Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 9:17
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AR 449. Verse 17. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat upon them, signifies that then it was discovered that the reasonings of the interiors of their minds concerning faith alone were imaginary and visionary, and that they themselves were insane from them. "To see" signifies to discover their quality; by" horses" are signified the reasonings of the interiors of their minds concerning faith alone; in the present case, imaginary and visionary reasonings, because it is said, that he saw them "in vision." By "those sitting upon horses" are signified such as are intelligent from the Word understood, but here, such as are insane from imaginary and visionary things which are contrary to the Word.

Because the interiors of their minds appeared under such forms as signify imaginary and visionary reasonings concerning faith alone, a few of them, which I have heard from their own mouths, shall be made public; as these: "Was not faith alone, after the grievous fall of man, made the only means of salvation? How can we appear before God without that means? Is it not the only means? Are we not born in sins, and is not our nature entirely corrupted by the transgression of Adam? Can there be any other means of healing but faith alone? What can our works contribute towards this? Who can do any good work from himself; who can purify, forgive, justify, and save himself? Does not merit and self-righteousness lurk in every work that man does from himself? And if, perchance, we should do anything that was good, could we do all, and fulfil the law? Besides, if anyone sins against one commandment, he sins against all, because they cohere. Why did the Lord come into the world, and suffer so grievously on the cross, but to take away from us damnation and the curse of the law, to reconcile God the Father, and become merit and righteousness alone, which might be imputed to man through faith? Otherwise, what good could be answered by His coming? Since, then, Christ suffered for us, and fulfilled the law for us, and took away its right of condemnation, can evil then any longer condemn, and can good save us? Therefore we who have faith, are in the fall liberty of thinking, willing, speaking, and doing whatever we please, provided we do no injury to our reputation, honor, and interest, nor incur the penalties of the civil law, which would be a disgrace and hurt to us."

Some, who wander further north, said, "That good works, which are done for the sake of salvation, are hurtful, pernicious and cursed;" among these, also, there were some presbyters. These things are what I heard, but they mumbled and muttered many more, which I did not hear. They spoke, also, shamelessly with all license, and were lascivious, both in words and deeds, without fear for any wicked deed, except out of pretence, for the sake of appearing honest. Such are the interiors of the mind, and thence the exteriors of the body of those who make faith alone the all of religion. But all those things, which were uttered by them, fall to the ground, if the Lord Himself, the Saviour, is immediately approached, and believed in, and good is done, each for the sake of salvation, and by man as from himself, with a belief, however, that it is from the Lord. Unless these things are done as by man, neither faith nor charity can be given at all; nor, consequently, can religion nor salvation.

AR 450. Having breastplates of fire, and jacinth, and brimstone, signifies their imaginary and visionary arguments from infernal love and their own intelligence, and from the lasts thence. By "breastplates" are signified arguments from which they fight for faith alone (n. 436); by "fire" is signified celestial love, and in the opposite sense, infernal love (n. 452, 468, 494); by "jacinth" is signified intelligence from spiritual love, and, in the opposite sense, intelligence from infernal love, which is one’s own intelligence, of which below; and by "brimstone" is signified lusts from that love through one‘s own intelligence (n. 452). Hence it follows, that by "breastplates of fire, jacinth, and brimstone," such things are signified. The reason why their arguments in favor of faith alone are thus described, is because all they who believe themselves justified, that is, absolved from sins by faith alone, never think of repentance; and an impenitent man is in mere sins, and all sins are derived from, and thence draw their nature from infernal love, one’s own intelligence, and from the lusts thence; and they who are in these things, not only act from them, but also speak, yea, think and will, and consequently reason and argue from them; these constitute, indeed, the very man, because they are his very life; but a man devil, and his life which is an infernal life. They who live a moral life, only for the sake of themselves and the world, do not know this; the reason is, because their interiors are infernal whilst their exteriors are similar to the exteriors of those who live a Christian life: let them know, however, that everyone, when he dies, comes into his interiors, because he becomes a spirit, this being the internal man; and then the interiors accommodate the exteriors to themselves, and they become alike; wherefore the morality of their life in the world then becomes as the scales of fishes which are wiped away. The case is quite different with those who hold the precepts of moral life to be Divine, and then also civil, because they are of love towards the neighbor. "A jacinth" signifies intelligence from the affection of spiritual love, because that color partakes of the redness of fire and the whiteness of light; and by "fire" is signified love; and by "light," intelligence: this intelligence is signified by:

The hyacinthine blue in the coverings and veils of the tabernacle (Exod. 26:31, 36; 27:16).

