there was before no church, that is among Gentiles. It was so when the Most Ancient church perished; then a new church called Noah, or the Ancient church which existed after the flood, was established among Gentiles, that is among those with whom there was no church before. In like manner when this church perished, the semblance of a church was established among the descendants of Abraham from Jacob; thus again among Gentiles, for Abram when he was called was a Gentile; the posterity of Jacob in Egypt became still more Gentile, insomuch that they were entirely ignorant of Jehovah, and therefore of all Divine worship. After this semblance of a church was consummated, then the Primitive church was established among Gentiles, the Jews being rejected. So will it be with this church, which is called Christian. (A. C. n. 2986.)
The destruction of this [the first Christian] church is foretold by the Lord in the Evangelists, and through John in the Apocalypse; which destruction is what is called the last judgment. Not that then heaven and earth are to perish; but that a new church will be raised up in some part of the earth, this church still remaining in its external worship,—as the Jews in theirs; in whose worship it is well enough known there is nothing of charity and faith, thus nothing of the church, (ib. n. 1850.)
When the church is fully devastated a New Church will be established, into which they who are of the former church will be invited. (A E. n. 948.)
"And His wife hath made herself ready." This signifies that they who will be of this New Church, which is the New Jerusalem, are to be gathered together, inaugurated, and instructed. That by wife the Lord's New Church is signified, which is the New Jerusalem, is clearly manifest from the following (twenty-first) chapter, where these words occur:—"I saw the holy city New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (ver. 2). And in the same chapter: "There came unto me an angel . . . saying, Come hither, I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb's wife. . . . And he showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God" (ver. 9, 10). By [the expression] "His wife hath made herself ready," it is signified that they who will be of this New Church of the Lord are to be gathered together, inaugurated, and instructed. And because this is signified by "hath made herself ready," it follows that that wife is to be "arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright," by which inauguration by instruction is signified. And therefore the subject of the white horse also follows, by which is signified the understanding of the Word [revealed] for them by the Lord. (A. R n. 813.)
- As to who are meant by Gentiles see p. 323.