Emanuel Swedenborg.

The Apocalypse revealed, wherein are disclosed the arcana there foretold, which have hitherto remained concealed (Volume 1) online

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Not a few have labored at the explication of the Apoca-
lypse, but as they were unacquainted with the spiritual sense
of the Word, they could not discern the arcana which it
contains, seeing that these can only be unfolded by the
spiritual sense : expositors have therefore formed various con-
jectures respecting it, in many instances applying its con-
tents to the affairs of empires, and blending them, at the
same time, with ecclesiastical matters. The Apocalypse,
however, in like manner as the rest of the Word, treats not,
in its spiritual sense, of mundane things, but of such as are
heavenly, thus not of empires and kingdoms, but of heaven
and the church.

It is to be observed that, after the last judgment, which
was accomplished in the spiritual world, in the year 1757,
and which forms the subject of a small treatise published in
London in 1758, a new heaven was formed from among
Christians, from those only, however, who admitted the
Lord to be the God of heaven and earth, according to his own
words in Matthew xxviii. 18; and likewise repented in the
world of their evil works: from this heaven the New Church
on earth, which is the New Jerusalem, descends and will
continue to descend. That this Church will acknowledge
the Lord only is evident from these words in the Apocalypse :
"There came unto me one of the seven angels, and talked
with me, saying. Come hither, I will show thee the bride,
the Lamb's wife, and he showed me that great city, the
holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God." And
in another place : "Let us be glad and rejoice, for the time
of the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made
herself ready ; blessed are they wliich are called unto the
marriage supper of the Lamb" (chap. xix. 7, 9). That
there will be a new heaven, and that the New Church will

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descend from thence upon earth, is evident from the follow-
ing words in the same book : " I saw a new heaven and a
new earth : and I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming
down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned
for her husband ; and he that sat upon the throne said, Be-
hold, I make all things new ; and he said unto me, Write,
for these words are true and faithful " (chap, xxi, 1, 2, 5) :
the new heaven means a new heaven from among Christians ;
the New Jerusalem means a new church upon earth,
which will make one with that new heaven ; the Lamb,
means the Lord as to the Divine Humanity.

To this something shall be added by way of illustration.
The christian heaven is below the ancient heavens ; into this
heaven, from the time of the Lord's abode in the world, were
admitted those who worshiped one God under three per-
sons, and who did not at the same time entertain an idea of
three Gods ; and this, by reason of a trinity of persons being
received throughout the whole christian world ; but they,
who entertained no other idea of the Lord's Humanity, than
as of the humanity of another man, could not receive the
faith of the New Jerusalem, which is, that the Lord is the
only God in whom there is a trinity ; these latter, therefore,
were separated and removed ; it was given me to see their
separation and removal after the last judgment. For upon
a just idea of God, the universal heaven and the church
universal on earth, are lounded, and in general the whole of
religion ; for by that idea there is conjunction, and by con-
junction, light, wisdom, and eternal happiness.

Any one may see that the Apocalypse could no how be
explained but by the Lord alone, since every word of it con-
tains arcana, which never could be known without some
special illumination, and consequent revelation ; wherefore
it has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit ; and
to teach me. It must not therefore be supposed that I have
given any explication of my own, nor that even of any angel,
but only what I have had communicated to me from the
Lord alone. The Lord said, moreover, by an angel unto
John : " Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book"
(chap. xxii. 10) ; by which is signified, that they are to be
manifested and laid open.

Amsterdam, 1766.



Babylon, or the Roman Catholic Religion, being treated
of in the Apocalypse, in chapters xvii., xviii. and xix., it is
expedient, at the commencement of these explications, to say
something concerning its doctrines, and that in the following
order : On Baptism ; on the Eucharist or Holy Supper ; on
Masses ; on Repentance ; on Justification ; on Purgatory ;
on the Seven Sacraments; on the Saints; and on Power.

