I learned further that people in the earliest church had the most pleasant dreams, and visions as well, and that the meanings of the dreams and visions were suggested to them at the same time. This led to their use of paradise and other images as metaphors.
The objects of their outer senses, which belonged to the earth and the world, accordingly meant nothing to them. They felt no pleasure in those things but only in what they symbolized and represented. As a result, when they saw earthly objects, they did not think at all about them but only about the qualities they symbolized and represented. Such qualities inspired them with great pleasure, because these were the kinds of things that existed in heaven and revealed the Lord to them.
I talked to the third generation of the earliest church, and they said that in their day on earth they looked forward to the arrival of the Lord, who was to save the human race. It was common, they said, for them to speak of the fact that the woman’s seed would trample the snake’s head [Genesis 3:15].
They went on to say that from that time on, the greatest exhilaration of their lives had been to have children, with the result that their highest pleasure was loving their spouse in order to produce offspring. They called this their most enjoyable delight and their most delightful joy. The perception of this thrill and pleasure, they added, came from the idea flowing out of heaven that the Lord would be born.
from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1122, 1123