Apocalypse Explained #298

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)

Study this Passage

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous    Next →

298. The right hand, when said of the Lord, signifies both omnipotence and omniscience, because there the south is at the right in heaven, and the north is at the left; and by the south is signified Divine truth in light, and by the north Divine truth in shade. And because Divine good has all power by means of the Divine truth, therefore by the right hand, when said of the Lord, omnipotence is signified; and because as Divine good has all intelligence and wisdom by means of Divine truth, and to the right in heaven is Divine truth in light as has been said, therefore, by the right hand, when said of the Lord, is also signified omniscience. That the south is at the right in heaven and that there Divine truth is in light, and that those who are there are in intelligence and wisdom; and that the north is at the left there, and that there Divine truth is in shade, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, where the four quarters in heaven are treated of (n. 141-153). That all power is from Divine good by means of Divine truth, may be seen in the same work, where the subject treated of is concerning the power of the angels of heaven (n. 228-235): also, that all intelligence and wisdom are from Divine good by means of Divine truth, may be seen in the same work, where the subject treated of is concerning the wisdom of the angels of heaven (n. 265-275): and concerning the wise and simple in heaven (n. 346-356).

(References: Heaven and Hell 141-153, Heaven and Hell 228-233, 265-275, 346-356; Revelation 5:1)


[2] That the right hand, when said of the Lord, signifies both omnipotence and omniscience, and when said of men, power and wisdom, is evident from the following passage. In David:

"The north and the right hand thou hast created them; Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name. Thou hast a mighty arm; strong is thy hand, and thy right hand shall be exalted. Justice and judgment are the support of thy throne; mercy and truth shall stand together before thy faces" (lxxxix. 12-14).

That by the right hand is here meant the south, is evident, for it is said, the north and the right hand, thou hast created; and the south signifies the Divine truth in light, thus in the highest sense (in which the Lord is spoken of) the omnipotence and omniscience, which Divine good has by means of Divine truth, as has been said above. Because both, omnipotence as well as omniscience, are signified, it is therefore said, Tabor and Hermon, justice and judgment, mercy and truth. Tabor and Hermon here signify those who are in Divine good and in Divine truth: justice and judgment signify Divine good and Divine truth, and similarly mercy and truth; by both together, in the spiritual sense, is signified Divine good by Divine truth. Omnipotence and omniscience, which Divine good has by means of Divine truth, are signified by "Thou hast a mighty arm," and by "strong is Thy hand, and Thy right hand shall be exalted."

(References: Psalms 89:12-14)


[3] Again:

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget" (Ps. cxxxvii. 5).

Jerusalem signifies the church as to the doctrine of Divine truth; and the right hand of Jehovah, Divine truth in light, because those are at the right hand of the Lord in heaven who are in light and in wisdom from Divine truth, as was said above: hence it is evident why it is said, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget."

(References: Psalms 137:5)


[4] Again:

"I was foolish and ignorant. But I am always with thee; thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou guidest me by thy counsel, and afterwards receivest me in glory" (Ps. lxxiii. 22-24).

Forasmuch as by the right hand, when said of man, is signified wisdom which is from Divine truth, it is therefore said, "I was foolish and ignorant; Thou guidest me in thy counsel, and afterwards receivest me in glory." To guide by counsel, is to lead by means of Divine truth: and to receive in glory, is to bless with intelligence: for glory, when said of the Lord, signifies Divine truth and Divine wisdom, but when said of man, it signifies intelligence therefrom.

(References: Psalms 73:22-24)


[5] Again:

"Jehovah is thy keeper; Jehovah is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night" (Ps. cxxi. 5, 6).

To be a shade on the right hand, signifies to be a defence against evil and falsity. Shade is used there for a shady place to preserve from hurt, and the right hand for power and wisdom from Divine truth, which would be hurt by evil and falsity unless the Lord defended. Because these things are signified, therefore it is said, "the sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night." By the sun is there signified the love of self, and thence all evil; and by the moon the falsity of evil. (That these things are signified by the sun and moon, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell, n. 122, 123; and in the Arcana Coelestia, n. 2441, 7078, 8487, 9755, 10,130, 10,189, 10,420, 10,702).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2441, Arcana Coelestia 7078, 8487, Arcana Coelestia 9755, 10130, 10189, 10420, 10702; Heaven and Hell 122-123; Psalms 121:5-6)


[6] Again:

"Let thy hand, Jehovah, be before the man of thy right hand, before the son of man whom thou hast made strong for thyself" (Ps. lxxx. 17).

