Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 4:4
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AR 233. Verse 4. And round about the throne were four-and-twenty thrones, and upon the thrones I saw four-and-twenty elders sitting, signifies the arrangement of all things in heaven preparatory to the Last Judgment. He who does not know the spiritual sense of the Word, and at the same time the genuine truths of the church, may believe, that when the Last Judgment shall come, the Lord will sit upon a throne, and that there will be other judges also upon thrones around Him. But he who knows the spiritual sense of the Word, and at the same time the genuine truths of the church, knows that the Lord will not then sit upon a throne, and that neither will there be other judges about Him; and further, that neither will the Lord judge anyone to hell, but that the Word will judge everyone, the Lord moderating that all things may be done according to justice. The Lord says, indeed:--

The Father judgeth no one, but hath committed all judgment to the Son, and hath given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of man (John. 5:22, 27).

But in another place he says:--

I came not to judge the world, but to save the world; the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (John 12:47, 48).

These two passages agree, when it is known that "the Son of man" is the Lord as to the Word (n. 44); therefore the Word will judge, the Lord moderating. That by the twelve tribes of Israel and their elders are signified all who are of the Lordís church in the heavens and on earth, and, abstractly, all the truths and goods therein, may be seen (n. 251, 349, 369, 808); and the same by the apostles (n. 79, 790, 903); hence it is plain what is signified by these words of the Lord:--

Jesus said unto the disciples, ye which have followed Me, when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30).

"Twelve" signifies all, and is predicated of the truths and goods of heaven and the church (n. 348); the same is signified by "twenty-four;" therefore "the twelve apostles" and the "twenty-four elders" signify all things of the church; and "twelve," as also "twenty-four thrones," signify the all of judgment. Who cannot understand, that the apostles and elders will not judge; and that they cannot? From these considerations it may appear why "thrones" and "elders" are mentioned when the Judgment is treated of; as also in Isaiah:--

Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders of His people (Isaiah 3:14).

In David:--

Jerusalem is builded, whither the tribes go up; and there are set thrones for judgment (Ps. 122:3, 5).

And in the Apocalypse:--

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them (Apoc. 20:4).

AR 234. Clothed in white garments, signifies from the Divine truths of the Word. That "white garments" signify genuine truths of the Word, may be seen in (n. 166, 212).

AR 235. And they had on their heads golden crowns, signifies such things as are of wisdom from love. That "a crown" signifies wisdom, may be seen in (n. 189); and that "gold" signifies the good of love (n. 211, 913); hence "a golden crown" signifies wisdom from love. As from this wisdom are derived all the things of heaven and the church, which are signified by the four-and-twenty elders (n. 233); therefore golden crowns were seen upon their heads. It is to be known, that the spiritual sense is abstracted from persons, as in (n. 78, 79, 96), so also here.

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