[1] There are many who have labored in the explanation of the Apocalypse [Book of Revelation], but, as the spiritual sense of the Word had been hitherto unknown, they could not see the arcana which lie concealed therein, for the spiritual sense alone discloses these; on which account expositors have conjectured various things, and the most of them have applied the things that are therein to the states of empires, intermingling also some things about ecclesiastical affairs. But the book of Revelation, like the whole Word, does not in the least in its spiritual sense treat of worldly things, but of heavenly things, thus not of empires and kingdoms, but of heaven and the church.

[2] It is to be known that after the last judgment, which was accomplished in the spiritual world in the year 1757 (concerning which see material published in a small work in London in 1758), there was formed a new heaven from Christians; but only from those who could receive the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, according to his words in Matthew 28:18, and who at the same time in the world had repented of their evil works. From this heaven a new church on earth, which is the new Jerusalem, is descending and will descend. That this church will acknowledge the Lord alone is manifest from these passages in the book of Revelation:

There came unto me one of the seven angels and spoke with me, saying, Come, I will show you the bride, the lamb’s wife; and he showed me the great city, holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:9–10).

And in another place:

Let us rejoice and exult; for the time of the marriage of the lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. Happy are they that are called unto the marriage supper of the lamb (Rev. 19:7, 9).

That there is to be a new heaven and that the new church on earth will descend therefrom is manifest from these words there: I saw a new heaven and a new earth; and I saw the holy city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new; and he said unto me, Write, for these words are true and faithful (Rev.
21:1–2, 5).

The “new heaven” is the new church from Christians; the “new Jerusalem” is the new church on earth, which will act as one with that new heaven. The “lamb” is the Lord as to the divine human.

[3] To this something will be added for illustration. The Christian heaven is below the ancient heavens. Into it, from the time of the Lord, when he was in the world, were admitted those who worshiped one God under three persons, and who at the same time did not have an idea of three gods; and this was because the trinity of persons had been received in the whole Christian world. But they who cherished no other idea of the Lord’s human than as the human of another man could not receive the faith of the new Jerusalem; which is that the Lord is the only God in whom is the trinity. These were for that reason separated and sent away to the extremes; it was given me to see the separations and the removals after the last judgment. For the whole heaven is founded upon a just idea of God, and the whole church on earth, and in general all religion; since by that idea there is conjunction, and by conjunction light, wisdom, and eternal happiness.

[4] Everyone can see that the book of Revelation can by no means be explained except by the Lord alone; for each word therein contains arcana, which could never be known without a particular enlightenment, and thus revelation; wherefore it has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit and to teach me. Do not believe, therefore, that I have taken anything therein from myself, nor from any angel, but from the Lord alone. The Lord also said to John through an angel:

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

By which is meant that they are to be made manifest.

Author: Emanuel Swedenborg