Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 3:1
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AR 154. Verse 1. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write, signifies to those and concerning those, who are in dead worship, or in worship which is without the goods of charity and without the truths of faith. That they who are in such worship are meant by "the church in Sardis," is evident from what is written to it when understood in the spiritual sense. By dead worship is meant worship alone, which is to frequent temples, to hear preachings, to go to the Holy Supper, to read the Word and books of piety, to talk about God, of heaven and hell, of the life after death, especially of piety, to pray morning and evening, and yet they do not desire to know the truths of faith, nor do they will to do the goods of charity, believing that they have salvation by means of worship alone; when yet worship without truths, and without a life according to them, is only the external sign of charity and faith, within which there may lie concealed all kinds of evils and falsities, if charity and faith are not in them; for of these genuine worship consists; or else the worship is like the skin or surface of any kind of fruit, in which there lies concealed putrid and worm-eaten pulp, which fruit is dead. That such worship reigns in the church at this day, is known.

AR 155. These things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars, signifies the Lord, from whom are all truths, and all the knowledges of good and truth. That by "the seven spirits of God" is meant the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, or the Divine verity, may be seen in (n. 14); and that by "the seven stars" are meant all the knowledges of good and truth from the Word (n. 51), from which is the church in heaven (n. 65). These things are now said by the Lord, because the subject treated of is concerning dead worship and concerning living worship, and worship lives from truths, and from a life according to them.

AR 156. I know thy works, signifies that the Lord sees all their interiors and exteriors at once, as in (n. 76).

AR 157. That thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead, signifies that it may be seen and believed by themselves and by others, that they are spiritually alive, when yet they are spiritually dead. By "having a name," is signified to seem and to be believed to be such; here that they are alive, when yet they are dead; for spiritual life, which is properly life, does not consist in worship alone, but is inwardly in worship, and inwardly there ought to be Divine truths from the Word, and when man lives according to them, there is life in the worship; the reason is, because the external derives its quality from internals, and the internals of worship are truths of life. These are they who are meant by these words of the Lord:--

Then shall ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open unto us; but he shall answer and say, I know you not whence you are. And ye shall begin to say, We have eaten before Thee and drank before Thee and Thou hast taught in our streets; but I will say to you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:25-27).

I have also been permitted to hear many in the spiritual world say, that they have often gone to the holy communion, and thus have eaten and drank what is holy, and have as often been absolved from their sins; that every Sabbath day they have hearkened to their teachers; and have devoutly prayed at home morning and evening, besides other things. But when the interiors of their worship were laid open, they appeared full of iniquities and infernal things, therefore they were rejected. And when they asked the reason of it, they had for answer, that they were not at all solicitous about Divine truths. And yet a life not according to Divine truths, is not life such as they have who are in heaven; and they who are not in the life of heaven, cannot bear the light of heaven, which is the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord as the sun there; still less can they bear the heat of heaven, which is the Divine love. But although they heard and also understood these things, yet when they were let into themselves and their own worship, they said, What need is there of truths, and what are truths? But as they were no longer able to receive truths, they were left to their concupiscences, which were within their worship, and these at length rejected from them all their worship of God. For the interiors accommodate the exteriors to themselves, and reject the things which do not agree with themselves; for with all after death the exteriors are rendered analogous to the interiors.

REVELATION 3:1     -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  Full Page

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