73. XI. THE STATE OF THE WORLD AND OF THE CHURCH HEREAFTER.
The state of the world hereafter will be altogether similar to what it has been heretofore, for the great change which has taken place in the spiritual world, does not induce any change in the natural world as to the external form; so that after this there will be civil affairs as before, there will be peace, treaties, and wars as before, with all other things which belong to societies in general and in particular, The Lord said that:
In the last times there will be wars, and then nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places (Matt. 24:6, 7).
This does not signify that such things will exist in the natural world, but that the things corresponding with them will exist in the spiritual world: for the Word in its prophecies does not treat of the kingdoms on earth, nor of the nations there, thus neither concerning their wars, nor of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes there, but of such things as correspond to them in the spiritual world; what these things are, is explained in the Arcana Coelestia, and a collection of passages on the subject may be seen below.# But as for the state of the church, this it is which will be dissimilar hereafter; it will be similar indeed as to the external appearance, but dissimilar as to the internal. As to the external appearance divided churches will exist as heretofore, their doctrines will be taught as heretofore; and the same religions as now will exist among the Gentiles. But henceforth the man of the church will be in a more free state of thinking on matters of faith, thus on the spiritual things which relate to heaven, because spiritual freedom has been restored to him. For all things in the heavens and in the hells are now reduced into order, and all thought concerning Divine things and against the Divine inflows from thence; from the heavens all thought which is in harmony with Divine things, and from the hells all which is against Divine things. But man does not observe this change of state in himself, because he does not reflect upon it, and because he knows nothing of spiritual freedom and of influx; nevertheless it is perceived in heaven, and also by man himself after his death. Because spiritual freedom has been restored to man, therefore the spiritual sense of the Word has now been disclosed, and by it interior Divine truths have been revealed; for man in his former state would not have understood them, and he who would have understood them, would have profaned them. That man has freedom by means of the equilibrium between heaven and hell, and, that man cannot be reformed except in freedom, may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 597 at the end).
# That "wars" in the Word signify spiritual combats (n. 1659, 1664, 8295, 10455). Hence all "the arms of war," as "the bow," "the sword," "the shield," signify something of spiritual combat (n. 1788, 2686). "Kingdoms" signify churches as to truths and as to falsities (n. 1672, 2546). "Nations" signify those in the church who are in goods and who are in evils (n. 1059, 1159, 1205, 1258, 1260, 1416, 1849, 4574, 8005, 6306, 6858, 8054, 8317, 9320, 9327). "Famine" signifies a defect of the knowledges of good and truth (n. 1480, 3364, 5277, 5278, 5281, 5300, 5360, 5376, 5893). It also signifies the desolation of the church (n. 5279, 5415, 5576, 6110, 6144, 7102). "Pestilence" signifies the vastation and consummation of good and truth (n. 7102, 7505, 7507, 7511). "Earthquakes" signify changes of the state of the church (n. 3355).