572. Verse 2. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, signifies a heresy destructive of the church, because it is from the truths of the Word falsified. By "beasts" in general are signified men as to affections (n. 567); and by "a leopard" is signified the affection or lust of falsifying the truths of the Word; and because it is a ferocious beast, and kills harmless animals, it signifies also a heresy destructive of the church. That "a leopard" signifies the truths of the Word falsified, is owing to its black and white spots, for by the black spots are signified falsities, and by the white among them is signified truth. Therefore because it is a fierce and savage beast, it signifies the truths of the Word falsified and thus destroyed. Similar is the signification of a "leopard" in the following passages:
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that have been taught to do evil (Jer. 13:23).
The lion out of the forest hath smitten the magnates, and a wolf of the fields shall devastate them, a leopard shall watch over their cities, everyone that goeth out shall be torn in pieces, because their backslidings are strong (Jer. 5:6).
"The leopard watching against their cities," means watching against the truths of doctrine. "A city" means doctrine (n. 194).
As they have forgotten Me, therefore I have become unto them as a lion, as a leopard by the way will I observe them (Hos. 13:6-7).
"A way" also signifies truth (n. 176).
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard with the kid (Isa. 11:6).
Here the Lord's kingdom which is to come is treated of; "a kid" signifies the genuine truths of the church, and "a leopard" the same falsified.
The third beast which came up out of the sea was like a leopard which had upon the back of it four wings (Dan. 7:6).
Concerning the four beasts seen by Daniel, see below (n. 574).