Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?

The End Has Come . . . And Gone

The world is coming to an end! Right . . . about . . . now! Or maybe next year? Anyway, it’s gonna happen soon, so you’d better be ready!

So say the Christian fundamentalists. And lately, a whole lot of people who don’t understand the Mayan calendar have joined them.

But every time they’ve predicted the end, the world has kept right on turning.

That’s because the “end times” described in the Bible are not about physical events at all. Even the book of Revelation itself describes them as taking place in the spiritual world.

According to Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), the events described in Revelation have already taken place—and we are now living in the days when the New Jerusalem is coming down from God out of heaven (Revelation 21:1–2).

How else can we account for the unprecedented changes that have taken place in human society in the last few hundred years?

The power of the church to control human minds and lives that lasted for thousands of years is now largely a thing of the past. And the amazing scientific, technological, and social advances of recent centuries are unique in the history of humankind.


I don’t think so!

The End of the World?

Where do some Christians get those crazy ideas about the end of the world?

The predictions of the end of the age, the second coming of Christ, and the New Jerusalem are found in the book of Revelation (also called the “Apocalypse” from the Greek word for “revelation”) and in the so-called “little Apocalypse” in Matthew 24. In these places, we read of various wars and cataclysms, culminating in the first heaven and earth passing away, and a new heaven and earth taking their place (Revelation 21:1). From this newly re-created heaven a vast city, the New Jerusalem, will descend (Revelation 21:2). According to its dimensions, it will fill the entire then-known world (Revelation 21:15–16).

The battles leading up to this new heaven and new earth will be fought by Christ and the angels against various demonic beasts. And at his second coming, Christ himself will appear (Matthew 24:30, 26:64; Mark 14:62).

For centuries, Christians have assumed that these things would take place literally. They have believed that the earth we are standing on and the heavens above us would be destroyed, and a new earth and a new heaven would be created at the time of Christ’s prophesied second coming. They have believed that the second coming itself would be a physical appearance of Christ just as the first one was. In recent decades various fundamentalist groups have built much of their appeal on the idea that all of these prophecies will be literally fulfilled . . . and soon!

The Apocalypse: Physical or Spiritual?

But does the Bible itself support the idea that these prophecies will be fulfilled literally here on earth?

In the book of Revelation the author, John, continually tells us that all of these things were seen “in the spirit” (Revelation 1:10, 4:2, 17:3, 21:10). In other words, he saw these things taking place, not in the physical world, but in the spiritual world.

Further, most of the action takes place not on earth, but in heaven.

But that doesn’t tell the whole story.

When we read “heaven” and “earth” in the Bible, we naturally assume that “heaven” means the spiritual world, while “earth” means the material world. So we would assume that if it says in Revelation that something happened “in heaven,” that means it happened in the spiritual world where angels and devils live, while if it says something happened “on earth,” that means it happened in the material world where we humans live. Many traditional interpretations of the events described in the Book of Revelation make exactly this assumption.

However, the original Greek language of the New Testament uses the same word for both “heaven” and “sky.” And in ancient times people did not have our modern conception of the earth as a planet traveling through space. “Earth” simply meant “land” or “ground.” In most places in the Bible it would be more accurate to translate these two words as “sky” and “land.”

For example, in a traditional translation we read in Revelation 12:7–9:

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

According to the usual Christian interpretations, this means that the dragon will be thrown out of heaven (meaning the spiritual world) and will come down to earth (meaning the material world) to make war against Christian believers on earth (see Revelation 12:17).

But that’s not what John saw at all.

What John saw was a battle in the sky. The dragon lost that battle, and was thrown out of the sky down to the land below. And as John has already told us, all of this was seen with his spiritual eyes—meaning it all took place in the spiritual world. The sky and the land he is describing are the spiritual sky and land.

In other words, none of the action in the book of Revelation takes place in the material world. All of it takes place in the spiritual world. The idea proclaimed by Christian fundamentalists that all of these things are going to take place here on earth is not even supported by the Book of Revelation itself.

Although the popular novels and movies about the end of the world put out by fundamentalist Christians may be highly entertaining, they are pure fiction. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with creating literature and movies that dramatize the events narrated in the Book of Revelation. Visuals can be helpful in grasping the meaning of the text. But to jump to the conclusion that the events described in the Bible will actually happen physically here on earth is not pure Christianity, but pure Hollywood.

The Last Judgment and You

Yes, the Apocalypse and the Last Judgment are predicted to take place not in the material world but in the spiritual world. And according to the eighteenth century scientist, philosopher, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), the Last Judgment has already happened. He even published an eyewitness account in his book The Last Judgment, originally published in 1758. If you want all the gory details, get the book!

I know what you’re thinking: “Do you seriously expect me to believe that the end of the world has already happened, and only one old European guy noticed it?”

First of all, the Bible does not say “the end of the world.” Some of the old translations do say that. However, the original Greek does not say “the end of the world,” but “the end of the age.” There’s a big difference! The Bible does not predict that the world is going to end, but that the era that started at the time of Jesus Christ would come to an end, and a new era would start for humanity.

And isn’t this exactly what has been happening for the last few hundred years?

Since the mid-1700s we have been living in a new age. It is an age in which the church no longer controls our thinking. We are free to investigate and explore both material and spiritual reality for ourselves.

The result has been a huge explosion of scientific, technological, social, and spiritual advances unlike anything that has ever occurred in all the previous ages of humankind.

And though the scientific and technological advances are the most obvious to our material eyes, it is the social and spiritual advances of this new era that will have the greatest long-term effects.

The main effects of the Apocalypse and the Last Judgment in the spiritual world were:

  • Bringing the spiritual atmosphere that surrounds humanity back into balance
  • Clearing away the spiritual blockages that had built up during many centuries of false and corrupted Christianity
  • Restoring the flow of genuine spiritual truth to humans on earth
  • Restoring our spiritual freedom

As a result of these changes, we can now freely choose what we will believe, and use our rational mind to make our own choices between good and evil, heaven and hell.

In other words, the main effect of the Last Judgment on us here on earth is that it created a new atmosphere of mental and spiritual freedom. This new freedom has resulted in all of the tremendous scientific, technological, social, and spiritual advances that have taken place in the last few centuries.

The Second Coming: Spiritual, not Physical

What about the second coming of Christ prophesied in the Bible?

You guessed it! If the Apocalypse and Last Judgment are spiritual events, so is the second coming.

Listen, God already did the incarnation thing. God already took on a physical body and lived out a lifetime. Did he make a mistake the first time, so that he has to do it all over again? Don’t believe the “Rambo Jesus” version in which a jacked Jesus comes back to “take names and kick butt,” in military parlance. This would be totally out of character for the Jesus described in the Gospels.

Once again, traditional and fundamentalist Christians have interpreted literally and physically statements that were meant to be taken spiritually.

The second coming of Christ does not involve any physical reappearance of Jesus on earth. Instead, it involves a new, spiritual appearance of the Lord as the light of new spiritual knowledge available to people on earth. The way for this was paved by the Last Judgment in heaven, which opened up the channels so that spiritual light could flow freely to people on earth.

All Things New!

Yes, the Last Judgment has already taken place, and the Lord’s promised second coming is now happening within and around us.

What will this new spiritual era look like?

Just wait and see!

But all joking aside, here are a few things we can already see happening:

  • The old religious institutions and dogmas are losing their hold on society.
  • There is a new focus on spirituality and on gaining a deeper understanding of the human condition.
  • People are acting more and more from their own loves and their own choices rather than externally imposed ones.
  • The social masks are gradually coming off, and people are saying and doing more of what they really think and feel.
  • Marriage is seen more and more as a spiritual and eternal relationship.
  • Long-hidden evils are coming out into the open where we can finally see them and deal with them.
  • There is a new sense of all people on earth being part of a single human community.
  • There is a growing appreciation of the variety of human beings, and the unique contribution that each individual and each culture can make to a greater whole.
  • The light of spiritual truth is spreading around the world through new, broader, and faster channels.
  • There is a growing sense that humanity has entered a new and better phase of its spiritual evolution.

