Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 21:2
previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AR 879. Verse 2.And I John saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, signifies the New Church to be established by the Lord at the end of the former church, which will be consociated with the New Heaven in Divine truths as to doctrine and as to life. The reason why John here names himself, saying, "I John," is because by him as an apostle is signified the good of love to the Lord, and thence the good of life, therefore he was loved more than the other apostles, and at supper lay on the Lord‘s breast (John 13:23; 21:20); and in like manner this church which is now treated of. That by "Jerusalem" is signified the church, will be seen in the next article; which is called "a city," and described as a city from doctrine and from a life according to it, for "a city" in the spiritual sense signifies doctrine (n. 194, 712). It is called "holy" from the Lord, who alone is holy, and from the Divine truths which are in it derived from the Word from the Lord, which are called holy (n. 173, 586, 666, 852); and it is called "New," because He who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new" (ver. 5); and it is said "to come down from God out of heaven," because it descends from the Lord through the New Christian Heaven, treated of in ver. 1 of this chapter (n. 876), for the church on earth is formed through heaven by the Lord, that they may act as one and be consociated.

AR 880. The reason why by "Jerusalem" in the Word is meant the church, is, because there, in the land of Canaan, and in no other place, was the temple and the altar, and sacrifices were offered, thus Divine worship itself, wherefore also three feasts were celebrated there yearly, and every male throughout the whole land was commanded to come to them. Hence it is, that "Jerusalem" signifies the church as to worship, and therefore also the church as to doctrine, for worship is prescribed in doctrine, and performed according to it; likewise because the Lord was in Jerusalem, and taught in His temple, and afterwards glorified His Human there. That by "Jerusalem" is meant the church as to doctrine and thence worship, appears from many passages in the Word; as from the following in Isaiah:--

For Zion’s sake will I not be silent, and for Jerusalem‘s sake I will not rest, until the justice thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp burneth. Then the Gentiles shall see thy justice, and all kings thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of Jehovah shall name; thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of thy God; for Jehovah is well pleased in thee, and thy land shall be married. Behold, thy salvation cometh; Behold, His reward is with Him. And they shall call them, The people of holiness, the redeemed of Jehovah; and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not deserted (Isa. 62:1-4, 11, 12).

The whole of this chapter treats of the Lord’s advent, and of the New Church to be established by Him. This New Church is meant by "Jerusalem," which shall be called by a new name which the mouth of Jehovah shall utter, and which shall be a crown of glory in the hands of Jehovah, and a royal tiara in the hand of God, in which Jehovah shall be well pleased, and which shall be called a city sought out and not deserted. These words cannot apply to that Jerusalem which, when the Lord came into the world, was inhabited by the Jews, for it was the directly opposite in every respect, and was rather to be called Sodom, as it is also called in (Apoc. 11:8; Isa. 3:9; Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 16:46, 48). So in another part of Isaiah:--

For, behold, I create a New Heaven and a New Earth; the former shall not be remembered; be glad and exult to eternity in that which I create; behold I create Jerusalem an exultation, and her people a joy. And I will exult over Jerusalem, and rejoice over My people. Then the wolf and the lamb shall feed together; they shall not do evil in all the mountain of My holiness (Isa 65:17-19, 25).

This chapter also treats of the Lord‘s advent, and of the church to be established by Him, which was not established with those who were in Jerusalem, but with those who were out of it; wherefore this church is meant by "Jerusalem," which shall be unto the Lord "an exultation," and whose people shall be unto Him "a joy"; also where "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together," and where "they shall not do evil." It is likewise said in this place, as in the Apocalypse, that the Lord "will create a New Heaven and a New Earth," and also that "He will create Jerusalem," which things have a like signification. So in another part of Isaiah:--

Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on the garments of thy beauty, O Jerusalem, the city of holiness; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem. My people shall know My name in that day, for I am He that doth speak; behold it is I, Jehovah hath comforted His people; He hath redeemed Jerusalem (Isa. 52:1, 2, 6, 9).

This chapter also treats of the Lord’s advent, and of the church to be established by Him, therefore by "Jerusalem," into which "the uncircumcised and the unclean shall no more come," and which "the Lord will redeem," is meant the church, and by "Jerusalem the city of holiness;" the church as to doctrine from the Lord and concerning the Lord. In Zephaniah:--

Shout, O daughter of Zion, be glad with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem; the King of Israel is in the midst of thee; fear not evil any more; He will rejoice over thee with joy, He will rest in thy love, He will exult over thee with shouting; I will give you for a name and a praise to all the people of the earth (Zephaniah 3:14, 15, 17, 20).

