The Four Ages

- from the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg
Every Religion Declines - contunied

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The Most Ancient Church, which was the first, is described under the name of Adam and his wife Eve. The Church that followed, called the Ancient Church, is described under the name of Noah, his three sons and their posterity. This was a wide spread Church, extending over many of the kingdoms of Asia, namely, the land of Canaan on both sides of the Jordan, Syria, Assyria and Chaldea, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Arabia, Tyre and Sidon. These had the ancient Word referred to in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalen Concerning the Sacred Scriptures (n. 101-103).

That such a Church existed in those kingdoms is evident from various particulars recorded concerning them in the prophetical parts of the Word. This Church, however, was notably changed by Eber, from whom arose the Hebrew Church, in which worship by sacrifices was first instituted. From the Hebrew Church sprang the Israelitish and Jewish Church, established with due solemnity for the sake of the (new) Word which was there to be written.

These four Churches are meant by the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in a dream, the head of which was of pure gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, and the legs and feet of iron and clay (Dan. 2:32, 33, and above).

The same is meant by the golden, the silver, the copper and the iron ages, mentioned by ancient writers. It is well known that the Christian Church succeeded the Jewish Church; and it may be seen from the Word that all these Churches in process of time declined until they reached their end, which is called their consummation.

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