840. Verse 17. And that no one be able to buy and 1
to sell if he hath not the mark of the beast, signifies forbidding anyone to learn and teach anything but what has been acknowledged and thence accepted in doctrine. This is evident from the signification of "to buy and to sell," as being to acquire knowledges to oneself and to communicate them to others, thus to learn and to teach (of which presently). "To cause no one to be able" signifies to forbid. It is evident also from the signification of a "mark," as being an attestation and sign of acknowledgment that those who are in these so-called truths and goods of that faith are of the church (see just above, n. 838). From this it is clear that "to cause that no one be able to buy and to sell save he that hath the mark of the beast" signifies forbidding anyone to learn and to teach anything but what has been acknowledged and also accepted in doctrine. "To buy and to sell" signifies to acquire for oneself the knowledges of truth and good from the Word and to communicate them, or what is the same, to learn and teach, because "wealth and riches" signify in the Word the knowledges of truth and good; and "silver and gold," by means of which buying and selling are conducted, signify the truths and goods of heaven and the church; and this is why "buying and selling," and also "doing business and trading," are spoken of in the Word here and there, and why they signify spiritual buying and selling, and doing business and trading.
 As in Isaiah:
Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no silver, come ye, buy and eat; come, I say, buy wine and milk without silver and without price (Isaiah 55:1).
Everyone sees that by "buying wine and milk" is not here meant buying such things. And as "to buy" signifies to acquire for oneself such things as contribute to man's spiritual life, evidently the particulars here are to be spiritually understood; thus the "waters" to which everyone that thirsts may come signify truths for those that desire them; "waters," meaning truths from the Word, and "to thirst" meaning to desire them; that these are given freely from the Lord is signified by "he that hath no silver," also by "without silver and without price;" "to eat" signifies to appropriate to oneself; "wine and milk" signify spiritual truth and natural truth therefrom, both from good.
 In Matthew:
The prudent virgins said to the foolish, Go ye rather to them that sell, and buy oil for yourselves; but while they went away to them to buy the bridegroom came (Matthew 25:9, 10).
"The prudent virgins" signify those in the church with whom faith is conjoined to charity, and "the foolish" signify those in the church with whom faith is separated from charity; for "lamps" signify the truths of faith, and "oil" signifies the good of love; therefore "to go to them that sell and to buy" signifies to those who teach, and to learn or acquire for oneself. But as such had not acquired for themselves the good of love, and vivified by that means the truths of faith, while they lived in the world, but had acquired them afterwards, and as no one can acquire for himself the good of love after death and retain it, so these foolish virgins, by whom all who separate the good of love or the good of charity from the truths of faith are signified, were not admitted to the marriage feast nor received by the bridegroom. "The marriage feast" signifies heaven, and "the bridegroom" the Lord.
(References: Matthew 25:9-10)
 In the Gospels:
Jesus entered into the temple, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers and the seats of them that sold doves (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; Luke 19:45).
"Those that sold and bought" here signify those who make gain for themselves out of holy things; the "tables of the money-changers" signifies those who do this from holy truths; and the "seats of them who sold doves" those who do it from holy goods; therefore it is afterwards said that they made the temple "a den of thieves," "thieves" meaning those who pillage the truths and goods of the church, and thus make to themselves gain.
 In Luke:
As it came to pass in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded (Luke 17:28).
"To eat and drink" signifies here to live for self and the world, and to appropriate to oneself evils and falsities; "to buy and sell" signifies to acquire these and to communicate them to others; "to plant and build" signifies to confirm oneself in these, and to live in them.
 In the same:
Jesus said, Now he who hath a purse let him take it, and likewise a wallet; but he that hath no sword let him sell his garments and buy one (Luke 22:36).
What is meant by these words is evident from what follows there, namely, that "this which was written must be fulfilled in the Lord" (verse 37), thus that He was to suffer the cross; and since this must needs distract the minds of those who were then living, as well as the minds of the disciples, and lead them into doubts respecting the Lord and His kingdom, and thus into temptations, and these doubts could be dispelled only by means of truths, therefore the Lord says, "he that hath a purse and a wallet let him take them," that is, he that possesses truths from the Word, in which it is foretold that Christ must suffer such things, let him take heed not to lose them; for the purse and the wallet have a similar signification as the coins and money in them, namely, the knowledges of truth and good from the Word. "But he that hath no sword let him sell his garments and buy one," signifies let those who have no truths reject what is their own, and acquire the truths with which they may fight against falsities, "sword" signifying the combat of truth against falsity, and the destruction of falsity.
