Heaven and Heavenly Joy (Continued)

The angelic state is such that everyone conveys his or her own blessings and happiness to others. In the next life there is a communication and keen perception of all feelings and thoughts, so that in the sharing of joy each communicates to all and all to each, which essentially makes every individual the center of all the rest.

This is how heaven is set up. As a result, the more people there are to make up the Lord’s kingdom, the greater the happiness is; it increases as the numbers increase. This is why heavenly happiness is inexpressible. Such a sharing of all with one and one with all exists whenever we love another person more than ourselves. But when we wish better to ourselves than to another, self-love takes control. Self-love shares nothing of its own with others except its self-conception, which is actually something extremely filthy. When this conception is perceived by others, we are immediately cut off and rejected.

Each and every part of the human body cooperates with the others in both the overall functioning of the whole and the specific functioning of each part. It is the same in the Lord’s kingdom, which is like a single human being and is also named the “universal human”; everyone there works together, whether at close quarters or more at a distance, and by many different means. This takes place in accord with the plan established and constantly reinforced by the Lord alone for the sake of everyone’s happiness.

from  Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 549-550

Notes:

Previously Cited: 6/2/2016

Heaven and Heavenly Joy (Continued)

None of the souls who come into the other life know what heaven or heavenly joy is. Most think it is a joy they can enter into regardless of how they have lived. Even those who hated their neighbor and indulged in a life of adultery believe this, entirely unaware that heaven is love—a love both mutual and chaste—and that heavenly joy is the happiness welling up from love.

Several times I have talked to spirits newly arrived from the world about the conditions of eternal life. “It’s important for you to know who the Lord of the realm is, what his style of government is like, and what the form of government is,” I pointed out. “On earth, the first thing you have to do on entering another country is to learn the identity and character of the monarch, the nature of the government, and other information about the country. How much more so in this realm, where you’ll live forever? “The Lord alone rules not just heaven but the whole universe,”I said. “Whoever rules the one rules the other. “The kingdom in which you now find yourself is the Lord’s.

The laws of this kingdom are eternal truths, all founded on this solitary law: you are to love the Lord above all and your neighbor as yourself. Not only this, in fact, but if you want to be like angels, you’ll have to love your neighbor more than yourselves.” To all this they had no answer, because during bodily life they had heard something similar but had not believed it. They were astounded to hear that in heaven people can and do love their neighbor more than themselves (although they had heard that they should love their neighbor as themselves).

“Everything good in the next life expands without limit,” I told them. “Life bounded by the body is such that we can’t progress any farther than loving our neighbor as ourselves, because we’re wrapped up in bodily concerns. But when these concerns have been laid aside, love grows purer and purer until at last it is angelic. Angelic love is to love one’s neighbor more than oneself.

“That this kind of love is possible you could have known from the love between certain married partners who would prefer death to seeing their spouse injured. You could have known it from the love parents have for their children: a mother would rather starve than see her baby go hungry. And this is true even among birds and animals.

“You could have known it from true friendship in people who risk danger for the sake of their friends. You could even have known it from polite friendship—the pretense that tries to pass for real friendship—in which we offer the better portions to those in our good graces and bear selflessness on our lips (though not in our hearts).

“Last, you could have known it from the nature of love, which is such that its joy is to serve others, not for one’s own sake but for the other person’s.”

But these things were incomprehensible to those who loved themselves more than others and to those who had been money-grubbing during physical life. Least understanding of all were the misers.

from Secrets of Heaven, volume 1, Sections 547-548

Notes:

Previously Cited: 6/1/2016

It IS the Lord’s Divine Nature That Makes Heaven (Continued)

Spirits who during their earthly lives had convinced themselves that they were the sources of the good they did and the truth they believed, or who had claimed these virtues as their own, are not accepted into heaven. This is the belief of all those who place merit in good deeds and claim to be righteous.

Angels avoid them. They regard them as stupid and as thieves—stupid because they are constantly looking at themselves and not at the Divine, and thieves because they take from the Lord what is actually his. They stand in opposition to heaven’s belief that the Lord’s divine nature in angels is what makes heaven.

If people are in heaven or in the church, they are in the Lord and the Lord is in them. This is what the Lord taught when he said, “Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them will bear much fruit; because without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4–7).

