Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 7:13-14
previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AR 376. Verse 13. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, Who are these that are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they? Verse 14. And I said unto him, Lord, thou knowest, signifies the desire of knowing, and the will of interrogating, and the answer and information. The reason why John was questioned concerning these things, is, because it is common in all Divine worship, that man should first will, desire, and pray, and the Lord then answer, inform, and do; otherwise man does not receive anything Divine. Now as John saw "those who were arrayed in white robes," and was desirous to know and to ask who they were, and as this was perceived in heaven, therefore he was first asked and then informed. The same occurred to the prophet Zechariah, when he saw several things represented to him, as may appear from (Zechariah 1:9; 1:19, 21; 4:2, 5, 11, 12; 5:2, 6, 10; 6:4). Besides, we frequently read in the Word, that the Lord answers when they call and cry; as in (Psalms 4:1; 17:6; 20:9; 34:4; 91:15; 120:1); also, that He gives when they ask (Matthew 7:7, 8; 21:22; John 14:13, 14; 15:7; 16:23-27). But yet the Lord gives them to ask, and what to ask; therefore the Lord knows it beforehand; but still the Lord wills that man should ask first, to the end that he may do it as from himself, and thus that it should be appropriated to him; otherwise, if the petition itself were not from the Lord, it would not be said in those places, that "they should receive whatsoever they asked."

AR 377. And he said, These are they that come out of great affliction, signifies that they are those who have been in temptations, and have fought against evils and falsities. That "affliction" is infestation from evils and falsities, and spiritual combat against them, which is temptation, see (n. 33, 95, 100, 101).

AR 378. And have washed their robes, signifies, and who have cleansed their religions principles from the evils of falsity. By "washing," in the Word, is signified to cleanse from evils and falsities; and by "robes" are signified general truths (n. 328). General truths are the knowledges of good and truth from the sense of the letter of the Word, according to which they have lived, and thence they are religious principles; and as every religious principle relates to good and truth, therefore robes are twice mentioned, namely, "they have washed their robes" and "have made their robes white." "Robes," or religious principles, are cleansed only with those who fight against evils, and so reject falsities; thus by temptations, which are signified by "great affliction" (n. 377). That "to be washed" signifies to be cleansed from evils and falsities, and so to be reformed and regenerated, may be seen evidently from the following passages:--

When the Lord hath washed off the filth of the daughters of Zion, and hath washed away the blood of Jerusalem by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of purifying (Isa. 4:4).

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doing from Mine eyes; cease to do evil (Isa. 1:16).

Wash thy heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem, that thou mayest be saved (Jer. 4:14).

Wash me from my iniquity, and I shall be whiter than snow (Ps. 51:2, 7).

If thou shouldst wash thee with nitre, and shouldst take thee much soap, thy iniquity will still retain its spots (Jer. 2:21).

If I should wash me in the waters of snow, and should cleanse my hands with soap, still my garments shall abhor me (Job 9:30, 31).

Who washed his garment in wine, his covering in the blood of grapes (Gen. 49:11).

This is said of the celestial church, from which they are who are in love to the Lord, and in the highest sense it is concerning the Lord; "wine" and "the blood of grapes" is the Divine truth spiritual and celestial.

I have washed thee with waters, and I have washed away the blood from off thee (Ezek. 16:9).

This is said of Jerusalem; "waters" are truths, and "bloods" are the adulterations of truth. It may be evident from these things what was represented and thence signified by the "washings" in the Israelitish church.

Aaron should wash himself before he put on the garments of ministry (Lev. 16:24).

And before he drew near to the altar to minister (Exod. 30:18-21; 40:30-31). In like manner the Levites (Num. 8:6, 7). In like manner others, who were made unclean by sins; even that they washed the vessels (Lev. 11:32; 14:8, 9; 15:5-13; 17:15, 16; Matt. 23:25, 26). They were sanctified by the washings (Exod. 29:4; 40:12; Lev. 8:6). Naaman of Syria washed himself in the Jordan (2 Kings 5:10, 14). Therefore:--

That they might wash themselves, the brazen sea and many lavers were placed near the temple (1 Kings 7:23-39).

