Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/222

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THE SACRED SCRIPTURES.

expression in the Word does not involve Him, or in its manner relate to Him, is not Divine. (A. C. n. 1, 2.)

 

The Apocalypse.

Not a single verse of the Apocalypse could be revealed except by the Lord. (C. L. n. 532.)

The Apocalypse does not treat of the successive states of the church, much less of the successive states of kingdoms as some have hitherto believed, but from beginning to end it treats of the last state of the church in heaven and on earth; and of the last judgment; and after this of the New Church which is the New Jerusalem. (A. R n. 2.)

"Things which must shortly come to pass" (Rev. i. 1), signifies that they will certainly be, lest the church should perish. By must shortly come to pass it is not meant that the things foretold in the Apocalypse will immediately and speedily occur, but certainly; and that unless they do the church must perish. In the Divine idea, and therefore in the spiritual sense, there is no time, but instead of time there is state; and as shortly is of time it signifies certainly, and that it will be before its time. For the Apocalypse was given in the first century, and seventeen centuries have now passed; from which it is clear that by shortly that which corresponds to it must be signified, which is certainly. Quite the same is also involved in these words of the Lord: "Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened" (Matt, xxiv. 22). By this also it is meant that unless the church should come to an end before its time it would utterly perish. In that chapter the consummation of the age and the Lord's coming are treated of; and by the consummation of the age the last state of the old church is meant, and by the Lord's coming, the first state of the new. It was said that in the Divine idea there is no time, but the presence of all things past and future. Therefore it is said by David, "A thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday" (Psalm xc. 4); and again: "I will declare the decree, Jehovah hath said unto me, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee" (Psalm ii. 7): "this day" is the presence of the Lord's advent. Hence it is too that an entire period is called a day in the Word, and its first state is called the dawning and the morning, and its last evening and night, (ib. n. 4.)

"John to the seven churches" (ver. 4), signifies, to all who are in the Christian world where the Word is and by means of it the Lord is known, and who draw near to the church. Seven churches are not meant by the seven churches, but all in the