Near-death experiences are full of encounters with angels and other spiritual beings. Here are a few examples…
“Every person has guardian angels all their lives throughout his or her life. Our angels are the embodiment of compassion for us. Because of their reverence for God, they cannot impose themselves on us or intervene in our lives when we choose to reject them and God’s love. The more we despise our angels, the more we are on our own. Our desire for self-sufficiency insulates us from the divine order for our lives. When we realize our need for God and God’s messengers, we grow in desire and opportunity to live in the divine order. Love attracts more love and hate attracts hate.”
— Page 52
“We couldn’t find a parking space directly in front of the church, so my wife parked in the bank parking lot across the street. By the time we walked across the parking lot, across the street, and up the steps of the church, I was leaning heavily on her. What a pitiful sight I must have been to the greeters at the door of the church. Emaciated, jaundiced skin, yellow eyes, leaning on my wife, dragging my feet up the steps.
“The worship had just begun with the congregation singing the opening hymn when we entered the sanctuary. A few feet inside, I saw on the ceiling of the church hundreds of angels basking in praise of God. They were a golden color and radiated golden light around them. The unexpected sight of the angels unleashed powerful emotions of awe of God from inside me. I did the only thing I could do in that circumstance, which was to throw myself down on the floor. Prostrate on the carpeted aisle, I thanked God and praised God profusely…”
“The next Sunday we went back to Christ Church, and over the weeks I slowly resisted crying enough to sing the hymns and recite the prayers. I continued to see the angels and their beautiful radiance in the upper portion of the worship space every Sunday. I noticed that they were more splendid when the congregation sang and less radiant when things like announcements and collections happened. I had the impression that I was the only one who could see the angels. The prayers, hymns, scripture, and sermons all spoke to me in a deeply personal way because it was consistent with what I had experienced with Jesus and the angels.”
— Page 112-114
“Angels sometimes appear to us as people. Angels can take on any appearance they wish. We have encountered angels and did not realize they were angels in human form.”
— Page 137
“Angels rarely appear in their glory. The times that angels have appeared to me in their full glory, it was almost unbearable. The brightness of the light that radiates from them is brighter than the light from a welding torch. Their light doesn’t burn the eyes, but it is frightening because it is so different from our experience of life. An experience of the supernatural glory and power of an angel is frightening. They don’t appear to us in their natural state very often. They most often tone it down for us to keep us comfortable. I don’t have the words to adequately describe angels in their natural state. Brighter than lightning, beautiful beyond comparison, powerful, loving, and gentle are words that fail to describe them. Artists’ depictions of angels are pitifully inadequate. As an artist I am aware of the impossibility of representing an angel. How do you paint something that is more radiant than substance? How do you paint colors that you have never seen before or since? How do you describe love on a canvas?
“Angels are with us constantly and they are everywhere. We are never apart from them. We have angels who guard us from evil. Thousands of stories have been published concerning angels intervening in people’s lives. Why they intervene sometimes and other times don’t is between them and God. They told me that they always want to intervene in our lives, but sometimes God restrains them. God wants us to experience the consequences of our actions. On special rare occasions God allows the angels to help. When we ask God for spiritual gifts of love, faith, and hope, God always allows the angels to help us. Spiritual gifts are never refused if we are ready to receive them. The angels are working all the time to give us the love of God, faith in God, hope in God. Angels hear our prayers.
“Angels do not want to be worshipped. They want all praise to be for God. They don’t want us to confuse them with God. They know the difference between the Creator and the creature. They are servants of God, created to be God’s messengers. We can thank them for being that for us.
“Angels don’t make mistakes, because they communicate directly with God. Their will and desire are the same as God’s. We can ask God to send angels to guide us and protect us. We can ask the angels to teach us God’s will. We can’t make the angels appear to us or do anything that is not God’s will.
