Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 9:10
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AR 438. Verse 10. And they had tails like unto scorpions, signifies the truths of the Word falsified, by means of which they induce stupor. By "the tail" is signified the ultimate of the head, because the brain is continued through the back-bone into the tail, therefore the head and tail make one; as the first and last; when, therefore, by "the head," faith alone justifying and saving is signified, by "the tail" is signified all the confirmations thereof in a summary, which are from the Word, thus which are the truths of the Word falsified. Everyone, who from his own intelligence assumes a principle of religion, and establishes it as the head, also takes confirmations from the Word, and makes them the tail; thus he induces a stupor upon others, and so hurts them. Therefore it is said, that "they had tails like unto scorpions;" and presently after, "that there were stings in their tails, and that their power was to hurt men;" for by "a scorpion" is signified the power of persuasion inducing stupor upon the understanding (n. 425). That "the tail" is a continuation of the brain through the back-bone to its ultimate, any anatomist will tell you; or merely observe a dog or any other wild beast with a tail, and encourage and coax him, and you will see that the ridge of his back will become smooth, and his tail move correspondingly; but that, on the contrary, he will set his back up if you provoke him. The primary tenet of the understanding which is assumed as a principle, is signified by "the head," and the ultimate thereof by "the tail," in these passages also:--

He will cut off from Israel head and tail, the old and the honored, he is the head, and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail (Isa. 9:14, 15).

Egypt shall not have any work to make head and tail (Isa. 19:15).

Nothing else is signified by:--

The seven heads of the dragon, and by his tail, with which he drew a third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth (Apoc. 12:4);

Also by:--

The tails like serpents, having heads with which they do hurt (Apoc. 12:9).

Since by "the tail" is signified the ultimate, and the ultimate is the complex of all, therefore Jehovah said to Moses:--

Take the serpent by the tail; and he took it, and it became a rod (Exod. 4:3, 4).

And therefore it was commanded that:--

They should take off the tail entire near the back-bone, and sacrifice it together with the fat that was upon the entrails, kidneys, intestines, and liver (Lev. 3:9-11; 8:25; 9:19; Exod. 29:22).

That the ultimate is that which contains and comprehends all prior things, may be seen in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scriptures (Sacred n. 38, 65), and in The Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom (DLW n. 209-216, 217-222).

AR 439. And there were stings in their tails, and their power was to hurt men five months, signifies subtle falsifications of the Word, by which, for a short time, they darken and fascinate the understanding, and thus deceive and captivate. By "stings in their tails" are signified subtle falsifications of the Word; by " stings," subtlety; and by "tails," the truths of the Word falsified (n. 438). By "the power to hurt," is signified that by means of these they can induce stupor, that is, they can darken and fascinate the understanding, and thus deceive and captivate; "for their tails were like scorpions," and by "scorpions" such things are signified (n. 425). By "five months" is signified for a short time, as in (n. 427). This takes place when they quote and apply anything from the Word; for the Word is written according to correspondences, and correspondences are in part appearances of truth, containing within them genuine truths. If these truths are not known in the church, many things may be taken from the Word, which at first appear as if in agreement with heresy; but when genuine truths are known in the church, then the appearances of truth are rendered manifest, and genuine truths come to view. But before this is done, a heretic, by various things drawn from the Word, may obscure and fascinate the understanding, and thus deceive and captivate. That this is done by those who assert that man‘s sins are remitted, or, in other words, that he is justified by an act of faith, concerning which no one knows anything, and this in a moment, and if not before, even at the last hour of death, might be illustrated by examples, but this is not the place to do so. By "stings" are signified falsities from evil, doing hurt, also in Amos:--

Behold, the days shall come upon you, when they shall take you away with stings (Amos 4:2).

And in Moses:--

That they should extirpate the inhabitants of the land, lest they should be thorns in their eyes, and stings in their sides (Num 33:55).

"Thorns," "briers," "brambles," and "thistles," also signify falsities of evil, from their stings.

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