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Daniel 7

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1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream; he told the sum of the matters.

2 Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of the heavens broke forth upon the great sea.

3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, different one from another.

4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till its wings were plucked; and it was lifted up from the earth, and made to stand upon two feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.

5 And behold, another beast, a second, like unto a bear, and it raised up itself on one side; and [it had] three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and they said thus unto it: Arise, devour much flesh.

6 After this I saw, and behold, another, like a leopard, and it had four wings of a bird upon its back; and the beast had four heads; and dominion was given to it.

7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and exceeding strong; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the rest with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

8 I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another, a little horn, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

9 I beheld till thrones were set, and the Ancient of days did sit: his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was flames of fire, [and] its wheels burning fire.

10 A stream of fire issued and came forth from 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.

11 I beheld therefore, because of the voice of the great words that the horn spoke; I beheld till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed, and it was given up to be burned with fire.

12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away; but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven [one] like a son of man, and he came up even to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.

15 As for me Daniel, my spirit was grieved in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the certainty of all this. And he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things:

17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, [that] shall arise out of the earth.

18 But the saints of the most high [places] shall receive the kingdom, and they shall possess the kingdom for ever, even to the ages of ages.

19 Then I desired to know the certainty concerning the fourth beast, which was different from them all, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and its nails of brass; which devoured, broke in pieces, and stamped the rest with its feet;

20 and concerning the ten horns that were in its head, and the other that came up, and before which three fell: even that horn that had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things, and whose look was more imposing than its fellows.

21 I beheld, and that horn made war with the saints, and prevailed over them;

22 until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most high [places]; and the appointed time arrived, and the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 He said thus: The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24 And as to the ten horns, out of this kingdom shall arise ten kings; and another shall arise after them; and he shall be different from the former, and he shall subdue three kings.

25 And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High [places], and think to change seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and a half time.

26 And the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

27 But the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heavens, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most high [places]. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

28 So far is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my thoughts much troubled me, and my countenance was changed in me; but I kept the matter in my heart.

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Daniel's First Vision: 4 Beasts and the Little Horn      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Andrew M. T. Dibb

Woodcut

This opening verse of the prophecies of Daniel has a resounding similarity to the opening verses of most of the preceding chapters of the book of Daniel. Like them, it places the vision in a context, we are shown the point of our regeneration at which the Lord is directing us: the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon.

In the internal sense, time is an indication of state. This means that the events and prophecies of Daniel do not follow in a strict chronological order, but rather happen on different levels at the same time. While Nebuchadnezzar is king of Babylon, representing selfishness in our inner self, Belshazzar rules our outer self. The work of overcoming selfish motives has to go hand in hand with the removal of that very selfishness in our external—otherwise the exercise is purely intellectual. Daniel’s visions in the last six chapters of the book, indicate the process by which we become aware of the effects of selfishness in our daily lives: when Belshazzar is king.

In spiritual development, we sometimes delude ourselves that change follows effort without delay. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our habits are very powerful—often we are not even aware that we have them. Yet "regeneration" literally means "re-birth," which entails casting out each and every obstacle in the path of our spiritual development. This can only be done by examining the exterior motives in our lives, and getting to the very bottom or root of our behaviors.

Daniel’s vision traces this exploration for us. Each of the four beasts he saw rising up from the sea depict the states of an evil life in us, with the added twist in their relationship to the religious principles a person purports to hold. Each must be examined and rejected. Every detail of the vision, therefore is important.

As with all numbers in the Word, the number "four" has a special meaning vitally important to the exposition. "Four" represents a joining together, and so has the same meaning as the number "two," (Arcana Coelestia 1686, 9103, 9601) which is obvious since "four" is the result of two multiplied into itself.

In a general sense, when the term "four winds" is mentioned in the Word, it means "all things of good and of truth, thus all things of heaven and of the church" (Arcana Coelestia 9642:10) flowing into a person, for "wind" means the influx of life from the Lord (Apocalypse Revealed 343). Thus the Lord breathed life into Adam in the Garden of Eden, and again on His disciples, filling them with the Holy Spirit. In an ideal situation, the presence of the Lord, both in our will and our understanding, in equal measure, indicates a state of regeneration. In that state, we are as "four-square" as the New Jerusalem.

As in so many cases in the book of Daniel, the symbolism needs to be reversed in order to see its full meaning. Daniel is in Babylon, a servant to the king, and thus anything usually relating to the Lord is inverted to relate to the king of Babylon, as selfishness: the opposite of love to the Lord.

The influx then is not goodness and truth, but evil and falsity, specifically love of self and control over others. The "sea" in this vision depicts the great restless tide of selfishness controlling our external being. The book of Daniel is a picture of a person whose conscience is restricted to thoughts and feelings, yet whose behavior, attitudes, and habits still reflect the old states of selfishness (Apocalypse Explained 316). Babylon reigns. In the vision that follows, the states and their effects are revealed.

The vision of the four beasts coming up from the sea tells our story when we cynically misuse truth to live selfishly, until evil completely takes over and would destroy us (Apocalypse Explained 556, Apocalypse Revealed 574). Evil will succeed unless the power of the truth, in our conscience, overcomes evil and allows us to reject it.

The first of these beasts was like a lion with eagle’s wings. Lions are mentioned many times in the Word, and usually describe the power of truth to destroy falsity and evil (Apocalypse Explained 556). But in this vision, describing Babylon, the lion takes on the opposite meaning: the lion represents the power of the love of self (Arcana Coelestia 6367), and the power of falsity to destroy truths.

The eagle's wings, representing human reason, were taken away from the lion, and he was made to stand on his two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to him. A person engrossed in selfishness loses their ability to appreciate religion, and weighted down by their own contrary thoughts, find themselves alienated from the truth.

Next, Daniel saw a bear raised up on one side. This posture indicates our eagerness to misinterpret the Word to suit our own means (Arcana Coelestia 781). This a vision of the human state when self love (Nebuchadnezzar) rules our internal being, and the expression of that selfishness (Belshazzar) controls our daily actions. The bear is the pleasure of justifying evil with our own 'superior' reasoning.

It is easy to be kind, while manipulating other people for our own benefit. It is easy to present oneself as a spiritual being in order to deceive other people. In such a life, charity is a dead form. Thus the bear had three ribs hanging from its mouth.

Daniel never tells who commanded the bear to 'arise, and devour more flesh,' but perhaps the urging comes from deeper states of selfishness which control our external actions. Whatever its origin, these words give voice to the heart of a person misusing the Word for his or her own gain.

A leopard is "a ferocious beast" which loves to "kill harmless animals." Its very appearance, black spots on white, illustrates the effect of falsity on truth (Apocalypse Revealed 57). But the leopard in Daniel also had four wings like a bird. As in the case of the lion which had the wings of an eagle, the wings here also signify our intellect destroying the truth. The four wings on the leopard depict "confirmations of what is false" (Apocalypse Revealed 574).

The leopard not only had four wings, but also four heads. This is a depiction of human degradation when falsity rules. It is a state of spiritual insanity, for when a selfish internal acts with a falsified external, there is nothing to prevent a person engaging in all kinds evil (Arcana Coelestia 1944:3). In this state, the conscience is enslaved, powerless to stop the madness.

The fourth beast, whose appearance is not described, signifies the "destruction of truth and good" (Apocalypse Revealed 574). Once a person reaches this state of degeneration, they stop at nothing to destroy any restraining influences. Falsity is used to destroy truth through denial or twisting it to suit one’s own ends. This process is described as "teeth like iron" devouring and breaking in pieces (see 1 explanation of Daniel 2 for a description of 'iron')(Apocalypse Revealed 556).

'A horn' is usually a symbol of power, and in the highest sense, the power of truth against falsity. But again, in this story the opposite sense applies, and the power here is of falsity for evil (Apocalypse Explained 316). These ten horns depict the complete power falsity has over the way we act.

The whole sordid description of the four beasts culminates on a little horn. This is the complete perversion of anything good and true drawn from the Word, and so represents the final profanation. If there was no counter-balancing conscience, a person would be irrevocably in hell.

