(AR) - The Book of the Apocalypse Revealed, Uncovering the Secrets That Were Foretold There and Have Lain Hidden until Now

AR 601

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601. Saying to them that dwell upon the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which hath a stroke of a sword and liveth, signifies that they induce the men of the church to receive for doctrine, that faith is the only means of salvation, because no one can do good from himself but what is meritorious, and because no one can fulfil the law, and so be saved. By "them that dwell on the earth," are meant the men of the churches of the Reformed, as above (n. 600); by "an image" is signified the doctrine of that church, of which below; and by "the image of the beast, which had the stroke of a sword and lived," is signified this point of doctrine, that "Faith is the only means of salvation, because no one can do good from himself, but what is meritorious, and because no one can fulfil the law, and so be saved," as above (n. 576-577, etc.).
[2] Every church appears before the Lord as a man; if it is in truths from the Word, it appears as a beautiful man, but if it is in truths falsified, it appears as a man-monster. The church so appears from its doctrine and from a life according to it; from which it follows, that the doctrine of a church is its image. This may also be seen from this: Every man is his own good and truth, or his own evil and falsity, from this and from no other source man is a man. Consequently it is doctrine and life according to it which makes "the image" of the man of the church, the image being that of a beautiful man, if the doctrine and the life according to it is from the genuine truths of the Word; but it is the image of a man-monster, if from falsified truths of the Word.
[3] Man, also, in the spiritual world, appears like some animal; but it is his affection which thus appears at a distance. They who are in truths and goods from the Lord, appear as lambs and doves; but they who are in falsified truths and adulterated goods, appear as owls and bats. They who are in faith separated from charity, appear as dragons and goats; they who are in falsities from evil, as basilisks and crocodiles. And they who are such, and yet have confirmed the doctrinals of the church, appear like fiery flying serpents. From these things it may be seen, that the doctrine of the church and life according to it are meant by "the image of the beast" which they made for "them that dwell upon the earth."
[4] But what became of those who "adored the image of the beast," may be seen (Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:4). In the spiritual sense, "images" have a similar signification (Exod. 20:4, 5; Lev. 26:1; Deut. 4:16-18; Isa. 2:16; Ezek. 7:20; 16:17; 23:14-16). The idols and graven images with the ancients were images of their religious principle, on which account falsities and evils of doctrine are signified by them (n. 459).


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