4. 'Things which must shortly come to pass' signifies that they are certainly going to happen so that the Church may not perish. By 'must shortly come to pass' is not understood that the things that have been predicted in the Apocalypse are going to happen at once and shortly, but certainly; and that unless they do happen the Church perishes. In the Divine idea, and thence in the spiritual sense, there is no time, but instead of time there is state; and because 'shortly' is of time, certainty is signified by it, and that it is going to happen before its time. For the Apocalypse was given in the first century, and now seventeen centuries have passed by, in consequence of which it is plain that by 'shortly' is signified that which corresponds [to it], and that is certainty.  These words of the Lord involve exactly the same:-
Except those days should be shortened, no flesh would be preserved;
but for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened Matt. xxiv 22.
By them it is also understood that unless the Church was brought to an end before its time it would perish absolutely. In that chapter the consummation of the age and the Lord's coming are dealt with, and by the consummation of the age the last state of the old Church, and by the Lord's coming the first state of the new Church, is understood.  It has been said that in the Divine idea there is no time, but the presence of all the things that have been and are going to be. Therefore it is said in David:-
A thousand years in Thy sight are as yesterday Ps. xc 4.
and in the same:-
I will declare the decree, Jehovah has said unto Me, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee Ps. ii 7.
'This day' is the presence of the Lord's coming. It is in consequence of this also that an entire period is termed 'a day', its first state being a daybreak and morning, and its last an evening and night.