The Union of Heaven with the Human Race (Continued)

The kind of spirit that is associated with us is determined by the kind of person we are in respect to affection and love, though good spirits are assigned to us by the Lord while we ourselves summon the evil ones. The spirits with us change, however, as our own affections change. This means we have one kind with us in infancy, another kind during our childhood, another kind as we are growing up and in early adulthood, and still another kind in old age. During our earliest years, spirits who are in innocence are with us, that is, spirits who are in touch with the heaven of innocence, the inmost or third heaven. In later childhood we are in the company of spirits who are engaged in an affection for knowledge and who are in touch with the ultimate or first heaven. As we are growing up, during our early adulthood, spirits who are responsive to affections for what is true and good and therefore with intelligence are with us. They are spirits who are in touch with the second or intermediate heaven. In old age, though, spirits who are in wisdom and innocence are with us, spirits therefore who are in touch with the inmost or third heaven.

Still, this association is arranged by the Lord for people who can be reformed and regenerated. It is different for people who cannot be reformed or regenerated. Good spirits are assigned to them as well in order to restrain them from evil as much as possible, but their direct connection is with the evil spirits who are in touch with hell. This means that the spirits are of the same nature as the people they are associated with. Whether they love themselves or money or revenge or adultery, the same kind of spirits are with them and are, so to speak, taking up residence in their evil affections. To the extent that we cannot be restrained from evil by good spirits, they inflame us, and to the extent that an evil affection is in control, they cling to us and will not back off.

In this way, evil people are united to hell and good people to heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 295

Notes:

Previously Cited: 6/24/2018

The Union of Heaven with the Human Race (Continued)

The reason spirits who are in touch with hell are attached to us as well is that we are born into all kinds of evil, so that our first life is made up of nothing else. Unless spirits of the same kind were associated with us, then, we could not live or be led out of our evils and reformed. So we are kept in our own life by evil spirits and restrained from it by good spirits. Through the two kinds, we are kept in a balance; and since we are in a balance we enjoy an appropriate measure of freedom and can be led out of our evils and turned toward good. This good can be sown in us as well, which could never happen except in our freedom; and the freedom could not be granted us unless spirits from hell were acting on the one side and spirits from heaven on the other, with us in the middle.

I have been shown that to the extent that we exist from our hereditary nature and from ourselves, we could have no life at all if we were not allowed to engage in evil. We would also have no life if we were not in some freedom, and we cannot be compelled to good: anything compelled does not become part of us. I have also been shown that anything good that we accept in freedom is sown in our intentions and becomes virtually our own. This is why we have a communication with hell and a communication with heaven.

I also need to describe the nature of the communication of heaven with good spirits, the nature of the communication of hell with evil spirits, and the nature of the consequent union of heaven and hell with us. All the spirits who are in the world of spirits are in communication with heaven or with hell, the evil ones with hell and the good ones with heaven. Heaven is differentiated into communities, and so is hell. Every spirit is a member of some community, is sustained by an inflow from it, and therefore acts in harmony with it. This is why we are united with heaven or hell just as we are united with spirits. We are actually united to some community there, the community we belong to in respect to our affection or our love; for all heaven’s communities are differentiated according to their affections for what is good and true and all hell’s communities according to their affections for what is evil and false (on heaven’s communities, see above, Sections 41–45 and 148–151).

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 293-294

Notes:

Sections 41-45: Published 5/7/2017-5/8/2017

Sections 148-151: Published 7/13/2017-7/14/2017

The Union of Heaven with the Human Race

IT is acknowledged in the church that everything good comes from God and nothing of it from us, and therefore that we should never take personal credit for anything good. It is also recognized that evil comes from the devil. This is why people who talk from the doctrine of the church describe people who are acting well and who are talking devoutly and preaching as being led by God, and say the opposite about people who are acting maliciously and speaking blasphemously. None of this could happen unless we had a union with heaven and a union with hell, and unless those unions were with our volition and our understanding, since it is from these that the body acts and the mouth speaks. We need now to describe what this union is like.

