1861. 'And behold, a smoking furnace' means grossest falsity, and 'a flaming torch' the heat of evil desires. This is clear from the meaning of 'a smoking furnace' as gross falsity, and from the meaning of 'a flaming torch' as the heat of evil desires. The expression 'a smoking furnace' is used because anyone, especially a member of the Church, who has some knowledge of the truth, and yet does not acknowledge it but at heart denies it, and leads a life pursuing things that are contrary to the truth, is seen as nothing other than a smoking furnace, he himself as 'the furnace', and the falsity arising from his hatred as 'the smoke'. Evil desires out of which falsities arise are seen as nothing other than torches of fire from such a furnace, as is also clear from the representatives in the next life which have been described from experience in 814, 1528. It is desires belonging to hatred, revenge, cruelty, and adultery - especially when mingled with deceit - that are seen as such and become such things.
 That in the Word such are meant by a furnace, smoke, and fire, becomes clear from the following places: In Isaiah,
Everyone is a hypocrite and wicked, and every mouth speaks folly. For wickedness burns like a fire, it consumes brier and thorn, and kindles the entangled boughs of the wood, and they surge up in an uprising of smoke. Through the wrath of Jehovah Zebaoth the earth has been darkened, and the people has become as fuel for the fire; a man will not spare his brother. Isaiah 9:17-19.
Here 'fire' stands for hatred, 'the rising up of smoke from it' for falsities of that kind. Hatred is described by the statement that 'a man will not spare his brother'. Such people, when looked at by angels, appear exactly like the things described here.
 In Joel,
I will give portents in the heavens and on earth, blood and fire, and columns of smote. The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah comes. Joel 2:30-31.
Here 'fire' stands for hatred, 'columns of smoke 'for falsities, 'sun' for charity, and 'moon' for faith.
 In Isaiah,
The land will become burning pitch. Night and day it will not be quenched; its smoke will go up eternally. Isaiah 34:9-10.
'Burning pitch' stands for dreadful evil desires, 'smoke' for falsities.
 In Malachi,
Behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, and all the arrogant and every evil-doer will be stubble; and the day that is coming will burn them up; it will leave them neither root nor branch. Malachi 4:1.
'A burning furnace' stands for the same things as before. 'A root' stands for charity, 'a branch' for truth, which will not be left.
 In Hosea,
Ephraim has become guilty through Baal. It will be like chaff that is driven by the whirlwind from the threshing-floor, and like smoke from a chimney. Hosea 13:1, 3.
'Ephraim' stands for one with understanding who has become such.
 In Isaiah,
The strong will be as tow, and his work as a spark, and both of them will burn together, with none to quench them. Isaiah 1:31.
This stands for the fact that people governed by self-love - or what amounts to the same, by hatred against the neighbour - will be burnt up by their own evil desires. In John,
Babylon has become the dwelling-place of demons. Those cried out who saw the smoke of her burning. The smoke goes up for ever and ever. Revelation 18:2, 18; 19:3.
 In the same book,
He opened the pit of the abyss, from which there went up smoke out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun was darkened, and the air, with the smoke of the pit. Revelation 9:2.
In the same book,
Out of the mouths of the horses there went forth fire, and smoke, and brimstone. By these a third part of mankind was killed - by the fire and by the smoke and by the brimstone which went forth out of their mouths. Revelation 9:17-18.
In the same book,
He who worships the beast will drink 1
from the wine of God's anger, poured unmixed as it is in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone. Revelation 14:9-10.
In the same book,
The fourth angel poured out his bowl into the sun, and it was allowed to scorch men with fire; therefore men were burned by the fierce heat, and they blasphemed the name of God. Revelation 16:8-9.
And it is in like manner said that
They were thrown into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. Revelation 19:20; 20:14-15; 21:8.
 In all of these places 'fire' stands for the evil desires, 'smoke' for the falsities, which will reign in the last times. These thing as they actually exist in the next life were seen by John following the opening of his interior sight. Similar things are also seen by spirits, and by souls after death. These references show what hell-fire is, that it is nothing other than hatred, revenge, and cruelty, or what amounts to the same, self-love, which passes into such a visible form. As long as a person is in his bodily life, no matter how different his outward appearance might seem to be, he cannot be seen by the angels, when they look at him closely, in any other way than this; that is, his hatred is not seen by them except as 'flaming torches' nor the falsities coming from it except as 'smoking furnaces'.
 Of this fire the Lord speaks in Matthew as follows,
Every tree not bearing good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Matthew 3:10; Luke 3:9.
