The Four Quarters in Heaven

THERE are four quarters in heaven just as there are in the world—east, south, west, and north. These are determined in each world by its sun, in heaven by heaven’s sun, which is the Lord, and on earth by earth’s sun. However, there are major differences. The first is that in our world we call “south” the direction in which the sun reaches its greatest height above the earth, and “north” where it is below the earth, in the opposite direction. East is where the sun rises at the equinoxes, and west is where it sets at that time. So on earth, all the directions are determined on the basis of the south. In heaven, though, they call “east” where the Lord is seen as the sun. West is in the opposite direction, south in heaven on the right, and north on the left. This holds true wherever people turn their faces and their bodies.

So in heaven, all the directions are determined on the basis of the east. The reason they give the name “east” to the direction in which the Lord is seen as the sun is that the whole source of life is from him as the sun. Further, to the extent that warmth and light, or intelligence and wisdom from him, are accepted among angels, they say that the Lord has risen among them. This is also why the Lord is called the east in the Word.

From Heaven and Hell, Section 141


Previously Cited: 7/8/2017

It Is Owing to the Lord’s Divine Human That Heaven, in Its Entirety and in Its Parts, Reflects a Person (Continued)

This is why people who do not share in heaven’s concept (that is, in the concept of the Divine Being who makes heaven) cannot be raised even to the first threshold of heaven. The moment any such individuals arrive, they feel a perceptible opposition and forceful resistance. This is because the deeper levels of such people, levels that are intended to accept heaven, are actually closed because they are not in heaven’s form. In fact, the nearer such people come to heaven, the more tightly their deeper levels are closed.

This is the lot of people within the church who deny the Lord and who, like the Socinians, deny his divinity. The lot of people who have been born outside the church and who have not acknowledged him or possessed the Word will be seen below.

We can tell that the ancients had an image of the Divine as human from the way the Divine appeared to Abraham, Lot, Joshua, Gideon, Manoah and his wife, and others. Even though they saw God as a person, they still worshiped him as God of the universe, calling him “God of heaven and earth” and “Jehovah.” In John 8:56, the Lord himself teaches that it was he whom Abraham had seen. We can see that it was the Lord whom others saw from the Lord’s words, “No one has seen the Father or his appearance, or heard his voice” (John 1:18; 5:37).

But people who judge everything on the basis of their outward senses have great difficulty grasping the fact that God is a person. In fact, the only way sense-centered people can think about the Divine Being is on the basis of this world and what it contains, so they can think about a divine and spiritual person only as they do about a physical and natural one. This leads to the conclusion that if God is to be a person, he must be as big as the universe, and if he does rule heaven and earth, it must be through many underlings the way kings on earth rule. If such individuals are told that in heaven there is not the kind of extended space we have in this world, they do not grasp it at all. People who think on the basis of nature and of its light alone cannot help thinking in terms of the kind of extended space that lies before our eyes. However, they are sadly mistaken when they think the same way about heaven. The “extension” that exists there is not like that in our world. In our world, it is fixed and therefore measurable, while in heaven it is not fixed and therefore not measurable. There will, though, be more about extension in heaven below, in the chapters on space and time in the spiritual world.

Further, everyone knows how far our eyesight reaches—all the way to the sun and stars, which are so very far away. Anyone who thinks more deeply also knows that the inner sight that pertains to thought reaches even farther, and that still deeper sight reaches still farther. What must we say, then, of the divine sight, which is the deepest and highest of all?

Since thoughts do have this kind of extension, everything of heaven is communicated to everyone there. This means all of the divine nature that makes heaven and fills it, as I have explained in the preceding chapters.

People in heaven are amazed that people here believe they are intelligent when they think of something invisible in the process of thinking about God, something that cannot be comprehended in any form, and that they call people who think otherwise unintelligent and even simpleminded, when the opposite is in fact the case. They assert that if people who regard themselves as intelligent on this account would examine themselves, they would find nature in the place of God—for some, the nature in front of their eyes, for others, a nature they cannot see with their eyes.

They would find that they are so blind that they do not know what God is, what an angel is, what a spirit is, what the soul is that will live after death, what the life of heaven is for us, or many other things that are matters of intelligence. Yet all the people whom they call simple know these things in their own way. They have an image of God as a Divine Being in human form, an image of an angel as a heavenly person, a concept of their soul that will live after death as being like an angel, and a concept of the life of heaven for us here as living by the divine commandments. Angels refer to these people as intelligent and fit for heaven, but the others they call unintelligent.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 83-86


Previously Cited: 3/30/2018

It Is Owing to the Lord’s Divine Human That Heaven, in Its Entirety and in Its Parts, Reflects a Person (Continued)

The truth of this has been witnessed to me by an abundance of experiences, some of which now follow. None of the angels in the heavens ever sees the Divine in any form except the human form. Even more remarkably, angels in the higher heavens cannot think about what is divine in any other way. They are led into the necessity of thinking this way because of the essential divine that is flowing into them and also because of the form of heaven, which determines how their thoughts reach out around them. In fact, all the thought that angels have spreads out in heaven, and they have intelligence and wisdom in proportion to this outreach. This is why everyone there acknowledges the Lord, since the divine human exists only in him. I have not only been told this by angels, I have been allowed to perceive it when I was raised into a more inward sphere of heaven.

