Spiritual Meaning of

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A throne is often mentioned in the Word where the subject treated of is Divine truth and judgment therefrom; and by throne in the internal sense is signified that which be longs to the Divine royalty, and by him that sitteth upon it, the Lord Himself as King or Judge. But the signification of throne, like that of many other things, is according to the application. When the Divine Itself and the Lord's Divine Human are meant by him that sitteth on the throne, then the Divine truth which proceeds from Him is meant by the throne; but when the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord is meant by him that sitteth on the throne, then the universal heaven filled with Divine truth is meant by the throne; but when the Lord as to the Divine truth in the higher heavens is meant by him that sitteth on the throne, then the Divine truth in the lowest heaven and also in the church, is meant by the throne. Thus the significations of throne are relative. That by a throne is signified that which belongs to Divine truth, is because truth is signified in the Word by a king, and also by a kingdom. Truth is signified by a king, (AR 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068); and by a kingdom, (AR 1672, 2547, 4691),

[3] But what is specifically meant in the Word by a throne is plain from the connection in which it is spoken of, as in Matthew:--

I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King (Matthew 5:34, 35).

Again in another place:--

He that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by Him that sitteth thereon (Matthew 23:22).

Here it is expressly said that heaven is God's throne; and by the earth, called His footstool, is signified that which is below' heaven, thus the church. The earth is the church, (AR 566, 662, 1066, 1068, 1262, 1413, 1607, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535). Likewise in Isaiah:--

Thus saith Jehovah, The heavens are My throne, and the earth Is My footstool (Isa. 66:1)

and in David:--

Jehovah hath made firm His throne in the heavens (Ps. 103:19).

In Matthew:--

When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angel with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory (Matthew 25:31);

speaking of the Last Judgment, and He that sitteth on the throne is called the King (Matthew 25:34, 40). Here the throne of glory in the internal sense is the Divine truth that is from the Divine good in heaven; He that sitteth on that throne is the Lord, who, being the Judge from Divine truth, is here called the King.

[4] In Luke:--

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give unto Him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32);

said by the angel to Mary. Everyone can see that the throne of David here is not the kingdom David had, or a kingdom on earth, but a kingdom in heaven; and therefore by David is not meant David, but the Lord's Divine royalty; and by throne is signified the Divine truth that goes forth and makes the Lord's kingdom. In the Revelation:--

I was in the spirit; and behold a throne was set in heaven, and on the throne was One sitting. And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper stone and a sardius; and there was a rainbow round about the throne in look like an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty thrones, and upon the thrones I saw four and twenty elders sitting. And out of the throne went forth lightnings and thunderings and voices. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne that are the seven spirits of God. And before the throne there was a glassy sea like unto crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, four animals full of eyes before and behind. And when the animals have given glory and honor and thanks to Him that sitteth upon the throne, who liveth forever and ever, the four and twenty elders shall fall down before Him that sitteth upon the throne, and shall worship Him that liveth forever and ever, and shall cast their crowns before the throne (Rev. 4:2-11).

[5] In these verses is representatively described the throne of the Lord's glory, and thereby the Divine truth proceeding from Him, but if the signification of these representatives is not known, scarcely anything can be known of the meaning of these prophetic words, an they will be supposed to be devoid of anything more deeply Divine than the sense of the letter; in which case the heavenly kingdom will be thought of as if it were an earthly kingdom. And yet by a throne set in heaven is signified the Divine truth there, thus heaven as to Divine truth; and by Him that sat upon the throne is meant the Lord. That to look upon He appeared like a jasper stone and a sardius is because by these stones, as by all the precious stones spoken of in the Word, is signified Divine truth (AR 114, 3858, 3862); and by stones in general the truths of faith (AR 643, 1298, 3720, 3769, 3771, 3773, 3789, 3798).

[6] By the rainbow round about the throne are signified truths pellucid from good; and this because colors in the other life are from the light of heaven, and the light of heaven is Divine truth. In regard to rainbows in the other life, (AR 1042, 1043, 1053, 1623-1625); and also in regard to colors, (AR 1053, 1624, 3993, 4530, 4677, 4741, 4742, 4922). By the twenty-four thrones round about the throne are signified all things of truth in one complex, the like as is signified by twelve. Twelve denotes all things of truth in a complex, (AR 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913). The lightnings, thunderings, and voices that proceeded out of the throne signify the terrors caused by the Divine truth with those who are not in good. The seven lamps of fire burning are affections of truth from good, which do hurt to those who are not in good, and therefore are called the seven spirits of God who do hurt, as is plain from the following verses.

[7] The glassy sea before the throne is all the truth in the natural, thus knowledges. These things are the sea, (AR 28, 2850). The four animals in the midst of the throne and round about the throne full of eyes before and behind are things of the understanding from the Divine in the heavens, four signifying their conjunction with the things of the will. For truths are of the intellectual part and goods are of the will part, whence it is said that they were full of eyes before and behind, because eyes signify things of the understanding, and hence in a higher sense the things of faith (AR 2701, 3820, 4403-4421, 4523-4534). Four denotes conjunction, the same as two, (AR 1686, 3519, 5194). The holiness of the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is described in the rest of the passage.

[8] As by the twenty-four thrones and the twenty-four elders are signified all things of truth or all things of faith in one complex, and the like by twelve, it is evident that all things of truth, from which and according to which Judgment is effected, are what is meant in the internal sense by the twelve thrones on which the twelve apostles were to sit, of which we read thus in Matthew:--

Jesus said to the disciples, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28);

and in Luke:--

I appoint unto you a kingdom, as the Father hath appointed unto Me; that ye may eat and drink upon My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:29, 30).

