Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 9:21
AR 461. Verse 21. Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their enchantments, nor of their whoredoms, nor of their thefts, signifies that the heresy of faith alone induces on their hearts stupidity, tergiversation, and hardness, so that they do not think anything concerning the precepts of the Decalogue, nor indeed concerning any sin, that it ought to be shunned because it is with the devil and against God. What murders, whoredoms, and thefts, signify in every sense, may be seen in The Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem from the Precepts of the Decalogue, where it is shown; therefore it is unnecessary to repeat the explanation here; but what is signified by enchantments shall be explained in the following article. Faith alone induces stupidity, tergiversation, and hardness in the hearts of those who are in the churches of the Reformed, because the good of life is not the religion where faith alone prevails; and if the good of life is not the religion, then the second table of the Decalogue, which is the table of repentance, is like an erased tablet on which no writing appears. That the second table of the Decalogue is a table of repentance, is evident, because it is not there said that good works are to be done, but that evil works are not to be done, as, "Thou shalt not kill," "thou shalt not commit whoredom," "thou shalt not steal," "thou shalt not bear false witness," "thou shalt not covet the things which are thy neighbor’s;" and if these things do not constitute the religion, the result is as here stated: "Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their enchantments, nor of their whoredoms, nor of their thefts." That the good of life is not the religion where faith alone prevails, will be clearly shown in what follows.
AR 462. Since at this day it is not known what is meant by "enchantments," it shall briefly be explained. "Enchantments" are mentioned in the above passage, in place of the eighth precept of the Decalogue, "Thou shalt not bear false witness," for the three other evils, which are "murder," "whoredom," and "thefts," are there named. "To bear false witness" signifies, in the natural sense, to act the part of a false witness, to lie and defame; and in the spiritual sense, to confirm and persuade that falsity is truth, and that evil is good; from which it is evident, that by "to enchant" is signified to persuade to what is false, and thus to destroy truth. Enchantments were in use among the ancients, and were performed in three ways:
First, they kept the hearing and thus the mind of another continually intent upon his words and sayings, without relaxing anything from them; and, at the same time, aspiring and inspiring thought conjoined with affection, by means of the breath, into the sound of the speech, whereby the hearer could not think anything from himself; thus the falsifiers poured in their falsities with violence.
Secondly, they infused a persuasion, which was done by detaining the mind from everything contrary, and keeping the attention exclusively to the idea of that which was said by them, hence the spiritual sphere of his mind dispelled the spiritual sphere of the mind of the other, and stifled it. This was the spiritual fascination which the magi of old used, and which was called the binding and tying of the understanding. This kind of enchantment pertained only to the spirit or thought, but the former to the lips or speech also.
Thirdly, the hearer kept his mind so fixed in his own opinion, that he almost shut his ears against hearing anything from the speaker, which was done by holding the breath, and sometimes by a tacit muttering, and thus by a continual denial of his adversary‘s sentiment. This kind of enchantment was practised by those who heard others, but the two former by those who spake to others. These three kinds of enchantment prevailed among the ancients, and prevail still among infernal spirits; but with men in the world there remains only the third kind, and this with those who, from the pride of their own intelligence, have confirmed in themselves the falsities of religion; for these, when they hear things contrary, admit them no further into their thought than to mere contact, and then from the interior recess of their mind they emit as it were fire which consumes them, about which the other knows nothing except by indications from the countenance and the sound of the voice in the reply; provided the enchanter does not, by dissimulation, restrain that fire, or what is the same, the anger of his pride.
This kind of enchantment operates at the present day to prevent truths from being accepted, and, with many, to their not being understood. That in ancient times many magical arts prevailed, and among these enchantments, is evident from Moses:--
When thou shalt come into the land, thou shalt not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations; there shall not be found in thee one that passeth his son or his daughter through the fire; a diviner by divination, a magician and a soothsayer, a sorcerer, and an enchanter of enchantment, and one that interrogateth a python, and an augur, and one that inquireth of the dead; for all these are an abomination to Jehovah (Deut. 18:9-11).
The persuasion of falsity, and thus the destruction of truth, are signified by "enchantments" in these passages:--
Thy wisdom and thy knowledge hath seduced thee; therefore shall evil come upon thee; persist in thine enchantments, and in the multitude of thy divinations (Isa. 47:10-12).
All nations were seduced by the enchantment of Babylon (Apoc. 18:23).
Without shall stand dogs, enchanters, whoremongers, murderers (Apoc. 22:15).
Jehoram said to Jehu, Is it peace? he said, What peace to the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel, and her many enchantments (2 Kings 9:22).
By her "whoredoms" are signified falsifications (n. 134), and by "her enchantments" the destructions of truth by persuasions of falsity. That "enchantment," on the other hand, signifies the rejection of falsity by truths, which was also done by tacitly thinking and muttering from a zeal for truth against falsity, is manifest from these passages:--
Jehovah will remove out of Zion the mighty, the man of war, the counselor, the learned in muttering, the skilful in enchantment (Isa. 3:1-3).
Their poison is as the poison of the deaf asp; that stoppeth her ear that she may not hear the voice of him who muttereth, of the wise enchanter of enchantments (Ps. 58:4, 5).
Behold, I send against you basilisk serpents, against which there is no enchantment (Jer. 8:17).
In distress they sought thee, they cried out in muttering (Isa. 26:16).