The casting out of the three horns depicts the power of evil and falsity to destroy and remove the truths of the Word (Apocalypse Explained 316). The number "three" represents fullness or completeness, and thus the power of evil when brought into action to destroy all truths. Hence, the old saying 'when you break one of the Commandments, you break them all,' takes on a more powerful meaning.

The next image shifts: we see the thrones "cast down" signifying the falsities (Arcana Coelestia 8215) from the beasts, judged by the truths of the Word forming our conscience. All judgment begins with truth, for truth provides the balances upon which our lives are measured.

In the image of God’s throne, symbolizing judgment, it is important to remember that His judgment is always a product of love and mercy. But the Lord’s love should not be confused with license: just because He loves the human race, individually and collectively, this does not mean evil is permissible. Evil interferes with a person’s reception of the Lord, putting barriers between Him and ourselves. For the most part, the Lord permits evils, but does not will them, because they are useful reminding us to turn away from them (Divine Providence 275, 278). Yet there are times when human beings overstep the mark.

The judgment in this chapter must be seen in its context, which is in the reign of Belshazzar. It is the story of both the beasts and the fact that Belshazzar was weighed in the balances, found wanting, and killed by Darius. That in essence is a judgment on the external’s of our lives, on our behavior. and attitudes which have their origin in the Nebuchadnezzar states of our inner being.

Here, however, we see the origin of truth as "the Ancient of Days," sitting on the throne of judgment, heralding the destruction of one state and the beginning of another (Apocalypse Revealed 574). The "Ancient of Days" is an image of the love of the Lord (Arcana Coelestia 9470), and in a sense is the Divine counterpart to the love we are led to by means of truth. The object of all truth is to lead one to a love of God, and a love of the neighbor, and a life expressive of both. Our love for God is a reflection of His love for us.

In the Word, a garment corresponds to truth one knows and which forms a part of a person’s mind. Thus the garment of the Ancient of Days represents the truth veiling over the Divine Good. This truth is truth in our minds, in our conscious minds (Arcana Coelestia 9470, Apocalypse Explained 67). These garments were as white as snow to show us the quality of the intelligence and wisdom we can have from the Lord (Apocalypse Explained 195:18).

'Hair' means the most external parts of our lives—the natural thoughts and feelings we have which prompt us into action, all perfectly conscious. While we are in this world, this very external part of us seems to be vitally important, but in fact it is only driven by the inner things. If these are from the Lord, then our external will also appear as virgin wool.

The fire of the throne is the appearance of the Lord's love. The wheels represents the wisdom and intelligence we have from the Lord, which are full of love and so are described as "burning."

All judgment is done by the Lord. The Lord’s birth in Bethlehem was the beginning of a last judgment on the ancient churches, and that judgment from love by means of wisdom, came about through the life and death of Jesus Christ, the Divine Human of the Lord.

In Daniel’s vision, there is a similar relationship between the Ancient of Days, seated on His throne, and the Son of Man to whom was given all power. The Ancient of Days represents the Lord, and in that vision we saw the unity of the Divine love and Divine wisdom in the fiery throne upon which He sat.

Once the presence of the Lord has been established in us by the overthrow of evil and falsity, we will continue to develop in goodness and truth. This spiritual growth is described in the words that 'the Son of Man was given an everlasting dominion,' a theme repeated in verses 18 and 27. The kingdom of the Son of Man extended over "all peoples, nations and tongues," representing the different states of the human mind which will be made subject to truth from the Word. "Peoples" are the truths of doctrine—in this case, the false ideas which affect our behavior to be judged against the truth introduced into our minds by the conscience. "Nations" mean the evils of life, overthrown in the process of judgment (Apocalypse Revealed 483, Apocalypse Explained 175, 455). Thus in the process of judgment, both our habitual thoughts and feelings will be confronted by truth, and replaced by feelings drawn from the goodness and truth of the Lord. Finally, "tongues" signify the actions drawn from evil feelings and false thoughts—these too will be brought down in our personal "last judgment."

The "time, times, and half a time" are the states of temptation and combat we need to go through in order to regenerate. Yet each minute of that combat is a temptation, and temptation only takes place within the framework or regeneration. Thus a person being tempted, who resists the evil, sits in judgment on that evil, and from the power of the Lord will eventually prevail over it.