"Let thy hand, Jehovah," means for a guard from omnipotence and omniscience: "the man of the right hand" for whom there is a guard, signifies the wise; and "the son of man," the intelligent, both by means of Divine truth.

(References: Psalms 80:17)


[7] Again:

"Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O mighty, in thy grace and in thine honour. In thine honour, mount up, ride on the Word of truth, of meekness, and of justice; thy right hand shall teach thee wonderful things. Kings' daughters are among thine excellent; at thy right hand shall stand the queen in the best gold of Ophir" (xlv. 3, 4, 9).

These things are said concerning the Lord. To gird the sword upon the thigh, signifies Divine truth combating from Divine good; wherefore it is said, "O mighty, in thy grace and in thine honour": by grace is signified Divine truth; and by honour, Divine good (as may be seen above, n. 131, 288). It is also likewise said, "In thine honour, mount up, ride on the Word of truth." In honour to mount up, signifies to combat from Divine good, and to ride upon the Word of truth signifies to combat from Divine truth, thus from Divine good by means of Divine truth. The Lord's omnipotence and omniscience are signified by "Thy right hand shall teach thee wonderful things." "The kings' daughters among the excellent," signify affections of truth, and "the queen who is at the right hand in the best gold of Ophir," signifies heaven and the church, and those therein who are in truths from good, the right hand denoting truth in light, and gold of Ophir the good of love.

(References: Psalms 45:3-4, 45:9; The Apocalypse Explained 131, 288)


[8] Again:

"The saying of Jehovah unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his anger" (Ps. cx. 1, 5; Matt. xxii. 44; Mark xii. 36; Luke xx. 42, 43).

That these things are said concerning the Lord is well known. Thereby is described the Lord's combat in the world against the hells, and the subjugation which was effected from Divine good by means of Divine truth. The right hand there signifies Divine truth; wherefore it is said, "until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet." By enemies are signified the hells: by making them the footstool of the feet is signified to subjugate entirely. The same is signified by "the Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his anger": the day of anger denoting a state of combat, and kings those who are in falsities from evil. (That the Lord, when He was in the world, put on Divine truth from Divine good, and that He thereby subjugated the hells, and disposed all things in the heavens into order, may be seen in the small work concerning the Last Judgment, n. 46: and in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 293, 294, 301, 303.)

(References: Luke 20:42-43; Mark 12:36; Matthew 22:44; Psalms 110:1, 110:5; The Last Judgment 46; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 293-294, 301, 303)


[9] In the Evangelists:

"Jesus said, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hands of power" (Matt. xxvi. 63, 64; Mark xiv. 61, 62; Luke xxii. 69).

And in Mark:

"The Lord after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God" (xvi. 19).

To sit at the right hands of power, and at the right hand of God, signifies the omnipotence and omniscience which belong to the Lord from Divine good by means of the Divine truth.

(References: Luke 22:69; Mark 14:62, Mark 16:19; Matthew 26:63-64, 26:64)


[10] In Isaiah:

"I have strengthened thee, I have also helped thee by the right hand of my justice. I, Jehovah God, strengthening thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I help thee" (xli. 10, 13).

"I have strengthened thee, I have also helped thee," signifies to give power and intelligence from the omnipotence and omniscience, which are from Divine good by means of Divine truth: hence it is said, "I have upheld thee by the right hand of my justice." By the right hand is signified Divine truth, and by justice Divine good. To strengthen the right hand signifies the power and wisdom which man has thence; because both omnipotence and omniscience, which belong to the Lord from Divine good by means of the Divine truth, are here meant, He is therefore called Jehovah God; for the Lord is called Jehovah from Divine good, and God from Divine truth. (As may be seen, n. 709, 732, 2586, 2769, 2807, 2822, 3921, 4287, 4402, 7010, 9167.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 709, 732, Arcana Coelestia 2586, 2769, 2807, 2822, 3921, 4287, 4402, 7010, Arcana Coelestia 9167; Isaiah 41:10, 41:13)


[11] Again:

"Jehovah hath said to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings to open before him doors that the gates may not be shut" (xlv. 1).

