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).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 177

Notes:

Section 173: Published 12/10/2019

Angels’ Homes and Houses (Continued)

There are angels who do not live in communities but apart, home by home. They live in the center of heaven because they are the best angels.

The houses angels live in are not constructed as houses in our world are, but are given them by the Lord gratis, to each individual according to his or her acceptance of what is good and true. They also change slightly in response to the changes of state of their deeper natures (see above, Sections 154–160).

Whatever angels possess, they attribute to the Lord, and anything they need is given to them.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 189-190

Notes:

Sections 154-160: Published 4/27/2017-4/29/2017

Angels’ Homes and Houses (Continued)

So I could see why the Lord calls himself the temple that is in Jerusalem (John 2:19, 21). I could also see why the New Jerusalem appeared as a city of pure gold, with gates of pearl and foundations of precious gems (Revelation 21): it is because a temple offers an image of the Lord’s divine human; the New Jerusalem refers to the church that was going to be founded; and the twelve gates are the truths that lead to what is good, and the foundations are the truths on which it is based.

The angels who constitute the Lord’s heavenly kingdom live for the most part in loftier places that look like mountains above the ground. The angels who constitute the Lord’s spiritual kingdom live in less lofty places that look like hills, while the angels who live in the lowest regions of heaven live in places that look like rocky cliffs. These things also stem from correspondences, since the deeper things correspond to higher ones and the more outward to lower ones. This is why mountains in the Word mean heavenly love, hills mean spiritual love, and rocks mean faith.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 187-188

Angels’ Homes and Houses (Continued)

On this matter of correspondences, I have also been told that not only the palaces and the homes but all the little things within and outside them correspond to the deeper qualities that they receive from the Lord. In general terms, their houses correspond to the good that occupies them and the items within their houses to the various things that constitute that good. The items that are outside the homes refer to true things that derive from the good, and also to experiences of perception and recognition. Since these correspond to the good and true things they receive from the Lord, they correspond to their love and therefore to their wisdom and intelligence, because love is a matter of what is good, wisdom of what is both good and true, and intelligence of truth that stems from the good. This, they tell me, is the sort of thing angels perceive when they look at their houses; and this is why these sights delight and move their minds more than their eyes.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 186

Angels’ Homes and Houses (Continued)

I have seen palaces in heaven that were so splendid as to be beyond description. Their upper stories shone as though they were made of pure gold, and their lower ones as though they were made of precious gems. Each palace seemed more splendid than the last. It was the same inside. The rooms were graced with such lovely adornments that neither words nor the arts and sciences are adequate to describe them. On the side that faced south there were parklands where everything sparkled in the same way, here and there the leaves like silver and the fruits like gold, with the flowers in their beds making virtual rainbows with their colors. On the horizon of sight there were other palaces that framed the scene. The architecture of heaven is like this, so that you might call it the very essence of the art—and small wonder, since the art itself does come to us from heaven.

Angels tell me that things like this and countless others even more perfect are presented to their view by the Lord; but that such sights actually delight their minds more than their eyes because they see correspondences in the details, and through their correspondences they see things divine.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 185

Angels’ Homes and Houses (Continued)

But it would be better to present some experiential evidence at this point. Whenever I have talked with angels face to face, I have been with them in their houses. Their houses were just like the houses on earth that we call homes, but more beautiful. They have chambers, suites, and bedrooms in abundance, and courtyards with gardens, flower beds, and lawns around them. Where there is some concentration of people, the houses are adjoining, one near another, arranged in the form of a city with streets and lanes and public squares, just like the ones we see in cities on our earth. I have been allowed to stroll along them and look around wherever I wished, at times entering people’s homes. This has happened when I was fully awake, with my inner sight opened.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 184

Angels’ Homes and Houses

SINCE there are communities in heaven, with people living there the way we do, they too have homes; and these vary depending on the state of the life of each individual. They are splendid for people who are especially deserving and less splendid for people who are of lower rank.

At times, I have talked with angels about homes in heaven, telling them that nowadays hardly anyone would believe that they have homes and houses—some because they do not see them, some because they do not realize that angels are people, some because they believe that the angelic heaven is the sky they see about them with their eyes. Since this appears to be empty and they think that angels are ethereal forms, they come to the conclusion that angels live in the ether. Further, they do not grasp the fact that the same kinds of thing exist in the spiritual world as in the natural, because they know nothing about the spiritual.

Angels have told me that they were aware that this kind of ignorance was prevalent in the world nowadays and, remarkably enough, mainly within the church, and more among the intellectuals there than among the ones labeled simple. They have also said that people could know from the Word that angels are people because the ones that have been seen have been seen as people. So too was the Lord, who took on his full humanity. People could then realize that since angels are people, they have houses and homes and do not fly around in the air, that even though they are called “spirits” they are not breezes, as the ignorance (which angels call insanity) of some would have it.

