The Word’s Literal Meaning Is the Foundation, the Container, and the Structural Support for Its Spiritual and Heavenly Meanings (Continued)

As a result of this, three in the Word has the spiritual meaning “being complete ans perfect” and also “containing all aspects at once.” Since the number three has these meanings, it comes into play in the Word whenever these qualities need to be designated. For example,

  • Isaiah went around naked and barefoot for three years (Isaiah 20:3).
  • Jehovah called Samuel three times, and three times Samuel ran to Eli. The third time, Eli understood (1 Samuel 3:1-8).
  • Jonathan told David to hide himself in the field for three days. Jonathan shot three arrows to the side of a stone. Then Davis bowed down three times before Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:5, 12-42).
  • Elijah stretched out on the widow’s son three times (1 Kings 17:21).
  • Elijah ordered people to pour water over the sacrifice three times (1 Kings 18:43).
  • Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole amount was leavened (Matthew 13:33).
  • Jesus said to Peter that Peter would deny him three times (Matthew 26:34).
  • Jesus said to Peter three times, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-17).
  • Jonah was in the belly of the sea monster for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17).
  • Jesus said that he would demolish the temple, and rebuild it in three days (Matthew 26:61)
  • In Gethsemane Jesus prayed three times (Matthew 26:39-44).
  • Jesus rose on the third day (Matthew 28:1).

There are many other passages as well where threes are mentioned. They are mentioned when the topic is a work that is finished and completed, since such is the meaning of that number.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 211

The Word’s Literal Meaning Is the Foundation, the Container, and the Structural Support for Its Spiritual and Heavenly Meanings

In all that is divine there is a primary component, a middle component, and an outermost component. The primary component goes forth through the middle component to the outermost component; by doing so it takes on a form and a continued existence. As a result, the outermost component is a foundation. The primary component is also present in the middle component; and by means of the middle component it is present in the outermost component. Therefore the outermost component is also a container. Because the outermost component is both a container and a foundation, it is also a structural support.

The educated reader will understand that these three components could be called the purpose, the means, and the result; and also the being, the becoming, and the taking shape. The purpose is the being, the means is the becoming, and the result is the taking shape. Therefore in everything that is complete, there is a trine called the primary component, the middle component, and the outermost component, or the purpose, the means, and the result. People who understand this also understand that the outermost of component of every divine work is complete and perfect; and every thing is present in that outermost component because prior components are collectively present in it.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 210

6. The Word Has Amazing Qualities Because of Its Spiritual Meaning

In the physical world, no amazing things happen because of the Word, since its spiritual meaning does not appear here and the true nature of that spiritual meaning is not being accepted at any deep level within us. In the Spiritual world, however, amazing things do happen because of the Word, since all who are there are spiritual, and spiritual things affect spiritual people the way physical things affect physical people. There are many amazing things happen in the spiritual world because of the Word: here I will mention just a few.

In the sanctuaries of church buildings in the spiritual world, the Word itself shines like a giant star before the eyes of the angels. Sometimes it shines like the sun. The glow around it causes exquisitely beautiful kinds of rainbows. This happens as soon as the sanctuary is opened.

Each and every truth in the Word shines. This has been made clear to me by the fact that when anyone writes a verse from the word on a piece of paper and throws it up in the air, the the piece of paper generates a growing form that takes the shape of the cut paper. As a result, spirits are able to use the Word to produce various light-emitting shapes such as birds and fish.

Something that is even more amazing is that when people rub the open Word–the writing itself–on their face or hands or the clothing, they have on, their face, hands, or clothing shines as if they themselves were standing in a star and were surrounded by its light. I have very often seen this and I have been amazed. This made clear to me why Moses’ face was shining when he carried the tablets of the covenant down from Mount Sinai [Exodus 34:29-30].

In addition, there are many other amazing things that happen in the spiritual world because of the Word. For example, if people who have false beliefs look at the Word as it lies in its holy place, thick darkness overwhelms their eyesight, making the Word look black to them, sometimes as if it were coated with soot. If those same people touch the word, there is an explosion with a loud bang, and they are thrown to the corner of the room and lie there as if dead for quite a while.

If people who have false beliefs write something from the Word on a piece of paper and toss it up toward heaven, when it is in the air between their eye and heaven a similar explosion takes place. The piece of paper is blown to bits and disappears. The same thing happens if the piece of paper is thrown toward an angel who is standing nearby. I have often seen this.

This has made it clear to me that people who have a body of false teaching have no communication with heaven by means of the Word. On the way to heaven, their reading of it blows apart and comes to an end like a firecracker lit and thrown in the air. The opposite happens to people who have a true perspective from the Lord through the Word. Their reading of the Word penetrates all the way into heaven and forms a connection with angels who are there.

When angels come down from heaven to carry out some task below, they look as if they are covered in little stars, especially around their heads. This is an indication that there are divine truths from the Word inside these angels.

The same things that exist on earth exist in the spiritual world, except that there they have a spiritual origin. So gold and silver and all kinds of precious stones exist there. Their spiritual origin is the literal meaning of the Word. This is why the Book of Revelation describes the foundations of the New Jerusalem’s wall as being twelve precious stones. The foundations of its wall stand for the beliefs of the new church that are based on the Word’s literal meaning. This is also why there were twelve precious stones called the Urim and the Thummim on Aaron’s ephod. Answers from heaven came through these stones.

