Apocalypse Revealed (Coulsons) n. 926

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926. To these things I will add this MEMORABLE OCCURRENCE.

While I was engaged on the exposition of the twentieth chapter, and was meditating on the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, a certain one appeared to me and asked 'What are you meditating on?' I said that it was about the false prophet. Then he said 'I will lead you to the place where those are who are understood by "the false prophet".' He said that they were the same as those who in chap. xiii are understood by 'the beast out of the land, which had two horns like the lamb and spoke as the dragon'. I followed him, and behold, I saw a crowd in the midst of which were the leaders, who taught that nothing else saves a man but faith; and that works are good, but not for salvation; and that still they should be taught from the Word so that the laity, especially the simple, may be kept more closely in bonds of obedience to magistrates, and as from religion, thus interiorly, may be compelled to exercise moral charity. [2] And then one of them seeing me said, 'Would you like to see our shrine in which there is the image representative of our faith?' I drew near and saw, and behold it was magnificent, and in the midst of it there was the image of a woman clothed with a scarlet garment, and holding in the right hand a gold coin and in the left a string of pearls. But both the shrine and the image had been brought about by means of phantasies; for infernal spirits are able by means of phantasies to represent magnificent things by closing up the interiors of the mind and opening only its exteriors. But when I became aware that they were such illusions I prayed to the Lord, and suddenly the interiors of my mind were opened, and then I saw instead of the magnificent shrine a house with cracks from the roof right down to the bottom, in which nothing held together. And instead of the woman I saw hovering in that house an apparition (simulachrum) of which the head was like a dragon's, the body like a leopard's, and the feet like those of a bear, just as 'the beast out of the sea' is described (Rev. xiii). And instead of the floor there was a swamp swarming with frogs. And it was said to me that beneath the swamp was a large hewn stone under which the Word was lying well hidden. [3] Having seen these things, I said to the illusionist, 'Is this your shrine?' And he said that it was. But then suddenly interior sight was opened to him, and he saw the same things as I did. Having seen them he cried out with a great cry, 'What is this? Where has it come from?' And I said that it was by virtue of the light out of heaven, which discloses the quality of every form, and here [it has disclosed] the quality of your faith separated from spiritual charity. Whereupon there came an east wind and it carried away everything that was there, and it was also drying up the swamp and thus laying bare the stone under which the Word lay. And afterwards it breathed a spring-like warmth out of heaven, and then, behold, in the same place a tabernacle was seen, simple in its outward form; and the angels who were with me were saying, 'Behold the tabernacle of Abraham, what it was like when the three angels came to him and brought news of the forthcoming birth of Isaac. Before the eyes this appears simple, but in accordance with the influx of light out of heaven it becomes more and more magnificent.' And they were permitted to open the heaven in which were the spiritual angels who are in wisdom. And then by virtue of the light inflowing therefrom that tabernacle was appearing just like the Jerusalem temple. When I looked into it I saw the foundation stone under which the Word had been deposited. It was set around with precious stones from which as it were lightning flashed forth on to the walls, upon which were the forms of cherubs, and it beautifully variegated them with colours. [4] When I had admired these things the angels said, 'You shall see things still more wonderful.' And they were permitted to open the third heaven, in which were the celestial angels who are in love. And then by virtue of the light inflowing therefrom the whole of that temple disappeared, and instead of it there was seen standing upon the foundation stone, which was the Word, the Lord Only in an appearance similar to that in which He was seen by John (Rev. i). But because the holiness then filled the interiors of the minds of the angels, with the result that they were impelled to fall prostrate on their faces, suddenly the passage of light out of the third heaven was closed by the Lord, and the passage of light out of the second heaven was opened, in consequence of which the former view of the temple came back, and also that of the tabernacle, but in the temple. By this was portrayed what is understood by these words in this chapter:-

Behold God's tabernacle is with men, and He shall dwell with them (verse 3, n. 882);

and by these:-

I saw no temple in the New Jerusalem, for the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof and the Lamb (verse 22, n. 918).

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