Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 3:17
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AR 206. Verse 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased in goods, signifies that they think they possess in all abundance the knowledges of truth and good which are of the church and heaven. "To be rich and increased in goods," here signifies nothing else than to know and understand fully such things as are of the church and heaven which are called spiritual and theological, because these are here treated of; spiritual riches and abundance are nothing else. They who believe from themselves, and not from the Lord through the Word, also believe that they know and understand all things. The reason is, that their spiritual mind is shut, and their natural mind alone open; and this mind, without spiritual light, sees no otherwise. That by "riches" and "wealth" in the Word are signified spiritual riches and wealth, which are the knowledges of truth and good, is manifest from the following passages:--

In thy wisdom and in thy understanding thou hast gotten thee wealth, gold and silver in thy treasures; by the multiplication of thy wisdom thou hast multiplied thy wealth (Ezek. 28:4, 5).

This is spoken of Tyre, by which is signified the church as to the knowledges of truth and good. In like manner:--

The daughter of Tyre shall bring thee a gift; O daughter of the king, the rich peoples shall entreat thy faces (Ps. 45:12).

Jehovah will impoverish Tyre; He will shake off her wealth into the sea (Zech. 9:4).

O Tyre, they shall plunder thy wealth (Ezek. 26:12).

Assyria said, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, because I am intelligent; whence I will plunder the treasures of the peoples, my hand shall find the wealth of the peoples (Isa. 10:13, 14).

By Assyria the rational is signified; here that it perverts the goods and truths of the church, which here are the "treasures and wealth of the peoples," which he will plunder.

I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and the hidden wealth of the lurking-places (Isa. 45:3).

Happy is the man that feareth Jehovah; wealth and riches are in his house, and his justice standeth forever (Ps. 112:1, 3).

God hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent away empty (Luke 1:53).

Woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received your joy; woe unto you that are filled, for ye shall hunger (Luke 6:24, 25).

By the "rich" here are meant those who were in possession of the knowledges of truth and good because they had the Word, who were the Jews: the same is meant by the rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen (Luke 16:19); and in like manner by the "rich" and "riches" in other places; as in (Isa. 30:6; Jer. 17:11; Micah 4:13; 6:12; Zech. 14:14; Matt. 12:35; 13:44; Luke 12:21).

AR 207. And have need of nothing, signifies that they have no need of more knowledge and wisdom, and from any other source, is evident from what has been said above, because it is a consequence.

AR 208. And knowest not that thou art wretched, signifies that they do not know that all they know and think concerning the truths and goods of the church, do not at all cohere, and are uncemented walls. By "being wretched" is here signified no coherence, thus by "the wretched," those who think incoherently concerning the things of the church; the reason is, because they of whom this is said, at one time deny God, heaven, eternal life, and the sanctity of the Word, and at another time acknowledge them; therefore what they build with one hand they destroy with the other. Thus they are like those that build a house, and presently pull it down; or that clothe themselves in becoming garments, and presently tear them off. Their houses are therefore rubbish, and their garments rags. Such are all things which they think concerning the church and heaven, but they do not know this. These things are also meant by "wretchedness" in the following passages:--

Thy wisdom and thy knowledge hath seduced thee, when thou saidst in thine heart, I am, and none besides; therefore shall wretchedness fall upon thee (Isa. 47:10, 11).

Wretchedness shall come upon wretchedness, the king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with astonishment (Ezek. 7:26, 27).

"The king who shall mourn," and "the prince who shall be clothed with astonishment," are they who are in the truths of the church.

The right is not in their mouth, wretchedness is in the midst of them (Ps. 5:9).

Such also is the signification of "uncemented walls" in (Jer. 49:3; Ezek. 13:10, 11; Hos. 2:6).

AR 209. And miserable and poor, signifies that they are without truths and goods. By "miserable and poor," in the spiritual sense of the Word, are meant they who are without the knowledges of truth and good, for they are spiritually miserable and poor; the same are meant hereby in the following passages:--

I am miserable and poor, O Lord; remember me (Ps. 40:17; 70:5).

O Jehovah, incline Thine ear, and answer; for I am miserable and poor (Ps. 86:1).

The wicked draw the sword, and bend their bow, to cast down the miserable and poor (Ps. 37:14).

The wicked persecuteth the miserable and the poor, and to slay the dejected in heart (Ps. 109:16).

God will judge the miserable of the people; He will keep the sons of the poor; He will deliver the poor that crieth and the miserable (Ps. 72:4, 12, 13).

Jehovah rescueth the miserable from him that is stronger than he, and the poor from them that spoil him (Ps. 35:10).

The wicked deviseth crimes to destroy the miserable by the words of a lie, even when the poor speaketh judgment (Isa. 32:7).

The miserable shall have joy in Jehovah, and the poor among men shall exult in the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 29:19).

Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:3; Isa. 10:2; Jer. 22:16; Ezek. 16:49; 18:12; 22:29; Amos 8:4; Ps. 9:18; 69:32, 33; 74:21; 109:22; 140:12; Deut. 15:11; 24:14; Luke 14:13, 21, 23).

By the "miserable and poor" are chiefly meant those who are not in the knowledges of truth and good and yet desire them, since by the "rich" are meant those who possess the knowledges of truth and good (n. 206).

AR 210. And blind and naked, signifies that they are without the understanding of truth, and the will of good. By "the blind," in the Word, are meant those who are without truths, either from a defect thereof in the church and so from ignorance, or from not understanding them; and by "the naked" are meant those who thence are without goods; for all spiritual good is acquired by truths. No others are meant by "the blind" in the following passages:--

Then in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness (Isa. 29:18).

Behold, your God will come; then the eyes of the blind shall be opened (Isa. 35:4, 5).

I will give thee for a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes (Isa. 42:6, 7).

I will lead the blind in a way that they knew not, I will make their darkness light (Isa. 42:16).

Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears (Isa. 43:8).

His watchmen are all blind, and do not know to understand (Isa. 56:10, 11).

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart (John 12:40).

Jesus said, For judgment am I come into the world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see, might be made blind (John 9:39-41).

Blind, foolish, infatuated guides (Matt. 23:16, 17, 19, 24).

Blind, leaders of the blind (Matt. 15:14; Luke 6:39).

By reason of the signification of "blind" and "blindness," it was forbidden to offer for sacrifice anything that was blind (Lev. 21:18; Deut. 15:21). That they should not cast a stumbling block before the blind (Lev. 19:14). That he was cursed who made the blind to wander (Deut. 27:18). Concerning the signification of "naked" and "nakedness," see below (n. 213).

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