Christian world who are of the church. For numbers in the Word signify things, and seven signify all things and all men [omnia et omnes], and therefore also what is full and perfect; and this number occurs in the Word where it treats of a thing that is holy, and in the opposite sense of a thing that is profane. This number therefore involves what is holy, and in the opposite sense what is profane. The reason why numbers signify things, or rather that they are as a kind of adjectives to substantives, denoting some quality in things, is that number in itself is natural; for natural things are determined by nubers, but spiritual by things and their states. He therefore who does not know the signification of numbers in the Word, and especially in the Apocalypse, cannot know many mysteries that are contained therein. Now, as seven signify all things and all men, it is plain that by the seven churches all are meant who are in the Christian world where the Word is, and by means of it the Lord is known. These, if they live according to the Lord's precepts in the Word, constitute the very church.
"Which are in Asia" (ver. 4), signifies, to those who are in the light of truth from the Word. Since by all names of persons and places in the Word things of heaven and the church are meant, as was said before, so therefore by Asia, and by the names of the seven churches therein, as will appear from what follows. The reason why those who are in the light of truth from the Word are meant by Asia is, that the Most Ancient Church, and after that the Ancient, and then the Israelitish church, were in Asia; and that the Ancient Word, and afterwards the Israelitish Word, was with them; and all the light of truth is from the Word. (ib. n. 10, 11.)
"I was in the island called Patmos" (ver. 9), signifies a state and place in which he could be enlightened. The reason why the Revelation to John was made in Patmos was that it was an island of Greece, not very far from the Land of Canaan, and between Asia and Europe; and by islands are signified nations more remote from the worship of God, but yet which will draw near to it, because they are capable of being enlightened. The same is signified by Greece, but the Church itself is signified by the Land of Canaan; by Asia those of the Church who are in the light of truth from the Word; and by Europe those to whom the Word is about to come. Hence it is that by the isle of Patmos is signified a state and place in which he could be enlightened. (ib. n. 34.)
"What thou seest write in a book" (ver. 11). It is evident without explanation that this signifies that it was revealed for posterity.
"And send to the churches, to those which are in Asia," signifies