757. II. THE PRESENT IS THE LAST TIME OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, WHICH WAS FORETOLD AND DESCRIBED BY THE LORD IN THE GOSPELS AND IN THE APOCALYPSE.
It has been shown in the preceding article that the consummation of the age signifies the last time of the church, and this makes clear what is meant by "the consummation of the age" of which the Lord speaks in the Gospels (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). For it is written:
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples drew near unto Him privately, saying, What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the consummation of the age? (Matt. 24:3).
Then the Lord began and foretold and described this consummation, what it was to be step by step, until His coming; and that He was then to come in the clouds of heaven with power and glory, and was to gather His elect (verses 30, 31), and other events which in no wise took place at the destruction of Jerusalem. These things the Lord there described in prophetic discourse, in which every single word has weight. What these particular things involve has been explained in the Arcana Celestia (n. 3353-3356, 3486-3489, 3650-3655, 3751-3757, 3897-3901, 4056-4060, 4229-4231, 4332-4335, 4422-4424).