Prophets of Genuine Truth from the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

(1688-1772) in Apocalypse Explained

 

612. The mystery of God shall also be finished, as He hath declared the good tidings to His servants the prophets, signifies prediction in the Word respecting the Lord's coming, to be fulfilled when the end of the church is at hand. This is evident from the signification of "to be finished," as being to be fulfilled; also from the signification of "the mystery of God as He hath declared the good tidings," as being the Lord's coming (of which presently); also from the signification of "His servants the prophets," as being the truths of doctrine, here the Word. That those are called "servants of the Lord" who are in truths from good, may be seen above (n. 6, 409); and that those are called "prophets" who teach doctrine, and in the abstract sense "prophets" mean doctrines, will be further shown below. The Word also is meant, because the Word is the doctrine of Divine truth, and because the Word was written through the prophets; also because everything of doctrine must be from the Word. From this it now follows that "the mystery of God shall be finished, as He hath declared the good tidings to His servants the prophets," signifies the prediction in the Word respecting the Lord's coming, to be fulfilled when the end of the church is at hand. That this is the signification of these words is evident from what just precedes and from what follows. In what just precedes it is said that this shall be "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel," which means that this shall be when the end of the church is at hand. In what follows, after the seventh angel had sounded it is said "The kingdoms of the world are become our Lord's and His Christ's;" and afterwards, that "the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His Covenant" (11:15-19). The same is evident from this, that when the end of the church is at hand the Word is opened and a new church established. This is meant also by the Lord's coming, for the Lord is the Word, wherefore when the Word is opened the Lord appears. That the Word was opened when the Lord came into the world is known; that it has now also been opened by the revelation of its spiritual sense can be seen from the little work on The White Horse, and in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 1); and that now is the end of the church, in the little work on The Last Judgment (n. 33-39, 45-52, et seq.). [2] The end of the church is meant also by "evening," and the Lord's coming by "morning" in Daniel: Unto evening and morning two thousand three hundred (8:14, 26). "Evening" signifies the end of a former church, and "morning" the Lord's coming and the beginning of a new church. "Morning" has a similar signification in Ezekiel:

