65. X. THE FORMER HEAVEN AND ITS ABOLISHMENT.
It is said in the Apocalypse:
I saw a great throne, and One sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and their place was not found (Rev. 20:11).
I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (Rev. 21:1).
That by "a new heaven and a new earth," and by the passing away of the former heaven and the former earth is not meant the visible heaven and our habitable earth, but an angelic heaven and a church, was shown above in the first article, and also in those which follow it. For the Word in itself is spiritual, and therefore treats of spiritual things; and spiritual things are the things of heaven and the church; these are expressed by natural things in the sense of the letter, because natural things serve as a basis to spiritual things, and without such a basis the Word would not be a Divine work, because it would not be complete; for the natural, which is the ultimate in Divine order, completes and makes the interiors, which are spiritual and celestial, to subsist upon it, as a house upon its foundation. Now because man has thought of the things of the Word from the natural and not from the spiritual, therefore, by "the heaven and the earth" which are mentioned here and elsewhere, they have understood none other than the heaven and earth which exist in the world of nature; hence it is that everyone expects the passing away and destruction of these, and then also the creation of new ones. But lest they should expect this everlastingly, from age to age in vain, the spiritual sense of the Word is opened, that thus it may be known what is meant by many things in the Word, which, when thought of naturally, do not enter the understanding, and, at the same time, what is meant by "the heaven and the earth" which will pass away.