As stated in Revelation 21:5, God is making all things new! And we are privileged to be living in this new spiritual era.

This article is © 2012 by Lee Woofenden

For further reading:


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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63 comments on “Is the World Coming to an End? What about the Second Coming?
  1. jahnosecret says:

    Thanks for a great post which is both well considered and expressed.
    It seems that the shining light of truth is dismantling the old ways of control and exclusion and it is up to all of us to embrace a better way of being.

  2. Lee, I certainly like your interpretation of these Biblical texts much better than how they are usually discussed. It makes a whole lot more sense if they describe the “end of the age” rather than the end of the physical world. I also really like the list of things happening in the world that finish off your article with. They are so true.

  3. Richard says:


    A very good compositional piece! Your interpretation of the biblical texts, which at times, conflicts greatly with more conventional teachings, offers insight and introspective initiation for those willing to step back and take a broader observation of life, in general.

    In reading through this, I can easily accept many aspects of this point of view, even if I may be struggling with a fundamentally different point of origin in aspects of my own belief system.

    But, the idea of a ‘Rambo Jesus’? Now that is surely something to consider in the literal sense, and may actually be a good thing in some context!!. Simply accepting that everyone is entitled to their own ridiculous opinion does not preclude the fact that some take it too far and act out, harmfully, based upon their beliefs. For that, some ‘kick butt’ is certainly in order! Some just need an attitude adjustment, and a task is best performed when the right tool is used 😉

    • Lee says:

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your thoughts. Glad to be able to shake out some new thoughts in you about an old story.

      But remind me never to cross you when you’re wearing steel-toed boots! 😛

  4. SeunAlaba says:

    Thanks for the article Sir. Wondering though where Paul’s writings fall in with these.
    Like 1 Corinthians 15:24-26-‘Then cometh the end,when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God,even the father;when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign,till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed his death’.
    Also, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52-‘Behold,I show you a mystery,we shall not all sleep,but we shall all be changed,in a moment,in the twinkling of an eye,at the last trump:for the trumpet shall sound,and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,and we shall be changed.’
    And Finally, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17-‘For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a sound,with the voice of the archangel,and with the trump of God:and the dead in Christ shall rise first:then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds,to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord’
    The similarities in the last two quoted texts are quite glaring,& seem to be very consistent,& well, I really do not know how to put the question I have,but I am sure you see the seemingly obvious contradictions between these and the second coming as well as even the resurrection from the dead teaching by E.S. Thanks

    • Lee says:

      Hi SeunAlaba,

      Much of it depends on whether you take Paul’s statements literally or understand them spiritually.

      Paul himself apparently thought that the Second Coming of the Lord would happen during his lifetime: “We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.” But that didn’t happen. So clearly the Lord’s words on that point were not meant to be taken literally–and we can’t take Paul literally either, unless we want to simply say and admit that he was wrong, which most Christians don’t want to do.

      In general, both Jesus Christ himself and Paul were talking about spiritual events, not material-world events. Those who are waiting for these things to happen literally in the material world will be waiting forever–just as they have been for almost 2,000 years now. It never is going to happen literally.

      However, all of these things have happened spiritually to the human race as a whole, and they happen spiritually to each individual person when he or she “faces the music” in the spiritual world after death.

      This is a big subject. I can’t do it justice in a brief comment. But I hope this gets some thoughts going for you.

  5. David says:

    How can anyone look at the alignment of Russia and Iran (sworn enemies for centuries) against Israel and not see fulfillment of prophecy.

    Also daily world news does not support your proposition that we are enjoying a new spiritual era where “There is a new sense of all people on earth being part of a single human community.”

    Will you post this and respond to these points?

    • Lee says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.

      I don’t think the prophecies in the Bible are really about the nations of the world, but rather about the spiritual states and changes of humanity. People have been seeing “the fulfillment of prophecy” in the affairs of nations for the last 2,000 years, but they’ve always turned out to be wrong. That’s because the Bible is concerned with spiritual events, not political events. The Bible uses the political events of its day as metaphors for deeper realities.

      As for all people on earth being part of a single human community, that’s just a technological and international fact. It used to be that people dealt mostly with those in their own neighborhood and area. Only a few intrepid traders and explorers saw or communicated other parts of the world. Now all of the world’s nations are interconnected by trade, economics, high-speed travel, and communications technology. I have regular conversations with people in Europe, Africa, and Asia, which could never have happened a few hundred years ago.

      It’s true that it is a world community that has many conflicts and rivalries. But for better or for worse, we live in a single, interconnected world, in which every part affects every other part. That was simply not the case prior to the modern era.

  6. Ehrlich Bright says:

    Hi lee, if the last judgement and second coming have taken place already and that must include revelation 20, does it mean we that are still living have been judged already in the spirit world and also if one (particulary someone still enslaved to sin) is to believe all u said about the last judgement, is there a need for repentance? Why still preach the gospel? Does the earth feel like a paradise which john saw after the last judgement to you? or are you expecting this physical world to transform to a paradise through our ‘better spiritual evolution’ which u say the world is currently going through, also implyn that technically we make d foretold paradise in revelation and not just GOD ALMIGHTY Who made EDEN Without ‘adam’s spiritual growth’ (the first human beginings)? or is that paradise going to b ‘materially’ experienced after 2peter chapter 3 which i believe is literal…especially what he saint peter says in verse 12?.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Erlich,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and questions.

      Of course, for those who read the Bible’s predictions of the Last Judgment and Second Coming literally, none of what I have written in this article will make any sense. However, my belief is that it’s a mistake to read them literally. They are, I believe, pointing to spiritual events, not physical ones. After all, the Bible is primarily about our spiritual and eternal life, and about our physical, temporary life only as it relates to eternal life.

      The same goes for Peter’s words in 2 Peter 3:1–13 as for the other predictions of the end times. I believe they are speaking of spiritual events, not literal, physical events.

      Understood spiritually, the future judgment is especially about a universal judgment on humanity as a whole. This judgment I believe has already taken place, as explained in the article.

      However, each one of us must also face our own individual judgment when our time on this earth is over. Then there will be cataclysms for us, and all things will be revealed, if we have pretended to be someone we are not. So each one of us must still repent from our sins and live a good life if we wish not to be thrown into the (figurative) lake of fire when the time comes for us to undergo our own individual last judgment.

      About whether we’re living in Eden and Paradise now, no, we still haven’t attained to that. I do believe we are headed in that direction, though, through all the social and spiritual upheaval that is going on in our times. And notice that it describes the New Jerusalem as descending out of heaven from God. It doesn’t say that the New Jerusalem has actually touched down on the land. This means that attaining the state of spiritual Eden and Paradise is an ongoing process, not something that simply happens and suddenly we’re all living in paradise.

      And of course, though we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), we must also recognize that without God’s power working in us, we would not be able to do anything at all, as Jesus taught us:

      Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5)

  7. Ehrlich Bright says:

    Hi lee, thanks for your response. But just to be sure on what to believe, luke 24:39 indicates that jesus really was risen in the flesh and not in spirit, and then in acts of the apostles 1:6-11 tells of how when he was to depart from this physical world gave the apostles the promise of the holy spirit and the mandate to be witnesses of himself everywhere, and these apostles (i believe all accounts they gave are true and literally happened…it’s the bible!) witnessed jesus literally as he ascended till he was received out of their sight, and also of the two men (angels i presume) who said the same jesus they watched ascend physically will in ‘like manner’ return to earth, hence the second coming. I must say your insight on this issue is hard to grasp in the light of these passages but i want to understand, are they your personal thoughts or the holy spirit revealing this to you? Cause i want to believe GOD’S Holy truth and not mine or any other man form of truth. Thanks

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ehrlich,

      Thanks for your reply.

