Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/484

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THE NEW CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

 

The New Heaven and the New Earth.

"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. xxi. 1), signifies that a new heaven was formed by the Lord from among Christians, which at this day is called the Christian heaven; where they are who had worshipped the Lord and lived according to His commandments in the Word,—in whom therefore there is charity and faith. In this heaven are also all the infants of Christians. A natural heaven visible to the eyes, and a natural earth inhabited by men, are not meant by a new heaven and a new earth; but a spiritual heaven is meant, and the earth of that heaven, where angels dwell. That this heaven and the earth of this heaven are meant, every one may see and acknowledge if he can but withdraw himself somewhat from a merely natural and material conception when he reads the Word. It is plain that an angelic heaven is meant; for it is said in the verse immediately following, that he saw the holy city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; by which no Jerusalem descending is meant, but a church. And the church upon earth comes down from the Lord out of the angelic heaven, because the angels of heaven and men on earth in all things relating to the church form one. It may be seen from this how naturally and materially they have thought and think, who, from these words and those that follow in this verse, have fabricated the dogma of the destruction of the world, and of a new creation of all things. This new heaven is several times previously referred to in the Apocalypse, especially in chap. xiv. and xv. It is called the Christian heaven because it is distinct from the ancient heavens, which were composed of the men of the church before the Lord's coming. These ancient heavens are above the Christian heaven; for the heavens are like expanses one above the other. It is the same with each heaven; for each heaven by itself is distinguished into three heavens, an inmost or third, a middle or second, and a lowest or first heaven. So it is with this new heaven. I have seen those who are there and conversed with them. In this new Christian heaven are all, from the first formation of the Christian church, who have worshipped the Lord and lived according to His commandments in the Word, and who therefore were in charity and at the same time in faith from the Lord through the Word,—and thus who were not in a dead but a living faith. All the infants of Christians are likewise in that heaven, because they are educated by angels in those two essentials of the church; which are, an acknowledgment of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and a life according to the commandments of the decalogue. (A. R. n. 876.)