Many other amazing things happen with the Word in the spiritual world. They relate to the power of truth there, which is so immense that if I described it, it would exceed belief. The Word has so much power that it overturns mountains and hills there, moves them far away, throws them into the sea, and more. Briefly put, the power of the Lord that comes through the Word is infinite.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 209

5. From This Point on, the Spiritual Meaning of the Word Will Be Given only to People Who Have Genuine Truths from the Lord

The reason for this is that none of us can see the spiritual meaning except with the help of the Lord alone, provided we have divine truths from him. The Word’s spiritual meaning deals solely with the Lord and his kingdom. The spiritual meaning is the one with which his angels engage in heaven. It is his divine truth there.

It is possible for us to voilate the Word’s spiritual meaning if we are involved in the study of correspondences and we try to explore that meaning with our own intelligence. With just a few correspondences we know, we could pervert the spiritual meaning and even divert it to support something false. This would be a violent attack on divine truth, and so on heaven, where divine truth dwells. For this reason if any of us try on our own, without the Lord, to open the spiritual meaning, heaven closes and we either see nothing true or we become spiritually insane.

Another reason [why the spiritual meaning will be given only to people who have genuine truths from the Lord] is that the Lord teaches us all through the Word, using the concepts that we already have. He does not pour new concepts directly into us. Therefore if we do not already have divine truths, or we have only a few truths along with some falsities, we are capable of falsifying truths, much the way any heretic does with the Word’s literal meaning. To prevent any of us from getting into the spiritual meaning and perverting the genuine truth that belongs to it, the Lord has placed safeguard on that meaning, which are referred to in the Word as angel guardians.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 208

4. The Spiritual Meaning of the Word Has Been Unknown until Now (Continued)

The study of correspondences that yields the Word’s spiritual meaning has been revealed today because now the divine truths of the church are coming forward into the light. These truths are what the Word’s spiritual meaning consists of. When these truths are in us, the Word’s literal meaning cannot be perverted. The Word’s literal is capable of being bent this way and that, but if it is bent in the direction of falsity, its inner holiness is destroyed, and so is its outer holiness. If it is bent in the direction of truth, it stays holy. (More will be said about this in what is to come [Sections 260, 508].)

The opening of the spiritual meaning at this day is what is meant by John’s seeing heaven opened and seeing a white horse, and seeing and hearing an angel standing in the sun calling all people to a great feast (Revelation 19:11-18). The fact that the spiritual meaning would not be acknowledged for a long time, however, is what is meant by the beast and the kings of the earth who were going to make war against the One sitting on the white horse (Revelation 19:19) and by the dragon that first pursued the woman who had given birth to a son, then went out into the desert and cast water like a river out of its mouth to drown her (Revelation 12:13-17).

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 207

4. The Spiritual Meaning of the Word Has Been Unknown until Now (Continued)

In the period of history that came next, the study of correspondences that yields the Word’s spiritual meaning was not revealed, because at the time the Christian church began, Christians were so extremely simple that it was not possible to reveal this study to them. If it had been disclosed, it would have been of no use to them and they would not have understood it.

After that time, darkness came over the whole Christian world, first because of scattered heresies on many people’s part, and soon afterward because of the Nicene Council’s decisions and decrees about three divine persons from eternity and the person of Christ being the Son of Mary rather than the Son of Jehovah God. This led [in turn] to the modern-day faith that by going to three gods one after the other, we are justified.

All aspects of the modern-day church depend on this faith the way our body parts depend on our head. Since people applied everything in the Word to this mistaken faith, its spiritual meaning could not be revealed. If it had been, they would have applied its meaning to their faith, and thereby desecrated the true holiness of the Word. By doing that they would have completely closed heaven to themselves and would nave removed the Lord from the church.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 206

4. The Spiritual Meaning of the Word Has Been Unknown until Now (Continued)

Among people outside the church in early times, the study of correspondences led to forms of idolatry because all things that are visible on earth have a correspondence–not only trees but also animals and birds of every kind, as well as fish, and everything else. Early people involved in the study of correspondences made images that corresponded to things in heaven. They enjoyed these images because the images stood for things related to heaven and the church. They placed these images not only in their temples but also in their homes, not in order to worship them but to be reminded of the heavenly things they meant. In Egypt and elsewhere there were images of calves, oxen, and snakes, as well as children, old people, and young women, because calves and oxen meant emotions and forces in the early self; snakes meant prudence but also deceitfulness of senses; children meant innocence and goodwill; old people meant wisdom; and young women meant types of love for the truth; and so on.

When the study of correspondences was wiped out, later generations began worshiping the images and statues erected by the early people. They worshiped them first as sacred objects and then as deities, since they found them in and around temples.

