9596. 'From fine twined linen and violet and purple and twice-dyed scarlet' means the spiritual and celestial realities from which those truths are derived. This is clear from the meaning of 'fine twined linen' as truth from a celestial origin, dealt with in 9469; from the meaning of 'violet' as the celestial love of truth, dealt with in 9466; from the meaning of 'purple' as the celestial love of good, dealt with in 9467; and from the meaning of 'twice-dyed scarlet' as spiritual good or the good of truth, dealt with in 9468. Such is the order in which the spiritual and celestial realities, or the truths and forms of good, present with a person or an angel who is in the middle or second heaven follow one another. For truth from a celestial origin, meant by 'fine twined linen' comes first; then the love of or affection for truth, meant by 'violet'; after that the resulting love of or affection for good, meant by 'purple'; and finally spiritual good, meant by 'twice-dyed scarlet'.
 Because this is the order in which the spiritual and celestial realities follow one another 'fine twined linen' is here mentioned first; but in the case of the veil that hung between the dwelling-place and the ark, or between the holy place and the holy of holies, dealt with in verse 31 of the present chapter, it is mentioned last. The reason why 'fine twined linen' is mentioned last in the case of the veil is that 'the veil' means the intermediary uniting the inmost heaven to the middle heaven, and therefore within this intermediary it must come last, in order that - to link the two heavens - it may then be first in the second of them.
 But properly 'fine twined linen' means the understanding part of the mind as it exists with the spiritual man or with an angel in the Lord's spiritual heaven. The reason why the understanding part is meant by 'fine twined linen' is that with the spiritual man a new will part is implanted by the Lord within the understanding part of his mind, see 863, 875, 895, 927, 1023, 1043, 1044, 1555, 2256, 4328, 4493, 5113; and since the understanding part in the spiritual man is meant by 'fine twined linen', so too is spiritual truth meant. This is because all truth belongs to the understanding part, and all good to the will part, 3623, 9300; for the understanding part is the receiver (subjectum) or container and the truth is what belongs to it, and these two make one. From these considerations also it may be seen that the actual understanding part of the mind with those who belong to the Lord's spiritual kingdom is in the strict sense 'the dwelling-place', 9296, 9297, and that the spreading out of the curtains serves to describe it.
 From all this what 'spreading and stretching out the heavens' means in the following places may be recognized, such as in Isaiah,
Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens, spreads out the earth, gives breath 1 to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it. Isaiah 42:5.
In the same prophet,
I am Jehovah who makes all things, stretches out the heavens Alone, [and] spreads out the earth by Myself. Isaiah 44:24.
In the same prophet,
It was I that made the earth and created man on it. It was I - My hands - that stretched out the heavens. Isaiah 45:12.
... He who makes the earth by His power, prepares the world by His wisdom, and stretches out the heavens by His intelligence. Jeremiah 51:15.
Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens, and founds the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Zechariah 12:1.
(References: Jeremiah 10:20-21)
 'Stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' is plainly similar in meaning to stretching and spreading out a dwelling-place by the use of curtains. And by this is meant regenerating a person and thereby creating or forming a new understanding in which there is a new will, which is the spiritual person's actual heaven in which the Lord dwells with that person. The fact that the regeneration or the formation of a new understanding, and of a new will within it, and so of a new person, is what 'stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' means is evident from actual explanations provided in the places quoted above. For they speak of Him who gives breath to the people on the earth, and spirit to those who walk on it, and also of Him who forms the spirit of man within him. 'Heaven and earth' means the Church, internal and external, see 1733, 1850, 2117, 2118, 3355, 4535, and 'the earth' in general means the Lord's kingdom and the Church, 9334; and these meanings too are plainly apparent in those places. For if 'the earth' did not have that meaning what sense could be made of 'spreading out the earth' and 'founding the earth', or 'forming the spirit of man within him 2
(References: Arcana Coelestia 2117-2118)
 The fact that 'stretching out the heavens and spreading out the earth' here is similar in meaning to stretching and spreading out a dwelling-place by the use of curtains is clear from other places where the same idea is stated even more plainly, as in Isaiah,
Jehovah is He who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. Isaiah 40:22.
In the same prophet,
Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwelling-places. Isaiah 54:2.
And in David,
Jehovah covers Himself with light, as if with a garment; He stretches out the heavens as a curtain. Psalms 104:2.
These places also show what 'the expanse' or that which is spread out means in the first chapter of Genesis,
God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let there be a distinguishing of the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse and He made a distinction between the waters that were under the expanse and the waters that were above the expanse, And God called the expanse Heaven. Genesis 1:6-8.
That first chapter describes the regeneration of a member of the celestial Church, 'the expanse' describing his new will and understanding. 'The waters under the expanse and those above the expanse' are the truths of the external man and those of the internal man. For the meaning of 'waters' as truths, see 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 8568, 9323.
1. literally, soul
2. The Latin here is in ea (in it, i.e. in the earth). But in his rough draft Swedenborg has, as in other places, in medio ejus which is usually taken to mean within him but could possibly mean in the midst of it.
In general, plants in the Bible represent facts, thoughts and ideas – intellectual things. This makes sense: Plants are rooted in place, but can grow and spread and bend in the wind; facts are rooted in place unchanging, but can grow into thoughts and concepts that can take many shapes and go in many directions.
Trees are, of course, the largest, strongest and most significant of the plants. In general, then, they represent the deepest and most significant intellectual concepts: the ones that come to us most directly from the Lord. This varies depending on us and our states: the people of the Most Ancient Church, who were in a state of loving the Lord, understood truth automatically and internally through what the Writings call "perception"; people in lower states (including most of us) have to work a little harder to learn it from the Word and by willing to follow the Lord.
In other parts of the Bible, especially in the prophets and New Testament parables, the meaning of "tree" is broader, meaning not just a person’s intellectual concepts but the whole person.
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