Selection taken from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg[I]t is granted to the men of the New Church that is called the Holy Jerusalem to behold the Divine truths that are in the Word, not sensually, that is, according to appearances, but spiritually, that is, according to their essences; for this reason the internal sense of the Word, which is spiritual and is solely for those who will be of that church, has been disclosed. From that sense Divine truth is seen such as it is in its own spiritual light, and from that light such as it is in its own natural light.
Divine truth is the Word, and those who are of that church are enlightened by the spiritual light of the Word by influx from the Lord out of heaven, for the reason that they acknowledge the Divine in the Lord's Human, and are in the spiritual affection of truth from Him. They and no others receive spiritual light, which is continually flowing in from the Lord through heaven with all who read the Word. From this they have enlightenment.How enlightenment is effected shall also be told. Every man in respect to his thoughts and affections is in the spiritual world, consequently he is there in respect to his spirit, for it is the spirit of man that thinks and that is affected. The man who becomes spiritual by being regenerated by the Lord is in respect to his spirit in a heavenly society, while the natural man, that is, one who is not regenerated, is in respect to his spirit in an infernal society; with the latter evils flow in continually from hell, and are also received with delight; but with the former goods flow in continually from heaven, and are also received; and as goods flow into his affection, and through the affection into his thought, from that he has enlightenment.
This enlightenment is what is meant by the spiritual intelligence and circumspection that are signified by "the wings of an eagle" given to the woman, with which she flew into the wilderness.The spiritual also are comparatively like eagles flying on high; while those who are merely natural are comparatively like serpents who creep on the ground, and see the eagles above them. For this reason the dragon is called a "serpent" in the next verse.
Furthermore, "the wings of an eagle" that were given to the woman signify the understanding of truth; for all who are of that church have the understanding enlightened and from this they are able to see truth from the light of truth, that is, whether a thing be true or not true. Because they see truth in this way they acknowledge it, and receive it with the affection which is of the will. By this the truths they have are made spiritual; and in consequence the spiritual mind, which is above the natural mind, is opened with them; and when this is opened it receives angelic sight, which is the sight of truth itself from its own light.
On the other hand, those who are not of that church, who are they who do not acknowledge the Divine in the Lord's Human, and who do not love truth because it is truth, that is, spiritually, cannot have the understanding so enlightened as to be able to see whether a thing be true or not; but they see appearances of truth as genuine truths, and confirm them as genuine truths from the sense of the letter of the Word; and yet most things in that sense of the Word are appearances of truth; and if these are confirmed as genuine truths they are falsified, and falsified truths are falsities. Because they are unable to see truths from the light of truth, and thus apprehend them in the understanding, they are in an obscure, yea, in a blind faith about what is to be believed; and a blind faith is like an eye that sees little or nothing. Yea a blind faith is not faith, but only a persuasion; and as such a persuasion is from another, either from some master or preacher, or from the Word not understood, it is a historical faith, which is natural and not spiritual. Because such persons do not see truths they also say and wish that the doctrinals of the church should not be approached or regarded with any understanding, but that they should be received with that obedience that is called the obedience of faith; and whether the things that are received with a blind obedience are true or false is not known.
Such things cannot open the way to heaven, for in heaven nothing is acknowledged as truth except what is seen, that is, understood. Moreover, the light of heaven is such that by it truths appear before the understanding of the mind, as objects in the world appear before the sight of the eye; consequently when those in the world who have seen truths only from a blind sight of faith are conveyed into heaven to the angels, they see nothing at all, not even the angels there, much less the magnificent things they have. Then their understanding also becomes stupefied and their eyes are darkened and thus they withdraw.
It is to be known that this is true of all such as have separated charity from faith; but all those who have not separated them, but have lived the life of faith which is called charity, have a desire to see truths; consequently when they come into the spiritual world, which takes place at death, it is granted them to see truths, and this for the reason that they have their spiritual mind opened, and are therefore in the light of heaven, into which they are actually admitted, after their departure from the natural world.
From this it can be seen what is signified by "the wings of an eagle," namely, the understanding of truth; and as "the woman" means the New Jerusalem, therefore the wings being given to her signifies that the understanding of truth was given, and will be given, to those who will be of that church.
(Apocalypse Explained 759:2-5)