March 12, 2015

The Two Witnesses

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
"the two witnesses," which signify the doctrine of the good of love to the Lord and of the good of charity towards the neighbor, which is the doctrine of life, which the doctrine of faith is to serve; and these doctrines will be preached at the time of the end of the church.

... When the end of a church is at hand, then the interior things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, are revealed and taught. This is done that the good may be separated from the evil; there is a separation because the interior things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, which are celestial and spiritual, are received by the good, but are rejected by the evil. Moreover, the interior things of the Word, which are revealed at the end of the church, are serviceable for doctrine and life to the New Church that is also then established. That this is so is evident from this, that when the end of the Jewish Church was at hand the Lord Himself opened and taught the interior things of the Word, and especially revealed those things in the Word that had been foretold of Himself; and when these had been opened and revealed the externals of the church were abrogated, which consisted chiefly of sacrifices and rituals and statutes which shadowed forth the Lord, and represented and thence signified the interior things of the church which He was revealing. That this would be done was predicted in various passages in the prophets.

The like has been done at the present time; for it has now pleased the Lord to reveal many arcana of heaven, especially the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, which has heretofore been wholly unknown, and with that He has taught the genuine truths of doctrine. This revelation is meant by "the coming of the Lord" in Matthew 24:3, 30, 37. A revelation is necessary at the end of the church in order, as has been said, that by means of it the good may become separated from the evil, and a New Church established, and this not only in the natural world where men are, but also in the spiritual world where spirits and angels are; for in both worlds there is a church, and revelation takes place in both, and thereby separation, as also the establishment of a New Church. From this it can be seen that these words signify protection by the Lord that they be not hurt.

As regards the successive states of the churches on our globe, they have evidently been similar to the successive states of a man who is being reformed and regenerated, namely, that to become a spiritual man, he is first conceived, next is born, then grows up, and is afterwards led on further and further into intelligence and wisdom. The church, from the most ancient times to the end of the Jewish Church, progressed like a man who is conceived, born, and grows up, and is then instructed and taught; but the successive states of the church after the end of the Jewish Church, or from the time of the Lord even to the present day, have been like a man increasing in intelligence and wisdom, or becoming regenerate. For this end the interior things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, were revealed by the Lord when He was in the world; and now again, things still more interior are revealed; and in the measure that things interior are revealed can man become wiser; for to become interior is to become wiser, and to become wiser is to become interior.
(Apocalypse Explained 641)