<1r> < insertion from higher up f 1r >

The mystical language of the prophets seems to take its origin from a comparison of the political world with the natural world and of the parts of the one with the parts of the other, and more {specifically} by political {world} I mean a kingdom and a mass/congeries of kingdoms, and by its parts I mean men, {races} of men, societies, holy Churches, cities, tribes, nations, principates and united kingdoms.

< text from f 1r resumes > < insertion from the right margin >

A political system is a society of men, a tribe, nation, kingdom, mass/congeries of kingdoms. A natural System The World consists of sky, earth, sea, and the things that are in them.

< text from f 1r resumes >

And in this comparison the 2 Sun signifies a king and royal power, the 3 Moon, a female body, changeable, superstitious, a body illuminated by the sun, signifies a religion that shines with the splendour of the sun, i.e., a religion {having} a dignity next to royal dignity, for instance, Queenly dignity, or the priestly dignity of religious men. 4. The major stars signify Princes and lesser kings. 5 The stars of heaven/the sky (coelum) [Editorial Note 1] generally signify the more select part of the Kingdom or of the people servants of god. 6 Heaven/the sky signifies a king's Court, honours, dignities, and excellencies, in which the stars are set. 7 Clouds signify a multitude of peoples. 8 Earth and 9 water signify the lower people and, sometimes, diverse peoples, 10 The sea signifies a collection of peoples in a great empire or in a great political body, a huge kingdom. Ships,– –– Mountains and islands 11 Many waters and rivers signify different peoples, many smaller kingdoms, principates in their variety, the provinces of a kingdom. <2r> Fountains of waters signify the capital cities of peoples. 14 Mountains and Islands signify cities and sometimes Temples and Altars. 15 Caves and rocks of mountains signify hollowed out buildings of cities, and ruins of buildings, and especially the ruins of fortifications, palaces and Temples. 16 Ships signify public buildings intended for popular gatherings. Merchant ships signify Temples, warships signify fortified cities and fortifications, a fleet signifies an army. 17 Vegetables like Trees and grasses, 18 Reeds and            signify men of diverse races. Animals like 20 Birds of the air, 21 Beasts of the earth, 19 swarms of Insects, 22 fish of sea and river, signify societies of men, armies [and kingdoms. & 23 Flesh signifies the wealth by which they are sustained

< insertion from f 1v >

The moon signifies feminine power close to royal power, feminine and shining with the light of the power of the sun, feminine power such as queenly or rather priestly power

The sun signifies royal power, the king together with the body of Magistrates by which royal power is diffused. The moon signifies power [close to royal, feminine, for instance, shining in the power of the sun] priestly power [i.e. the high priest and all the other priests to whom {authority} over the exercise of the religion established by the king is entrusted] is founded. and all those] on whom this power devolves in the religion established by the king.] and on those in whom it resides.

Spurge, bulrush, reed, rush

Harvest and Vintage signify the universal end of good people and bad people at the end of the world. Trampling of grapes in a Wine-press signifies the punishment of the damned in hell.

