Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 3353

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3353. The majority of people believe that when the Last Judgement comes everything visible in the world is going to perish - that is to say, the earth will go up in flames, the sun and moon will be reduced to nothing, and the stars will disappear; and after that a new heaven and a new earth will come into being. They have acquired this idea from the prophetical revelations, among which such occurrences are mentioned. But what will in fact happen at that time is quite different, as becomes clear from what has been shown already concerning the Last Judgement in 900, 931, 1850, 2117-2133. Those paragraphs show that the Last Judgement is nothing else than the end of the Church with one group of people and the beginning of it with another. This end with one and beginning with another occurs when the Lord is not acknowledged any longer, or what amounts to the same, when there is no faith any longer. No acknowledgement or faith exists any longer when there is no charity any longer, for faith is in no way possible except with those in whom charity is present. In those circumstances the Church comes to an end and is transferred to others, as is plainly evident from all the things that the Lord Himself taught and foretold in the Gospels concerning the last day or the close of the age - in Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21. But since nobody without the key, which is the internal sense, is able to understand those things foretold by Him there, let them be explained one after another.

[2] Here first let the following words be explained which appear in Matthew,

The disciples came to Jesus, saying, Tell us. when will those things take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the close of the age? And Jesus answering said to them, See that no one leads you astray, for many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ; and they will lead many astray. But when you hear of wars and rumours of wars, see that you are not alarmed; for all things must take place; but the end is not yet. For nation will be roused against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, and plagues, and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of sorrows. Matt 24:3-8.

Those who confine themselves to the sense of the letter cannot know whether these words and those that follow in this chapter refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews, or whether they refer to the end of days which is called the Last Judgement. But those admitted into the internal sense see clearly that the end of the Church is being referred to, this end being that which here and in other places is called 'the coming of the Lord' and 'the close of the age'. And inasmuch as the end of the Church is meant one is able to see that all these statements made by the Lord mean such things as have to do with the Church. But their overall meaning may be seen from the individual meaning below which each of them has in the internal sense.

Many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ; and they will lead many astray. 'Name' here does not mean name, nor 'the Christ' the Christ, but 'name' means that by which the Lord is worshipped, 2724, 3006, while 'the Christ' means truth itself, 3009, 3010. Thus the meaning is that people will come who say that this is the sum and substance of faith, that is, it is the truth, when in fact it is neither the sum and substance of faith, nor the truth, but falsity.

They will hear of wars and rumours of wars means that arguments and disagreements over truths will arise which are wars in the spiritual sense.

Nation will be roused against nation and kingdom against kingdom means that evil will conflict with evil, and falsity with falsity, 'nation' meaning good, but in the contrary sense evil, see 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849, and 'kingdom' meaning truth, but in the contrary sense falsity, 1672, 2547. And there will be famines, and plagues, and earthquakes in various places means that no cognitions of good and truth will exist any more, and thus that the state of the Church is altered, meant by 'an earthquake'.

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