Watch full episode here!
When you haven’t seen someone you love for a long time, reunion is just wonderful. Now, imagine that you thought you would never see this person again—that they had completely left the world as you know it. What would reuniting with them be like?
As eighteenth-century philosopher and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg traveled in the spiritual world, he saw a great deal of these afterlife reunions.
As soon as we arrive in the other life, we are all recognized by our friends and relatives and by people we have known in one way or another. Further, we talk with each other and continue to see each other in keeping with our friendship in the world. I have heard many people who had just come from the world overjoyed to see their friends again, and their friends overjoyed that they had arrived. (Heaven and Hell §494)
On the other side, we might even have heartfelt reunions with people we haven’t met yet—people who share so much in common with us that we might as well be old friends. They’re just one of several people we’ll reconnect with in heaven.
First, let’s look at how we’ll encounter our ancestors. Love pulls these families together—it’s a force as strong and predictable as gravity. This bond often hinged on marriage love.
From these earliest people [in heaven] I heard that marriage love by its very nature wants to belong wholly to the other, and to do so mutually. When it does belong mutually and reciprocally to its spouse, it enjoys heavenly gladness. . . . Moreover, people who lived in this kind of marriage love during bodily life live and dwell together in heaven as angels, sometimes even with [their] children. Very few from the modern Christian world live this way, but everyone from the ancient church (which was heavenly) does, and many from the ancient church (which was spiritual) do. (Secrets of Heaven §§2731, 2732)
These married angels entered into a blissful state of joy and happiness. These huge family reunions can go all the way back to ancestors you never knew you had from hundreds of years ago.
You’ll also reunite with friends in the other world. Swedenborg witnessed some old friends meeting up to discuss ideas that interested them. Even though they lived in different parts of heaven, they still connected and had plenty to talk about.
For thousands of years, people have discussed whether married people reconnect in the afterlife. Latin consultant Chara Daum and show writer Chelsea Odhner join to discuss Swedenborg’s experience with this.
It often happens that married partners meet and welcome each other joyfully. They stay together as well, but for a longer or shorter time depending on how happily they had lived together in the world. Ultimately, unless they had been united by real marriage love (which is a union of minds from heavenly love), they separate after having been together for a while. (Heaven and Hell §494)
So Swedenborg learned that good, healthy, loving relationships will continue into the afterlife, while others will end amicably, with the husband and wife being given the opportunity to find their true soulmates. But how do you know if you have the right kind of marriage?
Heavenly marriage love exists when we live content in the Lord with our spouse, loving her or him tenderly, and with our children. (Secrets of Heaven §5051)
Swedenborg actually witnessed a whole love story in the spiritual world—between an empress and a count, no less!
If you spend a lot of time thinking about somebody, you’ll find them in the other life—even if you don’t like them. So what are these negative reunions like?
This I know, that acquaintances, whether associates or friends or those they worship, find each other in the other life; so let people beware of hatred, revenge, envy, lies, adoration, and the like, for these things in the other life sometimes miserably annoy them. (Spiritual Experiences §2909)
It’s way easier just to find peace with people in this life, as covered in our episode on “Rediscovering Forgiveness.“ After all, as Jonathan says, “love is not just an abstraction.”
Love is the force that holds all things in connection. (True Christianity §37)
Related Swedenborg & Life Videos
Free E-Book Downloads
Support Swedenborg & Life! Enjoy our programming and want to help us produce more free videos, books, and other faith and spirituality content? Make a donation or become a member of the nonprofit Swedenborg Foundation!
Want to watch more Swedenborg & Life videos? Visit our offTheLeftEye YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe for new uploads!
About Swedenborg & Life
In a lighthearted and interactive webcast format, host Curtis Childs from the Swedenborg Foundation and featured guests explore topics from Swedenborg’s eighteenth-century writings about his spiritual experiences and afterlife explorations and discuss how they relate to modern-day life and death.
View the entire Swedenborg & Life Playlist
When we wake up in heaven, Swedenborg tells us, angels roll a covering from off of our left eye so that we can see everything in a spiritual light. The offTheLeftEye YouTube channel uses an array of educational and entertaining video formats to look at life and death through an uplifting spiritual lens.
View our offTheLeftEye YouTube channel