And that the Lord washed the feet of the disciples (John 13:5-10).

And He said to the blind man, that he should wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:6, 7, 11).

From these things it may appear that "washing" with the sons of Israel represented spiritual washing, which is cleansing from evils and falsities, and thence reformation and regeneration. From what has been said above, it is also evident what was signified by:--

The baptism in Jordan by John (Matt. 3:5, 6; Mark 1:4-13).

And what by these words of John concerning the Lord, that:--

He would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Luke 3:16; John 1:33).

And of himself, that:--

He baptized with water (John 1:26).

The meaning of which is, that the Lord washes or purifies man by the Divine truth and the Divine good, and that John represented this by his baptism; for the "Holy Spirit" is the Divine truth, "fire" is the Divine good, and "water" is the representative of both; for "water" signifies the truth of the Word, which becomes good by a life according to it (n. 50).

AR 379. And made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb, signifies, and have purified them from the falsities of evil by truths, and thus are reformed by the Lord. There are evils of falsity and falsities of evil; evils of falsity with those who from religion believe that evils do not condemn, provided they confess with their lips that they are sinners; and falsities of evil with those who confirm evils in themselves. By "robes" are here signified general truths from the Word, which constitute their religious principles as in (n. 378). It is said, "they made white their robes in the blood of the Lamb," because "white" is predicated of truths (n. 167, 231, 232); thus, that they purified falsities by truths. It also signifies that thus they were reformed by the Lord; because all who have fought against evils in the world, and have believed in the Lord, after their departure out of the world, are taught by the Lord, and are withdrawn from the falsities of their religion by truths, and thus are reformed. The reason is, because they who shun evils as sins are in the good of life; and the good of life desires truths, and acknowledges and accepts them; but evil of life never. By "the blood of the Lamb" here, and in other parts of the Word, it is believed that the Lord’s passion of the cross is signified; but the passion of the cross was the last temptation, by which the Lord fully conquered the hells, and fully glorified His Human, by which two He saved man; see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning the Lord (L n. 22-24, 25-27); (n. 67). And because the Lord thus fully glorified His Human, that is, made it Divine, therefore nothing else can be meant by His "flesh," and "blood" but the Divine in Him and from Him; by "flesh," the Divine good of the Divine love; and by "blood," the Divine truth from that good. "Blood" is mentioned in many places in the Word, and everywhere signifies, in the spiritual sense, the Divine truth of the Lord, which also is the Divine truth of the Word; and, in the opposite sense, the Divine truth of the Word falsified or profaned, as may appear from the following passages:

First; that "blood" signifies the Divine truth of the Lord, or of the Word, is manifest from these considerations: that blood was called "the blood of the covenant," and "covenant" is conjunction, and this is effected from the Lord by His Divine truth; as in Zechariah:--

By the blood of thy covenant I will send forth the bound out of the pit (Zechariah 9:11).

And in Moses:--

Moses, after he had read the book of the law in the ears of the people, sprinkled half of the blood upon the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah hath made with you concerning all these Words (Exod. 24:3-8).

And Jesus took the cup, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood, that of the New Covenant (Matt. 26:27, 28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20).

By "the blood of the New Covenant" or Testament, nothing else is signified but the Word, which is called "Covenant" and "Testament," Old and New, thus the Divine truth therein. As this is signified by "blood," therefore the Lord gave them the wine, saying, "This is My blood;" and "wine" signifies the Divine truth (n. 316); it is also on this account called "the blood of grapes" (Genesis 49:11; Deuteronomy 32:14). This is again evident from these words of the Lord:--

Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. For My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him (John 6:53-56).

That by "blood" is here meant the Divine truth, appears manifestly, because it is said that he who drinks has life, and abideth in the Lord, and the Lord in him. That the Divine truth and a life according to it effects this, and that the Holy Supper confirms it, can be known in the church. Since "blood" signifies the Divine truth of the Lord, which is also the Divine truth of the Word, and this is the Old and New Covenant or Testament itself, therefore blood was the most holy representative in the Israelitish church, in which each and all things were correspondences of spiritual things; as that:--

They should take of the paschal blood, and put it upon the posts and the lintels of the houses, that the plague might not come upon them (Exod. 12:7, 13, 22).

