721. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, signifies the hatred of those who are meant by "the dragon" against the church with those who will be in the doctrine, and thence in the light of love and charity from the Lord. This is evident from the signification of the "dragon," as being those who have a knowledge [scientia] of the cognitions of truth from the sense of the letter of the Word, and are not in a life according to it (see above, n. 714; and from the signification of "the woman," as being the church that is in the doctrine and thence in the life of love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbor (see above, n. 707. The hatred of those who are signified by "the dragon" against that church and its doctrine, is meant by "standing before the woman about to bring forth and wishing to devour the offspring." Also from the signification of "bringing forth," as being to bring forth such things as pertain to the church, which are doctrinals, here respecting love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbor, for "the son, a male" that the woman brought forth signifies the doctrine of that church. Such things are signified by "bringing forth," because generations, births, and nativities mean in the Word spiritual generations, births, and nativities, which are effected by truths and a life according to them.
Revelation 12:4; The Apocalypse Explained 707, The Apocalypse Explained 714)
 For this reason where spiritual generation, which is called regeneration, is treated of in the Word it is described by natural generation and birth. As in John:
Jesus said to Nicodemus, Except one be begotten anew he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said, How can a man be begotten when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be begotten? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except one be begotten of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is begotten of the spirit isspirit. (John 3:3-6).
As Nicodemus did not understand the spiritual sense of the Lord's words "that a man must be begotten anew," the Lord explained that "to be begotten" means "to be begotten of water and of the spirit," thus to be regenerated, that is, by means of truths from the Word and a life according to them, for "water" signifies truths, and "spirit" a life according to them. But elsewhere in the Word, where "to travail," "to bring forth," "to produce," and "to beget" are mentioned, there is no explanation, and yet spiritual travail, birth, nativity, and generation are meant, since the Word in the letter is natural, but in its bosom is spiritual. "To bring forth" signifies to bring forth spiritually, because when a man is regenerating he is likewise as it were conceived, carried in the womb, born, and educated, as a man is conceived of his father, carried in the womb and born of his mother, and afterwards educated.
 To confirm that births and nativities signify in the Word spiritual births and nativities, some passages shall be cited from it. In Isaiah:
Be ashamed, O Zidon, the sea hath said, the stronghold of the sea, saying, I have not travailed, neither brought forth, I have not trained up young men, I have not brought up virgins; when the report comes from Egypt they shall be seized with pain as at the report respecting Tyre (Isaiah 23:4, 5).
"Zidon" and "Tyre" signify the knowledges of good and truth from the Word; that the church has not acquired through these anything of intelligence and wisdom, and has not done any uses, is signified by "not travailing," "not bringing forth," "not training up young men," "not bringing up virgins," "young men" meaning the truths of the church, and "virgins" its goods. (But this may be seen explained above, n. 275.)
Isaiah 23:4-5; The Apocalypse Explained 275)
 In the same:
Thy chastening is upon them, as a woman with child that draweth near to her delivery; she crieth out in her pangs; so have we done 1
before Thee, O Jehovah; we have conceived, we have travailed, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought salvation to the earth, neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen; thy dead shall live (Isaiah 26:16-19).
This is said of the last times of the church, when falsities and evils so far increase that there can be no reformation and regeneration; this state is meant by "the chastening of Jehovah upon them;" that it will then be difficult to perceive and acquire any truth is signified by "as a woman with child that draweth near to her delivery; she crieth out in her pangs;" that in the place of truths they imbibe vanities in which there are no truths is signified by "we have conceived, we have travailed, we have as it were brought forth wind," "wind" signifying such vanities; that from these no uses of life come is signified by "we have not wrought salvation" to Jehovah; 2
that still, when the Lord shall come into the world they are to be taught and regenerated by truths from Him is signified by "thy dead shall live," and by the words that follow.
 In the same:
Sing aloud O barren, thou that didst not bear, break forth into singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail, for more are the sons of the desolate than the sons of the married one (Isaiah 54:1).