We can see, then, that the wiser angels are, the more clearly they perceive this, which is why the Lord is visible to them. The Lord does appear in a divine angelic form, which is a human form, to people who acknowledge and trust in a visible Divine Being, but not to people who acknowledge and trust in an invisible Divine Being. The former can see the Lord’s divine [form], but the latter cannot.

Since angels do not perceive an invisible Divine Being (which they call a formless Divine) but a visible Divine Being in human form, it is common practice for them to say that only the Lord is a person, and that they are people because of him. They also say that each of us is human in proportion to our acceptance of him. By “accepting the Lord” they understand accepting what is good and true that comes from him, because the Lord is present in everything good and true that comes from himself. Angels call this wisdom and intelligence. They say everyone knows that intelligence and wisdom are what make us human, not simply the outward form by itself.

The truth of this is actually visible to angels of the inner heavens. Since the Lord keeps them engaged in what is good and true and therefore in wisdom and intelligence, they are in the loveliest and most perfect human form; while the angels of lower heavens are in a less perfect and lovely form.

Everything is inverted in hell. In heaven’s light, the people who are there hardly look human at all. They look like monsters. They are caught up in what is evil and false and not in what is good and true, and are therefore in the opposite of wisdom and intelligence. As a result, their life is not called life, but spiritual death.

Since heaven in its entirety and in its parts does reflect a person because of the Lord’s divine human, angels say that they are “in the Lord” and even that they are “in his body,” meaning that they are in the very substance of his love. This is also what the Lord is teaching us when he says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me; for without me you can do nothing. Abide in my love. If you keep my precepts, you will abide in my love” (John 15:4–10).

Since this is how the Divine Being is perceived in the heavens, it is instinctive in everyone who accepts any inflow from heaven to think of the Lord in a human guise. The ancients did so and even modern people do, both outside and inside the church. Simple people see him in thought as an ancient one, in glory.

But this instinct has been stifled by all the people who have distanced themselves from the heavenly inflow by pride in their own intelligence and by evil lives. The ones who have stifled it by pride in their intelligence prefer an invisible God, while the ones who have done so by evil lives prefer no God at all. Because this instinct is not in them, neither type knows that it even exists, although this is the essential heavenly divine nature that flows into us first and foremost from heaven because we are born for heaven; and no one enters heaven without some concept of the Divine Being.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 79-82


Previously Cited: 3/29/2018

It Is Owing to the Lord’s Divine Human That Heaven, in Its Entirety and in Its Parts, Reflects a Person

THIS conclusion—that it is owing to the Lord’s divine human that heaven, in its entirety and in its parts, reflects a person—follows from all the things that have been presented in the preceding chapters:

(1) the Lord is God of heaven [Sections 2–6]

(2) it is the Lord’s divine nature that makes heaven [Sections 7–12]

(3) the heavens are made up of countless communities, and each community is a heaven in smaller form and each angel a heaven in smallest form [Sections 41–58]

(4) the whole heaven, grasped as a single entity, reflects a single individual [Sections 59–67]

(5) each community in the heavens reflects a single individual [Sections 68–72]

(6) therefore every angel is in perfect human form [Sections 73–77]

All these propositions lead to the conclusion that because the Divine is what makes heaven, the Divine is human in form.

It may be seen with somewhat greater clarity that this is the Lord’s divine human from the references to Secrets of Heaven at the close of this chapter, since this collection provides a condensation. It can also be seen from these references that the Lord’s human is divine, contrary to the belief in the church that it is not. This may be seen as well from the material about the Lord at the close of The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Teaching.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 78


Previously Cited: 3/28/2018

Sections 2-6: Published 8/27/2019-8/29/2019

Sections 7-12: Published 10/4/2019-10/6/2019

Sections 41-50: Published 6/7/2019-6/10/2019

Sections 51-58: Published 6/11/2019-6/13/2019

Sections 59-67: Published 2/20/2020-2/23/2020

Sections 68-72: Published 2/24/2020-2/25/2020

Sections 73-77: Published 12/27/2019-12/28/2019

Each Community in the Heavens Reflects a Single Individual (Continued)

It is worth noting that the more members there are in a single community and the more united they are in action, the more perfect is their human form. This is because variety arranged in a heavenly form makes perfection, as explained above in Section 56; and variety occurs where there are many individuals.

