Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 4:7
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AR 241. Verse 7. And the first animal was like a lion, signifies the Divine truth of the Word as to power. That "a lion" signifies truth in its power, here the Divine truth of the Word as to power, may appear from the power of the lion above every animal of the earth, as also from lions in the spiritual world, where they are images representative of the power of Divine truth; and likewise from the Word, where they signify the Divine truth in its power. What the power of the Divine truth in the Word is, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (Sacred n. 49), and in the work on Heaven and Hell (HH n. 228-233). Hence it is that Jehovah, or the Lord is compared to "a lion," and is also called "a lion"; as in the following passages:--

The lion roareth, who will not fear? the Lord Jehovah hath spoken, who will not prophesy? (Amos 3:8).

I will not return to destroy Ephraim, they shall walk after Jehovah. He roareth as a lion (Hos. 11:9, 10).

As the lion roareth and the young lion, so shall Jehovah come down to fight upon Mount Zion (Isa. 31:4).

Behold the Lion which is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David hath conquered (Apoc. 5:5).

Judah is a lion‘s whelp, he coucheth, he lay down, as an old lion, who shall rouse him up? (Gen. 49:9).

In these passages the power of Divine truth which is from the Lord, is described by "the lion." "To roar" signifies to speak and act from power against the hells which wish to carry man away, but from which the Lord rescues him as a lion his prey; to "couch himself," is to put himself in power; "Judah," in the highest sense, signifies the Lord (n. 96, 266).

The angel cried with a great voice as a lion roareth (Apoc. 10:3).

He couched, he lay down as an old lion, who shall stir him up? (Num. 24:9).

Behold, the people shall rise up as an old lion, and lift up himself as a young lion (Num. 23:24)

This is concerning Israel, by whom is signified the church, whose power, which is in Divine truths, is thus described. In like manner:--

The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of the people, as a lion among the beasts of the forests, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep (Micah 5:7, 8; Isa. 11:6; 21:6-9; 35:9; Jer. 2:15; 4:7; 5:6; 12:8; 50:17; 51:38; Ezek. 19:3, 5, 6; Hos. 13:7, 8; Joel 1:6, 7; Nah. 2:12; Ps. 17:12; 22:13; 57:4; 58:6; 91:13; 104:21, 22; Deut. 33:20).

AR 242. And the second animal like a calf signifies the Divine truth of the Word as to affection. By the beasts of the earth are signified the various natural affections, for such indeed they are; and by "a calf," is signified the affection of knowing; in the spiritual world this affection is represented by a calf, therefore it is also signified by "a calf" in the Word, as in Hosea:--

We will render unto Jehovah the calves of our lips (Hosea 14:2).

"Calves of the lips" are confessions from the affection of truth. In Malachi:--

But unto you that fear My name, shall the sun of justice arise, and healing in his wings, that ye may grow up as fatted calves (Malachi 4:2).

They are compared to "fatted calves" because by them are signified those who are filled with the knowledges of truth and good from the affection of knowing them. In David:--

The voice of Jehovah maketh the cedars of Lebanon to skip like a calf (Psalms 29:6).

By "the cedars of Lebanon" are signified the knowledges of truth; hence it is said that "the voice of Jehovah maketh them to skip like a calf." "The voice of Jehovah" is the Divine truth, here affecting. Since the Egyptians loved the sciences, they made to themselves calves as a sign of their affection for them; but afterwards they began to worship the calves as gods, then by them, in the Word, are signified the affections of knowing falsities as in (Jeremiah 46:20, 21; Psalms 68:30); therefore the same is signified by the calf which the sons of Israel made for themselves in the wilderness (Exodus xxxii.); as also by the calves of Samaria (1 Kings, 12:28-32; Hosea, 8:5; 10:5). Therefore it is said in Hosea:--

They make for themselves a molten image of silver, sacrificing a man, they kiss the calves (Hosea 13:2).

