(AR) - The Book of the Apocalypse Revealed, Uncovering the Secrets That Were Foretold There and Have Lain Hidden until Now

AR 759

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759. And the merchants of the earth have become rich from the abundance of her luxuries, signifies the greater and the less in rank in that hierarchy, who through dominion over holy things strive for Divine majesty and super-regal glory, and continually aim to establish them firmly by the multiplication of monasteries and of possessions under them, and by the treasures which without end they gather together and accumulate from the world, and thus procure for themselves corporeal and natural delights and pleasures from the celestial and spiritual dominion attributed to themselves. No others can be meant by "the merchants of Babylon" than the greater and the lesser in rank in their ecclesiastical hierarchy, because in verse 23 of this chapter it is said that they are "the great ones of the earth;" and by "the abundance of her luxuries by which they have become rich," nothing else can be meant than the dogmas, by which, as means, they procure for themselves dominion over the souls of men, and thus also over their possessions and wealth. That they gather these together without end, and distend their treasures with them, is known. Then also that they make traffic of the holy things of the church, as that by offerings and gifts made to the monasteries and their saints and images, and by various masses, indulgences, and dispensations, they sell salvation, that is, heaven.
[2] Who cannot see that if the papal dominion had not been broken at the time of the Reformation, they would have scraped together the possessions and wealth of all the kingdoms in the whole of Europe? and then that they would have become the sole lords, and all the rest slaves? Have they not extraordinary opulence from former ages, when they had authority over emperors and kings, whom, if they were not obedient, they could excommunicate and dethrone? And have they not still annual incomes which are immense, and great treasuries full of gold, silver, and precious stones? A like barbarous dominion is seated still in the minds [animus] of very many of them; and it is restrained solely through the fear of its loss, if it is extended beyond bounds. But of what use are such great revenues, treasures, and possessions, except that they may delight and take pride in them, and confirm their domination to eternity? From this it is evident, what is here signified by "the merchants of the earth," who have become rich from the abundance of the luxuries of Babylon. They are called "merchants" also in Isaiah:
The inhabitants of Babel have become as stubble, the fire hath burned them up; they shall not deliver their soul from the hand of the flame; such are thy merchants from thy youth (Isa. 47:14-15).
[3] By trafficking and trading is signified in the Word to procure for themselves spiritual riches, which are the knowledges of truth and good, and in the opposite sense the knowledges of falsity and evil; and to gain the world by the latter, and to gain heaven by the former. Wherefore the Lord compared:
The kingdom of the heavens to a merchantman seeking beautiful pearls (Matt. 13:45-46);
And the men of the church to servants, to whom the talents were given, with which they should trade and make gain (Matt. 25:14-20);
And to whom ten pounds were given, with which they should in like manner trade and make gain (Luke 19:12-26).
And because the church as to the knowledges of truth and good is signified by "Tyre," therefore it treats of her traffic and gain in the whole of chapter 27 of Ezekiel; and it is said of her:
In thy wisdom and in thy intelligence thou hast made for thyself gold and silver in thy treasures, and by the multitude of wisdom in thy traffic hast thou multiplied for thyself wealth (Ezek. 28:4-5).
And elsewhere:
Tyre is devastated, whose merchants were princes, and her traders the honorable of the earth (Isa. 23:1-8).
And the church perverted with the Jews in the land of Canaan is called:
The land of trading (Ezek. 16:3, 29; 21:30; 29:14; also 17:4; 28:18).


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