717. Revelation 17
1. And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven vials and spoke with me, saying unto me, Come; I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot, that sitteth upon many waters;
2. With whom the kings of the earth have committed whoredom, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom.
3. And he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and inwrought with gold, and precious stones, and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and uncleanness of her whoredom.
5. And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of whoredoms and abominations of the earth.
6. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus; and when I saw her, I wondered with great wonder.
7. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns.
8. The beast that thou sawest, was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into perdition; and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, seeing the beast that was and is not, and yet is.
9. This is the mind that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, where the woman sitteth upon them.
10. And they are seven kings; five have fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he is come, he must remain a short time.
11. And the beast that was, and is not, is himself the eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition.
12. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom; but they receive authority as kings one hour with the beast.
13. These have one mind, and they shall give over their power and authority unto the beast.
14. These shall fight with the Lamb; but the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is the Lord of lords and King of kings; and they who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.
15. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples and multitudes, and nations and tongues.
16. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her up with fire.
17. For God gave into their hearts to do His mind, and to do one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be consummated.
18. And the woman whom thou sawest is the great city that hath a kingdom over the kings of the earth.
THE SPIRITUAL SENSE
The contents of the whole chapter
Concerning the Roman Catholic religion: It is described in what manner it had falsified the Word, and thence had perverted all the truths of the church (verses 1-7); how it had falsified and perverted them with those who were subject to its dominion (verses 8-11); that it was less with those who had not thus subjected themselves to its dominion (verses 12-15). Concerning the Reformed: That they had withdrawn themselves from the yoke of its domination (verses 16-17); concerning its domination still (verse 18).
The contents of each verse
Verse 1. "And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven vials, and spoke with me" signifies influx and revelation now from the Lord out of the inmost of heaven, concerning the Roman Catholic religion (n. 718). "Saying unto me, I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters," signifies revelation concerning that religion as to its profanations and adulterations of the truths of the Word (n. 719). Verse 2. "With whom the kings of the earth committed whoredom," signifies that it has adulterated the truths and goods of the church which are from the Word (n. 720). "And the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom," signifies insanity in spiritual things from the adulteration of the Word with those who are in that religion (n. 721). Verse 3. "And he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness," signifies that he was carried in a spiritual state to those with whom all things of the church were devastated (n. 722). "And I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy," signifies that religion founded upon the Word profaned by them (n. 723). "Having seven heads and ten horns," signifies intelligence from the Word, holy at the beginning, afterwards none, and at length insanity, and much power from the Word continually (n. 724). Verse 4. "And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet," signifies the celestial Divine good and Divine truth, which are of the Word, among them (n. 725). "And inwrought with gold and precious stones," signifies spiritual Divine good and Divine truth, which are of the Word, with them (n. 726). "And pearls," signifies the knowledges of good and truth, which are of the Word, with them (n. 727). "Having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and uncleanness of her whoredom," signifies that religion from the holy things of the Word profaned, and from its goods and truths defiled by direful falsities (n. 728). Verse 5. "Upon her forehead* written, Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of whoredoms and abominations of the earth," signifies the Roman Catholic religion, as to its interior quality, which is concealed, that from its origin, from the love of dominating, from the love of self over the holy things of the church and over heaven, and thus over all things of the Lord and His Word, it has defiled and profaned the things which are of the Word and thence of the church (n. 729). Verse 6. "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus," signifies that religion insane from adulterated and profaned Divine truths and goods of the Lord, of the Word, and thence of the church (n. 730). "And when I saw her I wondered with great wonder," signifies astonishment that that religion is such interiorly, when yet it appears otherwise exteriorly (n. 731). Verse 7. "And the angel said unto me, Wherefore dost thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and the ten horns," signifies the disclosure of what the things which precede and were seen signify (n. 732). Verse 8. "The beast which thou sawest was, and is not," signifies the Word acknowledged as holy with them, and yet really not acknowledged (n. 733). "And is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into perdition," signifies deliberation at different times in the Papal Consistory respecting the reception and reading of the Word by the laity and the common people, but rejected (n. 734). "And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world, seeing the beast which was, and is not, and yet is," signifies the amazement of those who are of that religion, all who from its establishment have aimed at dominion over heaven and earth, that the Word, although thus rejected, still