An744a_500_635  The angels taken collectively are called heaven, for they constitute heaven; and yet that which makes heaven in general and in particular is the Divine that goes forth from     the Lord and flows into the angels and is received by them. And as the Divine that goes forth from the Lord is the good of love and the truth of faith, the angels are angels and are heaven in the measure in which they receive good and truth from the Lord. [HH7]


In the two preceding chapters it has been shown that heaven in its whole complex, and likewise each society in heaven, reflects a single man. From the sequence of reasons there set forth it follows that this is equally true of each angel. As heaven is a man in largest form, and a society of heaven in a less form, so is an angel in least. For in the most perfect form, such as the form of heaven is, there is a likeness of the whole in the part and of the part in the whole. This is so for the reason that heaven is a common sharing, for it shares all it has with each one, and each one receives all he has from that sharing. Because an angel is thus a recipient he is a heaven in least form, as shown above in its chapter; and a man also, so far as he receives heaven, is a recipient, a heaven, and an angel (see above, n. 57). This is thus described in the Apocalypse: 

He measured the wall of the holy Jerusalem, a hundred and forty and four cubits, the measure of a man, which is that of an angel (21:17). 

“Jerusalem” means here the Lord’s church, and in a more eminent sense, heaven;{1} the “wall” means truth, which is a defence against the assault of falsities and evils;{2} “a hundred and forty and four” means all goods and truths in the complex;{3} “measure” means what a thing is,{4} a “man” means one in whom are goods and truths in general and in particular, thus in whom is heaven. And as it is from this that an angel is a man, it is said “the measure of a man, which is that of an angel.” This is the spiritual meaning of these words. Without that meaning how could it be seen that “the wall of the Holy Jerusalem” is “the measure of a man, which is that of an angel?”{5} [HH73] 


By changes of state of angels their changes in respect to love and faith, and wisdom and intelligence therefrom, are meant, thus their changes in respect to states of life. States are predicated of life and of what belongs to life; and as angelic life is a life of love and faith, and of wisdom and intelligence therefrom, states are predicated of these and are called states of love and faith, and states of wisdom and intelligence. How with angels these states are changed shall now be told. [HH154] 

Angels are not constantly in the same state in respect to love, and in consequence in the same state in respect to wisdom; for all their wisdom is from their love and in accordance with their love.  Sometimes they are in a state of intense love, sometimes in a state of love not so intense. The state decreases by degrees from its greatest degree to its least. When in their greatest degree of love they are in the light and warmth of their life, or in a clear and delightful state; but in their least degree they are in shade and cold, or in an obscure and undelightful state. From this last state they return again to the first, and so on, these alternations following one after another with variety. There is a sequence of these states like the varied states of light and shade, or of heat and cold, or like morning, noon, evening, and night, day after day in the world, with unceasing variety throughout the year. There is also a correspondence, morning corresponding to the state of their love in its clearness, noon to the state of their wisdom in its clearness, evening to the state of their wisdom in its obscurity, and night to a state of no love or wisdom. But it must be understood that there is no correspondence of night with the states of life of those in heaven, although there is what corresponds to the dawn that precedes morning; what corresponds to night is with those in hell.{1} From this correspondence “day” and “year” signify in the Word states of life in general; “heat” and “light” signify love and wisdom; “morning” the first and highest degree of love “noon” wisdom in its light; “evening” wisdom in its shade; “dawn” the obscurity that precedes the morning; and “night” the absence of love and wisdom.{2} [HH155]

Together with the state of the angels’ interiors which pertain to their love and wisdom, the states of various things that are outside of them and that they see with their eyes are changed; for the things outside of them take on an appearance that is in accord with the things within them. But what things these are, and what kind of things they are, shall be told presently in the chapter on Representatives and Appearances in Heaven.    [HH156]

Every angel undergoes and passes through such changes of state, and also every society in general, and yet each one differently, for the reason that they differ in love and wisdom, those in the middle being in a more perfect state than those round about even to the circumference (see above, n. 43, 128). But it would be tedious to specify the differences, since the changes each one undergoes are in accord with the quality of his love and faith. From this it happens that while one may be in clearness and delight another may be in obscurity and lack of delight, and this at the same time within the same society. So, too, the state differs in different societies; it is different in the societies of the celestial kingdom from what it is in those of the spiritual kingdom. These differences in the changes of state are in general like the variations of the states of days in different climates on the earth, for with some it is morning when with others it is evening, and with some it is hot when with others it is cold. [HH157]

