Heaven and Hell
73. Therefore each angel is a complete human form .In the two preceding sections it has been shown that heaven in its whole complex resembles one man, as does any one society in heaven. From the sequence of reasons there set forth, it follows that this is equally true of each angel. As heaven is man in the greatest form, and a society of heaven in a less form, so is an angel in the least form. For, in the most perfect form such as that of heaven is, there is a likeness of the whole in the part and of the part in the whole. This is the case for the reason that heaven is a communion, for it communicates all it has with each one, and each one receives all he has from that communion. An angel is a receptacle, and by virtue of this, a heaven in least form, as was also shown above in the appropriate section. A man, too, so far as he receives heaven, is also a receptacle, a heaven and an angel (see above 57). This is described in the Revelation as follows,
He measured the wall of the holy Jerusalem, a hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, that is of an angel. Revelation 21:17.
“Jerusalem” there is the Lord’s Church, and, in a higher sense, heaven; the “wall” is the truth that is a defence against the assault of falsities and evils; the “hundred and forty-four” are all truths and goods in the complex; the “measure” is the quality; a “man” is one in whom are all goods and truths in general and particular, that is, in whom is heaven, and as it is from these that an angel also is a man, it is said, the “measure of a man” which is that of an angel. This is the spiritual sense of the words. Without that sense, who could understand that the wall of the Holy Jerusalem is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel?
76. It ought to be known, however, that angels cannot be seen by a man through the eyes of his body but through the eyes of the spirit within him, because this is in the spiritual world, while all things of the body are in the natural world. Like sees like from being alike. Besides, as everyone knows, the bodily organ of sight which is the eye is so gross as to be unable even to see, except through magnifying glasses, the smaller things of nature; still less then can it see the things that are above the sphere of nature such as are all things in the spiritual world. But these things may be seen by a man when he is withdrawn from the sight of the body, and the sight of his spirit is opened. This takes place instantly whenever it pleases the Lord that these things should be seen. In that case, the man does not know but that he is seeing them with his bodily eyes.
495. As the life of spirits recently from the world is not unlike their life in the natural world, and as they know nothing about their state of life after death and nothing about heaven and hell except what they have learned from the sense of the letter of the Word and preaching from it, they are at first surprised to find themselves in a body and in every sense that they had in the world, and seeing like things; and they become eager to know what heaven is, what hell is, and where they are. Therefore they are instructed by their friends about the conditions of eternal life, and are also taken about by them to various places and into various companies, and sometimes into cities, and into gardens and parks, being shown chiefly such magnificent things as delight the externals in which they are. They are then brought in turn into those notions about the state of their soul after death, and about heaven and hell, that they had entertained in the life of the body, even until they feel indignant at their total ignorance of such things, and at the ignorance of the Church also.
Nearly all are anxious to know whether they will come into heaven. Most of them believe that they will, because of their having lived in the world a moral and civil life, never considering that the bad and the good live a like life in externals, alike doing good to others, attending public worship, hearing sermons, and praying; and wholly ignorant that external deeds and external acts of worship are of no avail, but only the internals from which the externals proceed. There is hardly one out of thousands who knows what internals are, and that it is in them that a man has heaven and the Church. Still less is it known that outward acts are such as the intentions and thoughts are, and the love and faith in these from which they spring. And even when taught, they fail to comprehend that thinking and willing are of any avail, but only speaking and acting. Such for the most part are those who, at this day, come from the Christian world into the other life.
Third Round posts are short audio clips taken from Round 3 comments offered in the online Logopraxis Life Group meetings. The aim is to keep the focus on understanding the Text in terms of its application to the inner life along with reinforcing any key LP principles that have been highlighted in the exchanges.