3. Thus far it has remained unknown that a new earth means a new church on earth, because everyone has understood earth in the Word as meaning the earth, when it really means the church. In the natural sense earth is the earth, but in the spiritual sense the church. The reason is that those who grasp the spiritual sense, those, that is, who are spiritual like the angels, do not understand the actual earth when earth is mentioned in the Word, but the people on it, and their worship of God. That is why earth means the church. Proof of this is to be found in ARCANA CAELESTIA; see below.# I should like to quote one or two passages from the Word, which allow one to grasp to some extent that earth means the church:
The flood-gates on high have been opened, and the foundations of the earth have been shaken. The earth was utterly shattered, the earth quaked exceedingly. The earth reels to and fro like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; and its transgression weighs heavy on it. Isa. 24:18-20.
I will make mankind scarcer than pure gold. Therefore I shall shake the heaven, and the earth will be shaken from its place on the day when Jehovah's anger is kindled. Isa. 13:12, 13.
The earth quaked before Him; the heavens trembled, the sun and the moon were darkened, and the stars withdrew their shining. Joel 2:10.
The earth was shaken and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains trembled and were shaken. Ps. 18:7, 8.
There are very many other such passages. # Earth in the Word means the Lord's kingdom and the church: (AC 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 9325, 9643). In particular, because earth means the land of Canaan and from the earliest times the church was there, this too is why heaven is called the heavenly Canaan (AC 567, 3686, 4447, 4454, 4516, 4517, 5136, 6516, 9325 9327). Also because earth in the spiritual sense means the people on it and their worship (AC 1262). As a result earth means a number of things connected with the church (AC 620, 636, 1066, 2571, 3368, 3379, 3404, 8732). The people of the earth means those who belong to the spiritual church (AC 2928). An earthquake is a change in the condition of the church (AC 3355). A New heaven and a new earth means a new church (AC 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535, 10373). The Most Ancient church, which existed before the flood, and the Ancient church which followed the flood, were in the land of Canaan (AC 567, 3686, 4447, 4454, 4516, 4517, 5136, 6516, 9327). At that time all the places there became representative of things in the Lord's kingdom and in the church (AC 1585, 3686, 4447 5136). Abraham was therefore ordered to go there, since a representative church was to be set up among his descendants starting from Jacob, and among them the Word was to be written; the last sense of this was to be composed of the things there which represented and stood for spiritual ideas (AC 3686, 4447, 5176 6516). Thus it is that earth and the land of Canaan mean the church (AC 3038, 3481, 3705, 4447, 4517, 5757, 10568).