166. "'Who have not defiled their garments.'" This symbolically means, who possess truths, and have not soiled their worship by evil practices and the falsities attendant on these.
Garments in the Word symbolize truths that clothe good, and in an opposite sense, falsities that clothe evil. For a person embodies either his goodness or his evilness. Truths or falsities are therefore his garments.
Angels and spirits all appear dressed in clothing that reflects the truths of their goodness or the falsities of their evilness - on which subject, see the book Heaven and Hell, published in London, nos.177-182. It is apparent from this that not defiling their garments symbolizes their possessing truths and not soiling their worship by evil practices and the falsities attendant on these.
 It is apparent from the following passages that garments in the Word symbolize truths, and in an opposite sense, falsities:
Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem... (Isaiah 52:1)
(Jerusalem), I clothed you in embroidered cloth, gave you sandals of badger skin, clothed you with fine linen..., and adorned you with ornaments... You were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth..., (so that) you became exceedingly beautiful... But you took some of your garments and made for yourself multicolored high places, so as to play the harlot on them... You took your embroidered garments... and made for yourself male images with which you played the harlot. 1
The Jewish Church is described here, as having been given truths, because they had the Word, but that they falsified them. To play the harlot means to falsify (no. 134).
 The king's daughter is all glorious within, (and) her clothing is woven with gold. She shall be brought to the King in embroidered garments. (Psalms 45:13-14)
The king's daughter is the church in relation to its affection for truth.
O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet elegantly, and put ornamentation of gold on your apparel. (2 Samuel 1:24)
This is said of Saul because as a king he symbolized Divine truth (no. 20).
...I will visit judgment on the princes and the king's children, and on all clothed with foreign apparel. (Zephaniah 1:8)
(Your enemies) shall also strip you of your garments, and take away your adornments. (Ezekiel 23:26)
Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing (thus) before the Angel, (who said) "Take away the filthy garments from him (and clothe him with other garments). (Zechariah 3:3-5)
...the king came in and saw the guests, and he saw a man... who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, "Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?" (Matthew 22:11-13)
A wedding garment is Divine truth from the Word.
 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing... (Matthew 7:15)
No one puts a piece of cloth from a new garment on an old garment; otherwise the new one tears (the old), and the piece from the new one does not match the old. (Luke 5:36-37)
Because a garment symbolizes truth, therefore the Lord compares the truths of the previous church, which were external and representative of spiritual ones, to a piece of cloth belonging to an old garment, while comparing the truths of the new church, which were internal and spiritual, to a piece of cloth from a new garment.
...on the thrones... twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments. (Revelation 4:4)
(Those who stood) before the throne... in the presence of the Lamb (were) clothed with white robes..., and they washed their robes and made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9, 13-14)
...white robes were given to each (of those who were under the altar). (Revelation 6:11)
...the armies (of Him who sat on the white horse) followed Him..., clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
 Because angels symbolize Divine truths, therefore angels seen in the Lord's sepulchre appeared in white and shining garments (Matthew 28:3, Luke 24:4).
Because the Lord is Divine good and Divine truth, and truths are meant by garments, therefore when He was transfigured "His face shone like the sun, and His garments became [as white] as the light" (Matthew 17:2), or "blazing white (Luke 9:29), or "shining white, like snow, such that no launderer on earth can whiten them" (Mark 9:3).
Of the Ancient of Days, which also is the Lord, it is said that "His garment was as white as snow" (Daniel 7:9).
Moreover we find the following, too, said of the Lord:
He has anointed... all your garments with myrrh, aloes and cassia. (Psalms 45:7-8)
...He washed his clothing in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes. (Genesis 49:11)
Who is this who comes from Edom, having sprinkled his garments from Bozrah? This One honorable in His apparel...? ...Why are You red in Your apparel? Your garments as though of one who treads in the winepress...? Their victory is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have polluted all My vesture. (Isaiah 63:1-3)
This also is said of the Lord. His garments there are the Word's truths.
...He who sat on (the white horse)...was clothed with a garment dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:11, 13)
Psalms 45:8; Revelation 19:16)
 From the symbolic meaning of garments it can be seen why the Lord's disciples put their garments upon the donkey and its colt when the Lord was ready to enter Jerusalem, and why the people spread their garments on the road (Matthew 21:7-9, Mark 11:7-8), thus what is symbolically meant by this verse in the Psalms,
They divided My garments..., and over My vesture they cast lots. (Psalms 22:18)
John 19:23-24; Luke 19:35-36)
 The symbolism of garments makes it apparent moreover why the people rent their garments whenever someone spoke against the Divine truth of the Word (Isaiah 37:1 and elsewhere). Also why they washed their garments in order to purify themselves (Exodus 19:14, Leviticus 11:25, 40; 14:8-9).
Someone who knows what garments symbolize in general and in particular can know what the vestments of Aaron and his sons symbolized - the ephod, the robe, the lace tunic, the girdle, the breeches, and the turban.
Since light symbolizes Divine truth, and a garment likewise, therefore we find it said in the Psalms that Jehovah covers Himself "with light as a with garment" (Psalms 104:2).
1. The last two clauses are reversed from the order in which they appear in the original Hebrew.
Amos 8:10; Exodus 19:4; Ezekiel 27:31; Isaiah 15:3, 22:12, 37:1-2; Jeremiah 4:8, 6:26, 48:37, 49:3; Jonah 3:5-6, 3:8; Lamentations 2:10; Numbers 19:11-22; Revelation 3:4, 19:13-14)