1839. Behold a terror of great darkness falling upon him. That this signifies that the darkness was terrible, and that "darkness" means falsities, is evident from the signification of "darkness," as being falsities, to be explained presently. The state of the church before its consummation, when the sun was "going down," is described by the "terror of great darkness;" but its state when the sun had gone down is described by the "thick darkness" and the other things mentioned in verse 17.
 The same is thus described by the Lord in Matthew:
The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matt. 24:29).
This does not mean that the sun of the world will be darkened, but the celestial which is of love and charity; nor the moon, but the spiritual which is of faith; nor that the stars will fall from heaven, but that the knowledges of good and truth with the man of the church will do so, for these are "the powers of the heavens;" nor will these things take place in heaven, but on earth; for heaven is never darkened.
 That "a terror of great darkness fell upon him," means that the Lord was horrified at so great a vastation. So far as anyone is in the celestial things of love, so far does he feel horror when he perceives a consummation. So it was with the Lord, above all others; for He was in love itself, both celestial and Divine.
 That "darkness" signifies falsities is evident from very many passages in the Word; as in Isaiah:
Woe unto them that put darkness for light, and light for darkness (Isa. 5:20);
"darkness" denotes falsities, and "light" truths. In the same:
He shall look onto the land, and behold darkness, distress, and the light is darkened (Isa. 5:30);
"darkness" denoting falsities, and "the light darkened" the truth not appearing.
 In the same:
Behold, darkness covereth the earth, and thick darkness the peoples (Isa. 60:2).
The day of Jehovah, it is darkness, and not light. Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? and thick darkness and no brightness in it? (Amos 5:18, 20).
The great day of Jehovah is near; that day is a day of wrath, a day of straitness and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and thick darkness, a day of cloud and shade (Zeph. 1:14-15).
In these passages, the "day of Jehovah" denotes the last time and state of the church; "darkness and thick darkness" falsities and evils.
 The Lord likewise calls falsities "darkness" in Matthew:
If thine eye be evil, thy whole body is* darkened. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness (Matt. 6:33).
"Darkness" here denotes the falsities which take possession of those who are in knowledges; and the meaning is, how great is this darkness above that of others, or of the Gentiles,, who have not knowledges.
 Again in Matthew:
The sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness (Matt. 8:12; 22:13).
"The outer darkness" denotes the more direful falsities of those who are in the church; for they darken the light, and bring up falsities against truths, which Gentiles cannot do. In John:
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light appeareth in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not (John 1:4-5).
"The darkness" here denotes falsities within the church.
 Falsities outside of the church are also called "darkness," but such as can be illuminated. Such are spoken of in Matthew:
The people that sat in darkness saw a great light, and to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, did light spring up (Matt. 4:16);
"darkness" here denoting the falsities of ignorance, such as are those of the Gentiles.  In John:
And this is the judgment, that the Light is come into the world, but men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their works were evil (John 3:19);
"the Light" denotes truths, and "the darkness" falsities; and "the Light" denotes the Lord, because all truth is from Him; and "the darkness" the hells, because all falsity is from them.
Jesus said, I am the Light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in the darkness (John 8:12).
Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness seize upon you, for he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me may not abide in the darkness (John 12:35, 46).
"The light" denotes the Lord, from whom are all good and truth; "the darkness" falsities, which are dispersed by the Lord alone.
 The falsities of the last times, which are called "darkness" in the verse before us, or of which the "terror of great darkness" is predicated, were represented and signified by the darkness that came upon the whole earth, from the sixth hour to the ninth [at the crucifixion], and also by the sun being then darkened, by which was represented and signified that there was then no longer either love or faith (Matt. 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44-45).
* Est: but elsewhere erit, as n. 9051.