There are good spirits and evil spirits with every individual. We have our union with heaven through the good spirits and our union with hell through the evil ones. These spirits are in the world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell and will be specifically treated later. When these spirits come to us, they come into our whole memory and from there into all our thinking—evil spirits into the matters of memory and thought that are evil, and good spirits into the matters of memory and thought that are good. These spirits are totally unaware that they are with us. Rather, as long as they are, they believe that all these matters of our memory and thought are actually theirs. They do not see us, either, because their sight does not extend to things in our subsolar world.

The Lord takes the greatest care to prevent spirits from knowing whom they are with. If they did know, they would talk with them, and then the evil spirits would destroy them; for evil spirits, being united to hell, want nothing more than to destroy us not only as to spirit (that is, as to our love and faith) but as to our bodies as well. It is different when they do not talk with us. Then they do not know that we are the source of what they are thinking—and what they are saying to each other, since they talk to each other just the way we do—but believe that these matters are their own. They value and love whatever is their own, so these spirits are constrained to love and value us, even though they do not know it.

This kind of union has become so familiar to me through years of constant experience as to be commonplace.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 291-292

Notes:

Previously Cited: 6/22/2018

Representations and Appearances in Heaven (Continued)

When I have been allowed to be in the company of angels, I have seen what was there exactly the way I see things in our world, so perceptibly that I did not know I was not in our world and in the court of some king here. I have also talked with angels just as one person here talks to another.

Since all the things that are responsive to angels’ deeper natures also portray them, they are called representations. Since they vary depending on the states of the deeper natures for angels, they are called appearances, even though the things that are visible to angels’ eyes in the heavens and are perceived by their other senses appear and are sensed just as vividly as things are for us on earth, in fact far more clearly, crisply, and perceptibly. The appearances that arise in heaven in this way are called real appearances because they do actually come into being. There are also unreal appearances, things that seem to be present but do not correspond to deeper realities. But more on this later.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 174-175

Notes:

Previously Cited: 12/14/2016

Representations and Appearances in Heaven (Continued)

But even though the things that are seen in the heavens are largely similar to things on earth, they are not alike in essence. The things that exist in the heavens come from heaven’s sun, while earthly things come from our world’s sun. Things that arise from heaven’s sun are called spiritual, while things that arise from our world’s sun are called natural.

Things that arise in the heavens do not arise in the same way as things on earth. In the heavens, everything comes into being from the Lord in response to the deeper natures of the angels. Angels do in fact have more inward and more outward natures. Everything that is deeper within them has to do with love and faith, and therefore with their intending and discernment, since their intending and discernment are the vehicles of their love and faith. Their more outward natures, though, are perfectly responsive to their inner natures. This can be illustrated by what we have said above about heaven’s warmth and light, that angels have warmth in keeping with the quality of their love, and light in keeping with the quality of their wisdom. The same holds true for the other things that impinge on angels’ senses.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 172-173

Notes:

Previously Cited: 12/13/2016

Representations and Appearances in Heaven

ANYONE who thinks solely from natural light cannot understand that anything in heaven is like anything in our world. This is because such people, on the basis of this light, have both thought and decided that angels are nothing but minds, and that minds are like ethereal breath. This would mean that angels did not have the senses we do, so they would not have eyes; and if they did not have eyes there would be no objects [of sight]. However, angels do have all the senses we do—far more delicate ones, in fact—and the light in which they see is far brighter than the light in which we see.

On angels being people in a most perfect form with the use of all their senses, see Sections 73–77 above; and on light in heaven being far brighter than the light in our world, see Sections 126–132.

There is no way to describe briefly how things look to angels in the heavens. To a considerable extent, they look like the things we see on earth, but they are more perfect in form and also more abundant.

