The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Church is His Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
Jehovah said, The heavens are My throne and the earth My footstool. Where is this house which you are going to build for Me, and where is this place of My rest? Isaiah 66:1
AC 2162:8. “The heavens” means the celestial and spiritual things, and so the inmost things, both of the Lord’s kingdom in heaven and of the Lord’s kingdom on earth, which is the Church. Also meant by “the heavens” are those same things as they exist with every individual who is a kingdom of the Lord or a Church. Thus “the heavens” also means the celestial and spiritual things regarded in themselves, which are matters of love and charity and of faith that springs from these, and so all things that belong to internal worship and similarly all things that belong to the internal sense of the Word. These things are meant by “the heavens” and are called “the Lord’s throne,” but by “the earth” are meant all lower things corresponding to those meant by “the heavens.” By “the earth” lower rational and natural things are meant, which from correspondence are likewise referred to as celestial and spiritual things, such as those that exist in the lower heavens and also in the Church, and those things which belong to external worship and also those present in the literal sense of the Word. In short, all things that stem from internal things and manifest themselves in external are, being natural things, called “the earth” and “the Lord’s footstool.”
AC 9408. In these passages, and in many others, by “the heavens” are signified the angelic heavens; and as the Lord’s heaven on earth is the church, by “heaven” is also signified the church, as in the following passages:
I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth were passed away (Rev. 21:1).
Behold I create new heavens and a new earth; therefore the former things shall not be remembered, nor come up upon the heart (Isa. 65:17)....
O Jehovah, the God of Israel, Thou alone art the God over all the kingdoms of the earth; Thou hast made heaven and earth (Isa. 37:16).
I am Jehovah, who makes all things, who spreads out the heavens alone, who stretches out the earth by Myself (Isa. 44:24).
Jehovah, who creates the heavens, who forms the earth and makes it, and prepares it; He created it not an emptiness (Isa. 45:18).
AC 9808. The Church also means heaven; for heaven and the Church make one, and also the Church is the Lord’s heaven on earth. Every man (homo) of the Church furthermore has heaven within himself when truth and at the same time good which come from the Lord reside in him.
AC 10151. The Divine that proceeds from the Lord, when received by the angels, makes heaven.... So it is with the church. In respect to what is their own, the men of the church do not make the church, but in respect to what is Divine, which they receive from the Lord. For everyone in the church who does not acknowledge and believe that all the good of love and the truth of faith are from God, is not of the church. For he wishes to love God from himself, and to believe in God from himself, which, however, no one can do. From this also it is evident that the Divine of the Lord makes the church, as it makes heaven. Moreover, the church is the Lord’s heaven on earth. Consequently, the Lord is also the all in all in the church, as He is in heaven, and there dwells in His own with men, as He does with the angels in heaven. Moreover, after their life in the world, the men of the church who in this way receive what is Divine of the Lord in love and faith become angels of heaven, and no others.
Questions and Comments
- In our first reading, from Isaiah 66 and the following explanation from the Arcana Coelestia, we learn that the internal of the church is called “heaven” and “the Lord’s throne,” while the external of the church is called “the earth” and “the Lord’s footstool.”
- How can we keep the external in correspondence with the internal? Why is this so important?
- We often say, when things are not going well, or when faced with practical or earthly limitations, that it would be different in heaven. But how does this apply to the Church, which is said over and over again to be the Lord’s kingdom or heaven on earth?
- Is it really possible to have a Church that is like heaven? If not, why do pray for this every time we say “as in heaven so upon the earth”?
- Notice that in quoting the Lord’s Prayer in the reading for Day 3 from AE 1217 it simply says, “Thy kingdom come on earth as in the heavens.” So the words “as in heaven so upon the earth” apply to His kingdom coming as well as to His will being done.
- Is it possible to have heaven on earth? In what ways is this possible?
- How do we protect the Lord’s kingdom on earth from becoming “of the world” rather than “in the world” (as in John 17:14-18)? How does the last teaching from the Arcana Coelestia relate to this?