9144. And shall catch hold of thorns. That this signifies which betakes itself into falsities, is evident from the signification of "to catch hold of," when said of the anger which arises from the affection of evil, as being to betake itself, and thus to kindle; and from the signification of "thorns," as being falsities (of which in what follows). Something shall first be said to show how the case herein is. The loves in a man are the Fires of his life (see n. 9055). Evil loves, which are the loves of self and of the world, are consuming Fires, for they consume the goods and truths which belong to the life itself. These fires make the life of man's will, and the light from these fires makes the life of his understanding. So long as the Fires of evil are kept shut up in the will, the understanding is in light, and consequently is able to perceive good and truth. But when these Fires pour forth their light into the understanding, then the former light is dissipated, and the man is darkened in respect to the perception of good and truth, and this the more in proportion as the loves of self and of the world, which are these fires, receive increase; until finally these loves stifle and extinguish all truth, together with all good.
 When these loves are assailed, then fire from the will breaks forth into the understanding, and kindles a flame there. This flame is what is called "anger." Hence it is that when he is angry, a man is said to "become heated," to "take fire," and to be "inflamed." This flame assails the truths and the goods that are in the understanding, and not only hides, but also consumes them; and (this is a secret) when this evil fire breaks forth from the will into the understanding, the latter is closed above and opened below; that is, is closed where it looks toward heaven, and is opened where it looks toward hell. From this it is that when an evil man takes fire with anger, evils and falsities flow in, which kindle into flame. The case herein is like that of a fiber in the body, which, if touched with the point of a needle, instantly contracts and closes itself, and thus prevents the injury from penetrating further, and attacking the life in its first principles. Moreover, when falsity is presented to the sight, it has the appearance of being sharp-pointed.
 The state of an evil man when angered, resembles that of smoke, which, when fire is applied to it, kindles into flame; for the falsity of evil in the understanding is like smoke; and anger is like the flame of the ignited smoke. There is also a correspondence between them, and therefore in the Word "smoke" denotes what is false; and its "flame" denotes anger; as in David:
There went up smoke out of His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth; coals did burn in Him (Ps. 18:5).
And in Isaiah:
Wickedness burneth as the fire, it devoureth the briers and thorns, and kindleth the thickets of the forest, and they mount up as the rising of smoke, in the wrath of Jehovah Zebaoth (Isa. 9:18-19);
where "smoke" denotes falsity, from the "kindling" of which there arises anger. (That "smoke" denotes falsity, see n. 1861.)
 From all this it is now clear what is signified in the internal sense by "when fire shall go forth, and shall catch hold of thorns, and a stack is consumed, or the standing crop," namely, that if the affection of evil breaks forth into anger, and betakes itself into the falsities of concupiscences, and consumes the truths and goods of faith. Every thinking person can see that there is some reason for this law which lies hidden within and does not appear; for nowhere has a law been enacted about fire catching hold of thorns, and thereby consuming a stack, or the standing crop; because such a thing very rarely happens; whereas it is of daily occurrence that the fire of wickedness and anger lays hold of and sets on Fire the falsities of concupiscences, and thus consumes the truths and goods of the church.
 That "thorns" denote the falsities of concupiscences, is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:
Upon the land of My people cometh up thorn and brier (Isa. 32:13);
"the land" denotes the church; "the thorn and brier" denote falsities, and the consequent evils. Again:
As for your spirit, a fire shall consume you, so the peoples shall be burned into lime, as thorns cut down that are kindled with fire (Isa. 33:11-12);
the "thorns that are kindled with fire" denote falsities which break into flame, and consume truths and goods.
 In Ezekiel:
There shall be no more a pricking brier to the house of Israel, nor a thorn causing grief (Ezek. 28:24);
"a pricking brier" denotes falsity of the concupiscences of the love of self; "a thorn," falsity of the concupiscences of the love of the world. In Hosea:
Your mother hath played the harlot; therefore I hedge up thy way with thorns, and she shall not find her paths (Hos. 2:5-6);
"ways" and "paths" denote truths; and "thorns," falsities in place of truths.
The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed; the thistle and the thorn shall come up on their altars (Hos. 10:8);
"the thistle and the thorn" denote evil and falsity that lay waste the goods and truths of worship. In David:
They compassed me about like bees; they go out like a fire of thorns (Ps. 118:12);
"a fire of thorns" denotes the concupiscence of evil. In Matthew:
By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Matt. 7:16);
"gathering grapes of thorns" denotes deriving the goods of faith and of charity from the falsities of concupiscences (that "grapes" denote these goods, see n. 1071, 5117, 6378).
 In Mark:
Other seed fell among thorns, but the thorns came up, and choked it, that it yielded no fruit. They that are sown among the thorns, are they that hear the word; but the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the concupiscences of other things entering in, choke the word, so that it becometh unfruitful (Mark 4:7, 18-19);
here there is explained what is meant by being "sown among thorns," thus what by "thorns." The same is signified by "sowing among thorns," and "reaping thorns," in Jeremiah:
Thus said Jehovah to the man of Judah, and to Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns (Jer. 4:3).
They have sown wheat, and have reaped thorns (Jer. 12:13).
 The falsities of concupiscences, which are signified by "thorns," are falsities which confirm those things which are of the world and its pleasures, for more than all other falsities these take fire and blaze up, because they are from those concupiscences in the body which are felt; wherefore also they close the internal man, so that there is no appreciation of that which concerns the salvation of the soul, and eternal life.
They put a crown plaited of thorns upon the Lord's head when He was crucified, and that then He was hailed King of the Jews, and said, Behold the Man (John 19:2, 3, 5),
represented the condition of the Divine Word at that time in the Jewish church; namely, that it was stifled by the falsities of concupiscences. The "King of the Jews," as He was then hailed by them, signified truth Divine. (That by a "king" in the Word is signified truth from the Divine, see n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148; and that the like is signified by "the Anointed," which in the Hebrew idiom is "the Messiah," and in the Greek "the Christ," n. 3004, 3008, 3009, 3732.) By "Judah" in the supreme sense is meant the Lord as to Divine good, and in the internal sense as to the Word, and thus as to doctrine from the Word (n. 3881); and that when such a crown was upon His head the Lord said "Behold the Man," signified, Behold the Divine truth such as it now is in the church. For the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord in heaven is a Man; consequently heaven is the Grand Man, and this by influx and by correspondence, as has been shown at the end of many chapters (see n. 1871, 1276, 2996, 2998, 3624-3649, 3741-3750, 7396, 8547, 8988). From this also the Lord's celestial church was called "Man" (see n. 478, 479), this church being that which the Jews represented (n. 6363, 6364, 8770). From this it is evident what was signified by the "crown of thorns," and by His being hailed "King of the Jews," by "behold the Man," and also by the inscription on the cross, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" (John 19:19, 20); namely, that Divine truth, or the Word, was so regarded and so treated by the Jews, among whom was the church. (That all things done to the Lord by the Jews at His crucifixion signified the states of their church with respect to truth Divine, or the Word, see n. 9093.) That the Lord was the Word, is evident in John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us, and we beheld His glory (John 1:1, 14);
"the Word" denotes the Divine truth.