Here in like manner the Lord and the church from Him are treated of, over which "the King of Israel," who is the Lord, "will rejoice with joy, will exult with shouting," and in whose love "He will rest," and who will give them "for a name and a praise to all the people of the earth." In Isaiah:--

Thus saith Jehovah, thy Redeemer and thy Former, saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited, and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built (Isa. 44:24, 26).

And in Daniel:--

Know and perceive that from the going forth of the Word even to restore and to build Jerusalem, even unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks (Daniel 9:25).

That the church is here also meant by "Jerusalem" is manifest, since this was restored and built by the Lord, but not Jerusalem the seat of the Jews. By "Jerusalem" is also meant the church from the Lord in the following passages in Zechariah:--

Thus saith Jehovah, I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; whence Jerusalem shall be called, the city of truth, and the mountain of Jehovah of Hosts, the mountain of holiness (Zechariah 8:3, 20-23).

In Joel:--

Then shall ye know that I am Jehovah your God, that dwelleth in Zion, the mountain of holiness; and Jerusalem shall be holiness; and it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop must, and the hills shall flow with milk, and Jerusalem shall sit to generation and generation (Joel 3:17, 18, 20).

In Isaiah:--

In that day the offshoot of Jehovah shall be beautiful and glorious; and it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy; everyone written for life in Jerusalem (Isa. 4:2, 3).

In Micah:--

In the last days shall the mountain of the house of Jehovah be established on the head of the mountains; for out of Zion shall go forth doctrine, and the Word of Jehovah from Jerusalem; to thee shall the former kingdom come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem (Micah 4:1, 2, 8).

In Jeremiah:--

In that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah, and all nations shall be gathered together at Jerusalem to the name of Jehovah; neither shall they walk any more after the confirmation of their evil heart (Jeremiah 3:17).

In Isaiah:--

Look upon Zion, the city of our set feasts; thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be dissipated; the stakes thereof shall not be removed forever, neither shall any of the cords thereof be torn away (Isa. 33:20; Isa. 24:23; 37:32; 66:10-14; Zech. 12:3, 6, 8-10; 14:8, 11, 12, 21; Mal. 3:2, 4; Ps. 122:1-7; 137:5-7).

That the church is meant by "Jerusalem" in these places, which was to be established by the Lord, and not the Jerusalem inhabited by the Jews in the land of Canaan, may also be evident from the places in the Word where it is said of the latter, that it is altogether destroyed, and that it is to be destroyed; as (Jer. 5:1; 6:6, 7; 7:17, 18; 8:6-8; 9:10, 11, 13; 13:9, 10, 14; 14:16; Lam. 1:8, 9, 17; Ezek. 4:1-17; 5:9-17; 12:18, 19; 15:6-8; 16:1-63; 23:1-49; Matt. 23:37, 38; Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-22; 23:28-30).

AR 881. Prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband, signifies that church conjoined with the Lord through the Word. It is said that John "saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven," here that he saw that city "prepared as a Bride adorned for her Husband," from which it is also evident that by "Jerusalem" is meant the church, and that he saw it first as a city, and afterwards as a Virgin Bride; as a city representatively, and as a Virgin Bride spiritually, thus in a two-fold idea, one within or above the other; just as the angels do, who, when they see or hear or read in the Word of "a city," in the idea of the lower thought perceive a city, but in the idea of the higher thought perceive the church as to doctrine; and the latter, if they desire it and pray to the Lord, they see as a virgin in beauty and clothing according to the quality of the church. Thus also it has been granted me to see the church. By "prepared" is signified clothed for her betrothal, and the church is no otherwise attired for her betrothal, and afterwards for conjunction or marriage, than by the Word; for this is the only means of conjunction or marriage, because the Word is from the Lord and concerning the Lord, and thus the Lord; for which reason it is also called "a covenant," and "a covenant" signifies spiritual conjunction; the Word also was given for this end. That by "Husband" is meant the Lord is plain from (verses 9 and 10) of this chapter, where Jerusalem is called "the Bride the Lamb‘s Wife." That the Lord is called "the Bridegroom" and "Husband," the church "the Bride" and "Wife," and that this marriage is like the marriage of good and truth, and is effected through the Word, may be seen above (n. 797). From these things it may appear, that by "Jerusalem prepared as a Bride for her Husband," is signified that church conjoined with the Lord through the Word.

REVELATION 21:2    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  Full Page

Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info