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Chapter 26

The Power of the Angels of Heaven.

228. That the angels possess power cannot be comprehended by those who know nothing about the spiritual world and its influx into the natural world. Such think that angels can have no power because they are spiritual and are even so pure and unsubstantial that no eye can see them. But those who look more interiorly into the causes of things take a different view. Such know that all the power that a man has is from his understanding and will (for apart from these he is powerless to move a particle of his body), and his understanding and will are his spiritual man. This moves the body and its members at its pleasure; for whatever it thinks the mouth and tongue speak, and whatever it wills the body does; and it bestows its strength at pleasure. As man's will and understanding are ruled by the Lord through angels and spirits, so also are all things of his body, because these are from the will and understanding; and if you will believe it, without influx from heaven man cannot even move a step. That this is so has been shown me by much experience. Angels have been permitted to move my steps, my actions, and my tongue and speech, as they pleased, and this by influx into my will and thought; and I have learned thereby that of myself I could do nothing. I was afterwards told by them that every man is so ruled, and that he can know this from the doctrine of the church and from the Word, for he prays that God may send His angels to lead him, direct his steps, teach him, and inspire in him what to think and what to say, and other like things; although he says and believes otherwise when he is thinking by himself apart from doctrine. All this has been said to make known what power angels have with man.

229. But so great is the power of angels in the spiritual world that if I should make known all that I have witnessed in regard to it it would exceed belief. Any obstruction there that ought to be removed because it is contrary to Divine order the angels cast down or overthrow merely by an effort of the will and a look. Thus I have seen mountains that were occupied by the evil cast down and overthrown, and sometimes shaken from end to end as in earthquakes; also rocks cleft asunder to their bottoms, and the evil who were upon them swallowed up. I have seen also hundreds of thousands of evil spirits dispersed by angels and cast down into hell. Numbers are of no avail against them; neither are devices, cunning, or combinations; for they see through them all, and disperse them in a moment. (But more may be seen on this subject in the account of The Destruction of Babylon.) Such power do angels have in the spiritual world. It is evident from the Word that they have like power in the natural world also when it is permitted; for instance, that they have given to destruction entire armies; and that they brought on a pestilence from which seventy thousand men died. Of this angel it is said:-

The angel stretched out his hand against Jerusalem to destroy it but Jehovah repented Him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough, now stay thy hand. And David saw the angel that smote the people (2 Samuel xxiv. 16, 17); besides other passages. Because the angels have such power they are called powers; as in David:-- Bless Jehovah, ye angels, mighty in power (Psalm ciii. 20).

230. But it must be understood that the angels have no power whatever from themselves, but that all their power is from the Lord; and that they are powers only so far as they acknowledge this. Whoever of them believes that he has power from himself instantly becomes so weak as not to be able to resist even a single evil spirit. For this reason angels ascribe no merit whatever to themselves, and are averse to all praise and glory on account of any thing they do, ascribing all the praise and glory to the Lord.

231. It is the Divine truth that goes forth from the Lord that has all power in the heavens, for the Lord in heaven is Divine truth united to Divine good ( see n. 126-140). To the extent that angels are receptions of this truth they are powers [26.1]. Moreover each one is his own truth and his own good because each one is such as his understanding and will are. The understanding pertains to truth because everything of it is from truths, and the will pertains to good because everything of it is from goods; for whatever any one understands he calls truth, and whatever he wills he calls good. From this it is that every one is his own truth and his own good [26.2]. Therefore so far as an angel is truth from the Divine and good from the Divine he is a power, because to that extent the Lord is in him. And as no one's good and truth are wholly like or the same as another's, since in heaven, as in the world, there is endless variety (n. 20), so the power of one angel is not like the power of another. Those who constitute the arms in the Greatest Man, or heaven, have the greatest power because such are more in truths than others, and into their truths good flows from the entire heaven. Moreover, the power of the whole man passes into the arms, and by means of these the whole body exercises its powers. It is for this reason that in the Word "arms" and "hand" signify powers [26.3]. Sometimes on this account a naked arm is seen in heaven so powerful as to be able to break in pieces every thing in its way, even though it were a great rock on the earth. Once it was moved towards me, and I perceived that it was able to crush my bones to atoms.

232. It has been shown above (n. 137) that the Divine truth that goes forth from the Lord has all power, and that angels have power to the extent that they are receptions of Divine truth from the Lord. But angels are so far receptions of Divine truth as they are receptions of Divine good, for truths have all their power from good, and none apart from good. So, too, good has all its power through truths, and none apart from truths. Power springs from the conjunction of these two. The same is true of faith and love; for it is the same whether you say truth or faith, since every thing of faith is truth; also it is the same whether you say good or love, since every thing of love is good [26.4]. The great power that angels have by means of truths from good is shown also from this, that when an evil spirit is merely looked at by the angels he falls into a swoon, and does not appear like a man, and this until the angel turns away his eyes. Such an effect is produced by the look of the eyes of angels, because the sight of angels is from the light of heaven, and the light of heaven is Divine truth ( see above, n. 126-132). Moreover, the eyes correspond to truths from good [26.5].

233. As truths from good have all power, so falsities from evil have no power at [26.6]all and as all in hell are in falsities from evil they have no power against truth and good. But what power they have among themselves, and what power evil spirits have before they are cast into hell, will be told hereafter.

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Footnotes to Chapter 26

[26.1] Angels are called powers and are powers from their reception of Divine truth from the Lord (n. 9639).

Angels are recipients of Divine truth from the Lord and on this account are sometimes called "gods" in the Word (n. 4295, 4402, 7268, 7873, 8192, 8301, 9160)

[26.2] A man or an angel is his own good and his own truth, thus his own love and his own faith (n. 10298, 10367).

He is his own understanding and his own will, for every thing of life is there from; the life of good is from the will, and the life of truth is from the understanding (n. 10076 10177 10264, 10284).

[26.3] The correspondence of the hands, arms, and shoulders, with the Greatest man or heaven (n. 4931-4937).

In the Word, "arms" and hands signify power (n. 878, 3091, 4932, 4933, 6947, 10019).

[26.4] All power in heaven is the power of truth from good, thus of faith from loves (n. 3091, 3563, 6423, 8304, 9643, 10019, 10182).

All power is from the Lord, because from Him is every truth of faith and every good of love (n. 9327, 9410).
This power is meant by the keys given to Peter (n. 6344). It is Divine truth going forth from the Lord that has all power (n. 6948, 8200).
This power of the lord is what is meant by "sitting at the right hand of Jehovah" (n. 3387, 4592, 4933, 7518, 7673, 8281, 9133).
The right had means power (n. 10019).

[26.5] The eyes correspond to truths from good (n.4403-4421, 4523-4534, 6923).

[26.6] Falsity from evil has no power, because truth from food has all power (n 6784, 10481).

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