This treats of the Lord's coming and of the New Church to be established by Him with the Gentiles; these are signified by "the barren that did not bear," and by "the desolate" who shall have many sons; they are called "barren" because they did not know the Lord, and did not have the Word where truths are, and therefore could not be regenerated, "sons" meaning truths from the Lord through the Word. The church that has the Word, from which the Lord is known, is meant by "the married one" that has no sons; the joy of those who are of the New Church that before had no truths, is signified by "break forth into singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail," "to travail" meaning to bear in the womb.
 In the first book of Samuel:
They who have been driven away have been girded with strength; they that are sated, have hired themselves for bread, and they that are hungry have ceased, even until the barren hath borne seven, and she that hath many sons languisheth (1 Samuel 2:4, 5).
This is the prophetic song of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. "Those driven away that are to be girded with strength" mean the Gentiles with whom the church is to be, who are called "driven away" from a lack of the knowledges of truth, and who are therefore rejected by those of the church, at that time the Jewish church; "to be girded with strength" signifies that such have truth from good, and thence power; "they that are sated, who have hired themselves for bread;" and "they that are hungry who have ceased," mean those who were of the Jewish Church, who are said to be "sated" because they had truths in abundance, and "to be hired for bread" because they could only be led to learn truths and do them as hirelings; that they did not desire to know them is signified by "they that are hungry have ceased." The same church is also meant by "she that hath many sons languisheth." But the Gentiles that are to acknowledge the Lord and receive the Word, and thus suffer themselves to be regenerated into the church, are meant by "the barren that shall bear seven;" "seven" signifies all and many, and is predicated of the holy things of the church.
1 Samuel 2:4-5)
 In Jeremiah:
She that hath borne seven shall languish, she shall breathe out her soul; her sun shall go down while it is yet day (Jeremiah 15:9).
This signifies that a church that has all truths because it has the Word shall perish, even so that nothing of truth and good will remain; "to bear seven" signifies to be gifted with all truths from the Word; "to languish, and to have the sun go down," signifies to perish successively and at length wholly; "to breathe out the soul" signifies to perish in respect to all truths, and "the sun going down" signifies to perish in respect to all the goods of love; "while it is as yet day" signifies while the Word is still acknowledged.
 In Isaiah:
Before she travailed she brought forth; before her pangs came she was delivered of a male child. Who hath heard a thing like this? Who hath seen a thing like this? Hath the earth travailed in one day? Shall a nation be begotten at once? As soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her sons. Shall I break and not bring forth, saith Jehovah, shall I that cause to bring forth restrain? Rejoice with Jerusalem, exult in her, all ye that love her, that ye may suck and be satisfied from the breast of her consolations (Isaiah 66:7-11).
This, too, treats of the Lord's coming and of the establishment of a church with the Gentiles. Their reformation and regeneration are described by "travailing," "bringing forth," "being delivered of a male child," and by "breaking the matrix" and "begetting;" for, as has been said above, a man who is begotten anew is likewise as it were conceived, carried in the womb, born, educated, and grows up, as from a father and mother.
"Zion" and "Jerusalem" mean the church and its doctrine; and "to suck and be satisfied with the breast of her consolations" signifies to be fully instructed in truths from good from the delight of love according to desire; the "one day" in which these things shall take place signifies the Lord's coming.
 In David:
From before the Lord thou art in travail, O earth, from before the God of Israel 3
"Thou art in travail, O earth," signifies the establishment of the church, or the reformation of those who will be of the church, "to travail" meaning to receive truths and be reformed, and "the earth" meaning the church. It is said "from before the Lord" and "from before the God of Jacob," because reformation in respect to good and truth is meant, for the Lord is called "Lord" from good, and "God" from truth.
 In Jeremiah:
Behold, I bring them from the land of the north, and I will gather them together from the sides of the earth; among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child, and she that is bringing forth together, a great assembly shall they return hither (Jeremiah 31:8).