      It is true that Jesus rose with his entire body. There was no body left in the tomb; only the graveclothes that he had been wearing. However, the idea that he arose physically, or “in the flesh,” is highly questionable.

      The body in which he arose was quite different from the one in which he had walked with the disciples and interacted with the religious leaders and the people. Yes, his resurrection body was able to eat food. But it could also appear in a locked room, unlike any physical body. And on the road to Emmaus, two of his followers did not recognize him, even though he was walking right with him. And then, when they finally did recognize him, he vanished from their sight. Clearly this was not an ordinary physical body. And he specifically said that he was not a spirit. So this body was neither a physical body nor a spiritual body. It was a divine body. It was able to interact with physical matter (by eating food, for example), and interact with the minds and spirits of his followers (it is never recorded that anyone other than his followers saw him after his resurrection, and before his ascension), but it went beyond either of these things. He rose “far above the heavens.”

      So, yes, Jesus rose with his entire body. But it was a glorified, divine body, not a physical body such as he had during his lifetime on earth, nor even a spiritual body such as the ones we are resurrected in.

      And though his followers may have seen him with their physical eyes, since it is nowhere recorded that he appeared to anyone besides his disciples, this suggests that they saw him with their spiritual eyes rather than their physical eyes. That would explain why they saw him but nobody else did. And it would explain how he could suddenly vanish from their sight, in a way that no physical body, seen with physical eyes, can do.

      Now about coming again, I should first point out that the Bible doesn’t actually speak of a “second” coming. It simply says in various ways that he will come again. There is no particular number attached to it (“second” coming, “third” coming, and so on).

      And if we look at the unfolding story in the first two chapters of Acts, we see that there was an immediate fulfillment of the prophecy that he would come again from heaven just as he had gone up to heaven.

      In Acts 1:11, the men (angels) who appeared to Jesus’ disciples after his ascension said:

      Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.

      First, it’s necessary to understand that for people in Bible times, there was no distinction between “the sky” and “heaven.” Both Hebrew and Greek use the same word for both, because in Bible times, God and the angels were believed to live in the sky, above the clouds. So when they thought of “coming in the clouds” or “coming with the clouds,” they simply thought of God, or Christ, or the angels, coming from their abode above the clouds down to the land where they lived. They literally thought of them as coming out of the sky, because for them, the sky was heaven.

      We now know that there is no abode of God, or Christ, or the angels, in the sky above the clouds. There is only outer space. And we now have a concept of heaven as distinct from the sky. Heaven, most people believe, is a spiritual realm, not a physical realm. So heaven and the sky are not the same thing.

      But the people of Bible times didn’t know that. They had no telescopes and no spaceships to see what was in outer space. And God, Christ, and the angels had to speak to them, and appear to them, in a way that they could understand. So Christ ascended to the sky, and was enveloped in a cloud and vanished from their sight. But in their mind, that simply meant that he went to heaven—which we now know is a spiritual place, not a physical realm above the clouds. So the whole representation was meant to show them that Christ was now in heaven, and that he would in the future descend from heaven, and that they would join him in heaven as well.

      So when the angels told his followers who had just witnessed him to ascend to heaven that they would see him return in the same way, the message they were conveying was not that he would literally come in the physical clouds, but that he would return from heaven to be with them.

      And notice that in several places he, and the angels, say that this will happen very soon. Notice that in this very chapter:

      While staying with them, he [Jesus] ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4–5, italics added)

      And then we read in the next chapter:

      When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:1–4, italics added)

      Pentecost is called Pentecost because it happened on the 50th day after Jesus’ resurrection. This means it was only ten days after Jesus’ ascension, which happened forty days after his resurrection. So “not many days from now,” as Jesus said—which turned out to be ten days from now as he spoke to them just before his ascension—he came as the Holy Spirit from heaven, filled the entire house where they were sitting, and rested on them as tongues of fire.

      This is the first fulfillment of the angels’ words that he would come down to them just as he had been taken up from them into heaven.

      I could go on, but I hope you can see that reading this passage in an overly literal way misses the point. The point isn’t that Jesus is going to literally, physically come in the literal, physical clouds of the literal, physical sky in a literal, physical body. Rather, he is going to come to us from heaven, which is his abode. And he did so for his disciples just ten days after he was taken up into heaven.

      Similarly, any future coming of the Lord will be from heaven, not from literal clouds in the literal sky.

      • Ehrlich Bright says:

        Thanks lee, please how do i see the spiritual meanings of the scriptual (i feel like i’m blind to these things, being raised in a church and family where the bible is taken to be literal and its spiritual meanings deciphered as it suits our daily life…the books of prophecies are a case in point) and please explain the outpouring of the holy spirit, the disciples speaking other languages instaneously…how can you know you are filled with the holy ghost? Is speaking in another language a first sign? Can the holy spirit be resisted unintentionally while ‘waiting and praying’ or rather can self-consciousness hinder the holy spirit from filling up an individual?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ehrlich,

          These days, since most people aren’t taught about the spiritual meanings in the Bible, it’s necessary to read and learn about them for yourself. Here are a few articles on this site that explain some of the spiritual meanings in several Bible stories to get you started:

          About being filled with the Holy Spirit, though speaking in tongues and that sort of thing is certainly possible, I would suggest that being filled with the Holy Spirit has more to do with heeding Jesus’ call to love your neighbor as yourself. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we feel a desire to actively love and serve our fellow human beings and contribute to the wellbeing of our community and the world. That is what the Holy Spirit prompts us to do.

  8. AJ749 says:

    Hi lee was just wondering what your thoughts are about future predictions for the spirtual state of mankind?, as some NDEs talk about a golden age or that most of the world will be destroyed before we reach this golden age .

    • Lee says:

      Hi AJ749,

      Good to hear from you again. As I say in the article, I don’t believe there will be any physical destruction of the world. That idea is based on a literal reading of Bible passages that are meant to be read metaphorically, not literally. In our times, the “old world” is already passing away, and a “new world” is already beginning. In other words, human society is going through a great transformation—as it has been ever since the Age of Enlightenment dawned in the 18th century. We will never go back to the way the world used to be. Though there are many wars and societal upheavals still, the world is developing socially and economically, and spiritually as well. The change is not easy, but it is happening.

      • AJ749 says:

        Hi Lee thanks for the speedy response i remember one of things that caused my anxiety was these visions of future destruction of the earth and even though it they said a golden age would come from it i still made me anxious, however since i found sweedenborg its helped and i have Come to realise that those who have visions of future events are seeing with their spiritual eyes and not physical eyes so what they see happens in the spirit world not here on earth however what they see corresponds to changes in humanity not the physical earth. So when people see that a country is no more in the spirit world that could correlate in the physical world as the previous mindset and hearts of an entire country has changed and is rebuilding in to something new and better.

        Am i roughly right with that ?

      • AJ749 says:

        Hi lee i recently read a report from a NDE reasearcher in the 1980s that found that future visions from NDEs are almost identical to prophecies from the Bible which is what made me think that they arent going to happen due to them being seen with spiritual eyes not physical. Im not sure how much you have read in to NDE and future predicitons lee but do you think sweedenborg would have the same though process that they arent actual events that will happen in the future but correspondants of changes of heart that is trying to happen ?

