662. Everything that is in the earth shall expire. This signifies those who were of that church and had become of this quality. It has been shown before that the "earth" does not mean the whole world, but only those who were of the church. Thus no deluge was meant here, still less a universal deluge, but the expiring or suffocation of those who existed there, when they were separated from remains, and thereby from the things of the understanding that are of truth and the things of the will that are of good, and therefore from the heavens. That the "earth" signifies the region where the church is, and therefore those who live there, may be confirmed by the following passages from the Word, in addition to those already cited. In Jeremiah:
Thus hath said Jehovah, The whole earth shall be desolate; yet will I not make a consummation. For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above shall be black (Jer. 4:27-28).
Here the "earth" denotes those who dwell where the church is that is vastated. In Isaiah:
I will move the heavens, and the earth shall be shaken out of her place (Isa. 13:13).
The "earth" denotes the man who is to be vastated, where the church is. In Jeremiah:
The slain of Jehovah shall be at that day from the end of the earth even unto the end of the earth (Jer. 25:33).Here the "end of the earth" does not signify the whole world, but only the region where the church was, and consequently the men who were of the church. Again:
I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth; a tumult shall come even to the end of the earth; for Jehovah hath a controversy with the nations (Jer. 25:29, 31).
In this passage, in like manner, the whole world is not meant, but only the region where the church is, and therefore the inhabitant or man of the church; the "nations" here denote falsities. In Isaiah:
Behold, Jehovah cometh forth out of His place to visit the iniquity of the inhabitant of the earth (Isa. 26:21).
Here the meaning is the same. Again:
Have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood the foundations of the earth (Isa. 40:21)?
Jehovah, that createth the heavens, God Himself that formeth the earth and maketh it, He establisheth it (Isa. 45:18).
The "earth" denotes the man of the church. In Zechariah:
The saying of Jehovah, who stretcheth out the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man in the midst of him (Zech. 12:1),
where the "earth" manifestly denotes the man of the church. The "earth" is distinguished from the "ground" as are the man of the church and the church itself, or as are love and faith.