v Doctrinal Series v
THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH,
AND WHAT IS MEANT BY THE NEW JERUSALEM
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. (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 [the angels] 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….
To be continued . . .