" I. On Baptism, they teach: that Adam, after the sin
of disobedience, was wholly changed for the worse, both as
to soul and body ; that this sin was transfused into the whole
human race ; that this original sin is only taken away by the
merit of Christ ; and that the merit of Christ is applied by
the sacrament of baptism ; and that thus the whole guilt of
original sin is taken away by baptism; that concupiscence
nevertheless remains in the baptized as an incentive to sins,
but not sin itself; that thus they put on Christ, become new
creatures, and obtain a full and complete remission of sins.
Baptism is called the laver of regeneration and of faith.
That the baptized, when they grow up, are to be questioned
concerning the promises made by their sponsors; which is
the Sacrament of Confirmation. That by reason of
lapses after baptism, the sacrament of repentance is neces-

*' IT. On the Eucharist or Holy Supper. That
immediately after consecration, the real body and blood of
VOL. I. 1


Jesus Christ are truly and substantially comprehended
under the form of bread and wine, together with his soul
and divinity ; the body under the form of bread, and the
blood under the form of wine, by virtue of the words : but
the body itself under the form of wine, and the blood under
the form of bread, and the soul in both, by virtue of a natural
connexion and concomitance, whereby the parts of the Lord
Christ are united together, and the divinity by reason of its
admirable hypostatic union with the body and soul ; thus that
they are as fully comprehended under one form as under
both ; in a word, that the whole and entire Christ exists
under the form of the bread and under every part of that
form ; and the whole of him also under the form of the
wine and all its parts ; that therefore the two forms are
separated, and the bread is given to the laity, and the wine
to the clergy. That water is to be mixed wiih wine in the
cup. That the laity are to receive the communion from
the clergy, and the clergy from themselves. That the real
body and the real blood of Christ, after consecration, is in
the host in the consecrated particles ; and that therefore
the host is to be worshiped when it is shewn and carried
about. That this wonderful and singular conversion of the
whole substance of the bread into body, and of the whole
substance of the wine into blood, is called transubstantiation.
That the communication of both forms, under certain con-
ditions, may be granted by the pope. It is called supersub-
stantial bread, and the bread of angels, which these eat
without any veils : it is called moreover spiritual food ; also
the antidote by which they are released from their sins.

"III. On Masses. It is called the sacrifice of the
mass, because the sacrifice by which Christ offered up
himself to God the Father, is represented thereby under the
form of bread and wine ; that thence it is a sacrifice truly
propitiatory, pure, and altogether holy. That if the people
do not connnunicate sacramentally, but only the minister,
in such case the people communicate spiritually, because
the ministers do it, not for themselves only, but for all the
faithful who appertain to the body of Christ. That mass
ought not to be performed in the vulgar tongue, because it
contains the great learning of the faithful people ; but that
the ministers may declare something concerning it on the
Lord's day. That it is ordained, that some things which
are mystical should be pronounced with a lower, and other
things with a louder, voice ; and, for the purpose of giving


a majesty to so great a sacrifice which is offered to God,
there should be lights, incense, garments, and other things
of a like nature for the occasion. That it is to be offered
up for the sins, penalties, satisfactions, and all the necessi-
ties of the living; and also for the dead. That masses in
honor of the saints are thanksgivings for their intercession
when they are implored.

" IV. On Repentance. That besides baptism there is
a sacrament of repentance, whereby the benefit of the death
and merit of Christ is applied to those who lapse after
baptism ; therefore it is called a kind of laborious baptism.
That the parts of repentance are contrition, confession, and
satisfaction. That Contrition is the gift of God, and the
impulse of the Holy Ghost, not yet inhabiting, but only
moving the contrite person, therefore it is a disposing.
That Confession ought to be made of all mortal sins, even
the most secret, and of the intentions ; that sins which are
withheld from confession are not forgiven, but that those
which after search do not occur, are included in confession ;
that confession ought to be made at least once a year ; that
absolution of sins is to be given by the ministers of the
keys, and that they are remitted on their saying, I Absolve ;
that absolution is like the act of a judge when sentence is
pronounced ; that the more grievous sins are to be ab-
solved by bishops, and the still more grievous by the pope.
That Satisfaction is made by satisfactory punishments
imposed by the minister at discretion, according to the
measure of the offence ; that when eternal punishment is
remitted, then temporal punishment is remitted also. That
the power of Indulgences is left by Christ to the church,
and that the use of them is highly salutary.

