6997. And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses. That this signifies clemency, is evident from the signification of "the anger of Jehovah," as not being anger, but the opposite of anger, thus mercy, and here clemency. That Jehovah has not any anger is evident from the fact that He is love itself, good itself, and mercy itself; and anger is the opposite, and also is a weakness, which cannot be applicable to God; and therefore when in the Word "anger" is predicated of Jehovah or the Lord, the angels do not perceive anger, but either mercy or the removal of the evil from heaven; here clemency, because it is said to Moses, by whom is represented the Lord as to Divine truth when He was in the world.
 That in the Word "anger" is attributed to Jehovah or the Lord is because it is a most general truth that all things come from God, thus evil things as well as good. But this most general truth, which must be taught to children, youths, and the simple, should afterward be illustrated, that is, by showing that evils are from man, though they appear as if from God, and that it is so said in order that they may learn to fear God, lest they should perish by the evils which they themselves do; and afterward may love Him; for fear must precede love in order that in love there may be holy fear. For when fear is instilled in love, it becomes holy from the holy of love; and then it is not fear of the Lord's being angry and punishing, but lest they should act against good itself, because this will torment the conscience.
 Moreover, the Israelites and Jews were driven by punishments to observe the statutes and precepts in outward form; and from this they believed that Jehovah was angry and punished, when yet it was themselves who by idolatries brought such things upon them, and separated themselves from heaven; whence came punishments; as is also said in Isaiah:
It is your iniquities that have separated between you and your God; and your sins do hide His faces from you (Isa. 59:2).
And as the Israelites and Jews were solely in externals without an internal, they were therefore held in the opinion that Jehovah was angry and punished; for they who are in externals without an internal do all things from fear, and nothing from love.
 From all this it can now be seen what is meant in the Word by the "anger and wrath of Jehovah," namely, punishments; as in these passages:
Behold the name of Jehovah cometh from far, burning with His anger, and the heaviness of a burden; His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue is as a burning fire (Isa. 30:27);
where "anger" denotes reproof and warning lest they should perish through evils. Again:
In an inundation of anger I hid My faces from thee for a moment (Isa. 54:8);
"an inundation of anger" denotes temptation, in which evils vex and torment. In Jeremiah:
I Myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand, and with a strong arm, and in anger, and in fury, and in great indignation; lest My fury go forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the wickedness of your works (Jer. 21:5, 12).
To fill with the carcasses of the men whom I have smitten in Mine anger, and in My wrath (Jer. 33:5).
I will pour out upon them Mine indignation, all the wrath of Mine anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My zeal (Zeph. 3:8).
He sent on them the wrath of His anger, indignation, and fury, and distress, and a sending of evil angels (Ps. 78:49).
 Besides many other passages, in which, as in the above, by "anger," "wrath," "fury," "fire," are meant punishments and damnations, into which man casts himself when into evils; for it is of Divine order that goods are attended with rewards; and hence it is that evils are attended with punishments, because they are conjoined together. Punishment and damnation are also meant by "the day of the anger of Jehovah" (Isa. 13:9, 13; Lam. 2:1; Zeph. 2:3; Rev. 6:17; 11:18); also by "the wine of the anger of God," and by "the cup of the anger of God" (Jer. 25:15, 28; Rev. 14:10; 16:19); and likewise by "the winepress of the anger and fury of God" (Rev. 14:19; 19:15).
 That punishment and damnation are signified by "anger," is also evident in these passages:
Offspring of vipers! Who hath warned you to flee from the anger to come? (Matt. 3:7).
He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the anger of God abideth on him (John 3:36).
In the last time there shall be great distress upon the land, and anger on this people (Luke 21:23).
From these passages it is plain that by the "anger of Jehovah" are signified punishments and damnations. That by "anger" is meant clemency and mercy, is because all the punishments of the evil arise from the mercy of the Lord toward the good, lest these should be harmed by the evil; yet the Lord does not impose the punishments on them, but they do so upon themselves, for in the other life evils and punishments are conjoined together. Especially do the evil impose punishments on themselves when the Lord does mercy to the good, for then evils increase upon them, and consequently punishments. It is from this that instead of the "anger of Jehovah," by which are signified the punishments of the evil, the angels understand mercy.
 From all this it can be seen what is the nature of the Word in the sense of the letter, and also what Divine truth is in its most general form, namely, that it is according to appearances; and this for the reason that man is such that what he sees and apprehends from his sensuous, he believes; and what he does not see nor apprehend from his sensuous, he does not believe; thus does not receive. Hence it is that the Word in the sense of the letter is according to things that so appear; and yet it has genuine truths stored up in its inward bosom; and in its inmost bosom, the truth Divine itself which proceeds immediately from the Lord; thus also Divine good, that is, the Lord Himself.