In Aaron‘s ephod (Exod. 28:6, 15).

By the cloth of hyacinth which was placed over the ark, the table, the candlestick, and the altar, when they journeyed (Num. 4:6, 7, 9, 11, 12).

By the thread of blue on the skirts of their garments (Num. 15:38, 39).

And by hyacinth (Ezek. 27:7, 24).

But intelligence from the affection of infernal love, is signified by "hyacinth" in Ezekiel:--

Oholah, or Samaria, committed whoredom and delighted in her lovers, the Assyrians, her neighbors, clothed in hyacinth, horsemen riding upon horses (Ezekiel 23:4-6).

Hereby the church is described, which, by reasonings from their own intelligence, had falsified the truths of the Word. And in Jeremiah:--

They are infatuated and foolish; the teaching of vanities is wood; silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, the work of the workmen and of the hands of the founder; hyacinth and purple is their clothing, they are all the work of the wise (Jeremiah 10:8, 9).

"The work of the workmen and of the hands of the founder, and all the work of the wise," signify here, that they are all from their own intelligence.

AR 451. And the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions, signifies fantasies concerning faith alone, as if it were in power. By "heads" are signified the imaginary and visionary things with them about faith alone, which are here treated of, and which in one word are called fantasies. By "horses" are signified the reasonings of the interiors of their minds, which are such (n. 449); by "lions" are signified power (n. 241); but it is power from fallacies, because they are sensual, and the sensual reason from fallacies, by which they persuade and captivate (n. 424). That their arguments in favor of faith alone are imaginary and visionary, anyone may see who elevates his mind a little. What are faith in act and faith in state, as conceived by them, but visionary things? Who is there among them that knows anything concerning faith in act; and what avails faith in state, when no good enters from man into faith in act. What is remission of sins and consequent instantaneous salvation, but a result of visionary thought? That it is "a fiery flying serpent" in the church, see (DP n. 340). What is the conceit of immunity, merit, justice, and holiness from imputation, but visionary things? see (L n. 18). What is the Divine operation in internals, without man’s cooperation in externals as from himself? For to separate the internal from the external so that there can be no conjunction of them, is merely visionary (n. 606). Such a visionary thing is faith separated from charity; for charity in works is the containant and foundation of faith; it is its ground and earth, also its essence and life; in a word, faith from charity is the man; but faith, without charity, is a spectre, and a creature of the imagination, like a bubble of water floating in the air. But perhaps some may say, If you remove the understanding from faith, you will not see visionary things; but be it known, that he who can remove the understanding from faith, may obtrude a thousand visionary things upon every religious tenet, as has been done for ages past by the Roman Catholics.

AR 452. And out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone, signifies that in their thoughts and discourses, viewed interiorly, there is nothing, and from them there proceeds nothing but the love of self and of the world, which is the proprium of the will, the pride of one‘s own intelligence, which is the proprium of the understanding, and the lusts of evil and falsity, which is the general proprium flowing forth from those two. "Out of their mouths" means out of their thoughts and discourses; by "fire" is signified the love. of self and of the world, which love is the proprium of man’s will (n. 450, 468, 494); by "smoke" is signified the pride of one‘s own intelligence, which is the proprium of his understanding, going forth from the love of self and of the world, as smoke does from fire (n. 422); and by "brimstone" is signified the lusts of evil and falsity, which is the general proprium flowing from those two. These things, however, do not appear from their discourses before men in the world, but manifestly before the angels in heaven; therefore it is said, that, when viewed interiorly, they are such. "Fire" signifies infernal love, and "brimstone," the lusts flowing from that love through the pride of one’s own intelligence, in the following passages:--

I will make it rain fire and brimstone upon him (Ezek. 38:22).

Jehovah will rain upon the wicked fire and brimstone (Ps. 11:6).

The day of the vengeance of Jehovah; the streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; the smoke of it shall go up forever (Isa. 34:8-10).

In the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven: so shall it be in the day when the Son of man shall be revealed (Luke 17:29, 30; Gen. 19:24).

He that adoreth the beast and his image shall be tormented with fire and brimstone (Apoc. 14:9, 10).

The beast, the false-prophet, and the devil were cast into the lake of fire and brimstone (Apoc. 19:20; 20:10; 21:8).

The breath of Jehovah, like a stream of brimstone, shall kindle the pile (Isa. 30:33).

The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it shall not be sown, it shall not spring forth, according to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Deut. 29:23).

Brimstone shall be scattered upon the habitation of the wicked (Job 18:15).

REVELATION 9:17    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  Full Page

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