This, again, treats of the restoration of the church with the Gentiles by the Lord. The Gentiles who are in falsities and in the appearances of truth such as the truths of the Word are in the sense of its letter, are meant by "the land of the north" and by "the sides of the earth," the "north" signifying falsities, and "the sides of the earth" such ultimate truths; therefore it is also said, "among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and she that is bringing forth," the "blind" meaning those who are not in truths, and the "lame" those who are not in goods, "the woman with child" those who receive truths, and "she who is bringing forth" those who do them. That from such the church will be established is signified by "Behold, I bring them, I will gather them together and a great assembly shall they return hither."
 In Isaiah:
Look unto the rock out of which ye were hewn, and to the digging out of the pit out of which ye were digged; look unto Abraham, your father, and unto Sarah that bare you; for I called him alone, and I will bless him and will multiply him; for Jehovah will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places, and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her solitude like the garden of Jehovah (Isaiah 51:1-3).
This, too, is said of the Lord, and of the New Church from Him. The Lord in relation to Divine truth and in relation to the doctrine of truth is meant by "the rock out of which they were hewn and the pit out of which they were digged" (see above, n. 411. But the Lord in relation to the Divine, from which is reformation, is meant by "Abraham" to whom they shall look, and by "Sarah" that bare them; for by "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," in the Word, those persons are not meant, but the Lord in relation to the Divine Itself and the Divine Human, as may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia 1893, 2833, 2836, 3245, 3251, 3305, 3439, 3703, 4615, 6098, 6095, 6185, 6276, 6804, 6847); but the heavenly marriage which is that of Divine good and Divine truth, from which is all reformation and thus the church, is signified by "Abraham" and by "Sarah that bare them." Because the Lord is meant by "Abraham" it is said, "I called him alone, and I will bless him and will multiply him," and afterwards that "Jehovah will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places," "Zion" meaning the New Church, "waste places" truths destroyed, and "to comfort" to restore the church. That those who will be of that church will acknowledge the Lord, and will receive love to Him and thence wisdom, is signified by "her wilderness shall be made like Eden, and her solitude like the garden of Jehovah," "Eden" signifying love to the Lord, and "the garden of Jehovah" wisdom therefrom.
The Apocalypse Explained 411)
 In Micah:
O height of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall come and shall return the kingdom, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. Now why dost thou shout in shouting? Is there no king in thee; hath thy counselor perished, that pangs take hold of thee as a woman in travail? Be in travail and bring forth, O daughter of Zion, for now thou shalt go out from the city and shalt dwell in the field (Mic. Micah 4:8-10).
This treats of the spiritual captivity in which the faithful are when they remain in a church in which there is no more truth and good; their lamentation that they are in that church is signified by "why dost thou shout in shouting?" Also by "that pangs take hold of thee as a woman in travail;" when yet they have truths of doctrine and also the understanding of them, which is signified by "Is there no king in thee; hath thy counselor perished?" "king" signifying the truth of doctrine from the Word, and "counselor" the understanding of it. That with those who are in the good of charity and thence in the truths of doctrine there will be a church is signified by "the daughter of Zion to whom the kingdom shall come," and by "the daughter of Jerusalem," "kingdom" also signifying the church. The establishment of the church and reformation of those who are of the church is meant by "be in travail, bring forth, O daughter of Zion;" "for now thou shalt go out from the city and shalt dwell in the field" signifies that they will withdraw from a doctrine in which there is no longer any truth or good, and will abide where these abound; "city" meaning the doctrine from which they will withdraw; "field" meaning where truths and goods abound, and "to go out" meaning to withdraw, namely, from that doctrine, and to be thus delivered from spiritual captivity.
 In David:
Jehovah raiseth the crushed out of the dust, He lifteth up the needy from the dunghill, to place him with princes, with the princes of His people; He maketh the barren to dwell in a house, to be a glad mother of sons (Psalms 113:7-9).
That those who are in falsities from ignorance, and thus are not in goods, are to be instructed by the Lord in truths, is signified by "Jehovah raiseth the crushed out of the dust, He lifteth up the needy from the dunghill," "the crushed" and "the needy" meaning those who are in falsities from ignorance, and thus not in goods. The primary truths of the church in which they must be instructed are signified by "the princes, the princes of the people," with whom they are to be placed. That those who did not before have life from the marriage of truth and good will have it is signified by "making the barren to dwell in a house, to be a glad mother of sons;" "to dwell" signifying to live; "the house of the barren" signifying where there is no marriage of truth and good, and "a glad mother of sons" the church where there are nascent truths from good.
