“Peace has in it confidence in the Lord: that He directs all things, provides all things, and that He leads to a good end.” - Arcana Caelestia §8455
Kempton New Church

Week 6
Day 1

    Listen:

Uses in Heaven

Thus said Jehovah: My son, My firstborn, is Israel. And I say to thee, Send My son away, that he may serve Me. —Exodus 4:22-23
“That he may serve Me” signifies elevation into heaven in order to perform uses therefrom, is evident from the signification of “serving Jehovah,” or the Lord, as being to perform uses… because true worship consists in the performance of uses…. The very worship of the Lord consists in performing uses…. The angels in heaven have all happiness from uses, and according to uses, so that to them uses are heaven. —AC 7038

Heaven is a kingdom of uses.

Isaiah 2:3-4. And many peoples shall go, and shall say, Go ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will instruct us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths… And He shall judge between the nations, and shall reprove many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into mattocks, and their spears into pruning hooks.

All of heaven performs uses together as a single unit, a “Grand Man,” consisting of many societies and countless individual angels, each of whom embodies a particular affection of the Lord, the Divine Human.

Divine Providence 66. Every affection of good and at the same time of truth is in its form man1.

DP 67. Now since man by creation is a heaven in the least form, and consequently an image of the Lord, and since heaven consists of as many affections as there are angels, and each affection in its form is man, [it is the] inmost design [of Divine Providence] that man may be in this or that place in heaven, or in this or that place in the Divine Heavenly Man; for thus he is in the Lord.

DP 68. As was said above, heaven is divided into as many societies as there are organs, viscera and members in man; and in these, no part can be in any place but its own. Since, then, angels are such parts of the Divine Heavenly Man, and none can become angels but those who have been men in the world, it follows that the man who suffers himself to be led to heaven is continually prepared by the Lord for his own place.

Just as there is an almost endless variety of parts in the human body, which corresponds to heaven, there are countless uses in heaven.

Heaven and Hell 387. The employments of angels in heaven. It is impossible to enumerate the employments in the heavens, still less to describe them in detail, but something may be said about them in a general way; for they are numberless, and they vary in accordance with the functions of the societies. Each society has its peculiar function, for as societies are distinct in accordance with goods … so they are distinct in accordance with uses, because with all in the heavens, goods are goods in act, which are uses. Everyone there performs a use, for the Lord’s kingdom is a kingdom of uses.2

In addition to each heavenly society having a main use that it contributes to the whole of heaven, there are many supporting uses within each society that help it function.

HH 388. In the heavens as on the earth there are many forms of service, for there are ecclesiastical affairs, there are civil affairs, and there are domestic affairs…. all of which show that in every heavenly society there are many employments and services.

Helping people and spirits beyond the angels’ own societies is the shared function of each society…

HH 392. … Each [angel] has his particular charge; for every common use is composed of innumerable uses which are called mediate, ministering, and subservient uses, all and each coordinated and subordinated in accordance with Divine order, and taken together constituting and perfecting the common use, which is the common good.

HH 393. … There are in heaven more functions and services and occupations than can be enumerated; while in the world there are few in comparison.


1I.e. “person”; in New Church doctrine, the word “man” is usually a translation of the original Latin term “homo, hominis,” meaning mankind in general (think “homo sapiens”) or an individual of the human race, whether male or female. By contrast, on the rare occasion that “man” means only a male person, the Latin “vir” is often included in parentheses, or it is clear from context.

2 Many passages in Heaven and Hell (including this one) have footnotes referring the reader to Arcana Coelestia for more about the topic.

Questions and Comments
  1. Sometimes spiritual things can seem abstract and disembodied, but in reality, every affection and thought are in the human form. What would it be like to think of the good affections within us as belonging to the Divine Human Lord?
  2. Some people wonder if angels worship all the time. How do these passages qualify that idea?
  3. Some people believe that you lose your individuality in the common good of heaven. What do these passages suggest about the relationship between an individual angel and the whole of heaven?
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