How does the New Church view the “end times” Bible prophesies?
In the New Church the Bible is seen as a Divine allegory. Just like Jesus taught in parables the Bible itself is one continuous parable. This doesn’t mean it’s not true! Rather, it has layers of meaning. The outer layer is more literal or historical. A deeper layer reflects our own inner spiritual journey. It describes our struggles and our ability to overcome with God’s help. Just like the stories Jesus told, every story in the Word is, at its core, concerned with how to love God and how to treat our neighbor. When this becomes the anchor for our study of the Word, the question changes. Instead of asking, “What are the words?” consider “What does this mean for my life?”
We can start to see the Bible as a love story, written by God for His children. Prophesies that seemed at first to talk only about the end of the world (the appearance) start to look more like they’re speaking to us when we’re at the end of our rope spiritually (the reality). Many of us have felt at one point like “it’s the end of the world!” We think of times when we have little or no love or faith in our hearts. The Lord can reach even into the darkest places in our souls and open our eyes to see His presence with us.
This is when our perspective on the Bible starts to be transformed, as we grow spiritually and our awareness develops. When you study the Bible, try asking the Lord to open your eyes and heart to what He’s trying to tell you about your life today.
Then He can show us that “in itself the Word is nothing but teachings about love to the Lord, and of charity toward the neighbor.” (Secrets of Heaven 7262)
Who are the 144,000 in Revelation?
“And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand” (Revelation 7:4).
Some have taken this statement literally, meaning that only 144,000 people will make it to heaven. Thinking from the principle that the Bible is a Divine Allegory, this wouldn’t make sense, would it? If God is love, then love by definition has to share itself. Only 144,000 people doesn’t seem like all the love our Creator is capable of, does it? If we run on the assumption that everything we read in the Word is at some level about how to love God and treat our neighbor, we need to think about how that would be possible. What if the numbers in the Word are also allegorical?
The 144,000 symbolize all people who acknowledge the Lord God of heaven and earth and are governed by teachings about the goodness of love, received from God through the Word.
“These are symbolized by the number 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel because the twelve tribes of Israel symbolize a church made up of people who possess all love and truth from God.… “ (Apocalypse Revealed 348)
As you start reading the Word through this lens of spiritual meaning, the stories come alive with application to your life.
The Rev. Ethan McCardell is the pastor of Light For Life Church in Seattle, WA. For more information, visit www.lightforlifenewchurch.org.