in them from the Lord. By "twelve angels" are signified here all the, truths and goods of heaven, because by "angels," in the highest sense, is signified the Lord, in a general sense the heaven of angels, and in a particular sense the truths and goods of heaven from the Lord (n. 5, 170, 258, 344, 415, 465, 647, 648, 657, 718); here the truths and goods of heaven, because it follows, "and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel," by which are signified all the truths and goods of the church (n. 349). By "over the gates" is signified in those knowledges, because "over" in the Word signifies within, the reason is because that which is highest in successive order becomes the inmost in simultaneous order, therefore the third heaven is called both the highest and the inmost heaven; hence it is, that "over the gates" signifies in the knowledges of truth; by "names written thereon," is signified every quality of them, thus also in them, for all quality is from internals in externals. The reason why by the same words are signified guards lest anyone enter into the church, unless he be in those knowledges from the Lord, is evident, because the angels were seen standing over the gates, and also the names of the tribes of Israel were written over them. It is said that the truths and goods of heaven and the church are in the knowledges which are from the Word, by which introduction into the church is effected, because the knowledges of truth and good from the Word, when there is in them the spiritual from heaven from the Lord, are not called knowledges, but truths; but if there is not in them the spiritual from heaven from the Lord, they are nothing but scientifics.

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