Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 6:2
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AR 298. Verse 2.And I saw, and behold, a white horse, signifies the understanding of truth and good from the Word with these. By "horse" is signified the understanding of the Word, and by "a white horse" the understanding of truth from the Word; for white is predicated of truth (n. 167). That "a horse" signifies the understanding of the Word, is shown in a separate small work on The White Horse; but as a few passages only are there quoted, others shall be here quoted by way of further confirmation. This is very manifest from this that "horses" were seen to go out of the book which the Lamb had opened, and from "the animals saying, Come and look"; for by "the animals" is signified the Word (n. 239, 275, 286); so likewise by "the book" (n. 256); and by "the Son of man," who is here "the Lamb," the Lord as to the Word (n. 44). From these things it is now evident, that nothing is meant here by "horse" but the understanding of the Word. This may appear more manifestly still from the following passages in the Apocalypse:--

I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He that sat upon him is called the Word of God, and He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. And His armies in the heavens followed Him upon white horses (Apoc. 19:11, 13, 14, 16).

That "a horse" signifies the understanding of the Word, may also appear from the following passages:--

Was Thy wrath against the sea, O Jehovah, that Thou didst ride upon Thy horses, and Thy chariots of salvation? Thou didst tread the sea with Thy horses, the mud of the waters (Hab. 3:8, 15).

The hoofs of Jehovah‘s horses are counted as flints (Isa. 5:28).

In that day I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness; and will smite every horse of the people with blindness (Zech. 12:4).

In that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses holiness unto Jehovah (Zech. 14:20).

Because God hath made her forget wisdom, neither hath imparted intelligence. What time she lifteth up herself on high she laugheth at the horse and his rider (Job 39:17, 18).

And I will cut off the horse from Jerusalem, and he shall speak peace to the nations (Zech. 9:10).

At Thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and the horse are cast into a deep sleep (Ps. 76:6).

And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will overthrow the chariot and those that ride in them, and the horses and their riders shall come down (Hag. 2:22).

By thee I will destroy kingdoms; and by thee I will disperse the horse and his rider (Jer. 51:20, 21).

Gather yourselves on every side to My sacrifice; thus shall ye be satiated at My table with horse and chariot, thus I will give My glory among the nations (Ezek. 39:17, 20, 21).

Gather yourselves together unto the great supper of God; and ye shall eat the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them (Apoc. 19:17, 18).

Dan shall be an asp upon the path, that biteth the heels of the horse, so that his rider shall fall backwards; I wait for Thy salvation, O Jehovah (Gen. 49:17, 18).

Gird on Thy sword, O Mighty One, mount, ride upon the Word of truth (Ps. 45:3, 4).

Sing unto God, extol Him that rideth upon the clouds (Ps. 68:4).

Behold, Jehovah rideth upon a cloud (Isa. 19:1).

Sing psalms unto the Lord that rideth upon the heaven of heavens of old (Ps. 68:32, 33).

God rode upon a cherub (Ps. 18:10).

Then shalt thou delight thyself in Jehovah, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth (Isa. 58:14).

Jehovah alone did lead him, and made him to ride upon the high places of the earth (Deut. 32:12, 13).

I will make Ephraim to ride (Hos. 10:11).

Ephraim also signifies the understanding of the Word. Because Elijah and Elisha represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore they were called "the chariot of Israel and his horsemen." Elisha said to Elijah:--

My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof (2 Kings 2:12).

And king Joash said to Elisha, O my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof (2 Kings 13:14).

Jehovah opened the eyes of Elisha’s boy, and he saw, and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings 6:17).

A "chariot" signifies doctrine from the Word, and a "horseman," one that is wise by means of it. The same is signified by:--

The four chariots which came out from between the mountains of brass, and by the four horses harnessed in them, which were red, black, white, and speckled, which are also called the four spirits, and are said to have gone forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth (Zech. 6:1-8, 15).

In these places, by "horses" is signified the understanding of the Word, or the understanding of truth from the Word, and in like manner in other places. It may appear still more clearly from the mention that is made of "horses" in the opposite sense, in which they signify the understanding of the Word and of truth falsified by reasonings, and likewise destroyed; as also one‘s own intelligence; as in the following passages:--

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, but look not unto the Holy One of Israel; for Egypt is man and not God, and the horses thereof flesh and not spirit (Isa. 31:1, 3).

Thou shalt set him king over Israel whom Jehovah shall choose; but only he shall not multiply horses to himself, lest he bring back the people into Egypt to multiply horses (Deut. 17:15, 16).

These things were said, because by "Egypt" are signified science and reasoning from one’s own intelligence, whence comes the falsification of the truth of the Word, which is here "a horse."

Asshur shall not save us, we will not ride upon a horse (Hos. 14:3).

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will glory in the name of the Lord our God (Ps. 20:7).

A horse is a false thing for safety (Ps. 33:17).

Jehovah delighteth not in the strength of the horse (Ps. 147:10).

The Holy One of Israel saith, in confidence shall be your strength; but ye said, No; for we will flee upon a horse; we will ride upon the swift (Isa. 30:15, 16).

Jehovah will make Judah as a horse of glory; the riders on horses shall be ashamed (Zech. 10:3, 5).