(References: Luke 22:37)
 As "Tyre" signifies the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and good, and thence also the knowledges of truth and good which belong to the church, and which are serviceable for its doctrine, so where "Tyre" is treated of in the Word, her "tradings" are also treated of, which signify the acquisition and also the communication to others of these knowledges, as in Ezekiel:
All the ships were for the trading of thy traffic; Tarshish was thy trader in silver, iron, tin, and lead; they traded for thy merchandise. Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, these were thy merchants; they traded for the merchandise with the soul of man and with vessels of brass. The sons of Dedan were thy merchants, many islands were the merchants of thy hand. Syria was thy trader with chrysoprasus. But thy riches and thy tradings, thy merchandise, and they who trade thy traffic, shall fall into the heart of the seas in the day of thy fall (Ezekiel 27:12, to the end).
Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is devastated, whose merchants are princes, her traders the honored of the earth (Isaiah 23:1, 8).
Everyone can see that tradings and merchandise here do not mean tradings and merchandise; for what has the Word, which in itself is Divine and heavenly, and teaches man about God, heaven and the church, eternal life, and the like, in common with such things? Therefore who cannot see that all the particulars here signify spiritual things which pertain to heaven and the church, not only the names of the lands here mentioned with which trading was carried on, but also their special kinds of merchandise? But it would take too much space to explain here what the particulars in the spiritual sense signify; it is enough to know that "tradings" here signify the acquisition and communication of the knowledges of truth and good; and that "merchandise or wares" signify these knowledges; which are multifarious.
(References: Ezekiel 27)
 That this is the signification is evident also from these words in Ezekiel:
In thy wisdom and in thine intelligence thou hast made to thyself wealth; and hast made gold and silver in thy treasures; by the abundance of thy wisdom in thy trading thou hast multiplied to thyself wealth (Ezekiel 28:4, 5).
This treats of the prince of Tyre, by whom the knowledges of truth from the Word, through which come intelligence and wisdom, are meant; and as these same knowledges are signified by "wealth," and the acquisition of them by "trading," it is said, "by the multiplication 2 of thy wisdom in thy trading thou hast multiplied to thyself wealth."
(References: Ezekiel 28:4-5)
 From all this it can now be seen why:
The Lord compared the kingdom of the heavens to a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it (Matthew 13:45, 46).
"Pearls" signify knowledges, and also truths themselves; and "the one of great price" signifies the acknowledgment of the Lord; and "to sell all that he had" signifies to set aside all things that are of one's own love, and "to buy it" signifies to procure for oneself that Divine truth.
(References: Matthew 13:45-46)
 The like is meant by:
The treasure hidden in a field, which a man having found hid, and for joy he went and sold all things whatsoever that he had and bought the field (Matthew 13:44).
The "treasure" signifies the Divine truth that is in the Word; and the "field" signifies the church and its doctrine; and "to sell all things whatsoever that he had and buy the field" signifies here as above, to set aside what is one's own and to acquire for oneself the Divine truth that is in the Lord's church.
 As "trading" signifies the acquisition and possession of truths, the Lord spake by a parable:
Of a man going on a journey, who gave to his servants talents, that they might trade with them and make gain (Matthew 25:14-30);
and of another:
Who gave to his servants ten pounds, that they might trade with them (Luke 19:12-26).
"To trade," "tradings," and "traders," have the same signification elsewhere in the Word; also the contrary sense, in which they signify the reception and appropriation of falsities (as in Isaiah 48:15; Ezekiel 16:3; Nahum 3:14; Revelation 18:3, 11-24). So the church in which such things exist is called:
A land of trading (Ezekiel 16:29; 21:30, 31; 29:14).
Moreover, "to sell" and "to be sold" signify to alienate truths and to be alienated from them, and to accept falsities in their place, and to be captivated by them (Isaiah 50:1; 52:3; Ezekiel 30:12; Joel 3:6, 7; Nahum 3:4; Zechariah 13:5; Psalms 44:11-13; Deuteronomy 32:30). From this can be seen what is properly signified by "being redeemed and redemption," where the Lord is treated of; as in Isaiah:
Ye have sold yourselves for nought; therefore ye shall be redeemed without silver (Isaiah 52:3);
and in many passages elsewhere.