From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Revealed #533

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533. A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet. This symbolizes the Lord's New Church in heaven, which is the New Heaven, and the New Church to come on earth, which is the New Jerusalem.

That the woman here symbolizes the Lord's New Church is clear from the particulars in this chapter, understood in their spiritual meaning. To be shown that a woman elsewhere in the Word also symbolizes the church, see no. 434. A woman symbolizes the church because the church is called the Lord's bride and wife.

The woman here appeared clothed with the sun because the church is governed by love toward the Lord; for it acknowledges Him and keeps His commandments, and that is loving Him (John 14:21-24). That the sun symbolizes love may be seen in no. 53.

The moon appeared under the woman's feet because it means the church on earth, which was not yet conjoined with the church in heaven. The moon symbolizes the intelligence in a natural person, and faith (no. 413). And its being seen under the woman's feet means, symbolically, that it was a church to come on earth. Feet otherwise symbolize that same church after it has been conjoined.

[2] It should be known that the church exists in heaven just as on earth. For the Word is found there, and churches, and the preaching of sermons in them. Clerical and priestly orders exist there. For all the angels there were once people, and their departure from the world was for them but a continuation of life. Consequently they are perfected in love and wisdom, each one according to the degree of the affection for truth and goodness that he brought with him from the world.

The church among these is the church meant by the woman clothed with the sun, having on her head a crown of twelve stars. But because the church in heaven does not continue in existence unless there is also a church on earth that possesses an accordant love and wisdom, and this was yet to come, therefore the moon was seen under the woman's feet, which in particular here symbolizes faith, a faith which, as it exists today, is not a means of conjunction.

[3] The church in heaven does not continue in existence unless it is conjoined with a church on earth, because heaven where angels are, and the church where people are, function together, like the internal and external components in a person; and the internal component in a person does not continue in its proper condition unless the external component is joined to it. For the internal component without the external one is like a house without a foundation, or like seed on top of the ground and not in the ground, thus like something without a root - in a word, like a cause without an effect in which to abide.

It can be seen from this that it is an absolute necessity that a church exist somewhere in the world which has the Word and where the Lord is consequently known.

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Many thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and to Rev. N.B. Rogers, translator, for the permission to use this translation.

The Bible


John 14:21-24



21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.