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banana republican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 08:18 PM
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Swedenborg: On the End of the World
It is of essential importance, therefore, to a true understanding of the subject that we know what it is, what our Lord specifically meant by the words He used. If by "world" He meant the material planet we inhabit, and by "end" the annihilation of it, as many believe He did, then we have a definite subject distinctly before us, and we can weigh all the facts in the balances of this event, and direct our reasonings to it as to their proper center.

But if He meant a state of human society, either civil or ecclesiastical, natural or spiritual, the bearing of all our facts, the meaning of our signs, and the method of our reasonings must be wholly changed. We seek an entirely different goal, - we are thinking of another world, to whose laws we must conform, and by whose principles every sign must be interpreted, and in whose balances every fact must be weighed. Let us, then, do the best in our power to understand what world our Lord meant whose end He predicted.

There are many kinds and degrees of worlds. There is the animate, and the inanimate world; the world of mind, of thought, and of affection; there is a civil, a moral, a material, and a spiritual world. Was it this material planet to which our Lord referred? or was it a world of mind, of thought, and affection, - a special form and degree of understanding spiritual truth, and, consequently, a distinct and peculiar quality of human character and life as the result of it? We must gain admittance for our thought into the right world.


The Greek word ain, translated " world," is used more than a hundred times in the New Testament. It is translated world about forty times. The other sixty instances in which the word occurs are rendered by " ever," "evermore," " never," "for ever and ever." Aionios, the adjective derived from it, which occurs some seventy times, is (with three exceptions, where it is rendered " world") translated indiscriminately " eternal" and "everlasting." Everyone can see that such a variety in rendering the same word - giving it at one time the meaning of a material earth; at another, a period of time; at another, eternity - must cause great obscurity, and difficulty in understanding its true import. The absurdity becomes still greater when it is known that neither ain nor aionios has any primary and direct reference to time. The true meaning of ain is age, the special state or condition which characterizes the life of a people. It can also be applied to material things, and to natural or spiritual beings, but in all cases it means their state or condition.

The Analytical Greek Lexicon(Zondervan Publishing House 1973) defines aion (as:
a period of time of significant character; life; an era; an age; hence a state of things marked by an age or era; the present order of nature; the natural condition of Man.

The Oxford English Dictionary (compact edition 1971) defines aeon as: an age of the universe, an immeasurable period of time. However, it also acknowledges the definition in the original Greek as being that of an "age'.


On a personal note:

Although I like Swedenborg mostly for his colorful approach to writing, I find that there are some things with which I disagree. In this case however I like what he has written about the apocalypse; namely that it is the end of an era.

The Apocalypse of St. John was written to assist individuals in surviving the end of an era; that of the Roman Empire. The Revelation of St. John was ***NOT*** written as a blue print for the end of all life on earth.

But then I don't expect any fundies to accept that merely as a matter of faith, so I have included for your reference the above material.

As a footnote

The meaning of the word Apocalypse in its original greek means: to uncover, to reveal, to be disclosed,to be plainly signified, distinctly declared , to be set forth, announced, to be discovered in true character (ibid)

If this is the case then perhaps we are in the midst of an apocalypse. An apocalypse in which the sins of over sixty years of the * administration are being "discovered in their true character". If such is the case then I welcome the new apocalypse, perhaps it is the beginning of the possibility of a new jerusalem...

Post script:
I haven't studied greek since I was in seminary during the '70's.

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Flubadubya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 08:19 PM
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1. Is that you Brother Sky Blue?
:eyes: :rofl:
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 08:23 PM
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2. Wow. Thank you for this.
I'm about as secular in my education as you can get, and had no idea of any of this. It certainly throws fascinating light on the whole issue for me.
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elfin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-23-06 09:34 PM
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3. Just finished "Botany of Desire"
The chapter on Apples has a lot of Swedenborg and its views on nature due to the fact that John Chapman aka Johnny Appleseed was a firm, near fanatic believer and would deliver his "news" along with his seeds. His seeds did not grow to the apples we know today which are the results of grafting - but instead "wild" and really only good for cider, or rather hard cider. So Johnny Appleseed brought Swedenborg AND alcohol to the frontier. He was always warmly welcomed.
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