MORNING, DAY, EVENING AND NIGHT >> Redemption, Instruction, Progression, Consummation
There have been four churches on this earth from the day of the creation: the First, which is to be called the Adamic; the Second, the Noachian; the Third, the Israelitish; and the Fourth, the Christian.
II. There have been four periods, or successive states, of each church, which in the Word are meant by “morning,” “day,” “evening,” and “night.”
III. In each church there have been four successive changes of states; the first of which was the appearing of the Lord Jehovih and redemption, and then its morning or rise; the second was its instruction and then its mid-day or progression; the fourth was its end, and then its night, or consummation. After its end or consummation the Lord Jehovih appears and executes a judgment on the men of the former church, and separates the good from the evil, and elevates the good to Himself into heaven, and removes the evil from Himself into hell. After these things, from good elevated to Himself, He founds a new heaven, and from the evil removed from Himself, a new hell; and in both He establishes order, so that they may stand under His auspices and under obedience to Him to eternity; and then through this new heaven He successively inaugurates and establishes a new church on earth. From this new heaven, the Lord Jehovih derives and produces a new church on earth; which is effected by a revelation from His mouth, or from His Word, and by inspiration.
IV. These periodical changes of state, which occurred in succession in the first or Most Ancient Church, which was the Adamic, are described by Moses in the first chapters of Genesis; but by heavenly representatives, and by other things, belonging to the world, to which spiritual things correspond.
V. The periodical changes of state, which occurred in succession in the second or Ancient Church, which was the Noachian, area also described in Genesis, and here and there in the four remaining books of Moses.
VI. The periodical changes of state which occurred in the succession in the third church, which was the Israelitish, are also described in Moses, and afterwards in Joshua, in the books of Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and also in the Prophets.
VII. The periodical changes which occurred in succession in the fourth church, which is the Christian, are described in the Word of both Testaments; its rise, or morning, in particular, in the Evangelists, and in the Acts and Writings of the Apostles; its progression toward noon-day, in the ecclesiastical histories of the first three centuries; its decline, or evening, by the histories of the centuries immediately following; and its vastation even to consummation, which is its night, in the Apocalypse.
VIII. After these four churches, a new one is to arise, which will be truly Christian foretold in Daniel and in the Apocalypse, and by the Lord Himself in the Evangelists, and expected by the Apostles.
IX. The church successively declines from the truths of faith and goods of charity, and it declines in the same proportion also from the spiritual understanding and genuine sense of the Word.
X. Consequently, the church departs in the same proportion from the Lord and removes Him from itself.
XI. In proportion as this is effected, it approaches its end.
XII. The end of the church is when there no longer remains any truth of faith and genuine good of charity.
XIII. The church is then in falsities and the evils therefrom, and in evils and the falsities therefrom
XIV. Hence hell increases from those who have departed from the world, so that it raises itself up towards heaven, and interposes itself between heaven and the church, like a black cloud between the sun and the earth.
XV. Through this interposition, it is brought about that no truth of faith, and hence no genuine good of charity penetrates to the men of the church; but, instead of the, falsified truth, which in itself is falsity, and adulterated good, which in itself is not good.
XVI. Then naturalism and atheism rush in together.
XVII. This state of the church is meant and described in the Word, by “vastation,” “desolation,” and “consummation.”
XVIII. While the vastation lasts, and before the consummation supervenes, the Lord’s Coming is announced, also redemption by the Lord, and after this, a new church. [COR summary]
There have been four successive states, or periods, of each church, which in the Word are meant by “morning,” “day,” “evening,” and “night.” That there have been four successive states, or periods, of everyone of these churches above mentioned, will be illustrated in the following pages, wherein each will be dealt with in its order. They are described by those alternations of time, because every man who is born in the church, or in whom the church has commenced, first comes into its light, such as that is in the dawn and morning; afterwards, he advances into its day, and, he who loves its truths, even to its mid-day; if he then stops in the way, and does not advance into the heat of spring and summer, his day declines towards evening, and at length, like light at night-time, it grows dark; and then his intelligence in the spiritual things of the church becomes a cold light, like the light of the days in winter, when he indeed sees the trees standing near his house, or in his gardens, but stript of leaves and deprived of fruits, thus like bare logs. For, the man of the church advances from morning to day, to the end that he may be reformed and regenerated by means of the light of reason, which is effected only by a life according to the precepts of the Lord in the Word. If this does not take place, his light becomes darkness, and the darkness, thick darkness; that is, the truths of light with him are turned into falsities, and the falsities into unseen evils. It is otherwise with the man who suffers himself to be regenerated:-- night does not overtake him, for he walks in God, and hence is continually in the day; into which, also, he fully enters after death, when he is associated with angels in heaven. This is meant by these things in the Apocalypse, concerning the New Jerusalem, which is the New Church, truly Christian:--
That city shall have no need of the sun and moon to shine in it; for the glory of God shall lighten it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof; and the nations which are saved shall walk in the light of it and there shall be no night there (Apoc. 21:23-25; Ezek. 32:8; Amos 5:20; 8:9).
