Time in Heaven (Continued)

Since angels have no notion of time, they have a different concept of eternity than we earthly people do. By “eternity,” angels perceive an infinite state, not an infinite time.

I was thinking about eternity once, and using a concept of time I could grasp what “to eternity” entailed—namely, without end—but not what “from eternity” entailed and therefore not what God did before creation, from eternity. As my anxiety mounted because of this, I was raised into the sphere of heaven and therefore into the perception of eternity shared by angels. This shed light for me on the fact that we ought not to think about eternity in temporal terms but in terms of state, and that when we do, we can grasp what “from eternity” entails, which was actually done for me.

The angels who talk with us never use the natural concepts that are proper to us, all of which derive from time, space, matter, and the like. They use spiritual concepts, all of which derive from states and their various changes in and around angels. However, when the angelic concepts, which are spiritual, flow into us, they change instantly and spontaneously into those natural concepts proper to us which exactly correspond to the spiritual ones. Neither the angels nor we are aware of this; but still, this is how all inflow of heaven occurs for us.

There were some angels who were let very intimately into my thoughts, all the way into natural ones that contained a mass of material from time and space. However, since at that point they could not understand anything at all, they promptly withdrew; and after they had withdrawn I heard them talking, saying that they had been in darkness.

I have been allowed to know from experience what angels’ ignorance of time is like. There was a particular individual from heaven whose nature did allow him to be let into natural concepts such as we have. I talked with him afterward, person to person, and at first he did not know what it was that I was calling “time.” So I actually had to tell him how the sun seems to travel around our earth and make years and days, and that as a result, years are divided into four seasons and into months and weeks, and days into twenty-four hours, and that these times recur at fixed intervals. This gives rise to our expressions for time. He was astonished when he heard this, and said that he had not known that kind of thing, but only what states were.

In the course of our conversation I mentioned that it was known in our world that there is no time in heaven. We do actually talk as though we knew, since when people die, we say that they have left temporal things and have passed beyond time, meaning that they have left our world. I also said that it is known by some that times are states in origin because they recognize that times are experienced in precise accord with the states of affection we are caught up in. They are short for us when we are engaged in pleasant and cheerful pursuits and long when we are engaged in distasteful and depressing ones, and variable when we are in hope or expectation. As a result, scholars are asking what time and space are, and some of them even recognize that time is an attribute of the natural person.

A natural person may believe that we would have no thought if concepts of time, space, and matter were taken away from us, that all our thought is based on these foundations.c Let such people know, though, that thoughts are limited and constrained to the extent that they derive from time, space, and matter, and that they are freed and expanded to the extent that they do not derive from such things, because to that same extent the mind is raised above bodily and worldly considerations. This is the source of angels’ wisdom, which is so great that we must call it incomprehensible, since it does not fit into ideas that are formed merely from these [lower] concerns.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 167-169


Previously cited: 5/2/2017

Time in Heaven (Continued)

Since angels have no concept derived from time, as we in our world do, they have no concept of time or of the things that depend on time. They do not even know what all these temporal things are, like a year, a month, a week, a day, an hour, today, tomorrow, or yesterday. When angels hear these expressions from one of us (angels are always kept in contact with us by the Lord), they perceive states instead, and things that have to do with state. So our natural concept is changed into a spiritual concept with the angels. This is why expressions of time in the Word mean states, and why things proper to time like the ones listed above mean the spiritual things that correspond to them.

It is much the same for all the things that occur as a result of time, such as the four seasons of the year called spring, summer, autumn, and winter; the four times of day called morning, noon, evening, and night; our own four ages called infancy, youth, maturity, and old age; and with the other things that either occur as a result of time or happen in temporal sequence. When we think about them, it is from a temporal standpoint; but an angel thinks about them from the standpoint of state. Consequently, anything in them that is temporal for us changes into an idea of state for the angel. Spring and morning change into an idea of love and wisdom the way they are for angels in their first state; summer and noon change into an idea of love and wisdom as they are in the second state; autumn and evening, as they are in the third state; and night and winter into a concept of the kind of state that is characteristic in hell. This is why similar things are meant by these times in the Word (see above, Section 155). We can see from this how the natural concepts that occur in our thought become spiritual for the angels who are with us.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 165-166


Previously Cited: 5/1/2017

Section 154-155: Published 4/27/2017

Time in Heaven

EVEN though things keep happening in sequence and progressing in heaven the way they do in the world, still angels have no notion or concept of time and space. The lack is so complete that they simply do not know what time and space are. Here we will discuss time in heaven, leaving space to be discussed in its own chapter.

The reason angels do not know what time is (even though everything for them moves along in sequence just the way it does in our world, so much so that there is no difference) is that in heaven there are no years or days, but only changes of state. Where there are years and days there are times, and where there are changes of state, there are states.