These final verses are a vision of things yet to come. This is before our entrance into the Lord’s kingdom, before the power of falsity is broken. We still have growing to do. There are still states we need to face and overcome. Even with this marvelous promise of ultimate victory, Daniel found that his thoughts still troubled him.

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Footnotes:

http://newchristianbiblestudy.org/bible/story/daniel-interprets-nebuchadnezzars-dream/king-james-version

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Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

Arcana Coelestia 1326, 10455

Apocalypse Revealed 748

De Verbo (The Word) 5

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 178

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 37


Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 49, 934, 1066, 1607, 1990, 2547, 2832, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 24, 36, 47, 49, 101, 166, 229, ...

Conjugial Love 26, 81, 193

Divine Providence 134

Doctrine of the Lord 4, 6, 10, 26, 42, 48, 52

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Regarding the Sacred Scripture 49, 86

Doctrine of Life 61

Heaven and Hell 171

True Christian Religion 1, 113, 157, 223, 251, 262, 288, ...


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 36, 63, 67, 70, 175, 195, 199, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 41

Canons of the New Church 37

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 3

De Verbo (The Word) 10, 15, 25

An Invitation to the New Church 10

Marriage 0, 1, 113

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Významy biblických slov

daniel
The book of Daniel follows after Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Daniel was a prophet during the early part of the captivity of the Jews...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

spoke
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

arise
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

four wings
By the four wings, as of a fowl, on the back of the third beast, signifies confirmations of falsity.

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

Ancient of days
The Lord as to divine good or divine love, who is called the Ancient of Days, as in Daniel 7:9, 10, from the most ancient...

sit
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

raiment
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

white
'White' relates to truths, because it originates in the light of the sun.

wheels
'Wheels,' as in Exodus 14:25, signify the power of proceeding and divine intelligence. 'Wheels,' as in Isaiah 5:28, signify the doctrine of natural truth. 'Wheels,'...

stood
'To stand,' and 'come forth' as in Daniel 7:10, refers to truth. In Genesis 24:13, it signifies a state of conjunction of divine truth with...

opened
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

prolonged
'To be prolonged' relates to good.

serve
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

everlasting
It is hard for us to conceive this, but time does not exist in spiritual reality. Time is an aspect of physical reality that no...

interpretation
'Interpretations,' as in Genesis 40:22, signify prediction.

high
'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

ages
It is hard for us to conceive this, but time does not exist in spiritual reality. Time is an aspect of physical reality that no...

iron
Brass and iron as in Isaiah 48:4 and Daniel 7:19 signify what is hard.

brass
Brass and iron as in Isaiah 48:4 and Daniel 7:19 signify what is hard.

speaking
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

speak
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

law
All laws, even civil and judicial laws, which are in the Word, correspond to the laws of good and truth, which are in heaven.

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

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Apocalypse Revealed # 567

Apocalypse Revealed (Rogers translation)      

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567. REVELATION: CHAPTER 13

1. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on its horns ten jewels, 1 and on its heads a blasphemous name.

2. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, whose feet were like those of a bear, and its mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave it its power, its throne, and great authority.

3. And I saw one of its heads appearing as though fatally wounded, and its mortal injury was healed. And all the earth went marveling after the beast.

4. Then they worshiped the dragon which gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?"

5. And it was given a mouth speaking great and blasphemous things, and it was given authority to do so for forty-two months.

6. Then it opened its mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and against His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.

7. It was granted it to make war with the saints and overcome them. And it was given authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

8. All who dwell on the earth will worship it, all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

9. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

10. Anyone who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; anyone who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

11. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and it had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

12. And it exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose mortal injury was healed.

13. It also performs great signs, so as to even make fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men,

14. and to lead astray those who dwell on the earth, because of the signs which it was granted to do in the presence of the beast, telling those dwelling upon the earth to make an image of the beast that was injured by the sword and lived.

15. It was also granted it to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might speak and cause whoever does not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

16. And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive from it a mark on their right hand and on their foreheads,

17. so that no one can buy or sell if he does not have the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of its name.