is (n. 735). Verse 9. "This is the mind that hath wisdom," signifies that this is the interpretation in the natural sense, but for those who are in the spiritual sense from the Lord (n. 736). "The seven heads are seven mountains, where the woman sitteth upon them (verse 10): and they are seven kings," signifies the Divine goods and Divine truths of the Word, upon which that religion is founded, destroyed in time, and at length profaned (n. 737). "Five have fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he is come, he must remain a short time," signifies that all the Divine truths of the Word have been destroyed except this one, that all the power in heaven and in earth was given to the Lord; and except another, which has not yet come into question, but will not remain, which is, that the Lord's Human is Divine (n. 738). Verse 11. "And the beast, that was, and is not, is himself the eighth, and is of the seven, and he goeth into perdition," signifies that the Word, as explained above, is the Divine good itself, and that it is the Divine truth; and that it is taken away from the laity and the common people, lest the profanations and adulterations made in it by their leaders should appear, and they should on that account recede (n. 739). Verse 12. "And the ten horns** are ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom," signifies the Word as to power from Divine truths with those who are in the kingdom of France, and are not so much under the yoke of the Papal dominion; with whom however there has not yet been formed a church fully separated from the Roman Catholic religion (n. 740). "But they receive authority as kings one hour with the beast," signifies that the Word has power with them, and they by the Word are as if they were in its Divine truths (n. 741). Verse 13. "These have one mind, and they shall give their power and authority to the beast," signifies that they acknowledge unanimously that government and dominion over the church are solely through the Word (n. 742). Verse 14. "These shall fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb shall overcome them; for He is the Lord of lords and King of kings," signifies the Lord's combat with them concerning the acknowledgment of His Divine Human, because in it the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and is also the Word (n. 743). "And they who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful," signifies that they who approach and worship the Lord alone are they that come into heaven, as well they who are in the externals of the church as they that are in its internals and inmosts (n. 744). Verse 15. "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the harlot sitteth, are peoples and multitudes, and nations and tongues," signifies that they are under the Papal dominion, but in the truths of the Word variously adulterated and profaned by that religion, who are of its varieties of doctrine and discipline, and its varieties of religion and confession (n. 745). Verse 16. "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the harlot," signifies the Word as to power from Divine truths with the Protestants, who have altogether cast off from themselves the yoke of the Papal dominion (n. 746). "And shall make her desolate and naked," signifies that they will put off from themselves its falsities and evils (n. 747). "And shall eat her flesh, and burn her up with fire," signifies that from hatred they will condemn and destroy from among themselves the evils and falsities which are proper to that religion, and will hold that religion itself accursed, and will blot it out from among them (n. 748). Verse 17. "For God gave into their hearts to do His mind, and to do one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast," signifies judgment with them from the Lord, that they should altogether repudiate and hold accursed the Roman Catholic religion, and should destroy and root it out from among themselves; and the unanimous judgment, that they should acknowledge the Word, and should found the church upon it (n. 749). "Until the words of God should be consummated," signifies until all the things which have been foretold concerning them shall be fulfilled (n. 750). Verse 18. "And the woman whom thou sawest is the great city that hath a kingdom over the kings of the earth," signifies that the Roman Catholic religion reigns as to doctrine in the Christian world, and also still in some measure among the Reformed, although they are not under the Papal dominion.
* The original Latin omits "name."
** The original Latin omits "which thou sawest."
Verse 1. What goes before, from chapter 7 to chapter 16, inclusive, treats of the Reformed; this chapter and the next treat of the Papists, among whom they who have claimed to themselves the power of opening and shutting heaven are meant by "Babylon." Here therefore it shall first be said what is specifically meant by "Babylon." By "Babylon" or "Babel" is meant the love of dominion over the holy things of the church from self-love, and because that love ascends in proportion as the reins are relaxed to it, and as the holy things of the church are also the holy things of heaven, therefore by "Babylon" or "Babel" is also signified dominion over heaven. And because this love thus acts the part of the devil, because it aspires to the same things, it cannot do otherwise than profane things holy, by adulterating the goods and truths of the Word, therefore by "Babylon" or "Babel" is also signified the profanation of what is holy, and the adulteration of the good and truth of the Word. Such is the signification of "Babylon" here in Revelation, and of "Babel" in the prophetic and historical Word, in these passages:
Concerning Babel: Behold the day of Jehovah cometh cruel; the stars of the heavens and the constellations thereof shall not shine with their light; the sun is darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not cause her light [lumen] to shine. I will cause the exaltation of the proud to cease, and I will humble the pride of the violent. Babel, the ornament of kingdoms, shall be as God's overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah; the tziim shall lie there, their houses shall be filled with the ochim, and the daughters of the owl shall dwell there, and the satyrs shall dance there; the ijim shall answer in her palaces, and the dragons in the palaces of her delights (Isa. 13:1, 9-11, 19, 21-22).
Besides many other things in the whole of the chapter.
