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The New Heaven and The New Earth,
and what is meant by The New Jerusalem

by Emanuel Swedenborg, London, 1758.

HD 1. It is written in the Apocalypse:--

I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride before her husband. The city had a wall, great and high, which had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, in which were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The city itself lieth four-square, and the length is as great as the breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand stadia; the length and the breadth and the height of it were equal. And he measured the wall thereof, a hundred forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, which is, of an angel. And the wall of it was of jasper; and the city itself was pure gold, like unto pure glass; and the foundations of the wall of the city were of every precious stone. The twelve gates were twelve pearls. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were pellucid glass. The glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp of it was the Lamb. The nations which were saved shall walk in the light of it; and the Kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it. (Rev 21:1, 2, 12-24).

The man who reads these things, understands them only according to the sense of the letter; namely, that the visible heaven and earth will perish, and a new heaven will exist, and that the holy city Jerusalem, answering to the measures above described, will descend upon the new earth; but the angels understand these things altogether differently; namely, what man understands naturally, they understand spiritually; and as the angels understand, so they signify; and this is the internal or spiritual sense of the Word. In the internal or spiritual sense, "a New Heaven and a New Earth" means a New Church, both in the heavens and on the earth, which will be more particularly spoken of hereafter. "The city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven" signifies its heavenly doctrine; "the length," "the breadth," and "the height," which are equal, signify all the goods and truths of that doctrine in the aggregate. By "the wall" of it is meant the truths which protect it; "the measure of the wall," which is "a hundred forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel," signifies all those protecting truths in the aggregate, and their quality. "The twelve gates" of pearl mean introductory truths; "the twelve angels at the gates" signify the same. "The foundations of the wall" which are "of every precious stone," mean the knowledges on which that doctrine is founded. "The twelve tribes of Israel," and "the twelve apostles," mean all things of the church in general and in particular. The city and its streets being of "gold like unto pure glass," signifies the good of love from which the doctrine and its truths are pellucid. "The nations" who are saved, and "the kings of the earth" who bring glory and honor into it, mean all of the church who are in goods and truths. "God and "the Lamb" mean the Lord as to the Divine itself and the Divine Human. Such is the spiritual sense of the Word, to which the natural sense, which is that of the letter, serves as a basis; but still these two senses, the spiritual and the natural, form a one by correspondences.

It is not the design of the present work to show that there is such a spiritual meaning in the afore mentioned passages, but the proof of it may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia, in the following places: In the Word by "land" (earth) the church is signified, particularly when it is applied to the land of Canaan (AC 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 9325, 9643). Because by "land" in the spiritual sense is meant the nation dwelling therein, and its worship (AC 1262), "the people of the land" signify those who are of the spiritual church (AC 2928). "A New Heaven and a New Earth" signify something new in the heavens and on earth, as to goods and truths, thus as to those things that relate to the church in each (AC 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535, 10373). `What is meant by "the first heaven and the first earth" which passed away, see The Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed, from beginning to end, but particularly (LJ 65-72). "Jerusalem" signifies the church as to doctrine (AC 402, 3654, 9166). "Cities" signify doctrines which are of the church and religion (AC 402, 2449, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493). "The wall of a city" signifies the truth of doctrine defending (AC 6419). "The gates of a city" signify truths introducing to doctrine, and through doctrine to the church (AC 2943, 4477, 4492, 4493). "The twelve tribes of Israel" represented, and thence signified, all the truths and goods of the church in general and in particular, thus all things of faith and love (AC 3858, 3926, 4060, 6335). The same is signified by" the Lord‘s twelve apostles" (AC 2129, 3272, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397). When it is said of the apostles, that "they shall sit upon twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel," it signifies that all are to be judged according to the goods and truths of the church, thus by the Lord from whom they are (AC 2129, 6397). "Twelve" signifies all things in the aggregate (AC 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913). Also "a hundred forty-four" signifies the same because that number is the product of twelve multiplied by twelve (AC 7973); "twelve thousand" has also the same signification (AC 7973). All numbers in the Word signify things (AC 482, 487, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252, 4264, 6175, 9488, 9659, 10217, 10253). Numbers multiplied into each other have the same signification as the simple numbers from which they arise by multiplication (AC 5291, 5335, 5708, 7973). "Measure" signifies the quality of a thing as to truth and good (AC 3104, 9603, 10262). "The foundations of a wall" signify the knowledges of truth on which doctrinals are founded (AC 9643). "Quadrangular" or square" signifies what is perfect (AC 9717, 9861). "Length" signifies good and its extension, and "breadth" truth and its extension (AC 1613, 9487). "Precious stones" signify truths from good (AC 114, 9863, 9865). What "the precious stones" in the Urim and Thummim signify, both in general and in particular (AC 3862, 9864, 9866, 9891, 9895, 9905). What the "jasper" of which the wall was built signifies (AC 9872). "The street of the city" signifies the truth of doctrine from good (AC 2336). "Gold" signifies the good of love (AC 113, 1551, 1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9510, 9874, 9881). "Glory" signifies the Divine truth, such as it is in heaven, and the intelligence and wisdom thence (AC 4809, 5068, 5922, 8267, 8427, 9429, 10574). "Nations" signify those in the church who are in good, and, in the abstract sense, the good of the church (AC 1059, 1159, 1258, 1261, 1285, 1416, 1849, 4574, 7830, 9255, 9256). "Kings" signify those in the church who are in truths, and thence abstractly the truth of the church (AC 1672, 2015, 2069, 4575, 5044). The rites at the coronation of kings, involve such things as are of the Divine truth, but the knowledge of these things is at this day lost (AC 4581, 4966).