Woe to the city of blood, it is all full of a lie, the neighing horses, and the leaping chariots; the horseman lifteth up (Nah. 3:1-4).

I will bring against Tyre the king of Babylon, with horse and with chariot, and with horsemen; by reason of the abundance of horses their dust shall cover thee; thy walls shall be shaken at the voice of the horsemen and of the chariots; with the hoofs of his horses shall be tread down all thy streets (Ezek. 26:7-11).

By "Tyre" is signified the church as to the knowledges of truth, here such as are falsified in her, which are "the horses of Babylon," besides other places (Isa. 5:26, 28; Jer. 6:22, 23; 8:16; 46:4, 9; 50:37, 38, 42; Ezek. 17:15; 23:6, 20; Hab. 1:6, 8-10; Ps. 66:12). The understanding of the Word destroyed is also signified by the "red, black, and pale horse," mentioned below. That it is from appearances in the spiritual world that "a horse" signifies the understanding of truth from the Word, see the small tract concerning The White Horse.

AR 299. And he that sat upon him had a bow, signifies that they had the doctrine of truth and good from the Word, from which they fought against the falsities and evils which are from hell, thus against hell. By "Him that sat upon the white horse," as mentioned in (Apocalypse 19:13), is meant the Lord as to the Word; but by him that sat upon this white horse, is meant a man-angel as to the doctrine of truth and good from the Word, thus from the Lord; in like manner as by:--

The Lord‘s army in heaven, which followed the Lord upon white horses (Apoc. 19:14).

Of Him that sat on the white horse (Apocalypse 19:15), it is said that:--Out of His mouth went forth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. And by "the sword out of His mouth," is signified the Divine truth of the Word fighting against falsities and evils (n. 52, 108, 117); but here it is said that he who sat on this white horse had "a bow," and by "a bow" is signified the doctrine of truth and good from the Word fighting against evils and falsities. To fight against falsities and evils is also to fight against the hells, because evils and falsities are from thence, therefore this also is signified. That "a bow," in the Word, signifies doctrine combating, in both senses, may appear from these passages:--

The arrows of Jehovah are sharp, and all His bows bent, the hoofs of His horses shall be counted like flints (Isa. 5:28).

The Lord bent His bow like an enemy (Lam. 2:4).

Thou, O Jehovah, ridest upon Thy horses, Thy bow shall be made naked (Hab. 3:8, 9).

He gave the nations before Him and made Him rule over kings. He gave them as dust to His sword, and as stubble to His bow (Isa. 41:2).

In these places "a bow," because it is applied to Jehovah or the Lord, signifies the Word, from which the Lord fights with man against evils and falsities.

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the bow of war shall be cut off; and he shall speak peace to the nations (Zech. 9:10).

They bend their tongue, their bow is a lie, and not the truth (Jer. 9:3).

Behold the wicked bend their bow, they make ready the arrows upon the string, to shoot in the darkness the upright in heart (Ps. 11:2).

They shall sorely grieve Joseph, and shoot, the archers hold him in hatred; but he shall sit in the strength of his bow, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (Gen. 49:23, 24).

Put yourselves in array against Babylon, all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare not the arrow, for she hath sinned against Jehovah (Jer. 50:14, 29).

David lamented over Saul to teach the sons of Judah the bow (2 Sam. 1:17, 18).

In that lamentation the combat of truth against falsities is treated of.

Thus saith Jehovah of Hosts; Behold I break the bow of Elam, the beginning of his might (Jer. 49:35).

Jehovah hath made me a polished shaft, in His quiver hath He hidden me (Isa. 49:2).

Behold, sons are an heritage of Jehovah, happy is he that hath filled his quiver with them (Ps. 127:3-5).

"Sons" here, as in other places, signify truths of doctrine.

In Salem shall be the tabernacle of Jehovah, there brake He the string of the bow, the shield, the sword, and war (Ps. 76:2, 3).

Jehovah will make wars to cease, He will break the bow, He will cut the spear in sunder, He will burn the chariot in the fire (Ps. 46:9; Ezek. 39:8, 9; Hos. 2:18).

In these passages "a bow" signifies the doctrine of truth combating against falsities, and in the opposite sense, the doctrine of falsity combating against truths; therefore "arrows" and "darts" signify truths or falsities. As "war" in the Word signifies spiritual war, therefore the arms of war, such as the sword, spear, shield, buckler, bow and arrows, signify such things as belong to that war.

AR 300. And a crown was given unto him, signifies his badge of combat. "A crown" signifies a badge of combat, because in ancient times kings wore crowns in battle, as may appear from history, and partly from (2 Samuel 1:10), where The man said to David concerning Saul, that when he died in battle, he took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelets that were upon his arms. Then also from what is said of the king of Rabbah and David (2 Samuel 12:29, 30). And as temptations are spiritual combats which the martyrs sustained, therefore crowns were given them as badges of victory (n. 103). Hence it appears, that by "a crown" is here signified the badge of their combat; therefore it follows, "And he went forth conquering, and to conquer."

AR 301. And he went forth conquering and to conquer, signifies victory over falsities and evils to eternity. It is said "conquering and to conquer," because he who in spiritual combats, which are temptations, conquers in this world, conquers to eternity, for the hells cannot assault anyone who has conquered them.

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