I have been taught from heaven why there are such changes of state there. The angels said that there are many reasons-first, the delight of life and of heaven, which they have from love and wisdom from the Lord, would gradually lose its value if they were in it continually, as happens with those that are in allurements and pleasures without variety. A second reason is that angels, as well as men, have what is their own [proprium], which is loving self; and all that are in heaven are withheld from what is their own, and so far as they are withheld from it by the Lord are in love and wisdom; but so far as they are not withheld they are in the love of self; and because everyone loves what is his own and is drawn by it{1} they have changes of state or successive alternations. A third reason is that they are in this way perfected, for they thus become accustomed to being held in love to the Lord and withheld from love of self; also that by alternations between delight and lack of delight the perception and sense of good becomes more exquisite.{2} The angels added that their changes of state are not caused by the Lord, since the Lord as a sun is unceasingly flowing in with heat and light, that is, with love and wisdom; but the cause is in themselves, in that they love what is their own, and this continually leads them away.  This was illustrated by comparison with the sun of the world, that the cause of the changes of state of heat and cold and of light and shade, year by year and day by day, is not in that sun, since it stands unchanged, but the cause is in the earth. [HH158]

I have been shown how the Lord as a sun appears to the angels of the celestial kingdom in their first state, in their second state, and in their third state. I saw the Lord as a sun, at first glowing and brilliant with a splendor that cannot be described; and I was told that such is the appearance of the Lord as a sun to the angels in their first state. Afterwards there appeared a great obscure belt about the sun, and by this its first glow and brilliancy, which gave it such splendor, began to be dulled, and I was told that such is the appearance of the sun to them in their second state. Then the belt seemed by degrees to grow darker, and the sun to appear less glowing, and this by degrees until at length it took on a shining whiteness; and I was told that such is the appearance of the sun to them in their third state. After this, that shining whiteness was seen to move to the left towards the moon of heaven, and to add itself to her light; and in consequence the moon shone forth with unwonted splendor; and I was told that such is the fourth state of those in the celestial kingdom and the first state of those in the spiritual kingdom, and that in both kingdoms changes of state have such alternations; yet not in the whole kingdom at once, but in one society after another. Furthermore, I was told that these alternations are not fixed, but come upon them sooner or later without their knowledge. And it was added that the sun in itself is not thus changed or moved; but it takes on this appearance in accord with their successive progressions of state, since the Lord appears to everyone in accord with what his state is, thus glowing when one is in intense love and less glowing and finally shining white as his love subsides; and the quality of each one’s state was represented by the obscure belt that induced upon the sun these apparent variations in its glow and light. [HH159]

When angels are in the last of these states, which is when they are in what is their own, they begin to be sad. I have talked with them when they were in that state and have seen their sadness; but they said that they hoped to return soon to their former state, and thus into heaven again, as it were; for to them it is heaven to be withheld from what is their own. [HH160]


spir1itualang3_350_276 The nature of angelic wisdom can scarcely be comprehended, because it so greatly transcends human wisdom that the two cannot be compared; and whatever is thus transcendent does not seem to be any thing.  Moreover, some truths that must enter into a description of it are as yet unknown, and until these become known they exist in the mind as shadows, and thus hide the thing as it is in itself. Nevertheless, these truths can be known, and when known be comprehended, provided the mind takes any interest in them; for interest carries light with it because it is from love; and upon those who love the things pertaining to Divine and heavenly wisdom light shines forth from heaven and gives enlightenment.   [HH265]  
What the wisdom of the angels is can be inferred from the fact that they are in the light of heaven, and the light of heaven in its essence is Divine truth or Divine wisdom; and this light enlightens at the same time their inner sight, or sight of the mind, and their outer sight, or sight of the eyes. (That the light of heaven is Divine truth or Divine wisdom may be seen above, n. 126-133.) The angels are also in heavenly heat, which in its essence is Divine good or Divine love, and from that they have an affection and longing to become wise. (That the heat of heaven is Divine good or Divine love may be seen above, n. 133-140.) That the angels are in wisdom, even to the extent that they may be called wisdoms, follows from the fact that their thoughts and affections all flow in accordance with the heavenly form, and this form is the form of Divine wisdom; also that their interiors, which are recipients of wisdom, are arranged in that form. (That the thoughts and affections of angels flow in accordance with the form of heaven, and consequently their intelligence and wisdom, may be seen above, n. 201-212.)

 [2] That the angels have supereminent wisdom is shown also by the fact that their speech is the speech of wisdom, for it flows directly and spontaneously from thought, and their thought from their affection, thus their speech is thought from affection in outward form; consequently there is nothing to withdraw them from the Divine influx, and nothing from without such as enters into the speech of man from other thoughts. (That the speech of angels is the speech of their thought and affection may be seen above, n. 234-235.) That the angels have such wisdom is in accord with the fact that all things that they behold with their eyes and perceive by their senses agree with their wisdom, since they are correspondences of it, and thus the objects perceived are representative forms of the things that constitute their wisdom.  (That all things seen in the heavens are correspondences with the interiors of angels and representations of their wisdom may be seen above, n. 170-182.)

