6832. 'In a flame of fire from the middle of a bramble bush' means God's love present in true factual knowledge. This is clear from the meaning of 'a flame of fire' as God's love, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'a bramble bush' as true factual knowledge. The reason why 'a bramble bush' means true factual knowledge is that all shrubs of every kind mean factual knowledge, whereas actual plantations of trees, being larger, mean cognitions and perceptions. Because it produces flower and berries 'a bramble bush' means true factual knowledge. True factual knowledge that the Church possesses consists in nothing else than the Word as it exists in the sense of the letter and also every one of the Church's representative forms and meaningful signs that existed among the descendants of Jacob. These in the external form they take are called true factual knowledge; but in their internal form they are spiritual truths. But truths in their internal or spiritual form could not be made visible to those descended from Jacob, for the reason that they were interested solely in things of an external nature and had no wish whatever to know about anything internal. Therefore the Lord appeared in a bramble bush (when the Lord appears to people He does so in a way suited to the kind of people they are, for a person cannot receive the Divine in any way other than that which is a way suited to the kind of person he is); and therefore also, when the Lord appeared on Mount Sinai He appeared to the people' as a fire burning even to the heart of heaven, and as darkness, cloud, and pitch darkness', Deuteronomy 4:11; 5:22-25; also Exodus 19:18. He would have appeared in an altogether different way if the people below the mountain who beheld Him had not been the kind of people they were. And because those people were interested solely in things of an external nature, when Moses went in to the Lord on Mount Sinai, it is said that he went into the cloud, Exodus 20:21; 24:2, 18; 34:2-5, 'the cloud' being the external aspect of the Word, see Preface to Genesis 18, and 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343 (end), and also consequently representatives in the Church which are seen in outward form.
Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 34:5)
 The truth that the Lord appears to each individual person in a way suited to the kind of person he is may be recognized from the consideration that the Lord appears to those in the inmost or third heaven as the Sun from which light beyond description radiates, the reason being that those there are governed by the good of love to the Lord. He appears to those in the middle or second heaven as the Moon, the reason being that there they are governed by love to the Lord in a more remote and obscure way; for they are governed by love towards the neighbour. But the Lord does not appear to those in the lowest or first heaven either as the Sun or the Moon, only as Light, a light far more brilliant than light in the world. And since the Lord appears to each in a way suited to the kind of person he is, He cannot appear to those in hell as anything other than dark cloud and pitch darkness. For as soon as the light of heaven which comes from the Lord shines into any hell, darkness and thick darkness are produced there. From all this one may now recognize that the Lord appears to each individual person in a way suited to the kind of person he is, for this is suited to the way he receives the Lord. And since the descendants of Jacob were interested solely in things of an external nature, the Lord appeared to Moses in a bramble bush, and also in a cloud when Moses went in to the Lord on Mount Sinai.
 The reason why 'a flame' is God's love is that love in its earliest origin is nothing other than fire or flame from the Lord as the Sun. The fire or flame of this sun is what supplies each individual person with the being (esse) of his life; it is that life-giving fire which fills a person's interiors with warmth, as one may recognize from what happens with love. To the extent that love increases in a person he warms up; but to the extent that it diminishes he cools off. This explain s why, when the Lord appeared in a vision, He appeared as fire and flame, as in Ezekiel,
The appearance of the four living creatures (who were cherubs) was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of lamps. It was moving between the living creatures as a bright fire, and out of the fire went forth lightning. Above the firmament that was over their heads, in appearance like a sapphire stone, there was the likeness of a throne, and over the likeness of a throne there was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it, above. And I saw the shape of burning coals, as the shape of fire, within it round about, from the appearance of His loins and upwards. But from the appearance of His loins and downwards I saw as it were the appearance of fire, whose brightness was round about it. Ezekiel 1:13, 26-28.
 Nobody can deny that all the several details of this vision are signs that represent aspects of the Divine; but unless one knows what is meant by 'the cherubs', 'the burning coals of fire, like the appearance of lamps', 'a throne', 'the appearance of a man upon it', 'his loins from which fire emanated upwards and downwards, and the brightness radiating from the fire', one can have no knowledge of the real holiness hidden within all those several details. 'The cherubs' are the Lord's Providence, see 308; 'the throne' is heaven, or - to be exact - Divine Truth that emanates from the Lord to form heaven, 5313; 'the appearance of a man upon the throne above' is plainly the Lord's Divine Human; and 'loins' are conjugial love and all heavenly love that derives from it, 3021, 4277, 4280, 4575, 5050, 5062. This love was represented by 'the shape of burning coal, as the shape of fire, whose brightness was round about it'.
