3353. CHAPTER 26
Most men believe that when the Last Judgment comes, all things in the visible world will be destroyed; that the earth will be consumed by fire; the sun and the moon dissipated; that the stars will vanish away; and that a new heaven and a new earth will afterwards arise. They have conceived this opinion from the prophetic revelations in which such things are mentioned. But that the case is very different may be seen from what has been shown above concerning the Last Judgment (n. 900, 931, 1850, 2117-2133); from which it is manifest that the Last Judgment is nothing else than the end of the church with one nation, and its beginning with another, which end and beginning occur when there is no longer any acknowledgment of the Lord, or what is the same, when there is no faith. There is no acknowledgment, or no faith, when there is no charity; for faith is impossible except with those who are in charity. That at such a time there is an end of the church, and a transference of it to others, is plainly evident from all the things the Lord Himself taught and foretold in the Evangelists concerning that last day, or consummation of the age (Matt. 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21).
 But as these passages cannot be comprehended by anyone without the key, which is the internal sense, I may unfold in regular order the things contained in them, beginning here with these words in Matthew:
The disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the age? And Jesus answered and said unto them, See that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled; for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall be stirred up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. But all these things are the beginning of sorrows (Matt. 24:3-8).
It is impossible for those who remain in the sense of the letter to know whether these things and those which follow in the chapter were spoken concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation, or concerning the end of days, called the Last Judgment; but they who are in the internal sense see clearly that the end of the church is here treated of, which end is what is here and elsewhere called the coming of the Lord and the consummation of the age. And because this is the end which is meant, it may be known that all these expressions signify things of the church; but what they signify may appear from the several particulars in the internal sense, as when it is said that "many shall come in My name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray," where "name" does not signify name, nor "Christ," Christ; but "name" signifies that by which the Lord is worshiped (n. 2724, 3006); and "Christ" signifies truth itself (n. 3009, 3010); thus it is meant that there would come those who would say, "This is of faith," or "This is true," when yet it is neither of faith, nor true, but false. That they "should hear of wars and rumors of wars" denotes that there would be disputes and strife concerning truths, which are wars in the spiritual sense. That "nation should be stirred up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" signifies that evil would fight with evil, and falsity with falsity. (That "nation" signifies good, but in the opposite sense evil, may be seen above, n. 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849; and also that "kingdom" signifies truth, but in the opposite sense falsity, n. 1672, 2547.) "And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places" signifies that there would be no longer any knowledges of good and of truth, and thus that the state of the church would be changed, which is an "earthquake."