(WH) - The White Horse in Revelation Chapter 19; and the Word and Its Spiritual Sense (from Mysteries of Heaven)

WH 2

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2. In the prophetical parts of the Word mention is very often made of the horse, but heretofore no one has known that "a horse" signifies the understanding, and his "rider" one who is intelligent; and this possibly, because it seems strange and wonderful, that by "a horse" such a thing should be meant in the spiritual sense, and thence in the Word. But nevertheless that it is so, may evidently appear from many passages therein; some of which only I will here adduce. In the prophecy of Israel, it is said of Dan:
Dan is a serpent upon the way, an arrow-snake upon the highway, that biteth the horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall backward (Gen. 49:17, 18).
No one can understand what this prophecy concerning one of the tribes of Israel signifies unless he knows what is signified by "a serpent," and what by "a horse" and his "rider;" everyone, however, knows that there is something spiritual involved therein; what therefore each expression signifies, may be seen in The Arcana Coelestia (n. 6398-6401), where this prophecy is explained. In Habakkuk:
O God, Thou didst ride upon Thy horses. Thy chariots are salvation. Thou didst tread in the sea with Thy horses (Hab. 3:8, 16).
That "horses" here signify what is spiritual, is evident, for they are said concerning God; in any other sense, what could be meant by saying, that "God rides upon His horses, and that He treads upon the sea with horses?" In like manner in Zechariah:
In that day, there shall be upon the bells of the horses, holiness unto Jehovah (Zech. 14:20).
In the same:
In that day, saith Jehovah, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness; and I will open Mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness (Zech. 12:4).
It treats there of the vastation of the church, which takes place when there no longer remains the understanding of any truth; and which is described thus by "the horse and his rider;" what else could be the meaning of "smiting every horse with astonishment," and of "smiting the horse of the people with blindness"? What has this to do with the church? In Job:
God hath caused her to forget wisdom, neither hath He imparted to her intelligence: what time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider (39:17-19 seq.).
That "the horse" here signifies the understanding, is manifestly evident. In like manner in David, where it is said:
He rideth upon the word of truth (Ps. 45:4).
And in many other passages. Moreover, who can know the reason why Elijah and Elisha were called "the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof;" and why "the boy of Elisha saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire;" except it be known what is signified by "chariots," and what was represented by "Elijah and Elisha"? For Elisha said to Elijah:
My father, my father, the chariot and horsemen* of Israel and the horsemen thereof (2 Kings 2:11, 12).
And Joash the king said to Elisha:
My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof (2 Kings 13:14).
And, speaking of the boy of Elisha, it is said:
Jehovah opened the eyes of the boy of Elisha, and he saw and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings 6:17).
The reason why Elijah and Elisha were called "the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof," is because they both represented the Lord as to the Word, and "a chariot" signifies doctrine from the Word, and "horsemen" intelligence. That "Elijah" and "Elisha" represented the Lord as to the Word, may be seen in The Arcana Coelestia (n. 5247, 7643, 8029, 9327). And that "chariots" signify doctrine drawn from the Word (n. 5321, 8215).
* The phrase "and horsemen" is omitted by the translator, but it is present in the Latin.

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