662. 'Everything that is on the earth will breathe its last' means those belonging to that Church who became such. This becomes clear from the fact that 'the earth' does not mean every land throughout the world but only those people who belonged to the Church, as shown already. No flood of any kind is meant here therefore, let alone a flooding of the whole world, but instead the decease or choking to death of those people there who when cut off from remnants, and so from things connected with the understanding of truth and with the will for good, were consequently cut off from the heavens. In addition to places already quoted from the Word, let the following also serve to confirm the fact that 'earth' means that area where the Church is, and therefore those who are there. In Jeremiah,
Thus said Jehovah, The whole earth will be desolate, yet I will not bring it to a close. For this the earth will mourn, and the heavens above be black. Jer 4:27, 28.
Here 'the earth' stands for people living where the Church is that has been vastated. In Isaiah, I will jolt heaven, and the earth will be shaken out of its place. Isa 13:13.
'Earth' stands for mankind which is to be vastated where the Church is. In Jeremiah,
The slaina of Jehovah on that day will be from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth. Jer 25:33.
Here 'the end of the earth' does not mean every land throughout the world, only that area where the Church was, and consequently where members of the Church were. In the same prophet, I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth. A clamour is coming even to the end of the earth, for Jehovah's controversy is against the nations. Jer 25:29, 31. Nor is the whole world meant here, only the area where the Church is, and consequently where the inhabitant or member of the Church is. 'The nations' here stands for falsities. In Isaiah, Behold, Jehovah is coming out of His place to visit the iniquity of the inhabitant of the earth. Isa 26:21.
Here the meaning is similar. In the same prophet,
Do you not hear? Has it not been pointed out to you from the beginning? Do you not understand the foundations of the earth? Isa 40:21.
In the same prophet,
Jehovah who creates the heavens, the God who forms the earth and makes it, the Same establishes it. Isa 45:18.
'Earth' stands for the member of the Church. In Zechariah,
The Word of Jehovah who stretches out the heavens, and founds the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Zech 12:1.
'The earth' obviously stands for the member of the Church. The earth is different from the ground in the way that the member of the Church is different from the Church itself, or as love and faith are different.