And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
By New Christian Bible Study Staff
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In the Christmas story, the wise men bring gifts to the Lord: gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The gold is listed first, because it is the inmost - signifying good, e.g. the good that we do when we love the Lord and the neighbor.
The frankincense is next. It signifies rational truth, which is the set of true ideas that we know, not about external things like cars or cooking, but about what is really good, and what is really true.
These rational truths are built on earlier knowledges that we learn, before we have really made them our own. Those early knowledges about spiritual things - often learned in childhood - are represented by the myrrh.
In a way, these gifts are really a reciprocation. We can't actually give them to the Lord until the Lord has given them to us. We necessarily start out by learning and doing the Lord's law (myrrh). The Lord can then call up those memories to become rational truths (frankincense). Then, over time, and with effort, those truths can be transformed into good (gold). The wise men from the East had gone through this process of learning and becoming vessels that could receive truths and goods. They were able to perceive the Lord's birth, and find him, and bring gifts to him.
422. Verse 2. And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, signifies the Divine love going forth from the Lord. This is evident from the signification of "angel," as being something Divine proceeding from the Lord; for "angel" in the Word means, in the nearest sense, an entire angelic society, but in a general sense "angel" signifies everyone who receives Divine truth in doctrine and life; while in the highest sense "angel" signifies something Divine proceeding from the Lord, and in particular Divine truth (respecting these significations of an angel see above, n. 90, 130, 200, 302, 307); here, therefore, "the angel ascending from the rising of the sun" signifies the Divine proceeding from the Lord's love; "the rising of the sun" or the "east" signifying the Lord's Divine love, and "to ascend therefrom" signifying to go forth and proceed; so here "the angel ascending from the rising of the sun" signifies the Divine love going forth from the Lord. The things that follow are also of the Divine love, namely, that the good be not harmed. "The rising of the sun" signifies the Lord's Divine love, because the Lord is the sun in the angelic heaven, and the Lord appears as a sun from His Divine love; where the Lord appears as a sun, there in heaven is the east, and as the sun is constantly there it is also constantly in its rising.
 In the spiritual world there are four quarters, namely, east, west, south, and north; and these quarters are all determined by the sun, which is the Lord; where this sun is, there is the east, opposite to it is the west, to the right the south, and to the left the north. In the eastern quarter angels who are in love to the Lord dwell, because they are under the nearest auspices of the Lord, for the Lord most nearly and directly flows into them from Divine love, and this is why "the rising of the sun" and the "east" signify in the Word the Lord's Divine love. (That the Lord appears in the angelic heaven as a sun, and that it is the Lord's Divine love that thus appears, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 116-125; consequently that the "sun" signifies in the Word the Divine love, see above, n. 401; that all the quarters in the spiritual world are determined from the east, where the Lord is as a sun, see in the work on Heaven and Hell 141; therefore that those who are in the good of love to the Lord dwell in the eastern quarter, n. 148-149.)
 The quarters, namely, the east, west, south, and north, are frequently mentioned in the Word, and he who knows nothing about the spiritual sense of the Word believes that this means the quarters of our solar world, and thus supposes that no arcana of heaven and the church are involved therein; and yet the quarters mentioned in the Word mean the quarters in the spiritual world; which are altogether different from the quarters in our world; for there all angels and spirits have their dwelling places in the quarters according to the quality of their good and truth; those who are in the good of love to the Lord dwelling there in the east and the west, and those who are in truths from that good dwelling in the south and north. They dwell in this manner because the Lord there is the sun, and from Him as the sun are all heat and light, or all good and truth. The heat there, which is spiritual heat or the good of love, inflows directly from the east into the west, and decreases according to reception by the angels, consequently according to the distances, for in the spiritual world all distance from the Lord is in the measure of the reception of good and truth from Him. This is why those who are in interior and thence in clear good of love dwell there in the east, and those who are in exterior and thence obscure good of love dwell in the west. The light, too, which is spiritual light, or Divine truth, flows directly from the east into the west; it also flows into either side, but with the difference, that the Divine truth that flows from the east into the west is in its essence the good of love, while that which flows into either side is in its essence truth from that good; consequently those who dwell in the south and in the north, which are the quarters at the sides, are in the light of truth; those in the south in the clear light of truth, and those in the north in an obscure light of truth; the light of truth is intelligence and wisdom. (But respecting these quarters more may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell 141-153.) These, therefore, are the quarters meant in the Word where quarters are mentioned, and they also signify such Divine things as exist in those quarters; namely, the "east" the good of love in clearness, the "west" the good of love in obscurity, the "south" truth from that good in clearness, and the "north" truth from that good in obscurity.
