[Each chapter belonging to Volume Two of the Latin (Genesis 16 Chapters-21) was published separately, and therefore this Preface belongs to Chapter 18 only.]
At the end of the previous chapter the subject dealt with was the Last Judgement, and there it was shown what is meant by it - not the destruction of the world, but the final period of the Church. When this is imminent, says the Lord, He will come in the clouds of heaven with power and glory, Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27. Nobody until now has known what was meant by 'the clouds of heaven'. But it has been disclosed to me that nothing else is meant than the literal sense of the Word, and that by 'power and glory' is meant the internal sense of the Word; for the internal sense of the Word holds glory within itself, since everything within that sense has regard to the Lord and His kingdom; see Volume One, in Arcana Coelestia 1769-1772. Something similar is meant by 'the cloud' which surrounded Peter, James, and John when the Lord appeared to them in glory, concerning which the following is said in Luke,
A voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son; listen to Him! When however the voice had gone Jesus was found alone. Luke 9:35-36.
Moses and Elijah there who conversed with the Lord represented the Old Testament Word, which is also called Moses and the Prophets - 'Moses' representing the books by him, together with the historical books, 'Elijah the prophet' representing all the Prophets. Peter, James, and John however represented, as they do wherever else they are mentioned in the Gospels, faith, charity, and good flowing from charity. Their presence alone on that occasion meant that no others are able to see the glory of the Lord which is present in His Word than those with whom faith, its partner charity, and good flowing from charity are present. All others do indeed have the ability to see; nevertheless they do not see because they do not believe. Such is the internal sense of these two passages. In various places in the Prophets as well, 'cloud' means the Word as to its letter, and 'glory' the Word as to its life. What the internal sense of the Word is, and the nature of it, has been stated in many places, and has been shown in the word-by-word explanation that has been given. Those expert in the Law in the Lord's time had least belief of all in the idea that anything in the Word had been written regarding the Lord. Today such experts do, it is true, recognize this, but they perhaps will have least belief of all in the idea that any glory is present in the Word other than that visible in the letter - though the letter is in fact the cloud which has the glory within it.
From this chapter especially do the nature of the internal sense of the Word and the manner in which angels perceive the Word when it is read by man become clear. From the historical sense that belongs to the letter nothing else is understood than that Jehovah appeared to Abraham in the guise of three men, and that Sarah, Abraham, and his servant prepared food for them, namely cakes of fine flour, a young bull, and also butter and milk. Although these are historically true descriptions of things which actually took place, they are nevertheless not perceived by angels in any such historical manner. Instead the angels perceive abstractedly, quite apart from the letter, the things which are represented and are meant spiritually by such descriptions; that is to say, they perceive them according to the explanation set out in the Contents. In place of the historical details stated in this chapter they perceive the state of the Lord's perception within the Human, and also the communication at that time with the Divine, before the perfect union existed of His Divine Essence with His Human Essence and of His Human Essence with His Divine Essence, which state is also what the Lord is referring to when He says,
Nobody has even seen God; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known. John 1:18.
 Also, by the different kinds of food mentioned in this chapter angels perceive nothing else than celestial and spiritual goods, details of which goods are given in the explanation of the chapter. And by what is said further on in it about a son whom Sarah would bear at the appointed time in the following year, angels perceive nothing else than this, that the Lord's human rational would be made Divine. By what is stated at the end of the chapter about Abraham speaking to Jehovah concerning the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah they perceive nothing else than the Lord's interceding on behalf of the human race. By the numbers fifty, forty-five, forty; thirty, twenty, and ten mentioned there they perceive His interceding on behalf of those with whom truths were to be allied to goods, and to whom goods were to come through temptations and conflicts, or through other states. And their perception is the same with everything else in the Word, as may become clearer still from the word-by-word explanation that is given, where it is shown that similar things are embodied within each individual expression in the Word, both in the historical part and in the prophetical part.
 That such an internal sense is present everywhere in the Word, which deals solely with the Lord, with His kingdom in heaven, with His Church on earth, and in particular with every individual, and so deals with the goods of love and the truths of faith, may also become clear to anyone from Old Testament texts quoted in the Gospels, as in Matthew,
The Lord said to My Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool. Matthew 22:44; Psalms 110:1.
That these words refer to the Lord cannot be seen from the literal sense of them as they stand in David; yet that no one other than the Lord is meant, He himself teaches at this point in Matthew.
 In the same gospel,
You, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah, for from you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel. Matthew 2:6; Micah 5:2.