Every community in heaven is growing in numbers daily, and the more it grows, the more perfect it becomes. In this way, not only is the community perfected, but heaven in general is perfected as well, since the communities constitute heaven.

Since heaven is perfected by its numerical growth, we can see how mistaken people are who believe that heaven will be closed to prevent overcrowding. Actually, it is just the reverse. It will never be closed, and its ever increasing fullness makes it more perfect. So angels long for nothing more than to have new angel guests arrive there.

The reason each community appears in human likeness when it is seen all together as a unit is that heaven as a whole has this likeness, as may be seen in the preceding chapter; and in the most perfect form, like the form of heaven, there is a likeness of parts and whole, of lesser and greatest. The lesser elements and parts of heaven are the communities of which it consists, each of which is a heaven in lesser form, as may be seen above in Sections 51–58.

The reason for this constant likeness is that in the heavens all the qualities stem from a single love and therefore from a single source. The single love that is the origin of everything good in heaven is love for the Lord from the Lord. This is why all heaven is a likeness of him on the grand scale, every community a likeness on a less grand scale, and every angel in specific. See what has been said on this matter above in Section 58.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 71-72


Previously Cited: 3/8/2018

Sections 51-58: Published 6/11/2019-6/13/2019

The Whole Heaven, Grasped as a Single Entity, Reflects a Single Individual

SEVERAL times I have been allowed to see that each community of heaven reflects a single individual and is in the likeness of a human being as well. There was one community that was infiltrated by a number of spirits who knew how to assume the guise of angels of light. They were hypocrites. As they were being set apart by some angels, I observed that the whole community first looked like something cloudy, then gradually took on a human form, though still a cloudy one, and finally appeared in the light as a person. The individuals who were in that person and made it up were the ones who participated in the benevolence of that community. The others, who were not in the person and did not make it up, were the hypocrites. These latter were cast out, while the former ones were retained. This is how the separation was accomplished.

Hypocrites are people who speak well and even behave well, but who are focused on themselves in specifics. They talk like angels about the Lord and heaven and love and heavenly life and they also behave well, so that their character seems to be in accord with their speech. However, they are thinking differently. They do not believe anything or will well to anyone but themselves. Any good they do is done in their own interests. If it is in the interest of others, it is for the sake of appearance, and therefore in their own interest.

I have also been allowed to see that a whole angelic community appears as a single entity in human form when the Lord makes himself present. High up toward the east, there appeared something that looked like a cloud, white at first and then reddening, surrounded by little stars. It came down, and as it gradually did so, it became brighter and finally took on a perfect human form. The little stars that surrounded the cloud were angels, who looked like that because of the light from the Lord.

We do need to realize that even though all the individuals in a community of heaven look like a single entity in human likeness when they are all together, still one community is not the same person as any other. They are differentiated like the faces of individuals of one lineage. The reason for this is the same as that given in Section 47 above, namely that they differ depending on the various good activities that they participate in and that give them their form. Those communities that are in the central or highest heaven and are at its center appear in the most perfect and lovely human form.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 68-70


Previously Cited: 3/7/2018

Section 47: Published 6/8/2019

The Whole Heaven, Grasped as a Single Entity, Reflects a Single Individual (Continued)

Spirits who are below heaven are amazed when they hear and see that heaven is both below and above them. They have had the faith and opinion common to people in this world that heaven is only overhead. They do not really know that the locations of the heavens are like the locations of the members and organs and viscera in a human being, with some above and some below, and that it is also like the locations of the parts within each member and outer or inner organ, with some within and some outside. This is the reason for their confusion about heaven.

We have presented these statements about heaven as the universal human because without them as preface there can be no comprehension whatever of the things about heaven that are to follow. No clear concept of heaven can be gained, either, no clear concept of the union of the Lord with heaven, of the union of heaven with us on earth, of the inflow of the spiritual world into the natural world, and none whatever of correspondence, all of which must be discussed in sequence in the pages that now follow. This material has been presented first, then, to shed light on these matters.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 66-67


Previously Cited: 3/6/2018

The Whole Heaven, Grasped as a Single Entity, Reflects a Single Individual (Continued)

The reason so many varied elements act as one in an individual is that there is nothing whatever there that does not contribute something to the common good and do something useful. The inclusive body serves its parts and the parts serve the inclusive body because the inclusive body is made up of parts and the parts make up the inclusive body. So they provide for each other respectively, they focus on each other mutually, and they are united in the kind of form that gives every single component a relationship to the inclusive entity and its well-being. This is what enables them to act as a unit.