 Furthermore, there are quarters in the spiritual world which differ from those just mentioned, and are removed from them about thirty degrees; these are under the auspices of the Lord as a moon; for the Lord appears as a sun to those who are in love to Him, but as a moon to those who are in charity towards the neighbor and in faith therefrom (respecting this appearance, see also in the work on Heaven and Hell 118, 119, 122). In the eastern and western quarters there dwell those who are in the good of charity towards the neighbor; and in the southern and northern quarters those who are in truths from that good, which are called the truths of faith. These quarters are also sometimes meant in the Word, where these truths and this good are treated of.
(References: Heaven and Hell 118-119)
 From this it can be seen that one who knows nothing about the quarters of heaven, which have here been mentioned, cannot know the spiritual things of the Word in the passages where the quarters are mentioned, as in the following. In Isaiah:
I will bring in thy seed from the sunrise and bring thee together from the west; I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Hold not back; bring in My sons from far, and My daughters from the end of the earth (Isaiah 43:5, 6).
This treats of Jacob and Israel, and one who does not know that these quarters mean the spiritual things mentioned above, may believe the meaning to be that the sons of Israel and Jacob are to be gathered from every side; but "Jacob" and "Israel" mean the church, which consists of those who are in the good of love and in truths from that good, and their "seed" means all who are of that church. "I will bring in thy seed from the sunrise, and will bring thee together from the west," means that those who are in the good of love are to be brought in and gathered together; and "I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Hold not back," means that those who are in truths from that good are to be brought in and gathered together. That all who are in these truths and goods, even to those who are in ultimates shall be brought together, is signified by "bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the end of the earth;" "sons" meaning those who are in truths, and "daughters" those who are in goods; "from far," and "from the end of the earth," signifying those who are in the ultimate truths and goods of the church. These quarters have a like signification in the following passages. In David:
Jehovah will gather the redeemed out of the lands, from the sunrise and from the west, from the north and from the sea (Psalms 107:3).
Jehovah said to Jacob in a dream, Thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and shall spread itself towards the west and towards the east, and towards the north and towards the south (Genesis 28:14).
They shall come from the sunrise and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall recline in the kingdom of God (Luke 13:29).
(References: Isaiah 43:5-6)
 In many passages the words "from east to west," and not at the same time "from north and south," are mentioned, by which all who are in the good of love to the Lord and in the good of charity towards the neighbor are meant. Moreover, these quarters involve the two others, because all who are in good are also in truths, for good and truth everywhere act as one; these, therefore, are meant where "from east to west" is mentioned. In Matthew:
Many shall come from the east and even from the west, and shall recline at meat with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 8:11).
In the passage above cited from Luke (13:29), it is said of those reclining at meat in the kingdom of the heavens that "they shall come from the east and the west, from the north and from the south;" here it is said only "from the east and from the west," because by these two quarters are meant the other two at the same time as has been said. The same is true of the following passages. In Malachi:
From the rising of the sun unto its going down My name is great among the nations (Malachi 1:11).
From the rising of the sun unto its going down the name of Jehovah is to be praised 1 (Psalms 113:3).
From the going down of the sun they shall fear the name of Jehovah, and His glory from the rising of the sun (Isaiah 59:19).
In the same:
That they may know from the rising of the sun and from its going down that there is none beside Me (Isaiah 45:6).
God, Jehovah God, speaketh, and shall call the earth from the rising of the sun unto its going down (Psalms 50:1).
Behold, I save My people from the land of the sunrise and from the land of the going down of the sun (Zechariah 8:7).
In these passages, "from the rising" and "from the going down" signify all who are in the goods and truths of heaven and of the church. Like things are signified by the quarters:
With reference to which the temple was measured (Ezekiel 42).
And with reference to which the land was to be given for an inheritance (Ezekiel 47:13, et seq .).
And should be distributed among the twelve tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 48).
Also with reference to which the sons of Israel were to measure the camp (Numbers 2).
And with reference to which they should go forward (Numbers 10).
And with reference to which the gates of the new city would be placed (Ezekiel 40; Revelation 21:13; and the same elsewhere).
 The temple was to be measured with reference to the quarters (in Ezekiel), and the land was distributed with reference to the quarters (in Ezekiel and also in Joshua), likewise the sons of Israel encamped in reference to the quarters and went forward in the same order, for the reason that all things in the spiritual world are arranged in reference to the quarters, both in general and also in particular. In general, all angels and spirits have their dwelling places in accordance with the states of good and truth with them in corresponding quarters, as was said above; the same is true in particular; for in all assemblies, those who are present are allotted places in quarters that correspond to the states of their life; in like manner they are seated in their temples there, and in like manner also dwell in their houses: in a word, each and every thing there is arranged in accordance with the quarters of heaven; for the form of heaven is the same in every particular as it is in general. This makes evident what is signified by the arrangements in reference to quarters in the Word, also by the quarters in reference to which the tabernacle was built, and in reference to which the temple also was built by Solomon; besides other things.
