2135. PREFACE TO THE 18th CHAPTER.
At the end of the preceding chapter, the subject of the Last Judgment was treated of, and it was shown what is signified thereby, namely, not the destruction of the world, but the last time of the church. When this is at hand, the Lord says that He "will come in the clouds of the heavens, with power and glory" (Matt. 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27).
Hitherto no one has known what is meant by the "clouds of the heavens." But it has been disclosed to me that nothing else is meant than the literal sense of the Word; and by "power and glory" the internal sense of the Word, for in the internal sense of the Word there is glory, since whatever is there is concerning the Lord and His kingdom (see in volume 1, n. 1769-1772).
 Similar is the signification of the "cloud" which encompassed Peter, James, and John, when the Lord appeared to them in glory; of which it is said in Luke:
A voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him; but when the voice had passed, Jesus was found alone (Luke 9:35-36),
where by "Moses and Elias," who spoke with the Lord, was represented the Word of the Old Testament, which is also called "Moses and the Prophets" (by "Moses," his books together with the other historical books, and by "Elias" the prophet, all the books of the Prophets); but by "Peter, James, and John," as in all other places where they are named in the books of the Evangelists, were represented faith, charity, and the good of charity. That they only were present signifies that no others can see the glory of the Lord, which is in His Word than those who are in faith, in its charity, and in the good of charity. Others are indeed able to see, but still do not see, because they do not believe. This is the internal sense in regard to the foregoing two passages; and in various places in the Prophets also, a "cloud" signifies the Word in its letter, and "glory" the Word in its life.
 The nature and quality of the internal sense of the Word has already been frequently stated, and has been shown in the explication word by word. It was those skilled in the Law in the Lord's time who least of all believed that there was anything written in the Word concerning the Lord. At the present day, those skilled in the Law know indeed, but it may be that they will believe least of all that there is any other glory in the Word than that which appears in the letter; when yet this is the cloud in which is the glory.
From this chapter we may see, in an especial manner, what is the nature of the internal sense of the Word, and how the angels perceive it when it is being read by man. From the historical sense of the letter we can understand nothing else than that Jehovah appeared to Abraham under the form of three men; and that Sarah, Abraham, and his lad prepared food for them, namely, cakes made of the meal of fine flour, a "son of an ox," and also butter and milk; which things, though they are true historicals describing what really took place, are still not so perceived by the angels; but the things which they represent and signify are what are perceived, altogether abstractedly from the letter, in accordance with the explication given in the CONTENTS. Thus, instead of the things historically related in this chapter, the angels perceive the state of the Lord's perception in the Human, and the communication with the Divine at that time, before the perfect union of His Divine Essence with the Human Essence, and of the Human Essence with the Divine Essence, which state is also that concerning which the Lord thus speaks:
No one hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:18).
 And by the various kinds of food here mentioned, the angels perceive nothing but celestial and spiritual goods, concerning which see the explication. Moreover by what is afterwards said concerning the son that Sarah should bear at the set time of another year, they perceive nothing else than that the Lord's human rational should be made Divine. Lastly, by the things which Abraham spoke with Jehovah concerning the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels perceive nothing else than the Lord's intercession for the human race; and by five, forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, and ten, they perceive His intercession for those with whom truths should be adjoined to goods, and who should have goods by means of temptations and combats, or by means of other states. So it is with all other things in the Word, as may be more clearly seen from the explication word by word, where it is shown that in each word similar things are involved in the Word, both Historic and Prophetic.
 That there is such an internal sense everywhere in the Word, which treats solely of the Lord, of His kingdom in the heavens, of His church on earth and in particular with every man, thus treating of the goods of love and truths of faith, may also be seen by every one from the passages cited by the Evangelists from the Old Testament. As in Matthew:
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand, until I made thine enemies thy footstool (Matt. 22:44; compare Ps. 110:1). That these words treat of the Lord, cannot be apparent in the literal sense of the passage cited, as found in David; but yet that no other than the Lord is meant, He Himself here teaches in Matthew.
Thou Bethlehem, the land of Judah, art in no wise least among the leaders of Judah; for out of thee shall come forth a Leader, who shall feed My people Israel (Matt. 2:6; compare Micah 5:2).
