691. Moses said to Jehovah:
Show me Thy glory. Jehovah said to him, Thou canst not see My faces, for man shall not see Me and live. And Jehovah said, Behold, there is a place where thou shalt stand upon a rock, and I will put thee in a hole of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand until I shall have passed by and when I shall take away My hand thou shalt see My hinder parts; but My faces shall not be seen (Ex. 33:18-23).
Man cannot see God and live for the reason that God is love itself, and love itself or Divine love in the spiritual world appears before the angels as a sun, distant from them as the sun of our world is from men. Therefore, if God, who is in the midst of that sun, were to draw near to the angels, they would perish, as men would if the sun of the world were to draw near to them; for the spiritual sun is equally hot.  For this reason there are perpetual temperings, which modify and moderate the heat of this love, so that it may not inflow into heaven as it is in itself; for the angels would be thereby consumed. Therefore when the Lord renders Himself more immediately present in heaven, the wicked who are beneath heaven begin to lament, to be tortured, and to lose life, so that they flee into caves and clefts of mountains, crying out:
Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne (Apoc. 6:16; Isa. 2:19, 21).
It is not the Lord Himself who descends, but an angel with a sphere of love from the Lord encompassing him. I have several times seen the wicked terrified by that descent, as if they saw death itself before their eyes, some casting themselves deeper and deeper into hell, and some driven to fury.  This explains why the children of Israel prepared themselves for three days before the descent of Jehovah the Lord upon Mount Sinai, and the Mount was fenced about, lest anyone should come near it and die (Ex. 19). The same is true of the holiness of Jehovah the Lord in the Decalogue then promulgated, and written by the finger of God on two tables, and afterward deposited in the ark, over which in the tabernacle the mercy-seat was placed, and over this again the cherubs, lest anyone should touch that holiness immediately with hand or eye. Not even Aaron could go near to it, except once a year, and after he had made expiation for himself by sacrifices and incense offerings.  For the same reason the people of Ekron and Bethshemesh died to the number of several thousands merely because they looked into the ark (1 Sam. 5:11, 12; 6:19), as did Uzzah also, because he touched it (2 Sam. 6:6, 7). These few instances illustrate with what a curse and destruction the Jews would have been smitten if they had not been prepared by the baptism of John for receiving the Messiah, who was Jehovah God in the human form, and if He had not assumed the Human and thus revealed Himself; also that there was this further preparation that in heaven they were enrolled and numbered with those who in heart were waiting for and longing for the Messiah, for which reason angels were then sent and made guardians over them.