 So much in respect to quarters in general. That the "east" signifies the Lord in respect to Divine love, and thus the Lord with those who receive the good of love to Him, can be seen from the following passages. In Ezekiel:
He brought me to the gate of the temple that looketh toward the east; and behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and His voice was like the voice of many waters; and the earth was enlightened by His glory. And the glory of Jehovah came into the house by the way of the gate whose face is toward the east. Then the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of Jehovah filled the house (Ezekiel 43:1, 2, 4, 5).
This treats of the building of a new temple, which signifies a new church to be established by the Lord; and because introduction is effected through the good of love to the Lord and through the truth from that good, there was seen "a gate that looked towards the east, and the God of Israel coming from the way of the east;" "gate" signifying introduction and entrance; "the God of Israel" meaning the Lord; the "east" the good of love from Him to Him, and "glory" the truth from that good; for the Lord enters into heaven and so into the church from His Divine love, which in the heavens appears as a sun (as was said above); from this is all Divine good there as well as all Divine truth. That there was seen "the glory of Jehovah entering into the house by the way of the gate whose face is towards the east," and that "the glory of Jehovah filled the house," have a like signification; "house" or "temple" signifying heaven and the church. "Glory" in the Word signifies Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; "the glory of the God of Israel" Divine truth illustrating those who are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom, and "the glory of Jehovah" Divine truth illustrating those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom. Divine truth is called "glory" because it is the light of heaven, and from that light come all the splendor, magnificence, and glory there, for in the heavens whatever appears before the eyes is from that light; it is therefore added, "the earth was enlightened by His glory," "the earth" meaning the church. The influx of this light towards the lower parts on every side is signified by "His voice was like the voice of many waters; "voice" signifying influx, and "waters" truths.
 In the same:
Afterwards He brought me back by the way of the gate of the outer sanctuary that looketh towards the east; and it was shut. But Jehovah the God of Israel shall enter in by it (Ezekiel 44:1, 2).
In the same:
The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six days of work; but on the day of the Sabbath it shall be opened (Ezekiel 46:1).
Here, too, "the gate that looketh towards the east" signifies the introduction by the Lord into heaven and into the church through the good of love proceeding from Him; this therefore is meant by "the east;" and that this is done by the Lord is signified by "Jehovah the God of Israel shall enter by that gate;" that introduction is effected by worship of the Lord from that good is signified by "the gate shall be opened on the day of the Sabbath;" and that when there is no worship from that good introduction is not effected is signified by "that gate shall be shut the six days of work."
(References: Ezekiel 44:1-2)
 In the same:
And the cherubim lifted up their wings, and he stood at the entrance of the gate of the house of Jehovah on the east; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above (Ezekiel 10:19).
"The cherubim" signify the Lord in respect to Divine Providence, and in respect to protection that there be no approach except through the good of love (see above, n. 152, 277); and as the Lord is signified by "the cherubim," and from the Lord as a sun, where the east is, all good of love and all truth from that good proceed, so "the cherubim were seen to stand at the entrance of the gate of the house of Jehovah on the east, and the glory of the God of Israel over them above;" "the house of Jehovah," "the east," and "the glory of the God of Israel," having a similar signification here as above.
 In Isaiah:
Who hath stirred up one from the sunrise, whom He hath called in righteousness to His train, He hath given the nations before him and made him to rule over kings? (Isaiah 41:2).
This treats of the Lord, who is said to have been "stirred up from the sunrise" because He was conceived from the Divine Itself, which in its essence is Divine love; it is from this that the Lord is the sun of the angelic heaven; "to call in righteousness" signifies to restore heaven and the church; for "the righteousness of the Lord" signifies in the Word that from His own power He saved the human race, and this was done by reducing all things in the heavens and hells to order. (See above, n. 293 what the rest signifies was explained above, n. 357.)
 In the second book of Samuel:
The spirit of Jehovah spake in me, the God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, As the light of the morning when the sun riseth, a morning without clouds; from the brightness after rain cometh grass out of the earth (2 Samuel 23:2-4).
