Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 8:5
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AR 395. Verse 5. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with the fire of the altar, and cast it unto the earth, signifies spiritual love, in which is celestial love, and its influx into the lower parts, where they were who are in faith separated from charity. That by "a censer," as well as by "incense," is signified worship from spiritual love, is evident from what was shown above; and also from this, that in the Word, the thing containing signifies the same as the thing contained, as a cup and platter signify the same as wine and food (Matthew 23:25, 26; Luke 22:20). By "the fire of the altar of burnt-offering," is signified the Divine celestial love, because by that altar was signified worship from that love, as may be seen in (n. 392); and by "fire," in the highest sense, is signified the Divine love (n. 494). Spiritual love, which is charity, derives its essence from celestial love, which is love to the Lord; without this love there is nothing vital in spiritual love or charity, for spirit and life is from no other source than from the Lord. This was represented in the Israelitish church by their taking fire for the censers when they offered incense, only from the altar of burnt-offering; as may appear in Moses (Leviticus 16:12, 13, Numbers 16:46, 47); and that:--

The two sons of Aaron were consumed by fire from heaven, because they offered incense from strange fire (that is, from fire not taken from the altar) (Lev. 10:1, 2).

Therefore it was also ordained, that:--

Fire should burn continually on the altar of burnt-offering, and should not be put out (Lev. 6:13).

This was because the fire of that altar signified the Divine love of the Lord, and thence love to the Lord. By "casting the censer upon the earth" is signified influx into lower things.

AR 396. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings and an earthquake, signifies that after communication was opened with them, there were heard reasonings concerning faith alone, and confirmations in favor of it, and that the state of the church with them was perceived to be tottering to destruction. That "lightnings, thunders, and voices," signify enlightenments, perceptions, and instructions, by influx from heaven (see in, n. 236); but here, with those who were in faith alone, who have no enlightenment, perception, and instruction by influx from heaven, by voices, thunders, and lightnings, are signified reasonings about faith alone, and arguments and confirmations in favor of it; by "earthquakes" are signified changes of the state of the church (n. 331), in this case, that the state of the church among them was perceived to be tottering to destruction. For earthquakes take place in the world of spirits, when the state of the church in the societies is perverted and inverted. The reason why the censer was cast unto the earth by the angel, before the seven angels began to sound with the trumpets, was, that by influx communication might be opened between those who were in the spiritual heaven, with those below who were in faith alone; from which communication there arose reasonings and confirmations in favor of it, which were also heard and perceived; wherefore it is said that after communication was opened, they were heard and perceived.

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