(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 2323

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2323. That "evening" signifies the time of visitation, is evident from the signification of "evening." The states of the church are compared in the Word both to the seasons of the year and the times of the day; to the seasons of the year because to its summer, autumn, winter, and spring; to the times of the day because to its noon, evening, night, and morning; for the two things are similarly circumstanced. The state of the church which is called "evening," is when there is no longer any charity, consequently when there begins to be no faith, thus when the church is ceasing to be; this is the "evening" that is followed by the "night" (see n. 22). There is also an "evening" when charity shines forth, consequently when faith does so, and thus when a new church is rising up; this "evening" is the twilight before the morning (see n. 883). Thus "evening" has both significations, for it is provided by the Lord that when a church is ceasing to be, a new one is rising up, and this at the same time; for without a church somewhere on the globe the human race cannot subsist, because it would have no conjunction with heaven (as shown above in n. 468, 637, 931, 2054).
[2] In the present chapter both states of the church are treated of, namely, the rising up of a new church, which is represented by "Lot," and the destruction of the old, which is signified by "Sodom and Gomorrah;" as can be seen from the Contents. This is why it is here said that the two angels came to Sodom "in the evening;" and why there is told what was done in the evening (verses 1-3), what in the night (verses 4-14), what in the morning or rising dawn (verses 15-22), and what after the sun had gone forth (verses 23-26).
[3] As the "evening" signifies these states of the church, it also signifies the visitation which precedes Judgment; for when a Judgment is close at hand, that is, the salvation of the faithful and the condemnation of the unfaithful, then visitation precedes, or an exploration of what quality they are, that is, whether there is any charity and faith. This visitation takes place in the "evening;" and therefore the visitation itself is called "evening," as in Zephaniah:
Woe to the inhabitants of the region of the sea, the nation of the Cherethites. The word of Jehovah is against you, O Canaan, the land of the Philistines; and I will cause to destroy thee, till there shall be no inhabitant. The remnant of the house of Judah shall feed in the houses of Ashkelon, in the evening shall they lie down; for Jehovah their God will visit them, and will bring back their captivity (Zeph. 2:5, 7).


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