768. V. THE LORD'S COMING IS NOT HIS COMING TO DESTROY THE VISIBLE HEAVEN AND THE HABITABLE EARTH, AND TO CREATE A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH, AS MANY, FROM NOT UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL SENSE OF THE WORD, HAVE HITHERTO SUPPOSED.
The prevailing opinion in the churches at the present day is, that when the Lord shall come for the last judgment, He will appear in the clouds of heaven with angels and the sound of trumpets; will gather together all who still dwell on the earth, together with all who have died; will separate the wicked from the good, as a shepherd separates the goats from the sheep; will then cast the wicked or the goats into hell, and will raise the good or the sheep into heaven; and at the same time will create a new visible heaven and a new habitable earth, and will send down upon that earth the city called the New Jerusalem, built according to the description of it in the Apocalypse (chap. 21), that is, of jasper and gold, and the foundations of its wall of every precious stone, while its height, breadth, and length will be equal, each twelve thousand furlongs; also that into that city will be gathered all the elect, both those who are still alive and those who have died since the beginning of the world; that these will then return into their bodies, and in that magnificent city, as their heaven, will enjoy eternal blessedness. This is the prevailing opinion in the Christian churches of today respecting the Lord's coming and the last judgment.