< text from f 2r resumes >

And when the properties, mutual relations and actions of kingdoms are to be described more distinctly, kingdoms and societies of men are portrayed by {herds} of animals like Locusts [Editorial Note 2] Horsemen [Editorial Note 3], Fish, or even by some single animal, such as an Eagle, Lion, Bear, Dragon [Editorial Note 4], the heterogeneous Beast [Editorial Note 5], Frog, Lamb, Woman, male child, Man, or finally by an Angel in human guise.] < insertion from f 1v > But when the qualities, relations and mutual actions of societies, tribes, nations, Principates and Kingdoms are to be described more distinctly, these are signified by Animals; and sometimes indeed by herds of animals, such as Fish, Wild Beasts, Locusts, Horsemen Birds; sometimes by individual animals, such as Lion, Bear, Leopard, Eagle, Dragon, the heterogeneous ten-horned Beast [Editorial Note 6], the two-horned Beast [Editorial Note 7], the Frog, the Beast full of eyes, Lamb, Woman, male child, Man, or finally by an Angel in human guise. < text from f 2r resumes > When an Animal is put for a kingdom, its heads, if many, signify the division of the kingdom into its principal parts, whether concomitant or successive; Horns signify the number of kingdoms in the head which bears the horns; Eyes signify a wise man, and if these are supernatural, a Seer of a prophetic kind. A Mouth signifies a giver of laws and, if it is supernatural, a {lawgiver} <3r> of a prophetic kind. Teeth signify armies and the Phalanxes of which armies consist. < insertion from f 2v > If anyone seems to have legs or feet made of iron, if he is a king, he will enjoy long life and will crush his enemies. Achmet ch. 114 < text from f 3r resumes > Feet with claws also signify armies and Phalanxes of armies. The number of feet and toes signifies the number of dynasties in the whole kingdom. Spreading of wings signifies expansions of victories and dominion (2 Esdras{)},[Editorial Note 8] the Number of wings signifies the number of dominions or dynasties in the whole kingdom. A tail represents servants and companions in power, as well as armies of soldiers when it is of such a shape that the Animal can fight with it. The body of an Animal signifies the body of the kingdom which is ruled and defended by these limbs. Bones signify the strength and courage of a kingdom, flesh signifies the wealth whose abundance or scarcity makes the kingdom fat or thin, and which it consumes when other kingdoms are conquered. And these are the principal parts of kingdoms. The passions and the emotions follow.

To ascend into the sky signifies great exaltation. To ascend in a cloud signifies exaltation among a multitude of people. To sit and reap at pleasure from the clouds, signifies victory and dominion over many peoples. ‡ < insertion from f 2v > To be thrown down, descend or fall from the sky/heaven to earth signifies loss of honour2 and power, also defection from true religion. Falling into Water signifies the death of him who falls. To rise from the Abyss signifies the start of true religion, to be hurled into the Abyss, the death of false religion. To shine like the sun signifies the dominion of him who shines and the glory of the kingdom in proportion to the brightness of the light. Achm. ch. 167. To be in light signifies joy and truth, to be in darkness, misery and error. Achmet. The sun by clouds – < text from f 3r resumes > The sun being obscured by clouds or smoke signifies the overthrow of a King by hostile armies. Sun, moon and stars being obscured signifies perishing or dying, the dissolution of a kingdom, or desolation proportional to the darkness. # < insertion from f 2v > # Being consumed by fire signifies the destruction of the burnt object by war. Being scorched by the heat of the sun signifies punishment and affliction at the hands of a King in war. To seem to be blazing like the sun (Rev. 1.16), or like smelted brass (Rev 1.15), or like flames of fire (Rev 1.14), or to be clothed in a fiery substance (Rev 12.1 & 19.17) signify severe affliction at the hands of an enemy who brings war or persecution. < text from f 3r resumes > Upheavals of the earth signify wars and upheavals in kingdoms. Upheavals of sky and earth, signify such great upheavals in kingdoms that the kingdoms themselves are subverted and overthrown. Winds signify long-lasting and continual wars. Whirlwinds signify more violent, destructive and short wars. Thunder and hailstones signify battles, in which those against whom the storm is sent are conquered, and if the hailstones are described as large or mixed with fire (i.e. lightning) and blood, they signify extremely destructive battles, ✝ < insertion from f 2v > ✝ Inundation by the sea or rivers signify enemy invasions. Drying up of waters signifies a decline of military power. Waters becoming bitter or converted to gall or Wormwood, [Editorial Note 9] as well as drinking bitter waters, signify severe affliction, especially by enemy attacks. Waters or moon turned to blood and drinking blood signify the slaughter, figuratively speaking, of the thing signified, i.e. the dissolution of the church or any association signified. Being killed or dying signifies the dissolution of a mystical body < text from f 3r resumes > Rain signifies the blessing of God; living water signifies the spirit of God. Bitter waters, waters converted to gall and Wormwood signify severe affliction < insertion from f 2v > or Rather error and affliction, < text from f 3r resumes > Conversion of waters and of the Moon into blood signifies slaughter figuratively speaking, or dissolution of the kingdom or association which is signified by the waters or the Moon. Death signifies the dissolution of a body of men, whether that body be civil or Ecclesiastical. A wound signifies a kingdom stricken by war. A putrid sore signifies long-lasting affliction by wars. The Pains of toothache signifies the same as a sore. Pains of a Woman in childbirth signifies severe affliction for a persecuted Church; Nakedness signifies desolation.