“There are different kinds of angels with different responsibilities and different attributes. One angel may accompany a child, another has the responsibility for a city, another a nation, another a world, another a universe. We might think that the mighty angels are gods, but they don’t think of themselves that way. They know they are servants of God participating in the divine plan. Angels love God with their whole being. They desire nothing but to serve God. Angels can experience what we think and feel. When this is consistent with God’s will, they are joyful. When we are opposed to God’s will, they suffer emotionally. If we knew how empathetic our angels are with us, we would want to please them and God. We would never want to do anything that would distress them, but we do. The Spirit of God is the spirit of the angels. This same Spirit is in us, leading us to truth and love. When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we are in harmony with the angels and God. Then we become like the angels, messengers of God.
“The best word to describe an angel is compassion. As we live by the Holy Spirit, our compassion grows. The compassion of the angels for us becomes our compassion for all people. We discover that the love of God is tough love. The love we learn is complex and difficult. Just as the angels refuse to control us, we understand that we shouldn’t control one another. We can try to influence, but we can’t control spiritual development. Worldly things we have power over, and we are to use this power for good. Spiritual things we can only influence.
“Angels can move through time and space as easily as thinking. The laws of physical nature do not bind angels. Angels are aware of and protect us from forces we don’t know or aren’t capable of imagining. Our angels are ever-vigilant to protect us from evil that originates from other dimensions of the unknown universes. We don’t have to worry about it. We should just be glad they are there keeping us safe. There exist supernatural beings that seek chaos. They have no power over us except the power we give them. They are known as demons, the devil, or evil spirits. They should be rejected as much as possible. The power of God and the power of God’s angels is much greater than theirs. The best defense against evil is to be filled with the Holy Spirit…”
— Pages 138-141
How To Get In Touch With Jesus, Angels & God
NDEr Howard Storm
“My final argument — this was the biggie; this was the ace I’ve been keeping up my sleeve — I said, ‘you can’t send me back.’
“And they said ‘why?’
“And I said… ‘I’ve never known anybody that loved me like you did, I’ve never known anybody that knew me like you do because you know me better than I know me… if you send me back, it will kill me. I will die of a broken heart.’
“And they said, ‘you’re not paying attention. Has there been a moment in your life when we have ever been a part from you, when you have ever been alone or separate from us?’
“And I went, ‘No, but like I never saw you, I never talked to you, I never felt you. Is it going to be like that when I go back?’
“And they said it’s going to be exactly like that.
“And I said, ‘well, it’s kind of like being alone when you can’t see, hear, taste, touch the person that’s with you. They’re not there. It feels lonely… That would kill me, in loneliness, to be a part from you.’
“And they said, ‘there is a way to get in touch with us.’
“And I said, ‘how do you do that?’
“And they said, ‘be still, get quiet, talk to us, tell us everything you want to say. Then be really quiet and still and invite our love into your heart and you’ll know that we are right there and you’ll know our love right there.’
“This works. It really works…”
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk Describes Encounter With Three Angels
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk: What happened — I went downtown and was at Northwestern Memorial in the ICU, underwent three brain surgeries where the issue was brain swelling which would create such a pressure on the lower brain stem and could be fatal. My doctors said without the procedure I would have been dead within three days. I do remember waking up in the ICU not exactly knowing where I was. Probably it was a pharmacological event. I think there was a lot of that in my system.
Reporter: I read in the Daily Herald today about angels. Did you feel as if there were angels there?
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk: I did. I felt like there were three angels in the room. And interestingly, they had New York accents, probably because the last movie I’d seen was on Channel 11, was the original Oceans 11, the brat pack movie… They were there in the ICU. They probably have a regular gig there because of the issues.
Reporter: Right. Right. And yet you said, “No, not yet…”
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk: Yeah, and they said, “Mark, you want to come with us. You know you can come with us if you want.” Complete New York accent. The way they introduced themselves, they said, “Mark, uh, we’re angels; we’re angels down here.” And established that simpatico thing. “You want to come with us?” I said, “No, I’ll hold off.”
For more information, go here.
— Introduction, Page xviii
“There are angels all around us and we each have ‘personal’ angels who watch over us all day, every day. They help us, nudge us, and guide us in all sorts of little ways that we usually don’t notice. Sometimes they push us forward and sometimes they pull us backward. Always, they want very much for us to follow the path that has been laid out for us by God.”