        Sorry if this dosent make sense

        • Lee says:

          Hi AJ749,

          Yes, just as I believe that the prophecies of the Bible are mostly about spiritual events (even if a few of them actually do take place physically as well), I also believe that what people see in the spiritual world during near-death experiences is mostly about spiritual events, not physical events.

          We earthly-minded people here on earth get all excited about physical events, and NDEers who make these prophecies get a lot of press. But physical events affect us only for the short time we are living here on earth. Spiritual events can effect us for eternity. In reality, then, they are much more important than the wars and rumors of wars here on earth that people get all excited about.

      • AJ749 says:

        Hi lee sorry if im being a annoying but im slightly not understanding your view , so you agree that any prophecy given in an NDE is about spiritual matter not actual physical events like what sweedenborg found out the Apocalypse in the bible is about

        • Lee says:

          Hi AJ749,

          In general, yes. But it is slightly more complicated than that.

          Some of the prophecies in the Bible did literally come true. For example, at the beginning of the “Little Apocalypse” in Matthew 24, we read:

          As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:1–2)

          We know from history that in 70 AD, this did literally happen: After a long siege, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, and completely destroyed the Temple along with it. So it’s not that prophecies in the Bible and in NDEs never literally, physically take place.

          However, even if a prophecy does take place literally, that is relatively trivial, and is not the main message of the prophecy. Further, many prophecies simply haven’t taken place literally and won’t ever take place literally. For example, the earth and the sky will not be literally destroyed and re-created, nor will the sun, moon, and stars literally fall from the sky to the earth (this would not even be possible, since the sun and stars are vastly larger than the earth, and would also vaporize it before they even reached it), to be replaced by a new earth and sky, as prophesied in Matthew 24 and Revelation 21–22. Nor will most of the prophecies that NDEers and various spiritual visionaries have seen take place literally and physically.

          The real, and deeper, message of these prophecies is of spiritual cataclysms of the human mind and heart, and in human society, completely changing the way we have thought, felt, and lived. And those prophecies are indeed coming true. The physical earth and sky have not been destroyed. But human society has been going through a complete transformation in the past few centuries, and the human mind and heart along with it. The way that the bulk of the planet’s population lives today is completely different from the way we lived 500 or 1,000 years ago. Today the average European or American lives better than any of the kings and queens of medieval Europe, and the rest of the world is rapidly catching up. And today old religious dogmas and taboos are rapidly being rejected in favor of more broad-minded, compassionate, and rational beliefs.

          So I’m not saying that none of the prophecies of NDErs will ever take place literally. But I am saying that those NDErs that prophecy massive destruction and world war are not only probably wrong, but are completely missing the point of their own spiritual experiences. Though it’s possible we could be stupid enough to destroy ourselves in a worldwide nuclear war, the real meaning of those prophecies is that humanity itself is going through massive changes on every level, that all of human society is being renewed both socially and spiritually, and that the world will never be the same again. The “old world” is rapidly vanishing, and a “new world” is already taking its place.

      • AJ749 says:

        Hi lee many thanks for the quick response i suppose when people see these visions they dont understand they are spiritual and take them as literal however as sweedenborg has said visions like that are showed to us in ways we would understand them so when people saw there would be massive Geophysical changes and that most of the world would die it simply they dont mean physically they means spiritually the hearts and thoughts of the old world have died and the golden age they talk about is where humanitys spiritual state is getting better and better

        Am i on the right track ?

        • Lee says:

          Hi AJ749,

          Yes, that is how I understand it, and that is what Swedenborg taught.

          But also, yes, the prophecies are put in physical imagery of massive destruction because that gives our rather materialistic minds something to visualize and remember. And for many people who are at a rather low, materialistic level in their spiritual development, the fear of literal, physical cataclysms may jolt them into straightening out their lives. But in reality, those things are not going to happen physically, whereas they are already happening spiritually all around us.

      • AJ749 says:

        Hi lee Massive thank you for all what you do with this blog i dont think you understand how much this blog and sweedenborg has helped my anxiety and fear about death, God and the afterlife . Sweedenborg just makes sense, everything that i was conflicted about is settled thanks to sweedenborg and this blog Thank you Lee

        • Lee says:

          Hi AJ749,

          You are most welcome. That is all very good to hear—and it is the very reason that Annette and I run this blog in the first place.

  9. Samson says:

    Hello Lee.

    Great article! I read it all, as well as the comments. In one of your responses to a comment on here ( I am not too sure who it was) you explained that Jesus appeared to his disciples only and they saw him with their spiritual eyes rather than with their physical eyes.

    Growing up as a child I was told repeatedly that Jesus appeared to over 500 people after his resurrection. So I had to dig up for that scripture. Here it is: “After that he was seen by over five hundred people at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:6).

    Conversely, I agree 100% that we won’t see a physical Jesus returning to this world literally but instead after taking our last breath we will.

    But some stuff make me wonder or make me uncertain at times, especially when Jesus said He would return like a thief in the night.

    A lot of us know when we will die, and if after we die we meet Jesus, then I wouldn’t look at that as him coming like a thief in the night aka surprise.

    You opened my eyes as well by stating that we won’t be given a body like Jesus’s. I always thought after we die we would get a body just like Jesus’s.

    I enjoy your website and I read one or two articles per night.


    • Lee says:

      Hi Samson,

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the article, and that you’re finding the rest of the articles here helpful.

      About the disciples, and the 500 people mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:6, seeing Jesus with their spiritual eyes rather than their physical eyes, this is not something I’m certain of. It is possible that they did see him with their physical eyes. It’s just that it does not seem from the descriptions in the Bible that everyone saw him, but only certain people. However, it is not all that important whether he was seen with their physical or spiritual eyes. The main thing is that they saw him after his resurrection, showing that he had indeed risen from death as he said he would.

      About Jesus coming like a thief in the night, the intended message is that he will come when we aren’t expecting it and aren’t paying attention. The message is for us to “stay awake,” meaning spiritually awake. Another way of saying this is that we should continually move forward on our spiritual path, not straying or backsliding into our old ways. We could die at any time, and if we have decided it’s not important to keep moving on our spiritual path, we could be caught flat-footed, to our surprise and disappointment as we enter into the spiritual world.

      This does not, however, mean that we should be continually stressed out about our spiritual life and salvation. Only that we should keep walking the path that’s in front of us, keep doing good for the people around us, and keep praying to Jesus to lift us up and give us the strength to face the struggles of this life, both natural and spiritual. We are also commanded to observe the Sabbath, which means we must allow ourselves periodic times of rest from our work, both inner and outer.

  10. Aruthra says:

    Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

    Is the rapture literal? Or will it take place only after our death?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Aruthra,

      There will be no literal rapture. This is talking about what will happen after death. “One will be taken” means that one will enter heaven. “The other left” means that the other will not go to heaven, but will go to hell instead. The message here is that whatever the outward appearance may be, even if two people appear to have lived similar lives, they will, in the afterlife, go either to heaven or to hell based on what is in their heart: whether love for the Lord and the neighbor on the one hand, or love only for themselves and worldly possessions and pleasures on the other.

  11. brandon says:

    This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what “spiritual” means” Spiritual things are not ephemeral things that are separate from the physical, they are the essential driving causes of the physical. When John says he discerned things in the Spirit he wasn’t saying anything about their ultimate fulfillment but how he apprehended the vision to give certainty to the fulfillment of the visions. When God gives prophecy it always has a physical fulfillment because there is no distinction between the physical and the spiritual that is a modern, anachronistic way of thinking about things. The spirit underlies the physical and expresses itself through physical reality. The physical is but an illusion of spiritual realities.

    • Lee says:

      Hi brandon,

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Yes, the spiritual does express itself through the physical. But it generally does not do so in the form of a literal fulfillment of what is seen in spiritual visions. Rather, these cataclysmic events take place in the spiritual world and in the human mind, and from there they affect the course of human history, not through literal cataclysms and disasters, but through a change in the landscape of the human mind and of human society—as covered in the above article.

