9144. 'And catches hold of thorns' means which spreads into falsities. This is clear from the meaning of 'catching hold of', when said of anger that arises from an affection for evil, as spreading into and thus setting alight; and from the meaning of 'thorns' as falsities, dealt with below. But something must be stated first about what is implied in all this. The loves present with a person are the fires of his life, 9055. Evil loves - self-love and love of the world - are consuming fires; they consume the forms of good and the truths which true life comprises. Those fires compose the life of a person's will, and the light from those fires composes the life of his understanding. As long as the evil fires are kept shut up in the will, the understanding dwells in light and consequently discerns what is good and true. But when those fires spill out their light into the understanding the light previously there is dispelled and the person's discernment of what is good and true is dimmed. The situation grows worse, as self-love and love of the world, which those fires are, take hold more and more, so that eventually they smother and snuff out all truth, and good along with it.
 When those loves are attacked fire breaks out of the will into the understanding and produces a flame there. This flame is what is called anger. This is why a person is said to flare up, blaze up, and be inflamed, when he is angry. This flame assails the truths and forms of good present in the understanding and not only hides them but also consumes them. Furthermore, and this is an arcanum, when that evil fire bursts out of the will into the understanding part of the mind, this part is closed above and opened below, that is, closed where it looks towards heaven and opened where it looks towards hell.
 So it is that whenever an evil person blazes up in anger evils and falsities that produce the flame are entering in. It is like a fibre in the body. If it is pricked with the point of a needle it instantly pulls itself in and closes up, and in so doing prevents the wound from going any deeper and harming life where it exists essentially. Also, when presented in a visual shape falsity appears as something pointed. An evil person's state when he is angry is also similar to smoke which on a touch of fire bursts into flame; for falsity arising from evil and present in the understanding is like smoke, and anger is like smoke that has been set alight. They also correspond to one another. So it is that in the Word 'smoke' means falsity and 'its flame' means anger, as in David,
Smoke went up out of His nose, and fire out of His mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from Him. Psalms 18:8.
And in Isaiah,
Wickedness burns like a fire, it devours brier and thorn, and kindles the entangled boughs of the wood; and they rise in a column of smoke, 1
through the wrath of Jehovah Zebaoth. Isaiah 9:18-19.
'Smoke' here is falsity which, when set alight, gives rise to anger. For the meaning of 'smoke' as falsity, see 1861.
 From all this one may now see what is meant in the internal sense by 'When fire breaks out and catches hold of thorns, and a stack of grain is consumed, or standing grain ... ', namely, If an affection for evil bursts out into anger and spreads into falsities belonging to evil cravings, and consumes the truths and forms of the good of faith ... Anyone who stops to think can see that there is some reason for this law that lies hidden on a more internal level and is not apparent. For nowhere else is a law laid down regarding fire catching hold of thorns and then consuming a stack of grain or standing grain; such an occurrence is extremely rare. But it is an everyday occurrence for the fire of wickedness and of anger to seize on and set alight the falsities of cravings and thereby to consume the Church's truths and forms of good.
 The fact that 'thorns' are the falsities of cravings is clear from the following places: In Isaiah,
Over the land of My people the thorn, and the prickle, is coming up. Isaiah 32:13.
'The land' is the Church, 'the thorn or the prickle' falsities and the evils stemming from them. In the same prophet,
[As to] your spirit, a fire will devour you. Thus will the people be burnt into lime; [they will be like] thorns cut down which are burned in the fire. Isaiah 33:11-12.
'Thorns which are burned in the fire' stands for falsities which catch fire and consume truths and forms of good.
 In Ezekiel,
No more will there be for the house of Israel a pricking brier and a painful thorn. Ezekiel 28:24.
'A pricking brier' stands for falsity belonging to the cravings of self-love, 'thorn' for falsity belonging to the cravings of love of the world. In Hosea,
mother has committed whoredom. Therefore I am hedging up your way with thorns, and she will not find her paths. Hosea 2:5-6.