Arcana Coelestia 5050-5062; Ezekiel 1:26-27)
 In Daniel,
I saw, until thrones had been placed, and the Ancient of Days was seated. His clothing was white as snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was a flame of fire; His wheels were burning fire. A river of five issued and came forth from before Him. Daniel 7:9-10.
The Divine Good of the Lord's Divine Love was seen in this vision too as a flame of fire. In John,
He who sat on the white horse, His eyes were like aflame of fire. Revelation 19:11-12.
'He who sat on the white horse' is the Lord in respect of the Word, as is explicitly stated in verses 13, 16, of that chapter. Thus 'the flame of fire' is Divine Truth contained in the Word, which radiates from the Lord's Divine Goodness. In the same book,
In the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe. His head and hair were white, like white wool, like snow; but His eyes were like a flame of fire. Revelation 1:13-14.
Here also 'eyes like a flame of fire' is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Goodness.
Revelation 19:12, 19:13, 19:16)
 The meaning of 'a flame of fire' as Divine Truth emanating from the Lord is also evident in David,
The voice of Jehovah falls like a flame of fire. Psalms 29:7.
'The voice of Jehovah' stands for Divine Truth. In order that Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Good might be represented, the people were commanded to make a lampstand of pure gold with seven lamps and to place it in the tent of meeting by the table where the loaves of the presence were, and to keep the lamps burning unceasingly before Jehovah, Exodus 25:31-end; Exodus 25:37:17-24; 40:24-25; Leviticus 24:4; Numbers 8:2; Zechariah 4:2. The lampstand with its seven lamps served to represent Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Good.
Exodus 25:31-40, Exodus 37:17-24)
 In order also that Divine Good itself might be represented they were commanded to have perpetual fire on the altar,
Fire shall burn on the altar and not be put out; the priest shall kindle pieces of wood on it at every dawn. Fire shall burn unceasingly on the altar and not be put out. Leviticus 6:12-13.
The fact that the ancients were very well acquainted with the use of fire to represent Divine Love may be recognized from the spread of that representative from the Ancient Church even to nations far away whose worship was idolatrous and who, as is well known, established an everlasting sacred fire and placed in charge of it virgins, who were called the vestal virgins.
 In the contrary sense 'fire' and 'flame' mean filthy kinds of love, such as those of vengeance, cruelty, hatred, and adultery, and in general the cravings that spring from self-love and love of the world. This too is clear from very many places in the Word, of which let just the following be quoted: In Isaiah,
Behold, they have become as stubble, the fire has burned them; they do not save themselves from the power of the flame. 1
There will be no coal to be warmed by [nor] fire to sit in front of. Isaiah 47:14.
Behold, I will kindle in you a five, which will devour in you every green tree and every dry tree. The blazing flame 2
will not be put out, and all faces from south to north will be scorched by it. Ezekiel 20:47.
Here 'fire' and 'flame' mean desires for what is evil and false which annihilate everything good and true in the Church, and thereby lay it waste.
 In Luke,
The rich man said to Abraham, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. Luke 16:24.
People who do not know that a person's vital heat has a different origin from that which is the source of elemental fire cannot possibly do anything else but think that by hell fire is meant fire like that found in the world. In the Word however this latter kind of fire is not meant but the fire of love, thus the fire of a person's life, emanating from the Lord as a Sun. And when this fire comes among those engrossed in pursuits contrary to it, it is turned into the fire of evil desires which, as stated above, belong to vengeance, hatred, and cruelty, and which well up from self-love and love of the world. This is the fire that torments those who are in hell, for when the restraint placed on their evil desires is relaxed, one sets upon another and they torment one another in dreadful and indescribable ways. For each has the wish for supremacy and wants to take from the other the things he has by hidden or open devices. When one or two have such desires hatreds consequently develop within the group, and these lead to the savage deeds that are performed, especially by the use of devices involving magic and the use of figments of the imagination, devices which are countless and totally unknown in the world.
 People who do not believe in the existence of spiritual things, especially those who worship nature, cannot at all be led to believe that the warmth present in living persons, which constitutes the actual life within them, has a different origin from that which is the source of worldly heat. For they are not even aware, let alone able to acknowledge, that there is a heavenly fire radiating from the Lord as a Sun, and that this Fire is pure love. Consequently they are unaware of countless instances in the Word in which no other kind of fire is meant; nor are they aware of countless manifestations of it in the human being, who is an organ made to receive that fire.
1. literally, save their soul from the hand of the flame
2. literally, heavy flame of flame
Exodus 3:2; Ezekiel 1:21)