— Page 134
“As my physical state became one of recovery rather than survival, I was more fully absorbed back into the reality of this world. My ties with God’s world became less palpable until I was no longer able to pass between worlds or have conversations with angels.”
— Page 108
Giving Me The Whammy To Live
NDEr Sally F
The Near-Death Experience Research Foundation Website
“I was in the hospital in labor. I had an epidural that didn’t seem to work so the doctor gave me another large injection of the medication. As soon as the injection was given, I felt like I was going to pass out. I told to my husband “I don’t feel right, I don’t feel right – call the doctor”. The heart monitor machines that I was hooked up to started alarming and the doctors came running in to my room. Within seconds I went from frantic (I tend to be a more anxious person than calm) to sluggish and then sort of removed from the scene. I was there in my body but I didn’t seem to feel anxious that I was fading out. The doctors were running around the room and then trying to get epinephrine into my IV to bring up my crashing blood pressure. They were jabbing me with needles and missing. I would say I felt about 50% there.
“This is when I saw a vision of Jesus and an angel off to the right above me in a vision. It was as though there was a window into the heavenly and I could see what they were doing although I wasn’t standing next to them. Jesus had his hands stretched down to the angel and he had his hands stretched down to me directly under Jesus. The interesting thing is that I consider myself a Christian without a denomination and the vision of Jesus and the angel looked exactly like the paintings/window panes you see in a Catholic church. Jesus looked like the Catholic Jesus and the angel looked like a Catholic angel — not a cherub, but a tall, strong, man looking angel. The colors were amazing. I tell you all this because I thought that if/when I ever saw Jesus he would look plainer. He was very radiant. Also, I can tell you that I instinctively knew what they were doing (my friends laugh at me when I try to explain this). Jesus gave the angel and then the angel gave me the “whammy to live”. I know it sounds weird but it was like they were throwing down whammy vibes or something. They both looked very serious and intently busy with this project of theirs. I remember thinking ‘Hmmm, this is interesting…they are giving me the whammy to live so that I don’t die’. It was a very calm encounter even though the physical circumstances were intense. Immediately following this scene, the doctor found my vein and gave me the epinephrine and I came back 100% fully into the scene in the hospital room in my bed. All of this happened in a matter of 30 seconds.”
Children NDEs: 70 Percent Had Angels Come To Greet Them
Researcher PMH Atwater
Excerpted from Near-Death Experiences, The Rest of the Story: What They Teach Us About Living and Dying and Our True Purpose
“With the kids in my research, 70 percent had angels come to greet them. They described these as humanlike (most said they had wings); either black or white of color (like a black or white color crayon) or colored like real people are (with the variations found in human skin hues). With adults and teenagers, the figure is fifty-fifty. Of those who reported angels, 39 percent saw winged ones; the rest spoke of either special “humans” or human-shaped lightforms/globes/cylinders. Some spoke of angels who were black or dark in color (like the kids did); but, for most, these beings were simply seen as bright or white (often identified as guides or guardians). Religious figures who appeared usually matched the individual’s faith tradition, but not always. For those who saw Jesus, the most common response was, ‘He is so joyful and so loving.’
“Children experienced stern greeters almost as often as kind ones, and that applied to angels as well. I came to recognize a ‘critical’ or ‘caring’ parenttype of greeter for the young whose job seemed to center around whatever was needed– words of praise/comfort or instructive lectures (as if the child could use a little more attention or ‘fetching up’). Futuristic events, as well as the child’s job or mission in life, were often revealed by this type of greeter.
“Among other kinds of greeters were animals (the majority could speak or communicated mind-to-mind). Most were deceased pets, yet some were unknown to the experiencer. Larger animals tended to appear for adults (horses, lions, dogs, eagles), and smaller animals for kids (birds, bunnies, turtles). On occasion, I did run across reports of misshapen, grotesque, or demonic greeters, or those who looked so alien that the experiencer was at a loss to describe them.”
