From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Revealed #533

Study this Passage

/ 962  

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.

/ 962  

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

From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Revealed #53

Study this Passage

/ 962  

53. And His countenance as the sun shining in its power. This symbolizes the Divine love and wisdom which are the Lord and which emanate from Him.

The fact that the face of Jehovah or of the Lord means the Divine itself in its essence, which is Divine love and wisdom, thus Himself, will be seen in explanations below where the face of God is mentioned. "The sun shining in its power" has the same symbolic meaning.

In the sight of angels the Lord is seen as the sun in heaven, and it is His Divine love accompanied by Divine wisdom that so appears. This may be seen in the book Heaven and Hell (London, 1758), nos. 116-125 and in Angelic Wisdom Regarding Divine Love and Wisdom, 83-172.

[2] It remains here simply to confirm from the Word that when the subject is the Lord, the sun is His Divine love and at the same time His Divine wisdom. This can be seen from the following passages: (that) day... the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days... (Isaiah 30:25-26)

That day is the Lord's advent, when the old church has been destroyed and a new one is about to be established. The light of the moon is faith arising from charity, and the light of the sun is intelligence and wisdom arising from love emanating then from the Lord.

Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon wane; for Jehovah will be your everlasting light... (Isaiah 60:20)

The sun that will not go down is love and wisdom from the Lord.

...the Rock of Israel spoke to me... like the light of the morning when the sun rises... (2 Samuel 23:3-4)

The Rock of Israel is the Lord.

...his throne (shall be) as the sun... (Psalms 89:36-37)

This is said in reference to David, but David there means the Lord.

They shall fear You as long as the sun endures... In His days the righteous shall flourish, and abundance of peace, until the moon is no more... Before the sun He will have the name of Son, and all nations shall be blessed in Him... (Psalms 72:5, 7, 17)

These statements, too, are made in reference to the Lord.

[3] Because the Lord appears in heaven to angels as the sun, therefore when He was transfigured,

His face shone like the sun, and His garments became... as the light. (Matthew 17:1-2)

Moreover, in Revelation 10:1 it is said of the mighty angel coming down from heaven that he was "clothed with a cloud," and "his face was like the sun," and of the woman in Revelation 12:1 that she appeared "clothed with the sun." The sun there is love and wisdom emanating from the Lord. The woman there is the church called the New Jerusalem.

[4] Since the sun means the Lord with respect to love and wisdom, it is apparent what the sun symbolizes in the following places:

Behold, the day of Jehovah is coming, cruel... The sun will be darkened at its rising, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. I will visit upon the world its wickedness, and upon the impious their iniquity. (Isaiah 13:9-11)

...Jehovah will visit [punishment] in the high place upon the host of the high place, and on the earth upon the kings of the earth... Then the moon will blush and the sun be ashamed. (Isaiah 24:21, 23)

When I put out your light, I will cover the heavens, and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine... and I will... bring darkness upon your land. (Ezekiel 32:7-8)

...the day of Jehovah is coming..., a day of darkness... The sun and moon (will not cause their light to shine), and the stars have diminished their brightness. (Joel 2:1-2, 10)

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great... day of Jehovah. (Joel 2:31)

...the day of Jehovah is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon have grown dark... (Joel 3:14-15)

The fourth angel sounded: and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars..., and a third of the day did not shine... (Revelation 8:12)

...the sun became as black as sackcloth of goat's hair, and the moon became as blood... (Revelation 6:12)

...the sun was... darkened because of the smoke of the pit. (Revelation 9:2)

The sun in these places does not mean the world's sun, but the sun of the angelic heaven, which is the Lord's Divine love and wisdom. These are said to be obscured, darkened, covered, or become black when falsities and evils are present in a person.

[5] It is apparent, therefore, that something similar is meant by the Lord's words when speaking of the end of the age, which is the final period of the church:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven... (Matthew 24:29, cf. Mark 13:24-25)

So, too, in the following places:

The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be dark for them. (Micah 3:6) that day... I will make the sun go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight. (Amos 8:9)

She... who has borne seven... will breath her last; her sun will go down while it is yet day. (Jeremiah 15:9)

The subject here is the Jewish Church, which will breathe its last or perish. The sun's going down means that there will no longer be any love or charity.

[6] It is said in Joshua that the sun stood still in Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Aijalon (Joshua 10:12-13). This seems to be an historical statement, but in fact it is prophetic, for it comes from the book of Jasher, which was a prophetic book; for in verse 13 it says, "Is this not written in the Book of Jasher?" The same book is called a prophetic one by David in 2 Samuel 1:17, 18.

A similar statement is found in Habakkuk:

The mountains... were shaken... The sun and moon stood still in their habitation. (Habakkuk 3:10-11)

[In Isaiah:]

Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon wane. (Isaiah 60:20)

For to cause the sun and moon to stand still would be to destroy the universe.

[7] Since the sun means the Lord with respect to Divine love and wisdom, therefore in their holy worship ancient peoples turned their faces to the rising sun, and their temples also, a practice that continues to this day.

That the sun in these passages does not mean the world's sun is clear from the fact that it was profane and an abomination for people to worship the world's sun and moon (see Numbers 25:1-4, Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:3, 5, Jeremiah 8:1-2; 43:10, 13; 44:17-19, 25). For the world's sun means self-love and a conceit in one's own intelligence, and self-love is diametrically opposed to Divine love, while a conceit in one's own intelligence is opposed to Divine wisdom. To worship the world's sun is also to accept nature as the creator of all things and one's own prudence as the effecter of all things, which entails a denial of God and a denial of Divine providence.

/ 962  

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