2. PROPOSITION THE FIRST
I. THERE HAVE BEEN FOUR CHURCHES ON THIS EARTH SINCE THE TIME OF ITS CREATION: A FIRST, WHICH IS TO BE CALLED THE ADAMIC; A SECOND, THE NOACHIAN; A THIRD, THE ISRAELITISH; AND A FOURTH, THE CHRISTIAN. That four Churches have existed on this earth since the creation of the world, manifestly appears in Daniel; first, from the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in a dream, and, afterwards, from the four beasts rising up out of the sea. On the subject of Nebuchadnezzar's image we read as follows:
Daniel said, Thou, O King, sawest, and behold a great image. And the appearance thereof, standing over against thee, was excellent, and the aspect thereof was terrible. The head of this statue was of fine gold; its breast and arms, of silver; its belly and its thighs, of brass; its legs, of iron; its feet, partly of iron and partly of clay. Thou sawest until a stone was cut out, which was cut without hands, and smote the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and ground them to powder. Then were the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, ground to powder together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, so that the wind carried them away, and no place was found for them: but the stone which smote the image, became a great rock, and filled the whole earth. In these days shall the God of the heavens set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and His kingdom shall not be entrusted to another people: it shall break in pieces and consume all those kingdoms, but it shall stand for ever (Dan. 2:31-35, 44).
That this dream did not signify four political kingdoms on this earth, but four Churches, which should follow one after another, is plain from the following considerations:
(1) That such kingdoms, one after another, have not existed on this earth.
(2) That the Divine Word, in its bosom, does not treat of the kingdoms of the world, but of Churches, which constitute God's kingdom on earth.
(3) Also, because it is said that the God of the heavens shall set up a kingdom which shall not be destroyed to the ages, and that a stone, cut out, not by hands, became a great rock, which filled the whole earth.
(4) And, inasmuch as the Lord our Saviour Jesus Christ, in the Word of both Testaments, is called the "Stone" and "Rock," it is manifest that His kingdom is meant by the last words in this passage.
(5) Moreover, the state of the Church is described, in innumerable passages of the Word, by gold, silver, brass, and iron; its spiritual state as to the good of love by gold, its spiritual state as to the truth of wisdom by silver, its natural state as to the good of charity by brass, and its natural state as to the truth of faith by iron (as may be seen confirmed from the Word in the APOCALYPSE REVEALED , n. 913, and elsewhere).
 For this reason, the wise in the first ages, who knew the significations of metals, compared the ages which were to follow one another from the first to the last, to those four metals, and called the first age "golden," the second age "silver," the third age "copper," and the fourth age "iron"; and they described them thus according to goods and truths; and, since genuine goods and truths are from no other origin than from the God of heaven, they described them according to the states of the Church with those who lived in those ages; for from these and according to these, all the civil states of kingdoms in respect to justice and judgment exist, thrive and live.
 That the Lord the Saviour Jesus Christ is called the "Stone" and "Rock" in the Word of both Testaments, is plain from the following passages. That He is called a "Stone" from these:
Thus said the Lord Jehovih, Behold I will lay in Zion a Stone of approval, a precious corner[-stone] of settled foundation; he who hath believed will not make haste; then I will set judgment to the rule, and justice to the plummet (Isa. 28:16-17).
Jehovah will visit His flock; from Him will come forth the cornerstone (Zech. 10:3-4).
The Stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner (Psalm 118:22).
Have ye not read in the Scripture that the Stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner? (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17-18; Isa. 8:14-15).
Ye have come to the Lord, the living Stone, rejected indeed of men, but chosen of God; ye yourselves also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual house; therefore, it is said in the Scripture, I lay in Zion a corner-stone, elect, precious, and he who believeth on Him shall not be ashamed (1 Peter 2:4, 5, 6).
Ye are built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, whose corner-stone is Jesus Christ, by whom the whole building, well cemented together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord; by whom ye are built together into a habitation of God in the spirit (Ephes. 2:20-21, 22).
Jesus Christ is the Stone, rejected by the builders, which is become the head of the corner; and there is no salvation in any other (Acts 4:11-12).
That the Lord is called a "Rock," is evident from these passages in the Word:
When Jeshurun waxed fat, he kicked, and he forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation (Deut. 32:15, 18).
The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spake to me (2 Sam. 23:3).
Let the words of my mouth be well-pleasing, O Jehovah, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
And they remembered that God was their Rock, and the High God their Redeemer (Psalm 78:35).
They all drank spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock; the Rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4; Exod. 17:6).
From these passages, it is now plainly evident that by the Stone which smote the image, and became a great rock and filled the whole earth, and whose kingdom shall stand for ever, is meant our Lord Jesus Christ.