Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 9:3
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AR 424. Verse 3. And out of the smoke there went forth locusts upon the earth, signifies that from them were falsities in the outermost parts, such as prevail with those who have become sensual, and see and judge of all things from the senses and their fallacies. They are called falsities in the outermost parts, which occupy the outermost things of manís life, and are called sensual, concerning which we shall speak presently; these are signified by "locusts," in the Word: but it is to be known that they did not appear like the locusts of the field, which leap about and lay waste the meadows and the crops, but like pigmies or dwarfs, which is evident also from their description, in that "they had crowns on their heads, faces like men, hair like women, teeth like lions, breastplates of iron, and a king over them, the angel of the abyss." That dwarfs were also called "locusts" by the ancients, may be concluded from these passages:--

The spies of the land of Canaan said, We saw the Nephilim, the sons of the Anakim, and we were in their eyes as locusts (Num. 13:33).

Jehovah who sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as locusts (Isa. 40:22).

But because falsities in outermost things, such as prevail among them, are signified by "locusts" in the Word, therefore they are called "locusts," as also "crowned" and "commanders," in Nahum:--

The fire shall devour thee, it shall eat thee up like the canker-worm; make thyself many as the canker-worm, make thyself many as the locust; thy crowned are as the locust, and thy commanders as the locust of locusts (Nahum 3:15-17).

It is in consequence of falsities in the outermost parts consuming the truths and goods of the church, as they spring up in man, that they are signified by "locusts," which consume the grass and the herbs of the fields, as may be evident from these passages:--

Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, but the locust shall consume it (Deut. 28:38).

That which the palmer-worm left hath the locust eaten, and that which the locust left hath the canker-worm eaten, and that which the canker-worm left hath the caterpillar eaten (Joel 1:4).

And I will compensate to you the years that the locust, the canker worm, the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm have consumed (Joel 2:25).

The same is signified by "the locusts in Egypt concerning which it is thus written in Moses:--

And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Eat, and the east wind brought the locust. And the locust went up over all the land of Egypt; before it there was no such locust, and it did eat every herb of the field, and afterwards Moses stretched forth his rod, and the locust was cast into the Red Sea (Exod. 10:12).

And in David:--

He gave their produce to the caterpillar, and their labor to the lust (Ps. 78:46; 105:34, 35).