" V. On Justification. That a translation cannot be
effected from that state in which man is born a son of Adam,
to a state of grace through the second Adam the Saviour,
without the washing of regeneration and faith, or without
baptism. That the second beginning of justification is
from preventing grace, which is a calling, with which man
cooperates by converting himself That disposition is
produced by faith, when man believes those things to be
true which are revealed, to which he is freely moved ; also
by hope, when he believes that God is propitious for the sake
of Christ; and by charity, in consequence whereof he
begins to love his neighbor, and to hate sin. That justifi-
cation, which follows, is not only remission of sins, but


sanctification, and renovation of the inner man ; that at
this time the justified are not reputed just, but that they
are jusst receiving righteousness in themselves ; and be-
cause they accept the merit of Christ's passion, justification
is inserted by faith, hope, and charity. That faiih is the
beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of
justification, and that this is to be justified by faith : and
because none of those things which precede justification,
whether they be of faith or works, merit the grace of
justification, that this is to be justified gratis, for there is a
preventing grace ; and that still man is justified by works,
and not by faith alone. That the just may fall into light
and venial sins, and that still they are just ; and that there-
fore the just ought continually to labor by prayers, oblations,
alms, fastings, lest they should fall, because they are born
again to the hope of glory, and not to glory. That the
just, if they fall from the grace of justification, may be
justified again by the sacrament of repentance ; that by any
mortal sin grace is lost, but not faith, but that faith also is
lost by infidelity, which is recession from religion. That
the works of a justified man are merits ; and that the
justified, by such, which are done by them through the
grace of God and the merit of Christ, merit everlasting life.
That Free-will was not lost and extinguished after the
sin of Adam ; and that man may cooperate, by assenting
to the calling of God ; and that otherwise he would be an
inanimate body. They establish Predestination, by
saying, that no one knows whether he is in the number of
the predestinate, and among those whom God has chosen
to himself, except by special revelation.

"VI. On Purgatory. That all the guilt from which men
are to be purified by temporal punishment is not blotted out
by justification, that therefore all go to purgatory to be puri-
fied, before they can be admitted into heaven. That the souls
there detained are assisted by the suffrage of the faithful,
and particularly by the sacrifice of the mass; and that this
is diligently to be taught and preached." The torments
there endured are variously described, but they are mere
inventions and fictions.

" VII. On the Seven Sacraments. That there are
seven sacraments, — baptism, confirmation, the eucharist,
repentance, extreme unction, order, and matrimony; that
there are neither more nor less; that one is of greater dig-
nity than another ; that they contain grace ; and that from


the work operated by them grace is conferred : that there
were the same number of sacraments of the ancient law.
Baptism, confirmation, the eucharist, and repentance have
been treated of above. On the Sacrament of Extreme
Unction : That it is founded on the epistle of James,
chap. V. 14, 15; that it is to be administered to the sick at
their lives' end, whence it is called the sacrament of the
departing; that if they recover, it may be applied again;
that it is to be performed with oil consecrated by the bishop,
and with these words : ' May God grant thee his indulgence
for whatsoever offence thou hast committed through the
fault of the eyes, of the nostrils, or of the feeling.' On
the Sacrament of Order : That there are seven orders
in the ministry of the priesthood, which differ in dignity,
and all together are called the ecclesiastical hierarchy,
which is like the order of an encampment ; that inaugura-
tions into the ministry are to be effected by unctions, and
by transferring of the Holy Spirit upon them. That the
secular power or consent, calling or authority of the ma-
gistrate is not requisite for the ordination of bishops and
priests ; that they who ascend to the ministry only by the
appointment of their calling, are not ministers, but thieves
and robbers, who do not enter in by the door. On the
Sacrament of Matrimony. That a dispensation of de-
grees and divorces belongs to the church. That the clergy
are not to contract matrimony. That all of them may have
the gift of chastity, and if any one saith he cannot, when
nevertheless he had made a vow, let him be anathema,
because God doth not refuse it to those who ask it properly,
and doth not suffer any one to be tempted beyond what he
is able to bear. That a state of virginity and celibacy is
to be preferred to the conjugal state; besides other things
of the same nature.