— Page 22
Children NDEs: 50 Percent See Guardian Angels
Researcher Dr. Melvin Morse
Excerpt from Parting Visions
“In my own research I have found angels to be an integral part of visions of all kinds. At least 50 percent of the children in my studies see ‘guardian angels’ as a part of their near-death experience. I have also found that guardian angels lend their help at other times of crisis, when a person needs answers to bolster his or her flagging spirit.”
Tricia Barker’s Angelic Encounter
Excerpt from “Healed: A Memoir About A Near-Death Experience And A Life Informed By The Other Side”
By Tricia Barker
“Soothing music played on the radio, and my back had a long, bloody incision. Surgery appeared more brutal and bloody than I imagined it would look, especially from a 360 degree vantage point. I could see the doctors and the entire room all at once without blinking or relying on eyes, and there, in the room with the doctors, nurses, surgical technicians, anesthesiologist, and others, I felt incredible joy and shock as I realized all does not die with the body. After rejoicing a moment, I noticed two of the most intelligent beings I had ever seen. They were very large, approximately eight or nine feet, androgynous, with long shoulder length hair and composed more of light than solid form. I call them angels only because I have no other term for them. These angels were part of an added reality and nothing like a dream. I’ve experienced thousands of dreams, and this moment was more real than any waking moment in my lifetime.
“People always want to know more about what the angels looked like. They ask, “Did they have wings?” “Were they clothed?” “How many?” “How did you know they were angels?”
“I don’t know that these two beings were angels, in the traditional, Biblical sense. I only know that I immediately recognized them as incredibly intelligent beings whose presence gave me indescribable peace. My own awareness of this new dimension seemed much more limited than their awareness. Most of what I realized outside of my body in the operating room came through immediate impressions, the way a child sizes up whether an adult is trustworthy or not. The angels were trustworthy and there to help and comfort me, so I did not question their authority.
“They sent waves of light which transferred messages to me in the form of completed thoughts and feelings, not individual words. The light emitting from the eyes of the angels and sent into my spirit body allowed me to access information faster than the fastest possible broadband speed in megabytes or even terabytes.
“The angels were not only able to interact with my spirit body, but they were also able to interact with the two neurosurgeons and through them. The surgeons, most likely, did not realize this interaction. I knew that my awareness, my understanding of the world, and my ability to experience joy was growing exponentially moment by moment. Just before the monitor started to beep, signaling that my heart had stopped, the angels slowed down their communication, looked at me and intently, and said loudly and with force, “Watch this!”
“The same light that they beamed into my spirit body, they sent through the back of the doctors, through their hands, and into my physical body. My physical body was instantly altered and healed in ways that the doctors might not have been able to heal me. I knew that I would walk again, that the fragments of bone would be picked out of my spine, and that I would feel healthy and run again at some point in the future. The angels turned back toward me letting this moment sink in.
“While the angels continued to work on my body, I considered how the surgeons were conduits of their energy and that the angel’s energy was an essential part of my healing. Perhaps the surgeon’s egos wouldn’t like to hear that or perhaps they would be pleased to know that angels worked through them. I only knew that I needed to remember this moment vividly. The angels wanted me to be aware that they could work through me in the future…”
“Gradually I was becoming aware that there was something else on that plain of grappling forms. Almost from the beginning I had sensed it, but for a long time I could not locate it. When I did it was with a shock that left me stunned. That entire unhappy plain was hovered over by beings seemingly made of light. It was their very size and blinding brightness that had prevented me at first from seeing them.
“Now that I had, now that I adjusted my eyes to take them in, I could see that these immense presences were bending over the little creatures on the plain. Perhaps even conversing with them.
“Were these bright beings angels? Was the Light beside me also an angel? But the thought that had pressed itself so undeniably on my mind in that little hospital room had been: You are in the presence of the Son of God. Could it be that each of these other human wraiths, wretched and unworthy like me, was also in His presence? In a realm where space and time no longer followed any rules I knew, could He be standing with each of them as He was with me?
“I did not know. All I clearly saw was that not one of these bickering beings on the plain had been abandoned. They were being attended, watched over, ministered to.