The reason we have times in our world is that the sun seems to move sequentially from one zone to another and to make the times we call the seasons of the year. It also moves around the earth and makes the times we call times of day, and it does these by fixed periods. It is different for heaven’s sun. It does not make years and days by sequential motions and rotations, but makes apparent changes of state; and it does not make these by fixed periods, as explained in the preceding chapter. This is why angels are incapable of having any concept of time, but have a concept of state instead. What “state” is may be seen above in Section 154.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 162-164


Previously Cited: 4/30/2017

Section 154-155: Published 4/27/2017

The Clothes Angles Appear In (Continued)

We can tell that angels’ clothes do not merely look like clothes but really are because they not only see them, they feel them as well. Further, they have many garments that they take off and put on, and they put away the ones they are not using and put back on the ones they are. I have seen thousands of times that they wear different clothes.

I have asked them where they got their clothes, and they have told me that their clothes come from the Lord and are given to them, and that sometimes they are clothed without noticing it. They have also said that their clothes change depending on the changes of their state, that their clothes are radiant and gleaming white in their first and second state, while in the third and fourth states they are somewhat dimmer. This too is because of correspondences, because these changes of state have to do with their intelligence and wisdom, discussed above in sections 154–161.

For everyone in the spiritual world, clothing depends on intelligence and therefore on the truths that constitute intelligence. Although people in the hells do seem to be clothed, because they lack truths their clothes are nothing but rags, dirty and foul, each individual in keeping with his or her own insanity. They cannot be clothed in any other way, either. The Lord allows them to wear clothes so that they will not appear naked.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 181-182


Previously Cited: 1/1/2017

Sections 154-161: Published 4/27/2017-4/29/2017

The Clothes Angels Appear In (Continued)

Since angels wear clothes in heaven, they have appeared clothed when they were seen in our world, like the ones seen by the prophets and the ones by the Lord’s tomb, whose “appearance was like lightning and whose clothes were gleaming and white” (Matthew 28:3; Mark 16:5; Luke 22:4 [24:4]; John 20:11, 13 [20:12]) and the ones seen in heaven by John whose “garments were of linen and white” (Revelation 4:4; 19:11, 13). And since intelligence comes from divine truth, the Lord’s garments, when he was transfigured, were “gleaming and white as light” (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29: on light as divine truth emanating from the Lord, see Section 129). This is why garments in the Word mean things true and the intelligence that results from them, as in John: “Those who have not defiled their garments will walk with me in white, because they are worthy; whoever overcomes will be clothed with white garments” (Revelation 3:4, 5); and “Blessed are those who are watchful and take care of their garments” (Revelation 16:15).

Concerning Jerusalem, meaning the church as it is focused on what is true,f it says in Isaiah, “Rise up, put on your strength, O Zion; put on the garments of your beauty, O Jerusalem” (Isaiah 52:1); and in Ezekiel, “O Jerusalem, I have clothed you with linen, I have veiled you with silk, your garments are linen and silk” (Ezekiel 16:10, 13); and many other passages.

In contrast, someone who is not engaged with truths is said not to be wearing a wedding garment, as in Matthew: “When the king came in, he saw the one not wearing a wedding garment and said, ‘Friend, how have you come in here without a wedding garment?’ So that one was cast out into the outer darkness” (Matthew 22:12–13 [11–13]). The wedding house means heaven and the church by virtue of the Lord’s union with them through his divine truth. This is why in the Word the Lord is called the Bridegroom and Husband, and heaven and the church the bride and wife.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 180


Previously Cited: 12/31/2016

Section 129: Published 11/24/2016

f. Jerusalem means the church where there is genuine doctrine.

The Clothes Angels Appear In (Continued)

Because angels’ clothes correspond to their intelligence they also correspond to what is true, since all intelligence comes from divine truth. So it amounts to the same thing whether you say that angels are dressed according to their intelligence or according to divine truth. The reason the garments of some angels gleam as though aflame, while the garments of others shine as though alight, is that flame corresponds to what is good, and light to what is true because of that good.a  The reason some garments are pure white and soft white and do not shine, while others are of various colors, is that divine good and truth are less dazzling and are also differently accepted among less intelligent people.b Pure white and soft white correspond to what is true,c  and colors correspond to different shadings of truth.d  The reason angels in the inmost heaven are naked is that they are in innocence, and innocence corresponds to nudity.e

from Heaven and Hell, Section 179


Previously Cited: 12/30/2016

a. Garments in the Word mean truths by reason of correspondence; because truths clothe what is good: A veil means something of intellect, since discernment is the vessel of what is true: White garments of linen mean truths from the Divine: Flame means spiritual good, and the light from it means truth from that good.

