(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 8916

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8916. And the mountain smoking. That this signifies the good itself of truth not perceptible except in the external form, is evident from the signification of a "mountain," here Mount Sinai, as being the Divine good united to the Divine truth in heaven (see n. 8805); and from the signification of "smoking," as being in the external form. That this is meant by "smoking," is because Divine truth, or the Word in the internal form, is like light and like flame, but in the external form it is like a cloud and like smoke. The reason is that truth Divine, or the Word in the internal form, is such as it is in heaven, thus such as it is in the light there; but in the external form it is such as it is in the world, thus such as it is in the light there; and relatively to the light of heaven, the light of the world is like a cloud, or like smoke relatively to flame. Truth Divine, or the Word in the internal form, is the internal sense of the Word, and in the external form it is its external or literal sense; that this literal sense is called a "cloud," see the preface to Genesis 18, and elsewhere (n. 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343, 6752, 8106, 8781); and that it is called "smoke" is because by "smoke" is signified what is obscure of truth (n. 8819). That the mountain appeared smoking before the sons of Israel, was not because the Divine there was of such a quality, but because the Divine appears to everyone according to the quality of him who sees it; and the quality of those who then saw was that they made everything of worship to consist in externals, and nothing in internals; and that consequently they understood the Word only according to the sense of the letter. Therefore in respect to the truth which was being promulgated, the Divine must needs appear to them as smoke, that is, as obscure; whence it is also said that they "stood afar off," by which is signified that they were remote from internal things. But on this more below.


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