18. Here is wisdom: let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and its number is 666.

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING

The Contents of the Whole Chapter

The dragon continues to be the subject in this chapter, which describes the doctrine and faith meant by the dragon. The character of that doctrine and faith among the laity, and then its character among the clergy. The beast rising up out of the sea describes the doctrine and faith among the laity (verses 1-10), and the beast coming up out of the earth the doctrine and faith among the clergy (verses 11-17).

Lastly it describes the clergy's falsification of the Word's truth (verse 18).

The Contents of the Individual Verses:

Verse ContentsSpiritual Meaning
1. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea,The laity in the Protestant Reformed churches who are caught up in the doctrine and faith of the dragon regarding God and salvation.
having seven headsThe irrationality resulting from their absolute falsities.
and ten horns,Their great power.
and on its horns ten jewels, 2 Their power to falsify many of the Word's truths.
and on its heads a blasphemous name.Their denial of the Lord's Divine humanity and affirmation of their church's doctrine, drawn not from the Word but from their own intelligence.
2. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard,Their heresy destructive of the church, being founded on the Word's truths falsified,
whose feet were like those of a bear,full of misconceptions taken from the literal sense of the Word, read but not understood.
and its mouth like the mouth of a lion.Their reasonings based on falsities as though on truths.
And the dragon gave it its power, its throne, and great authority.This heresy prevails and reigns as a result of its acceptance by the laity.
3. And I saw one of its heads appearing as though fatally wounded,Their doctrine of faith alone does not accord with the Word, in which works are so often commanded.
and its mortal injury was healed.A remedy for this explained.
And all the earth went marveling after the beast.That doctrine and faith then accepted with joy.
4. Then they worshiped the dragon which gave authority to the beast;Their acknowledgment that the doctrine is such as declared by the leaders of the church and its teachers, who have caused the doctrine to prevail as a result of its acceptance by the general populace.
and they worshiped the beast,An acknowledgment by the general populace that the doctrine is a sacred truth.
saying, "Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?"The preeminence of that doctrine because no one can dispute it.
5. And it was given a mouth speaking great and blasphemous things,It teaches evils and falsities.
and it was given authority to do so for forty-two months.The scope to teach and practice the evils and falsities accompanying that doctrine even to the end of that church, until the beginning of a new one.
6. Then it opened its mouth in blasphemies against God and His name,Their assertions, which are scandalous, against the Divine itself and the Lord's Divine humanity, and at the same time against everything that the church has from the Word by which the Lord is worshiped.
and against His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.Scandalous assertions against the Lord's celestial church and against heaven.
7. It was granted it to make war with the saints and overcome them.They attacked the Word's Divine truths and overturned them.
And it was given authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation.Their consequent dominion over everything connected with the church, over everything pertaining to its doctrine and over everything pertaining to its life.
8. All who dwell on the earth will worship it, all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the LambThey all acknowledged that heresy as a sacred tenet of the church, all but those who believed in the Lord.
slain from the foundation of the world.The Lord's Divine humanity unacknowledged from the inception of the church.
9. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.Let people who wish to be wise pay attention to this.
10. Anyone who leads into captivity shall go into captivity;Someone who uses that heresy to draw others away from believing rightly and living rightly is drawn by his own falsities and evils into hell.
anyone who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.Someone who uses falsities to destroy another's soul is destroyed by falsities and perishes.
Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.Through the temptations or trials occasioned by these falsities a person of the Lord's New Church is examined to discover his character in respect to his life and faith.
11. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth,The clergy who are caught up in the dragon's doctrine and faith regarding God and salvation.
and it had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.They quote the Word in speaking, teaching and writing as though it were the Lord's Divine truth, and yet it is truth falsified.
12. And it exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence,They have defended the dogmas, and the dogmas prevail in consequence of it.
and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose mortal injury was healed.By supporting arguments they have established that what the general populace has accepted be acknowledged as a sacred tenet of the church.
13. It also performs great signs,Testifications that their teachings are true, even though they are false.
so as to even make fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men,Assertions that their falsities are true.
14. and to lead astray those who dwell on the earth, because of the signs which it was granted to do in the presence of the beast,Through their testifications and assertions they lead people in the church into errors.
telling those dwelling upon the earth to make an image of the beast that was injured by the sword and lived.They induce people in the church to accept as doctrine that faith is the only means of salvation, for the reason stated.
15. It was also granted it to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might speakThey were permitted to use the Word to defend the doctrine, so as to cause the doctrine to be seemingly animated by it.
and cause whoever does not worship the image of the beast to be killed.They pronounce damnation on people who do not acknowledge their doctrine of faith as a sacred doctrine of the church.
16. And it causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave,All the people in Protestant Reformed church, of whatever condition, degree of education, or degree of intelligence.
to receive from it a mark on their right hand and on their foreheads,No one is acknowledged as a Protestant Reformed Christian but one who accepts that doctrine in faith and love.
17. so that no one can buy or sell if he does not have the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of its name.No one allowed to teach from the Word but one who acknowledges that doctrine and swears to a belief in it and love for it, and to such as is in conformity with it.
18. Here is wisdom:From what we have said and explained in this chapter, it is the part of a wise person to see and understand the nature of the doctrine and faith among the clergy regarding God and salvation.
let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast,One who is enlightened by the Lord can discern the character of the arguments the clergy use from the Word in defense of that doctrine and faith.
for it is the number of a man,The character of the Word and so of the church.
and its number is 666.Their character being this, that by them all the Word's truth has been falsified.



