The Last Judgment

Many in the Christian world have been misled by passages of Scripture that seem to speak of a judgment at the end of the world, but the references really are to spiritual judgments, and "the end of the world" is really a mistranslation for the end of the age, or spiritual era, when evil and falsity prevail and order must be restored. True, the events of the Last Judgment are described in the Bible in terrifying worldly terms, but these are clearly symbolic descriptions representing the spiritual states of those affected. For example, wars, famine, earthquakes, pestilence, even cosmic disasters all represent spiritual states like hatred, ignorance, inner disturbance, evil and the failure of true love and faith.

There is a judgment at the end of every spiritual age, when a decline into selfish and worldly states makes it necessary. And it is always accomplished by a new revelation of the truth, particularly suited to the needs of the day. We believe the Last Judgment on the traditional Christian church has already occurred, and indeed, many writers now refer to this as the "post-Christian age." But we understand that the teachings of the New Church have already ushered in a new Christian age in which people have more freedom to think for themselves about spiritual things, and to see truth for themselves in the pages of Scripture.

Then again, there is an individual judgment - his or her Last Judgment - when any person passes from the natural into the spiritual world. But on this, see the section about Life After Death.