10355. 'And you, speak to the children of Israel, saying' means information provided by means of the Word to those who belong to the Church. This is clear from the representation of Moses, the one who is being told to speak to the children of Israel, as the Word, dealt with in the places referred to in 9372; from the meaning of 'speaking' and 'saying' as instruction or information, dealt with in the places referred to in 10280; and from the representation of 'the children of Israel' as the Church, dealt with in the places referred to in 9340. From all this it is evident that 'you, speak to the children of Israel, saying' means information by means of the Word to those who belong to the Church.
 Something must be stated here about the way information is provided by means of the Word. In the most ancient times people received information about heavenly matters, or those which belong to eternal life, through direct contact with the angels of heaven; for in those times heaven acted as one with people of the Church. It flowed through their internal man into their external, as a result of which they not only possessed enlightenment and perception but also talked to angels. The term 'the golden age' is used to describe this period of time, because people then were governed by the good of love to the Lord; for gold is the sign of that good. Paradise in the Word also serves to describe these things.
 Afterwards information about heavenly matters and those which belong to eternal life was provided through the kinds of things that are termed correspondences and representations, knowledge of which they derived from the most ancient people who had the direct contact with the angels of heaven. With the people of that time those were the things into which heaven flowed, bringing enlightenment. For correspondences and representations are the outward forms that heavenly realities take; and people received enlightenment then to the extent that the good of love and charity was present in them. For all Divine influx from heaven passes into the good that exists with a person, and through that good into the truths there. And since people of the Church then were governed by spiritual good, which in essence is truth, the term 'the silver age' is used to describe those times; for silver is the sign of such good.
 When the knowledge of correspondences and representations however was turned into magic that Church passed away and a third one took its place. In this Church all the worship did, it is true, involve the practice of things that were almost the same; nevertheless the inner meanings of them were not known. This Church was established among the Israelite and Jewish nation. But since information about heavenly matters or those which belong to eternal life could not be provided to them by influx into their interiors, and so by enlightenment, angels from heaven spoke to certain of them by word of mouth, giving them instruction about outward things, and little about inner realities, because they were incapable of comprehending inner realities. Those of them who were governed by natural good received those outward things in a holy manner. The term 'bronze' is therefore used to describe those times, for bronze is the sign of such good.
 But when no natural good either was left among members of the Church the Lord came into the world and restored all things to order in the heavens and in the hells. He did so to the end that a person could receive influx from Himself out of heaven and have enlightenment, and the hells could not intercept it and introduce thick darkness. At this point a fourth Church, called Christian, came into being. In this Church information about heavenly things or those which belong to eternal life is provided solely by means of the Word. The Word is the means by which a person receives influx and enlightenment; for in the writing of the Word pure correspondences and representatives were used, which are signs of heavenly things, and into these the angels of heaven come when a member of the Church reads the Word. Consequently the Word is the means by which heaven is joined to the Church, or the angels of heaven to members of the Church, yet only to those there in whom the good of love and charity is present. But since members of this Church as well have annihilated this good no information can be provided by means of influx and enlightenment from that source, apart from information regarding some truths, which do not however cohere with good. These times are therefore those which the term 'iron' is used to describe, for 'iron' means truth on the last and lowest level of order. But when truth comes to be such as this the nature of it fits the description in Daniel,
[Just as] the iron which you saw was mixed with the miry clay, they will mingle through the seed of man (homo)a, but they will not cohere with one another, just as iron is not mingled with clay. Dan 2:43.
 From all this it may be seen how forms of revelation have followed one after another from the earliest eras down to the present, and that at the present day revelation is given through the Word alone. But true revelation comes to those who love truth for its own sake, not to those who love truth with a view to acquiring important positions and monetary gain. For if you are willing to believe it, the Lord is the Word itself, because the Word is Divine Truth and Divine Truth, since it comes from the Lord, is the Lord as He exists in heaven. Consequently those who love Divine Truth for its own sake love the Lord, and with those who love the Lord heaven flows in and brings enlightenment. But those who love Divine Truth with a view to acquiring important positions and monetary gain turn away from the Lord towards self and the world. With these therefore no influx or enlightenment is possible. And because when they read the literal sense of the Word they keep their minds fixed on themselves, and on their own reputation and glory, they also use that sense to support ideas such as favour their own loves.