THE EXPOSITION

13:1

And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. This symbolizes the laity in the Protestant Reformed churches who are caught up in the doctrine and faith of the dragon regarding God and salvation.

The nature and character of the faith of the dragon may be seen in no. 537. The same faith continues to be the subject in this chapter, and the beast here that John saw rising up out of the sea means that faith among the laity, whereas the beast from the earth, described in verse 11, means that faith among the clergy.

That the dragon continues to be the subject here is apparent from the following statements in this chapter: that the dragon gave to the beast rising up out of the sea its power, its throne, and great authority (verse 2); that they worshiped the dragon which gave authority to the beast (verse 4); and, concerning the beast coming up out of the earth, that it spoke like a dragon (verse 11); and that it exercised all the authority of the first beast in the presence of the dragon (verse 12).

The laity are the people meant by the beast from the sea, and the clergy those meant by the beast from the earth, because the sea symbolizes the outer aspect of the church, and the land its inner aspect (no. 398 and elsewhere); and the laity are concerned with the external elements of the church's doctrine, while the clergy are concerned with its internal elements. That is why the beast from the earth is later called a false prophet. 3

That they are people in the Protestant Reformed churches is because the Protestant Reformed are the subject to the end of chapter 16, while Roman Catholics are the subject in chapters 17, 18. Then the subject after that is the Last Judgment and finally the New Church.

(Odkazy: Revelation 4, 6, Revelation 13:1-10, 13:2, 13:3, 13:4, 13:5, 13:6, 13:7, 13:8, 13:9, 13:10, 13:11-12, 13:11-17, 13:12, 13:13, 13:14, 13:15, 13:16, 13:17, 13:18)


[2] These people were seen as beasts because the dragon is a beast, and because a beast in the Word symbolizes a person in respect to his affections - harmless and useful beasts a person in respect to good affections, and harmful and useless ones a person in respect to evil affections. People of the church are in general called sheep, therefore, and a company of them a flock, and one who teaches is called a shepherd.

That is also why the Word in respect to its power, affection, understanding and wisdom is described above in chapter four by four living creatures - a lion, a calf, an eagle and a human being - and an understanding of the Word by horses in chapter six.

The reason is that in the spiritual world a person's affections look at a distance like animals, as we have often said before; and regarded in themselves, animals are no more than embodiments of natural affections, while people are embodiments not only of natural affections, but also at the same time of spiritual affections.