b. Angels and spirits are seen wearing clothes that accord with their truths and therefore with their intelligence: Some garments of angels are radiant, and some are not.

c. Pure white and soft white in the Word mean what is true, because they come from light in heaven.

d. Colors in heaven are variegations of the light there: Colors mean various things that are matters of intelligence and wisdom: The precious stones in the Urim and Thummim, depending on their colors, meant all the truths in the heavens that stem from what is good: To the extent that colors are derived from red, they mean what is good; while to the extent that they are derived from white, they mean what is true.

e. All the people in the inmost heaven are innocent, and therefore seem to be naked: Innocence is manifested in heaven as nudity: For innocent and chaste people, nudity is not a matter of shame because there is no occasion for offense.

The Clothes Angels Appear In

SINCE angels are people and live together the way people on earth do, they have clothes and homes and a great many other things: the difference, however, being that everything is more perfect for them because they are in a more perfect state. For just as angelic wisdom surpasses our wisdom so greatly as to be inexpressible, so too does everything that comes to their perception and sight, since everything perceived by and apparent to angels corresponds to their wisdom (see above, Section 173).

Like everything else, the clothes angels wear correspond, and since they do correspond they truly exist (see above, Section 175). Their clothes reflect their intelligence, so all the people in heaven are dressed according to their intelligence; and since one will surpass another in intelligence (see Sections 43 and 128), one will have better quality clothing than another. The most intelligent wear clothes that gleam as though aflame, some radiant as though alight. The less intelligent wear pure white and soft white clothes that do not shine, and those still less intelligent wear clothes of various colors. The angels of the inmost heaven, though, are naked.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 177-178


Section 173: Published 12/13/2016

Section 175: Published  12/14/2016

Section 43: Published 5/7/2017

Section 128: Published 11/23/2016

Each Community Is a Heaven in Smaller Form and Each Angel a Heaven in Smallest Form (Continued)

Further still, heaven is where the Lord is recognized, trusted, and loved. The different ways he is worshiped—in variations that stem from the difference of activity from one community to another—do not cause harm but bring benefit, because they are a source of heaven’s perfection.

It is hard to explain this in such a way that it can be grasped without resorting to expressions usually found in academic circles and using them to explain how a perfect whole is formed from a variety of elements. Every perfect whole arises from a variety of elements, for a whole that is not composed of a variety of elements is not really anything. It has no form, and therefore no quality. However, when a whole does arise from a variety of elements, and the elements are in a perfected form in which each associates with the next in the series like a sympathetic friend, then it has a perfect quality. Heaven is, then, a single whole composed of a variety of elements arranged in the most perfect form; for of all forms, the form of heaven is the most perfect.

We can see that this underlies all perfection from every instance of beauty, charm, and delight that moves both our senses and our spirits. Such instances arise and flow invariably from a harmonious agreement of many things that are in sympathetic concord, whether they are together simultaneously or follow in a sequence. They do not flow from a single unit that lacks plurality. So we say that variety delights, and recognize that the delight depends on the quality of the variety. We can see from this, as though in a mirror, how perfection stems from variety in heaven as well, since things that happen in the natural world offer us a reflection of things in the spiritual world.

We can say the same of the church as we have of heaven, since the church is the Lord’s heaven on earth. It also has many components, and yet each is called a church and is a church to the extent that the qualities of love and faith rule within it. In it, the Lord forms a single whole out of the varied elements, and therefore makes a single church out of many churches.

Much the same can be said of the individual member of the church as has been said about the church in general, namely that the church is within and not outside, and that anyone is a church in whom the Lord is present in the qualities of love and faith.

Much the same can be said of the individual who has the church within as has been said about the angel who has heaven within, that such an individual is a church in least form as the angel is a heaven in least form. Even more, we can say that the individual who has the church within is a heaven just as much as an angel is, for we have been created to enter heaven and become angels. So anyone who has the quality of goodness from the Lord is an angel-person.

It is worth noting what we have in common with angels and what we possess that they lack. We have in common with angels the fact that our deeper levels are formed in the image of heaven and that we also become images of heaven to the extent that we participate in the qualities of love and faith. What we have that angels lack is that our more outward levels are formed in the image of this world; and that to the extent that we are engaged in what is good, the world within us is subordinated to heaven and serves it; and that then the Lord is present with us on both levels as he is in his heaven. He is actually present on both levels in his divine order, for God is order.