Star. Moon of the world. Darkness. Eclipse of Sun, Moon and Stars, beating {illeg} into blood. Sky. Earth and the globe of the earth. Upheavals of the earth, upheavals of sky and earth. Smoke. Clouds. Winds. Whirlwinds. Hail. Thunder. Lightning. Rain. Rainbow. Land and Water. Sea. Many waters. Rivers, etc.

Ascend descend Ascend from earth to sky. Ascend etc. in/into clouds. Descend from heaven to earth. Ascend from earth. Descend into the Mouth of the earth. To ascend from the Abyss. To descend into the Abyss. To ascend from Water. To be thrown into water and sink.

To burn or be consumed by fire {signifies} destruction of something by war. Co ... of the sun

Mouth. A loud voice {signifies} war, especially if it is inarticulate. Silence.

To seal with the seal of God. [Editorial Note 10]

To be numbered

To be measured

A mystical day is a year. A mystical stade/running-track is a course of time.

Altar Incense




Marvels/Miracles (Miracula)

To prophesy


Iron rod


Bride, groom



To eat up a book

A vision of a thing hoped for, enjoyment of a thing by fulfillment of a prophecy


Seven Angels stand before God, [Editorial Note 11] i.e. before the Shrine of the Temple, and from the passage where they sound the trumpets I infer that there is an allusion to the ritual of the sacrifices. Therefore seven blasts indicate that seven sacrifices are occurring. And rightly. For trumpet blasts are the [1] type of that many wars, and a[2] sacrifices are the type of slaughters in wars, and for each single blast of the trumpet wars and slaughters are described, as we will explain more fully later.

Allusion is made here to the seven sacrifices that were conducted on each of the seven days of a great Jewish festival. Now there were only two such festivals, the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. And I think that it is the Feast of Tabernacles that is meant here for the following reasons. First because there were far greater sacrifices throughout the days of this festival than during the days of Passover. Secondly, because the Lamb that was seen a little earlier in the Shrine of the temple corresponds (as we have said) with the annual entry of the high priest into the Shrine on the tenth day of the seventh month. And that day guides us to the subsequent festival, which began on the fifteenth day of the same month. Apart from the fact that this festival started as soon as the Lamb had opened the book. [Editorial Note 12] That book, as we have said, corresponds to the book of the law at the sides of the Ark of the covenant, or kept as it were in the right hand of God sitting upon the Ark. And it was the custom that this book be brought forth, and be read and expounded, in the presence of all the people, on each of the days of this festival in the sabbatical year (Deuteronomy 31.10, Nahum 8.18        ). <6r> Now the book could be opened and read once all the seals had been opened and not before. And the seals are opened, so that the book might be read in Churches/Assemblies. Daniel had closed the book [Editorial Note 13] so that it might not be read, i.e., so that it might not be understood in churches/assemblies. The book remained closed right up to the opening of the last seal. Once that is opened, the book is no longer sealed. The book now begins to be open, i.e., to be publicly known as far as the interpretation of prophecy is concerned. It now begins to be understood, i.e. to be read in churches/assemblies. And when the book begins to be read, that is the first day of reading the laws in the feast of Tabernacles. Finally it is evident that this is the feast that is meant from the multitude that went before it with palms in their hands and shouting, Salvation (i.e. Hosanna in Hebrew) to our God and to the Lamb. For this was the custom of the Jews in that festival: on each day of it, but especially on the first and eighth days, all the people carried palms in their hands and shouted Hosanna, and this is also the reason why those days were called Hosanna, as the ✝[3] Rabbis tell us.

