118. THE THREE FOLLOWING RELATIONS ARE TAKEN FROM THE APOCALYPSE REVEALED.
The First Relation. When I was engaged in the explanation of chapter 20 of Revelation, and was meditating about the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, an angelic spirit appeared to me, and asked, "What do you meditate about?" I answered, "About the false prophet." Then he said, "I will lead you to the place where they are who are meant by the false prophet; and who are the same that are meant in chapter 13 by the beast out of the earth, which had two horns like a lamb, and spoke like a dragon." I followed him, and lo, I saw a multitude, in the midst of which there were leaders of the church, who taught that nothing saves man but faith in the merit of Christ, and that works are good, but not for salvation, and that still they are to be taught from the Word, in order that the laity, especially the simple, may be kept more strictly within the bond of obedience to the magistracy, and forced, as if from religion, therefore interiorly, to exercise moral charity.
Then one of them observing me, said, "Do you wish to see our shrine, wherein is an image representative of our faith?" I approached and saw it, and lo, it was magnificent. In the midst of it there was the image of a woman clothed in a scarlet robe, and holding in her right hand a gold coin and in her left a string of pearls. But both the image and the shrine were induced by fantasy; for infernal spirits can by fantasies represent magnificent objects, by closing the interiors of the mind, and opening only its exteriors. When I perceived, however, that they were such sorceries, I prayed to the Lord, and suddenly the interiors of my mind were opened, and then, instead of a magnificent shrine, I saw a house full of clefts from the roof to the bottom, in which nothing cohered together; and instead of the woman I saw hanging up in that house an image, the head of which was like a dragon's, the body like a leopard's, and the feet like a bear's, and a mouth like a lion's; thus altogether like the beast out of the sea which is described (Rev. 13:2); and instead of a floor there was a swamp containing a multitude of frogs; and I was informed, that beneath the swamp was a large hewn stone, under which the Word lay deeply hidden. On seeing this, I said to the juggler, "Is this your shrine?" and he said, "It is"; but then suddenly his interior sight was opened also, and he saw the same things that I did; whereupon he cried with a great cry, and said, "What and whence is this?" And I said, "This is from light from heaven, which discloses the quality of every form, and thus the quality of your faith separate from spiritual charity." Then immediately an east wind blew, and carried away that shrine with the image, and also dried up the swamp, and thereby exposed the stone under which lay the Word; and afterwards there breathed as it were a vernal warmth from heaven, and lo, then in the same place, there appeared a tabernacle, as to its outward form simple.
And the angels who were with me said, "Behold, the tabernacle of Abraham, such as it was when the three angels came to him and announced the future birth of Isaac. It appears indeed simple to the eye, but nevertheless according to the influx of light from heaven it becomes more and more magnificent." And they were permitted to open the heaven, in which were the spiritual angels who excel in wisdom, and then from the influx of light from heaven thence, the Tabernacle appeared as a temple resembling that of Jerusalem; and on looking into it, I saw that the stone in the floor, under which the Word was deposited, was set with precious stones, from which there issued forth bright rays as of lightning that shone upon the walls, and caused beautiful variegations of color on certain cherubic forms that were sculptured on them. As I was admiring these things, the angels said, "Thou shalt yet see something still more wonderful." And it was permitted them to open the third heaven, in which were the celestial angels who are in love, and then from the light thence inflowing that whole temple disappeared, and in its stead was seen the Lord alone, standing on the foundation stone, which was the Word, in the same form that He appeared to John (Rev. 1). But because holiness then filled the interiors of the minds of the angels, occasioning in them an inclination to fall on their faces, suddenly the way of light from the third heaven was closed by the Lord, and the way from the second heaven opened; in consequence of which the former appearance of the temple returned, and also of the tabernacle, but this was in the temple. Hereby was illustrated the meaning of these words in Chap. 21 of Revelation:
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them (Rev. 21:3).
And by these:
And I saw no temple in the New Jerusalem, for the Lord God Omnipotent and the Lamb are the temple of it (Rev. 21:22).