"The God of Israel" and "the Rock of Israel" mean the Lord, and because He is the sun of the angelic heaven, and because all Divine truth which illustrates angels and men, and gives intelligence and works reformation, proceeds from Him as a sun and flows in, so it is said "as the light in the morning when the sun riseth, a morning without clouds; from the brightness after rain cometh grass out of the earth;" "the light in the morning when the sun riseth" signifying Divine truth from the Lord as a sun; "a morning without clouds" signifying the purity of that truth; "rain" its influx, and "grass out of the earth" the consequent intelligence and reformation; for these are signified by "grass" because grass springs out of the earth by the action of the sun of the world after rain, and intelligence is from the Lord as a sun through the influx of Divine truth.
 In Isaiah:
Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the nations shall walk to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising (Isaiah 60:2, 3).
This is said of the Lord; and the Divine in Him is meant by "Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee;" the Divine good of the Divine love is meant by "Jehovah shall arise upon thee," and Divine truth from that good by "His glory shall be seen upon thee;" "nations" signify those who are in good, and "kings" those who are in truths from good; of the former it is said "they shall walk to thy light," which signifies a life according to Divine truth; and of the latter, "they shall walk to the brightness of thy rising," which signifies a life of intelligence from Divine good; "to walk" signifying to live; "light" Divine truth, and "the brightness of rising" Divine truth from Divine good, whence is intelligence.
(References: Isaiah 60:2-3)
 In Ezekiel:
Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of Jehovah went up over the midst of the city, and stood over the mountain on the east of the city (Ezekiel 11:22, 23).
"The cherubim" signify the Lord in respect to Divine Providence and protection, and "the glory of the God of Israel" signifies Divine truth proceeding from the Lord (as above). And because Divine truth, which is light, proceeds from the Lord as a sun in the angelic heaven, "the glory of Jehovah was seen to go up over the midst of the city, and to stand over the mountain on the east of the city," for Jerusalem is the city that is meant, and it signifies the church in respect to doctrine; and because the doctrine of the church is from Divine truth, the glory of Jehovah was seen "to go up over the midst of the city," and because all Divine truth proceeds from the Lord as a sun, and there the east is, the glory was seen "to stand over the mountain on the east of the city;" the mountain on the east of the city was the Mount of Olives. That "the Mount of Olives" signifies the Lord's Divine love, and on that account the Lord was accustomed to tarry on that mountain, may be seen above n. 405; and that the Mount of Olives was before Jerusalem on the east may be seen in Zechariah (Zechariah 14:4).
 In Ezekiel:
He brought me back to the entrance of the house; where behold, waters going out from under the threshold of the house towards the east, the front of the house being east, and the waters coming down from under, from the right side of the house, at the south of the altar. And he brought me out by the way of the gate northward, and led me round by the outer way to the outer gate, by the way that looketh eastward; and behold, waters running from the right side. He said to me, These waters go forth toward the eastern boundary, and go down into the plain, and come towards the sea, being sent forth into the sea that the waters may be healed; whence it cometh to pass that every living soul that creeps, whithersoever the brooks come, liveth; whence there is exceeding much fish. And by the brook upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, cometh up every tree for food, whose leaf falleth not, nor does its fruit come to an end (Ezekiel 47:1, 2, 8, 9, 12).
This describes a new church to be established by the Lord in the heavens and on the earth, when everything Divine shall proceed from the Lord's Divine Human; for before the Lord's coming the Divine proceeded from His Divine that He calls "the Father," but after the church had become vastated, this did not reach to the ultimates. Here "house" signifies the church, its "gate" entrance and introduction, the "east" the Lord where His Divine love appears as a sun, and "the waters going out" Divine truth proceeding from that sun. The "plain" and the "sea" signify the ultimates of the church, that is, where those are who are in ultimate truths and goods, to whom the Divine did not reach before, because they are natural and sensual, and but little spiritual. That "the waters of the sea were healed by the flowing in of the brook from the east" signifies that after the Lord's coming even these had life from the Divine; "exceeding much fish" signifies the abundance of cognitions and knowledges, which in such also acquire spiritual life; the fructification of good and the multiplication of truth are signified by "on the bank of the brook every tree for food cometh up, whose leaf falleth not off, and its fruit does not come to an end." From this it can be seen what the particulars here signify in series, and that "the east," from which they all are, signifies the Lord and His Divine love.
 The like is signified in Zechariah:
And it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; part of them to the eastern sea (Zechariah 14:8).
This, too, treats of the Lord. "In that day" signifies His coming, and the "eastern sea" signifies the last limit toward the east in the spiritual world, at which there was no reception of Divine truth before the Lord's coming, but where there was reception when Divine truth proceeded from His Divine Human. That the ultimates in the spiritual world are like seas may be seen above n. 342; and that there are dry places and wastes there may be seen in Joel (Joel 2:20).