This allows us finally to conclude that the Lord dwells in angels in what belongs to himself, and therefore that the Lord is the sum and substance of heaven. This is because the good from the Lord is the Lord within and among them, since what comes from him is himself. Accordingly, the good from the Lord, and not anything of their own, is heaven for angels.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 10-12

It Is the Lord’s Divine Nature That Makes Heaven (Continued)

In their wisdom, angels press on even further. They say that it is not just everything good and true that comes from the Lord, but every bit of life as well. They support this by pointing out that nothing can come into being from itself. Everything presupposes something prior. This means that everything has come into being from a First, which they call the essential reality of the life of everything. Everything endures in the same way, too, because enduring is a constant coming into being. If anything were not kept in constant connection with the First, through intermediate means, it would instantly collapse and disintegrate. They add that there is only one single wellspring of life, with human life as one stream flowing from it. If it were not constantly supplied from its wellspring, it would immediately peter out.

Still further, they say that nothing flows from that unique wellspring of life, the Lord, that is not divinely good and divinely true. These affect every individual according to the way they are accepted. People who accept them into their faith and life are in heaven, while people who reject or stifle them transform them into hell. They actually change what is good into evil and what is true into falsity—life into death.

Angels also support their belief that the Lord is the source of every bit of life by observing that everything in the universe goes back to what is good and true. Our volitional life, the life of our love, goes back to what is good, while our cognitive life, the life of our faith, goes back to what is true. Since everything good and true comes to us from above, it follows that this is the source of all of our life.

Because angels believe this, they decline any thanks offered them for the good they do. In fact they feel hurt and withdraw if anyone gives them credit for anything good. It bewilders them to discover that people can believe they are wise on their own or do good on their own. Doing good for one’s own sake, in their language, cannot be called “good,” because it stems from self. Doing good for its own sake is what they call “good from the Divine.” This, they say, is the kind of good that makes heaven, because this kind of good is the Lord.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 9

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/30/2017

It Is the Lord’s Divine Nature That Makes Heaven

WHILE we call the total assemblage of angels heaven because they do make it up, what really makes heaven overall and in every specific instance is the divine nature that emanates from the Lord, flowing into angels and accepted by them. The divine nature that emanates from the Lord is the good intrinsic to love and the truth intrinsic to faith. The amount angels accept from the Lord of what is good and what is true determines the extent to which they are angels and are heaven.

Everyone in the heavens knows, believes, and even perceives that nothing good is intended and done by the self and that nothing true is thought and believed by the self. Everything comes from the Divine, which means from the Lord. Anything good and true from the self is not good or true, because there is no life from the Divine within it. Angels of the central heaven perceive and feel the inflow distinctly. The more they accept, the more they seem to be in heaven, because they are more fully absorbed in love and faith, in the light of intelligence and wisdom, and in the heavenly joy that results. Once we see that all these qualities emanate from the Lord’s divine nature, we can see that the Lord’s divine nature makes heaven. It is not anything the angels do with a sense of ownership.

This is why in the Word heaven is called the Lord’s dwelling and his throne. It is why the people who live there are described as being “in the Lord.” We will explain later how the divine emanates from the Lord and fills heaven.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 7-8

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/29/2917

Heaven and Heavenly Joy (Continued)

The following experience was to teach me what happens with people who are eager to enter heaven but are not of a type that can stay there.

Once while I was in a community in heaven, an angel appeared to me as a little child wearing a wreath of dazzling sky-blue flowers on its head and garlands of other colors circling its chest. From this sign I was able to recognize that I was in a particular community where charity existed. Then into the same community came some upstanding spirits who on entering suddenly became much more intelligent and started talking like angelic spirits.

Next to be admitted was a group of people who claimed to be innocent on their own merits. Their condition was represented to me by a baby spitting up milk. That is what such people are like.

Afterward came people who supposed that their own good thinking made them intelligent. Their condition was represented in their faces, which were angular but reasonably attractive. They appeared wearing pointed hats with a protruding spike. Still, their faces did not seem to be made of human flesh but looked like lifeless sculptures. This is the condition of those who believe that they can make themselves spiritual or acquire faith on their own.

Other spirits were allowed in who were unable to stay there. Overwhelmed with dismay and anxiety, they fled the place.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 546

Heaven and Heavenly Joy (Cannot Possibly Put It into Words)

In order to teach me about the existence and nature of heaven and heavenly joy, the Lord has given me the opportunity to perceive the pleasures of heavenly joy frequently and for extended periods. Because I have learned these things by actually experiencing them, I possess the knowledge but cannot possibly put it into words.

