By Rev. Julian Duckworth

Wars originate from the love of dominion and from cruelty, which are diametrically opposed to charity*. They are permitted because mankind must live in freedom, and yet they are also under providence* in terms of their outcome. Spiritually 'war' is about our personal work in confronting what is within ourselves that is against the things of God.

(References: Divine Providence 251; The Apocalypse Revealed 52)

From Swedenborg's Works

Apocalypse Revealed #52

Apocalypse Revealed (Rogers translation)

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52. And issuing from His mouth a sharp two-edged sword. This symbolizes a dispersion of falsities by the Lord by means of the Word and doctrine drawn from it.

Swords are often mentioned in the Word, and they symbolize nothing else than truth combating falsities and destroying them. In an opposite sense they also symbolize falsity combating truths. For wars in the Word symbolize spiritual wars, which are those of truth against falsity, and of falsity against truth. Therefore the weapons of war symbolize the means by which the combat is carried on in these wars.

It is apparent that the sword here means a dispersion of falsities by the Lord, because it was seen to issue from His mouth, and to issue from the Lord's mouth is to do so from the Word, for the Lord spoke it with His mouth. Furthermore, because the Word is understood by means of doctrine drawn from it, this too is symbolically meant.

It is called a sharp two-edged sword because it pierces the heart and soul.

(References: Ezekiel 32:10-12; Isaiah 37:38, 37:7; Revelation 1:16)

[2] To show that the sword here means a dispersion of falsities by the Lord by means of the Word, we will cite some passages which mention a sword, from which the reality of this can be seen. Namely:

A sword against... Babylon, ...her princes and her wise men! A sword against the liars, that they may become fools! A sword against her mighty men, that they may be dismayed! A sword against her horses and her chariots...! A sword against her treasures, that they may be plundered! A drought upon her waters, that they may be dried up! (Jeremiah 50:35-38)

The subject here is Babylon, and by it are meant people who falsify and adulterate the Word. Consequently the liars who are to become fools, the horses and chariots with a sword upon them, and the treasures that will be plundered symbolize their doctrinal falsities. The waters that will have a drought upon them that they may be dried up symbolize truths, as may be seen just above in no. Apocalypse Revealed ccc50.

(References: The Apocalypse Revealed 50)

[3] ...prophesy and say..., "A sword... is sharpened and also polished! Sharpened to make a great slaughter... Let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain, a sword for a great slaughter, piercing the innermost recesses, that... stumbling blocks may be multiplied." (Ezekiel 21:9-15, 19, 20)

A sword here means also the laying waste of truth in the church.

Jehovah will contend... with His sword against all flesh, and the slain by Jehovah shall be multiplied. (Isaiah 66:16)

Here and elsewhere in the Word, the slain by Jehovah are what people are called who perish as a result of falsities.

On all the desolate heights in the wilderness the plunderers have come, ...the sword of Jehovah devouring from one end of the land to the other. (Jeremiah 12:12)

At the peril of our lives we bring in our bread, because of the sword in the wilderness. (Lamentations 5:9)

Woe to the worthless shepherd who deserts the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye. (Zechariah 11:17)

The sword against the shepherd's right eye is falsity in his intellect.

...the sons of men are set on fire..., their tongue a sharp sword. (Psalms 57:4)

Behold, they belch with their mouth; a sword is in their lips. (Psalms 59:7)

(The workers of iniquity) sharpen their tongue like a sword... (Psalms 64:3)

A sword has similar symbolic meanings elsewhere, as in Isaiah 13:15; 21:14, 15; 37:6, 7, 38; 31:7, 8, Jeremiah 2:30; 5:12; 11:22; 14:13-18, Ezekiel 7:15; 32:10-12.

(References: Ezekiel 21:19-20, Ezekiel 21:9-20; Isaiah 13:13, 21:14-15, 27:1, 31:7-8; Psalms 64:2-3)

[4] It can be seen from this what the Lord meant by a sword in the following places:

(Jesus said that He did not come) to bring peace on the earth... but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

(Jesus said,) ."..he who does (not) have a purse... and... knapsack..., let him sell his garments and buy (a sword)...." (The disciples) said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said..., "It is enough." (Luke 22:36, 38)

...all who take the sword will perish by the sword. (Matthew 26:51, 52)

Regarding the end of the age, Jesus says,

They will fall by the edge of the sword, and be taken captive among all the nations. And (finally) Jerusalem will be trampled... (Luke 21:24)

The end of the age is the final period of the church. The sword is falsity destroying truth. The nations are evils. The Jerusalem which will be trampled is the church.

(References: Ezekiel 7:15; Matthew 26:51-52)

[5] It is apparent from this, now, that a sharp sword issuing from the mouth of the Son of Man symbolizes a dispersion of falsities by the Lord by means of the Word.

So, too, in the following places in the book of Revelation: the one who sat on (the fiery red horse)...there was given... a great sword. (Revelation 6:4)

From the mouth (of Him who sat on the white horse) came a sharp sword, that with it He might strike the nations... ...the rest were killed with the sword... of Him who sat on the horse. (Revelation 19:15, 21)

He who sat on the white horse means the Lord in relation to the Word, something that is openly stated there in verses 13 and 16.

The like is meant in the book of Psalms:

Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One... ride upon the word of truth... Your arrows are sharp... (Psalms 45:3-5)

The subject is the Lord. Moreover, elsewhere:

Let the saints exult... and let a two-edged sword be in their hand. (Psalms 149:5, 6)

And in Isaiah:

(Jehovah) has made My mouth like a sharp sword. (Isaiah 49:2)

(References: Ezekiel 21:19-20, 21:9-15; Psalms 64:2-3, 149:5-6; Revelation 1:16)

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