670. II. THE WASHING THAT IS CALLED BAPTISM MEANS SPIRITUAL WASHING, WHICH IS PURIFICATION FROM EVILS AND FALSITIES, AND THUS REGENERATION.
That washings were commanded the children of Israel is known from the statutes enacted by Moses,
That Aaron should wash himself before putting on the robes of his ministry (Lev. 16:4, 24);
And before coming near to the altar to minister (Exod. 30:18-21; 40:30-32);
Also the Levites (Num. 8:6, 7)
And likewise others who had become unclean through sins; and are said to be sanctified by washings (Exod. 29:1, 4; 40:12; Lev. 8:6).
Therefore in order that they might wash themselves, the molten sea, and many baths were placed near the temple (1 Kings 7:23-39);
They even washed vessels and utensils, such as tables, seats, beds, plates, and cups (Lev. 11:32; 14:8-9; 15:5-12; 17:15, 16; Matt. 23:25-26).
But washings and many like things were enjoined upon and commanded the children of Israel, because the church instituted among them was a representative church, and this was such as to prefigure the Christian church that was to come. Therefore when the Lord came into the world, He annuled representatives, which were all external, and instituted a church all things of which were to be internal; thus the Lord banished figures, and revealed the veritable forms, as one withdraws a veil or opens a dock and causes interiors not only to be seen, but also to be approached. Of all these representatives the Lord retained but two, which should include in one complex all things pertaining to the internal church. These two are baptism in the place of washings, and the holy supper in the place of the lamb which was sacrificed each day, and in greater fullness at the feast of the passover.