The Clothes Angels Appear In (Continued)

Because angels’ clothes correspond to their intelligence they also correspond to what is true, since all intelligence comes from divine truth. So it amounts to the same thing whether you say that angels are dressed according to their intelligence or according to divine truth. The reason the garments of some angels gleam as though aflame, while the garments of others shine as though alight, is that flame corresponds to what is good, and light to what is true because of that good.a  The reason some garments are pure white and soft white and do not shine, while others are of various colors, is that divine good and truth are less dazzling and are also differently accepted among less intelligent people.b Pure white and soft white correspond to what is true,c  and colors correspond to different shadings of truth.d  The reason angels in the inmost heaven are naked is that they are in innocence, and innocence corresponds to nudity.e

from Heaven and Hell, Section 179


Previously Cited: 12/30/2016

a. Garments in the Word mean truths by reason of correspondence; because truths clothe what is good: A veil means something of intellect, since discernment is the vessel of what is true: White garments of linen mean truths from the Divine: Flame means spiritual good, and the light from it means truth from that good.

b. Angels and spirits are seen wearing clothes that accord with their truths and therefore with their intelligence: Some garments of angels are radiant, and some are not.

c. Pure white and soft white in the Word mean what is true, because they come from light in heaven.

d. Colors in heaven are variegations of the light there: Colors mean various things that are matters of intelligence and wisdom: The precious stones in the Urim and Thummim, depending on their colors, meant all the truths in the heavens that stem from what is good: To the extent that colors are derived from red, they mean what is good; while to the extent that they are derived from white, they mean what is true.

e. All the people in the inmost heaven are innocent, and therefore seem to be naked: Innocence is manifested in heaven as nudity: For innocent and chaste people, nudity is not a matter of shame because there is no occasion for offense.


The Clothes Angels Appear In

SINCE angels are people and live together the way people on earth do, they have clothes and homes and a great many other things: the difference, however, being that everything is more perfect for them because they are in a more perfect state. For just as angelic wisdom surpasses our wisdom so greatly as to be inexpressible, so too does everything that comes to their perception and sight, since everything perceived by and apparent to angels corresponds to their wisdom (see above, Section 173).

Like everything else, the clothes angels wear correspond, and since they do correspond they truly exist (see above, Section 175). Their clothes reflect their intelligence, so all the people in heaven are dressed according to their intelligence; and since one will surpass another in intelligence (see Sections 43 and 128), one will have better quality clothing than another. The most intelligent wear clothes that gleam as though aflame, some radiant as though alight. The less intelligent wear pure white and soft white clothes that do not shine, and those still less intelligent wear clothes of various colors. The angels of the inmost heaven, though, are naked.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 177-178


Section 173: Published 12/13/2016

Section 175: Published  12/14/2016

Section 43: Published 5/7/2017

Section 128: Published 11/23/2016

Each Community Is a Heaven in Smaller Form and Each Angel a Heaven in Smallest Form (Continued)

Further still, heaven is where the Lord is recognized, trusted, and loved. The different ways he is worshiped—in variations that stem from the difference of activity from one community to another—do not cause harm but bring benefit, because they are a source of heaven’s perfection.

It is hard to explain this in such a way that it can be grasped without resorting to expressions usually found in academic circles and using them to explain how a perfect whole is formed from a variety of elements. Every perfect whole arises from a variety of elements, for a whole that is not composed of a variety of elements is not really anything. It has no form, and therefore no quality. However, when a whole does arise from a variety of elements, and the elements are in a perfected form in which each associates with the next in the series like a sympathetic friend, then it has a perfect quality. Heaven is, then, a single whole composed of a variety of elements arranged in the most perfect form; for of all forms, the form of heaven is the most perfect.

We can see that this underlies all perfection from every instance of beauty, charm, and delight that moves both our senses and our spirits. Such instances arise and flow invariably from a harmonious agreement of many things that are in sympathetic concord, whether they are together simultaneously or follow in a sequence. They do not flow from a single unit that lacks plurality. So we say that variety delights, and recognize that the delight depends on the quality of the variety. We can see from this, as though in a mirror, how perfection stems from variety in heaven as well, since things that happen in the natural world offer us a reflection of things in the spiritual world.

We can say the same of the church as we have of heaven, since the church is the Lord’s heaven on earth. It also has many components, and yet each is called a church and is a church to the extent that the qualities of love and faith rule within it. In it, the Lord forms a single whole out of the varied elements, and therefore makes a single church out of many churches.

Much the same can be said of the individual member of the church as has been said about the church in general, namely that the church is within and not outside, and that anyone is a church in whom the Lord is present in the qualities of love and faith.

Much the same can be said of the individual who has the church within as has been said about the angel who has heaven within, that such an individual is a church in least form as the angel is a heaven in least form. Even more, we can say that the individual who has the church within is a heaven just as much as an angel is, for we have been created to enter heaven and become angels. So anyone who has the quality of goodness from the Lord is an angel-person.

It is worth noting what we have in common with angels and what we possess that they lack. We have in common with angels the fact that our deeper levels are formed in the image of heaven and that we also become images of heaven to the extent that we participate in the qualities of love and faith. What we have that angels lack is that our more outward levels are formed in the image of this world; and that to the extent that we are engaged in what is good, the world within us is subordinated to heaven and serves it; and that then the Lord is present with us on both levels as he is in his heaven. He is actually present on both levels in his divine order, for God is order.

It should be noted in closing that people who have heaven within themselves have heaven not only in their larger or shared aspects but also in their smallest or most specific ones, with the smallest ones in them reflecting the largest. The reason for this is that as individuals we are our love and have a quality that depends on the quality of the love that is ruling. Whatever rules flows into the specifics and arranges them, and imposes everywhere an image of itself. In heaven, it is love for the Lord that rules, because the Lord is loved there above all else. As a result, the Lord is the sum and substance of everything there, flowing into absolutely everything, arranging everything, clothing everything with his likeness, and making heaven to be where he is. So an angel is a heaven in least form, a community a heaven in greater form, and all the communities together a heaven in greatest form. On the Lord’s divine nature as constituting heaven, and on his being the sum and substance of heaven, see above, Sections 7–12.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 56-58


Previously Cited: 2/15/2018

Sections 7-12: Published 5/29/2017-5/31/2017

Each Community Is a Heaven in Smaller Form and Each Angel a Heaven in Smallest Form (Continued)

Just as a whole community is a heaven in lesser form, so too an angel is a heaven in least form. For heaven is not outside angels but within them. Their deeper levels, the levels of their minds, are arranged in the form of heaven and therefore are arranged to accept all the elements of heaven that are outside them. These elements they accept according to the quality of the goodness that is within them from the Lord. As a result, an angel is also a heaven.

It can never be said that heaven is outside anyone. It is within; because every angel accepts the heaven that is outside in keeping with the heaven that is within. We can see, then, how mistaken people are who think that getting into heaven is simply a matter of being taken up among the angels, regardless of the quality of their inner life, who believe that heaven is granted merely because of [the Lord’s] mercy. On the contrary, unless heaven is within an individual, nothing of the heaven that is outside flows in and is accepted.

There are many spirits who hold this opinion and who, because of their faith, have been taken up into heaven. However, once they arrived, because their inner life was contrary to the life angels are engaged in, they began to be blinded in their understanding to the point that they became virtually idiotic, while in regard to their self-control they began to be so tormented that they carried on like people gone mad. In short, people who have lived evil lives and who arrive in heaven bring their souls with them and are tormented like fish out of water, in the air, or like animals in the vacuum in air pumps once the air has been pumped out. It stands to reason, then, that heaven is within us and not outside.

Since everyone accepts the heaven that is outside according to the quality of the heaven that is within, angels accept the Lord in the same way, because it is the Lord’s divine nature that constitutes heaven. Consequently, when the Lord renders himself present in any particular community, his appearance depends on the nature of the good activity that community is engaged in. It is therefore not exactly the same in one community as in another. It is not that this difference is in the Lord: it is in the individuals who are seeing him from their own goodness and therefore in keeping with it. They are affected by the sight of him according to the quality of their own love. The ones who love him deeply are deeply moved, while the ones who love him less deeply are less deeply moved. Evil people, who are outside of heaven, find his presence intensely painful.

