349. That by an "offering" is meant worship, is evident from the representatives of the Jewish Church, in which, sacrifices of every kind, as well as the first fruits of the earth and of all its produce, and the oblation of the firstborn, were called "offerings" in which their worship consisted. And as they all represented heavenly things, and all had reference to the Lord, it must be obvious to everyone that true worship was signified by these offerings. For what is a representative without the thing it represents? or what is an external religion without an internal but a kind of idol and a thing of death? The external has life from things internal, that is, through these from the Lord. From these considerations it is evident that all the offerings of a representative church signify the worship of the Lord; and concerning these of the Lord's Divine mercy we shall treat in particular in the following pages. That by "offerings" in general is meant worship, is evident in the Prophets throughout, as in Malachi:
Who shall abide the day of His coming? He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, and they shall offer unto Jehovah an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and of Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah, as in the days of eternity, and as in ancient years (Mal. 3:2-4).
An "offering in righteousness" is an internal offering, which the "sons of Levi" that is, holy worshipers, will offer. The "days of eternity" signify the Most Ancient Church, and the "ancient years" the Ancient Church. In Ezekiel:
In the mountain of My holiness, in the mountain of the height of Israel, there shall all the house of Israel, all that land, worship Me; there will I accept them, and there will I require your oblations, and the first-fruits of your offerings, in all your sanctifyings (Ezek. 20:40).
"Oblations" and the "first fruits of the offerings in the sanctifyings" are likewise works sanctified by charity from the Lord. In Zephaniah: From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My suppliants shall bring Mine offering (Zeph. 3:10).
"Ethiopia" denotes those who are in possession of celestial things, which are love, charity, and the works of charity.