    • Hi Brandon,

      I hope you don’t mind me replying to your comment, but that’s a good point you made. The physical and spiritual world is always connected. What you are describing here is the way the Dagara people in Africa see the world. The people there see the spiritual and physical world as a deeply connected thing. To them, the spiritual world manifests itself into physical realities.

      You are historically correct about the modern-day separation between the physical and spiritual world. I hope Lee mentions that to you. The separation between the physical and spiritual world began when scientists started the Age of Reason, from what I know. That’s what began the materialist view of the world, which still lingers on to this day.

      The Dagara people would find it very strange to see the Western view of the world. In the Western world, we separate the physical and spiritual world, as if they were two totally different things. This would be incomprehensible to the Dagara people. They spend every day in the supernatural world, and to them, it’s natural!

  12. Albert says:

    Hi lee,
    Now expound on Hell and Heaven.
    Is there a real literal hell and heaven – if where is it

    • Lee says:

      Hi Albert,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and question.

      Yes, there is a real hell and a real heaven.

      However, I would not use the word “literal.” That implies that they are literally the way they seem to be from the literal meaning of the Bible. You know, people literally roasting eternally in flames or literally spending all eternity praising and worshiping God in a giant heavenly Temple. These are symbolic, not literal descriptions of what goes on in hell and in heaven.

      As for where they are, they are not on this earth, or anywhere in the physical universe. Rather, they are in the spiritual world / universe, which is every bit as real as the physical universe, only it is made of spiritual substance rather than being made of physical matter.

      For more about hell, heaven, and what happens to us after we die, please see these articles:

      I hope this helps.

  13. Hi Lee,

    I remember reading this article a year or so ago. Lately, though, I’ve been studying end times prophecy, and to me, it seems that Jesus was actually right about all the prophecies He made. Many of the things He prophesied ages ago are happening right now in our world.

    For instance, He predicted an increase in earthquakes and famines. And sure enough, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, there was a big increase in the frequency and strength of earthquakes. There’s also a famine problem which is still going on in many parts of the world.

    He predicted that there would be false prophets and false Christs, and sure enough, throughout history after His crucifixion, there have been countless people who claimed they were Christ.

    He predicted a widespread increase in knowledge, and that has certainly happened. Nowadays, people can learn about things more quickly than ever, thanks to technology.

    Peter also predicted that many people would scoff at the end times prophecy, and think it’s just a joke to believe that Jesus is returning to the earth. Peter mentioned this here:

    “In the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.'” 2 Peter 3:3-4 NLT

    And, well, that’s happened, too!

    These are just a few of the prophecies I’ve found, and they’re really making me think.
    I try not to resist change, when it comes to my beliefs. I’m open to other points of view. I never took the end times prophecy seriously at first, but looking at it now, I believe Jesus was right about the end of the age being a future event, rather than something which has already happened.

    From what I can see, you’re basing your view in this article on what Swedenborg wrote, about the Last Judgment already taking place in 1757. However, I have several concerns about that.

    First of all, Swedenborg seems really sure that the Last Judgment took place in 1757. However, Jesus Himself said in the Revelation that no one will know the exact time of the Last Judgment. Not even the angels will know, so I’m puzzled by how Swedenborg came to this conclusion.

    Here is the verse from Revelation:

    Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away.

    But of that day and that hour no man knows, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

    Take heed, watch and pray: for you do not know when the time is.

    Jesus was always very clear on the fact that no one will know the exact time of the Last Judgment.

    Another thing which concerns me is that Jesus clearly said that when He returns, every eye will see Him. It won’t be a private revelation for one man alone; the whole world’s going to see Him come. So once again, it puzzles me that Swedenborg felt He received a special Revelation to see the Last Judgment, when Jesus actually said the opposite would happen.

    Here are Jesus’s words on the matter:

    Then if any man shall say to you, “Look, here is Christ, or there is Christ; do not believe it.

    For false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and they shall show great signs and wonders; and they will do it to such a degree they shall deceive the very elect.

    See, I have told you beforehand.

    For that reason, if anyone tells you, “Look, Christ is in the desert”, do not go forth: and if anyone says, “He is in the secret chambers,” do not believe it.

    For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

    In another article, you wrote that Christians who predict the end of the world are wrong time and time again. I agree with you that too many people have tried to make concrete predictions about that. That’s why Jesus warned people to not make predictions. I feel, personally, that it would be fair to admit that Swedenborg made a concrete prediction himself when he said the Last Judgment took place in 1757.

    I know this is a long comment, but I really am curious about how you feel about these verses, and what Jesus actually said. Do you still believe we live in a new spiritual era?

    My own view is that Swedenborg, as intelligent and enlightened as he was, was mistaken about this Last Judgment being in 1757. Although an increase in education and knowledge did happen shortly after this, that alone isn’t strong enough for me to believe that the end times came already, and we’re living in a New Jerusalem. But what do you think?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Autumn,

      These are all valid issues and concerns. I’ll do my best to respond to them briefly. A full response would require several posts!

      First, about Jesus’ predictions of events that would take place in the lead-up to the end times—earthquakes, famines, wars and rumors of war, and so on—people in nearly every century since then have seen these events in their own times, and have therefore thought that they were living in the end times. This started just a few decades after Jesus’ was on earth, when many people believed that the Jewish rebellion against Rome that led to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple was the lead-up to the end times.

      For a list of many of the specific beliefs and predictions that the end-times were upon us from Christ’s time onward, see Wikipedia -> List of dates predicted for apocalyptic events.

      These beliefs and predictions continue right up to today, as you can see from this list.

      Swedenborg is on the list. However, he did not make a prediction that the Last Judgment would happen soon. He did have a sense that it was about to happen, and spoke of “the Messiah about to come.” But until he actually experienced it happening in the spiritual world, he did not have any clear idea of when it would happen, nor did he make any specific prediction. Rather, when it happened, he described it. So Swedenborg did not know the day and the hour, nor, apparently, did the angels he was in contact with.

      About every eye seeing the Lord, I believe the Lord was speaking metaphorically, not literally. Literally, it would not be possible for every eye to see him, “from the east to the west.” We do not live on a flat earth, as people of that day generally believed. Rather, we live on a spherical globe. This means that it would not be possible for every person on earth to see the Lord if he were to literally come in the clouds of heaven.

      I think what Jesus means is that everyone will realize that things have radically changed. They will see the Second Coming, not with their physical eyes, but with their mind’s eye, in a radically changed world. And indeed, we are living in a time when attitudes, customs, and practices that have existed in human society for thousands of years are being rapidly replaced by an entirely new culture and society. At no time in earlier known history was there ever such a rapid and complete change in human society and human knowledge worldwide. Everyone on earth knows that we are living in a new era, and that the old is rapidly passing into the past.

      And once again, Swedenborg did not make a prediction that the Second Coming would happen at some time in the future. Rather, he described it after he saw it happening in the spiritual world.

      Of course, you’ll have to make up your own mind about these things. But I confidently predict that if you think the Second Coming will happen in a literal, physical way at some time in the future, you will find, if you live long enough, that you are mistaken, just as every past prediction of a future literal and physical Second Coming has been mistaken.

      The key is to read the Bible, not according to the letter that kills, but according to the spirit that gives life.

      • Hi Lee,

        That is an interesting point of view. Thanks for answering my comment! 🙂

        We are definitely living in a new era, that’s for sure. Those are some very interesting points that you brought up. I believe time will tell, as they say.

        I will continue to read the Bible, and see what’s going on. You make some very good points about the changes happening worldwide. There are a lot of things going on, though, which are kind of concerning, to say the least.

