(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 6832

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6832. In a flame of fire out of the midst of the bramble. That this signifies love Divine in the truth of memory-knowledge, is evident from the signification of a "flame of fire," as being love Divine (of which below); and from the signification of a "bramble," as being the truth of memory-knowledge. That a "bramble" denotes the truth of memory-knowledge, is because all small shrubs of every kind signify memory-knowledges, but the greater shrubs signify real knowledges and perceptions. As a "bramble" produces flowers and berries, it signifies the truth of memory-knowledge. The truth of memory-knowledge of the church is nothing else than the Word in the sense of the letter, and also every representative and significative of the church which existed among the descendants of Jacob. In their external form these truths are called truths of memory-knowledge, but in the internal form they are spiritual truths. But as truths in the internal form, that is, in their spiritual form, could not appear to the posterity of Jacob, because they were in mere externals, and were quite unwilling to learn anything internal, therefore the Lord appeared in the bramble; for when the Lord appears, He appears according to the quality of the man, because a man receives the Divine no otherwise than according to his own quality. Therefore when the Lord appeared on Mount Sinai, He appeared to the people as fire burning even to the heart of heaven, and as darkness, clouds, and thick darkness (Deut. 4:11; 5:22-25 also Exod. 19:18). He would have appeared altogether otherwise if the people who were looking on beneath the mountain had not been of such a quality; and because that people was in mere externals, therefore when Moses entered unto the Lord on Mount Sinai, it is said that he "entered into a cloud" (Exod. 24:2, 18; 34:5). That a "cloud" denotes the external of the Word, see the preface to the eighteenth chapter of Genesis, and n. 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343; consequently also it was representative of the church as looked at in its outward form.
[2] That the Lord appears to everyone according to his quality, is evident from the fact that the Lord appears to those who are in the inmost or third heaven as a sun, from which proceeds ineffable light, because those who are there are in the good of love to the Lord; and that He appears to those who are in the middle or second heaven as a moon, because those who are there are more remotely and obscurely in love to the Lord, being in love toward the neighbor; but in the lowest or first heaven, the Lord does not appear as a sun nor yet as a moon, but only as a light which far surpasses the light of the world. And as the Lord appears to everyone according to his quality, therefore also He cannot appear to those who are in hell except as a dusky cloud and thick darkness; for as soon as the light of heaven which is from the Lord sinks down into any hell, shades and darkness are produced there. From all this it can now be seen that the Lord appears to everyone according to his quality, because according to his reception; and as the descendants of Jacob were in externals only, therefore the Lord appeared unto Moses in the bramble, and also in a cloud, when he entered in unto the Lord upon Mount Sinai.
[3] That "flame" denotes love Divine is because love in its first origin is nothing else than fire and flame from the Lord as a sun. It is the fire or flame of this sun which gives the being of life to every man; and it is the vital fire itself which fills the interiors of man with heat, as can be seen from love, for in proportion as love increases with man, he grows warm, and in proportion as love decreases, he grows cold.
[4] Hence it is that when the Lord appeared in vision, He appeared as fire and flame, as in Ezekiel:
The appearance of the four animals (which were cherubs) was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches; it was going along among the animals, as the brightness of fire, and out of the fire went forth lightning. Above the expanse that was over their head was as it were the appearance of a sapphire stone, the likeness of a throne; and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above. And I saw the appearance of a burning coal as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of his loins and upward; but from the appearance of his loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, which had a brightness round about (Ezek. 1:13, 26-27).
That the details of this vision are significative and representative of something Divine, no one can deny; but unless it is known what is signified by "cherubs," by "burning coals of fire like the appearance of torches," by a "throne," by the "appearance of a man upon it," by the "loins from which was the appearance of fire upward and downward, and brightness from the fire," it is impossible to know the holy secret contained within it. That "cherubs" denote the providence of the Lord, see n. 308; that a "throne" denotes heaven, properly the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, which forms heaven, n. 5313. That "the appearance of a man upon the throne above" denotes the Lord as to the Divine Human, is plain; that "loins" denote conjugial love and from this all heavenly love, n. 3021, 4277, 4280, 4575, 5050-5062; which love was represented by the appearance of burning coal as the appearance of fire, which had a brightness round about.
