Apocalypse Explained (Tansley) n. 988

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988. (v. 10) And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the throne of the beast. That this signifies the state of the church manifested as to the doctrine of faith, is evident from the signification of the angel pouring out the vial, as denoting the state of the church manifested as above, and from the signification of the throne of the beast, as denoting the doctrine of faith. The reason why the doctrine of faith is signified by the throne of the beast is, that by throne is signified the church as to the truth which reigns therein, and by the beast is signified faith such as exists in that church; hence by the throne of the beast is signified the church as to the doctrine of faith. This also follows from this fact, that the fourth angel poured out his vial into the sun, which signifies the state of the church manifested as to love (see above, n. 981). Hence it follows that by the vial poured out by this angel upon the throne of the beast, is signified a manifestation of the state of the church as to faith. For love and faith constitute the church, but they constitute it only when they are one, and not two. But by the throne of the beast is meant such faith as is at this day in that church, which is a faith separated from the goods of life.

[2] The reason why the doctrine of faith is meant by the throne of the beast is, that by throne, in the highest sense, is meant heaven and the church as to Divine truth; and Divine truth in the Christian Church is called faith. It was different in the Ancient Churches, in which it was not known what faith is, because faith involves something that is not understood, but is yet to be believed as if it were truth. Such are almost all the things of the church and of its doctrine at this day. As, for example, what is to be believed concerning the Trinity, as that there are three persons in the Godhead; that the Lord was born from eternity; that the Holy Spirit proceeds from them, and that this proceeding is a Person which is Himself God; and yet that there are not three but one, and thus that the trinity is in unity, and the unity in trinity.

[3] Moreover, that faith without its life, which is from the goods of charity or from good works, saves; that to one who is justified by faith alone, all his works, even such as are evil, are pardoned, and that the law does not condemn him, because the Lord has taken away the condemnation by the fulfilling of the law, and by the passion of the cross; that this is only to be believed, and man will be saved. There are also several other things that are to be believed as truths, and are said to belong to faith, although whether they are truths cannot be seen; as, for example, what is said concerning free choice, the faith of infants, and the flesh and blood in the Holy Supper; also the things to be remembered about the life of man after death and the Last Judgment, these being called things to be believed, although the understanding sees in them merely paradoxes that are beyond all faith. As, again, that a man, after death, is a kind of shadowy, spiritual, or formless ethereal phantom, which neither sees, hears, nor speaks; and that thus he either flits about in the air, or elsewhere, and waits for the judgment that is to come with the destruction of the whole universe, not only of the visible heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, but also of the earth; and that then all parts of the body left in the world by death will come together again and clothe the soul; and that thus man will recover his senses; besides other similar things. Because these cannot fall into the understanding, they cannot be called truths, but faith. Such a faith is meant by the throne of the beast.

[4] Who cannot see that a man by such a faith may be induced to believe pure contradictions and falsities, provided they are laid down as dogmas by those placed in authority, and confirmed by others who, for various reasons, love to live in blind obedience? For by fallacies and sophisms falsities, even the most infernal, can be made to appear like truths, as, for example, that infernal falsity that nature is everything; that whatever appears is ideal; that man and beast differ but little, that neither live after death; that the Word is not holy; and other similar things. From which it is evident, that all blindness in spiritual things is induced by the faith of the present day. This began and was brought to its utmost darkness by the Babylonish nation. From this darkness, indeed, the Reformed, who separated from that nation, came forth into some light by the reading of the Word, but not so far as to be able to see truths, as the ancients did. The reason was that they separated faith from life; and it is from life that a man has light, and not from any separated faith. From these things it is now evident what is meant by the throne of the beast, just as previously,

By "the throne which the dragon is said to have given to the beast" (Apoc. xiii. 2; concerning which see above, n. 783).


By "the throne of Satan" (Apoc. ii. 13).

False doctrinals are also signified by thrones in other passages in the Word. As in Ezekiel:

"They shall come down from their thrones, all the princes of the sea, and shall cast away their mantles, and "shall be clothed with terrors" (xxvi. 16).

In Haggai:

"I will overturn the throne of the kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations" (ii. 22).

In Daniel:

"I saw until the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days sat" (vii. 9).

Continuation concerning the Sixth Precept:-

[5] How intrinsically holy, that is, from creation, marriages are, may be seen from this fact, that they are the seminaries of the human race. And because as the angelic heaven is from the human race, they are also the seminaries of heaven. Consequently, that by marriages not only worlds, but also the heavens, are filled with inhabitants. And since the end of the whole creation is the human race, and thence heaven, wherein the Divine Itself may dwell as in its own, and as if in Itself, and since the procreation of the human race according to Divine order was instituted by means of marriage, it is manifest how intrinsically holy marriages are, thus from creation, and how sacredly they ought therefore to be regarded. The earth, indeed, might equally be filled with inhabitants through fornication and adultery as by marriage, but not heaven. The reason is, that hell is from adulteries, and heaven from marriages. The reason why hell is from adulteries is, that adultery is from the marriage of evils and falsities, as a result of this hell in its whole extent is called adultery. The reason why heaven is from marriage is, because marriage is from the marriage of good and truth, as a result of which, heaven in its whole extent is called a marriage, as was shown above in its own article.

[6] By adultery is meant, where the love thereof, which is called the love of adultery, reigns, whether in wedlock or without it; and by marriage is meant, where the love thereof, which is called conjugial love, reigns. That the earth might equally be filled with inhabitants by fornication and adultery as by marriage will be further explained in the following article. When the procreations of the human race result from marriages, in which the holy love of good and truth from the Lord reigns, then it is on the earths as in the heavens, and the Lord's kingdom on the earths corresponds to the Lord's kingdom in the heavens. For the heavens consist of societies arranged according to all the varieties of celestial and spiritual affections, from which arrangement exists the form of heaven, which far surpasses all forms in the universe. A similar form would exist on earth if the procreations there resulted from marriages in which love truly conjugial reigns; for then in proportion as from one parent many families successively descended, in the same proportion images of heavenly societies would exist in similar variety. Families would then be like fruit-bearing trees of various kinds, from which as many gardens would be produced, each containing its own species of fruits; these gardens, taken together, would present the form of a heavenly paradise. But these things are said by way of comparison, because trees signify the men of the church; gardens, intelligence; fruits, the good of life; and paradise, heaven. It has been told me from heaven that such correspondence of the families on the earths with the societies in the heavens existed with the most ancient people, of whom the first church on this earth was formed. It was called by ancient writers the Golden Age, because love to the Lord, mutual love, innocence, peace, wisdom, and chastity in marriage then prevailed. And it was also declared from heaven that they then inwardly shuddered at adulteries as at the abominable things of hell.

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