** VIII. On the Saints. That the saints reigning
together with Christ offer up their prayers to God for men ;
that Christ is to be adored, and the saints to be invoked ;
that the invocation of saints is not idolatrous, nor derogatory
to the honor of the one Mediator between God and men ;
it is called Latvia. That images of Christ, of Mary the
mother of God, and of the saints, are to be revered and
honored, not that it is to be supposed they possess any
divinity or virtue, but because the honor which is paid to
them is referred to the prototypes which they represent ;
and that by the images which they kiss, and before which


they kneel and uncover their heads, they adore Christ and
venerate the saints. That miracles of God are performed
by the saints.

*'IX. On Power. That the Roman Pontiff is the
successor of the apostle Peter, and vicar of Jesus Christ,
the head of the church, and the universal bishop ; that he
is superior to councils; that he hath the keys for opening
and shutting heaven, consequently the power of remitting
and retaining sins ; that therefore he, as keeper of the keys
of everlasting life, hath a right at once to earthly and
heavenly empire ; that moreover bishops and priests have
such a power from him, because it was given also to the
rest of the apostles, and that therefore they are called
ministers of the keys. That it belongs to the church to
judge of the true sense and interpretation of the sacred
scriptures, and that they who oppose them are to suffer
punishments established by law. That it is not proper for
the laity to read the sacred scriptures, because the sense of
them is only known to the church : thence its ministers
boast that it is known to them."

X. The above doctrinals are selected from their councils
and bulls, particularly from the council of Trent, and the
papal bull confirming it, wherein all who think, believe,
and act contrary to what was there decreed, which in gen-
eral is as above adduced, are condemned to be excommu-



The members of the Reformed Church being much treated
of in the Apocalypse, in its spiritual sense, it is expedient,
before entering upon its explication, to unfold their doc-
trines in the following order : On God ; on Christ the Lord ;
on Justification by Faith, and on Good Works ; on the Law
and the Gospel ; on Repentance and Confession ; on Ori-
ginal Sin : on Baptism ; on the Holy Supper ; on Free-will ;
and on the Church.

** I. On God. Of God they believe accordino- to the
Athanasian creed, which, as it is in the hands of every one,
is not here inserted. That they believe in God the Father
as the creator and preserver ; in God the Son as the saviour
and redeemer ; and in the Holy Spirit as the illuminator
and sanclifier, is also well known.

*' II. On Christ the Lord. Concerning the person
of Christ, the same doctrine is not taught by all the re-
formed ; the Lutherans teach that the Virgin Mary not only
conceived and brought forth a real man, but also the real
Son of God, whence she is justly called, and truly is, the
mother of God. That in Christ there are two natures, a
divine and a human, the divine from eternity, and the
human in time; that these two natures are personally
united, altogether in such a manner, that there are not two
Christs, one the son of God, and the other the son of man.