[5] In Daniel:
I held even until the thrones were cast forth, and the Ancient of days did sit; His garment was like white snow, and the hair of His head was like clean wool; His throne was a flame of fire; His wheels were burning fire, a stream of fire issued and went forth from before Him (Dan. 7:9-10);
the Divine good of the Lord's Divine love was here also seen as a flame of fire. In John:
He that sat upon the white horse had eyes as a flame of fire (Rev. 19:12);
that "He that sat upon the white horse" is the Lord as to the Word, is there openly said (verses 13, 16); thus the "flame of fire" is the Divine truth which is in the Word, which is from the Lord's Divine good. Again:
In the midst of the seven candlesticks was one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot. His head and hairs were white as white wool, as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire (Rev. 1:13-14);
here also "eyes as a flame of fire" denotes the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine good.
[6] That a "flame of fire" denotes the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, is evident also in David:
The voice of Jehovah falleth down like a flame of fire (Ps. 29:7);
"the voice of Jehovah" denotes the Divine truth. That the Divine truth might be represented as proceeding from the Lord's Divine good, the command was given that they should make a lampstand of pure gold with seven lamps, and that it should be set in the tent of the congregation by the table on which were the loaves of setting forth, and that the lamps should burn continually before Jehovah (Exod. 25:31 to the end; 37:17-24; 40:24, 25; Lev. 24:4; Num. 8:2; Zech. 4:2). By the lampstand with the seven lamps was represented the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine good.
[7] That the Divine good itself might also be represented, it was commanded that there should be a perpetual fire on the altar:
The fire shall burn upon the altar, and shall not go out; the priest shall kindle pieces of wood upon it every morning. The fire shall burn continually upon the altar, and shall not go out (Lev. 6:12-13).
That fire was very well known to the ancients to be representative of the Divine love is very evident from the fact that this representative spread from the Ancient Church even to remote nations which were in idolatrous worship, and who are known to have instituted a sacred perpetual fire, and to have appointed to it virgins, called the vestals.
[8] That in the opposite sense "fire and flame" signify filthy loves, such as the loves of revenge, of cruelty, of hatred, of adultery, and in general the lusts which are from the loves of self and of the world is evident also from many passages in the Word, of which it is enough to cite only the following:
Behold they are become as stubble, the fire hath burned them; they rescue not their soul from the hand of the flame; no coal to warm at, or a fire to sit before (Isa. 47:14).
Behold I will kindle a fire in thee, which shall devour in thee every green tree, and every dry tree; the flame of a grievous flame shall not be quenched, whence all faces shall be burned up from the south to the north (Ezek. 20:47);
by "fire" and "flame" are signified the cupidities of evil and falsity, which extinguish all the good and truth of the church, whence comes its vastation.
[9] In Luke:
The rich man said to Abraham, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame (Luke 16:24);
they who do not know that the fire of life in man is from a different origin than is elementary fire cannot possibly know otherwise than that by the "fire of hell" is meant such fire as is in the world; when yet in the Word no such fire is meant, but the fire which is of love, thus which is of man's life, proceeding from the Lord as a sun; which fire, when it enters into those who are in things contrary is turned into the fire of cupidities, which, as before said, are those of revenge, hatred, and cruelty, springing forth from the love of self and of the world. This is the fire which torments those who are in the hells, for when the rein is given to their cupidities, they rush one upon another, and torture one another in direful and unspeakable ways, because everyone desires to be preeminent, and by secret or open artifices to take from another what belongs to him. This being the case on both sides, deadly hatreds come forth from it, and from these the perpetration of savage deeds, especially by means of magical arts and also by means of phantasies, which arts are innumerable and are quite unknown in the world.
[10] They who do not believe in spiritual things, especially the worshipers of nature, can never be brought to believe that the heat in living beings, which makes the internal life itself, is from any other origin than the heat of this world; for they cannot know, still less acknowledge, that there is a heavenly fire proceeding from the Lord as a sun, and that this fire is pure love. Consequently they cannot know innumerable things that exist in the Word, where no other fire is meant; neither can they know innumerable things in man, who is an organ receptive of this fire.


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