        I’m still kind of puzzled, though, about how Swedenborg said he saw the Last Judgment take place in the spiritual world. I just think it’s kind of puzzling that Jesus never mentioned that He would reveal His revelation to one man alone.

        But I’m still learning, so we’ll see what the future brings.

        About the new culture and society, I agree that a lot has changed. But not all of it is good, unfortunately. I don’t want to bring up too many serious stuff, but there’s a lot of stuff going on in this country which just isn’t good. I don’t want to go into all the details, but I’ll put it this way: a lot of truth gets hidden because it doesn’t fit in with the way people want to re-write history. And sometimes what the mainstream society says is good, progressive, and evolved is actually the opposite.

        I know for a fact that serious levels of indoctrination happen in public schools here. Anyone who tries to teach the truth about something will experience severe setbacks.

        I think what made me ponder about the end times more is the fact that an asteroid is heading towards the earth. Apophis, that is. And recently we’ve been lucky that several asteroids haven’t hit us yet. Earth is actually overdue for an asteroid collision, so it’s a matter of when, not if, an asteroid hits us. However, once again you won’t find that kind of news in the mainstream.

        There’s more I could say, but I’ll pause there for now. At the end of the day, I want to learn more and seek truth, so that’s what I continue to do. 🙂

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          First, every eye in the spiritual world did see the Last Judgment, which brought about a massive change there in a very short period of time.

          And though Swedenborg was the only person alive on earth to see it, in the very next year, 1758, he published a book describing it, titled The Last Judgment, which anyone may read and learn how it happened. So yes, of people on earth, the Lord showed the Last Judgment only to Swedenborg directly. But that was precisely so that Swedenborg could publish the news of it to the world, so that everyone could be aware of it.

          About earth-threatening asteroids, astronomers are actively tracking every asteroid we have discovered so far that would cause a disaster if it hit the earth. And they are continually scanning the night skies for any they have missed. Though click-bait headlines constantly appear in questionable “news” outlets, so far no known large asteroid is expected to hit earth any time soon.

          Meanwhile, there are active projects underway to develop and build a system to deflect or destroy any asteroid that might seriously threaten the earth.

          Could human civilization be destroyed by an asteroid strike? Yes it could. But the likelihood of that happening any time soon is very low. And it is likely that within the next century or two, we will have effective means to protect our planet from major asteroid strikes.

          I would suggest that you not go for the sensationalist predictions about the imminent end of the world put out by conspiracy theorists and shady websites looking to make a buck from people’s incredulity and lack of real scientific knowledge.

        • Hi Lee,

          Thanks for your response. However, I didn’t learn this information from sensationalist predictions or conspiracy theorists. I actually learned this information from a historian named Michael Fairchild, and although I don’t agree with every point he makes, he does expose a lot of falsehoods which go around in society.

          About asteroid strikes, the fact is actually that right now, no one has any real defenses against asteroids. This gets really deep, I couldn’t put it all here, but to make a long story short, in Europe they are actually serious about trying to prepare for asteroid collisions. They see it’s a problem, and they’re trying to prepare.

          Even the scientists admit that they can only track a small percentage of the vast majority of asteroids and space rocks which pass by the earth everyday. At least some of them are honest about it.

          It’s hard to explain it all here, but although there’s no guarantee Apophis will hit us, there’s also no guarantee it will completely miss us, because asteroid courses and paths can change randomly due to the effects of space objects and other forces.

          But the whole story is really long, I couldn’t explain it all here. However, everyone can believe what he wants to believe. I never really try to push my views on anyone. I do search for the facts, though, and the facts are that the news outlets will not tell you if an asteroid is going to hit the earth. It would completely disrupt society if they did that, you know?

          An amateur astronomer in Spain actually spotted an asteroid which crashed into the earth. This happened in the early 2000’s, but the mainstream outlets refused to report this, despite the fact that an impact actually happened. The only report came in Spain.

          Behind the scenes, some scientists have admitted that official reports on asteroid phenomena, environment issues, and other documents are edited before they reach the public. The edits make the dangers of asteroids and other issues seem less real than they actually are. These are just the facts.

          It’s hard to find the truth, so you have to search for it. I’m skeptical of mainstream reports about asteroids, because of the edits I mentioned earlier.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          I have had a long-term interest in astronomy, and though I am not an expert, I do know a fair amount about it. And I can assure you that scientists are not hiding secret information about asteroids from the public. Nor could they, because most astronomical data is in the public domain. Yes, edited photos of astronomical phenomena are released to the public, because otherwise most non-astronomers would not know what they are looking at. But the raw data is also made available for anyone who wishes to study it.

          It is like a person who does not have medical and anatomical knowledge looking at a raw x-ray image of some body part. Without detailed knowledge of the human body, the x-ray won’t mean much. That’s why NASA, for example, edits publicly released photos of star fields, planets, galaxies, and so on: to enhance them so that ordinary non-astronomers will see things that they would otherwise miss. There is no conspiracy to withhold shocking information from the public.

          If some killer asteroid were about to hit the earth, no government or government agency, and no cabal of scientists, could suppress that information. It would be all over the news.

          Plots to hide vital information about upcoming catastrophes make for great thrillers, but that is science fiction, not reality.

          Astronomers are well aware of the asteroid popularly known as Apophis. It is on their radar. If its course changes significantly in future years so that it seriously threatens the earth, not only will it be all over the news, but every space-capable government and private company in the world will mobilize to head it off before it hits us.

          As you say, some projects are already underway to develop the capabilities to do this. As long as it doesn’t hit in the next decade or two, we should be fine.

          Also, asteroids are hitting the earth all the time. Most of them burn up in the atmosphere before hitting the ground. Some do hit the ground, but they rarely cause any serious damage. Most of the really big and dangerous asteroids were cleared out of Earth’s orbit much earlier in the formation of the solar system.

          Meanwhile, there are asteroid chasers who are constantly scanning the skies, the news, and the scientific reports and data for any significant meteorites (asteroids that hit the surface of the earth). There are no “secret” asteroid strikes.

        • Hi Lee,

          Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree there, as they say. 🙂 Maybe it’s just because my parents are older than most parents are (they’re in their fifties!) and they’ve seen how information has been hidden from them in the public school systems and the news. They’ve had their fair share of “I never knew that!” moments. They’ve trained me to be a skeptic of the mainstream, and so that’s kind of part of how I think.

          I never trust the official narrative of anything! 😀

          As far as conspiracy theorists go, I agree that it’s good to be skeptical of the ones who make up stuff for attention or money. But there are real theorists out there who actually look into facts, and those are the ones I check out. As I said, Michael Fairchild is a historian, so he has to gather facts to present his theory.

          So let’s agree to disagree there. 🙂

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          Of course, you’re free to believe what you want to believe. Just for the record, I’m pushing 60 myself. I’ve been around the block a few times!

          Also, if Michael Fairchild is a historian, he isn’t the right person to listen to about astronomy. For that, you want an astronomer, not a historian. I would suggest getting your information about astronomy from astronomers, and your information about history from historians. Just a suggestion! 😀

          Really, if you want good information about astronomy, asteroids, and so on, I would highly recommend that you subscribe to some astronomy magazines. I used to subscribe to a couple of them, and I learned a lot. I don’t have as much time now to keep up with the latest developments, but when I get a chance I read a few articles about space and astronomy.

          And honestly, there simply is no conspiracy among scientists to hide information from the public. That’s not how science works. Reputable scientists publish their studies in scientific journals not only to get the credit, but so that other scientists can read it, review it, and repeat their experiments in order to verify or disprove the results. Good science cannot operate in an atmosphere of secrecy and misinformation.

