In the final chapter of Revelation in the spirit John writes:
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Revelation 22:1-12).
This marvelous scripture tells us about the nature of Heaven in the church which we are now in, the church o the New Jerusalem. The river proceeding from the thrown means that Jesus as God is omnipotent and that He is in direct relationship to humanity now. The tree of life and its leaves are the love and truths in all their particularity that are available for the reception into the hearts and minds of humanity. Swedenborg tells that in heaven there are magnificent gardens as described here that reflect the great innocence, wisdom and love in the souls of the angels. His name being inscribed on their forehead means that knowledge of God is implanted in our souls, and that in a life of faith our souls come into a form receptive of heaven and this will never be changed. ‘And there shall be no more curse’ means that He will never allow evil to cause a disequilibrium on earth or heaven again. Above we reverenced the ‘curse’ on the Jewish nation; the curse being he end result of their bereft attitude toward the Word and the resulting destruction that would be the natural conclusion to the dis-equilibrium – if God had not intervened first with John and then himself as Jesus on earth. Now the good news is this: the fullness of the Lords’ power entered the innermost of all things; So now He possesses the presence and power to never allow a loss of equilibrium to happen again. The church of the New Jerusalem will last forever and always without end. ‘And there shall be no night there’ refers to the fact that in heaven the Lord is in the midst of the spiritual sun above heaven, always in the east in mid-morning position. The Lord in the spiritual sun provides life, love and wisdom to all things in the entire universe.
Continuing in the quote above, there is the little scene in which John worships the angel, but the angel denies that he should ever do that. This is very endearing. It shows that all people or angels are equally in a position of humility to the Lord, and only the Lord is to be worshiped. In heaven love is expressed by serving others and through useful work and care for others. As we showed above all human beings and angels are receptacles of life from the Lord. As the Bible says He is the potter and humans the vessel; he is the creator and people the creature. This alone is enough to reveal the honor and love due to Him. Next the angel instructs that the seal is no longer to be closed. This means that now – in the church of the New Jerusalem – the inner sense of the Word is to now be revealed to Humanity. (This is the essence of the second coming which we will explore in greater detail below). Because of the vastation of the Jews and the external state of humanity – the internal of the Word was sealed from the people, – but here it is time that it be opened.
In unique Biblical style the next three lines of the quite above, about the just remaining unjust, and the Holy remaining holy, refer to profound principles of the spiritual world. The love in one’s heart and the beliefs we live by form the end state of our soul when we die. What this love was when we die, it will continue to be in the spiritual world. By the way we live during life the form of our soul is determined by the concordance between our external self and internal self. The greater the harmony between the two the more sincere, genuine and loving we have been in life. As the Bible says of Philip, ‘he was a man without guile’. A deceptive internal self hides behind the external self and if this is from hate and ill-will the soul takes on a hellish form. Once in the spiritual world the pattern of this concordance can no longer change. This is what is meant by the phrase in the Bible ‘As the tree falleth, so it lies’. This does not mean a person’s state cannot change in the spiritual world, but it can only change within the basic form of this concordance. The reason the form of the concordance can only change while we are in the world is that life in the world is the foundation for the spiritual. The mind then is part material and part spiritual and together the two form the character of the concordance, but when we die we are then in our spiritual body and the form can can no longer change. For those in hell the Lord works providentially that their state does not worsen.
‘Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me’. Words like ‘quickly’ that have to do with time signify ‘with certainty and power’ in the spiritual world (Apocolypse Eplained, 7). So this phrase means the Lord is certain to give us great care if we acknowledge and love him, and there is no greater happiness than to be in his presence or in his heavenly kingdom. This is a great message for all humanity that is true now and forevermore. The Lord promised that in the church of the New Jerusalem, in which we now live, He will never again allow hell to breach heaven and cause an imbalance. Scripture tells us this, and Swedenborg affirms it from witness in heaven. The Lord said that if we turn to Him, He will turn to us – meaning his presence is always with us immediately and directly. By entering the natural level, the Lord can govern all of creation immediately, without intercessory or by representation, and with this power he cannot be over-run. This is great good news.