'Good fruit' is used to mean charity, and anyone who deprives himself of this 'cuts himself down and casts himself into such a fire'. In the same gospel,
The Son of Man will send His angels, who will gather out of His kingdom all offences, and those who work iniquity, and will send them into the furnace of fire. Matthew 13:41-42, 50.
Here the meaning is similar. In the same gospel,
The king will say 2
to those on his left hand, Depart from me, O cursed ones, into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41.
Here the meaning is similar.
 Where it is said that they were to be sent into eternal fire, the Gehenna of fire, and that their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched in Matthew 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-49, the meaning is similar. In Luke,
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.
Here the meaning is similar.
 People who have no knowledge of the arcana of the Lord's kingdom imagine that the Lord sends the wicked down into hell, that is, into the kind of fire which, as has been stated, is the manifestation of hatred. But the truth of the matter is altogether different, for it is the person himself, or the devil- spirit himself, who casts himself down. Yet because it appears as though the Lord casts down, it has been spoken of in the Word in that way - according to the appearance, indeed according to the illusions of the senses. This was especially necessary with the Jews, who were totally unwilling to accept anything if it did not coincide with their own sensory perceptions, no matter what illusions these might entail. This is why the sense of the letter, especially the prophetical sections, is full of such ideas, as in Jeremiah,
 Thus said Jehovah, Execute judgement in the morning, and deliver him who has been robbed from the hand of the oppressor, lest My wrath go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it because of the wickedness of their works. Jeremiah 21:12.
'Executing judgement' is declaring the truth. 'Delivering him who has been robbed from the hand of the oppressor' is doing a good work of charity. 'Fire' stands for the hellish punishment of those who do not do these things, that is, who pass their time clinging to falsity that is the product of hatred. In the sense of the letter such fire and anger are attributed to Jehovah, but in the internal sense it is quite the reverse.
 Similarly in Joel,
The day of Jehovah, fire devours before him, and behind him a flame burns. Joel 2:1, 3.
Smoke went up out of His nose, and fire out of His mouth devoured; glowing coals flamed forth from Him; and there was thick darkness under His feet. Psalms 18:8-9.
A fire has flared up in My anger, and will burn right down to the lowest hell, and will devour the land and its increase, and will set on fire the foundations of the mountains. Deuteronomy 32:22.
Here 'a fire' stands for the hatred, 'smoke' for the falsities, that reside with a person, which are attributed to Jehovah or the Lord for the reasons that have been stated. To the hells also it seems that Jehovah or the Lord does the things described, but quite the reverse is the case. It is they who do them because they dwell in the fires of hatred. From this it is evident how easily a person can sink into delusions if the internal sense of the Word is not known.
 It was similar with the smoke and fire which the people saw coming from Mount Sinai when the Law was given; for Jehovah or the Lord is seen by everyone according to his character and disposition. By celestial angels He is seen as the sun, by spiritual angels as the moon, by all who are good as light of varying delightfulness and loveliness; but by the evil as smoke and as devouring fire. And because the Jews had no charity at all when the Law was given, but self-love and love of the world reigned among them, and so nothing but evils and falsities, He was therefore seen by them as smoke and fire, while in the same instant He was seen by angels as the sun and heavenly light.
 The fact that He was seen thus by the Jews, because their character was such, is clear in Moses,
The glory of Jehovah dwelt over Mount Sinai. And the appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain, before the eyes of the children of Israel. Exodus 24:16-17.
In the same book,
Mount Sinai was smoking, the whole of it, because Jehovah came down upon it in fire and its smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. Exodus 19:18.
And elsewhere in the same author,
You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while the mountain was burning with fire even to the heart of heaven, with darkness and cloud and thick darkness. And Jehovah spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. Deuteronomy 4:11-12; 5:22.
Also in the same,
When you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, and the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to Me and you said, Why should we die? For this great fire will devour us; if we hear the voice of Jehovah our God any more we shall die. Deuteronomy 5:23-25.
 The same would be the case if anyone else who spends his time hating and performing filthy deeds that are the product of hatred were to see the Lord. He would inevitably see Him from his own hatred and the filthy deeds that are the product of it. These things being the recipients of the rays of good and truth from Him, they would convert those rays into that type of fire, smoke, and thick darkness. The same places that have been quoted also show what' a smoking furnace' is, and what 'a burning torch' is, namely the grossest falsity and the filthiest evil which took possession of the Church in its last times.
1. Reading bibet (he will drink) for bibat (let him drink)
2. Reading dices (will say) for dicit (says)