'Ways' and 'paths' stand for truths, and 'thorns' for falsities instead of them.
 In the same prophet,
The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed. Thistle and thorn will grow up on their altars. Hosea 10:8.
'Thistle and thorn' stands for evil and falsity laying waste the forms of good and the truths of worship. In David,
They have surrounded me like bees, they quench as it were a fire of thorns. 3
'A fire of thorns' stands for a craving for evil. In Matthew,
By their fruits you will know them. Do people gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16.
'Gathering grapes from thorns' stands for obtaining forms of the good of faith and of charity from the falsities of cravings, 'grapes' being those forms of good, see 1071, 5117, 6378.
 In Mark,
Some seed fell among thorns; but the thorns grew up and choked it, so that it did not bear fruit. Those who are sown among the thorns are the ones who hear the word; but the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the cravings entering in that are centred on other things, choke the word, so that it becomes unfruitful. Mark 4:7, 18-19.
Here an explanation is given of what is meant by 'being sown among thorns', and so of what is meant by 'thorns'. The same things are meant by 'sowing among thorns' and 'reaping thorns' in Jeremiah,
Thus said Jehovah to the man of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Jeremiah 4:3.
They have sown wheat and reaped thorns. Jeremiah 12:12-13.
 The falsities of cravings, meant by 'thorns', are falsities that support worldly concerns and worldly desires; for these falsities more than others catch fire and flare up because they are the product of bodily cravings that a person feels. For this reason they also close the internal man, leaving the person wholly devoid of wisdom so far as salvation of the soul and eternal life are concerned.
 The crown woven from thorns which was placed on the Lord's head when He was crucified, and when He was hailed as King of the Jews and He said, 'Behold the Man!', 4
John 19:2-3, 5, represented God's truth as it was at that time in the Jewish Church, namely truth smothered by the falsities of cravings. 'The King of the Jews', as they hailed Him then, meant God's truth. 'King' in the Word means the truth from God, see 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148; and 'the Anointed', who is the Messiah in Hebrew and the Christ in Greek, has a similar meaning, 3004, 3008, 3009, 3732(end). In the highest sense 'Judah' is used to mean the Lord in respect of Divine Good, in the internal sense the Lord in respect of the Word, and so in respect of teachings drawn from the Word, 3881. And when, after such a crown had been placed on His head, the Lord said, 'Behold the Man!', He meant, 'Behold Divine Truth as it is in the Church at the present day!' For 'Man' is Divine Truth going forth from the Lord in heaven. So it is that heaven is the Grand Man, owing both to influx and to correspondence, as has been shown at the ends of a number of chapters, see 1276, 1871, 2996, 2998, 3624-3649, 3741-3750, 7396, 8547, 8988. So it is also that the Lord's celestial Church was called Man, 478, 479, this Church being the one that the Jews represented, 6363, 6364, 8770. All this shows what was meant by 'the crown of thorns', and by being hailed 'King of the Jews', also what was meant by 'Behold the Man' as well as by the inscription over the cross, 'Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews', John 19:19-20. It meant the way in which Divine Truth or the Word was regarded and was treated by the Jews, among whom the Church existed. All the things that the Jews did to the Lord when He was about to be crucified were signs of the states of those belonging to the Church so far as God's truth or the Word was concerned, see 9093(end). That the Lord was the Word is clear in John,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. John 1:1, 14.
'The Word' is Divine Truth.
1. literally, they raise themselves with a raising of smoke
2. The Latin means Your but the Hebrew means Their, which Swedenborg Has in another place where he quotes this verse.
3. i.e. a fire consuming thorns
4. The words Behold the Man (Ecce Homo) are generally thought to have been spoken by Pilate. The Greek at John 19:5 states simply And he said, Behold the Man.
Arcana Coelestia 478-479, 3008-3009, 6363-6364; Exodus 22:6)