Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 21:16
AR 905. Verse 16. And the city lieth foursquare, signifies justice in it. The reason why the city was seen "four-square," is, because "a quadrangle," or "a square," signifies what is just, for "a triangle" signifies what is right, all these in the ultimate degree, or the natural. "A quadrangle," or "a square," signifies what is just because it has four sides, and the four sides look towards the four quarters, and to look equally towards the four quarters, is to respect all things from justice; for which reason three gates opened into the city from each quarter, and it is said in Isaiah:--
Open ye the gates, that a just nation which keepeth faithfulness, may enter in (Isa. 26:2).
"The city lieth four-square," that the length and breadth thereof might be equal, and by "length" is signified the good of that church, and by "breadth" its truth, and when good and truth are equal, then there is what is just. It is owing to this signification of "a square," that in common discourse a man is said to be "square," who is a man that does not from injustice incline either to this or that party. Because "four-square" signifies what is just, therefore, the altar of burnt-offering, by which was signified worship from good and thence from celestial truth, was "four-square" (Exod. 27:1); also the altar of incense, by which was signified worship from good and thence from spiritual truth, was likewise "four-square" (Exod. 30:1, 2). And also, the breastplate of judgment, in which was the Urim and Thummim, was "foursquare" doubled (Exod. 28:15, 16; 39:9).
AR 906. The length thereof is as large as the breadth, signifies that good and truth in that church make one, like essence and form. By "the length" of the city Jerusalem is signified the good of the church, and by its "breadth" is signified the truth of the church; that by "breadth" is signified truth, is shown from the Word, above (n. 861). The signification of "length," as being good, here the good of the church, is from the same cause that "breadth" signifies truth; the cause is this, the extension of heaven from east to west is meant by "length," and the extension of heaven from south to north is meant by "breadth," and the angels who dwell in the east and west of heaven are in the good of love, and the angels who dwell in the south and north of heaven are in the truths of wisdom, see above (n. 901). It is the same with the church on earth, for every man who is in the goods and truths of the church from the Word, is consociated with the angels of heaven, and as to the interiors of his mind, dwells together with them; they who are in the good of love in the east and west of heaven, and they who are in the truths of wisdom in the south and north of heaven. Man does not know this indeed, but yet everyone after death comes into his place. Hence then it is, that by "length," when speaking of the church, is signified its good, and by "breadth" its truth; that long and broad cannot be predicated of the church, but that they can of a city, by which the church is signified, is evident. The reason why it signifies that good and truth in that church make one like essence and form, is because it is said, that "its length is as large as the breadth," and by "length" is signified the good of the church, and by "breadth" its truth, as was said; the reason why they make one like essence and form, is because truth is the form of good, and good is the essence of truth, and essence and form make one.
AR 907. And he measured the city with a reed twelve thousand stadia. The length, and the breadth, and the height of it were equal signifies the quality of that church from doctrine shown, that all things of it were from the good of love. "To measure with a reed," signifies to know the quality of a thing (n. 904); and because the angel measured it before John, it signifies to show him in order that he might know it; by "city," here Jerusalem, is signified the Lord’s New Church as to doctrine (n. 879, 880); by "twelve thousand stadia" are signified all the goods and truths of that church; that "twelve thousand" signify the same as twelve, and that "twelve" signify all goods and truths, and that it is spoken of the church, may be seen above (n. 348). By "stadia" are signified the same as by measures, and by "measures" are signified quality (n. 313, 486). The reason why it is said that "the length, breadth, and height of it are equal," is, that all things of that church were from the good of love, for by "length" is signified the good of love, and by "breadth" the truth from that good (n. 906); and by "height" is signified good and truth together in every degree, for height is from the highest to the lowest, and the highest descends to the lowest by degrees, which are called degrees of altitude, in which the heavens are, from the highest or third heaven to the lowest or first; concerning these degrees see the treatise onThe Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, Part Third, (DLW n. 173-277). The reason why "the length, and breadth, and height of it are equal," signifies that all things are from the good of love, is because "length," which signifies the good of love, precedes, and "the breadth" is equal to it, thus as is "the length," so also is "the height"; otherwise to what purpose could it be said that the height of the city was twelve thousand stadia, thus it would rise immensely above the clouds, yea, above the atmosphere of air, the height of which does not exceed thirty stadia? it would even reach up an immense way into the ether towards the zenith. That by these three being equal, is signified that all things of that church are from the good of love, appears also from what follows, for it is said that "the city was pure gold like unto pure glass" (verse 18); and also that "the street of the city was pure gold like pellucid glass" (verse 21), and by "gold" is signified the good of love. That all things of heaven and the church are from the good of love, and the good of love is from the Lord, will be seen in the next article.
AR 908. That all things of heaven and of the church are from the good of love, and the good of love is from the Lord, cannot be seen, and, therefore, it cannot be known, unless it be demonstrated. The reason why it is not known in consequence of its not being seen, is, because good does not enter into the thought of man like truth, for truth is seen in the thought, because as it is from the light of heaven, but good is only felt, because it is from the heat of heaven, and it rarely happens that anyone, while reflecting upon what he thinks, attends to what he feels, but only to what he sees. This is the reason why the learned have attributed all things to thought and not to the affection; and why the church has attributed all things to faith, and not to love, when, nevertheless, the truth, which at this day in the church is said to be of faith, or is called faith, is only the form of good which is of love, see above (n. 875). Now because man does not see good in his thought, for good, as was said, is only felt, and is felt under various species of delight, and because man does not attend to the things which he feels in thought, but to those which he sees there, therefore he calls all that good which he feels delightful, and he feels evil as delightful, because this is ingenerate from birth, and proceeds from the love of self and the world. This is the reason why it is not known that the good of love is the all of heaven and of the church, and that this in man is only from the Lord, and that it does not flow from the Lord into any but such as shun evils with their delights as sins. That is what is meant by the Lord‘s words, that the Law and the Prophets hang upon these two commandments:--
Thou shalt love God above all things, and the neighbor as thyself (Matt. 22:35-40).
And I can assert, that there does not exist a grain of truth, which in itself is truth in man, except so far as it is from the good of love from the Lord; and therefore neither is there a grain of faith, which in itself is faith, that is, a living, saving, and spiritual faith, except so far as it is from charity which is from the Lord. Since the good of love is the all of heaven and the church, therefore the whole heaven and the whole church are arranged by the Lord according to the affections of love, and not according to anything of thought separated from them; for thought is affection in form; as speech is sound in form.REVELATION 21:16 previous - next - text - summary - Revelation - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|