I looked out across the world of spirits and saw an army on red horses and black horses. The riders looked like monkeys. They were turned around with their faces and chests facing the horses’ backs and tails, while the riders’ backs and the backs of their heads faced the horses’ necks and heads. The reins were hanging around the riders’ necks. They were uttering [battle] cries at some riders on white horses and plying the reins with both hands, yet in fact they were reining in their horses from battle. This went on and on.
Then two angels descended from heaven, and came over to me and said, “What do you see?”
I told them how I was watching a very entertaining cavalry. I asked what was going on and who they were.
“Those people are from the place that is called Armageddon in Revelation 16:16,” the angels replied. “As many as several thousand have gathered there with the purpose of fighting those who are from the Lord’s new church that is called the New Jerusalem.
“At that spot they have been discussing the church and religion, although they have no church, because they have no spiritual truth, and they have no religion, because they have no spiritual goodness. They have been discussing the church and religion with their mouths and lips, but only with the purpose of using the church and religion to dominate [others].
“In early adulthood they learned to sanction faith alone and learned something about God. When they were promoted to higher-ranking positions in the church, they held on to what they had learned for a while. Then they gradually ceased thinking about God or heaven, and instead began thinking about themselves and the world. They did not think about blessedness or happiness in eternity; they thought about prominence and wealth in time. They moved the teachings they had been attracted to in early adulthood out of the inner realms of their rational mind—realms that communicate with heaven and are in heaven’s light. They drove them instead into the outer realms of their rational mind—realms that communicate with the world and are in the world’s light. In the final stage they pushed those teachings down to the realm of their physical senses. For them the teachings of the church became the exclusive property of their lips; those teachings were no longer part of their thinking on the basis of reason, let alone part of their feelings of love. As a result, they do not now let in any divine truth that is part of the church or any genuine goodness that is part of religion.
“The inner realms of their mind have become like beakers full of iron filings mixed with powdered sulfur. If water is poured in the beakers, first there is increasing heat and then there is fire, which breaks the beakers. Likewise, when they hear living water, which is the genuine truth in the Word, and it goes into their ears, they burst violently into flames and expel it as something that is about to break their heads.
“These are the people who looked to you like monkeys riding backward on red horses and black horses with the reins around their own necks. Those who have no love for the truth or the goodness from the Word that belong to the church want to see the back, not the front, of a horse. A horse means one’s understanding of the Word. A red horse means an understanding of the Word that has lost its goodness. A black horse means an understanding of the Word that has lost its truth. Those people were uttering battle cries against riders on white horses because a white horse means an understanding of the Word’s truth and goodness. They appeared to drag their horses backward by the neck because they themselves were afraid to fight, fearing that the truth of the Word would reach many people and would come to light that way. This is the interpretation.”
The angels went on to say, “We are from the community in heaven that is called Michael. The Lord commanded us to come down to the place called Armageddon where the cavalry you saw was on the attack. To us in heaven Armageddon means the mindset that fights, using falsified truths as weapons—a mindset that originates in a love for dominating and being superior to all. We sense your desire to know about that battle, so we will tell you something about it.
from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 113