(Odkazy: Revelation 4, Revelation 6)


[3] That animals mean people in respect to their affections can be seen from the following passages:

You... will cause to fall a kindly rain. You will confirm Your inheritance... The beast, Your congregation, 4 shall dwell in it. (Psalms 68:9-10)

...every wild beast of the forest is Mine, the beasts on a thousand mountains. I know every bird of the mountains; the beast of My fields is with Me. (Psalms 50:10-11)

...Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon... ...its height was exalted... All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs, and under its branches all the beasts of the field brought forth their young, and in its shade all great nations made their home. (Ezekiel 31:3-6, cf. 31:10, 31:13, Daniel 4:10-16)

In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beast of the field, and with the bird of the heavens... And I will betroth you to Me forever. (Hosea 2:18-19)

Rejoice and be glad! ...Do not be afraid, you beasts of My fields, for the habitations of the wilderness have become grassy meadows. (Joel 2:21-23)

In that day there shall be a great tumult... Judah... will fight against Jerusalem... And such also shall be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, and the donkey, and every beast... And it shall come to pass that the remnant... shall go up (to Jerusalem). (Zechariah 14:13-16)

Birds shall abominate him, and every beast of the earth shall disdain him. (Isaiah 18:6)

...you, son of man..., "Say to every winged bird and to every beast of the field, '...Gather together... to My sacrifice... on the mountains of Israel... (Thus) I will set My glory among the nations.'" (Ezekiel 39:17-21)

(Jehovah) gathers the outcasts of Israel... Every beast of My fields, come... (Isaiah 56:8-9)

(Jehovah) will destroy Assyria... There shall lie down in her midst every wild beast of the nation, both the desert owl and the screech owl in her pomegranates... (Zephaniah 2:13-14)

(The sheep) were scattered without a shepherd, and they became food for every wild beast of the field... (Ezekiel 34:5, cf. 34:8)

I will cast you out on the face of the field, and cause to dwell on you every bird of the heavens. And with you I will satiate the wild beasts of the whole earth. (Ezekiel 32:4; see also 5:17; 29:5; 33:27; 39:4, Jeremiah 15:3; 16:4; 19:7; 27:5-6)

An enemy reproaches Jehovah... Do not deliver the life of (the) turtledove to the beast! (Psalms 74:18-19)

"I saw in... vision... four... beasts coming up from the sea... The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings... ...a second, like a bear... ...(a third) like a leopard... ...and a fourth..., dreadful... (Daniel 7:2-7)

...the Spirit drove (Jesus) out into the wilderness. And He was... with the beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. (Mark 1:12-13)

(Odkazy: Daniel 4:7-13; Ezekiel 39:17-22; Joel 2:21-22; Psalms 50:10)


[4] He was not with beasts, but with devils, who are here meant by beasts.

So also in other places where beasts and wild beasts are mentioned, such as Isaiah 35:9; 43:20; Jeremiah 12:4, 8-10; Ezekiel 8:10; 34:23, 25, 28; 38:18-20; Hosea 4:2-3; 13:8; Exodus 23:28-30; Leviticus 26:6; Deuteronomy 7:22; 32:24. Beasts in these places symbolize people in respect to their affections.

(Odkazy: Daniel 2:37-38; Habakkuk 2:17; Joel 1:16, 1:18, 1:20; Psalms 8:6-8, Psalms 80:13, 104:10-11, 104:14, 104:20, 104:25, 148:7, 148:10)


[5] Man and beast mentioned together in the following passages symbolize a person in respect to his spiritual affection and in respect to his natural affection: Jeremiah 7:20; 21:6; 27:5; 31:27; 32:43; 33:10-12; 36:29; 50:3; Psalms 36:6; Numbers 18:15.

All the animals that were sacrificed symbolized good affections. So, too, animals that were eaten. And the converse animals that were not to be eaten (Leviticus 20:25-26).

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Footnotes:

12. The word translated as "jewels" here means diadems or crowns in the original Greek and Latin, but the writer's definitions of the term elsewhere make plain that he regularly and consistently interpreted it to mean jewels or gems.

3Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:104. The beast, Your congregation, reflects the Latin translation of the Bible by Sebastian Schmidt, which includes the phrase translated as Your congregation in parentheses as an alternate reading. This is actually the preferred reading, but "the beast" accords with Roman Catholic tradition.

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(Odkazy: Ezekiel 14:13, 14:17, 14:19, 25:13, 32:13, 36:11, 39:17-22; Jonah 3:7-8; Revelation 6; Zechariah 2:3-4, 2:4, 8:9-10; Zephaniah 1:2-3)

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Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.


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