Apocalypse Explained (Tansley) n. 482

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482. For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them.- This signifies that the Lord shall teach them from heaven, as is evident from the signification of the Lamb, as denoting the Lord as to Divine Truth: see above (n. 297, 343, 464); and from the signification of the throne, as denoting heaven: see above (n. 253). In the midst of the throne, signifies in the whole heaven, for in the midst signifies in all collectively and individually, or in the whole: see above (n. 213); and from the signification of feeding, which denotes to teach, concerning which we shall treat presently. From these things it is evident that by the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne feeding them, is signified that the Lord will instruct them out of heaven. It is here said, "the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne shall feed them," and above, that "he who sitteth on the throne shall dwell over them," from which it clearly appears that both by him who sitteth on the throne, and by the Lamb in the midst of the throne, is meant the Lord, but by Him who sitteth on the throne is meant the Lord as to Divine Good, and by the Lamb in the midst of the throne is meant the Lord as to Divine Truth. For to dwell, which is said of Him who sitteth upon the throne, is stated of good: see above (n. 470); and to feed, which is said of the Lamb, is said of truth, for to feed signifies to instruct in truths.

[2] In the Word of the Old Testament the terms Jehovah and God, and also Jehovah and the Holy One of Israel, are frequently used, and both mean the Lord alone. "Jehovah" means the Lord as to Divine Good, and "God" and the "Holy One of Israel" mean the Lord as to Divine Truth; both are named on account of the marriage of Divine Good and Divine Truth in every detail of the Word. That to feed signifies to teach is evident without further explanation, since it is a custom derived from the Word to call those who teach, pastors, and those who are taught, the flock; but the reason of this is not yet known, and therefore it shall be explained. In heaven, all things which appear before the eyes are representative, for they represent under a natural appearance the spiritual things which the angels think and with which they are affected. Their thoughts and affections are thus presented before their eyes in forms like those which are in the world, or in forms similar to those of natural things, and this by virtue of the correspondence which the Lord has caused to exist between spiritual and natural things. The subject of correspondence is dealt with in many places, and in the work concerning Heaven and Hell (n. 87- 102, and 103-115). As a result of this correspondence, flocks of sheep, lambs, and goats, feeding in green pastures, and also in gardens, appear in heaven; and these appearances have their existence from the thoughts of those who are in the goods and truths of the church, and who thus think intelligently and wisely. For this reason mention is so frequently made in the Word of flock, also of pastures, and feeding, and of a shepherd. For the Word in the letter consists of such things as in heaven appear before the eyes, and which signify correspondent spiritual thing.

[3] Since it is known in the church that to feed signifies to teach, that pasture signifies instruction, and a shepherd an instructor, we will simply quote a few passages from the Word where these expressions are used, without further explanation.

In Isaiah:

"In that day shall thy cattle feed in a large pasture" (xxx. 23).


"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs into his arm, and shall gently lead those that give suck" (xl. 11).


"He will say to the bound, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed upon the ways, and their pastures shall be on all heights (xlix. 9).

In Jeremiah:

"Against the shepherds that feed my people, ye have scattered my flock; because of the curse the land mourneth; the pastures of the wilderness are dried up" (xxiii. 2, 10).


Israel "shall feed on Carmel and Bashan" (l. 19).

In Ezekiel:

"I will seek my flock, and search them out. I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel" (xxxiv. 11, 13, 14).

In Hosea:

"I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of drought, when there was for them pasture" (xiii. 5, 6).

In Joel:

"The herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate" (i. 18).

And in Micah:

Out of Bethlehem Ephratah shall he go forth, "who shall stand and feed in the strength of Jehovah" (v. 2, 4).


"Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead" (vii. 14).

In Zephaniah:

"The remnant of Israel shall feed and lie down" (iii. 13).

In David:

"Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want. He will cause me to lie down in pastures of grass" (Psalm xxiii. 1, 2).


"The Lord chose David; from following the ewes giving suck he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart" (lxxviii. 70-72).


Jehovah "hath made us his people, and the flock of his pasture, therefore we are his people and the flock of his pasture" (Psalm c. 3).

In John:

Jesus said to Peter, "Lovest thou me?" He said that he loved Him. He said unto him, "Feed my lambs." He said to him the second time, also the third time, "Feed my sheep" (xxi. 15-17). And in very many other passages, in all of which, to feed denotes to instruct in truths, and pasture the truths in which they are instructed.

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