Examples of the Spiritual Sense of the Word:
1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Arcana Caelestia §4, 6-14
[In] these first sections of Genesis, from the sense of the letter the only subject matter people recognize is the creation of the world, and the Garden of Eden which is called Paradise, and Adam as the first man to be created. Who thinks anything different? The fact that these things contain arcana however which have never been revealed up to now will be sufficiently clear from what follows - especially clear from the fact that the subject of Genesis 1 is, in the internal sense, the new creation of man, that is, in general his regeneration, and in particular the Most Ancient Church. And the subject is presented in such a way that not the smallest part of any expression fails to have a representation, carry a spiritual meaning, or embody something within itself.
The six days or periods of time, which are so many consecutive states in man's regeneration, are in general as follows:
The first state is the state which precedes, both the state existing from earliest childhood onwards and that existing immediately before regeneration; and it is called a void, emptiness, and thick darkness. And the first movement, which is the Lord's mercy, is 'the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters'.
The second state is when a distinction is made between the things that are the Lord's and those that are man's own. Those which are the Lord's are called in the Word 'remnants', and here they are chiefly the cognitions of faith which a person has learned since he was a small child. These are stored away and do not come out into the open until he reaches this state. Nowadays this state rarely occurs without temptation, misfortune, and sorrow, which lead to the inactivity and so to speak the death of bodily and worldly concerns - the things which are man's own. In this way what belongs to the external man is segregated from what belongs to the internal. Within the internal are the remnants, stored away by the Lord until this time and for this purpose.
The third state is one of repentance, a state in which he speaks piously and devoutly from the internal man and brings forth goods, like charitable acts which are nevertheless inanimate since he imagines that they originate in himself. They are called a tender plant, then a seed-bearing plant, and finally a fruit tree.
The fourth state is when he is moved by love and enlightened by faith. Previous to this he did indeed utter pious words and bring forth good deeds, but he did so from a state of temptation and anguish, and not from faith and charity. Therefore the latter are now kindled in his internal man, and are called the two great lights.
The fifth state is when he speaks from faith and in so doing confirms himself in truth and good. What he brings forth at this point are animate and are called the fish of the sea and the birds of the air.
The sixth state is when he utters truths and performs good deeds from faith and consequently from love. What he brings forth at this point are called a living creature and a beast. And because at this point he starts to act from faith and also simultaneously from love, he becomes a spiritual man, who is called an image. The spiritual life of that man finds its delight in, and is sustained by, the things which are associated with cognitions of faith and with charitable acts, which are called his food; and his natural life finds its delight in, and is sustained by, those which belong to the body and the senses. The latter give rise to conflict until love rules and he becomes a celestial man.
Not all people who are being regenerated reach this state. Some, indeed the majority nowadays, reach only the first. Some reach merely the second, others the third, fourth, or fifth. Seldom do any reach the sixth, and hardly anybody at all reaches the seventh.
29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
Heaven and Hell §1
Those who understood these words according to the sense of the letter have no other belief than that during that latest period, which is called the final judgment, all these things are to come to pass just as they are described in the literal sense, that is, that the sun and moon will be darkened and the stars will fall from the sky, that the sign of the Lord will appear in the sky, and He Himself will be seen in the clouds, attended by angels with trumpets; and furthermore, as is foretold else where, that the whole visible universe will be destroyed, and afterwards a new heaven with a new earth will come into being. Such is the opinion of most men in the church at the present day.
But those who so believe are ignorant of the arcana that lie hid in every particular of the Word. For in every particular of the Word there is an internal sense which treats of things spiritual and heavenly, not of things natural and worldly, such as are treated of in the sense of the letter. And this is true not only of the meaning of groups of words, it is true of each particular word. For the Word is written solely by correspondences, to the end that there may be an internal sense in every least particular of it. It is according to that sense that what the Lord says in the passage quoted above respecting His coming in the clouds of heaven is to be understood.
All this makes clear that these words of the Lord mean that at the end of the church, when there is no longer any love, and consequently no faith, the Lord will open the internal meaning of the Word and reveal arcana of heaven. The arcana revealed in the following pages relate to heaven and hell, and also to the life of man after death. The man of the church at this date knows scarcely anything about heaven and hell or about his life after death, although all these matters are set forth and described in the Word; and yet many of those born within the church refuse to believe in them, saying in their hearts, “Who has come from that world and told us?” Lest, therefore, such a spirit of denial, which especially prevails with those who have much worldly wisdom, should also infect and corrupt the simple in heart and the simple in faith, it has been granted me to associate with angels and to talk with them as man with man, also to see what is in the heavens and what is in the hells, and this for thirteen years; so now from what I have seen and heard it has been granted me to describe these, in the hope that ignorance may thus be enlightened and unbelief dissipated. Such immediate revelation is granted at this day because this is what is meant by the Coming of the Lord.
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