762. That four churches have existed on this earth since the creation of the world is in accordance with Divine order, which requires that there be a beginning and then its end before a new beginning starts in. Therefore every day begins with morning, progresses, ends in night, and then begins anew; also every year begins with spring, progresses through summer to autumn, closes in winter, and then begins again; and in order that these changes may take place the sun rises in the east progresses therefrom through the south to the west, and finishes its course in the north, after which it rises again. It is the same with churches; the first, which was the Most Ancient, was like morning, spring, and the east; the second or Ancient church was like day, summer, and the south; the third was like evening, autumn, and the west; and the fourth like night, winter and the north. From these orderly progressions the wise men of ancient times inferred four ages of the world, the first of which they called the golden age, the second the silver age, the third the copper age, and the fourth the iron age, by which metals, moreover, these churches are represented in Nebuchadnezzar's statue. And again, in the Lord's sight the church is seen as a single man, and this larger man must pass through his stages of life like an individual, that is to say, from infancy to youth, from this to manhood, and finally to old age; and then, when he dies, he will rise again. The Lord says:
Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth [alone]; but if it die, it beareth much fruit (John 12:24).