Thou shalt declare this parable concerning the king of Babel: Thy magnificence is brought down into hell; thou hast fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend the heavens, above the stars of God I will exalt my throne, I will ascend above the heights of the cloud, I will become like the Most High; but yet thou shalt be brought down to hell; I will rise against thee,* and will cut off from Babel the name and residue (Isa. 14:4, 11-15, 22).
Besides more things in the whole chapter.
Jehovah hath spoken against Babel: Your mother was exceedingly ashamed, she that brought you forth was suffused with shame; behold, the last end shall be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. Set yourselves in array against Babel round about, shoot against her, spare no arrows; how is Babel become a desolation among the nations! She acted insolently against Jehovah, against the Holy One of Israel. A drought is upon her waters, that they may dry up, because it is a land of graven images, and it glories in horrible things; therefore the ziim shall dwell there with the ijim, and the owls shall dwell therein, as God's overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jer. 50:1, 12, 14, 23, 29, 31, 38-40).
Besides many other things concerning "Babel" in that whole chapter.
Babel is a cup of gold in the hand of Jehovah, making the whole earth drunken; the nations have drunk of her wine, therefore they are mad; forsake her, for her judgment hath reached to the heavens, and hath lifted itself up even to the clouds; behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, that destroyest the whole earth. I will roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a mountain of burning. I will visit upon Bel in Babel; I will bring forth his morsel out of his mouth, that the nations may no longer flow together unto him; yea the wall of Babel shall fall. Behold the days are coming, in which I will visit upon the graven images of Babel, that her whole land may be ashamed. Though Babel should ascend into the heavens, and though she should fortify the high places of her strength, from Me shall wasters come. Yea, I will make drunk her princes and her wise ones, and her leaders, and her primates, that they may sleep the sleep of an age, and not awake (Jer. 51:1, 7, 9, 25, 44, 47, 53, 57).
Besides many other things concerning "Babel" in that whole chapter.
Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babel, sit on the earth; there is no throne; take the millstones and grind meal; uncover the thigh, pass over the streams, thy nakedness shall be uncovered, thy disgrace shall be seen. Thou hast said, I shall be mistress to eternity; thou didst not remember the end; thou hast trusted in thy wickedness; thou hast said, No one seeth me; thy wisdom and thy knowledge hath seduced thee, when thou saidst in thy heart, I, and there is none else like me; devastation shall come suddenly, thou shalt not know; persist in thy enchantments, in the multitude of thy sorceries, in which thou hast labored from thy youth, peradventure they will be able to profit, peradventure thou shalt become terrible (Isa. 47:1-3, 7, 10-12).
Besides other things concerning "Babel" in that chapter. Similar things are signified by:
The city and tower whose head was in heaven, which they that came from the east attempted to build in the valley of Shinar, whose speech Jehovah descending from heaven confounded; whence the name of the place was called "Babel" [confusion] (Gen. 11:1-9).
Similar things are signified by the following passages in Daniel:
By the statue seen by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel, the feet of which were partly iron and partly clay, which the stone cut out not by a hand smote and ground to pieces, and all the parts of the statue became as the chaff in the threshing floors; and the stone became a great rock (Dan. 2:31-47).
By the great image which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel made, and commanded that they should fall down and adore before it; and that they who would not should be cast into the furnace of fire (Dan. 3:1-7 seq.).
By the tree that grew until its height reached unto heaven, and the sight of it unto the end of the earth, which a watcher and a holy one, coming down from heaven, commanded to hew down, to cut off, to strip off, and to scatter; and because the king of Babel was represented by it, it came to pass that he was driven away from man, dwelt with the beasts, and ate the herbage like an ox (Dan. 4:1 to the end).
By Belshazzar king of Babel drinking wine with his nobles, wives, and concubines, out of the vessels of gold and silver of the temple of Jerusalem, and praising the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, and stone; on account of which there was a writing on the wall, and the king himself was slain the same day (Dan. 5:1 to the end).
By the decree of Darius the Mede, king of Babel; that no one for thirty days should seek anything from God or man, but from the king alone; if otherwise, he should be cast into the den of lions (Dan. 6:8 to the end).
And by the four beasts seen by Daniel to come up out of the sea, of which the fourth, terrible, strong, having great teeth of iron, it devoured and crushed in pieces, and trampled the residue with his feet; and that then the judgment was set, and the books were opened, and the beast was slain, and given into the burning of fire; and that then there was seen coming with the clouds of heaven one like the Son of man, to whom was given dominion and glory and the kingdom, and all peoples, and nations and tongues shall worship Him; His dominion is the dominion of an age which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not perish (Dan. 7:1-14 seq.).
* The Hebrew has "them."