The blood of the burnt-offering should be sprinkled upon the altar, on the foundations of the altar, upon Aaron, his sons, and their garments (Exodus 29:12, 16, 20, 21; Leviticus 1:5, 11, 15; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:25, 30, 34; 5:9; 8:15, 24; 17:6; Numbers 18:17; Deuteronomy 12:27).

Also upon the veil which was over the ark, upon the mercy-seat, and upon the horns of the altar of incense (Leviticus 4:6, 7, 17, 18; 16:12-15). The same is signified by "the blood of the Lamb" in the following passage in the Apocalypse:--

And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony (Apoc. 12:7, 11).

For it cannot be thought that Michael and his angels overcame the dragon by anything else than the Divine truth of the Lord in the Word; for, in heaven, the angels cannot think of any blood; nor do they think of the Lord‘s passion, but of the Divine truth and of His resurrection. Therefore, when man thinks of the Lord’s blood, the angels perceive His Divine truth; and when he thinks of the Lord‘s passion, they perceive His glorification, and then His resurrection only. It has been granted me to know this by much experience. That "blood" signifies the Divine truth is also evident from these words in David:--

God will preserve the souls of the needy, and precious shall their blood be in His eyes; and they shall live, and He shall give them of the gold of Sheba (Ps. 72:13-15).

"Blood precious in the eyes of God" is for the Divine truth with them; "the gold of Sheba" is wisdom from it. In Ezekiel:--

Gather yourselves together to the great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood; ye shall drink the blood of the princes of the earth, and ye shall drink blood even to drunkenness, of My sacrifice which I sacrifice for you; thus I will give My glory among the nations (Ezekiel 39:17-21).

By "blood" here cannot be meant blood, because it is said that "they shall drink the blood of the princes of the earth," and that "they shall drink blood even to drunkenness." But the true sense of the Word results, when by "blood" is understood the Divine truth. The Lord’s church also is there treated of, which He was about to establish with the Gentiles.

Secondly; that "blood" signifies the Divine truth, may be clearly seen from its opposite sense, in which it signifies the Divine truth of the Word falsified or profaned, as is evident from the following passages:--

Who stoppeth his ears lest be hear of blood, and shutteth his eyes lest he see evil (Isa. 33:15).

Thou shalt destroy them that speak a lie; Jehovah abhorreth the man of blood and deceit (Ps. 5:6).

Everyone that is written for life in Jerusalem when the Lord shall have washed away the blood thereof from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of purifying (Isa. 4:3, 4).

In the day that thou wast born, I saw thee trampled down in blood; and I said, In thine own blood live; I washed thee, and washed away the blood from off thee (Ezek. 16:5, 6, 9, 22, 36, 38).

The blind wandered in the streets, they were polluted with blood, and what they cannot do, they touch with their garments (Lam. 4:13, 14).

The garment is polluted with blood (Isa. 9:5).

Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocents (Jer. 2:34).

Your hands are full of blood; wash you, purify you; put away the wickedness of your doings (Isa. 1:15, 16).

Your hands are polluted with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken a lie, they make haste to shed innocent blood (Isa. 59:3, 7).

For Jehovah goeth out to visit the iniquity of the earth; then the earth shall reveal its blood (Isa. 26:21).

As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, who were not of blood (John 1:12, 13).

In Babylon was found the blood of the prophets and saints (Apoc. 18:24).

The sea became as the blood of one dead, and the fountains of waters became blood (Apoc. 16:3, 4; Isa. 15:9; Ps. 105:29).

The same is signified by the rivers, collections, and lakes of waters in Egypt being turned into blood (Exodus 7:15, 25).

The moon shall be turned into blood before the great day of Jehovah cometh (Joel 2:31).

The moon became blood (Apoc. 6:12).

In these places, and many others, "blood" signifies the truth of the Word falsified, and also profaned; which yet may be seen more manifestly still by reading those passages in the Word in their series. Since therefore by "blood," in the opposite sense, is signified the truth of the Word falsified or profaned, it is evident that by "blood," in the genuine sense, is signified the truth of the Word not falsified.

REVELATION 7:13-14    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  Full Page

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