 In Hosea:
As to Ephraim, as a bird shall his glory fly away, from the birth and from the belly and from conception (Hosea 9:11).
That this signifies that all understanding of truth from ultimates to firsts will perish, may be seen above n. 710, where it is explained. In Luke:
Woe to them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days; for there shall be great anguish and anger upon this people (Luke 21:23).
And in the same:
Behold the days shall come in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren and the bellies that have not borne, and the breasts that have not given suck (Luke 23:29; also in Matthew 24:19; Mark 13:17).
That this is said of those who live at the end of the church, when there are no genuine truths to be received that are not falsified, may be seen above n. 710.
The Apocalypse Explained 710)
 In Jeremiah:
The partridge gathereth but bringeth not forth; he that maketh riches but not with judgment, in the midst of his days he forsaketh them, and in his latter end he shall become foolish (Jeremiah 17:11).
A "partridge" means such as learn many things from the Word and from the doctrines of the church, but not for the sake of the uses of life, "to bring forth" means to perform uses, that is, to live and thus to be reformed; the "riches" that he maketh not with judgment signify spiritual riches, which are the knowledges of truth and good; to acquire these not for the sake of uses of life is "to make riches not with judgment;" that such knowledges as are not made to be of the life perish is signified by "in the midst of his days he shall forsake them;" that finally they will have no knowledges of truth that are not falsified is signified by "in his latter end he shall become foolish."
 Since a "mother" signifies the church, and "sons and daughters" its truths and goods, and in the ancient churches, and afterwards in the Jewish church, all things were representative and thence significative, it was a reproach and disgrace for women to be barren, therefore:
Rachel was angry with Jacob that she bare no children, and when she brought forth Joseph she said, God hath gathered up my reproach (Genesis 30:1, 23).
For the same reason, when Elizabeth had conceived she said:
Thus hath the Lord done unto me, in the days wherein He looked upon me to take away my reproach among men (Luke 1:24, 25).
Thus it is evident that "to travail," "to bring forth," and "to beget," signify the procreation of such things as pertain to the church.
 In Isaiah:
Woe to him that saith unto the father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, With what travailest thou? (Isaiah 45:10)
This is said of man's reformation, that it is from the Lord and not from man. In the same:
King Hezekiah said, when he heard the words of Rabshakeh, This day is a day of distress, and of reproving, and of reproach, and the sons are come to the mouth of the matrix and there is not strength to bring forth (Isaiah 37:3).
That truths from the Word will be heard and known, and yet reformation will not be effected by them, is signified by "the sons are come to the matrix and there is not strength to bring forth," "to bring forth" signifying to make truths fruitful by doing them, from which comes reformation. That this was a grief of heart and mind, and a reproach to the church, is signified by "a day of distress, of reproving and of reproach."
 In Ezekiel:
I will pour out my wrath upon Sin, the strength of Egypt, and will cut off the multitude of No; I will set a fire in Egypt; Sin shall travail, and there shall not be 4
for the breaking through (Ezekiel 30:15, 16).
"Egypt," "Sin," and "No," signify the knowledges and fallacies of the natural man, which hinder the reformation of man by means of truths from the Word; that truths will be known and yet will not be received in the life, and thus there can be no reformation, is signified by "Sin in travailing shall travail, but there shall not be for the breaking through," that is, of the matrix. Since "to travail" signifies to receive the truths of the Word by hearing or reading, and "to bring forth" signifies to make them fruitful and bring them forth in act, which is to live according to them, and thus be reformed, so when these things are done with distress and difficulty because of the falsities and evils that rule in the church, and that hinder and which pervert its truths and goods, then it is said that "they are seized with pangs as of a woman in travail;" and as this takes place at the end of the church, therefore it is said in the Word of those who live at that time, as in this chapter of Revelation:
That a woman being with child, cried out, travailing, and pained to be delivered (verse 2); which signifies that spiritual truths and goods, which are from the Word, can be received only with the greatest difficulty and with distress, because of the opposing evils and falsities that then exist in the church and occupy the minds of those who are devoted to religion.