Behold an evil cometh, the end is come, the end is come; it hath awaked upon thee; behold it is come, the morning is come upon thee, O inhabitant of the land, the time is come (7:5-7). Here, too, the "end" signifies the end of the church, and "morning" the Lord's coming and the beginning of a new church. So, too, in Zechariah:
It shall be one day that shall be known to Jehovah, not day nor night; for about the time of evening it shall be light (14:7). "One day that shall be known to Jehovah" means the Lord's coming, "the time of evening" the end of the church, when all Divine truth has been obscured and falsified; and "light" signifies Divine truth made manifest. This new light, or this morning which shall appear in the end of the church, is here meant also by "the mystery of God that shall be consummated, as He hath declared the good tidings to His servants the prophets." [3] In the Word, "to proclaim good tidings" and "good tidings" are frequently mentioned, and this signifies the Lord's coming, as can be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah: O Zion, proclaimer of good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, proclaimer of good tidings, lift up thy voice with power; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God; behold, the Lord Jehovih cometh in strength, and His arm shall rule for Him; He shall feed His flock like a shepherd (Isa. 40:9-11). It is very clear that this is said of the Lord's coming; and this is why Zion and Jerusalem are called "proclaimers of good tidings." "Zion" means all who are of the celestial church, who are those that are in love to the Lord, therefore it is said, "get thee up into the high mountain," "high mountain" signifying that love (see above, n. 405). "Jerusalem" means all who are of the spiritual church, who are those that are in the doctrine of genuine truth, therefore it is said, "lift up thy voice with power;" which signifies confession from genuine truths. "The cities of Judah," to which it is said, "Your God, the Lord Jehovih, cometh in strength," signify doctrinals from the Word, "cities" signifying doctrinals, and "Judah" the Word. Evidently Zion and Jerusalem are called "proclaimers of good tidings," for the reason that "good tidings" mean the coming of the Lord, for it is said, "Behold your God, behold the Lord Jehovih cometh in strength." That He will effect judgment, and will protect those who acknowledge Him, is signified by "His arm shall rule for Him, He shall feed His flock like a shepherd." [4] In the same: How joyous upon the mountains are the feet of him that proclaimeth good tidings, that maketh peace to be heard, that proclaimeth good tidings of good, that maketh salvation to be heard; that saith unto Zion, Thy king* shall reign, when he shall see eye to eye that Jehovah returneth to Zion (Isa. 52:7, 8). This, too, is said of the Lord's coming, who is evidently meant by "thy king shall reign, when he shall see eye to eye that Jehovah returneth to Zion," likewise in what follows in that chapter; this is why it is said "proclaim good tidings." (The rest of the verse may be seen explained above, n. 365.) In Nahum:
Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that proclaimeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; celebrate thy feasts, O Judah (1:15). [5] In Isaiah: The spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon me, therefore Jehovah hath anointed me to proclaim good tidings unto the poor; He hath sent me to bind up the broken in heart, to preach liberty to the captives, to the bound, to the blind; to proclaim the year of Jehovah's good pleasure and the day of vengeance for our God; to comfort all that mourn (61:1, 2). That this was said of the Lord and His coming is evident in Matthew (5:3, et seq.) and in Luke (
4:16-22). The coming itself is meant by "the year of Jehovah's good pleasure and the day of vengeance for our God." "The poor to whom the Lord will proclaim good tidings," also "the captives," "the bound" and "the blind," mean the Gentiles who are said to be such because they have been ignorant of truth from not having had the Word. The Gentiles are also meant in Matthew by:
The poor hear the gospel (11:5). In David: Sing unto Jehovah, bless His name; proclaim the good tidings of His salvation from day to day; for Jehovah cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His truth (Ps. 96:2, 13). [6] The acknowledgment and celebration of the Lord with joy of heart because of His coming is signified by "Sing unto Jehovah, bless His name; proclaim the good tidings of His salvation from day to day." The coming itself is described by "Jehovah cometh;" and as He comes when the Last Judgment is at hand it is said "He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in truth," "the earth" meaning the church, "the world" those in the church who are in the good of charity, and "the peoples" those who are in truths therefrom. That the Lord comes when the Last Judgment is at hand has been said above, for the evil will then be separated from the good, or the goats from the sheep, and the evil will be judged to hell, and the good to heaven; this also is signified by the words of Isaiah, just above, "to proclaim the day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all that mourn." This is why, where the Last Judgment is treated of, "proclaiming good tidings" is also mentioned, as also in the following in Revelation: And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having the everlasting gospel to proclaim unto those that dwell on the earth, and unto every nation and tribe and tongue and people, saying with a great voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come (14:6, 7). That when the end of the church is at hand the good tidings of the Lord's coming will be proclaimed, is predicted also by the Lord Himself in the Gospels:
These good tidings of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all the nations; and then shall the end come (Matt. 25:14; Mark 13:8-10). [7] That the Lord's coming is meant by "proclaiming good tidings" and by "good tidings" can be seen also from the following passages. In Luke: The angel said to Zacharias, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak unto thee, and to proclaim to thee these good things (1:19). In the same: The angel said to the shepherds, Be not afraid, behold I proclaim to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For there is born to you this day, in the city of
David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (2:10, 11). In the same: That John proclaimed to the people the good tidings respecting Jesus (3:16-18); Jesus said, The law and the prophets are proclaimed until John (16:16). And elsewhere: That the Lord Himself and His disciples also proclaimed the good tidings of the kingdom of God (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Mark 1:15; Luke 7:22; 8:1; 9:1, 2, 6). "The kingdom of God" means a new heaven and a new church from the Lord. [8] Because "to proclaim good tidings" signifies to announce the Lord's coming, "the good tidings" in the highest sense signify the Lord Himself in relation to His coming, in relation to judgment, and to the salvation of the faithful, in these passages in Mark: Jesus said, Whosoever shall wish to save his soul shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his soul for My sake and the Gospel's shall save it (8:35; 10:29, 30). Jesus said to His disciples, Going into all the world, preach ye the Gospel to every creature (16:15). * Latin has "King," the Hebrew "God," as found also in AC n. 8331.