By the miracles in Egypt is described the vastation of the church; and by this miracle, vastation by falsities in outermost things; and the outermost things of manĎs life, when the interiors on which they depend are closed, are infernal; for this reason "the locusts were cast into the Red Sea," by which is signified hell. As few at this day know what is meant by the sensual, and what the quality of the sensual man is; and as "locusts" signify that, the following extracts are therefore adduced concerning it from our Arcana Coelestia. That the sensual is the ultimate of the life of manís mind, adhering and cohering to his five bodily senses (AC n. 5077, 5767, 9212, 9216, 9331, 9730). That he is called a sensual man who judges of all things from the bodily senses, and who believes nothing but what he can see with his eyes, and touch with his hands; saying that these are something, and rejecting the rest (AC n. 5094, 7693). That the interiors of his mind, which see from the light of heaven, are closed, so that he sees nothing of truth there, which is of heaven and the church (AC n. 6564, 6844, 6845). That such a man thinks in outermost things, and not interiorly from any spiritual light (AC n. 5089, 5094, 6564, 7693). In a word, that they are in a gross natural light (lumen) (AC n. 6201, 6310, 6564, 6844, 6845, 6612, 6614, 6622, 6524). That thence interiorly they are against the things which are of heaven and the church, but that exteriorly they can speak in favor of them, and ardently, according to the dominion they exercise by means of them (AC n. 6201, 6316, 6844, 6845, 6948, 6949). That the learned and erudite, who have confirmed themselves deeply in falsities, and still more they who have confirmed themselves against the truths of the Word, are more sensual than others (AC n. 6316). That sensual men reason acutely and skillfully, because their thought is so near their speech that it is almost in it, and as it were in their lips, and because they place all intelligence in speech from memory only; also that some of them can dexterously confirm falsities, and that after confirmation they believe them to be truths (AC n. 195, 196, 5700, 10236). But that they reason and confirm things from the fallacies of the senses, by which the common people are captivated and persuaded (AC n. 5084, 6948, 6949, 7693). That sensual men are more cunning and malicious than others (AC n. 7693, 10236). That the avaricious, adulterers, the voluptuous and the deceitful, are especially sensual, although in the eyes of the world they do not appear so (AC n. 6310). That the interiors of their minds are foul and filthy (AC n. 6201). That by these they communicate with the hells (AC n. 6311). That they who are in the hells are sensual, and the more so the deeper they are in it (AC n. 4623, 6311). That the sphere of infernal spirits conjoins itself with the sensual of man from behind (AC n. 6312). That they who have reasoned from sensual things only, and thence against the genuine truths of the church, were called by the ancients, serpents of the tree of knowledge (AC n. 195, 196, 197, 6398, 6399, 10313). Moreover the sensual of man, and the sensual man, are described (AC n. 10236); and the extension of things sensual in man (AC n. 9731). That sensual things ought to be in the last place, and not in the first, and that in a wise and intelligent man they are in the last place, and subject to the interiors; but that with an unwise man, they are in the first place, and govern; these are they who are properly called sensual (AC n. 5077, 5125, 5128, 7645). If sensual things are in the last place, a way is opened by them to the understanding, and truths are elaborated by a mode of extraction (AC n. 5580). That those sensual things are in close contact with the world, and admit the things which flow from the world, and, as it were, sift them (AC n. 9726). That man by means of those sensual things, communicates with the world, and, by means of rational things, with heaven (AC n. 4009). That sensual things supply such as are subservient to the interiors of the mind (AC n. 5077, 5081). That there are sensual things which minister to the intellectual part; and such as minister to the voluntary part (AC n. 5077). That unless the thought be elevated above sensual things, man enjoys but little wisdom (AC n. 5089). That a wise man thinks about sensual things (AC n. 5089, 5094). That man, when his thought is elevated above sensual things, comes into a clearer light, and, at length, into heavenly light (AC n. 6183, 6313, 6315, 9407, 9730, 9922). That elevation above sensual things, and abstraction from them, was known to the ancients (AC n. 6313). That man, by his spirit, might perceive the things which are done in the spiritual world, if he could be withdrawn from sensual things, and be elevated into the light of heaven by the Lord (AC n. 4622). The reason is, because the body does not think, but the spirit of man in the body; and in proportion as it thinks in the body, in the same proportion it thinks obscurely and in darkness; and in proportion as it does not think in the body, in the same proportion it thinks clearly and in the light; but in spiritual things (AC n. 4622, 6614, 6622). That the sensual scientific is the ultimate of the understanding, and the sensual delight, the ultimate of the will (AC n. 9996). What the difference is between the sensual things common to beasts, and the sensual things not common to them (AC n. 10236). That there are sensual men not evil, by reason that their interiors are not so closed; concerning whose state in another life, see (AC n. 6311).

AR 425. And unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power, signifies the power of persuading that their falsities are truths. By "a scorpion" is signified a deadly persuasive power; and, by "a scorpion of the earth," persuasive power in things relating to the church, "the earth" signifying the church (n. 285); for a scorpion, when he stings a man, induces a stupor upon the limbs, and if it is not cured, death; their persuasion produces a corresponding effect upon the understanding. Such is also the signification of "scorpion" in these passages:--

Fear not thou on account of them and their words, they are thorny; thou dwellest among scorpions, they are hard of face and obstinate in heart (Ezek. 2:4, 6).

Jesus said unto the seventy whom he had sent forth, Behold, I give unto you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and on all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19).

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