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That garments of fine linen are truths from the Divine, is because a garment made of fine linen was of purest white and lustrous; and truth from the Divine is represented by garments of such whiteness and luster. The reason is, that the shining whiteness and luster of heaven is from the light that is from the Lord, and this light is the Divine truth itself (AC 1053, 1521-1533, 1619-1632, 2776, 3195, 3222, 3339, 3485, 3636, 3643, 3862, 4415, 4419, 4526, 5219); and therefore when the Lord was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, His garments appeared as the light (Matt. 17:2); shining, exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can whiten them (Mark 9:3); and glistening (Luke 9:29). It was the Divine truth itself that is from the Lord's Divine Human that was thus represented. Yet it is exterior truths that are represented by the white radiance of garments in the heavens, and interior truths by the brightness and resplendence of the face. Hence it is that to be clothed in garments of fine linen is here an external significative of the truth proceeding from the celestial of the spiritual; for it was in this that the Divine of the Lord then was.

[2] By fine linen and garments of fine linen in other parts of the Word also is signified truth from the Divine, as in Ezekiel:--

I clothed thee with broidered work, and shod thee with badger, and I girded thee with fine linen, and covered thee with silk; thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy garments were of fine linen and silk and broidered work (Ezekiel 16:10, 13);

speaking of Jerusalem, by which in these verses is meant the Ancient Church. The truths of that church are described by garments of broidered work, fine linen, and silk, and by being decked with gold and silver. By broidered work are signified truths that are a matter of memory-knowledge; by fine linen, natural truths; and by silk, spiritual truths.

[3] Again:--

Of fine linen in broidered work from Egypt was thy sail, that it might be to thee for an ensign; blue and crimson from the Isles of Elishah was thy covering (Ezekiel 27:7);

speaking of Tyre, by which also is meant the Ancient Church, but as to knowledges of good and truth; and by fine linen in broidered work from Egypt of which was her sail, is signified truth from memory-knowledges, as a sign or external significative of that church.

[4] In the Revelation:--

The merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over Babylon, for no man buyeth their merchandise any more; merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stone, and pearl, and fine linen, and crimson, and silk, and every vessel of Ivory, and every vessel of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble (Rev. 18:11, 12);

in this passage all and each of the expressions signify such things as are of the church, thus such as are of truth and good; but here in the opposite sense, because spoken of Babylon. Everyone can see that such things would never have been enumerated in the Word which came down from heaven, unless there was something heavenly in each one; for why should mention be made of worldly wares in treating of Babylon, by which is signified the profane church?

[5] Again in the same:--

Woe, woe, the great city, she that was clothed in fine linen, and crimson, and scarlet, and gilded with gold, and precious stone, and pearls (Rev. 18:16);

that every detail here signifies some heavenly Divine thing is obvious in the same book, where it is said of fine linen that it is the righteousness of the saints:--

The time of the wedding of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. Then to her was granted that she should be clothed in fine linen, clean and bright; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19:7, 8);

that fine linen is the righteousness of the saints is because all who are in truth from the Divine put on the Lord's righteousness; for their garments are white and shining from the light that is from the Lord, and therefore truth itself is represented in heaven by what is shining white (AC 3301, 3993, 4007). It is for this reason also that they who are taken up into heaven out of a state of vastation appear clad in shining white, because they then put off that which is of their own righteousness, and put on that which is of the Lord's righteousness.

[6] In order that truth from the Divine might be represented in the Jewish Church, it was commanded that there should be fine linen in the garments of Aaron, and also in the curtains about the ark, as we read in Moses:--

For Aaron thou shalt weave the tunic in checker work of fine linen, and thou shalt make a miter of fine linen (Exod. 28:39).

They made the tunics of fine linen the work of the weaver for Aaron, and for his sons (Exod. 39:27).

Thou shalt make the habitation with ten curtains; of fine twined linen, and blue, and crimson, and scarlet double-dyed (Exod. 26:1; 36:8).

Thou shalt make the court of the habitation, there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen (Exod. 27:9, 18; 38:9).

The veil for the gate of the court was the work of the embroiderer, of blue, and crimson, and scarlet double-dyed, and fine twined linen (Exod. 37:18).

Fine linen was to be used because all things in the ark and about it, and also all things upon Aaron's garments, were representative of spiritual and celestial things. This shows how little the Word is understood when it is not known what things like these represent, and that it is scarcely understood at all when it is believed that there is no other holiness in the Word than that which appears in the letter.

[7] That angels who are in truth from the Divine appear clothed as in fine linen, that is, in what is white and shining, appears from the Revelation in connection with the white horse:--

He that sat upon the white horse was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood; and His name is called the Word. His armies in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Rev. 19:13, 14).

From all this it is very evident that fine linen is an outward thing significative of truth from the Divine; for He that sat upon the white horse is the Lord as to the Word, as is there openly said, and the Word is truth itself from the Divine. That the white horse is the internal sense of the Word may be seen above (AC 2760-2762); hence white horses are truths from the Divine, for all things of the internal sense of the Word are truths from the Divine, and therefore His armies were seen upon white horses, and were clothed in fine linen white and clean.

from AC 5319

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info