The Second ComingMany churches teach that Christ is going to return to earth just as He was seen departing it, literally "in the clouds of heaven" (Acts 1:11). But Jesus Himself referred to His second coming in spiritual terms, as "the spirit of truth" that would guide people into "all truth" (John 16:13).
Since we believe that every word in Scripture has a symbolic meaning, and that "the clouds of heaven" represent the literal stories of the Word, we believe that the Lord will appear in the spiritual meaning of those stories, just as He intimated in Luke 24:27. And since we believe that spiritual meaning is revealed plainly in the books written by Swedenborg, we accept that the second coming has already occurred as Christ's renewed presence among us in this new "body" of revelation.
The concept is really quite simple, though we understand that it is a challenge to shift one's thinking so dramatically from one paradigm to another. See the section above on the Last Judgment . We believe that all the events indicating the time of judgment and the second coming in Matthew 24 actually came together in the 18th century, not as physical conditions but as spiritual states represented in those conditions, just as the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick and so on throughout Scripture refer to those who are spiritually so, and who are therefore especially receptive of the love and wisdom offered by the Lord. History shows the incredible changes in civilization since the 18th century, and we believe these changes reflect the seismic changes in the Christian Church beginning at that time and continuing to this day.