Doc. of Sacred Scripture (Dick) n. 13

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13. In Revelation ix we read,

The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power ... The shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had ... breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many [horses] running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. Rev. ix 1-3, 7-11.

These things also no one would understand unless the spiritual sense were revealed to him; for nothing here is said without meaning: everything, even to each particular, has a signification. The subject here treated of is the state of the Church when all cognitions* of truth from the Word have been destroyed, and consequently man, having become sensual, persuades himself that falsities are truths.

[2] By the star fallen from heaven is signified the cognitions of truth destroyed; by the sun and the air being darkened is signified the light of truth become thick darkness; by the locusts which went forth out of the smoke of that pit are signified falsities in ultimates (extremis) such as are with those who have become sensual, and who see and judge all things from fallacies; by a scorpion is signified their persuasive power. The locusts appearing as horses prepared for battle signifies their reasonings as from the understanding of truth; that the locusts had crowns like gold upon their heads, and faces like the faces of men, signifies that they appeared to themselves as conquerors and wise; their having hair as the hair of women signifies that they appeared to themselves as if they were in the affection of truth; and their having teeth as the teeth of lions signifies that sensual things, which are the lowest things of the natural man, appeared to them as if they had power over all things.

[3] That they had breastplates as breastplates of iron signifies argumentations from fallacies, by which they fight and prevail. The sound of their wings being as the sound of chariots running to battle signifies reasons as from truths of doctrine from the Word, for which truths they were to combat; their having tails as scorpions signifies persuasions; their having stings in their tails signifies craftiness in deceiving by means of their persuasions. Their having power to hurt men five months signifies that they bring into a kind of stupor those who are in the understanding of truth and in the perception of good. That they have over them a king, the angel of the bottomless pit whose name is Abaddon or Apollyon, signifies that their falsities were from hell, where those are who are merely natural and in self-intelligence.

[4] This is the spiritual sense of these words of which nothing appears in the sense of the Letter; and it is the same throughout the Revelation. It should be known that in the spiritual sense all things cohere in a continuous sequence, to the perfect arrangement of which each word contributes in the sense of the Letter, or natural sense. Thus, if the smallest word were taken away the sequence would be broken and the connection would be destroyed. Lest this should happen, therefore, at the end of this prophetical Book is it added,

That not a word should be taken away. Rev. xxii 19.

It is the same with the Books of the Prophets of the Old Testament. Lest anything should be taken away from these, it was brought about by the Divine Providence of the Lord that each particular in them was counted, even to the letters. This was done by the Masoretes.** * The term cognitiones, here used in the Latin, is translated "cognitions" to distinguish these knowledges from those that are meant by the Latin scientifica also used in the Writings of Swedenborg. Two of the meanings most commonly associated with cognitiones are, (i) a particular species of knowledge, as knowledges of the Word, of good and truth, or of spiritual things (A.C. 24, 3665, 9945; N.J.H.D. 51; H.H. 111, 351, 469, 474, 517, 518); and (ii) a higher type of knowledge which is from understanding and perception (A.C. 1486-7; H.H. 353). ** These were Jewish Rabbis whose object was to preserve the integrity of the text of the Hebrew Scriptures.

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