Therefore on the tenth day of the seventh month (which, since it is the day of expiation is the most fitting type of the first times in which we were purified by the slaughter of the Lamb{)}, that Lamb who is our high priest entering into the Shrine of the temple receives the book from the side of the Ark as from the hand of God < insertion from f 5v > namely of the Passover and Tabernacles; and everything here squares with the feast of Tabernacles. The sacrifices here were far greater than on the seven days of Passover, and the sequence of things on each day corresponds very well with the prophecy.

The tenth day of the seventh month, since it was a day of expiation, is the most fitting type of the first times in which we were purified through the slaughter of the Lamb. On this day the Lamb, who is our high priest, entering into the Shrine of the Temple, receives the book from the side of the Ark as from the hand of God < text from f 6r resumes > and in the course of the same day he opens the first seal, and on the six following days the other six seals, one on each day. <7r> And on the fifteenth day when the sixth seal is opened, understand that the festival is celebrated by the saints because of the overthrow of the hostile kingdom and the flight of the enemy, who conceal themselves in caves and in the rocks of the mountains from the face of God and of the Lamb. [Editorial Note 15]


Since therefore no other was found worthy to open the book, there appears a Lamb as it had been slain. [Editorial Note 16] Allusion is made by this to the Lamb, the daily sacrifice of a lamb in the temple. However the slaughter of the lamb at the Altar is not described. That was impious and perpetrated by impious people. And therefore the Lamb is set rather in the midst of the Throne and in the midst of four Animals and in the midst of the Elders, i.e., in the Shrine of the Temple. By this type allusion is made to the high priest entering every year into the Temple, but what is signified is the entry of Christ into the heavens. For the Shrine was a type of the heavens, and the annual entry of the high Priest into the Shrine is a type of the entry of Christ into the heavens, as the Apostle Paul amply explains, Hebrews, 9.

After the Lamb had received the book from the right hand of him that sat upon the Throne, the four Beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints, and they sing a new song, etc. [Editorial Note 17] By these words allusion is made to Jewish worship with musical instruments and song and with burning incense. But what is signified is the Christian worship which flourishes in the time of the Apostles. Harps and Songs signify worship with praises and thanksgiving, Vials full of odours signify worship by prayers, as is expressly said, since every Jew prayed at the time of incense, Luke 1.10. At the very beginning of the prophecy, which corresponds to Apostolic times, <9r> the true worship by adoration of God and of the Lamb is described; later, when the time of Antichrist is reached, the false worship involving adoration of the Beast and of the Image is described. Both kinds of worship are described in this prophecy so that those who are careful students of prophecies may discover the truth, while the rest of the world marvels after the beast. This deserves profound reflection.

Now that the description of true worship is ended, the Lamb opens the seven seals. When this has been done, the Church/Assembly celebrates a festival for God as an act of thanksgiving. For after the seventh seal was opened,

< insertion from f 8v >

Now that the description of true worship is ended, the Lamb opens the seven seals. These designate that number of successive periods. The allusion is to the Jewish habit of counting all times in sevens. They number the days continuously up to the seventh day, likewise the years and the sevens of years. Between Passover and Pentecost they count seven sevens of days. And as the seventh day and the seventh year are sacred for them, so too is the seventh month. Origen, Homily 23 on Numbers: For just as among the days, every seventh one is observed as the Sabbath and is a festival, so too among the Months, every seventh month [i.e., from the beginning of the year] is the Sabbath of months. In this month is held the festival which is called the Sabbath of Sabbaths, etc. Therefore the allusion in the Seventh seal is to some sacred and sabbatical time, as also in the seventh Trumpet. And rightly, for in relation to the seventh seal sacred rites are described which are consistent with a sabbatical period. Much incense is burned on the golden Altar, and at each of the seven sacrifices one of the seven Angels sounded their trumpets. Then at the blast of the seventh Trumpet it is again a Sabbath. In fact it is that very Sabbath of which the Apostle Paul speaks in Hebrews 4.9, and whose type is the seventh day. For then the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders fall upon their faces and adore God and are judged to be dead, Revelation, 11.15.

