They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. -Isaiah 11:9
Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. -Revelation 21:4
Dear members and friends of the Swedenborgian Church,
Dreaming of and envisioning an ideal place where there is no pain, no violence, no illness, no death, and no aging has been a common practice throughout the ages and nations and peoples. It might have been and still is appealing and important to humans simply because the world in which we live is full of pain, violence, death, and aging. Or perhaps humans once lived without such afflictions in the most ancient time, or we are destined to reach such state of living after brief lives in the physical world. The Bible promises such an ideal way of living and being in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The challenge is that the Old Testament prophecy is about the coming of Christ, yet the ideal way of living and being is just as far away as it has ever been, while the New Testament prophecy is about the descending of the New Jerusalem, which is obviously a symbolic description whose true meaning is very hard to decipher for many.
In my understanding, what has not happened that should have happened is that humans are supposed to learn from past mistakes and acknowledge what is truly beneficial to them all. According to the prophecy in Isaiah, “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Here, the focus is “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord,” meaning that all humans will believe and accept their true identity as images and likenesses of Creator and thus live the lives that are truly beneficial to themselves. If all minds of all humans are filled with such knowledge, the whole earth will become the holy mountain of Creator. And, in Revelation we read, “Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” Again, the focus here is “for the first things have passed away.” The first things, which are things into which we are born, must pass away or be overcome by us in order for us to reach the state of being and living that is promised by Creator! In other words, until we have overcome our worldly desires and selfishness, our mind is not prepared to enter into the holiness of Creator, who is amazingly present in all creation.
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee