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


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


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


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


Previously Cited: 5/12/2018

The Vastness of Heaven (Continued)

Because they take a few passages from the Word literally, some people think that heaven is not vast but small. For example, there are places where it says that only the poor will be accepted into heaven, or only the elect, or only people in the church and not people from outside, or only people for whom the Lord makes intercession, or that heaven will be closed when it is full, and that the time for this is foreordained. These people do not realize that heaven will never be closed; that there is no foreordained time, no fixed number; and that “the elect” are people who live lives of goodness and truth; that “the poor” are people who have not found out what is good and true but who long to (they are also called “the hungry” because of this longing).

People who think that heaven is small because they have misunderstood the Word can only be thinking that heaven is in a single place where everyone is gathered together. Yet in fact heaven consists of countless communities. (See above, Sections 41–50.) Further, they can only be thinking that heaven is granted to individuals out of direct mercy and therefore consists simply of admission and acceptance out of good will. They do not realize that the Lord, out of his mercy, leads everyone who accepts him, and that the people who accept him are the people who live according to the laws of the divine design, which are precepts of love and faith. They do not realize that being led by the Lord from infancy to the end of earthly life and then on to eternity is what mercy really means. If only they knew that everyone is born for heaven, that people are accepted into heaven who accept heaven into themselves in this world, and that people who do not accept it are shut out!

from Heaven and Hell, Section 420


Previously Cited: 5/6/2017

Sections 41-50: Published 6/7/2-19-6/10/2019

The Vastness of Heaven (Continued)

We may also gather how vast the Lord’s heaven is from the fact that heaven in a single complex resembles a single human being and also corresponds to everything within us. This relationship can never be completely filled in because there is a correspondence not only with the particular members and organs and viscera of the body but also, in most minute detail, with all the tiny organelles and viscera within them, even with the individual vessels and fibers—and not only with these, but with the organic substances that receive the inflow of heaven from within, the inflow that gives us the inner processes that support the workings of our spirits. In fact, everything that happens within us happens in the forms of our substance; anything that does not happen in substances as agents is nothing. There is a correspondence of all these substances with heaven, as you may gather from the chapter on the correspondence of everything in heaven with everything in the human being (Sections 87–102). This correspondence can never be completely filled in because the more assemblies of angels there are that answer to each member, the more complete heaven is. In the heavens, all forms of perfection increase as numbers increase. This is because there is one goal for everything there and a unanimous focus of everyone on that goal. That goal is the common good; and when this rules, there is benefit to individuals from the common good and from the good of individuals to the good of the whole. This happens because the Lord turns everyone in heaven toward himself (see above, Section 123) and in this way makes them one with himself.

Anyone with a little rational enlightenment can figure out that the unanimous harmony of many people, especially from such a source and with such intimacy, brings forth perfection.

I have been allowed to see the extent of the inhabited heaven and also the extent of the uninhabited heaven; and I have seen that the uninhabited heaven is so vast that it could never be filled to all eternity even if there were thousands of thousands of planets with as many people on each one as there are on ours.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 418-419


Previously Cited: 5/5/2017

Sections 87-102: Published 5/18/2019-5/26/2019

Section 123: Published 6/30/2019

The Vastness of Heaven (Continued)

The vastness of the Lord’s heaven also follows from the fact that all the planets we can see in our solar system are earths, and especially that there are untold more in the universe, all inhabited, as discussed in a special booklet entitled Other Planets, from which I should like to cite the following.

It is common knowledge in the other life that there are many planets with people on them and therefore angels and spirits from them, since anyone who wants to talk with spirits from other planets because of a love of the truth and a desire to be useful is allowed to do so to be convinced of the plurality of worlds, to learn that the human race is not just from one earth but from countless planets.

I have talked about this on occasion with spirits from our earth, noting that intellectually gifted people could know, on the basis of much that is familiar to them, that there are many earths with people on them. That is, they could come to the rational conclusion that masses as big as the planets, some of which are larger than our earth, are not empty lumps created only to meander around the sun and radiate their feeble light for just one planet, but that their function must be more worthwhile than this.

People who believe (as they should) that the Divine created the universe for the sole purpose of the emergence of the human race and a heaven from it (for the human race is the seedbed of heaven) cannot help but believe that there are people wherever there is a planet.

It is abundantly clear that the planets visible to our eyes, the ones in our solar system, are earths, because they are material bodies, since they reflect the sun’s light; and when we look at them through a telescope they do not look like ruddy, fiery stars but like earths with blurry bands of color. There is also the fact that they are borne around the sun, through the stations of the Zodiac, just like our earth, which must cause years and the seasons of the year called spring, summer, fall, and winter. Similarly, they rotate on their axes like our earth, which makes days and the times of day called morning, noon, evening, and night. Not only that, some of them have moons called satellites, which have their own periodic orbits around their sphere the way the moon orbits our earth. The planet Saturn, which is very far from the sun, has also a huge luminous belt that gives a great deal of light to that planet, even though it is reflected light. How could anyone who knows all this and thinks rationally say that these are empty bodies?

Then too, I have talked with spirits about the fact that people could realize that there is more than one earth in the universe from the fact that the starry heaven is so immense. There are so incomprehensibly many stars in it, each one a sun in its own place and its own system, like our sun, of different magnitudes. If people think this through carefully, they will come to the conclusion that this whole vast universe cannot be anything but a means to an end, which is the goal of creation, a heavenly kingdom in which the Divine can dwell with angels and with us. The visible universe, the heaven spangled with so incomprehensibly many stars that are all suns, is in fact simply a means for the production of planets with people on them who can make up a heavenly kingdom.

Given all this, rational people cannot help thinking that such a vast means toward such an end did not come into being for the sake of a human race on one earth. What would that be for a divine being, an infinite being, for whom thousands or tens of thousands of planets, all fully inhabited, would be so slight as to be practically nothing? There are spirits whose special passion is to learn at first hand, because this is the only kind of knowledge that gives them any pleasure.

These spirits are therefore allowed to travel around and even to leave this solar system and visit others, to gather firsthand knowledge there. They have told me that there are inhabited planets not only in our solar system but also outside it in the starry sky—a vast number of them. These spirits are from the planet Mercury.

By a preliminary calculation, if there were a million planets in the universe with three hundred million people on each one, and two hundred generations over six thousand years, and if each person or spirit were allotted three cubic cubits, and if all these people or spirits were gathered into one place, they would not even fill the volume of our earth, hardly more than a satellite of one of the planets. This would be such a small space in the universe as to be barely visible, since we can scarcely see those satellites with the naked eye. What would this be for the Creator of the universe, for whom it would not be enough if the whole universe were filled? For the Creator is infinite. I have talked about this with angels, who have told me that they have much the same idea about how small the number of the human race is in comparison to the infinity of the Creator. However, they do not think in terms of space but of states, and to their minds, no matter how many tens of thousands of planets you could conceive of, it would still be simply nothing to the Lord.

Information on the planets in the universe, their inhabitants, and the spirits and angels who come from them may be found in the booklet mentioned earlier. What you will find there has been revealed and shown to me to let people know that the Lord’s heaven is vast and that it is all from the human race, and also that our Lord is recognized everywhere as the God of heaven and earth.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 417


Previously Cited: 5/4/2017

The Vastness of Heaven

THE vastness of the Lord’s heaven follows from many of the things that have been presented above, especially from the fact that heaven is from the human race (see Sections 311–317), not only that portion of it born within the church but also the portion born outside it (Sections 318–328). This means that heaven includes everyone who has lived a good life since the very beginning of our planet.

Anyone familiar with the continents and regions and nations of this world may gather what a multitude of people there are on our whole globe. Anyone who goes into the mathematics of it will discover that thousands and thousands of people die on any given day, making hundreds of thousands or millions every year; and this has been going on since the earliest times, thousands of years ago. All of these people have arrived in the other world, called the spiritual world, after their decease, and they are still arriving.

I cannot say how many of these are or are becoming angels of heaven. I have been told that most of the earliest people became angels, because they thought more deeply and spiritually and were therefore enveloped in heavenly affection; while for later ages it was not so many because as time passed we became more externally minded and began to think more on the natural level, which meant that we were enveloped in more earthly affection.

This enables us to gather at the outset that heaven is huge simply from the inhabitants of this planet.

The immensity of the Lord’s heaven may also be gathered simply from the fact that all children, whether born within or outside the church, are adopted by the Lord and become angels, and their number amounts to a quarter or a fifth of the whole human race. It may be seen above (Sections 329–345) that every child—wherever born, whether within the church or outside it, whether of devout or irreverent parents—is accepted by the Lord at death. Every child is raised in heaven, is taught and is permeated with affections for what is good according to the divine design and thereby with firsthand knowledge of things true, and is then perfected in intelligence and wisdom, so to speak, and admitted into heaven to become an angel. You can gather what a vast multitude of heaven’s angels has come from this source alone from the beginning of creation to the present day.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 415-416


Previously Cited: 5/3/2017

Sections 311-317: Published 7/24/2019-7/28/2019

Sections 318-328: Published 7/17/2017-7/24/2017

Sections 329-345: Published 7/9/2018-7/17/2018

The Wisdom of Heaven's Angels (Continued)

There is still another reason, beyond the ones already given, why angels can accept so much wisdom, a reason that in heaven is actually the primary one. It is that they are free of any selfishness; for to the extent that people are free of selfishness they can be wise in divine matters. Selfishness is what closes off our deeper natures from the Lord and heaven and opens our outer natures and turns them toward ourselves. So all people in whom that selfish love predominates are in the depths of darkness as far as heavenly realities are concerned, no matter how much light they may enjoy in regard to worldly matters. In contrast, since angels are free of that love, they enjoy the light of wisdom. The heavenly loves in which they are centered—love for the Lord and love for their neighbor—open the deeper levels because these loves come from the Lord and the Lord himself is within them. (These loves constitute heaven in general and form heaven in individuals in particular: Sections 13–19.)

Since heavenly loves open our deeper levels toward the Lord, all the angels turn their faces toward the Lord (Section 142): in the spiritual world love is what turns the deeper levels of every individual toward itself, and what turns the deeper levels turns the face, since the face there acts in unison with the deeper levels and is actually their outward form. Further, because love does turn the deeper levels and the face toward itself, it also unites itself to them, since love is spiritual union. Therefore it also shares what it has with them. It is from this turning and the consequent union and sharing that angels get their wisdom (all union in the spiritual world takes place according to the way people are facing, Section 255).

Angels are constantly being perfected in wisdom, but still they cannot to eternity be so perfected that there is any ratio between their wisdom and the Lord’s divine wisdom. For the Lord’s divine wisdom is infinite and the angels’ is finite, and there is no ratio between the infinite and the finite.

Since wisdom perfects angels and makes their life, and since heaven with its blessings flows into individuals according to their wisdom, all the people there long for it and seek it, much the way a hungry person seeks food. In fact, information, intelligence, and wisdom are spiritual nourishment the way food is natural nourishment. They correspond to each other.

The angels in any given heaven—even the angels in any given community—do not enjoy the same wisdom, but differ. Those in the center have the most wisdom, while those who have less are around them all the way to the borders. The decrease of wisdom according to the distance from the center is like the decrease in light as it tends toward darkness (see Sections 43, 128). Further, the light for them is on a consistent level, since heaven’s light is divine wisdom and each individual is in light in proportion to his or her acceptance of it. (On heaven’s light and the different ways it is accepted, see Sections 126–132.)

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 272-275


Previously Cited: 10/24/2017

Sections 13-19: Published 11/1/2019-11/4/2019

Section 142: Published 7/9/2017

Section 255: Published 7/22/2019

Section 43: Published 6/7/2019

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

The Wisdom of Heaven's Angels (Continued)

The reason angels of the third heaven are like this is that they are centered in love for the Lord, and that love opens the deeper levels of the mind to the third level and is open to and retentive of all wisdom. It should also be known that angels of the inmost heaven are constantly being even more perfected in wisdom and that this too happens differently than for angels of the outmost heaven. Angels of the inmost heaven do not store up divine truths in their memory or translate them into information. Rather, as soon as they hear them, they grasp them and apply them to their lives. This is why divine truths for them are virtually engraved, because anything that is committed to life is to that extent internalized. It is different, though, for angels of the outmost heaven. They first assign divine truths to their memory and store them in the form of information. Then they retrieve them and use them to perfect their understanding; and without any deeper grasp of their truth, they intend them and commit them to life. Consequently, things are relatively cloudy for them.

It is worth noting that angels of the third heaven are perfected in wisdom through hearing rather than through seeing. What they hear through preaching does not go into their memory but directly into their perception and intention and becomes a matter of their life. What they see with their eyes, though, does go into their memory, and they think and talk about it. This has enabled me to see that the path of hearing is the path of wisdom for them. This too is because of correspondence, since the ear corresponds to obedience, and obedience has to do with the way we live; while the eye corresponds to intelligence, and intelligence is a matter of doctrine. The state of these angels is described in many places in the Word; for instance in Jeremiah:

I will put my law in their mind and write it on their heart. No longer will anyone teach a friend or a brother by saying “Know the Lord,” for all the people there are will know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. (Jeremiah 31:33–34)

And in Matthew,

Let your conversation be “Yes, yes; no, no,” for anything beyond this comes from evil. (Matthew 5:36″ [5:37])

The reason anything beyond this comes from evil is that it is not from the Lord; for the truths that are resident within angels of the third heaven are from the Lord because they are centered in a love for him. Love for the Lord in that heaven is intending and doing divine truth, for divine truth is the Lord in heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 271


Previously Cited: 10/23/2017