When the Lord does appear in any community, he appears there as an angel, but he is identified by the divine quality that shines through.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 53-55


Previously Cited: 2/14/2018

Each Community Is a Heaven in Smaller Form and Each Angel a Heaven in Smallest Form

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


Previously Cited: 2/13/2018

Section 43: Published 5/7/2017 and 6/7/2019

The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities (Continued)

All the communities communicate with each other, but not through open interaction. Actually, not many individuals leave their own community to go to another, because leaving their community is like leaving themselves or their life and crossing over into another that does not suit them. Rather, they all communicate by the outreach of the auras that emanate from the life of every individual. An aura of life is an aura of affections based in love and faith. This reaches out far and wide into surrounding communities, farther and wider as the affections are deeper and more perfect. Angels possess intelligence and wisdom in proportion to this outreach. The ones who are in the most inward heaven and therefore at the center have an outreach into all of heaven, so that there is a communication of everyone in heaven with each individual and of each individual with everyone. We will have more to say about this outreach below, though, when we discuss the heavenly form in which angelic communities are arranged (and also when we discuss the wisdom and intelligence of angels), for all the outreach of affections and thoughts follows this form.

We have noted above that there are larger and smaller communities in the heavens. The larger ones consist of tens of thousands of individuals, the smaller of some thousands, and the smallest of hundreds. There are even people who live alone, house by house, so to speak, and family by family. Even though they live apart, they are still arranged in the same pattern as those who live in communities, with the wiser of them in the center and the simpler at the periphery. They are very closely under the Lord’s guidance, and are the best of angels.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 49, 50


Previously Cited: 5/10/2017

The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities (Continued)

All the individuals who make up a particular angelic community have a general facial resemblance, but differ in detail. I could grasp this general similarity and particular difference to some extent on the basis of similar situations in this world. We know that every race has a general similarity about the face and eyes that enables us to recognize it and distinguish it from other races, and that the same is even more true from one family to another. This holds true much more perfectly in the heavens, because there all the deeper feelings are visible and shine forth from the face, the face there being their outward and graphic form. It is not possible in heaven to have a face that differs from our feelings.

I have also been shown how this general similarity is varied in detail in the individuals of a single community. There was a kind of angelic face that appeared to me, and this was varied according to the qualities of affections for the good and the true that were characteristic of the individuals in a particular community. These variations lasted quite a while, and through it all I noticed that the same general face remained constant as a basis, with everything else being simply derivations and elaborations from it. In this way, too, I was shown the affections of the whole community that occasioned the differences in the faces of its members, for as already noted, the faces of angels are their deeper qualities taking form, which means they are forms of the affections proper to their love and faith.

This is also why an angel of outstanding wisdom sees the quality of others instantly, from their faces. In heaven, no one can conceal inner character by facial expression and pretend, much less lie and deceive others by guile and hypocrisy.

It does sometimes happen that hypocrites steal into [heavenly] communities, hypocrites trained in hiding their inner nature and arranging their outward appearance in the benevolent form they present in public, thereby misleading angels of light. However, they cannot stay around very long. They begin to feel inner discomfort and torment, their faces start to turn blue, and they almost faint—changes caused by their opposition to the life that is flowing in and affecting them. So they promptly cast themselves back into the hell of people like themselves and no longer dare to climb up again. These are the people meant by the man who was discovered among the dinner guests without a wedding garment and was thrown out into outer darkness (Matthew 22:11).

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 47-48


Previously Cited: 5/9/2017

Matthew 22:11-14 (NLT):

“But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding.  ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply.  Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities (Continued)

Kindred souls gravitate toward each other spontaneously, as it were, for with each other they feel as though they are with their own family, at home, while with others they feel like foreigners, as though they were abroad. When they are with kindred souls, they enjoy the fullest freedom and find life totally delightful.

We can see from this that the good gathers everyone together in the heavens, and that angels are differentiated by what good they do. Still, it is not the angels who gather themselves, but the Lord, the source of all that is good. He leads them, unites them, differentiates them, and keeps them in freedom to the extent that they are engaged in what is good. So he keeps every individual in the life of his or her own love, faith, intelligence, and wisdom—and therefore in happiness.

Further, people of similar quality all recognize each other there just the way people in this world recognize their neighbors and relatives and friends, even though they may never have seen each other before. This happens because the only relationships and kinships and friendships in the other life are spiritual ones, and are therefore matters of love and faith.