They who abide in the literal sense, as do the Jews, know indeed from this passage that the Lord should be born there; but as they are expecting a leader and a king who will bring them back into the land of Canaan, they therefore explain the words found here according to the letter; that is, by the "land of Judah" they understand the land of Canaan; by "Israel" they understand Israel, although they know not where Israel now is; and by a "Leader" they still understand their Messiah; when yet other things are meant by "Judah" and "Israel;" namely, by "Judah" those who are celestial, by "Israel," those who are spiritual, in heaven and on earth; and by the "Leader" the Lord.
 Again in the same:
A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, a cry, and great wailing; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they are not (Matt. 2:18; compare Jer. 31:15).
They who abide in the literal sense of these words cannot possibly gather from it what is the internal sense; and yet that there is an internal sense is evident in the Evangelist. Again: Out of Egypt have I called My Son (Matt. 2:15; compare Hos. 11:1).
In Hosea it is said:
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt. They called them, so they went from their faces, and I made Ephraim to go (Hos. 11:1-3). They who know not that there is an internal sense, cannot know otherwise than that Jacob is here meant when he entered into Egypt, and his posterity when they went out from it, and that by Ephraim is meant the tribe of Ephraim, thus the same things that are in the historicals of the Word nevertheless it is evident from the Word of the Evangelist that they signify the Lord. But what the several particulars signify could not possibly be known unless it were disclosed by means of the internal sense.
1. And Jehovah appeared unto him in the oak-groves of Mamre, and he was sitting at the door of the tent, as the day was growing hot.
2. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold three men standing over him; and he saw, and ran to meet them from the door of the tent, and bowed himself toward the earth.
3. And he said, My Lord, if I pray I have found grace in thine eyes, pass not I pray from over thy servant.
4. Let I pray a little water be taken, and wash ye your feet, and lie down under the tree.
5. And I will take a piece of bread, and support ye your heart; afterwards ye may pass on; for therefore have ye passed over unto your servant. And they said, So do as thou hast spoken.
6. And Abraham hastened toward the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of meal of fine flour, knead, and make cakes.
7. And Abraham ran unto the herd and took a son of an ox, tender and good, and gave it to the lad, and he hasted to make it.
8. And he took butter and milk, and the son of an ox that he had made, and set before them; and he stood before them under the tree, and they did eat.
9. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold in the tent.
10. And he said, Returning I will return unto thee about this time of life, and behold Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard at the door of the tent, and it was behind him.
11. And Abraham and Sarah were old, entering into days; it had ceased to be with Sarah in the way as of women.
12. And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am grown old shall I have pleasure? and my lord old?
13. And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I indeed truly bear, and I am become old?
14. Shall anything be wonderful for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, about this time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
15. And Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And He said, Nay, for thou didst laugh.
16. And the men rose up thence, and looked toward the faces of Sodom; and Abraham went with them, to send them away.
17. And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?
18. And Abraham shall surely be for a nation great and numerous, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.
19. For I know him, because he will command his sons, and his house after him, and they will keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and judgment; that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken concerning him.
20. And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and because their sin has become very grievous.
21. I will go down I pray, and I will see whether they have made a consummation according to the cry thereof which is come unto Me, and if not I will know.
22. And the men looked forth thence, and went toward Sodom; and Abraham as yet he was standing before Jehovah.
23. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24. Peradventure there be fifty righteous in the midst of the city; wilt Thou also destroy and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous that are in the midst of it?
25. Be it far from Thee to do according to this thing, to cause the righteous to die with the wicked, so that the righteous be as the wicked; be it far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all the earth do judgment?
26. And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous in the midst of the city, I will spare all the place for their sake.
27. And Abraham answered and said, Behold I pray I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord, and I am dust and ashes.
28. Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous; wilt Thou destroy all the city for five? and He said, I will not destroy it, if I find there forty and five.
29. And he added yet to speak unto Him, and said, Peradventure forty shall be found there; and He said, I will not do it for forty's sake.
30. And he said, Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak: peradventure thirty shall be found there; and He said, I will not do it if I find thirty there.
31. And he said, Behold I pray I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord: peradventure twenty shall be found there; and He said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.
32. And he said, Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak but this once: peradventure ten shall be found there; and He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.
33. And Jehovah went when He had completed His speaking unto Abraham; and Abraham returned unto his place.