The type of the open book was the seventh month of the sabbatical Year. Right up until that month the book of the Law remained closed in the Shrine of the temple, <9v> nor was anyone allowed to enter the Shrine before the tenth day of this month. The innermost part of the Temple, (says Josephus, Jewish War, bk. 6, ch. 14) – was held to be unapproachable and inviolable and unseeable for all men and was called the holy of holies. That is why John wept bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to see it. [Editorial Note 18] Not only did no one open the book, but no one was even allowed to see it. Christ however entered once for all into the holy place, not with the blood of goats or calves (in the seventh month) but with his own blood (in the first month), Hebrews 3.12[Editorial Note 19]. Now for the first time was seen the Lamb as it had been slain [Editorial Note 20] in the midst of the Throne, and he received the prophetic book from the hand of the father. And then through the series of seals the seventh month is reached, when the book, fully unsealed, was to be opened and the read in the presence of all the people. Or if all this time seems too much just for the opening of the seals, assume any shorter period you wish. I state nothing positive about this. I assert only that by the times of the Trumpets following all the different unsealings of the book allusion is made to the solemn days of the seventh month in which the book of the law was accustomed to be brought out from beside the Ark, and opened and read and expounded in the presence of the whole people. [For the reading of that book and its interpretation have become a type here of the interpretation of a book of Prophecies; and signifies that they could not be opened and read spiritually or understood, until the time should come which is signified by the opening of the last seal. The lamb opening the seals and reading the book, now finally opened, is a type of the church, as is clear from its seven horns, which are the seven churches, and by its seven eyes, [Editorial Note 21] which are the seven Angels of the churches. And after all the seals of the book have been opened, the church begins to open the book spiritually itself, to read about things fulfilled, to interpret it rightly in the presence of all the people, as is signified later by the two witnesses who prophesy. [Editorial Note 22]] For when the seventh seal has been opened, the rites of the tenth day of the seventh month are described immediately; and then the seven Angels sound the trumpet for the sacrifices of the feast of the Tabernacles.

First then there is a silence in Heaven (i.e. in the forecourt of the Temple) for half-an-hour < text from f 9r resumes > There follow the descriptions of some great Jewish festival by the offering of much incense upon the golden Altar and subsequent blasts of the Trumpets ✝ for each of the seven sacrifices. Incense was employed at the beginning of a war/from the very beginning among the Jews, and therefore the celebration of this festival begins with incense.

First therefore there is silence in heaven (i.e. in the area of the temple) for about half-an-hour, and the Angel at the golden Altar performs the rites of incense [Editorial Note 23]: undoubtedly, in the Rites of nations almost everywhere there was silence about religion, and among the Jews it was at the time of Incense. For the whole of this time everything was silent, and the people prayed quietly to themselves outside the temple, Luke 1.10. And therefore the prayers of the saints are here combined with incense. [Editorial Note 24]


