785. Verse 16. And saying, Woe, woe, that great city, arrayed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and inwrought with gold, precious stone and pearls, because in one hour so great riches are devastated, signifies grievous lamentation that their magnificence and gains are so suddenly and totally destroyed. By "woe, woe," grievous lamentation is signified, as above (n. 769). By "that great city," is signified the Roman Catholic religious persuasion, as it is said to be "arrayed in fine linen and purple, and inwrought with gold;" which cannot be said of a city, but of a religious persuasion. By "arrayed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and inwrought with gold, precious stone, and pearls" are signified similar things as above (n. 725-727), where are the same words, in general, magnificent things in external form. "Because in one hour so great riches are devastated" signifies that their gains are so suddenly and totally destroyed. By "one hour" is signified suddenly and totally, as above (n. 769); because by time and all the things of time states are signified (n. 476). It is manifest from this, that the things which were adduced above are signified by these words. Very similar things are said of the devastation of Babel in Jeremiah:
The land of Babel is full of guilt against the Holy one of Israel; the thoughts of Jehovah stand against her, to make her a desolation; they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner nor a stone for foundations, for thou shalt be a waste for an age. Babel shall become heaps, a habitation for dragons, an astonishment and a hissing. Babel is reduced to desolation, the sea goeth up over her, she is covered with the multitude of the waves, her cities are reduced to desolation, a land of drought and of solitude (Jer. 51:5, 26, 29, 37, 41-43).