We may conclude that there are things like this in the heavens because of what the prophets saw—for example what Ezekiel saw of the new temple and the new earth as described in chapters 40 to 48 [of his book], what Daniel describes in his chapters 7–12, what John saw as described from the first through the last chapter of Revelation, along with other visions presented in both the historical and the prophetic books of the Word. They saw things like this when heaven was opened to them, and heaven is said to be opened when our inner sight, the sight of our spirit, is opened. For the things that exist in heaven cannot be seen with our physical eyes, but only with the eyes of our spirit; and when it pleases the Lord, these are opened. At such times we are led out of the natural light that our physical senses are in and raised into the spiritual light in which we dwell because of our spirit. This is the light in which I have seen the things that exist in the heavens.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 170-171

Notes:

Previously Cited: 12/12/2016

Sections 73-77: Published 3/9/2018-3/10/2018

Sections 126-132: Published 7/2/2019-7/7/2019

Our Revival from the Dead and Entry into Eternal Life (Continued)

This first stage of our life after death does not last more than a few days, though. In the following pages I will be describing how we are then brought from one state into another until finally we arrive either in heaven or in hell. This too is something I have been allowed to learn from a great deal of experience.

I have talked with some people on the third day after their death, when the events described in Sections 449 and 450 have been completed. I talked with three whom I had known in the world and told them that their funeral services were now being planned so that their bodies could be buried. When they heard me say it was so that they could be buried, they were struck with a kind of bewilderment. They said that they were alive, and that people were burying what had been useful to them in the world. Later on, they were utterly amazed at the fact that while they had been living in their bodies they had not believed in this kind of life after death, and particularly that this was the case for almost everyone in the church.

Some people during their earthly lives have not believed in any life of the soul after the life of the body. When they discover that they are alive, they are profoundly embarrassed. However, people who have convinced themselves of this join up with others of like mind and move away from people who had lived in faith. Most of them link up with some hellish community because such people reject the Divine and have no use for the truths of the church. In fact, to the extent that we convince ourselves in our opposition to the ideal of the eternal life of the soul, we also convince ourselves in opposition to the realities of heaven and the church.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 451-452

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/15/2018

Section 449: Published 12/06/2019

Section 450: Published 12/07/2019

Our Revival from the Dead and Entry into Eternal Life (Continued)

When heavenly angels are with people who have been awakened they do not leave them, because they love everyone. But some spirits are simply unable to be in the company of heavenly angels very long, and want them to leave. When this happens, angels from the Lord’s spiritual kingdom arrive, through whom we are granted the use of light, since before this we could not see anything but could only think.

I was also shown how this is done. It seemed as though the angels rolled back a covering from my left eye toward the center of my nose so that my eye was opened and able to see. To the spirit, it seems as though this were actually happening, but it is only apparently so. As this covering seemed to be rolled back, I could see a kind of clear but dim light like the light we see through our eyelids when we are first waking up. It seemed to me as though this clear, dim light had a heavenly color to it, but I was later told that this varies. After that, it felt as though something were being rolled gently off my face, and once this was done I had access to spiritual thought. This rolling something off the face is an appearance, for it represents the fact that we are moving from natural thinking to spiritual thinking. Angels take the greatest care to shield the awakening person from any concept that does not taste of love. Then they tell the individual that he or she is a spirit.

After the spiritual angels have given us the use of light, they do everything for us as newly arrived spirits that we could ever wish in that state. They tell us—at least to the extent that we can grasp it—about the realities of the other life. However, if our nature is such that we do not want to be taught, then once we are awakened we want to get out of the company of angels. Still, the angels do not leave us, but we do leave them. Angels really do love everyone. They want nothing more than to help people, to teach them, to lead them into heaven. This is their highest joy.

When spirits leave the company of angels, they are welcomed by the good spirits who are accompanying them and who also do all they can for them. However, if they had led the kind of life in the world that makes it impossible for them to be in the company of good people, then they want to get away from these as well. This happens as long and as many times as necessary, until they find the company of people their earthly life has fitted them for. Here they find their life; and remarkable as it may sound, they then lead the same kind of life they had led in the world.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 450

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/14/2018

Our Revival from the Dead and Entry into Eternal Life (Continued)

I have not only been told how the awakening happens, I have been shown by firsthand experience. The actual experience happened to me so that I could have a full knowledge of how it occurs.

