Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 21:1
AR 876. Verse 1. And I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth, signifies that a New Heaven was formed from Christians by the Lord, which at this day is called the Christian heaven, where they are who had worshiped the Lord and had lived according to His commandments in the Word, in whom therefore there is charity and faith: in which heaven also are all the infants of Christians. By "a New Heaven and a New Earth," is not meant the natural heaven visible to the eyes, nor the natural earth inhabited by men, but the spiritual heaven are meant, and the earth belonging to that heaven, where the angels are. That this heaven and the earth of this heaven is meant, everyone may see and acknowledge, if he can in some measure be withdrawn from a purely natural and material idea, when he reads the Word. That the angelic heaven is meant, is evident, because it is said in the next verse, that "he saw the holy city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband," by which is not meant any Jerusalem coming down, but the church, and the church on earth comes down from the Lord out of the angelic heaven, because the angels of heaven and the men on earth in all things of the church make one (n. 626). From these things it may be seen, how naturally and materially they have thought and do think, who, from these words and those which follow in the same verse, have fabricated for themselves the dogma about the destruction of the world, and of the new creation of all things. This New Heaven is occasionally treated of above in the Apocalypse (especially in chaps. 14 and 15). It is called the Christian heaven, because it is distinct from the ancient heavens, which existed from the men of the church before the Lord‘s coming. These ancient heavens are above the Christian heaven; for the heavens are like expanses, one above another; it is the same with each particular heaven; for each heaven by itself is distinguished into three heavens, an inmost or third, a middle or second, and a lowest or first, and so it is with this New Heaven; I have seen them and have spoken with them. In this New Christian heaven are all those who, from the first establishment of the Christian church, worshiped the Lord, and lived according to His commandments in the Word, and who, therefore, were in charity, and at the same time in faith from the Lord through the Word, thus who were not in a dead but in a living faith. Various things respecting this heaven may be seen above (n. 612, 613, 626, 631, 659, 661, 845, 846, 856). In that heaven likewise are all the infants of Christians, because they are educated by the angels in those two essentials of the church, which are the acknowledgment of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and a life according to the commandments of the Decalogue.
AR 877. For the former heaven and the former earth were passed away, signifies the heavens which were formed, not by the Lord, but by those who came out of the Christian world into the spiritual world, who were all dispersed at the day of the Last Judgment. That these heavens and no others are meant by "the former heaven and the former earth which passed away," may be seen above (n. 865), where these words are explained:--
I saw a great white throne, and One sitting upon it, from whose face the heaven and the earth fled away (Apoc. 20:11),
where it is shown, that by those words is signified the universal judgment executed by the Lord upon all the former heavens, in which were such as were in civil and moral good, but in no spiritual good, thus who in externals simulated Christians, but in internals were devils; which heavens with their earth were entirely dispersed. For other particulars relating to this subject see a small work on The Last Judgment, published at London, 1758, and The Continuation of the same, published in Amsterdam; to which it is unnecessary here to add anything further.
AR 878. And the sea was no more, signifies that the external of the heaven collected from among Christians, since the first establishment of the church, was in like manner dispersed, after they who were written in the Lord’s book of life were taken thence and saved. By "the sea" is signified the external of heaven and of the church, in which are the simple, who have thought naturally and but little spiritually of things relating to the church; the heaven in which these are is called external (n. 238, 239, 403, 404, 420, 466, 470, 659, 661); by "the sea" here is meant the external of heaven collected from among Christians from the first establishment of the church. But the internal heaven of Christians was not fully formed by the Lord, till a little before the Last Judgment, and also after it, as may appear from chaps. 14 and 15, where it is treated of, and from (Apoc. 20:4, 5); see the explanations of which. The reason why this was not done before, was, because the dragon and his two beasts had dominion in the world of spirits and burned with the lust of seducing everyone they could, wherefore it was hazardous to collect them sooner into a heaven. The separation of the good from the dragonists, and the condemnation of the latter, and finally the casting of them into hell, are treated of in many places, and lastly in (Apoc. 19:20; 20:10); and after this it is said, that "the sea gave up the dead which were in it" (ver. 13), by which are meant the external and natural men of the church called to judgment (n. 869),and then the separating and saving of those who were written in the Lord‘s book of life, concerning which see the same article; this is "the sea" which is here meant. It is also said in another place, where the New Heaven of Christians is treated of, that it extended itself to "the sea of glass mingled with fire" (Apoc. 15:2); by which "sea" is also signified the external of the heaven of Christians (n. 659, 661). From these things it may appear, that by "the sea was no more," is signified that the external of heaven collected from among Christians from the first establishment of the church, after they were taken thence and saved who were written in the Lord’s book of life, was in like manner dispersed. Concerning the external of heaven collected from among Christians from the first establishment of the church, it has been granted me to know many particulars which it would be tedious to adduce in this place; save only that the former heavens, which passed away at the day of the Last Judgment, were permitted for the sake of those who were in that external heaven or sea, because they were conjoined by externals but not by internals, on which subject something may be seen above (n. 398). The reason why the heaven, where the men of the external church are, is called "the sea," is because their habitation in the spiritual world appears at a distance as if it were in the sea; for the celestial angels, who are angels of the highest heaven, dwell as it were in an ethereal atmosphere; the spiritual angels, who are angels of the middle heaven, dwell as it were in an aerial atmosphere; and the spiritual natural angels, who are angels of the lowest heaven, dwell as it were in a watery atmosphere, which, as was said, appears at a distance like the sea. Hence it is, that the external of heaven is meant by "the sea" in many other places also in the Word. REVELATION 21:1 - next - text - summary - Revelation - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|