Because of the study of correspondences, the early people had also worshiped gardens and groves, depending on which species of trees were there. They also worshiped mountains and hills. Gardens and groves meant wisdom and intelligence; and every tree meant some aspect of wisdom and intelligence. For example, an olive tree meant good actions that come from love, while a grapevine meant the true insights that come from those good actions. A cedar tree meant rational goodness and truth. A mountain meant the highest heaven, and a hill, heaven below it.

The study of correspondences continued among many in Middle East even to the time of the Lord’s coming, as you can see from the wise ones from the Middles East who came to the Lord when he was born. Therefore a star went before them and they brought gifts with them: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11). The star that went before them meant knowledge from heaven. Gold meant the heavenly goodness; frankincense, the spiritual goodness; and myrrh, the earthly goodness that together from the source of all worship.

There was absolutely no study of correspondences among the Israelite and Jewish nation, although all the aspects of their worship, all the statues and judgments given to them through Moses, and all the details throughout their Word were correspondences. The reason for this lack was that at heart the people were idolatrous. They had no desire at all to know that any aspects of their worship meant something heavenly or spiritual. They believed that all their rituals were intrinsically holy. If the heavenly and spiritual underpinnings had been revealed to them, they would have not only rejected those underpinnings but also desecrated them. As a result, heaven was so tightly closed to them that they were scarcely aware that eternal life existed.

The truth of this is very clear from the fact that the people did not acknowledge the Lord even though their entire Sacred Scripture had prophesied about him and foretold his coming. They rejected him for one single reason: he taught them about heavenly kingdom, not an earthly one. They wanted a Messiah who would lift them above all the nations in the whole world, not some Messiah who was concerned with their eternal salvation.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 205

4. The Spiritual Meaning of the Word Has Been Unknown until Now (Continued)

Over the course of time, the early church’s symbolic rituals, which were correspondences, began to turn into idolatry and even magic. Therefore in the Lord’s divine providence the study of correspondences was gradually lost.

For the Israelite and Jewish nation, the study of correspondences was completely wiped out. Their worship did indeed consist entirely of correspondences and therefore it portrayed heavenly things, but they had no idea what anything in their worship meant. They were completely earthly people who did not want to know and could not know anything about what is spiritual and heavenly, or anything about correspondences for that matter, since correspondences are earthly symbols of spiritual and heavenly things.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 204

4. The Spiritual Meaning of the Word Has Been Unknown until Now (Continued)

I wish to bring out an example from 1 Samuel chapters 5 and 6 so you can see that the study of correspondences was long preserved among the nations in the Middles East, particularly among those were called the diviners and the wise ones, referred to by some as the magi.

This passage mentions that the ark containing the two tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them was captured by the Philistines. It was placed in the shrine of Dagon in Ashdod. On the first day, Dagon fell before it to the ground. On the next day, Dagon’s head as well as the palms of its hands lay severed from its body across the threshold of the shrine. Because of the ark, as many as several thousand inhabitants of Ashdod and Ekron were afflicted with hemorrhoids and their land was devastated by rats. The Philistines therefore called together their provincial governors and diviners. To stave off impending death, they decided that they should make five hemorrhoids and five rats out of gold, and make a new cart and put the ark on it. They would send the ark back to the children of Israel on this cart, pulled by two cows that would bellow all the way, and the children of Israel would sacrifice the cows and the cart. If the Philistines accomplished this, the God of Israel would be appeased.

The meaning of these details clearly shows that everything the Philistine diviners thought of was a correspondence. The Philistines themselves meant people who have faith but lack goodwill. Dagon was a portrayal of their religion. The hemorrhoids that afflicted them meant earthly loves that become unclean when separated from spiritual love. The rats meant the devastation of the church by people falsifying the truth. The new cart meant the earthly teaching of the church. (A chariot or carriage in the Word means teachings that are based on spiritual truths.) The cows meant earthly feelings that are good. The hemorrhoids made of gold meant earthly loves that have been purified and have become good. The golden rats meant goodness remedying the devastation of the church, since gold in the Word means goodness. The bellowing of the cows along the way meant the difficulty of turning the lower self’s cravings for evil into desires for goodness. The offering of the cows and the cart as a burnt offering meant that by these spiritual actions the God of Israel would be appeased.

All these actions that the Philistines undertook on the recommendation of their diviners were correspondences. This clearly shows that the study of correspondences was preserved for a long time among people outside the church.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 203

4. The Spiritual Meaning of the Word Has Been Unknown until Now (Continued)

I have been taught that the people in the earliest church, which existed before the flood, had a nature so heavenly that they spoke with angels of heaven. The use of correspondences by these people enabled them to communicate with angels. As a result, the quality of their wisdom grew to the point where anything they saw on earth they thought about not only in an earthly way but also in a spiritual way; They and angels in heaven thought about it together.

I have also been taught that Enoch (who is mentioned in Genesis 5:21-25), along with friends of his, collected correspondences from the oral tradition of the earliest people and spread the study of correspondences to his descendants. As a result, the study of correspondences was not only known in many countries in the Middles East but was also further developed,f especially in the land of Canaan, Egypt, Assyria, Chaldea, Syria, and Arabia; and in Tyre, Sidon, and Nineveh. From there it crossed into Greece, but turned into myths there, as you can see from the earliest Greek writings.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 202