10355. And speak thou unto the sons of Israel, saying. That this signifies the informing by means of the Word of those who are of the church, is evident from the representation of Moses, who is commanded to speak unto the sons of Israel, as being the Word (see the places cited in n. 9372); from the signification of "speaking" and "saying," as being instruction or information (see the places cited in n. 10280); and from the representation of the sons of Israel, as being the church (of which in the places cited in n. 9340). From this it is evident that by the words, "speak thou to the sons of Israel, saying," is signified the informing of those who are of the church by means of the Word.
 Concerning information by means of the Word, something shall here be said. In the most ancient times men were informed about heavenly things, or those things which are of eternal life, by immediate interaction with the angels of heaven; for heaven then acted as a one with the men of the church, for it flowed in through their internal man into their external, and from this they had not only enlightenment and perception, but also speech with angels. This time was called the Golden Age, from men being then in the good of love to the Lord, for "gold" signifies this good. This state is also described in the Word by "Paradise."
 Afterward information about heavenly things and the things of eternal life was accomplished by means of such things as are called correspondences and representations, the knowledge of which was derived from the most ancient men, who had immediate interaction with the angels of heaven. Into these correspondences and representations heaven then flowed with men, and enlightened them. For correspondences and representations are the external forms of heavenly things, and insofar as men were then in the good of love and of charity, so far they were enlightened. For all Divine influx from heaven is into the good with man, and through the good into the truths; and because the man of the church was then in spiritual good, which good in its essence is truth, therefore those times were called the Silver Age, for "silver" signifies such good.
 But when the science of correspondences and of representations was turned into magic, that church perished, and a third church succeeded in which indeed almost all the worship was performed by similar observances; but still it was not known what they signified. This church was instituted with the Israelitish and Jewish nation. But as information about heavenly things, or those of eternal life, was not possible with the men of this church by influx into their interiors, and thus by enlightenment, therefore angels from heaven spoke with some of them in a living voice, and instructed them about external things; but very little about internal things, because these they could not apprehend. Those who were in natural good reverently received the things taught them, and from them these times were called Brazen, for "brass" signifies such good.
 But when not even natural good remained with the man of the church, the Lord came into the world and reduced into order all things in the heavens and in the hells, to the end that man may receive influx from Him out of heaven and be enlightened; and that the hells should not be able to hinder, and infuse thick darkness. Then a fourth church began, which is called the Christian Church In this church their information about heavenly things, or about those of eternal life, is effected solely by means of the Word. Thereby man has influx and enlightenment; for the Word has been written by means of mere correspondences, and by means of mere representatives, which signify heavenly things. Into these come the angels of heaven when the man of the church reads the Word; consequently there is effected through the Word the conjunction of heaven with the church, or of the angels of heaven with the men of the church; but only with those therein who are in the good of love and of charity. But inasmuch as the man of this church also has extinguished this good, therefore neither can he be informed by any influx, and by enlightenment therefrom, except about a few truths, which however do not cohere with good. Therefore these times are what are called Iron, for "iron" denotes truth in the ultimate of order. But when truth is of such a quality, it is then such as is described in Daniel:
In that thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves by means of the seed of man; but they shall not cohere the one with the other, even as iron is not mingled with clay (Dan. 2:43).
 From this it can be seen in what manner revelations have succeeded one another from the most ancient ages to the present time; and that at this day revelation is given solely through the Word, and genuine revelation solely with those who are in the love of truth for the sake of truth, and not with those who are in the love of truth for the sake of honors and profit as ends. For, if you will believe it, the Lord is the Word itself, because the Word is Divine truth, and Divine truth is the Lord in heaven, because it is from the Lord. Wherefore they who love Divine truth for the sake of Divine truth, love the Lord; and with those who love the Lord heaven flows in and enlightens them. Whereas they who love Divine truth for the sake of honors and profit as ends, turn themselves away from the Lord to themselves and to the world, for which reason there can be with them no influx and enlightenment. Moreover, as these, when dwelling on the sense of the letter, keep the mind fixed upon themselves and their own reputation and glory, they apply this sense to such things as favor their own loves.