When the Incense was finished, and the fire of the Altar cast down to the earth, at the same time an end is put to that silence in heaven. For immediately there were voices and thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake. [Editorial Note 25] These are the voices of the multitude breaking their silence which had lasted through the half-hour. For the noise of a multitude is signified in Revelation by any kind of great noises, and especially by thunder. Thus, I heard, says John, as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent has taken the throne. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him Rev 19.6. Here the voice of a great crowd and the voice of many waters (i.e. of many people) and the voice of great thunderings are the same thing. So again, I heard, he says, a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters (i.e., of many people), and as the voice of great thunder, and the voice which I heard (was) as the voice of harpers harping with their harps, and they sung as it were a new song, Rev 14.2. The allusion here is to the sound of a multitude of Jews singing and playing harps on Mount Sion, i.e. in the forecourt of the Temple, according to the institution of David. And in the same manner the voices and thunderings after the half-hour of silence, are <11r> {the voices} of the multitude, whether by those voices you understand a confused hubbub or (as I would prefer) shouts of acclamation and the sounds of people singing and striking musical instruments in the holy Temple. And first they worship God with prayers and then with praises and thanksgiving. And the Voices and thundering are accompanied by lightning flashes and an earthquake, partly for propriety in the type (For these things are naturally combined in nature), partly to express the intensity of the people's devotion and the effectiveness of their worship. (Thus when the primitive Christians had prayed, the place where they had assembled was shaken, Acts 4.31), [partly, finally, in order that the type of the thing signified might be more fitting and more complete. For the silence of half an hour signifies a time of peace, and the subsequent voices and thunderings and lightnings and the earthquake signify future wars and upheavals among the peoples. The addition of the lightnings and the earthquake make it [Editorial Note 26] clearer.

After the eruption of the voices of the people, the seven Angels prepared themselves to sound the Trumpet. One has to think that the sacrifices are now beginning. For the priests sounded trumpets at the time of the sacrifices, especially on festival days, Numbers 10.10, 2 Chronicles 29.27, 28, Ecclesiasticus 50.16. The priests, says Josephus,[4] used horns in the sacrifices in which it is the custom that victims be slaughtered, both on the Sabbaths and on other days.

[Editorial Note 1] Throughout this piece I have normally translated coelum as 'sky', as it seems to be the physical sky that is referred to, but 'heaven, with its ambiguity, is also a possible translation.

[Editorial Note 2] Cf. Revelation 9.3, 7.

[Editorial Note 3] Cf. Revelation 9.7: locusts and horses prepared for battle.

[Editorial Note 4] Cf. Revelation 12.3.

[Editorial Note 5] Cf. Revelation 13.2: 'And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth.'

[Editorial Note 6] Cf. Rev. 13.1-2.

[Editorial Note 7] Cf. Revelation 13.11.

[Editorial Note 8] Cf. 2 Esdras 11-12 (the eagle vision).

[Editorial Note 9] Cf. Revelation 8: 11.

[Editorial Note 10] Cf. Revelation 7.3-4.

[Editorial Note 11] Cf. Revelation 8.2.

[1] ‡ Jeremiah, 4.5, 6.1, 51.27; Hosea, 5.8; Joel 2.1, 15; Zechariah, 9.14, etc.

[2] a Ezekiel, 39.17; Isaiah, 34.6; Jeremiah, 46.10; Zephaniah, 1.8.

[Editorial Note 12] Cf. Revelation 5.1-6.1.

[Editorial Note 13] Cf. Daniel 12.4.

[3]The Talmud, tractate on the feast of Tabernacles, ch. הליל. See Tremel. Ioh. 7.37 [Editorial Note 14]

[Editorial Note 14] John 7.37: 'In the last day, that great day of the feast...' Immanuel Tremelius has a long annotation on this verse in his translation.

[Editorial Note 15] Cf. Revelation 6.12ff.

[Editorial Note 16] Revelation 5.6: 'And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, ...'

[Editorial Note 17] Revelation 5.8-9.

[Editorial Note 18] Revelation, 11.4.

[Editorial Note 19] The correct reference is 9.12

[Editorial Note 20] Revelation, 5.6.

[Editorial Note 21] Cf. Revelation 5.6.

[Editorial Note 22] Cf. Revelation, 11.3.

[Editorial Note 23] Cf. revelation 8.1 ff.

[Editorial Note 24] Cf. Revelation 8.4.

[Editorial Note 25] Revelation 8.5.

[Editorial Note 26] 'it' refers to 'the type', I think.

[4] Antiquities, bk. 3, ch. 11.

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Professor Rob Iliffe
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Scott Mandelbrote,
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