“And the equally observable fact was that not one of them knew it. If Jesus or His angels were speaking to them, they certainly did not hear. There was no pause in the stream of rancor coming from their own hearts; their eyes sought only some nearby figure to humiliate. It would have seemed to me impossible not to be aware of what were the hugest and most striking features of that whole landscape, except that I myself had stared at them unseeing.
“In fact, now that I had become aware of these bright presences, I realized with bewilderment that I had been seeing them all along, without ever consciously registering the fact, as though Jesus could show me at any moment only so much as I was ready to see. Angels had crowded the living cities and towns we had visited. They had been present in the streets, the factories, the homes, even in that raucous bar, where nobody had been any more conscious of their existence than I myself had. And suddenly I realized that there was a common denominator to all these scenes so far. It was the failure to see Jesus. Whether it was a physical appetite, an earthly concern, an absorption with self — whatever got in the way of His Light created the separation into which we stepped at death.”
— Pages 77-79
Yamatoots Are Comparable To Angels
Researcher Dr. Penny Sartori
Excerpt from The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully
“Out of the ten Thai cases reported by Todd Murphy, nine reported encounters with yamatoots, messengers sent from (the god of the dead) Yama’s office to take the dying person to hell. Yamatoots could be considered as comparable to angels that feature in Western traditions. Their appearance varied in the cases reported by Murphy but their role was to guide the person to Yama. Similar to Indian cases, there were five instances of mistaken identity , where the yamatoots had taken the wrong person — the person subsequently revived. In one of the reports of mistaken identity Yama’s book contained the name of another person in the village, whose date of death was three days later — the person returned to life and apparently three days later the other person, whose name was in the book, died.”
— Page 72
Lorna Byrne on Angels
‘Where Was The Guardian Angel When…?’ A Response To Cynics
By Lorna Byrne
July 12, 2014
We all have a guardian angel. Your guardian angel is there with you now, whether you believe it or not.
I meet lots of people who tell me they don’t believe in angels. I do. But then, I have been seeing angels since I was a baby. I see them as physically as I see someone standing in front of me.
I have never seen anyone without a guardian angel. I see them with people of all religions and none, with people who are good and bad, with people who believe in angels and with those who don’t. I understand that for some people it’s hard to believe that there could be such a thing as an angel, or even that I can see angels. I can’t prove the existence of angels, or that I see them. I wish I could. All I can do is tell you what I see and am told and then leave it up to you.
Until I was in my early 50s, I hardly talked about what I could see. I was afraid I would be ridiculed and laughed at, that people would say I was crazy. But now that I realize how much help people are getting from knowing that I can see a guardian angel with everyone, I no longer care what people think.
The first question most cynics ask me is, “Where was the guardian angel when…” and will reel off some terrible atrocity.
The truth is that the guardian angels were there trying to avert the disaster or tragedy. God has given us all free will and no guardian angel can overstep this. Whenever any of us are doing wrong, our guardian angel is trying everything possible to stop us, but they cannot overstep the boundaries of free will. The hard truth is that evil exists — we can see the evidence of it all around us — and many people seem to find it easier to give into evil rather than to listen to their guardian angel and do the right thing.
Sometimes I will meet a person who will tell me something terrible that has happened to them, like a car crash, and they will say it is a miracle that they survived.
When this happens, I will often be told by the angels with them that their guardian angel had, in fact, protected them and that the person had listened and slowed down, or responded in a particular way. They may still have hit the other car, but without their guardian angel the accident could have been much more severe.
There is so much in our world that is incomprehensible. Sometimes, something that we think is a disaster will turn out later to have been a miracle in disguise. We also have to remember that we are all only on this earth for a short while, and that we all will have to die at some time. When we die our guardian angels will be there with us to accompany us.
Your guardian angel is with you from before you are conceived and it never leaves you, not even for one moment. Your guardian angel will never come to earth with any other person other than you. If only you could see the look of unconditional love I see guardian angels giving the person they are guarding, you would never doubt how special you are. You are the most important person in the world to your guardian angel and it will do all it can to help you. But you need to play your part and listen to it, whatever way it communicates with you best; by signs, inspiration, gut feelings (including guilt) or comments from other people.