Ezekiel 30:15-16; Revelation 12:2)
 This is signified by "the pangs as of a woman in travail" in Jeremiah:
I have heard a voice as of one sick, as of one in travail with her first born, the voice of the daughter of Zion; she sigheth, she spreadeth forth her hands. Woe to me now, for my soul is made desolate by the slayers (Jeremiah 4:31).
"The daughter of Zion" means the church that is in the truths of doctrine from the good of love; this is said "to sigh and to spread forth the hands, because her soul is made desolate by the slayers," "slayers" meaning those who destroy man's spiritual life by falsities and evils; and because on this account spiritual truths and goods can be received only with distress and difficulty, there is said to be lamentation "as of one sick and in travail with her firstborn," "firstborn" signifying the first thing of the church, from which the rest flow as from their beginning.
 In the same:
We have heard the fame of a people coming from the land of the north, our hands are slackened, distress has taken hold of us, pangs as of one in travail; go not forth into the field, and go not in the way, for there is the sword of the adversary, terror on every side (Jeremiah 6:24, 25).
"A people coming from the land of the north" means those who are in the falsities of evil, and in an abstract sense the falsities of evil that are in the church at that time vastated. That truths will then be received in faith and in love with the greatest difficulty, because of the opposing falsities of evil, and that there will be in consequence torment and pain of mind and heart, is signified by "the hands are slackened, distress has taken hold of them, and pangs as of one in travail;" that at such a time the things of the church and of its doctrine will not be considered, in taking thought for oneself, is signified by "Go not forth into the field, go not in the way," "field" meaning the church, and "way" doctrine; and this for the reason that falsity from hell rushes in, by which truth is falsified and extinguished, which is signified by "the sword of the adversary, terror on every side," "sword" meaning falsity destroying truth, "adversary" hell, and "terror" spiritual death.
 From this it is evident what is meant by the Lord's words in Matthew:
Then let him that is on the house not come down to take anything out of the house, and let him that is in the field not return back. Woe to them that bear in the womb and to them that give suck in those days. Then shall be great affliction, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now (Matthew 24:17-19, 21).
This, too, is said of the state of the church near its end, when falsities of evil and evils of falsity have rule, and the truths of the Word are not received except when falsified and adulterated; this is meant by "Woe to them that bear in the womb and to them that give suck in those days," and also by "great affliction. " (But this with the rest of that chapter may be seen explained consecutively in Arcana Coelestia.)
 In Jeremiah:
Ask and see whether a male doth bring forth. Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? For that day is great, so that none is like it (Jeremiah 30:6, 7).
This also is said of the last state of the church, when the Last Judgment takes place; "the great day" is the Lord's coming and judgment by Him at that time; "ask and see whether a male doth bring forth" signifies whether the truth of the Word without the good of life can bring forth anything of the church, since everything of the church is brought forth by the marriage of good and truth, "the male" signifying the truth of the church, and "the wife" the good of the church; "wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins as a woman in travail?" signifies why is it thought that truth without good will bring forth such things as belong to the church? "Loins" signify marriage, in the spiritual sense the marriage of truth and good, but "the loins of a man as of a woman in travail" signify, as if there could be a marriage of truth alone without good; "all faces are turned into paleness" signifies that there is nothing of good because there is nothing of love and charity; the "face" means the affections that are of the love of good, therefore "paleness" signifies those affections extinguished.
 In Isaiah:
My loins are filled with great pain, pains seize upon me as the pains of a woman in travail (Isaiah 21:3).
This, too, is said of the last state of the church, when its truths and goods can be received only with the most painful effort, because of the evils and falsities that then oppose; "the loins that are said to be filled with pain," signify the marriage of good and truth from which is heaven and the church, and these are said to be "filled with pain" when truth cannot be conjoined with good; therefore this is the signification of "the pains as of a woman in travail," that seize.