To "make for themselves a molten image of silver," signifies to falsify truth, "to sacrifice a man" signifies to destroy wisdom, and "to kiss calves" signifies to acknowledge falsities from affection. In Isaiah:--

There shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down and consume the branches thereof (Isaiah 27:10).

The same is signified by calf in (Jeremiah 34:18-20). Since all Divine worship is from the affections of truth and good, and thence from the knowledge of them, therefore sacrifices, in which the worship of the church with the sons of Israel chiefly consisted, were made of various beasts, such as lambs, goats, kids, sheep, he-goats, calves, oxen; they were from calves, because they signified the affection of knowing truths and goods, which is the first natural affection. This is what was signified by "sacrifices of calves" (Exodus 29:11, 12; Leviticus 4:3, 13; 8:14; 9:2; 16:3; 23:18; Numbers 8:8; 15:24; 28:19, 20; Judges 6:25-29; 1 Samuel 1:25; 16:2; 1 Kings 18:23-26, 33). The second animal appeared like a calf, because the Divine truth of the Word, which is signified by it, affects minds and thus instructs and imbues.

AR 243. And the third animal having a face like a man, signifies the Divine truth of the Word as to wisdom. By "a man," in the Word, is signified wisdom, because he is born that he may receive wisdom from the Lord, and become an angel; therefore in proportion as anyone is wise, in the same proportion he is a man. Wisdom truly human consists in knowing that there is a God, what God is, and what is of God; this the Divine truth of the Word teaches. That by "a man" is signified wisdom, is plain from the following places:--

I will make a man (vir) more rare than pure gold; even a man (homo) than the gold of Ophir (Isa. 13:12).

Man (vir homo) is intelligence, and man (homo) is wisdom:--

The inhabitants of the earth shall be burned, and rare shall be the man that is left (Isa. 24:6).

I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast (Jer. 31:27).

And ye, my flock, are man, I am your God (Ezek. 34:31).

The devastated cities shall be filled with the flocks of man (Ezek. 36:38).

I beheld the earth, and lo, it was vacant and empty; and the heavens, and they had no light; I beheld, and lo, there was no man (Jer. 4:23, 25).

They sacrifice a man, they kiss calves (Hos. 13:2).

He measured the wall of the holy Jerusalem a hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, that is of an angel (Apoc. 21:17).

Besides many other places in which by man is signified one that is wise, and, in the abstract sense, wisdom.

AR 244. And the fourth animal was like a flying eagle, signifies the Divine truth of the Word as to knowledges, and thence understanding. By "eagles" various things are signified, and by "flying eagles" are signified knowledges from which understanding is derived, because when they fly they both know and see; for they have sharp eyes that they may see clearly, and by "eyes" are signified the understanding (n. 48, 214): by "flying," is signified to receive and instruct, and, in the highest sense, in which it has relation to the Lord, it signifies to foresee and provide. That "eagles" in the Word have such a signification, appears from these passages:--

They that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles (Isa. 40:31).

"To mount up with wings as eagles," is to be elevated into the knowledges of truth and good, and thence into intelligence:--

Is it by thy intelligence and according to thy mouth that the eagle lifteth himself and searcheth out his food; his eyes see clearly afar (Job. 39:26, 27, 29.)

The faculty of knowing, understanding, and seeing clearly, is here described by "the eagle," and that this is not from man’s own intelligence.

Jehovah who satisfieth thy mouth with good so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle (Ps. 103:5).

"To satisfy the mouth with good," is to give understanding by knowledges; hence a comparison is made with the eagle.

A great eagle, great in wings, long in feathers, came upon Lebanon, and took a twig of a cedar, and placed it in a field of seed, and it grew. And there was also another great eagle, to which the vine applied its roots (Ezek. 17:1-8).

Here by "the two eagles" is described the Jewish and Israelitish churches, both as to the knowledges of truth and consequent intelligence. But "eagles" in the opposite sense signify the knowledges of what is false, from which the understanding is perverted (Matt. 24:28; Jer. 4:13; Hab. 1:8, 9).

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