If the Lord had not brought about redemption, angels could not have continued to exist in a state of integrity either. To the Lord, the entire angelic heaven along with the church on earth is like a single human being. The angelic heaven constitutes the inner level of that person; the church constitutes the outer level.
To be more specific, the highest heaven forms the head of that person; the second and the lowest heavens form the chest and the midsection of that person’s body; and the church on earth constitutes the person’s body from below the waist to the feet. The Lord himself is the soul and life of the whole person.
If the Lord had not brought about redemption, that person would have been destroyed. The loss of the church on earth destroys that body from the waist down; the loss of the lowest heaven destroys the digestive area; the loss of the second heaven destroys the thorax. Then the head loses consciousness because it has no relationship with the body.
Analogies will illustrate this. It is like someone’s feet becoming gangrenous and the gangrene climbing progressively higher, reaching the genitals and then the abdominal organs, and finally attacking the region of the heart. As we know, at that point the person succumbs to death.
This can also be illustrated by analogy with diseases of the internal organs below the diaphragm. When they fail, the heart begins to palpitate and the lungs begin to heave desperately. In the end the heart and lungs stop functioning.
This can also be illustrated by analogy with our higher and lower self. The higher self is strong as long as the lower self is obediently fulfilling its obligations; but if the lower self is resistant rather than obedient, and worse yet if it attacks the higher self, the higher self eventually becomes weak and finally gets carried away by the lower self’s pleasures until the higher self agrees and goes along with the lower self.
This can also be illustrated by comparison with people standing on a mountain who notice that the land below is flooded and the water is rising higher and higher. When it reaches the level where they are standing, unless they can ensure their own safety by getting on some life raft washed to them on the floodwaters, they too are submerged.
Likewise when people on a mountain see a thick fog rising higher and higher above the ground, covering the fields, villages, and cities. Finally, when the fog reaches them, they do not see a thing—not even in the spot where they themselves are standing.
It is like this for angels. When the church on earth dies, the lower heavens also disintegrate. The reason is that the heavens consist of people from the world. When there is nothing good left in the human heart and no truth from the Word, the heavens are flooded with evils that rise up; they are choked by them as by the waters of the Styx. Nevertheless the Lord hides [good spirits] somewhere else and preserves them till the day of the Last Judgment, then lifts them into a new heaven.
The Book of Revelation refers to these good spirits in the following statements:
I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been killed for the sake of God’s word and for the testimony that they had given. They were shouting with a loud voice saying, “How long, Lord, you who are holy and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on earth?” They were given white robes and were told that they should rest a little longer until they were all together, they and their fellow slaves, and their brothers and sisters who were going to be killed as they had been. (Revelation 6:9, 10, 11)
from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 119