The Lord rescued the spiritual world from universal damnation, and through the spiritual world he is going to rescue the church from universal damnation.
This rescue can be illustrated by comparing it with a king whose children have been captured by an enemy, locked in prisons, and bound with chains; by a series of victories over that enemy the king frees the children and brings them back to his court.
The divine rescue would also be comparable to a shepherd, like Samson or David, snatching sheep from the jaws of a lion or a bear. Or it would be comparable to a shepherd who drives away lions and bears that have rushed out of a forest into the pastures, chases those wild animals to the farthest borders, finally pushes them back into wetlands or deserts, and then returns to the sheep, pastures them in safety, and quenches their thirst with clear spring water.
This divine rescue can also be illustrated by comparing it with a person who notices a snake that is coiled up on the road with the intention of striking the heel of a passerby, catches the snake by the head, carries it home (although the snake is wrapping itself around the person’s arm), and there cuts off its head and throws the rest into the fire.
This divine rescue can also be illustrated by a bridegroom or husband who sees an adulterer attempting to rape his bride or wife. He attacks the rapist and either wounds the rapist’s hand with a sword, or assaults the rapist’s legs and groin with punches, or instructs his servants to throw the rapist out into the street and to brandish their clubs while they follow the rapist all the way to his home. When the bride or wife has been freed the bridegroom escorts her to their bedroom. In fact, in the Word a bride and wife mean the Lord’s church and adulterers mean those who violate the church, that is, those who contaminate his Word. Because the Jews had done this the Lord called them an adulterous generation [Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:38].
from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 122