          Astronomers, in particular, quickly transmit potential new discoveries to one another so that other astronomers will point their telescopes at it and gather more data that will aid in figuring out exactly what it is. The first person who saw it will get the credit for the discovery, so they are not worried about that.

          I, too, am skeptical of many claims in our present-day society. But I happen to actually know something about astronomy, and I know that these theories about secret killer asteroids about to hit earth are sensationalism, not scientific fact.

          Do you really think that scientists and government officials would just sit idly by while Apophis swoops in to destroy the earth? These are people with wives, husbands, children, and grandchildren. These are human beings who don’t want to die, and who don’t want their family and friends to die. Astronomers have years or decades of experience with the science of astronomy. There is no way in the world that if they knew about some asteroid that is an imminent danger to earth, they wouldn’t tell anyone, and would just let it hit us and kill all of the people they love. No way at all. They would make a huge ruckus!

          Yes, they worry about missing an asteroid that could threaten earth. But there is actually a fairly low likelihood that they’ve missed a planet-killer asteroid on an imminent collision course with earth. The asteroids they can’t track are the smaller ones, most of which are no real danger to earth.

          They may also miss some mid-sized ones that could take out a city in a worst-case scenario. But mathematically speaking, even if a mid-sized asteroid does hit earth, it is spectacularly unlikely to hit a major city. That’s because major cities occupy only a tiny percentage of the earth’s surface. It is far more likely to hit the ocean, or to land in some wilderness area that is very sparsely populated, because such areas account for most of the earth’s surface.

          The likelihood that astronomers have missed an asteroid large enough to destroy the entire earth any time in the next century is not zero, but it is fairly low. An asteroid that big in an orbit that crosses earth’s orbit would almost certainly show up in their scans of the sky. They are constantly making scans, and they have computer programs that search scans of the same area of the sky on different days to compare them for anything that moves. When the program finds such an event, it alerts the astronomers, who look at it and try to figure out what it is.

          Yes, the sky is a big place. And yes, scientists are aware that there are many asteroids they have not yet discovered, and cannot track. But the overwhelming majority of these will be asteroids too small to do any serious damage to the earth. And the vast, vast majority of asteroids don’t even cross earth’s orbit, so they are no danger to us.

          Is it possible that there’s an unknown earth-destroying asteroid lurking out there that will destroy us in the next few years? Yes, it is possible. But the likelihood of that is extremely low. Meanwhile, there are very active, well-funded programs to discover and track asteroids that would be big enough to destroy the earth.

          And it’s not just Europe that’s working on ways to deflect asteroids that might threaten earth in the future. I don’t know where that “information” came from. NASA and the ESA (European Space Agency) are both working on this. In fact, NASA will be the first agency to run an actual test mission in space, called DART, which is scheduled to launch next year (2021). See:

          Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Mission

          Or, if you just can’t bring yourself to trust NASA’s own public information, here’s the Wikipedia page on the mission:

          Double Asteroid Redirection Test

          There is big money going into asteroid detection and deflection projects. We’re not just going to sit on our hands and let our planet be destroyed by an asteroid. Not when, for the first time in human history, we have the capability to do something about it.

          Please take a deep breath, and let go of your fears about this. There are thousands of people and hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars going into projects to protect our planet from killer asteroids.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Autumn,

          It is true that not all the recent changes in society have been good. Change is messy, and big change is very messy.

          In this new era of greater knowledge and greater freedom, people are trying out all different things. Some of them work, and some of them don’t. That’s how we learn what is good and what is not.

          In the long term, I believe the good will last, and the bad will die out, leaving us with a much better world than we have had at any previous time in human history.

        • Hi Lee,

          Well, I’d like to be optimistic myself. 🙂

          But no one can precisely know what the future brings, except God. I do feel, though, that there’s more to learn, and I’m going to keep searching and see where the truth is.

  14. Hi Lee,

    Recently, I’ve been speaking with a lady who believes in literal end times prophecy. As I said to you before, I don’t literally believe in it anymore. I explained to her the Biblical reasons why it does not make sense to push the end times into a future era, like this one, for instance. However, she still believes in it and warns that it is wrong to take the view point that the end times have happened already. She also believes the devil is trying to make people turn into nonbelievers.

    I respect her viewpoint very much, but some things I simply cannot agree with. I don’t want to separate the world into nonbelievers and believers. I know God loves all of His children and we are trying to figure things out as best as we can. What’s more, all the evidence of the Bible clearly points to the last days referring to the fall of Jerusalem in Jesus’s time, not a future end times era.

    She said I should question my own supernatural experiences if they do not fit a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, but I pointed out that this is illogical. People have been having all kinds of spiritual experiences for thousands of years, with and without the Bible.

    At any rate, I do not want to say too much because I still respect her very much. However, I do not believe that God will destroy all non-Christians in a future end times event. He is love, and He would never do such a thing.

    As for my spiritual experiences, I’m sticking to them because I have questioned for many years, and these experiences have only brought me closer to God. If they were truly deceptive, I would not have found God or started reading the Bible from them.

    I do feel for her, as the likelihood of this one era being the end times is close to zero. I wish I could open her eyes, but she probably feels the same way about me. Still, I believe people should not push other people’s views on anyone else.

    But what do you think?

    Sincerely, Autumn

    • Lee says:

      Hi Autumn,

      It’s best, I think, to leave her in peace to believe as she is going to believe. It is unlikely that you will be able to open her eyes and change her mind. Attempting to push your views on her will only cause her to reject those views even more strongly, and to consider you a lost soul. No good would come of it. If she ever reaches a point in her life at which she is able to read the Bible more deeply and spiritually, she will seek and find the deeper view she is then looking for.

      The reason the Bible is written the way it is, including many teachings and prophecies that seem to be talking about literal, worldly actions and events, is that many, if not most people cannot think spiritually. Their minds are stuck on the worldly and material level.

      If, for example, such people didn’t believe that there will be a literal, physical resurrection at some future Last Judgment, they wouldn’t believe in any afterlife at all. As a result, most likely they would reject God, the Bible, and religion altogether. That is why God wrote the Bible with a literal meaning that people who can think only materially and literally can look to and believe in, and have some form of religion and belief in God to guide them in their lives and motivate them to live a good life.

      However, for people who can think more deeply and spiritually, there are vast depths of meaning in the Bible that go far beyond literal events such as the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD.

      Yes, on a literal level, Jesus’ prophecy did refer to that. However, at a deeper level, it refers to the end of the Israelite/Jewish religion as it had existed for many centuries up to that point. For over a millennium, since its early origins, the Israelite religion had been centered on ritual sacrifices and burnt offerings. That all ended when the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, taking away the only location where, by that time, Jews were allowed to offer their sacrifices and burnt offerings.

      What came next was Rabbinic Judaism, which was in many ways an entirely new religion. Yes, it had its roots in the earlier form of Judaism. But in the aftermath of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, the religious leaders had to reinvent their religion. The priests, who had been central to the religion up to that time, now had very little function. The leadership of the religion was taken over by rabbis, who were religious scholars and teachers. And the whole religion changed from being focused on sacrificial worship to being focused on the study and observance of the Torah.

      So yes, Jesus’ prophecy did refer to the destruction of the Temple. But more than that, it referred to the end of the Israelite/Jewish religion as it had existed up to that time. That end truly was an apocalyptic event for the Jews who lived through it. To this day, Jews look back to the events of that time as a time when their religion was forever changed. (Fundamentalist Jews do commonly think that the Temple will eventually be restored once again, and sacrificial worship will resume, but that is extremely unlikely ever to happen, for many reasons.)

