Spiritual Independence Day

Apocalypse Revealed - Introduction

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( From the author's preface of the Apocalypse Revealed )

Many expositors have labored to interpret the Apocalypse, but as they did not know that the Word had an inner meaning, they could not see the arcana hidden there, for the spiritual sense alone discloses them. So they have made various conjectures about it, and most of them have applied the visions recorded there to the states of empires, including also some notions about ecclesiastical matters. But the Apocalypse, like the whole Word in its spiritual sense, does not treat at all of worldly concerns, but of spiritual ones – thus not of empires and kingdoms, but of heaven and the church.

It should be understood that after a last judgment which was accomplished in the spiritual world in 1757 (on which subject see a special small work - The Last judgement and Babylon Destroyed - published in London in 1758), a new heaven was formed from Christians, but only from those who could accept the Lord as the one God of heaven and earth, according to His own words in Matthew 28:18; and who at the same time had repented of their evil deeds in the world. From this heaven, a new church, which is the New Jerusalem, is descending, and will continue to descend. That this church is to acknowledge the Lord only is plain from the following in the Apocalypse:

There came to me one of the seven angels, and he spoke to me, saying: Come, I will show you the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife; and he showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God (21:9, 10).

In another place:

Let us rejoice and exult; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Wife has made herself ready. Happy are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (19:7, 9).

That a new heaven was to be formed, and that a new church would descend from it, is told in these words:

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; and I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband. He who sat upon the throne said: Behold, I make all things new; and He said to me: Write, for these words are true and faithful (21:1, 2, 5).

The "new heaven" is from Christians; the "New Jerusalem" is a new church on earth which will act as one with the new heaven. The "Lamb" is the Lord as to His Divine Human. To illustrate: The Christian heaven is below the ancient heavens. Into it, from the time when the Lord was in the world, were admitted those who worshiped one God under three persons, but who did not have the idea of three gods – because a trinity of persons had been accepted throughout the Christian world.

However, such people as had cherished the idea of the Lord’s Human as like that of a finite man, could not receive the faith of the New Jerusalem, which is that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only God, in whom is the Trinity. For that reason, people of that kind were separated, and sent to the extremities. I was permitted to see the separations and removals after the last judgment. All heaven is founded upon a right idea of God; so, also, the whole church on earth, and in general all religion; for that idea brings conjunction, and from conjunction come light, wisdom, and eternal happiness.

Anyone may see that the Apocalypse can be explained only by the Lord; for every word in it contains arcana which could never be known without special enlightenment, i.e., revelation. For that reason, it has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit and teach me. Do not believe, therefore, that I have taken anything in this book from myself, or from any angel, but from the Lord alone. Moreover, the Lord Himself said to John through the angel:

Seal not the words of the prophecy of this Book (22:10).

This means that something more was eventually to be disclosed.

EMANUEL SWEDENBORG - 1766

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Updated: 08/28/11