 [3] Furthermore, the thoughts of angels are not limited and contracted by ideas from space and time, as human thoughts are, for spaces and times belong to nature, and the things that belong to nature withdraw the mind from spiritual things, and deprive intellectual sight of its proper range. (That the ideas of angels are apart from time and space, and thus less limited than human ideas, may be seen above, n. 162-169 and 191-199.) Again, the thoughts of angels are neither brought down to earthly and material things, nor interrupted by anxieties about the necessities of life; thus they are not withdrawn by such things from the delights of wisdom, as the thoughts of men in the world are; for all things come to them gratuitously from the Lord; they are clothed gratuitously, are fed gratuitously, are housed gratuitously (n. 181-190), and besides this they receive delights and pleasures in the degree of their reception of wisdom from the Lord. These things have been said to make clear why it is that angels have so great wisdom.{1} [HH266]

Angels are capable of receiving such wisdom because their interiors are open; and wisdom, like every other perfection, increases towards the interiors, thus to the extent that interiors are opened.{1} In every angel there are three degrees of life, corresponding to the three heavens (see n. 29-40)--those in whom the first degree has been opened are in the first or outmost heaven; those in whom the second degree has been opened are in the second or middle heaven; while those in whom the third degree has been opened are in the third or inmost heaven. The wisdom of angels in the heavens is in accordance with these degrees. Therefore the wisdom of the angels of the inmost heaven immeasurably surpasses the wisdom of angels of the middle heaven, and the wisdom of these immeasurably surpasses the wisdom of angels of the outmost heaven (see above, n. 209, 210; and what degrees are, n. 38). There are such differences because the things which are in the higher degree are particulars, and those in the lower degree are generals, and generals are containants of particulars. Particulars compared with generals are as thousands or myriads to one; and such is the wisdom of the angels of a higher heaven compared with the wisdom of the angels of a lower heaven. In like manner the wisdom of the latter surpasses the wisdom of man, for man is in a bodily state and in those things that belong to the bodily senses, and man’s bodily sense belongs to the lowest degree. This makes clear what kind of wisdom those possess who think from things of sense, that is, who are called sensual men, namely, that they have no wisdom, but merely knowledge.{2} But it is otherwise with men whose thoughts are raised above the things of sense, and especially with those whose interiors have been opened even into the light of heaven.   [HH267]

It can be seen how great the wisdom of angels is from the fact that in the heavens there is a communication of all things; intelligence and wisdom are communicated from one to another, and heaven is a common sharing of all goods; and this for the reason that heavenly love is such that it wishes what is its own to be another’s; consequently no one in heaven perceives his own good in himself to be good unless it is also in another; and this is the source of the happiness of heaven. This the angels derive from the Lord, for such is His Divine love. That there is such a communication of all things in the heavens it has been permitted me to know by experience.  Certain simple spirits were at one time taken up into heaven, and when there they entered into angelic wisdom, and then understood things that they were never before able to comprehend, and spoke things that they were unable to utter in their former state. [HH268]

The wisdom of the angels is indescribable in words; it can only be illustrated by some general things. Angels can express in a single word what a man cannot express in a thousand words. Again, a single angelic word contains innumerable things that cannot be expressed in the words of human language; for in each of the things uttered by angels there are arcana of wisdom in continuous connection that human knowledges never reach. Again, what the angels fail to express in the words of their speech they make up by the tone, in which there is an affection for the things in their order; for (as has been said above, n. 236, 241) tones express affections, as words express ideas of thought from the affections; and for this reason the things heard in heaven are said to be ineffable. So, too, the angels are able to express in a few words every least thing written in an entire volume, and give to every word meanings that elevate the mind to interior wisdom; for their speech is such as to be in accord with their affections, and each word is in accord with their ideas; and their words are varied in infinite ways in accord with the series of things which in complex are in the thought.

[2] Still again, the interior angels are able to perceive from the tone and from a few words the entire life of one speaking; for from the tone as varied by the ideas in the words they perceive his ruling love upon which, as it were, every particular of his life is inscribed.{1} All this makes clear the nature of angelic wisdom. In comparison with human wisdom it is as a myriad to one, or as the moving forces of the whole body, which are numberless, to the activities from them which appear to human sense as a single thing, or as the thousand particulars of an object seen under a perfect microscope to the one obscure thing seen by the naked eye.

 [3] Let me illustrate the subject by an example. An angel from his wisdom was describing regeneration, and brought forward arcana respecting it in their order even to some hundreds, filling each of them with ideas in which there were interior arcana, and this from beginning to end; for he explained how the spiritual man is conceived anew, is carried as it were in the womb, is born, grows up and is gradually perfected. He said that the number of arcana could be increased even to thousands, and that those told were only about the regeneration of the external man, while there were numberless more about the regeneration of the internal man. From these and other like things heard from the angels it has been made clear to me how great is their wisdom, and how great in comparison is the ignorance of man, who scarcely knows what regeneration is, and is ignorant of every least step of the process when he is being regenerated. [HH269] 

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

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