73. XI. THE FUTURE STATE OF THE WORLD AND THE CHURCH.
The future state of the world will be exactly the same as it has been up to now; for the mighty change which has taken place in the spiritual world does not cause any change in the external appearance of the natural world. So just as before there will be politics, peace-treaties, alliances and wars, and all the other general and particular features of society. When the Lord said:
There will be wars, and then nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be famines, plagues and earthquakes in various places. Matthew 24:6-7.
He did not mean such events in the natural world, but corresponding ones in the spiritual world. For the Word in its prophecies is not concerned with kingdoms on earth or the peoples on it, so not with their wars either; nor is it concerned with famine, plague and earthquakes on earth, but with the events in the spiritual world which correspond to them. The nature of these has been explained in ARCANA CAELESTIA, a collection of references to which may by seen at the end of the chapter. 1
Heaven and Hell 597)
 The future state of the church, however, will not be the same. It may seem much the same in outward appearance, but inwardly it will be different. In outward appearance the churches will be divided from one another as before, their teachings will differ as before, and so will the religious systems of the heathen. But people in the church will henceforward have more freedom in thinking about matters of faith, and so about the spiritual matters which have to do with heaven, because of the restoration of spiritual freedom. For now everything in the heavens and the hells has been restored to order, and it is from there that all thought is influenced about Divine matters or against them; from the heavens when thought favours what is Divine, from the hells when it opposes it. But people will be unaware of this change of state, since they do not reflect on it, nor indeed do they know anything about spiritual freedom or influence from the spiritual world. However, in heaven this is perceived, and people after their deaths can do so too. It is because people have had their spiritual freedom restored that the spiritual sense of the Word has now been disclosed, and by this means Divine truths of a more inward kind have been revealed. For in their previous state people would not have understood them, and if anyone did so, he would have profaned them. It may be seen in HEAVEN AND HELL 597-603) that people's freedom depends upon an equilibrium between heaven and hell; and that people can only be reformed, if they enjoy freedom.
Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.