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