4555. And a terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. That this signifies that falsities and evils could not come near, is evident from the signification of a "terror of God," as being protection (to be explained in what follows); from the signification of the "cities that were round about them," as being falsities and evils, "cities" in the genuine sense being truths of doctrine, and in the opposite sense, falsities of doctrine (see n. 402, 2449, 2943, 3216, 4478, 4492, 4493); the reason why "cities" here signify evils also, is that the inhabitants likewise are meant, who in the genuine sense are goods, thus in the opposite sense evils (n. 2268, 2451, 2712); and from the signification of "not pursuing after them," as being not to be able to come near.
 That a "terror of God" is protection may be illustrated by what takes place in the other life; for there the hells cannot possibly come near heaven, nor evil spirits any society of heaven, because they are in terror of God. For when evil spirits approach any heavenly society, they suddenly fall into anxieties and torments; and they who have fallen into these a few times dare not approach. Their not daring is what is meant in the internal sense by a "terror of God." Not that God or the Lord terrifies them, but because they are in falsities and evils, and thus in the opposite to goods and truths; and that the falsities and evils themselves cause them to fall into anguish and torment when they approach goods and truths.