It should be noted in closing that people who have heaven within themselves have heaven not only in their larger or shared aspects but also in their smallest or most specific ones, with the smallest ones in them reflecting the largest. The reason for this is that as individuals we are our love and have a quality that depends on the quality of the love that is ruling. Whatever rules flows into the specifics and arranges them, and imposes everywhere an image of itself. In heaven, it is love for the Lord that rules, because the Lord is loved there above all else. As a result, the Lord is the sum and substance of everything there, flowing into absolutely everything, arranging everything, clothing everything with his likeness, and making heaven to be where he is. So an angel is a heaven in least form, a community a heaven in greater form, and all the communities together a heaven in greatest form. On the Lord’s divine nature as constituting heaven, and on his being the sum and substance of heaven, see above, Sections 7–12.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 56-58


Previously Cited: 2/15/2018

Sections 7-12: Published 5/29/2017-5/31/2017

Each Community Is a Heaven in Smaller Form and Each Angel a Heaven in Smallest Form (Continued)

Just as a whole community is a heaven in lesser form, so too an angel is a heaven in least form. For heaven is not outside angels but within them. Their deeper levels, the levels of their minds, are arranged in the form of heaven and therefore are arranged to accept all the elements of heaven that are outside them. These elements they accept according to the quality of the goodness that is within them from the Lord. As a result, an angel is also a heaven.

It can never be said that heaven is outside anyone. It is within; because every angel accepts the heaven that is outside in keeping with the heaven that is within. We can see, then, how mistaken people are who think that getting into heaven is simply a matter of being taken up among the angels, regardless of the quality of their inner life, who believe that heaven is granted merely because of [the Lord’s] mercy. On the contrary, unless heaven is within an individual, nothing of the heaven that is outside flows in and is accepted.

There are many spirits who hold this opinion and who, because of their faith, have been taken up into heaven. However, once they arrived, because their inner life was contrary to the life angels are engaged in, they began to be blinded in their understanding to the point that they became virtually idiotic, while in regard to their self-control they began to be so tormented that they carried on like people gone mad. In short, people who have lived evil lives and who arrive in heaven bring their souls with them and are tormented like fish out of water, in the air, or like animals in the vacuum in air pumps once the air has been pumped out. It stands to reason, then, that heaven is within us and not outside.

Since everyone accepts the heaven that is outside according to the quality of the heaven that is within, angels accept the Lord in the same way, because it is the Lord’s divine nature that constitutes heaven. Consequently, when the Lord renders himself present in any particular community, his appearance depends on the nature of the good activity that community is engaged in. It is therefore not exactly the same in one community as in another. It is not that this difference is in the Lord: it is in the individuals who are seeing him from their own goodness and therefore in keeping with it. They are affected by the sight of him according to the quality of their own love. The ones who love him deeply are deeply moved, while the ones who love him less deeply are less deeply moved. Evil people, who are outside of heaven, find his presence intensely painful.

When the Lord does appear in any community, he appears there as an angel, but he is identified by the divine quality that shines through.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 53-55


Previously Cited: 2/14/2018

Each Community Is a Heaven in Smaller Form and Each Angel a Heaven in Smallest Form

THE reason each community is a heaven in smaller form and each angel a heaven in smallest form is that the activity of love and faith is what makes heaven. This good activity is in every community of heaven and in every angel of a community. It does not matter that this activity is different and distinctive everywhere, it is still the activity of heaven. The only difference is that heaven has one activity here and another there. So whenever anyone is raised into any community of heaven, they say that he or she has arrived in heaven. They say of those who are there that they are in heaven, each in his or her own. All the people who have arrived in the other life realize this; so individuals who are standing outside or below heaven and looking off into the distance where there is a gathering of angels say that heaven is there—and over there as well.

It is rather like the situation of officials and functionaries and servants in a royal palace or court. Even though they live individually in their dwellings or in their rooms, some higher than others, still they are in a single palace or a single court, each one involved in a particular function in the service of the king. We can see from this what is meant by the Lord’s saying that “in my Father’s house there are many dwellings” (John 14:2) and by “the stories of heaven” and the “heavens of heavens” in the prophets.

We may also gather that a community is a heaven in lesser form from the fact that the heavenly form in each community is of the same nature as it is in heaven overall. In heaven overall (as noted above in Section 43), the most outstanding individuals are in the center, and around them, in decreasing order all the way to the circumference, are those who are less outstanding. It follows also from the fact that the Lord leads all the people in the whole of heaven as though they were a single angel, and does the same for those who are in any particular community. As a result, sometimes a whole angelic community appears as a single entity in the form of an angel, a sight that the Lord has allowed me to see. Further, when the Lord appears in the midst of angels, he does not appear surrounded by a crowd but as a lone individual in angelic form. This is why the Lord is called an angel in the Word, as is also a whole community: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael are nothing but angelic communities that are given these names because of their functions.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 51-52


Previously Cited: 2/13/2018

Section 43: Published 5/7/2017 and 6/7/2019