 "Pain as of a woman in travail" is also said of those who are unable anymore to receive truths because of the falsities conjoined with evils of life, and yet they wish to receive them when destruction threatens, especially in the spiritual world, when the Last Judgment is at hand, but with a fruitless endeavor and effort; this is signified by "the pains of a woman in travail" in the following passages. In Isaiah:
Howl ye, for the day of Jehovah is nigh. Therefore all hands are slackened, and every heart of man doth melt, and they are dismayed; throes and pangs seize upon them, they are in travail like a woman bringing forth, a man is amazed at his companion, their faces are faces of flames (Isaiah 13:6-8).
"The day of Jehovah" that is near signifies the Last Judgment which the Lord accomplished when He was in the world; their terror at that time on account of threatening destruction is signified by "all hands are slackened, and every heart of man doth melt, and they are about to perish;" 5
that their ability to receive the truths and goods of heaven and the church is then in vain because of the falsities of evil in which they have been and then are in, is signified by "throes and pangs seize upon them, they are in travail like a woman bringing forth;" that they are in the evils of hatred and anger is signified by "their faces are faces of flames."
 In Jeremiah:
She that dwelleth in Lebanon, having her nest in the cedars, what grace wilt thou find when pangs come upon thee, pain as of a woman in travail? I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy soul (Jeremiah 22:23, 25).
This treats of those that have the Word, and thus truths and the understanding of them, who are said "to dwell in Lebanon and to have a nest in the cedars;" their destruction at the Last Judgment, and their effort then to receive truths, but in vain, because of the opposing falsities of evil, is signified by "what grace wilt thou find when pangs come upon thee, pain as of a woman in travail;" that they will then be carried away by the falsities of evil from hell is signified by "I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy soul."
 In the same:
Damascus is become feeble, she hath turned herself to flee, and horror hath taken hold of her, distress and pangs have seized her as of a woman in travail (Jeremiah 49:24).
The king of Babylon heard the fame of the people coming from the north; thence his hands are relaxed, distress hath taken hold of him, pain as of a woman in travail (Jeremiah 50:43).
The peoples heard, the pain of a travailing woman hath seized upon the inhabitants of Philistia (Exodus 15:14).
"The pains of a woman in travail" have a similar signification as in the passages above. In Hosea:
The pangs of a woman in travail shall come upon Ephraim, he is a son not wise, for he doth not stay his time in the womb of sons (Hosea 13:13).
This may be seen explained above n. 710. In Moses:
Jehovah God said to the woman, In multiplying I will multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain shalt thou bring forth sons; and thy obedience shall be to thy man, and he shall rule over thee (Genesis 3:16).
This does not mean that women are to bring forth sons in pain, but "the woman" means the church that from celestial has become natural; "eating of the tree of knowledge" signifies this. That the man of the church cannot easily be regenerated by means of truths and a life according to them, and that he must endure temptations that truths may be implanted and conjoined to good, is signified by "pain and conception shall be multiplied," and by "she shall bring forth sons in pain," "conception" signifying the reception of truth that is from good, and "to bring forth sons" signifying to bring forth truths from the marriage of truth and good. Because the natural man is full of lusts from the love of self and of the world, and these can be removed only by means of truths, therefore it is said "thy obedience shall be to thy man, and he shall rule over thee," "man" signifying here as elsewhere in the Word the truth of the church. That man is reformed and regenerated by means of truths and a life according to them has been shown above. From this it can now be seen that conceptions, births, nativities, and generations signify in the Word spiritual conceptions, births, nativities, and generations.
1. The Hebrew has "so were we."
2. The text itself just before has "to the earth," as found in the Hebrew and 741.
3. The Hebrew has "Jacob," as we find below in the explanation.
4. The Hebrew has "No shall be," as found in Arcana Coelestia 8398 and True Christian Religion 583.
5. The Hebrew has "they are dismayed," as just above in the text.
Revelation 12:4; The Apocalypse Explained 710)