It seems to me to be a terrible waste to have all this help on offer and not to use it. Why not suspend your cynicism.
What have you got you lose?
Angels in My Hair
By Lorna Byrne
For anyone who has ever wondered about the mysteries that lie beyond everyday experience, or doubted the reality of the afterlife, Angels in My Hair is a moving and deeply inspirational journey into the unseen world.
For as long as she can remember, Lorna Byrne has seen angels. As a young child, she assumed everyone could see the otherworldly beings who always accompanied her. Yet in the eyes of adults, her abnormal behavior was a symptom of mental deficiency. Today, sick and troubled people from around the world are drawn to her for comfort and healing, and even theologians of different faiths seek her guidance. Lorna is trusted for her ability to communicate with spirits and angels—and by sharing her intimate knowledge of the spiritual world she offers a message of hope and love to us all.
Angels in My Hair is an engrossing chronicle of Lorna’s incredible life story. Invoking a wonderful sense of place, she describes growing up poor in Ireland, finding work in Dublin, and marrying the man of her dreams—only to have the marriage cut short by tragedy. Already a bestseller in Ireland, her story gives readers a unique insight into the angelic help that is around us and available to us all the time. As Lorna says, “All you have to do is ask.”
A Message of Hope from the Angels
By Lorna Byrne
Author of the bestselling Angels in My Hair Lorna Byrne sees angels with as much clarity as the rest of us see people, and she speaks to them every day. In A Message of Hope from the Angels, Lorna gives you the comfort of knowing that, no matter how alone you might feel, you always have a guardian angel by your side to support you.
In this inspiring and uplifting book, Lorna reveals how you can call on the help of your angels to carry you through the challenges that everyone inevitably faces, including loneliness, depression, stress, financial strain, heartbreak, the death of a loved one, or feeling inadequate as a parent. No matter what obstacles you face, you can call on this support to make your life happier and more fulfilling.
Stairways to Heaven
By Lorna Byrne
The overwhelming response of readers to Lorna Byrne — regardless of religious beliefs — is that she gives them back hope, helping them to realize that no matter how alone they might feel they have a Guardian angel by their side. Lorna Byrne sees and talks with angels every day and has done since she was a baby. She sees them as clearly as the rest of us see rocks and stones and trees. In Stairways to Heaven Lorna tells true-life stories about the ways that angels help us. She describes how they helped her pull her own life together after her husband died and how she has seen them help other people — particularly those who are unhappy, ill or in danger. Written from direct, personal experience, never has a book contained such an extraordinary, vivid and convincing account of how angels work in the world. This new edition includes advice from Lorna on how to discover your guardian angel’s name and hear what your guardian angel is telling you.
How to bring more love into your life by the Sunday Times number one bestselling author of Stairways to Heaven and A Message of Hope from the Angels. Lorna Byrne has become a bestselling author around the world because she sees angels as clearly as the rest of us see human beings. Now she reveals that she also sees love as a physical force. What Lorna has seen has led her to develop a 7 day path to help us all change our lives. She says: “The more we love ourselves the more we can love others. If only we release a little more of the pure love we have locked away inside of us we will be much happier, less judgmental and feel much more fulfilled. Our lives and those of people around us would be transformed.”
To learn more about Emmanuel Swedenborg, go here.
Emmanuel Swedenborg on Angels
The Swedenborg Foundation
In his writings, Swedenborg often describes things he has seen in heaven, including conversations he has had with angels there. While some traditions see angels as a supernatural class of beings, Swedenborg declares that every angel was once a human being living on earth:
“On the grounds of all my experience, which has lasted for several years now, I can say with full confidence that in their form, angels are completely human. They have faces, eyes, ears, chests, arms, hands, and feet. They see each other, hear each other, and talk to each other. In short, they lack nothing that belongs to humans except that they are not clothed with a material body.” (Heaven and Hell #75)
All people on earth have the potential to become angels, regardless of where they are from or what religion they practice. Swedenborg emphasizes that we are all born for heaven; if we don’t end up there, it is because of the choices that we make in life.