but that one and the same is the son of God and the son of
man, not that these two natures are mixed together into one
substance, nor that one is changed into the other, but
that both natures retain their essential properties, which
are also described as to their qualities : that their union is
hypostatic, and that this is the most perfect communion,
like that of the soul and body ; that therefore it is justly
said, that in Christ God is man and man God : that he did
not suffer for us as mere man only, but as such a man,
whose human nature hath so strict and ineffable a union
and communion with the son of God, as to become one
person with him ; that in truth the son of God suffered for
us, but yet according to the properties of human nature ;
that the son of Man, by whom is understood Christ as to
his human nature, was really exalted to the right hand of
God when he was taken into God, which was the case as
soon as he was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb
of his mother ; that Christ always had that majesty by
reason of his personal union, but that, in his state of exin-
anition, he only exercised it so far as he thought proper ;
but that after his resurrection he fully and entirely put off
the form of a servant, and put his human nature or essence
into a plenary assumption of the divine majesty ; and that
in this manner he entered into glory ; in a word, that Christ
is, and remains to all eternity, perfect God and man in one
indivisible person ; and the true, omnipotent, and eternal
God ; being also, with respect to his humanity, present at
the right hand of God, governs all things in heaven and
upon earth, and also fills all things, is with us, and dwells
and operates in us. That there is no difference of adoration,
because by the nature which is seen, the divinity which is
not seen, is adored. That the divine essence communicates
and imparts its own excellences to the human nature ; and
performs its divine operations by the body as by its organ ;
that thus all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ
bodily, according to Paul. That the incarnation was
accomplished that he might reconcile the Father to us, and
become a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, as well
original as actual ; that he was incarnate of the substance
of the Holy Spirit, but that his human nature was produced
from the Virgin Mary, which, as the Word, he assumed and
united to himself; that he sanctifies those who believe in
him, by sending the Holy Spirit into their hearts, to guide,
comfort and vivify them, and defend them against the devil


and the power of sin. That Christ descended into hell,
and destroyed hell for all believers ; but in what manner
these things were effected, he doth not wish them to scru-
tinize too curiously, but that the knowledge of this matter
may be reserved for another age, when not only this mys-
tery, but many other things also shall be revealed." These
particulars are from Luther ; the Augustan Confession ; the
Council of Nice ; and the Smalcalden Articles. See the
Formula Concordise.

"Some of the Reformed, who are also treated of in the
Formula Concordiae, believe, that Christ, according to his
human nature, by exaltation, received only created gifts and
finite power, therefore that he is a man like any other,
retaining the properties of the flesh ; that therefore as to
his human nature he is not omnipotent and omniscient;
that although absent he governs, as a king, things remote
from himself; that as God from eternity he is with the
Father, and as a man born in time, he is with the angels in
heaven ; and that when it is said, in Christ God is man and
man God, it is only a figurative mode of speech: besides
other things of a like nature.

" But this disagreement is adjusted by the Athanasian
Creed, which is received by all in the Christian world,
where these words occur ; * The true faith is, that we be-
lieve and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of
God, is God and man ; God, of the substance of the Father,
begotten before the world, and man of the substance of the
mother, born in the world ; perfect God and perfect man :
who, although he be God and man, yet these are not two
but one Christ ; one, not by conversion of the divine Essence
into body, but by the taking of his manhood into God ; One
altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of
person ; for as the reasonable soul and body is one man, so
God and man is one Christ.'

*' IIL On Justification by Faith, and on Good
Works. The justifying and saving faith of the clergy is
this; — that God the Father turned himself away from the
human race by reason of their iniquities, and so, from jus-
tice, condemned them to eternal death, and that he there-
fore sent His Son into the world to expiate and redeem them,
and make satisfaction and reconciliation ; and that the Son
did this by taking upon himself the damnation of the law,
and suffering himself to be crucified, and that thus by obe-
dience he entirely satisfied God's justice, even to becoming


justice himself; and that God the Father imputes and
applies this, as his merit, to believers, and sends the Holy
Spirit to them, who operates charity, good works, and repent-
ance, as a good tree produces good fruit ; and justifies, re-

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgThe Apocalypse revealed, wherein are disclosed the arcana there foretold, which have hitherto remained concealed (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 37)