“The Church is... where the Lord is acknowledged, and where the Word is.” - The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine §242
Kempton New Church

Week 6
Day 6

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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

After death, one’s situation reflects one’s love of uses.

Matthew 20:26-27. But whoever will become great among you, let him be your minister; and whoever will be first among you, let him be your servant.

HH 389. All things in the heavens are organized in accordance with Divine order, which is everywhere guarded by the services performed by angels, those things that pertain to the general good or use by the wiser angels, those that pertain to particular uses by the less wise, and so on. They are subordinated just as uses are subordinated in the Divine order; and for this reason a dignity is connected with every function according to the dignity of the use. Nevertheless, an angel does not claim dignity to himself, but ascribes all dignity to the use; and as the use is the good that he accomplishes, and all good is from the Lord, so he ascribes all dignity to the Lord.

There are differences in status in heaven, not because some people are inherently more worthy, but because people vary in how much or how little they receive and act on the Lord’s love of uses.

HH 390. From this it may be inferred what subordinations in the heavens are, namely, that as any one loves, esteems, and honors the use he also loves, esteems, and honors the person with whom the use is connected; also that the person is loved, esteemed and honored in the measure in which he ascribes the use to the Lord and not to himself; for to that extent he is wise, and the uses he performs he performs from good. Spiritual love, esteem, and honor are nothing else than the love, esteem, and honor of the use in the person, together with the honor to the person because of the use, and not honor to the use because of the person. … One man is then seen to be like another, whether he be in great or in little dignity, the only perceptible difference being a difference in wisdom; and wisdom is loving use, that is, loving the good of a fellow citizen, of society, of one’s country, and of the church.

As with angels, the situation and status of evil spirits matches how they inwardly viewed uses while in the world.

AR 153[9] [After death, spirits who have believed works to be unnecessary are asked] “Why are you sitting so idle? Come with us to our houses, and we will give you jobs to do and feed you.” They joyfully then arise and go away with those people to their houses, and each is there given his job, and in exchange for the work food. However, because all who have confirmed themselves in falsities of faith cannot do works of good and useful service, but only works that serve evil, and because they do not do the works faithfully, but only so that people may see them, for the sake of acclaim or material gain, therefore they abandon their jobs and care only to socialize, talk, walk, and sleep.

Because they refuse to work, they go hungry, and their hunger eventually drives them underground.

AR 153 [11] The whole of hell consists of such caverns, which are nothing less than eternal workhouses. I have been given to go into some and see, in order that I might make this known, and the people all appeared to be of a low class, nor did any one of them know who he had been in the world or what his occupation had been. But an angel who accompanied me told me that this one had been a household servant in the world, this one a soldier, this one an administrator, this one a priest, this one a person of high rank, this one a person of wealth; and yet none of them knew anything other than that they had been servants, and their fellows likewise. That is because they had been inwardly alike, even though unalike outwardly, and it is people’s inner qualities that affiliate them in the spiritual world. Such is the lot of people who have set aside a life of charity [or in other words the life of use], and so have not lived it in the world.

Questions and Comments
  1. Evil spirits are eventually confined to workhouses, where their own hunger drives them to work. Idleness results in no food, while punishment is reserved for when they do evil. What lessons can we learn from this in understanding how to motivate others (or even ourselves) to be useful?
  2. There is a popular notion that inequality is inherently bad, yet Heaven and Hell tells us that angels vary greatly, both in style of living and importance in the community. What accounts for these differences? How might the nature of these differences inform our view of inequality in this world?
  3. If kids are talking about wanting to be rich, powerful or famous when they grow up, how do we respond in a way that cooperates with the Lord? (See DP 183 on what the Lord does when people seek honor and wealth, HH 357-365 for the connection between wealth and uses, and CL 266 on pursuing high office from the love of use).
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