For He shall give his angels charge over
to keep thee in all thy ways.
I, John, am the one who heard
and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship
at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me,
"Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the
prophets and of all who keep the words of this book.
Original Artwork Blue Angel
angels being human forms, or people, this I have seen thousands of
times. I have talked with them face to face, sometimes with just one,
sometimes with several in a group, and as far as their form is
concerned, I have seen in them nothing different from that of a human
being. At times I have felt surprised that they were like this; and to
prevent it being said that this was some illusion or hallucination, I
have been allowed to see them while I was fully awake, or while I was in
full possession of my physical senses and in a state of clear
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. I have seen them in their own light, which is far, far greater than noonday on our earth, and in that light I have seen all the details of their faces more crisply and clearly than I have seen the faces of people here in the world...
It does need to be realized, though, that we cannot see angels with our bodily eyes, only with the eyes of our spirit, because they are in the spiritual world while everything bodily is in the natural world. Like sees like because it is of like substance. Further the body's visual organ, the eye, is so crude that as everyone knows it does not even see the smaller elements of nature without a lens, much less things that are above the sphere of nature, as are all the realities of the spiritual world. These can be seen by us, though, when we are released from bodily sight and the sight of our spirit is opened. This happens instantly when it pleases the Lord that we should see. It then seems to us exactly as though we were seeing with our bodily eyes. This is how angels were seen by Abraham, Lot, Manoah, and the prophets. This is how the Lord was seen by the disciples after the resurrection. This is the same way, too, in which I have seen angels.
Because this was how the prophets saw, they are called "seers" and "ones whose eyes are opened" (I Samuel 9:9; Numbers 23:3 [24:3]); and the act of enabling them to see this way is called "opening the eyes." This is what happened to Elisha's servant, of whom we read, "Elisha prayed, 'Jehovah, open his eyes, I pray, so that he may see,' and as Jehovah opened the eyes of his servant, behold the mountain was full of horses and fiery chariots surrounding Elisha" (2 Kings 6:17).
Some honest spirits I talked with about this were distressed at heart that there was such ignorance in the church about the state of heaven and about spirits and angels. They kept insisting that I should take back the message that they were not formless minds or ethereal breath but human in form, and that they saw and heard and felt just as much as people in this world do.
Swedenborg, Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell, n.74-77
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