Arcana Coelestia #4007

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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4007. 'Every one that had white in it' means that which has truth in it. This is clear from the meaning of 'white' as truth, but strictly speaking as the Lord's Righteousness and Merit, and from this the Lord's righteousness and merit as these exist with man, dealt with in 3301, 3993. 'White' has that meaning because the light of heaven which radiates from the Lord, a light which is the source of splendour and brightness, means truth. Anything therefore on which that light falls and is made splendid and bright is that which is called the Lord's righteousness and merit existing with man. Those who acknowledge this, the Lord's righteousness, and who from good take it to themselves and reject their own, are specifically the ones meant by 'the righteous' whom the Lord refers to, in Matthew,

The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Matthew 13:43.

[2] The fact that that which is 'white', being splendid and bright, has this meaning is also evident from other places in the Word, as in Moses,

His eyes will be redder than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk. Genesis 49:12.

This refers to Judah, who represents the Lord as regards the Divinity of His Love, and in the internal sense the celestial kingdom, and so the celestial man, see 3881. 'Eyes redder than wine' means Divine Wisdom, and 'teeth whiter than milk' means Righteousness. In David,

You will purify me with hyssop and I shall be clean; You will wash me, and I shall become whiter than snow. Psalms 51:7.

'Washing and becoming whiter than snow' stands for being purified from sins by means of receiving and putting on the Lord's righteousness. In John,

In the midst of the seven lampstands one like the Son of Man. His head and hair were white, like white wool, like snow; and his eyes were like a flame of fire. Revelation 1:13-14.

[3] In the same book,

You have a few names in Sardis, who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who conquers will be clad in white garments. Revelation 3:4-5.

In the same book,

I counsel you to buy from Me gold purified in fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you. Revelation 3:18.

In the same book,

To each soul under the altar were given white robes. Revelation 6:9, 11.

In the same book,

I saw, standing before the throne and before the Lamb those clothed in white robes. One of the elders said to me, These clothed in white robes - who are they, and where have they come from? I said to him, Sir, you know. He said to me, These are they who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:9, 13-14.

In the same book,

The angels were clothed in linen, white and splendid, and were girded around their breasts with golden girdles. Revelation 15:6.

In the same book,

I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; to him a crown was given. Revelation 6:2.

And elsewhere,

After this I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. His armies in heaven were following Him on white horses and were clothed in linen white and clean. Revelation 19:11, 14.

[4] In all these places 'white' means the truth of faith; 'white garments' and 'white robes' have no other meaning. But the truth of faith does not exist with any who believe that they have faith of themselves and so believe that they are wise of themselves. Rather, it exists with those who believe that their faith and wisdom come from the Lord, for faith and wisdom are imparted to them because they do not ascribe any truth or good at all to themselves. Even less do they believe that they possess any merit through the truths and goods residing with them, and less still any righteousness, but only by ascribing these to the Lord, and so everything to His grace and mercy. This is what 'putting on white garments' means, and also what 'being made white in the blood of the Lamb' means. There are two things which all who enter heaven cast aside, namely their proprium and consequent confidence, and merit that is their own or self-righteousness. Then they assume a heavenly proprium which comes from the Lord, and the Lord's merit or righteousness. And to the extent that these are so assumed those persons advance further into heaven. These two things specifically are meant by 'red' and by 'white'; 'red' means the good of love and is present with those people at that time, 'white' the truth of faith.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.