When people shed their physical bodies and enter the spiritual world, at first they look much the same as they did on earth. Over time, however, their inner selves are revealed, and it changes the way they appear to others. Angels become more and more beautiful the closer they get to the Lord:
“I have seen faces of angels of the third heaven so beautiful that no painters, with all their skill, could render a fraction of their light with their pigments or rival a thousandth part of the light and life that show in their faces.” (Heaven and Hell #459)
Angels do not have halos or wings, and Swedenborg says that the clothes they wear change according to their state of being, sometimes without the angels themselves being aware their clothes have changed. Angels of the highest heavens might appear to be dressed in radiant light because bright light corresponds to wisdom. Similarly, when the Bible speaks of people being “clothed in righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10), it is not referring to literal clothing, but rather to people who love truth and live according to it. The garments of angels, then, while they appear to be real, are, in actuality, correspondences of their spiritual states.
Angels all look youthful. This is because “people in heaven are continually progressing toward the springtime of life.” Swedenborg adds, “The more thousands of years they live, the more pleasant and happy is their springtime.” This, too, is in direct correspondence to their continually deepening spiritual states: “This continues forever, increasing according to the growth and level of their love, thoughtfulness, and faith” (Heaven and Hell #414).
Contrary to the popular image of lazy angels floating around on soft, white clouds and strumming harps, Swedenborg tells us that angels live busy lives that may not seem that different from ours. They live in houses with all the usual sorts of rooms, and their communities are organized very much like towns and cities, with streets and parks and other central buildings.
Communities in heaven are distinguished by the type of service they provide; for example, some communities may be dedicated to raising children who have crossed over, while other communities may be focused on serving people who are being awakened from death. Swedenborg says that angelic tasks are so numerous, and so diverse, that it would be impossible to list them all. In general, however, angels perform the specific service for which they are best suited, and this work is one of their greatest joys.
While angels love the work that they do, they are not doing it for their own sake — they are doing it out of a love of being useful and serving others. The Lord works through angels, and this is true to such an extent that Swedenborg tells us angels won’t take credit for any of the good that they do. Everything comes from the Lord.
The language of angels, like their lives, may seem superficially like our own. Swedenborg describes their language as being like ours in that it can be spoken or written down, but also completely unlike human languages in that it can convey a much deeper meaning. Angels’ speech comes from their inner core, and therefore angels can express concepts that don’t exist in human languages, or say things in a few words that we could not say in thousands. Likewise, angels can tell everything about another person by hearing only a few words.
All angels speak the same language, regardless of where they come from or which part of heaven they live in, so they can always understand each other. They also use facial expressions and body language in much the same way that we do, but in ways that can instantaneously convey vast ideas and intricate concepts with amazing accuracy.
There are times, too, when angels are allowed to communicate with us — and we with them. While Swedenborg warns against seeking otherworldly communication, there are occasions when it is allowed to happen, usually to comfort a grieving spouse, parent or friend. When such communication occurs, angels seem to speak in our native language.
When people who were married on earth meet again in the afterlife, if they were truly of one mind, their marriage will continue in heaven. However, if the two people were not truly compatible, they will gradually separate of their own accord.
Swedenborg writes that all angels have a perfect match — we could think of it as a “soul mate,” although he never used that term — and if the two don’t meet on earth, they will find each other in heaven:
“Throughout heaven, people who are similar gather together and people who are dissimilar part company. This means that every community consists of like-minded people. Like are drawn toward like not by their own will but by the Lord. In the same way, spouse is drawn toward spouse when their minds can be united as one. So at first sight they love each other most deeply, see each other as married partners, and enter into their marriage.” (Heaven and Hell #383)
Swedenborg describes both betrothals and marriages in heaven. During the course of a marriage, because of the way that people’s minds are open to each other in the spiritual world, the partners gradually enter into each other’s thoughts and affections until they become like a single person. In fact, Swedenborg says that “two spouses living in heaven are not called two angels but one angel” (Heaven and Hell #367)
Angelic marriages of this kind are eternal. What God joins together, he keeps together, forever.
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