310. In the spiritual sense murders mean all manners of killing and destroying human souls. These are of many and varied kinds, for instance, turning them away from God, religion and the worship of God, making these things the subject of scandal, and persuading people of things which cause them to be hated and rejected. Such are all the devils and satans in hell, and linked with them are those in this world who offer violence to and prostitute the holiness of the church. It is those who destroy souls by means of falsities who are meant by the king of the abyss, called 'Abaddon' or 'Apollyon', that is, the destroyer, in Rev. 9:11; and in the prophetic parts of the Word by 'the slain', as in these passages:
Jehovah God has said, Feed the sheep to be slain, which their owners slaughtered. Zech. 11:4, 5, 7.
We were slain all day long; we were considered sheep for slaughter. Ps. 44:22.
Jacob will cause those who are to come to take root; has he not been slain even as he slew others? Isa. 27:6, 7.
A thief* does not come except to steal and slaughter sheep; I have come so that they may have life and plenty. John 10:10.
There are further passages of this kind, such as Isa. 14:21; 26:21; Ezek. 37:9**; Jer. 4:31; 12:3; Rev. 9:4, 5; 11:7. This is why the devil is called 'a murderer from the beginning' (John 8:44).
* The Latin text has 'a stranger', but this is corrected in the author's copy. The word 'sheep' has been added to the quotation. ** This reference appears to be wrong; possibly Ezek. 34:9, 10 is intended.