Those who confine themselves to the literal sense, as Jews do, do indeed know from this that the Lord was to be born there; but because they are waiting for a leader and king who will lead them back into the land of Canaan they therefore explain the words here literally. That is to say, they take 'the land of Judah' to mean the land of Canaan and '[My people] Israel' to mean [the tribes of] Israel, even though they do not know where the latter are now; and 'a leader' they still take to mean their Messiah. But in fact 'Judah' and 'Israel' are used to mean things other than Judah and Israel; that is to say, 'Judah' means those who are celestial and 'Israel' those who are spiritual, in heaven and on earth. And 'a leader' is used to mean the Lord.
 In the same gospel,
A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, crying out, and much wailing; Rachel weeping for her children, and she refused to be consoled because they are not. Matthew 2:18; Jeremiah 31:15.
Those who confine themselves to the literal sense cannot possibly gain from it that sense which is the internal meaning of these words. Yet the existence of this internal sense is evident from the gospel itself. In the same gospel,
Out of Egypt have I called My son. Matthew 2:15; Hosea 11:1.
In Hosea the wording is,
When Israel was a boy I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. [As] they called them, so they went away from their presence. And I taught Ephraim to walk. Hosea 11:1-3.
Those who have no knowledge of the existence of the internal sense cannot know otherwise than that here Jacob is meant when he entered Egypt, and his descendants when they left, and that 'Ephraim' is used to mean the tribe of Ephraim - thus the same things as occur in historical sections of the Word. Nevertheless it is clear from the Word of the Evangelists that they mean the Lord, though what each detail means could not possibly be known unless it were disclosed by means of the internal sense.
1. And Jehovah appeared to him in the oak-groves of Mamre, and he was sitting at the tent door, as the day was getting warmer.
2. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, three men standing over him. And he saw, and ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed down towards the ground. 1
3. And he said, My Lord, if now I have found grace in your eyes, do not, I beg of you, pass from over your servant.
4. Let now a little water be taken, and [all of you] wash your feet, and recline under the tree.
5. And I will take a piece a bread, that you may refresh yourselves; 2
after that you may pass on, for this is why you have passed over to your servant. And they said, Do as you have spoken.
6. And Abraham hastened towards the tent to Sarah, and said, Take quickly three measures of meal of fine flour, knead it, and make cakes.
7. And Abraham ran to the herd and took a young bull, 3
tender and good, and gave it to the servant, and he hastened to make it ready.
8. And he took butter and milk, and the young bull, 3
which he made ready, and set it before them. And he stood before them under the tree, and they ate.
9. And they said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.
10. And he said, I will certainly return to you about this time next year, 4
and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son. And Sarah heard it at the tent door, and this was behind him.
11. And Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in years; 5
and it had ceased to be with Sarah in the way it is with women.
12. And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I have grown old, shall I have this pleasure, and my lord being old?
13. And Jehovah said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I really, in truth, bear a child, and I have grown old?
14. Will anything be too wonderful for Jehovah? At the set time I will return to you, about this time next year, 4
and Sarah will have a son.
15. And Sarah denied it, saying, I did not laugh; for she was afraid. And He said, No, but you did laugh.
16. And the men rose up from there and looked towards the face of Sodom; and Abraham went with them, to send them on their way.
17. And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I am doing?
18. And Abraham will certainly become a great and numerous nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed.
19. For I know him that he will command his sons, and his house after him, and they will keep the way of Jehovah to do righteousness and judgement, in order that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken concerning him.
20. And Jehovah said, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and their sin has become extremely grave.
21. I will go down now, and I will see whether they have brought it to a close according to the cry of it which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.
22. And the men looked from there and went towards Sodom; and Abraham still stood before Jehovah.
23. And Abraham drew near and said, Will You also destroy the righteous and the wicked?
24. Perhaps there may be fifty righteous persons in the midst of the city. Will You also destroy and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous persons who are in the midst of it?
25. Far be it from You to do such a thing as to make the righteous die with the wicked, so that the righteous will be as the wicked; far be it from You; will not the Judge of the whole earth execute judgement?
26. And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous persons in the midst of the city, I will spare the whole place for their sakes.
27. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have undertaken to speak to my Lord, and I am [but] dust and ashes.
28. Perhaps the fifty righteous persons will lack five; will You for five destroy the whole city? And he said, I will not destroy it if I find forty five there.
29. And he spoke to Him yet again, and said, Perhaps forty will be found there. And He said, I will not do it for the sake of the forty.
30. And he said, Let not now my Lord be incensed and I will speak; perhaps thirty will be found there. And He said, I will not do it if I find thirty there.
31. And he said, Behold now, I have undertaken to speak to my Lord; perhaps twenty will be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.
32. And he said, Let not now my Lord be incensed, and I will speak just once more; perhaps ten will be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.
33. And Jehovah departed, when He had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
1. literally, earth or land
2. literally, and support your heart
3. literally, a son of an ox
4. literally,. near this time of life
5. literally, entering into days