HD 2. Before the New Jerusalem and its doctrine are treated of, something shall be said of the New Heaven and the New Earth. What is meant by "the first heaven and the first earth," which passed away, see The Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed. Immediately after that event, that is, after the Last Judgment was completed, a New Heaven was created or formed by the Lord. This heaven was formed of all those who, from the coming of the Lord to the present time, had lived the life of faith and charity, since these alone were forms of heaven. For the form of heaven, according to which all consociations and communications therein are effected, is the form of the Divine truth from the Divine good proceeding from the Lord; and this form man as to his spirit acquires by a life according to the Divine truth. That the form of heaven is thence (HH 200-212), and that all the angels are forms of heaven (HH 51-58, 73-77). From these things it may be known, who they are of whom the New Heaven consists; and thereby what its quality is, namely, that it is altogether unanimous. For he who lives the life of faith and charity, loves another as himself, and by love conjoins him to himself, and thus reciprocally and mutually; for in the spiritual world, love is conjunction. Wherefore, when all act thus, then from many, yea from innumerable individuals consociated according to the form of heaven, unanimity exists, and they become as one; for then nothing separates and divides, but everything conjoins and unites.

HD 3. Since this heaven was formed of all those who had been such from the coming of the Lord until the present time, it follows that it is composed both of Christians and of Gentiles; but chiefly of all infants from the whole world, who have died since the Lord’s coming; for all these were received by the Lord, and educated in heaven, and instructed by the angels, and reserved, that they, together with the others, might constitute the New Heaven; whence it may be concluded how great that heaven is. That all who die in infancy are educated in heaven, and become angels, (HH 329-345). And that heaven is formed of Gentiles as well as of Christians (HH 318-328).

HD 4. Moreover, with respect to this New Heaven, it is to be known, that it is distinct from the ancient heavens which were formed before the coming of the Lord; but still they together with this are so arranged that they form one heaven. The reason why this New Heaven is distinct from the ancient heavens, is because in the ancient churches there was no other doctrine than the doctrine of love and charity; and then they did not know of any doctrine of faith separated from love and charity. Hence also it is that the ancient heavens constitute higher expanses, while the New Heaven constitutes an expanse beneath them; for the heavens are expanses one above another. In the highest expanse those dwell who are called celestial angels, many of whom were of the Most Ancient Church; they who are there are called celestial angels from celestial love, which is love to the Lord. In the expanse beneath them are those who are called spiritual angels, most of whom were of the Ancient Church; they are called spiritual angels from spiritual love, which is charity towards the neighbor. Below these are the angels who are in the good of faith; these are they who have lived the life of faith. To live the life of faith, is to live according to the doctrine of their church; and to live is to will and to do. All these heavens, however, form a one, by mediate and immediate influx from the Lord. But a more full idea of these heavens may be obtained from what is said of them in the work on Heaven and Hell, and particularly in the article which treats of the Two Kingdoms into which the heavens in general are distinguished (HH 20-28); and in the article concerning the Three Heavens (HH 29-40); concerning mediate and immediate influx, in the extracts from the Arcana Coelestia, after (AC 603); and concerning the Most Ancient and Ancient Churches in The Last Judgment and Babylon Destroyed (LJ 46).

