Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of frankincense, is that which has been clarified from the falsity of evil. That the inmost truth which is signified by frankincense is spiritual good, is because the good with those who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom is nothing else than truth, which is called good when the man wills and does it from conscience and affection. For with the spiritual all the will has been destroyed, but the understanding is preserved entire by the Lord, and in it there is implanted by the Lord a new will by means of regeneration. This will is the conscience with them, which is a conscience of truth. For whatever is implanted in the understanding and proceeds from the understanding, is truth, because man's understanding has been allotted to the reception of the truths of faith; but the will to the reception of the goods of love. From this it is evident that in its essence spiritual good is truth. That with the spiritual a new will is implanted in their intellectual part, and that consequently the good with them is in its essence truth, (AC 9277, 9596, 9684). It is said of inmost truth that it is good, for the reason that the more interior things are, the more perfect they are; and because the inmost of man is his will, and that which belongs to the will is called good. Thatfrankincense denotes inmost truth, thus spiritual good, can be seen from the passages above adduced from the Word, (AC 10177).

[2] As frankincense denotes spiritual good, and good is that which reigns in all truths, disposes them, conjoins them, and gives affection to them, therefore frankincense is mentioned in the let place, and on this account the vessels of incense were called censers ; for the name is from the essential, which is good; in like manner as the oil of anointing is named from the oil of olive, and not from the spices from which it was prepared; for a similar reason, namely, because oil signified good, and spices truths.

[3] It is called pure frankincense because pure signifies that which has been clarified from the falsities of evil; and in the original tongue by this word is signified what is interiorly pure, but by another word that which is exteriorly pure or clean. That what is interiorly pure is signified by this word is evident in these passages:--

Wash you, make you pure, put away the wickedness of your works from before Mine eyes (Isa. 1:16).

In vain have I rendered mine heart pure, and washed my hands in innocency (Ps. 73:13);

to render the heart pure denotes to be purified interiorly; and to wash the hands in innocency denotes the same exteriorly. And again:--

Be thou pure when thou judgest (Ps. 51:4).

That by the other word is signified what is exteriorly pure or clean, may be seen in (Lev. 11:32; 12:7, 8; 13:6, 13, 17, 23, 28, 34, 37, 58; 14:7, 8, 9, 20, 48, 53; 15:13, 28; 16:30; 22:7; Jer. 13:27; Ezek. 24:13; 39:12).

from AC 10296

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