Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 8:7
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AR 398. Verse 7. And the first angel sounded, signifies exploration and manifestation of the quality of the state of the church with those who are interiorly in that faith. By "sounding" is signified to explore and make manifest (n. 397). The reason why by "the sounding of this first angel," is meant the exploration and manifestation of the state of the church with those who are interiorly in that faith, is, because its operation was directed upon "the earth," as appears from what follows; and the operation of the sounding of the second angel was into "the sea," and by "the earth and the sea", throughout the Apocalypse, when named together, is meant the entire church; by "the earth," the church consisting of those who are in its internals, and by "the sea," the church consisting of those who are in its externals: for the church is internal and external; internal with the clergy, and external with the laity; or internal with those who have studied its doctrinals interiorly, and have confirmed them from the Word, and external with those who have not Both are meant by "the earth and the sea" in the following passages in the Apocalypse:--

That the wind should not blow upon the earth, nor on the sea (Apoc. 7:1).

Hurt not the earth, neither the sea (Apoc. 7:3).

The angel descending out of heaven set his right foot upon the sea, and his left upon the earth (Apoc. 10:2, 8; 10:5).

I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, and another beast coming up out of the earth (Apoc. 13:1, 11).

Praise God who made the heaven, the earth, and the sea (Apoc. 14:7).

The first angel poured out his vial upon the earth, and the second angel his upon the sea (Apoc. 16:2, 3).

"The earth and the sea" signify the church internal and external, thus the entire church, because, in the spiritual world, they who are in the internals of the church appear upon dry land, and they who are in its externals, as in the seas; but the seas are appearances from the general truths in which they are. That "earth" signifies the church, may be seen (n. 285); so also "the world" (n. 551).

AR 399. And there became hail and fire mingled with blood, signifies falsity from infernal love destroying good and truth, and falsifying the Word. By "hail" is signified falsity destroying good and truth; by "fire" is signified infernal love; and by "blood" is signified the falsification of truth. That "hail" signifies falsity destroying good and truth, will be seen below; that "fire" is love in both senses, celestial and infernal, may be seen (n. 468); that blood is the Divine truth of the Lord, which is also the Word, and, in the opposite sense, the Word falsified (n. 379). On joining these together into one sense, it is plain, that by "there became hail and fire mingled with blood," is signified falsity from infernal love destroying good and truth and falsifying the Word. This is signified, because such things appear in the spiritual world when the sphere of the Lord‘s Divine love and Divine wisdom descends from heaven into the societies below, where there are falsities from infernal love, and the Word is falsified thereby. "Hail" and "fire" together have a like signification in the following passages:--

At the brightness before Him the clouds passed by, hailstones and coals of fire; the Most High gave a voice, hailstones and coals of fire; and He sent out His many arrows and scattered them (Ps. 18:12-14).

And I will plead with pestilence and blood, and I will make to rain upon them hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezek. 38:22).

And Jehovah shall cause His voice to be heard, in the flame of a devouring fire and hailstone (Isa. 30:30).

He gave them hail for their rains, the fire of flames in their land, and brake the tree of their coasts (Ps. 105:32, 33).

The hail smote their vine, and their sycamore trees with grievous hail, and their cattle with burning coals; In the wrath of His anger He sent an incursion of evil angels (Ps. 78:47-49).

These words are applied to Egypt. Concerning them it is thus written in Moses:--

Moses stretched forth his rod, and Jehovah gave voices and hail; and there was hail and fire together walking in the midst of the grievous hail; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field (Exod. 9:23-35).

All the miracles that were wrought in Egypt signified the evils and falsities from infernal love, which were with the Egyptians; each miracle signifying some particular evil and falsity: for with them was a representative church, as in many kingdoms of Asia, but it became idolatrous and magical; by the "Red Sea" is signified hell, in which at last they perished. Some thing similar is signified by:--

The hailstones, by which more of the enemy perished than by the sword (Josh. 10:11).

The same, also, is meant by "hail" in the following passages:--

Woe to the crown of pride, the Lord is strong, like an inundation of hail; the hail overturneth the refuge of lies (Isa. 28:1, 2, 17).

It shall hail, until the forest sinketh itself down (Isa. 32:19).

The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and great hail (Apoc. 11:19).

And there came down upon men out of heaven a great hail, about the weight of a talent (Apoc. 16:21).

Hast thou seen the treasures of hail which I have reserved unto the day of battle and war? (Job 38:22, 23).

Say unto them which daub with what is unfit, that it shall fall; there shall be an inundating rain, in which you, O hailstones, shall fall (Ezek. 13:11).

