Spiritual Meaning of

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 Drink offering, Oil

The signification of a drink-offering is the Divine good of truth, of which below; but first I will state what the good of truth is. The good of truth is that which has elsewhere been called the good of faith, and is love toward the neighbor, or charity. There are two universal kinds of good, one of which is called the good of faith, and the other the good of love. The good of faith is what is signified by a drink-offering, and the good of love by oil. They who are brought by the Lord to good by an internal way are in the good of love, but they who are brought by an external way are in the good of faith. The men of the celestial church, and likewise the angels of the inmost or third heaven, are in the good of love; but the men of the spiritual church, and likewise the angels of the middle or second heaven, are in the good of faith. For this reason the former good is called celestial good, but the latter spiritual good. The difference is the same as that between willing well from good will, and willing well from good understanding. The latter therefore, namely, spiritual good, or the good of faith, or the good of truth, is what is signified by a drink-offering; but the former, namely, celestial good, or the good of love, is what is understood in the internal sense by oil.

[2] That such things were signified by the oil and the drink-offering cannot indeed be seen except from the internal sense, and yet it must be apparent to everyone that holy things were represented, for otherwise what else would be the pouring out of a drink-offering and of oil upon a pillar of stone than a ridiculous and idolatrous performance? And so in the making of a king, unless holy things were signified and involved in the putting of a crown on his head, anointing him with oil from a horn upon his forehead and upon his wrists, putting a scepter into his hand besides a sword and keys, investing him with a crimson robe and than seating him upon a throne of silver; and afterwards in his riding on a horse in royal trappings and being served at table by those of highest rank, not to mention other formalities, unless all these ceremonies represented holy things, and were venerable through their correspondence with the things of heaven and thence of the church, they would be like babies' plays on a larger scale, or like plays on the stage.

[3] Nevertheless all these rituals derived their origin from the most ancient times, when rituals were holy from their representing holy things, and from correspondence with the holy things in heaven and thence in the church. Moreover at the present day they are regarded as venerable, not because it is known what they represent, or to what they correspond, but by an interpretation as of emblems that are in use. But if it were known what each of these things represents, and to what holy thing it corresponds the crown, the oil, the horn, the scepter, the sword, the keys, riding upon a white horse, and eating while nobles are serving men would think of them with much more reverence. But this they do not know, and wonderful to say, do not desire to know, to such a degree have the representatives and significatives which are in such things and everywhere in the Word been at the present day destroyed in the minds of men.

[4] That a drink-offering signifies the good of truth, or spiritual good, may be seen from the sacrifices in which it was employed. Sacrifices were made from the herd or from the flock, and were representative of the internal worship of the Lord (AC 922, 923, 1823, 2180, 2805, 2807, 2830, 3519). To these were added the meat-offering and the drink-offering. The meat-offering, which consisted of fine flour mingled with oil, signified celestial good, or what is the same, the good of love, oil signifying love to the Lord, and fine flour charity toward the neighbor. But the drink-offering, which consisted of wine, signified spiritual good, or what is the same, the good of faith. Both together therefore (namely, the meat-offering and the drink-offering) signified the same things as the bread and wine in the Holy Supper.

[5] That these were added to the burnt-offerings and sacrifices, is evident in Moses:--

Thou shalt offer two lambs of the first year day by day continually; the one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer between the evenings; and a tenth of fine flour mingled with beaten oil, a fourth of a hin, and drink-offering of the fourth of a hin of wine for the first lamb and so also for the second lamb (Exod. 29:38-41).

In the same:

In the day when ye wave the sheaf of the firstfruits of the harvest, ye shall offer a lamb without blemish of the first year, for a burnt-offering unto Jehovah, the meat-offering whereof shall be two tenths of fine flour mingled with oil, and the drink-offering whereof shall be of wine, the fourth of a hin (Lev. 23:12, 13, 18).


On the day when the days of his Naziriteship are fulfilled, he shall offer his gift unto Jehovah (sacrifices), and a basket of unleavened things of fine flour, cakes mingled with oil, with unleavened wafers anointed with oil, with their meat-offering and their drink-offerings (Num. 6:13-15, 17).