HD 5. These things are concerning the New Heaven; something shall now be said concerning "the New Earth." By "the New Earth" is meant the New Church on the earth; for when a former church ceases to exist, then a new one is established by the Lord. For it is provided by the Lord that there should always be a church on earth, since by means of the church there is a conjunction of the Lord with the human race, and of heaven with the world; for there the Lord is known, and there are the Divine truths by which man is conjoined to Him. That a New Church is at this time being established, see The Last Judgment (LJ 74). The reason why a New Church is signified by "the New Earth" arises from the spiritual sense of the Word; for in that sense, by the "earth" no particular country is meant, but the nation dwelling there, and its Divine worship; this, in the spiritual sense, being what answers to earth in the natural sense. Moreover, by "earth" in the Word, when there is no name of any particular country affixed to the term, is signified the land of Canaan; and in the land of Canaan a church had existed from the most ancient times; in consequence of which, all the places therein, and in the adjacent countries, with the mountains and rivers, which are mentioned in the Word, became representative and significative of the things which are the internals of the church, and which are called its spiritual things. Hence it is, as was said, that "earth" in the Word, because it means the land of Canaan, signifies the church; in like manner here by "the New Earth"; from this comes the custom in the church to speak of the heavenly Canaan, by which is meant heaven. That "the land of Canaan," in the spiritual sense of the Word, signifies the church, is shown in the Arcana Coelestia, in various places, of which the following are here adduced:--The Most Ancient Church, which was before the flood, and the Ancient Church, which was after the flood, were in the land of Canaan (AC 567, 3686, 4447, 4454, 4516, 4517, 5136, 6516, 9325). Then all places in that land became representative of such things as are in the kingdom of the Lord, and in the church (AC 1585, 3686, 4447, 5136). Therefore Abraham was commanded to go thither, since with his posterity from Jacob, a representative church might be established, and that the Word might be written, the ultimate of which should consist of representatives and significatives which are there (AC 3686, 4447, 5136, 6516). Hence it is that "earth" and "the land of Canaan," when they are mentioned in the Word, signify the church (AC 3038, 3481, 3705, 4447, 4517, 5757, 10568).

HD 6. What is meant by "Jerusalem" in the spiritual sense of the Word, shall also be briefly stated. "Jerusalem" means the church itself as to doctrine, because there in the land of Canaan, and in no other place, were the temple, the altar, the sacrifices, and thus Divine worship itself. On this account, also, three festivals were celebrated there every year, to which every male throughout the whole land was commanded to go. This, then, is the reason why "Jerusalem," in the spiritual sense, signifies the church as to worship, or, what is the same, as to doctrine; for worship is prescribed in doctrine, and is performed according to it. The reason why it is said, "The holy city, New Jerusalem, descending from God out of heaven," is because, in the spiritual sense of the Word, "a city" (civitas) and "a town" (urbs), signifies doctrine, and "the holy city" the doctrine of Divine truth, since Divine truth is what is called "holy" in the Word. It is called "the New Jerusalem" for the same reason that "the earth" is called "new"; because, as was observed above, "the earth" signifies the church, and "Jerusalem," the church as to doctrine; which is said "to descend from God out of heaven," because all Divine truth, whence doctrine is derived, descends out of heaven from the Lord. That "Jerusalem" does not mean a city, although it was seen as a city, manifestly appears from its being said that:--

Its height was, as its length and breadth, twelve thousand stadia (Apoc 21:16).

And that the measure of its wall, which was a hundred forty-four cubits, was the measure of a man, that is, of the angel (Rev 21:17).

Also from its being said that:--

It was prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband (Rev 21:2).

And afterwards the angel said:--

Come, I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb‘s Wife: and he showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem (Rev 21:9, 10).

The church is called in the Word "the Bride" and "the Wife" of the Lord; she is called "the Bride" before conjunction, and "the Wife" after conjunction. As may be seen in the Arcana Coelestia (AC 3103, 3105, 3164, 3165, 3207, 7022, 9182).

HD 7. To add a few words respecting the doctrine which is delivered in the following pages. This, also, is from heaven, because it is from the spiritual sense of the Word, and the spiritual sense of the Word is the same with the doctrine that is in heaven; for there is a church in heaven as well as on earth. In heaven there are the Word, doctrine from the Word, there are temples there, and preaching in them; there are also both ecclesiastical and civil governments there: in a word, the only difference between the things which are in heaven, and those which are on earth, is, that in heaven all things exist in a state of greater perfection, since those who are there are spiritual, and spiritual things immensely exceed in perfection those that are natural. That such things exist in heaven may be seen in the work concerning Heaven and Hell throughout, particularly in the article concerning Governments in Heaven (HH 213-220); and also in the article on Divine Worship in Heaven (HH 221-227). From these things it may be evident what is meant by "the holy city, New Jerusalem, was seen to descend from God out of heaven." But I proceed to the doctrine itself, which is for the New Church, and which is called Heavenly Doctrine, because it was revealed to me out of heaven; to deliver this doctrine is the design of the present book.

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