"To daub with what is unfit" is to confirm falsity that it may appear like truth; they therefore who do so are called "hq stones."

AR 400. And they were cast upon the earth, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, signifies that with those who are in the internals of the church and in faith alone, every affection and perception of truth, which make the man of the church, perished. By "the earth," upon which were cast "hail and fire mingled with blood," is signified the church with those who are in its internals, and in faith alone. That these are the clergy, may be seen in (n. 398). By "the third part" is signified all as to truth, as by "the fourth part," all as to good (n. 322). That by "three" is signified all, full, and altogether, will be seen below (n. 505); thence, by "a third," which is "a third part," the same is signified. By "being burnt up" is signified to perish, here by falsity from infernal love, which is meant by "hail and fire mingled with blood," see in (n. 399). By "a tree" is signified man; and as man is man from affection, which is of the will, and from perception, which is of the understanding, therefore these also are signified by "a tree." There is also a correspondence between man and a tree; wherefore in heaven there appear paradises of trees, which correspond to the affections and the perceptions therefrom of the angels; and, likewise, in some places in hell there are forests of trees which bear evil fruits, according to correspondence with the lusts and the thoughts therefrom of those who are there. That "trees" in general signify men as to their affections and perceptions therefrom, may appear from the following passages:--

All the trees of the field shall know, that I Jehovah have brought down the high tree, I have exalted the low tree, I have dried up the green tree, and I have made the dry tree to shoot forth (Ezek. 17:24).

Happy is the man that trusteth in Jehovah, for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, he shall not cease from bearing fruit (Jer. 17:7, 8).

Happy is the man whose good pleasure is in the law; he shall be like a tree planted by the brooks of waters, that giveth fruit in its season (Ps. 1:1-3).

Praise Jehovah, ye trees of fruit (Ps. 148:9).

The trees of Jehovah are full (Ps. 104:16).

The axe is laid at the root of the tree, every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down (Matt. 3:10; 7:16-20).

Either make the tree good and the fruit good; or make the tree corrupt and the fruit corrupt; for the tree is known from the fruit (Matt. 12:33; Luke 6:43, 44).

I will kindle a fire which shall devour every green tree, and every dry tree (Ezek. 20:47).

Since a tree signifies man, therefore it was ordained that:--

The fruit of a tree serving for food in the land of Canaan should be circumcised (Lev. 19:23-25).


When any city was besieged, they should not put forth an axe against any tree of good fruit (Deut. 20:19, 20).

As also that:--

At the feast of tabernacles they should take fruit of the tree of honor, and be glad before Jehovah (Lev. 23:40, 41).

Besides other passages, which are not here adduced by reason of their abundance.

AR 401. And all green grass was burnt up, signifies, thus every living thing of faith. By "being burnt up" is signified to perish, as just in (n. 400); by "green grass," in the Word, is signified that good and truth of the church or of faith, which first springs up in the natural man; the same also is signified by "the herb of the field"; and because faith lives from good and truth, therefore by "all green grass was burnt up," is signified that every living thing of faith perished; and every living thing of faith perishes when there is no affection of good and perception of truth, of which just above. That "grass" signifies this is also from correspondence; wherefore they who separate faith from charity, not only in doctrine but also in life, in the spiritual world pass the time in a desert, where there is not even grass. As "a fruit-tree" signifies man as to the affections of good and the perceptions of truth, so "green grass" signifies man as to that of the church which is first conceived and also born in him, and "grass not green" signifies the same destroyed. In general all things which are in gardens, woods, fields, and plains, signify man as to something of the church, or what is the same, something of the church with him; the reason is, because they correspond. That "grass" has this signification, may appear from these passages:--

The voice said, Cry; and he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, the grass withereth, and the flower fadeth, because the wind hath breathed upon it; truly the people is grass. The grass withereth and the flower fadeth, but the Word of our God shall stand forever (Isa. 40:5-8).

The inhabitants were as the herb of the field, and as the green grass, as the grass of the roofs, and a field burned before the corn (Isa. 37:27; 2 Kings 19:26).

I will pour out My blessing upon those born of thee, and they shall spring up in the midst of the grass (Isa. 44:3, 4; Isa. 51:12; Ps. 37:2; 103:15; 129:6; Deut. 32:2).

That by "green" or "growing green," is signified what is living or alive, is evident in (Jeremiah 11:16; 17:8; Ezekiel 17:24; 20:47; Hosea 14:8; Psalms 37:35; 52:8; 92:10, 14). The same as what is here described in the Apocalypse came to pass in Egypt, namely:--

By hail and fire mingled, every tree and every herb of the field was burnt up (Exod. 9:29-35; Ps. 78:47-49; 105:32, 33).

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