      Meanwhile, Jesus’ words never have only one or even only two meanings. His words also prophesied the end of the nascent Christian church that he himself had “founded” through his life and teachings. That religion, too, would run its course, become corrupt, and die. It is therefore not wrong to think of his words as referring to another “end times” besides the end time that occurred for ancient Judaism in 70 AD. Jesus’ words have many layers and levels of meaning.

      However, it is wrong to think that they will be fulfilled literally at some future date. There will be no literal apocalypse and literal destruction of the earth and sky. Rather, there will be an end to the reign of Christianity as it had existed for many centuries.

      That end has already come, as covered in the above article and in the others linked from the end of it. Yes, the traditional, historical Christian institutions still exist, and they still engage in their traditional styles of worship. But they no longer hold their former position as the intellectual and spiritual rulers of the Western world. They lost that position several centuries ago during the time that secular scholars call “the Enlightenment”—and they will never regain their position as the leading institutions in their realms. That era is gone forever. And for many traditional Christians, it is truly an apocalyptic event to see their beloved church and its institutions gradually fading away as the world moves forward around them.

      There are even deeper meanings to Jesus’ words, but that’s enough for now.

  15. Hi Lee,

    Thank you very much, Lee. I think you’re right. I decided to end the conversation with her because everyone has a right to believe that they want to believe. I made it clear to her that I was just sharing my view point, since we happened to start discussing it. I’m always very careful not to push my views on anyone else, although I’m not perfect, of course.

    Yes, exactly, I meant to add that as well, the prophecy really symbolized the end of the Old Covenant forever, and the coming of the New Covenant through Jesus Christ.

    I think people find the information they need to find when the time is right for them to learn it. All I can do is share the knowledge. After that, the person can do what they like for themselves. If they want to research it, that’s fine, but if they don’t, that’s fine, too.

  16. By the way, i thought I’d just share a link to a post I made about afterlife communications. I wanted to share a few touching stories about how Jimi has visited many souls on the earth. Hope you enjoy it!

  17. Ray says:

    Hi Lee what do you make of this They actually say if you don’t gave this digital id, you won’t be able to buy or sell. This sounds a lot like the Mark of the Beast

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ray,

      I doubt Microsoft will be able to implement its grand strategy. The devil is in the details. And the informal economy will resist all efforts at control.

      Beyond that, the book of Revelation is meant to be read metaphorically, not literally. Even if something in the physical world does look something like the events in John’s vision, that’s not the point of the vision or the book. Prophecy and vision always draw on real-world events and images to build a vivid picture. But the prophecies and visions are still primarily about spiritual events, not physical ones.

      • Ray says:

        So they’ll never come a time where anything like the Mark of the Beast is implemented?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          Even if something like that were implemented, it would still have nothing to do with the prophecy in the book of Revelation. That book was never meant to be taken literally, even by its original author. It was written in a symbolic style, not a literal style. The very word “apocalypse” in the original Greek means “uncovering what is hidden.” And “hidden” things, from an earthly point of view, are spiritual things. The whole book, including the part about “the mark of the beast” is about spiritual events.

          Perhaps Microsoft will try to embed chips in the skulls of every human being on earth, according to the conspiracy theorists’ fears. I doubt it. But even if, in our worst nightmare, it actually happened, this would still not be “the mark of the beast” spoken of in Revelation. It would be more like Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984. And if the people of earth let it happen, then they deserve it.

  18. Ray says:

    Hi Lee. I assume you know what preterism is? It was the view I kind of took. They believe that all that happened in Revelations happened during the fall of Rome. That Revelations was prophecising the fall of the Roman Empire. My take is Swedenborg isn’t a preterist, but I can’t know for sure. My take is Revelations sums up the spiritual journey of mankind as a whole and doesn’t point to a specific point of time in the past or the future.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ray,

      Honestly, I don’t spend any more time studying traditional Christian dogmas than I have to in order to understand what falsities are infecting people’s minds so that I can counter them. But yes, I have a basic idea of preterism.

      The problem with preterism is that it interprets Revelation as applying to worldly events such as the fall of Rome. That’s not what Revelation is about, according to Swedenborg. Rather, Revelation draws on patterns and themes from worldly events to tell a spiritual story. Thinking it is about earthly empires is like thinking the Parable of the Sower is about farming.

      • Ray says:

        Okay so it is essentially a metaphor of the spiritual journey of humanity as whole?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Ray,

          Traditionally, that would be called the “idealist” view of Revelation.

          But it’s more specific than that. The book of Revelation does deal with the “end times.” But it’s not about literal cataclysms and some literal end of the world, when earthly human governments would collapse. Rather, it uses metaphors of beasts and battles to tell the story of the spiritual end times.

          Swedenborg did say, somewhat like the full preterists, that the Book of Revelation, and the “little apocalypses” in Matthew and Luke, were fulfilled, not by the fall of Rome, but by the end of Judaism as it had existed up to that time. Historically, this happened when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple, forcing the Jews to reinvent their religion into the rabbinic Judaism that continues to this day. The ancient Jewish religion, which centered on ritual sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem, no longer exists. It came to its end in 70 AD.

          But Swedenborg’s primary interpretation of the book of Revelation was that it applied to the end of the existing Christian church, and that its events were happening in his day. Not literally, of course, but spiritually.

          Historically, it was in Swedenborg’s day that the Enlightenment began pushing traditional Christianity aside, and replacing its iron grip on the Western mind with the new view of scientific rationalism. That process has continued until this day. The traditional Christian Church is already a mere shadow of its former regnant self, and its decline is only picking up speed.

          But for Swedenborg, it was not so much about the particular institutions as it was about the false doctrines that they had invented, adopted, and placed as the cornerstone of their church, replacing the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. These false doctrines, he said, and their bitter fruit in human society, were being overthrown as a new spiritual era symbolized by the New Jerusalem began to take their place.

          Similarly, the “end times” of ancient Judaism came when its legalism and behaviorism were replaced by an entirely new paradigm of being guided by the internal light of faith. This is what Paul was talking about in his Epistles.

          For Swedenborg, the book of Revelation is not just about the general spiritual journey of humanity, as the idealists hold. It is indeed specifically about the end times. Just not about literal, historical end times.

          In the last two sections of his book on the Last Judgment, Swedenborg predicted that even though the Last Judgment had just happened in the spiritual world, and he was a witness to it, the churches and nations would continue pretty much as they had been before. Outwardly, no one would be able to tell the difference. But inwardly, people would be much more free to think their own thoughts, disagree with the church, and walk their own path. You can see it in Swedenborg’s own words in The Last Judgment #7374.

          This is exactly what has happened in the centuries since he made that prediction.

  19. Ray says:

    Hi Lee. What does 1 Timothy 4:3 mean when they say that marriage and meat will be forbidden?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ray,

      The passage is talking about people who teach asceticism, meaning denying oneself the pleasures of life, and how this is contrary to Christian living. Here is the full passage:

      Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared with a hot iron. They forbid marriage and abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by God’s word and by prayer. (1 Timothy 4:1–5)

      As Paul says here, God created things such as marriage and food for us to enjoy. God does not want us to live a mournful life of denying ourselves life’s pleasures, as long as they are healthy pleasures and we are thankful to God for them. Also, the idea that celibacy is more Christian and spiritual than marriage is contrary to the teachings of the Bible and contrary God’s will for us. See:

      Didn’t Jesus Say it’s Better to be Celibate than Married?

  20. K says:

    In Revelation 21:4 (KJV) it says:

    “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

    I hope that can be literally true in Heaven.

    • Lee says:

      Hi K,

      For the most part, it is. Angels are people. They do have the full range of human emotions, including even sadness from time to time. But there is nothing like the terrible wrenching pain, sorrow, and anguish that many people feel here on earth. For those who make their home in heaven, that will all be in the past, and will even fade from memory before long.

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

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