769. Verse 10. And standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Woe, woe, that great city Babylon, that mighty city, for in one hour is thy judgment come, signifies their fear of punishments, and then grievous lamentation, that this religious persuasion, so fortified, could be so suddenly and completely overturned, and that they could perish. "To stand afar off for the fear of torment" signifies a state as yet remote from the state of those who are in condemnation, because they are in fear of torment, as will be explained in what follows. "Woe, woe," signifies grievous lamentation. That "woe" signifies lamentation over calamity, unhappiness, and condemnation, may be seen above (n. 416); hence "woe, woe" signifies grievous lamentation. By "the great city Babylon" that religious persuasion is signified; here as above (n. 751), Babylon as a woman or harlot, because "her torment" is spoken of. By "mighty city" is signified the religious persuasion so fortified. By "in one hour is thy judgment come" is signified that it could be so suddenly overturned, and that they could perish. "In one hour" signifies so suddenly; and by "judgment" is signified its overthrow and the destruction of those who committed whoredom and lived luxuriously with the harlot, who are here treated of. That they perished by the Last Judgment may be seen in the small work on The Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed, published at London, 1758. These things are said respecting that destruction.
 The reason that "they stood afar off for fear of her torment" signifies a state as yet remote from the state of those who are in condemnation, because in fear of the torment, is because by "afar off" is not meant remoteness of space, but remoteness of state, when one is in fear of punishments; for as long as a man is in a state of fear, he sees, weighs, and laments. Remoteness of state, which is remoteness in the spiritual sense, is also signified by "afar off" elsewhere in the Word, as in these passages:
Hear, ye that are afar off, what I will do; and ye that are near, know my might (Isa. 33:13).
Am I God that is near, and not a God afar off? (Jer. 23:23).
He found grace in the wilderness, Israel said, Jehovah hath appeared unto me from afar (Jer. 31:2-3).
Bring My sons from afar (Isa. 43:6).
Hear, ye people, from afar (Isa. 49:1, 2).
Peoples and nations that come from a land afar off (Isa. 5:26).
Besides elsewhere (as Jer. 4:16; 6:15; Zech. 6:15); where by "nations and peoples from afar" are meant those more remote from the truths and goods of the church. In common speech also relatives are said to be near, and those more remote in relationship are said to be distant.