That the successive states of the church are meant by “morning,” “day,” “evening,” and “night,” in the Word, is evident from the following passages therein:--
Watch; for ye know not when the Lord of the house will come, at even, or at midnight, or at cock-crowing, or in the morning (Mark 13:35; Matt. 25:13).
The subject there treated of is the Consummation of the Age, and the Coming of the Lord at that time:--
The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spake to me; he is as the light of the morning, a morning without clouds (2 Sam. 23:3, 4).
I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright and morning Star (Apoc. 22:16).
God shall help her, when He shall look to the morning (Ps. 46:5).
He is calling to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night (Isa. 21:11, 12).
The end is come upon thee, O inhabitant of the land; the time is come, the day is near. Behold the day, behold, it is come; the morning hath gone forth (Ezek. 7:5-7, 10).
There shall be a day which shall be known to Jehovah; not day nor night; for about the time of evening there shall be light (Zech. 14:7).
About the time of evening, behold, terror; before the morning, he is not (Isa. 17:14).
In the evening, weeping will tarry all night, but there will be singing in the morning (Ps. 30:5).
Even to the evening and the morning, two thousand three hundred; then shall the holy place be justified: the vision of the evening and morning is truth (Dan. 8:14, 26).
Jehovah in the morning will give His judgment in the light; He will not fail (Zeph. 3:5).
Thus said Jehovah, If ye have made void My covenant of the day and My covenant of the night, so that there be not day and night in their season, My covenant also shall be made void with David My servant (Jer. 33:20, 21, 25).
Jesus said, I must work the works of God while it is day; the night cometh when no one can work (John 9:4).
In this night there shall be two on one bed; one shall be taken, but the other shall be left (Luke 17:34).
In these passages, it treats of the consummation of the age and the Coming of the Lord. Hence it may be evident what is meant by “There shall be time no longer” (Apoc. 10:6); namely, that there would not be morning, day, or evening in the church, but night; likewise what is meant by “time, times, and half a time” (Apoc. 12:14; Dan. 12:7); as also what is meant by the “fulness of time” (Eph. 1:10; Gal. 4:4). [COR 5]
In each church there have been four successive changes of state; the first of which was the appearing of the Lord Jehovih and redemption, and then its morning, or rise:-- the second was its instruction, and then its day, or progression:-- the third was its decline; and then its evening or vastation:-- the fourth was its end; and then its night or consummation. That there have been four successive states of each church, which in the Word are meant by “morning,” “day,” “evening,” and “night,” has been shown in the preceding article. That everyone of the four churches mentioned above underwent those states, will be fully established in the following pages, where each will be dealt with in its order; and then that the appearing of the Lord Jehovih and redemption was its “morning;” that instruction was its “day” or progression into light; also, that decline was its “evening” or vastation; and that its end was its “night” or consummation. In the Word, both in its historical and its prophetical parts, those four changes of state are everywhere treated of. [COR 6]
The order into which every man was created by God, is, that after infancy he may become a man. For when he is born, he is only an external image or form of a man, and at that time less a man than a new-born beast is a beast; but, so far as he is inwardly perfected in this form, as to his mind, or his spirit, in wisdom and love, he becomes a man. A man is like a tree, which first grows up from a seed into a shoot, and when it increases in height puts forth branches and from these stems, and clothes itself continually with leaves; and when it comes to maturity, which takes place in its middle age, puts forth flowers, and produces fruits; in each one it places seeds, which being cast into the earth, as into a womb, grow up into similar trees and thus into a garden. And if you are willing to believe it, that same garden remains with the man after death; he dwells in it, and is delighted daily with the sight of it, and with the use of its fruits. It is such a man who is described in David by these words:--
He shall be like a tree planted beside the rivers of waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in its season, and its leaf shall not fall off (Ps. 1:3; Apoc. 22:1, 2).
