Spiritual Meaning of

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 Propitiatory, Expiation

That the propitiatory signifies cleansing from evils, thus the forgiveness of sins, is evident from the passages in the Word where propitiation or expiation is mentioned; as in the following passages:--

O Jehovah, expiate our sins for Thy name's sake (Ps. 79:9).

He, being merciful, expiated their iniquity (Ps. 78:38).

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

Evil shall come upon thee, which thou shalt not know how to avert by prayer; calamity shall fall upon thee, which thou shall not be able to expiate (Isa. 47:11).

Sing, ye nations, His people; who will avenge the blood of His servants, and will make expiation for His land, for His people (Deut. 32:43).

[4] Expiations were made by means of sacrifices, and after they had been made, we read, The priest shall expiate him from sin, and he shall be forgiven (Lev. 4:26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 9:7; 15:15, 30). Expiation was also made by means of silver (Exod. 30:16; Ps. 49:8). Therefore there was a day of expiations before the feast of tabernacles (Lev. 22:27-32). But be it known that these expiations were not real cleansings from evils, nor forgivenesses of sins, but represented them; for every ritual with the Israelitish and Jewish nation was merely representative of the Lord, of His kingdom and church, and of such things as belong to heaven and the church. In what manner the representations presented such things before the angels in heaven, (AC 9229).

[5] As cleansing from evils and forgiveness of sins were signified by the propitiatory, there were also signified by it the hearing and reception of all things that belong to worship; for he who has been cleansed from evils is heard, and his worship is received. This was represented by Jehovah speaking above the propitiatory with Moses, and commanding what the sons of Israel should do, as is evident from (verse 22) of the present chapter, where it is said, There I will meet with thee, and I will speak with thee from above the propitiatory, from between the two cherubs that are over the ark of the testimony, all that I shall command thee for the sons of Israel. In like manner in another place: When Moses spake with Jehovah, he heard the voice speaking from above the propitiatory that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubs (Num. 7:89). That a man would be heard and his worship received after he had been cleansed from evils, was represented by Aaron's not entering into the holy of holies within the veil before the propitiatory until he had first expiated himself and the people, which was effected by means of washing, sacrifices, incense, and blood; and it is said, So shall he expiate the holy place from the uncleannesses of the sons of Israel, and from their transgressions as to all their sins (Lev. 16:16); and that Jehovah would appear there in a cloud (Lev. 16:2). In a cloud denotes in Divine truth accommodated to the reception and apprehension of men, such as is the Word in the sense of the letter (AC 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343, 6752, 8106, 8443, 8781).

from AC 9506

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