(References: The Apocalypse Explained 342)
 Because in heaven, where the angels are, the Lord appears as a sun, and is there the east:
So Aaron, when he made expiation for himself and his house, sprinkled of the blood of the bullock before the mercy-seat eastward (Leviticus 16:14, 15);
So Moses and Aaron and his sons pitched their camp before the Tent of the meeting towards the east (Numbers 3:38);
Also the tribe of Judah (Numbers 2:3).
"Moses, Aaron and his sons," and "the tribe of Judah," represented the Lord in respect to Divine good and Divine truth proceeding from Divine love; for this reason their camp was towards the east. So, too, the ancients in their adorations turned their faces to the rising of the sun; and so built their temples that the front parts, where the adytum was, should look towards the east, which from the old custom is still done at the present day. Moreover, the whole angelic heaven is turned to the Lord as a sun, thus constantly to the east; furthermore, all the interiors of the angels in the heavens are turned in that direction, and for this reason the angels of heaven turn their faces to the Lord. (Respecting this turning see many things worthy of mention in the work Heaven and Hell 17, 123, 142-144, 272)
(References: Leviticus 16:14-15)
 Because the Lord is the east it is said in Matthew:
As the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24:27).
Since "the rising of the sun" signifies in reference to men the good of love, proceeding from the Lord as a sun, received by them, it is said in the book of Judges:
Let all Thine enemies perish, O Jehovah; but let them that love Him be as the rising of the sun in his might (Judges 5:31).
This is in the prophetic song of Deborah and Barak; and of those who love Jehovah, who are those that are in the good of love to the Lord, it is said, "Let them be as the rising of the sun in his might."
 In Moses:
Joseph shall have of the firstfruits of the mountains of the east, and of the precious things of the hills of an age (Deuteronomy 33:15).
"Joseph" in the representative sense signifies the Lord's spiritual kingdom, therefore it is said of him that he shall have "of the firstfruits of the mountains of the east, and of the precious things of the hills of an age;" "the firstfruits of the mountains of the east" signify the genuine goods of love to the Lord, and thence of charity towards the neighbor; "the mountains of the east" meaning the good of love to the Lord, and "firstfruits" genuine and primary goods; "the hills of an age" mean the goods of charity towards the neighbor; when these are genuine they are called "precious things." (The rest of the blessing of Joseph may be seen explained above, n. 405.)
(References: The Apocalypse Explained 405)
 In ancient times there was a church in many kingdoms of Asia, as in the land of Canaan, in Syria and Assyria, in Arabia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Chaldea, in Tyre and Sidon, and elsewhere; but the church with them was a representative church, for in all the particulars of their worship, and in every one of their statutes, spiritual and celestial things, which are the internals of the church, were represented, and in the highest sense the Lord Himself was represented. These representatives in worship and statutes remained with many even to the Lord's coming, and thence there was a knowledge of His coming; as can be seen from the predictions of Balaam, who was from Syria, and who prophesied of the Lord in these words:
I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not nigh; there shall arise a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel (Numbers 24:17).
That this knowledge was afterwards preserved is evident from this, that certain wise men from the east, when the Lord was born saw a star from the east, which they followed, which is thus described in Matthew:
In the days of Herod the king wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him; and lo, the star which they saw in the east went before them till it came and stood over where the young child was (Matthew 2:1, 2, 9).
The star appeared to those from the east because the Lord is the east; and because they had knowledge respecting the Lord's coming from representatives that were with them, the star appeared and went before them, first to Jerusalem, which represented the church itself in respect to doctrine and in respect to the Word, and from there to the place where the infant Lord lay. Moreover, a "star" signifies the knowledges of good and truth, and in the highest sense the knowledge respecting the Lord. (That "stars" signify in the Word the knowledges of good and truth, see above, n. 72, 179, 402.) And because the Orientals had such knowledges they were called "sons of the east." That those from Arabia were so called is evident in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:28). Also "sons of the east" signify in the Word the knowledges of good and truth; "Kedar," that is, Arabia, has a similar signification. That Job was one of the sons of the east is evident from Job 1:3).
 As most things in the Word have also a contrary sense, so does "the east," and in that sense it signifies the love of self, because this love is the opposite of love to the Lord. In this sense the east is mentioned in Ezekiel 8:16, and in Isaiah (Isaiah 2:6). That "the east" signifies the Lord in respect to Divine love, and thus the good of love to Him, can be more fully seen from what was shown above respecting the sun (n. 401; and the morning, n. 176; for where the sun is in the angelic heaven there is the east; and as the morning is where the sun rises, and there the sun is always in its rising and never setting, so "morning" has a like signification.