I have often been allowed to see this when I was in the spirit and therefore out of body and in the company of angels. Then some of them looked to me as though I had known them from infancy, while others seemed totally unfamiliar. The ones who looked as though I had known them from infancy were the ones who were in a state like that of my own spirit, while the unfamiliar ones were in dissimilar states.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 44-46


Previously Published: 5/8/2017

The Heavens Are Made Up of Countless Communities

THE angels of any given heaven are not all together in one place, but are separated into larger and smaller communities depending on differences in the good effects of the love and faith they are engaged in. Angels engaged in similar activities form a single community. There is an infinite variety of good activities in heaven, and each individual angel is, so to speak, his or her own activity.

The distances between angelic communities in the heavens also vary as their activities vary, in general and in detail. This is because the only cause of distance in the spiritual world is the difference of the state of our more inward natures—in the heavens, then, differences in the state of love. When communities are very different, the distance between them is great; when the difference is slight, the distance is slight. Likeness makes for unity.

All the individuals in a single community are distanced from each other by the same principle. The better ones, that is, the ones who are more complete in goodness and therefore in love, wisdom, and intelligence, are in the center. Those who are less outstanding surround them at distances graded in proportion to their lessened perfection. It is like the way light decreases from a center toward a circumference. The ones who are in the middle are in the greatest light, while the ones who are toward the perimeter are in less and less.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 41-43

Previousy Published: 5/7/2017

Wisdom Comes into Being out of Goodness by Means of Truth

How rationality is conceived and born in us:

This is brought about by means of an inflow of the Lord through heaven into whatever spiritual and worldly knowledge we have, lifting us up as a result. This lifting up depends on the useful things we do and on our love of them. Our rationality is born by means of truths, so the nature of the truths determines the nature of our rationality. Our rationality is opened and given form by truths that arise from living a good life; it is closed and destroyed by falsities that arise from living an evil life. Our being able to argue that this or that is true does not mean we are rational; we are rational if we are able to see and perceive whether something is actually true or not. We are not born with any truth, because we are not born with any goodness; we need to learn and absorb everything. Because of the deceptiveness of our senses and the persuasiveness of falsity, which lead to rationalizations and doubts, we are barely able to accept genuine truths and then become wise.

The beginning of our wisdom occurs when we start to turn our backs on rationalizations that deny what is true, and to cast aside our doubts. When our rational ability is not enlightened it scoffs at inner truths. Our truths can properly be called inner truths only when they have been rooted in our lives, and not merely because we know about them, even though some truths that we know about might be said to be of a deeper kind.

Within goodness there lies a capacity to grow in wisdom; if our lives have been devoted to doing what is good, we attain angelic wisdom after our departure from this world. Within every type of goodness countless other types of goodness lie hidden. From goodness countless things can be learned.

How truth multiplies as a result of goodness:

By means of truths and by means of living according to them, the goodness we have in early childhood becomes the goodness that belongs to wisdom. We can be moved by a desire for truth and we can be moved by a desire for goodness. What we are like when we are moved by a desire for truth and what we are like when we are moved by a desire for goodness. Which people can come to desire truth and which people cannot. All truths are arranged under some emotion that they have in common. In earthly-minded people a desire for truth and a desire for goodness are like brother and sister, while in spiritually minded people they are like husband and wife.

Pure truths are not to be found in us or even in angels—only in the Lord. Any truths that we have are only apparently true. The first truths we have are things that seem to be true according to our deceptive senses; we gradually shed these as we increase in wisdom. If we are devoted to what is good, the things we think are true are accepted as real truths by the Lord.

The substance and nature of things that seem to be truths:

Much of the literal meaning of the Word is adapted to suit the way things seem to people. The same truths can be more true for one individual, less true for another, and false for yet another because they have been distorted. By coordinating the impressions of our earthly self with those of our spiritual self, we can see whether the things we hold as true are actually true or not. How true our truths are varies depending on our ideas and concepts of them.

When a truth has been joined to goodness it vanishes from our memory because it has become part of our life. Truths can be joined to goodness only in a state of freedom. Truths are joined to goodness by means of the crises of the spirit we go through. All goodness makes a constant effort to put truths in their place and to be restored by means of an inversion of its state. Truths become unpleasant when their connection with goodness is cut off. It is hard for us to tell the difference between truth and goodness because it is hard for us to tell the difference between thinking and willing. In the Word, what is good is called the brother of what is true. From one point of view, whatever is good is called a lord and whatever is true is called a servant.

from New Jerusalem, Section 27