The Four Ages

- from the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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The consummation of the Most Ancient Church, brought about by the eating of the tree of knowledge, by which is signified the pride of one's own intelligence, is described by the Flood. The consummation of the Ancient Church is described by various devastations of nations treated of both in the historical and in the prophetical parts of the Word, especially by the driving out of the nations from the land of Canaan by the Children of Israel.

The consummation of the Church of Israel and Judah is understood by the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem, and by the carrying away of the people of Israel into perpetual captivity, and of the Jewish nation to Babylon, and finally by the second destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem at the same time and the dispersion of that nation. This consummation is foretold in many places in the Prophets and in (Daniel 9:24-27); while the gradual devastation of the Christian Church until its end is described by the Lord in Matthew xxiv, in Mark xiii, and in Luke xxi, but the consummation itself in the Apocalypse. From these considerations it may be evident that a Church in process of time declines and is consummated; and so also does a religion.

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