To offer just an idea of it: The countless pleasures and joys there, which come together to create a single experience shared by all, carry with them a certain emotion. Within that common experience, or that common emotion, are points of harmony among a boundless number of feelings. These individual points of harmony do not come clearly but only vaguely to our awareness, because our perception is extremely generalized. Even so, I was allowed to perceive that there were countless parts, organized in a way that can never be described. Those countless parts flow from the order that exists in heaven, which determines their nature.

The smallest individual elements of an emotion are organized in such a way that they are presented and sensed only as a collective whole, according to the capacities of the person who feels the emotion. In a word, every whole has an unlimited number of parts, organized in the most perfect way; every one of the parts is alive; and every one of them affects us, all the way to our inmost recesses. For the inmost recesses are where heavenly joy comes from.

I also perceived that joy and pleasure seemed to come from my heart, gently permeating all the inmost fibers of my body and thus all the bundles of fibers. The sensation of this joy at the deepest levels made it seem as though each fiber was composed of nothing but joy and pleasure and all the perceptiveness and sensitivity that come with joy and pleasure. The fibers seemed alive with happiness.

The joy we feel in physical indulgence, compared to these joys, is like a coarse, stinging dust compared to the gentlest breath of pure air.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 545

Previously Cited: 5/30/2016

Heaven and Heavenly Joy (Continued)

Once some spirits eager to explore what heavenly joy was like were granted the opportunity to perceive the deepest level of their own joy, up to the point where they could no longer stand it. It was not angelic joy and barely resembled even the least of such joys, as I could tell when their joy was communicated to me. It was so paltry as to seem rather cold. Still, they pronounced it most heavenly, since it was the deepest of their own joys. This experience showed not only that there are different levels but also that the deepest level of one kind barely extends to the shallowest or middle level of another. It demonstrated further that when we gain our most profound joy, we are in our own heavenly joy; we cannot bear any deeper variety, which would only end up turning painful for us.

A group admitted into the innocent state of the first heaven spoke to me from there and confessed that the condition of that heaven was so glad and joyful that it could never be imagined in the least. This was in merely the first heaven. There are three heavens, and each enjoys a state of innocence, with all its countless variations.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 543-544

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/29/2016

Heaven and Heavenly Joy (Continued)

Some who had no idea what heavenly joy was were abruptly carried up into heaven. They had been reduced to a condition in which they could be lifted up, their bodily desires and their delusions having been put to sleep. I heard one of them saying to me from there that now for the first time he could feel how much joy there was in heaven. He admitted that he had been grossly deceived, that he had held a very different view, and that he could now perceive the deepest degree of his own joy, which was immeasurably more than he had ever felt at the peak of any sensual experience during his physical existence. He called the pleasures that [he and his companions] usually enjoy foul.

In those who are taken to heaven for the purpose of discovering what it is like, bodily desires and delusions are put to sleep, since no one can enter heaven bringing such things along from the world. Either that or they are surrounded with the aura of spirits who moderate the unclean and discordant things in them in a miraculous way. Some people may have their inner recesses opened. These are some of the methods [of preparation], and there are others, depending on the way people have lived and the character they have acquired along the way.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 541-542

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/28/2016

Heaven and Heavenly Joy (Continued)

Almost no one coming into the other life understands what the blessings and happiness of heaven are, since they do not know what deep-seated joy is or what it feels like. They can grasp it only in relation to bodily and worldly kinds of happiness and joy, and whatever they do not know about they consider worthless. Nevertheless, bodily and worldly thrills are relatively worthless and filthy.

In order for those who are honest but ignorant to learn what heavenly joy is and to come to recognize it, they are introduced first into scenes of Paradise that surpass anything they could ever have imagined. (With the Lord’s divine mercy, these scenes will be described further on [Section 1622]). They suppose they have now entered the heavenly Paradise, but they are taught that this is not the true happiness of heaven.

Next they experience profound states of joy in their deepest core. Afterward they are carried into a state of peace reaching to the same deep level. They confess that nothing about that peace could ever be captured in word or thought. Finally they are brought into a state of innocence that again reaches right to their deepest level of sensation. This allows them to recognize what true good is like on the spiritual and heavenly planes.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 540