285. It is said, "They shall reign on the earth," because by "earth" here and elsewhere is meant the Lord's church in the heavens and on the earth. The church, wherever it may be, is the Lord's kingdom. Lest, therefore, anyone should believe that all who are redeemed by the Lord become kings and priests, and that they will reign on the earth, it is important that it be shown from the Word that the earth signifies the church. This may be seen from the following passages:
Behold, Jehovah maketh the earth void, and maketh the earth empty, and turneth over the face of it; the earth shall be made utterly void; the habitable earth shall mourn and be confounded; the earth shall be profaned under its inhabitants; therefore the curse shall devour the earth, and the inhabitants of the earth shall be burnt up, and few men shall be left; there shall be in the midst of the earth as the plucking of an olive tree. The cataracts from on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth are shaken; the earth is utterly broken in pieces; the earth is altogether burst asunder; the earth is thoroughly shaken; the earth staggereth like a drunkard (Isa. 24:1-23).
 The lion hath come up from the thicket to lay waste thy land; I saw the earth, when, behold, it was void and empty; Jehovah said, The whole earth shall be waste, therefore the earth shall mourn (Jer. 4:7, 23-28).
How long shall the earth mourn; the whole earth is desolate, because there is not a man that layeth it to heart (Jer. 12:4, 11-13).
The earth mourneth and languisheth, Lebanon is ashamed and is withered away (Isa. 33:9).
The earth shall become burning pitch, and be laid waste (Isa. 34:9-10).
I have heard a consummation and decree from the Lord upon the whole earth (Isa. 28:2, 22).
Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh to lay the earth waste, and the earth shall be shaken out of its place (Isa. 13:9, 13).
The earth was shaken and trembled, and the foundations of the mountains quaked (Ps. 18:7).
We will not fear when the earth is changed; when He uttereth his voice, the earth shall melt (Ps. 46:2-3, 6, 8).
Have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? (Isa. 40:21, 23).
O God, Thou hast deserted us, Thou hast made the earth to tremble; heal its breaches, because it is shaken (Ps. 60:1-2).
 The earth and all its inhabitants shall melt; I will make firm its pillars (Ps. 75:3).
Woe to the land shadowed with wings; go, ye ambassadors, to a nation trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled (Isa. 18:1-2).
Through the wrath of Jehovah Zebaoth is the earth darkened (Isa. 9:19).
Ye shall be a land of good pleasure (Mal. 3:12).
I have given thee for a covenant of the people, to restore the earth; sing, O heavens; and exult, O earth (Isa. 49:8, 13).
Thou shalt not see Jah in the land of the living (Isa. 38:11).
Who gave terror in the land of the living (Ezek. 32:23-27).
Unless I believed to see good in the land of life (Ps. 27:13).
Blessed are the meek, for they shall receive the earth as an inheritance (Matt. 5:5).
I am Jehovah that maketh all things, that spreadeth out the heavens alone, that stretcheth out the earth by Myself (Isa. 44:23, 24; Zech. 12:1; Jer. 10:11-13; 51:15; Ps. 136:6).
Let the earth open itself, let it bring forth salvation; thus said Jehovah, that createth the heavens, that formeth the earth (Isa. 45:8, 12, 18, 19).
Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22).
Besides many other places, which, if they were adduced, would fill pages.
 The reason why the church is signified by "the earth" is because by "earth" the land of Canaan is often meant, in which was the church; "the heavenly Canaan" is no other; as, also, because when "the earth" is named, the angels, who are spiritual, do not think of the earth, but of the human race that is upon it and of its spiritual state, and its spiritual state is the state of the church. "The earth" has also an opposite sense, and in that it signifies damnation, because when there is no church with man, there is damnation; in this sense the earth is mentioned in Isaiah 14:12; 21:9; 26:19, 21; 29:4; 47:1; 63:6; Lamentations 2:10; Ezekiel 26:20; 32:24; Numbers 16:29-33; 26:10; and in other places.