Secrets of Heaven is Emanuel Swedenborg’s magnum opus, a fifteen-volume work that delves into the inner, spiritual meaning of the Bible. Starting from the first verse, Swedenborg goes through Genesis and Exodus verse by verse, sometimes word by word, uncovering the fascinating teachings behind the literal account. By doing careful comparison of passages and tracing individual images and motifs through the Bible, he demonstrates that it contains a profound, coherent, and unified inner meaning.
Volume 5 continues the exposition with an examination of Jacob’s story, as found in Genesis 27–30. Jacob’s flight to his uncle Laban’s house, where he initially labors for the right to marry, then weds Leah and Rachel, and eventually rises to great prosperity, parallels the stage of Jesus’ transformation in which his earthly self (represented by Jacob) had to climb from attachment to outer truth (Leah) to a love of inner truth (Rachel) so that his earthly self could become fully divine. Within each chapter, Swedenborg also addresses the decline of the Christian church and unfolds his foundational premise that heaven, as a whole and in detail, is in God’s image and can therefore be called the “universal human.”