7601. And the flax. That this signifies the truth of the exterior natural, is evident from the signification of "flax," as being truth, but truth of the exterior natural (of which below; that the natural is exterior and interior, see n. 4570, 5118, 5497, 5649; consequently that the truth and good therein are interior and exterior, n. 3293, 3294). The truth and good of the exterior natural are signified by "the flax and the barley," and the good and truth of the interior natural by "the wheat and the spelt."
 The subject treated of in this and in the following verse is the truths and goods which were destroyed and vastated, and the goods and truths which were not destroyed and vastated; thus the truths and goods which were stored up and reserved for use, and those which were not stored up and reserved. For when the evil are being vastated, that is, when they are being separated from truths and goods, and are left to their own evils and falsities, they are then vastated in respect to those truths and goods which are in the exterior natural, and which are adjoined there to falsities and evils. That these truths and goods look downward, and therefore cannot be reserved, will be seen below (n. 7604, 7607); but the truths and goods of the interior natural are not vastated, but are brought further inward, and are there reserved for use; and then the communication between the interior natural and the exterior is so far closed that nothing of good and truth can inflow from the interior natural into the exterior natural, except only something general, to enable them to reason, and to string together arguments to confirm falsities and evils. Those goods and truths which are reserved, are signified in the Word by "remains" (as to which see n. 468, 530, 560, 561, 576, 661, 798, 1738, 1906, 2284, 5135, 5342, 5344, 5897-5899, 6156, 7556). These are now treated of in these two verses, and are signified by "the flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was a ripening ear, and the flax was a stalk;" and by "the wheat and spelt were not smitten, because they were hidden." It is from representatives in heaven that "flax" signifies truth. In heaven they who are in the truth of the natural appear clothed in white, which white appears as of linen.
 The truth itself of the natural is also there represented as if woven from the purer threads of the flax. These threads appear like threads of silk-bright, beautifully translucent, and soft; and the clothing made of them appears similar if the truth which is so represented is from good; but on the other hand these threads, which are like those of flax, do not appear translucent, nor bright, nor soft, but hard and brittle, and yet white, if the truth which is so represented is not from good.
 From all this it can now be seen what is signified by the angels who were seen by men appearing in linen garments; as those spoken of in John:
There went out from the temple the seven angels that had the seven plagues, clothed in linen white and shining, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles (Rev. 15:6).
I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and behold a man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with gold of Uphas (Dan. 10:5).
Behold six men came from a way of the upper gate, every man with his weapons of dispersion in his hand; but one man in the midst of them clothed in linen, and a scribe's ink horn on his loins (Ezek. 9:2);
which angel is further mentioned in the same chapter (Rev. 15:3-4; 10:2-7). And in the same prophet we read of the angel who measured the new temple, who had a line of flax and a measuring reed in his hand (Ezek. 40:3). The angels also who were seen in the Lord's sepulcher appeared clothed in white, bright and shining (Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; John 20:11, 12).
 As "flax" signified the truth of the exterior natural, and the exterior natural is what clothes the interiors, therefore this truth is what was represented by the linen garments with which the angels were clothed; and also by the garments of flax (or linen) with which Aaron was clothed when he ministered in the holy place, which garments are thus spoken of in the following passages:
When Aaron enters into the holy place, he shall put on the holy coat of linen, and shall gird himself with the belt of linen, and he shall put on himself the miter of linen; these are the garments of holiness (Lev. 16:4).
The priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, when they enter at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with garments of linen, and no wool shall come up upon them when they minister in the gates of the inner court and inward; miters of linen shall be upon their head, breeches of linen shall be upon their loins (Ezek. 44:17-18);
speaking of the new temple and of the New Jerusalem, by which is meant the Lord's kingdom. Therefore also the priests wore ephods of linen (1 Sam. 22:18); and Samuel ministered before Jehovah, a boy girded with an ephod of linen (1 Sam. 2:18). David also, when the ark was brought over into his city, was girded with an ephod of linen (2 Sam. 6:14).
 From all this it can also be seen why the Lord, when He washed the feet of His disciples, girded Himself with a linen towel, and wiped their feet with the linen towel with which He was girded (John 13:4, 5); for the washing of the feet signified purification from sins, which is effected by means of the truths of faith, for by means of these man is taught how to live.
 By "flax" (or "linen") is signified truth in the following passages also:
Jehovah said to the prophet, Go and buy thee a girdle of linen, and put it upon thy loins, but draw it not through water. Take the girdle, and arise, go to Euphrates, and hide it in a hole of the rock. At the end of many days, when he took the girdle from the place where he had hidden it, behold the girdle had rotted, it was fit for nothing (Jer. 13:1-7);
by the "girdle of flax upon the loins" was represented truth from good, such as it is in the beginning when a church is being set up again by the Lord, and such as it becomes afterward; that about its end it is corrupt and is fit for nothing. In Isaiah:
They who make linen of silk shall blush, and the weavers of curtains (Isa. 19:9).
This is said of Egypt; "to make linen of silk" denotes to counterfeit truths.
 In Moses:
Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together. Thou shalt not wear a mixed garment of wool and flax together (Deut. 22:10-11);
by "an ox" is signified the good of the natural; by "an ass" its truth; in like manner by "wool and flax." That they were not to plough with an ox and an ass together, nor to wear a mixed garment of wool and flax together, signified that they were not to be in two states at once; namely, in good and from it look to truth; and at the same time in truth and from it look to good. These things involve the same as is involved in the words of the Lord in Matthew:
Let him that is upon the roof of the house not come down to take anything out of his house; and let him that is in the field not return back to take his garment (Matt. 24:17-18);
as to which see above (n. 3652e). For they who from good look to truth are in an interior heaven; but they who from truth look to good are in an exterior heaven; the latter from the world look to heaven, the former from heaven look to the world, whence they are in a kind of opposition, and therefore if they were together, the one would destroy the other.