Upon the burnt-offering they shall offer a meat-offering of a tenth of fine flour mingled with the fourth of a hin of oil; and wine for the drink-offering, the fourth of a hin, in one manner for the burnt-offering of a ram, and in another manner for that of an ox (Num. 15:3-5, 11).


With the burnt-offering of the daily sacrifice thou shalt offer a drink-offering, the fourth of a hin for a lamb in the holy place shalt thou pour out a drink-offering of wine unto Jehovah (Num. 28:6, 7).

Moreover concerning the meat-offerings and drink-offerings in the sacrifices of various kinds, see (Num. 28:7-31 29:1-40).

[6] That the meat-offering and the drink-offering had this signification, may be seen from the fact that love and faith effect everything of worship; and it may be seen above that the bread (which here is of fine flour mingled with oil) and the wine in the Holy Supper signify love and faith, thus everything of worship (AC 1798, 2165, 2177, 2187, 2343, 2359, 3464, 3735, 3813, 4211, 4217).

[7] But when the people fell away from the genuine representative of the worship of the Lord, and turned away to other gods and poured out drink-offerings to them, then by the drink-offerings were signified things which are opposite to charity and faith, namely, the evils and falsities of the love of the world, as in Isaiah:

Ye did become heated with gods under every green tree, thou hast also poured out to them a drink-offering, thou hast offered a meat-offering (Isa. 57:5, 6);

to become heated with gods denotes the concupiscences of falsity. Gods denote falsities, (AC 4402, 4544); under every green tree denotes from the belief of all falsities (AC 2722, 4552); to pour out to them a drink-offering and offer a meat-offering denotes the worship of them. Again:

Ye that forsake Jehovah, that forget the mountain of My holiness, that prepare a table for Gad, and fill a drink-offering to Meni (Isa. 65:11).

In Jeremiah:

The sons gather wood, and the fathers kindle a fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes to the queen of the heavens, and to pour out a drink-offering to other gods (Jer. 7:18).

[8] Again:

Doing we will do every word that is gone forth out of our mouth, to burn incense to the queen of the heavens, and to pour out drink-offerings to her as we and our fathers have done, and our princes in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem (Jer. 44:17-19);

the queen of the heavens denotes all falsities, for in the genuine sense the armies of the heavens are truths, but in the opposite sense falsities, and in like manner the king and queen; thus the queen denotes all of them, and to pour drink-offerings to her is to worship.

[9] Again:

The Chaldeans shall burn the city, and the houses upon whose roofs they have offered incense to Baal, and have poured out drink-offerings to other gods (Jer. 32:29);

the Chaldeans denote those who are in worship in which there is falsity; to burn the city denotes to destroy and vastate those who are in doctrinal things of what is false; to offer incense to Baal upon the roofs of the houses denotes the worship of what is evil; to pour out drink-offerings to other gods denotes the worship of what is false.

[10] In Hosea:

They shall not dwell in Jehovah's land, and Ephraim shall return into Egypt, and they shall eat what is unclean in Assyria they shall not pour out wine to Jehovah (Hosea 9:3, 4);

not to dwell in Jehovah's land denotes not to be in the good of love; Ephraim shall return into Eat denotes that the intellectual of the church will become mere knowledge and sensuous; they shall eat what is unclean in Assyria denotes impure and profane things from reasoning; they shall not pour out wine to Jehovah denotes no worship from truth.

[11] In Moses:--

It shall be said, Where are their gods, the rock in which they trusted, that did eat the fat of the sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offering? let them arise and help them (Deut. 32:37, 38);

gods, as above, denote falsities; that did eat the fat of the sacrifices denotes that they destroyed the good of worship; that drank the wine of their drink-offering denotes that they destroyed the truth of worship. Drink-offerings are also predicated of blood, in David:

They shall multiply their griefs, they have hastened to another, lest I pour out their drink-offerings of blood, and lest I take up their names upon my lips (Ps. 16:4);

and by these words are signified the profanations of truth; for in this sense blood denotes violence offered to charity (AC 374, 1005), and profanation (AC 1003).

from AC 4581

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