That the twelve apostles denote all things of truth may be seen above (AR 2129, 2553, 3354, 3488, 3858); and also the twelve sons of Jacob, and hence the twelve tribes of Israel (AR 3858, 3913, 3926, 3939, 4060, 4603); and that the apostles cannot judge even one person (AR 2129, 2553).

[9] Likewise in the Revelation:--

I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them (Rev. 20:4);

where also by thrones are signified all things of truth, from which and according to which Judgment is effected. The like is also meant by the angels with whom the Lord is to come to judgment (Matt. 25:31); that by angels in the Word something in the Lord is signified may be seen above (AR 1705, 1925, 2319, 2821, 3039, 4085), in this instance they signify truths from the Divine, which truths in the Word are also called judgments (AR 2235).

[10] In very many other places also a throne is attributed to Jehovah or the Lord, and this because there is in thrones what is representative of a kingdom. When there is discourse in a higher heaven about Divine truth and Judgment, a throne appears in the ultimate heaven. This is the reason why a throne is representative, and is so often spoken of in the prophetic Word, and why from most ancient times thrones became the mark of kings, and as such a mark signify royalty, as in the following passages. In Moses:--

Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi, and he said, Because a hand is upon the throne of Jah, there shall be the war of Jehovah against Amalek from generation to generation (Exod. 17:15, 16).

What is meant by a hand upon the throne of Jah, and by the war of Jehovah against Amalek from generation to generation, no one can know except from the internal sense, and unless he knows what is meant by a throne, and what by Amalek. By Amalek in the Word are signified the falsities that assail truths (AR 1679), and by a throne the Divine truth itself that is assailed.

[11] In David:--

Jehovah, Thou hast maintained my judgment and my cause; Thou hast sat upon the throne, the Judge of justice. Jehovah shall remain to eternity, He hath prepared His throne for judgement (Ps. 9:4, 7).


Thy throne O God is forever and to eternity, a scepter of rectitude is the scepter of Thy kingdom (Ps. 45:6).


Clouds and thick darkness are round about Him; justice and judgement are the support of His throne (Ps. 97:2).

In Jeremiah:--

In that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it (Jer. 3:17);

Jerusalem denotes the Lord's spiritual kingdom.

[12] This kingdom is meant also by the new Jerusalem in Ezekiel, and by the holy Jerusalem coming down from heaven in the Revelation. The Lord's spiritual kingdom is where Divine truth in which is good is the chief thing, and the celestial kingdom is where the chief thing is Divine good from which as Divine truth, and this shows why Jerusalem is called the throne of Jehovah; and why it is said in David:--

In Jerusalem are set thrones for judgment (Ps. 122:5).

But Zion is called the throne of the glory of Jehovah in Jeremiah:--

Hast Thou utterly renounced Judah? hath Thy soul loathed Zion? despise it not for Thy name's sake, defile not the throne of Thy glory (Jer. 14:19, 21);

where by Zion is meant the Lord's celestial kingdom.

[13] The manner in which the Lord in respect to judgment is represented in heaven, where things such as are occasionally related in the prophets are visibly presented to the sight, is seen in Daniel:--

I beheld till the throne were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like clean wool; His throne was a flame of fire, and the wheels thereof burning fire; a stream of fire issued and went forth before Him; thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set, and the books were opened (Daniel 7:9, 10).

Such things are constantly seen in heaven, all being representative, and they appear from the discourse of the angels in the higher heavens, which on descending presents such objects to the sight. Angelic spirits to whom perception is given by the Lord know what these things signify, as for instance the Ancient of days, the garment white as snow, the hair like clean wool, the throne like a flame of fire, the wheels a burning fire, the stream of fire issuing from Him. By the flame of fire and the stream of fire is there represented the good of Divine love (AR 934, 1906, 5071, 5215).

[14] So in Ezekiel:--

Above the expanse that was over the head of the cherubim was the likeness of a throne, as the look of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the look of a man upon it above (Ezek. 1:26; 10:1).

And also in the first book of Kings:--

I saw, said Micaiah the prophet, Jehovah sitting on His throne, and the universal army of the heavens standing by Him on His right hand and on His left (1 Kings 22:19).

One who is not aware what these terms represent, and thence signify, must believe that the Lord has a throne like kings on earth, and that there are such things as are here mentioned; yet there are not such things in the heavens, but they are so presented to view before those who are in the ultimate heaven, and from them as from pictures they see Divine arcana.

[15] The Lord's royalty, by which is signified the Divine truth that proceeds from Him, was represented also by the throne constructed by Solomon, regarding which it is thus written in the first book of Kings:--

Solomon made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the finest gold. There were six steps to the throne, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were hands on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the hands, and twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps (1 Kings 10:18-21).

Thus was represented the throne of glory, the lions being Divine truths fighting and conquering, and the twelve lions all these truths in one complex.

[16] As almost all the things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so too has a throne, and in this sense it signifies the kingdom of falsity, as in the Revelation:--

To the angel of the church in Pergamos: I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even here Satan's throne is (Rev. 2:12, 13).

In the same:--

The dragon gave the beast that came up out of the sea his power, and his throne, and great authority (Rev. 13:2).


The fifth angel poured out his vial upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom was darkened (Rev. 16:10).

And in Isaiah:--

Thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God (Isa. 14:13);

speaking of Babylon

AC 5313

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