The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine #1

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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IT is stated in Revelation 21:1-2, 12-24), "I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had 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; having twelve gates, and over 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 lay four-square, and the length thereof was as great as the breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs; and the length and the breadth and the height thereof were equal. And he measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits, the measure of a man, which is that of an angel. The wall thereof was of jasper; the city itself, however, 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 transparent glass. The glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb was the lamp thereof. The nations that were saved shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and their honour into it."

The man who reads these words, understands them only according to their literal sense; namely, that the visible Heaven with the Earth will perish, and a new heaven take its rise; and that the holy city Jerusalem will come down upon the new earth, and that it will be according to its measures, as described. But the angels understand these words altogether differently; namely, each word which the man understands naturally they understand spiritually; and as the angels understand them, such is their signification and this is the internal, that is, the spiritual sense of the Word.

By the new heaven and the new earth in the internal or spiritual sense in which are the angels, is understood a new Church, in the heavens, as well as on earth: the Church, in either world, will be discussed below.

By the city Jerusalem which comes down from God out of heaven is meant the heavenly doctrine of that Church; by the length, breadth, and height, which are equal, are meant all the goods and truths of that doctrine in the aggregate; by its wall, the truths protecting it; by the measure of the wall, which is a hundred forty and four cubits, and which is the measure of a man, which is that of an angel, are meant all those protecting truths in the aggregate, and their quality.

By the twelve gates which are of pearls are meant the introductory truths; and the same is signified by the twelve angels on the gates; by the foundations of the wall, which are of every precious stone, are meant the knowledges of which that doctrine is founded.

By the twelve tribes of Israel are meant all the things of the Church in general and in particular and the same meant by the twelve Apostles.

By gold like unto pure glass, of which are the city and the street, is meant the good of love, from which doctrine with its truths is translucent.

By the nations that are saved, and the kings of the earth who shall bring glory and honour into the city, are meant all those belonging to the Church who are in goods and truths.

By God and the Lamb is meant the Lord in respect to the very Divine 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, make one through correspondences.

That such a spiritual meaning is contained in all the above expressions, we have no occasion to show here, because it is not within the design of the present work; but it may be seen demonstrated in the Heavenly Arcana, in the following places: That by Earth, in the Word, is signified the Church, especially when by the earth or land is meant the land of Canaan, Arcana Coelestia 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1413, 1607, 2928, 3355, 4447, 4535, 5577, 8011, 9325, 9643; because in the, spiritual sense by earth or land is meant the nation which is in the land, and its worship, Arcana Coelestia 1262.

That by the people of the land are meant those who are of the spiritual Church, Arcana Coelestia 2928.

That a new heaven and a new earth signify something new in the heavens and on earth, with respect to goods and truths, and thus with respect to those things which belong to the Church in either world, Arcana Coelestia 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535, 10373.

What is meant by the first heaven and the first earth, that passed away, may be seen in the work on The Last Judgment and the Destruction of Babylon, from beginning to end, but particularly from The Last Judgment 65-72.

That Jerusalem signifies the Church with respect to doctrine, Arcana Coelestia 402, 3654, 9166.

That Towns and Cities signify the doctrines which belong to the Church and religion, Arcana Coelestia 402, 2451, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493.

That the Wall of a city signifies the protecting truth of doctrine, Arcana Coelestia 6419.

That the Gates of a city signify the truths which are introductory to doctrine, and by means of doctrine into the Church, Arcana Coelestia 2943, 4477, 4492, 4493.

That by the Twelve Tribes of Israel were represented, and hence signified, all the truths and goods of the Church, in general and in particular, thus all things belonging to faith and love, Arcana Coelestia 3858, 3926, 4060, 6335.

That the same is signified by the Lord's Twelve Apostles, Arcana Coelestia 2129, 2553, 3354, 3488, 3858, 6397.

That when it is said of the Apostles, that they shall sit upon twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, the meaning is, that all are to be judged according to the truths and goods of the Church, and thus by the Lord, from Whom they are, Arcana Coelestia 2129, 6397.

That Twelve signifies all things in the aggregate, Arcana Coelestia 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913; that the same is signified by a hundred and forty-four, because that number arises by multiplying twelve by twelve, Arcana Coelestia 7973.

That twelve thousand also has the same signification, Arcana Coelestia 7973.

That all numbers in the Word signify things, Arcana Coelestia 482, 487, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252, 3252, 4264, 6175, 9488, 9659, 10217, 10253.

That numbers when multiplied have the same signification as the simple numbers from which they arise by multiplication, Arcana Coelestia 5291, 5335, 5708, 7973.

That a Measure signifies the quality of a thing with respect to truth and good, Arcana Coelestia 3104, 9603, 10262.

That the Foundations of a wall signify the knowledges of the truth on which doctrinals are founded, Arcana Coelestia 9643.

That what is Quadrangular, or Square, signifies what is perfect, Arcana Coelestia 9717, 9861.

That Length signifies good and its extension, and Breadth, truth and its extension, Arcana Coelestia 1613, 9487.

That Precious Stones signify truths from good, Arcana Coelestia 114, 9863, 9865.

What the precious stones in the Urim and Thummim signify, both in general and in particular, Arcana Coelestia 3862, 9864, 9866, 9905, 9891, 9895. What the Jasper of which the wall was built signifies, Arcana Coelestia 9872.

That the Street of the city signifies the truth of doctrine from good, Arcana Coelestia 2336.

That Gold signifies the good of love, Arcana Coelestia 113, Arcana Coelestia 1551-1552, 5658, 6914, 6917, 9510, 9874, 9881.

That Glory signifies the Divine Truth, such as it is in heaven, and intelligence and wisdom from it, Arcana Coelestia 4809, 5292, 5922, 8267, 8427, 9429, 10574.

That Nations signify those in the Church who are in good, and hence, in the abstract sense, the goods of the Church, Arcana Coelestia 1059, 1159, 1258, 1260, 1366, 1416, 1849, 4574, 6005, 9255-9256.

That Kings signify those in the Church who are in truths, and, therefore, abstractly, the truth of the Church, Arcana Coelestia 1672, 2015, 2069, 4575, 5044.

That the ceremonies observed at the coronation of kings involve such things as belong to the Divine Truth - which things are treated of - but that the knowledge of these things, at this day, is lost, Arcana Coelestia 4581, 4966.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.