 But the case is different with the man born in the church, who, when he has passed through his morning, and advanced into the first light of day, whereby he has become rational, then stops, and does not produce fruit:-- such a one is, or may be, like a tree luxuriant with leaves, but not bearing fruit, which is uprooted from the garden, its branches cut off, and the trunk cleft in pieces with axe, or saw, and the whole then cast little by little into the fire. The light of his rational becomes like the light of the days of winter, in which the leaves of the trees first grow yellow, then drop off, and lastly rot. His rational, also, may be compared with a tree whose leaves are consumed by worms in early spring; likewise with a crop that is choked by thorns; and also with vegetation which is laid waste by locusts. The reason is, that his rational is merely natural, because it takes its ideas solely from the world through the senses, and not from heaven through the affections and the perceptions therefrom. And since, on this account, there is nothing spiritual inwardly in his rational, if he then speaks of any spiritual thing of the church, his voice is heard by the angels no otherwise than as the voice of a parrot or a goose; for his voice is merely animal, because merely natural, and not human because not spiritual within; for it flows forth from the respiration of the body only, and not from any respiration of the spirit. Such is the man who does not, from natural, become spiritual; and no one becomes spiritual, unless, after he has become rational, he brings forth fruits, that is, imbues charity by life. [COR 7]
The four changes of state, which are called “morning,” “clay,” “evening,” and “night,” are in the Word predicated of the church, because the church consists of men, and a man is a church in particular, and the assembly of these men is what is called the church. Those in this assembly or the church, who live according to the order described above (n. 7), are trees of life, which also are trees of good use; but those who do not live according to that order are trees of the knowledge of good and evil, which also are trees of evil use. The latter are those of whom “evening” and “night,” or, what is the same, vastation and consummation, are predicated; but not the former. These things, however, will be made evident to the reason in the following pages; but it is proper, that, at the beginning of this volume, some preliminary observations should be made, because knowledges must precede before anyone can know that by “morning” is meant the rise of the church, and that this is preceded by redemption; by “day,” the progression of the new church into light, and its intelligence; by “evening,” the decline of that church from good and truth, which is called vastation; and by “night,” its end and destruction, which is called consummation; and so on. [COR 8]
The end of the church, or the consummation of the age, is when there is not any genuine truth and hence not any genuine good, or when there is not any good and hence not any truth remaining, but, in their place falsity and evil therefrom, or evil and falsity therefrom, rule; and then there is the “fulness (of time)” in the church, the members of which are like persons walking in the night, who, because they do not see anything that appears in the light of the sun, are in doubt about all things relating to the church, and in general about God, heaven and hell, and the life after death; and both those who confirm themselves in the denial of these things, and those who remain alternately in doubt and in affirmation, become shunners of the light, and, if they are priests, they procure to themselves a false light on those subjects, such as night-owls, cats, and mice have in the darkness of night. This light is excited with them, as with these wild beasts, through the activities of their lusts. [COR 9]
After its consummation, or end, the Lord Jehovih appears, and executes a judgment on the men of the former church, and separates the good from the evil, and elevates the good to Himself into heaven, and removes the evil from Himself into hell. That about the end of every church the Lord Jehovih appears to execute a judgment on those who have lived from its first establishment to its consummation, will be confirmed in the following pages, where each church will be separately treated of. Every man indeed is judged after death; but at the end of a church all are collected together, and a general judgment is executed on them; and this for the reason that they may be conjoined in heavenly order, which is effected by the arrangement of the faithful into a new heaven, and of the unfaithful into a new hell beneath it; of which arrangement we shall speak more at large in the following article. [COR 10]
Judgment, which is the last of every church, is not effected in the natural world, but in the spiritual world, into which all are gathered after death; and they are collected into heavens distinctly according to religion, thus according to faith and love Judgment is effected in the spiritual world, for the reason that every man after death is a man; not a material man, as before, but a substantial man Every man’s mind or spirit is such a man:-- the body which he carried about in the world is only a covering, and as it were the exuviae, which he has laid aside, and from which his spirit has disengaged itself. Now, since it was man’s mind or spirit that thought in the material body, and then either from religion or not from religion, and in favor of God or against God, from truths of faith or from falsities of faith, loved his neighbor or held him in hatred and since the material body was only obedience; it follows that the mind, which is the substantial man and is called the spirit, is what undergoes judgment, and, according to the thoughts and acts of its life, is rewarded or punished. From these things it may be plainly manifest, that judgment, which is the last of every church, is effected in the spiritual world, but not in the natural world. [COR 11]
The judgment which is executed upon all of a past church, takes place, both generally and individually, to the end that the good may be separated from the evil, and that the good may be raised up into heaven and the evil cast down into hell. Unless this were done when a church is consummated, that is, when it is no longer in truths and goods, not anyone therein could be saved. That he could not be saved is because he could not be regenerated; and everyone is regenerated by the truths of faith and the goods of love. To this reason the following is added, that from the time of the vastation of a church even to its consummation, hell increases to so great an extent as to stretch under the whole angelic heaven, through which the regenerating truths and goods descend from the Lord to the men of the earth. When this is covered over, no truth of thought from faith nor good of will from charity can penetrate, except as it were through chinks; yea, what does penetrate is perverted either in the way before it reaches man, or else by the man himself when it is in him; that is, the truth is either rejected or falsified, and the good is either clogged up or adulterated. In a word, a church at its end is as it were obsessed by satans. Those are called satans who take pleasure in falsities and are delighted with evils. In order, therefore, that the total damnation which is then over everyone’s head, and menaces him, may be taken away, it is necessary that hell, which has raised itself on high, and, as was said, increased even to heaven, should be removed, not merely depressed, but also dispersed and subjugated, and then the good separated from the evil, that is, the living from the dead. This separation, and then the elevation of the good into heaven, or into the land of the living, and the casting down of the evil into hell, or into the land of the dead, is what is called the judgment. That such a judgment was actually executed in the year 1757 on the men of the present Christian Church, has been published and described, in a special little work published in London in the year 1758. [COR 12]
Author: EMANUEL. SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)