Spiritual Meaning of
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That a present signifies initiation, is because it was given to gain good will and favor; for in old time the presents which were given and offered had various significations; those which were given on approaching kings and priests signified one thing, and those which were offered upon the altar, another; the former signified initiation, but the latter, worship (AC 349). For all sacrifices in general, of whatever kind, were called presents; but the meat offerings which were bread and wine, or cakes with a libation, were specifically so called; for in the original language meat offering signifies a present.
 That they gave presents to kings and priests on approaching them, is evident from many passages in the Word, as when Saul consulted Samuel (1 Sam. 9:7, 8); when they who despised Saul did not offer him a present (1 Sam. 10:27); when the queen of Sheba came to Solomon (1 Kings 10:2);and also all the others of whom it is said:--
All the earth sought the faces of Solomon, to hear his wisdom; and they offered every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and arms, and spices, horses, and mules (1 Kings 10:24, 25).
And as this was a holy ritual, signifying initiation, the wise men from the east also, who came to Jesus just after His birth, brought presents-gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:11); gold signified celestial love; frankincense, spiritual love; and myrrh, these loves in the natural.
 That this ritual was commanded, is evident in Moses:--
The faces of Jehovah shall not be seen empty (Exod. 23:15; Deut. 16:16, 17);
and that the presents given to priests and kings were as if given to Jehovah, is evident from other places in the Word. That presents which were sent signified initiation, is manifest from the presents which the twelve princes of Israel sent to initiate the altar, after it was anointed (Num. 7); where their presents are called the initiation (Num. 7:88).
from AC 4262
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|