The Four Quarters in Heaven (Continued)

But that east is always in front of angels no matter which way they turn their faces and bodies—this is even harder to understand in our world, since for us, the direction that is in front of us depends on which way we are facing; so this too needs to be explained.

Angels turn and direct their faces and bodies in any direction just as we do, but still, the east is always before their eyes. The way angels turn is not the way we turn, since it comes from a different origin. The two modes of turning look the same, but they are not. The origin [for angels] is a ruling love. It is the basis of all delimitation for angels and spirits; for, as noted just above, their deeper levels are actually turned toward their common center. So in heaven they are turned toward the Lord as the sun; and since love is constantly in front of their deeper levels, and their faces are manifestations of these levels (being their outward form), the love that is predominant is always in front of their faces. In heaven, then, this is the Lord as the sun, since he is the source of all their love.c Further, since the Lord himself is in his love among the angels, it is the Lord who causes them to be looking at him wherever they turn. These matters cannot be further clarified here, but they will be in subsequent chapters. In particular, where we deal with representations and appearances and with time and space in heaven, they will be presented to understanding more plainly.

As for angels having the Lord constantly in front of them, this I have been granted to know through a great deal of experience. Sometimes when I have been in the company of angels, I have noticed the Lord’s presence before my own face: even though I did not see him, I could tell he was there because of the light. Angels have often borne witness to the truth of this as well.

Since the Lord is constantly in front of angels, we say in our world that they have God before their eyes and faces, that people who believe in him and love him look to him and see him. Expressions like this come to us from the spiritual world, for this is the source of many of our expressions, though we are unaware that they come from there.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 143

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