Is the world gonna end?
The theme of the “Apocalypse” has been discussed within Christianity from its very beginning. Often these discussions are inspired by The Book of Revelation which contains visions of St. John the Divine in which he foresees the “second coming”, “last judgment” and “end of the world”. These passages include very grim imagery like disasters, wars, and catastrophes. In many Christian traditions these passages are taken literally.
Swedenborg believed that the Book of Revelation, like all scripture, has an inner, symbolic meaning, which relates to our own spiritual life. And it is wholly positive. God never judges, punishes, or destroys.
To Swedenborg, the often violent and strange imagery is not a prediction of physical events, but an illustration of spiritual growth that happen within us. The Greek word for apocalypse, apokalupsisas, literally means “un-covering” or “revealing”. Swedenborg describes the “Apocalypse” as the unveiling of a new age of spiritual consciousness. This new age will be marked by an increase in both rationality and love, tolerance, connection, and a deeper sensitivity to the symbolic and inner dimensions of spiritual life.
The Second Coming of Christ has already occured and continues to occur within us, both as individuals and as humanity as a whole.
In many ways, this new age is the same as what he calls the “New Church”, which is not a sect or religion, but a state in which people of all faiths, who open themselves to this new and fresh inflow of divine love and wisdom.
Meet Rev. Thom Muller
Rev. Thom is the pastor at Hillside, an Urban Sanctuary and Swedenborgian Church in El Cerrito, California. He is also the editor of Our Daily Bread where you can find a broad array of Swedenborgian sermons, reflections, and more. His passions include the intersection of religion and psychology, interfaith spirituality, comparative Mysticism, and the Western Esoteric Tradition.