Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 3488

Previous Number Next Number Next Translation See Latin 

3488. The fact that these words spoken by the Lord and recorded in the gospel describe the second state of the perversion of the Church is evident from their internal sense, which is as follows,

All these are the beginning of sorrows means the things that have already happened, that is to say, the things that belong to the first state of the perversion of the Church, which, as has been stated, takes place when people cease to know any longer what goodness is and what truth is and start to argue with one another about them, with the result that falsities, and consequently heresies arise. The fact that such things perverted the Church before very many centuries had gone by is evident from the consideration that the Church in the Christian world became divided, and that its divisions were the result of opinions concerning goodness and truth; so that the Church began to be perverted a long way back in the past.

[2] At that time they will deliver you up to affliction, and will kill you means that goodness and truth will perish, at first through 'affliction'- that is, through perversion - and then through men 'killing' them, that is, through denial. For 'killing', when used in reference to goodness and truth, means that these are not being accepted, and thus that people deny them, see 3387, 3395. 'You' - the apostles - means all things of faith in their entirety, and so means the good of faith as well as the truth of faith; for the twelve apostles meant those things, see 577, 2089, 2129, 2130 (end), 3272, 3354. Here it is quite evident that they have that meaning, for the subject is not the preaching of the apostles but the close of the age.

[3] And you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake means contempt for and loathing of everything to do with goodness and truth. 'Hating' is holding in contempt and loathing, for these are manifestations of hatred. 'By all nations' means by persons under the influence of evil, for 'nations' refers to these, see 1259, 1260, 1849, 1868, 2588 (end). 'For My name's sake' is for the Lord's sake, and so for the sake of everything that comes from Him - 'the Lord's name' being everything in its entirety by which He is worshipped, and so everything belonging to His Church, see 2724, 3006.

[4] At that time many will stumble, and betray one another, and hate one another means hostility on account of those things. 'Many will stumble' means the hostility in itself - the Lord's Human being that against which the hostility is directed. That this will be a cause of offence or a stumbling-block is foretold in various places in the Word. 'Betray one another' is hostility towards one another arising out of falsity conflicting with truth. 'And hate one another' is hostility towards one another arising out of evil conflicting with good.

[5] And many false prophets will arise and will lead many astray means declarations of falsity - 'false prophets' meaning teachers of falsities, thus false doctrine, see 2534. 'And will lead many astray' means that there will be things that are the issue of that doctrine.

[6] And because iniquity is multiplied the charity of many will grow cold means charity together with faith breathing its last. 'Because iniquity is multiplied' means in keeping with falsities of faith. 'The charity of many will grow cold' means charity breathing its last; for the two - charity and faith - go together side by side. Where there is no faith there is no charity; and where there is no charity there is no faith. Charity however is that which receives faith, and the absence of charity is that which rejects faith. This is the origin of all falsity and of all evil.

[7] But he who endures to the end will be saved means the salvation of those who have charity. 'He who endures to the end' is the person who does not allow himself to be led astray, and so does not yield in times of temptation.

[8] And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all nations means that the Christian world wilt be the first to come to know it. 'Will be preached' means that it will come to be known. 'This gospel of the kingdom' is this truth, that it really is so - 'gospel' being pronouncement, 'the kingdom' truth, for 'the kingdom' means truth, see 1672, 2547. 'In the whole inhabited earth' is the Christian world, 'the earth' being that region where the Church, and so the Christian world, is, see 662, 1066, 1068, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 2928, 3355. Here the Church is called 'the inhabited earth' from the life of faith, that is, from the good that dwells in truth, for 'inhabiting' in the internal sense is living, and 'inhabitants' are the goods that dwell in truth, 1293, 2268, 2451, 2712, 3384. 'As a testimony' means to ensure that they know, and to prevent them pretending that they do not know. 'To all nations' means to the evil, 1259, 1260, 1849, 1868, 2588. For when people are under the influence of falsity and evil they no longer know what truth is or what good is; indeed they believe that falsity is truth, that evil is good, and vice versa. When the Church reaches this state, at that point the end will come. The words that follow next, to be explained in the Lord's Divine mercy in the preliminary section of the next chapter of Genesis, deal with that state of the Church which is called 'the abomination of desolation', which is the third state.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church