I was brought into a state in which my physical senses were inoperative—very much, then, like the state of people who are dying. However, my deeper life and thought remained intact so that I could perceive and retain what was happening to me and what does happen to people who are being awakened from death. I noticed that my physical breathing was almost suspended, with a deeper breathing, a breathing of the spirit, continuing along with a very slight and silent physical one.

At first then a connection was established between my heartbeat and the heavenly kingdom, because that kingdom corresponds to the human heart. I also saw angels from that kingdom, some at a distance, but two sitting close to my head. The effect was to take away all my own affection but to leave me in possession of thought and perception.

I remained in this state for several hours. Then the spirits who were around me gradually drew away, thinking that I was dead. I sensed a sweet odor like that of an embalmed body, for when heavenly angels are present anything having to do with a corpse smells sweet. When spirits sense this, they cannot come near. This is also how evil spirits are kept away from our spirit when we are being admitted into eternal life.

The angels who were sitting beside my head were silent, simply sharing their thoughts with mine (when these are accepted [by the deceased], the angels know that the person’s spirit is ready to be led out of the body). They accomplished this sharing of thoughts by looking into my face. This is actually how thoughts are shared in heaven.

Since I had been left in possession of thought and perception so that I could learn and remember how awakening happens, I noticed that at first the angels were checking to see whether my thoughts were like those of dying individuals, who are normally thinking about eternal life. They wanted to keep my mind in these thoughts. I was later told that as the body is breathing its last, our spirit is kept in its final thought until eventually it comes back to the thoughts that flowed from our basic or ruling affection in the world.

Especially, I was enabled to perceive and even to feel that there was a pull, a kind of drawing out of the deeper levels of my mind and therefore of my spirit from my body; and I was told that this was being done by the Lord and is what brings about our resurrection.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 448-449

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/13/2018

Our Revival from the Dead and Entry into Eternal Life

WHEN someone’s body can no longer perform its functions in the natural world in response to the thoughts and affections of its spirit (which it derives from the spiritual world), then we say that the individual has died. This happens when the lungs’ breathing and the heart’s systolic motion have ceased. The person, though, has not died at all. We are only separated from the physical nature that was useful to us in the world. The essential person is actually still alive. I say that the essential person is still alive because we are not people because of our bodies but because of our spirits. After all, it is the spirit within us that thinks, and thought and affection together make us the people we are.

We can see, then, that when we die we simply move from one world into another. This is why in the inner meaning of the Word, “death” means resurrection and a continuation of life.

The deepest communication of our spirit is with our breathing and our heartbeat; thought connects with our breathing, and affection, an attribute of love, with our heart. Consequently, when these two motions in the body cease, there is an immediate separation. It is these two motions, the respiratory motion of the lungs and the systolic motion of the heart, that are essential ties. Once they are severed, the spirit is left to itself; and the body, being now without the life of its spirit, cools and decays.

The reason the deepest communication of our spirit is with our breathing and our heart is that all our vital processes depend on these, not only in a general way, but in every specific.

After this separation, our spirit stays in the body briefly, but not after the complete stoppage of the heart, which varies depending on the cause of death. In some cases the motion of the heart continues for quite a while, and in others it does not. The moment it does stop, we are awakened, but this is done by the Lord alone. “Being awakened” means having our spirit led out of our body and into the spiritual world, which is commonly called “resurrection.”

The reason our spirit is not separated from our body until the motion of the heart has stopped is that the heart answers to affection, an attribute of love, which is our essential life, since all of us derive our vital warmth from love. Consequently, as long as this union lasts there is a responsiveness, and therefore the life of the spirit is [still] in the body.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 445-447

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/12/2018