500. The beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. This symbolically means that those people who are caught up in the interior tenets of the doctrine regarding faith alone will oppose these two essential elements of the New Church, attack them, and reject them, in themselves and, as far as they are able, in others.
The beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit means the people who ascended out of the bottomless pit having the appearance of locusts in Revelation 9:1-12. That they were people caught up in the interior tenets of the doctrine regarding faith alone may be seen in the exposition there. To make war means, symbolically, to oppose and attack these two essential elements of the church, as we shall see next. To overcome them and kill them means, symbolically, to reject them and root them out, in themselves and, as far as they are able, in others.
Psalms 35:1-3; Revelation 11:7)
 People caught up in the interior tenets of the doctrine regarding faith alone will attack and reject these two essential elements because they have established in themselves two ideas contrary to them, first, that it is not the Lord but God the Father to whom they should turn; and secondly, that a life in accordance with the Ten Commandments is not a spiritual life, but simply a moral and civic life, and they maintain this to keep anyone from believing that he is saved by works rather than by their faith alone.
All those people who in schools and universities have deeply impressed these dogmas on their minds do not afterward turn away from them. There are three reasons for this, hitherto unknown. First, they have introduced themselves as to their spirit into association with people in the spiritual world like themselves, where there are many satanic spirits who find delight only in falsities, and from these spirits they cannot possibly be set free unless they reject those falsities. Nor can they do that unless they turn to God the Savior directly and begin to live a Christian life in accordance with the Ten Commandments.
 The second reason is their belief that they are granted instant forgiveness for their sins and thus salvation in the act of faith, and afterward in the state or progression of it through the same act continued, preserved and retained by the Holy Spirit, apart from any exercises of charity. After that, then, once people have imbibed these ideas, they regard their sins as of no account in the sight of God, and so continue in their impure lives.
Moreover, because they know how to cleverly defend such ideas with falsifications of the Word in the presence of uneducated listeners, and with fallacious arguments in the presence of learned ones, we are told here that the beast from the bottomless pit overcame and killed the two witnesses. But this is the case only with people who love to live self-indulgently and are carried away by the delights of their appetites. Whenever these people think about salvation, they harbor at heart their lusts, and with both hands embrace that faith of theirs, because then they can be saved by uttering certain words in a confident tone and do not have to attend to anything having to do with their life for God's sake, but only for the sake of the world.
 The third reason is that people who in their youth have imbibed the interior tenets of that faith, called the mysteries of justification, when afterward promoted to a respectable ministry, do not think to themselves about God and heaven, but about themselves and the world, retaining the mysteries of their faith only for the sake of their reputation so as to be respected as wise, and because of their wisdom, accounted worthy to be rewarded with riches.
Such is the case as a result of that faith because it has nothing of religion in it. The reality of this may be seen in the third narrative account above, in no. 484.
 That wars in the Word symbolize spiritual wars, which are attacks on truth and are waged by reasonings based on falsities, is clear from the following passages:
...spirits of demons... go out... to gather them for war on the great day of God Almighty. (Revelation 16:14)
...the dragon was angry with the woman, and it went away to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)
It was granted to (the dragon's beast) to make war with the saints... (Revelation 13:7)
Prepare holy war against (the daughter of Zion)..., and let us go up at noon. (Jeremiah 6:4)
You have not gone up into the breaches... to stand in battle on the day of Jehovah. (Ezekiel 13:5)
In Salem is (God's) tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion, where He broke the flaming arrows, the bow... and... war. (Psalms 76:2-3)
Jehovah shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up zeal like a man of war. (Isaiah 42:13, cf. Psalms 24:8)
In that day Jehovah... will be... for a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, ...to those who turn back the battle at the gate. (Isaiah 28:5-6)
Deliver me... from the evil man; preserve me from the violent man... All day they gather for war. They sharpen their tongues like serpents. (Psalms 140:1-3)
...many will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ," and will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled. (Matthew 24:5-7, cf. Mark 13:6-8, Luke 21:8-10)
The wars of the kings of the north and south and other wars in Daniel 10, 11, and 12 symbolize no other than spiritual wars. And so, too, the wars in other places, as in Isaiah 2:3-5, 13:4, 21:14-15, 31:4; Jeremiah 49:25-26; Hosea 2:18; Zechariah 10:5, 14:3; Psalm 18:35 1
Luke 21:8-9; Mark 13:6-7; Matthew 24:5-6)
 As wars in the Word symbolize spiritual wars, therefore the ministry of the Levites was called military service, as is apparent from the following, that the command was given for the Levites to be numbered, to "perform military service, to do the work in the tabernacle of meeting" (Numbers 4:23, 35, 39, 43, 47).
This is the service of the Levites: ...to perform military service in the ministry of the tabernacle of meeting; but at the age of fifty years he must cease the military service, and shall minister no more. (Numbers 8:24-25)
See also no. 447 above, where we established from the Word that armies symbolize the church's goods and truths, and in an opposite sense, its evils and falsities.
1. The citation in the first edition is in error. Either this or Psalms 27:3 was perhaps intended.