One of the most unique facets of Swedenborg’s theology is his assertion that the Last Judgment isn’t a future event, but one that has already happened. In his short work Last Judgment, Swedenborg explains that a world-ending event like the one people often imagine when we talk about the apocalypse is impossible, because the human race needs to continue living so there can always be new angels in heaven. Rather, the Last Judgment takes place in the spiritual world, as a type of cleansing process that happens when there is so much evil that it is threatening the stability of the spiritual world. More than that, the Last Judgment is not a one-time event, but a cyclical occurrence: the world has gone through other such periods of spiritual upheaval. For example, there was one when Jesus came to earth to establish a new church, bringing both the earthly and spiritual worlds back into order. However, the subject of Last Judgment is the one that Swedenborg himself witnessed in 1757, where he writes in detail about the events he saw and their significance.
Also included in this volume are two short supplements originally published separately from the short work. The first, “Supplement on the Last Judgment,” provides some expanded information about the background and events of the 1757 judgment. The second, “Supplement on the Spiritual World,” talks about the fate of different groups from his day in the spiritual world.
Skillfully translated by George F. Dole, with New Century Edition Series Editor Jonathan S. Rose as a secondary translator, Last Judgment also appears in the New Century Edition Deluxe hardcover The Shorter Works of 1758, a volume that includes an introduction from Richard Smoley and extensive annotations that put the text in its historical context. The two supplements will appear in the forthcoming Deluxe volume The Shorter Works of 1763.
Last Judgment / Supplements is $6.99 in paperback, or you can download a free version of the e-book from our bookstore. Members of the Swedenborg Foundation get a 20% discount off of all of our books; if you’re not a member, you can join here.