It is the same with assemblies in the heavens. People there unite in this kind of form in pursuit of any worthwhile activity. As a result any individuals who do not serve some use for the larger body are cast out of heaven because they are misfits. To “serve some use” is to intend well to others for the sake of the common good, while “not to serve some use” is to intend well to others not for the sake of the common good but for the sake of oneself. People who act in this latter fashion are people who love themselves above all, while people who act in the former fashion are the ones who love the Lord above all. This is why people in heaven act in unison not from themselves but from the Lord. They in fact focus on him as the unique source of all, and on his kingdom as the commonwealth that is to be cared for. This is the meaning of the Lord’s words, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything will be given you in addition” (Matthew 6:33). To “seek his righteousness” is to seek his good.

There are people who in this world love the good of their country more than their own and the good of their neighbor as their own. They are the ones who love and seek the kingdom of the Lord in the other life, since there the kingdom of the Lord takes the place of one’s country. Further, people who love to do good to others not for self-centered reasons but for the sake of the good itself are people who love their neighbor, since in the other life the good is one’s neighbor.d All individuals who are of this quality are in the universal human—that is, in heaven.

Since heaven in its entirety does reflect a single individual, and is in fact the divine spiritual person in its greatest form and image, heaven is therefore differentiated into members and parts like a person, and these are given similar names. Angels know what member one community or another is in and say that this community is in the member or province of the head, that one in the member or province of the chest, that one in the member or province of the genitals, and so on.

In general, the highest or third heaven forms the head down to the neck, the middle or second forms the torso as far as the genitals and knees, and the lowest or first forms the feet to the very soles and also the arms all the way to the fingers, since the arms and hands are among our “lowest things” even though they are at our sides. We can see from this again why there are three heavens.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 64-65


Previously Cited: 3/5/2018

The Whole Heaven, Grasped as a Single Entity, Reflects a Single Individual (Continued)

This is the angelic concept of person, so angels never pay attention to what someone’s body is doing, but rather to the intent from which the body is acting. They call this the essential person, together with the intellect to the extent that it is acting in unison with the intent.

Actually, angels do not see heaven in a single overview in this kind of form, since the entire heaven does not lie within the scope of any angel’s sight. However, they do consistently see particular communities that are made up of many thousands of angels as single units in this kind of form; and from the community as a sample they draw their inference about the totality that is heaven. This is because in the most perfect form the greater elements are arranged like the parts, and the parts like the greater elements. The only distinction is between what is greater and what is lesser. Therefore they say that the entire heaven looks like this in the Lord’s sight, because the Divine sees everything from the very center and summit.

Since heaven is of this nature, it is also governed by the Lord as though it were a single individual and therefore a single unit. We ourselves consist of countless different things, both overall and in our parts. We are made up overall of our limbs, organs, and viscera, and in our parts of series of nerves, fibers, and blood vessels—made up of members within members, then, and parts within parts. Still, we do of course recognize that when we do anything, we do it as whole individuals. This is what heaven is like, too, under the Lord’s guardianship and guidance.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 61-63


Previously Cited: 3/4/2018

The Whole Heaven, Grasped as a Single Entity, Reflects a Single Individual

IT is a secret not yet known in this world that heaven, taken in a single all-inclusive grasp, reflects a single individual. In heaven, though, nothing is better known. Knowing this, knowing particulars and details about it, is the hallmark of angelic intelligence there. In fact, many other things follow from it and do not come clearly and distinctly to mind without this as their general principle. Since angels do know that all the heavens, like their communities, reflect a single individual, they refer to heaven as the universal and divine humana—“divine” because the Lord’s divine nature constitutes heaven (see  Sections 7–12).

People who do not have an appropriate concept of spiritual and heavenly realities cannot grasp the fact that heavenly and spiritual realities are arranged and connected in this form and image. They think that the earthly and material elements that make up their outmost form really make them what they are, and that without them they would not be human. Let them know, though, that they are not human beings because of these elements but because they are able to understand what is true and will what is good. These are the spiritual and heavenly realities that make them human.

People do recognize that the humanity of every individual depends on the quality of his or her understanding and intentions. They can also realize that the earthly body is formed to serve them in this world and to perform useful actions in a suitable manner in this outmost sphere of nature. This is also why the body does not do anything on its own, but acts in complete obedience to the bidding of our understanding and intentions. This holds true even to the point that our tongue and mouth say whatever we think, and the body and its limbs do whatever we intend. The actor is therefore our understanding and intention, not the body on its own. We can see from this that matters of our understanding and intention are what make us human, and that these are in a similar form because they act into the very details of the body just the way an inner reality acts into an outer one. It is because of these facts that we are called inner and spiritual humans. Heaven is this kind of person in the greatest and most perfect form.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 59-60


Previously Cited: 3/3/2018

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