Spiritual Meaning of

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 White, Shining

The signification of white is truth, but properly the Lord's righteousness and merit, and derivatively the Lord's righteousness and merit in man (AC 3301, 3993). The reason why white has this signification, is that the light of heaven, which is from the Lord and is the source of brightness and whiteness, signifies truth; and therefore that which is enlightened by that light, and becomes shining and bright, is that which is called the Lord's righteousness and merit in man. They who from good acknowledge and receive the Lord's righteousness, and reject their own righteousness, are they who are specifically signified by righteous, concerning whom the Lord says in Matthew:--

The righteous shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matthew 13:43).

[2] That shining or bright white has this signification, is evident also from other passages in the Word; as in Moses:--

His eyes shall be redder than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk (Gen. 49:12);

speaking of Judah, by whom is represented the Lord as to the Divine of His love; and in the internal sense, the celestial kingdom; and thus the celestial man (AC 3881). The eyes being redder than wine signifies the Divine Wisdom; and the teeth whiter than milk, the Divine righteousness. In David:--

Thou shalt purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Ps. 51:7);

to wash, and to be made whiter than snow, denotes to be purified from sins by the reception and putting on of the Lord's righteousness. In John:--

In the midst of the seven candlesticks was one like unto the Son of man; His head and His hairs were white as white wool, as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire (Rev. 1:13, 14).

[3] In the same:--

Thou hast a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh shall be clothed in white garments (Rev. 3:4, 5).

In the same:--

I counsel thee to buy of Me gold purified in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white garments that thou mayest be clothed (Rev. 3:18).


There were given to every soul under the altar white robes (Rev. 6:9-11).


I saw them standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes. And one of the elders said unto me, Who are these clothed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, My lord, thou knowest. And he said unto me, These are they who come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made their robes white in the blood of the lamb (Rev. 7:9, 13, 14).


Angels clothed in linen white and shining, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles (Rev. 15:6).


I saw and behold a white horse, and he that sat thereon had a bow, and there was given unto him a crown (Rev. 6:2).

And again:--

Afterwards I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse. His armies in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen white and clean (Rev. 19:11, 14).

[4] In all these passages by white is signified the truth of faith; the white garments and white robes being nothing else. But the truth of faith does not belong to those who believe that they have faith of themselves, and thus are wise from themselves; but to those who believe they have faith and wisdom from the Lord, for to these are faith and wisdom given because they ascribe nothing of truth and good to themselves, still less believe that they have merit through the truths and goods they possess; and less still that they are justified thereby; but only by ascribing them to the Lord; thus all things to His grace and mercy. This is putting on white garments; and is also being made white in the blood of the Lamb. There are two things that are put off by all who enter into heaven, namely, their own and the consequent confidence, and the merit of self or of their own righteousness; and they put on a heavenly own which is from the Lord, and the Lord's merit or righteousness; and the more they put on these, the more interiorly do they come into heaven. These two things are specifically signified by red and by white; by red, the good of love which they then have; and by white, the truth of faith.

from AC 4007

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