They could also grasp this if when they thought about angels and spirits they would step outside their preconceptions, which happens when they are not constantly questioning and consciously pondering whether this is so. Everyone actually has a general notion that angels are in human form and that they have homes that are called heavenly dwellings, which are more splendid than earthly houses. But this general notion (which comes from an inflow from heaven), the angels said, promptly collapses into nothing when it becomes the center of conscious attention and is faced with the question whether it is so. This happens particularly among scholars who have used their self-generated intelligence to shut off from themselves both heaven and the passage of light from it.

Much the same happens in regard to faith in our life after death. People who talk about it without thinking at the same time from scholarly concepts of the soul or the doctrine of reunion with our physical bodies believe that after death we will live as people—among angels if we have lived well—and that then we will see magnificent sights and experience raptures. But the moment they focus on the doctrine of reunion with our bodies or some hypothesis about “the soul,” and therefore begin to wonder whether the soul is really like this, whether it is all true, their former notion vanishes.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 183

Swedenborg’s Claim

In general it must be maintained that all things I have written in this book–Spiritual Experiences– have not been written in any other way than from actual experiences, from conversation with spirits and angels, from thought communicated as tacit speech; then when I was writing, from things imparted by those who for the most part were together at the time while they were being experienced, and from their guidance of my thoughts, the things written, my hand. So everything written in these three books and elsewhere, though here and there disconnected, are nevertheless experiences, and everything in its own way from spirits, or angels–this likewise having been guided by spirits next to my head. For I have in every case perceived their presence.

from Spiritual Experiences, Section 2894 (Emanuel Swedenborg’s Diary, 23 August, 1748)

The Connection between Loving God and Loving Our Neighbor (Continued)

These points clarify where the connection between loving God and loving our neighbor comes from and what it is like: God’s love for people flows into us; when we receive that love and cooperate with it, it becomes love for our neighbor.

Briefly put, the connection accords with the following saying of the Lord’s:

On that day you will recognize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you. (John 14:20)

And this saying:

The people who love me are those who have my commandments and do them. I will love these people, manifest myself to them, and make a home with them. (John 14:21-23)

All the Lord’s commandments relate to loving our neighbor. In summary form, they involve not doing evil to our neighbors, and instead doing them good. According to the Lord’s words just quoted, people like this love God and God loves them.

Because love for God and love for our neighbor are connected in this way, John says:

Those who keep the commandments of Jesus Christ live in him, and he lives in them. If any say, “I love God in everyway,” but hate their brothers and sisters, they are liars. If they do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they see, how can they love God whom they do not see? This commandment we have from him: that people who love God also love their brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:24; 4:20-21)

from True Christianity, Section 458

The Connection between Loving God and Loving Our Neighbor (Continued)

It is different for people who only worship God but do not also perform good actions related to goodwill. There people are like covenant breakers. It is different again for people who divide God into three and worship each one separately. It is different again for people who go to God, but not in his human manifestation. These are the people “who do not enter through the door but instead climb up some other way” (John 10:1). It is different again for people who deny with conviction that the Lord is divine. All these types of people lack a connection to God and therefore lack salvation. The goodwill they have is illegitimate. This type of goodwill forms a connection that is not face to face but side by side or back to back.

I will briefly explain how loving God and loving our neighbor are connected. With all of us, God flows into our concepts of him and brings us true acknowledgement of him. He also flows into us and brings us his love for people. If we accept only the first inflow but not the second, we receive that inflow with our intellect but not our will. We keep the concepts of God that we have without arriving at an inward acknowledgement of God. Our state is then like a garden in winter.

If we accept both types of inflow, however, we receive the inflow with our will and then our intellect–that is, with our whole mind. We then develop an inner acknowledgement of God that brings our concepts of God to life. Our state is then like a garden of spring.

Goodwill makes the connection, because God loves every one of us but cannot directly benefit us; he can benefit us only indirectly through each other, For this reason he inspires us with his love, just as he inspires parents with love for their children. If we receive this love, we become connected to God and we love our neighbor out of love for God. Then we have love for God inside our love for our neighbor. Our love for God makes us willing and able to love our neighbor.

We cannot do anything good is it does not seem to us that our power, willingness, and actions come from ourselves. Therefore we are granted the appearance that they do. When we freely do something good as if we were acting on our own, the goodness is attributed to us and is taken as our response, and this forges the connection.

The situation here is like something active and something passive and the cooperation of the two that occurs when the passive element accepts the active one.

The situation is also like the intention present in people’s actions, the thinking present in their speech, and the soul working from the inside on both the intention and the thinking. It is like the originating force that is present in motion. It is like the prolific power present in the seed of a tree. That power acts from the inside on the various forms of sap that develop the tree all the way to the point of bearing fruit. Through the fruit the tree produces new seeds. It is also like the light in precious stones that is reflected depending on the textures of the interior. Different colors appear as a result, as if they were the stone’s colors, but they are really the colors of the light.

from True Christianity, Section 457