By Cyrus, in a representative sense, is meant the Lord. His omnipotence and omniscience from Divine good by means of Divine truth, from which in the world He subjugated all the hells, and afterwards keeps them subjugated for ever, is signified by "whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him, and I will loose the loins of kings": also, by "to open before him doors that the gates may not be shut." By the nations which should be subdued before Him, are signified the hells as to evils; and by the kings whose loins He should loose, are signified the hells as to falsities; by the doors which should be open before Him that the gates may not be shut, is signified that from omniscience all things are manifest to Him, and that from omnipotence He has the power of saving.

(References: Isaiah 45:1)


[12] By the right hand are signified the omniscience and omnipotence which belong to the Lord from Divine good by means of the Divine truth, also in the following passages:

In David:

"Jehovah continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved" (Psalm xvi. 8).

Again:

O God, "Thy right hand sustains me" (Psalm xviii. 35).

Again:

"O God, thy right hand is full of justice" (Psalm xlviii. 10).

In Isaiah:

"My hand hath founded the earth and my right hand hath spanned the heavens" (xlvii. 13).

Again:

God "hath sworn by his right hand and by the arm of his strength" (lxii. 8).

And in the Apocalypse,

The Son of man "having in his right hand seven stars" (i. 16).

In David:

"The right hand of Jehovah doeth valour: the right hand of Jehovah [is] exalted" (cxviii. 15, 16).

(References: Isaiah 48:13, 62:8; Psalms 16:8, 18:35, Psalms 48:10, Psalms 118:15-16; Revelation 1:16)


[13] Because by the right hand, when said of angels and men, are meant the wisdom and the intelligence which they have from Divine good by means of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, therefore

The angel of the Lord was seen by Zechariah standing at the right hand of the altar of incense (Luke i. 11).

And the angel was seen in the sepulchre where the Lord was laid, sitting on the right hand (Mark xvi. 5, 6).

And therefore also the sheep are said [to be] placed on the right hand, and the goats on the left (Matt. xxv. 33, 34).

By the sheep are here meant those who are in truths from good, or in the faith of truth from the good of charity: but by the goats are meant those who are in faith without charity, which faith is called faith alone, and, regarded in itself, is no faith.

(References: Luke 1:11; Mark 16:5-6; Matthew 25:33-34)


[14] On account of this signification of the right hand, when Aaron and his sons were inaugurated into the priesthood, the blood was sprinkled upon their right ear and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of the right foot (Exod. xxix. 20). By the blood here is signified Divine truth from Divine good; by the right ear, the perceptive [faculty] of truth from good; by the right hand and the right foot are signified the intelligence and power of truth from good in the internal or spiritual man, and in the external or natural man; and by the thumb and great toe, what is full.

(References: Exodus 29:20)


[15] Because as most things in the Word have also an opposite sense, so also has the right hand; and in that sense it signifies falsity from evil, and reasoning and combat thereof against truth from good.

As in David:

"Thou hast set up the right hand of his enemies" (Ps. lxxxix. 42).

Again:

"Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood" (Ps. cxliv. 8, 11)

In Isaiah:

"That he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?" (xliv. 20).

In the Apocalypse:

"They should receive a mark in the right hand or in the foreheads" (xiii. 16: xiv. 9).

The right hand, when said of the evil, signifies falsity, and the resulting reasoning and combat against truth, because the quarters with those who are in evil are opposite to the quarters which are with those who are in good; and so at the right hand of the former truths are in dense darkness, but falsities as it were in the greatest light. (That the quarters in the spiritual world, with those who are in evil, are opposite to the quarters that are with those who are in good, may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell (n. 151, 152): and the reason thereof, n. 122, 123.)

(References: Heaven and Hell 122-123, Heaven and Hell 151-152; Isaiah 44:20; Matthew 26:63-64; Psalms 89:42, Psalms 144:8, 144:11; Revelation 5:1, Revelation 13:16, 14:9)

Go to section / 1232  

← Previous    Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 296, 315, 319, 600, 838, 886

Other New Christian Commentary

Shade or shadow 1

Cyrus 1

Shade 1

Tabor and Hermon 1

Thumb and the great toe 1


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


Translate: