Spiritual Meaning of

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As flax signified the truth of the exterior natural, and the exterior natural is what clothes the interiors, therefore this truth is what was represented by the linen garments with which the angels were clothed; and also by the garments of flax (or linen) with which Aaron was clothed when he ministered in the holy place, which garments are thus spoken of in the following passages:--

When Aaron enters into the holy place, he shall put on the holy coat of linen, and shall gird himself with the belt of linen, and he shall put on himself the miter of linen; these are the garments of holiness (Lev. 16:4).

The priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, when they enter at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with garments of linen, and no wool shall come up upon them when they minister in the gates of the inner court and inward; miters of linen shall be upon their head, breeches of linen shall be upon their loins (Ezek. 44:17, 18);

speaking of the new temple and of the New Jerusalem, by which is meant the Lord's kingdom. Therefore also the priests wore ephods of linen (1 Sam. 22:18); and Samuel ministered before Jehovah, a boy girded with an ephod of linen (1 Sam. 2:18). David also, when the ark was brought over into his city, was girded with an ephod of linen (2 Sam. 6:14).

[6] From all this it can also be seen why the Lord, when He washed the feet of His disciples, girded Himself with a linen towel, and wiped their feet with the linen towel with which He was girded (John 13:4, 5); for the washing of the feet signified purification from sins, which is effected by means of the truths of faith, for by means of these man is taught how to live.

[7] By flax (or linen) is signified truth in the following passages also:--

Jehovah said to the prophet, Go and buy thee a girdle of linen, and put it upon thy loins, but draw it not through water. Take the girdle, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it in a hole of the rock. At the end of many days, when he took the girdle from the place where he had hidden it, behold the girdle had rotted, it was fit for nothing (Jer. 13:1-7);

by the girdle of flax upon the loins was represented truth from good, such as it is in the beginning when a church is being set up again by the Lord, and such as it becomes afterward: that about its end it is corrupt and is fit for nothing. In Isaiah:--

They who make linen of silk shall blush, and the weaver, of curtains (Isa. 19:9).

This is said of Egypt; to make linen of silk denotes to counterfeit truths.

[8] In Moses:--

Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together. Thou shalt not wear a bed garment of wool and flax together (Deut. 22:10, 11);

by an ox is signified the good of the natural; by an ass its truth; in like manner by wool and flax. That they were not to plough with an ox and an ass together, nor to wear a mixed garment of wool and flax together, signified that they were not to be in two states at once; namely, in good and from it look to truth; and at the same time in truth and from it look to good. These things involve the same as is involved in the words of the Lord in Matthew:--

Let him that is upon the roof of the house not come down to take anything out of his house; and let him that is in the field not return back to take his garment (Matthew 24:17, 18);

as to which see above (AC 3652). For they who from good look to truth are in an interior heaven; but they who from truth look to good are in an exterior heaven; the latter from the world look to heaven, the former from heaven look to the world, whence they are in a kind of opposition, and therefore if they were together, the one would destroy the other.

from AC 7601

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