9965. Lest they bear iniquity, and die. That this signifies the annihilation of the whole of worship, is evident from the signification of "bearing iniquity," when said of the priesthood of Aaron and his sons, as being the removal of falsities and evils with those who are in good from the Lord (of which above, n. 9937). But when they are said "to bear iniquity and die," it signifies the annihilation of all worship (n. 9928); for representative worship died, because nothing of it appeared any longer in the heavens. (How the case herein is can be seen from what was said and shown above, n. 9959-9961.) Moreover, that they died when they did not act in accordance with the statutes, is plain from Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, who were consumed by fire from heaven when they burned incense, not from the fire of the altar, but from strange fire (Lev. 10:1, 2). The fire of the altar represented love Divine, thus love from the Lord, whereas the strange fire represented love from hell. The annihilation of worship was signified by the burning of incense from this latter fire, which resulted in their death. (That "fires" signify loves, see n. 5215, 6832, 7324, 7575, 7852.)
 It is said in many passages in the Word that "they would bear iniquity" when they did not act according to the statutes, and by this was signified damnation, because their sins were not removed; not that they were damned on this account, but that they thereby annihilated the representative worship, and thus represented the damned who remain in their sins. For no one is damned on account of the omission of external rites; but on account of evils of the heart, thus on account of the omission of them from evil of heart. This is signified by "bearing iniquity" in the following passages. In Moses:
If a soul shall sin, and shall do any of the things commanded by Jehovah not be done; though he knew it not, yet shall he be guilty, and shall hear his iniquity (Lev. 5:17).
"To bear iniquity" here does not mean, but only signifies, the retention of evils and thus damnation, because he did not do it from evil of heart; for it is said, "though he knew it not."
If eating any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-offerings be eaten on the third day, he that offereth it shall not be reconciled; it is an abomination, and the soul which eateth of it shall bear his iniquity, and shall be cut off from his peoples (Lev. 7:18, 20; 19:7, 8);
by "bearing iniquity" here also is signified to remain in his sins, and thus to be in damnation; not because he ate of his sacrifice on the third day; but because by "eating it on the third day" was represented that which is abominable, which is amenable to damnation. Thus by "bearing iniquity" and by "being cut off from his people," was represented the damnation of those who do the abomination which is signified by that deed. Nevertheless the damnation was not on account of the eating, for it is the interior evils which were represented that condemn, and not the outward things without them.
Every soul that eateth a carcass, and that which is torn, and laveth not his garments, nor washeth his flesh, shall bear his iniquity (Lev. 17:15, 16);
as "to eat a carcass and that which is torn" represented the appropriation of evil and falsity, therefore he is said to "bear iniquity," also representatively. Again:
If a man who is clean shall omit to keep the passover, this soul shall be cut off from his peoples, because he offered not the oblation of Jehovah in its appointed time, he shall bear his sin (Num. 9:13);
the passover represented liberation from damnation by the Lord (see n. 7093, 7867, 7995, 9286-9292); and the paschal supper represented conjunction with the Lord through the good of love (n. 7836, 7997, 8001); and because these things were represented, it was ordained that anyone who did not keep the passover should be cut off from his people, and that he should bear his sin. Yet this was not so very bad a deed; but only represented those who at heart deny the Lord, and the consequent liberation from sins; and thus it represented those who do not wish to be conjoined with Him by love; thus it represented their damnation.
The sons of Israel shall not come nigh the Tent of meeting, to bear iniquity in dying. The Levites shall do the work of the Tent of meeting, and they shall bear iniquity (Num. 18:22, 23);
the reason why the people "bore iniquity in dying" if they came nigh the Tent of meeting to do the work there, was that they thus annihilated the representative worship enjoined on the ministry of the priests; the ministry of the priests, or the priesthood, represented the whole work of the Lord's salvation (n. 9809). Therefore it is said that "the Levites," who also were priests, should "bear their iniquity," by which was signified expiation, that is, the removal from evils and falsities with those who are in good from the Lord alone (n. 9937). By "bearing iniquity" is signified real damnation when it is said of those who do evils from an evil heart, as is said of those described in Leviticus 20:17, 19, 20; 24:15, 16; Ezekiel 18:20; 23:49; and elsewhere.