378. 'And have washed their robes' signifies and who have cleansed their religious principles (religiosa) from evils of untruth. By 'to wash' in the Word is signified to cleanse oneself from evils and untruths, and by 'robes' are signified general truths (n. 328). General truths are the cognitions of good and truth out of the sense of the letter of the Word in accordance with which they live, and consequently they are religious principles; and because every religious principle relates to good and truth, therefore the robes are mentioned twice, namely, 'they have washed the robes and have made the robes white' The 'robes' or religious principles are cleansed with those only who fight against evils and so reject untruths, thus by means of the temptations that are signified by 'great affliction' (n. 377). That 'to be washed' signifies to he cleansed from evils and untruths, and so reformed and regenerated, can be established from the following passages:-
When the Lord washes off the excrement of the daughters of Zion, and washes away the bloods of Jerusalem in the spirit of judgment and in the spirit of cleansing (expurgatio) Isa. iv 4.
Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from Mine eyes, cease to do evil Isa. i 16.
Wash thy heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem, that thou mayest be saved Jer. iv 14.
Wash me from mine iniquity, and I shall be whiter than snow Ps. li 2, 7 [H.B. 4, 9].
If thou shouldest wash thee with nitre, and lather thyself with soap, yet thine iniquity will retain blemishes Jer. ii 22.
If I should wash myself in snow water, and cleanse my hands with soap, yet shall my clothes abhor me Job ix 30, 31.
Who washed his garment in wine, and his clothing (velamen) in the blood of grapes Gen. xlix ii.
This [is said] of the celestial Church, of which those are who are in love directed to the Lord, and in the highest sense [said] of the Lord; 'wine' and 'the blood of grapes' is Divine Truth spiritual and celestial.
I have washed thee with waters, and I have washed away bloods from upon thee Ezek. xvi 9.
This [is said] of Jerusalem; 'waters' are truths, and 'bloods' are adulterations of truth.  From these passages it can be established what was represented and consequently signified by the 'washings' in the Israelitish Church, as:-
That Aaron should wash himself before he put on the garments of ministry Lev. xvi 4, 24.
And before he drew near to the altar to minister Exod. xxx 18-21; xl 30, 31.
In like manner the Levites Num. viii 6, 7.
In like manner others who became unclean through sins; even that they washed vessels Lev. xi 32; xiv 8, 9; xv 5-12; xvii 15, 16; Matt. xxiii 25, 26.
That they were sanctified by the washings Exod. xxix 4; xl 12; Lev. viii 6.
That Naaman from Syria washed himself in the Jordan 2 Kings v 10, 14.
Therefore, that they might wash themselves,
The bronze sea and many layers were placed near the temple 1 Kings vii 23-39.
And that the Lord washed the disciples' feet John xiii 10.
And He said to the blind man that he should wash in the pool of Siloam John ix 6, 7, 11, 15.
 It can be established from these things that 'washing' with the sons of Israel represented spiritual washing, which is a cleansing from evils and untruths, and the resulting reformation and regeneration. From the things said above it is also plain what was signified by baptism in the Jordan by John (Matt. iii; Mark i 4-13), and what was signified by these words of John concerning the Lord:-
That He would baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire Luke iii 16; John i 33;
and concerning himself:-
That he would baptise with water John i 26.
The meaning of this is that the Lord washes or purifies man by Divine Truth and Divine Good, and that John by his baptism represented this; for the 'Holy Spirit' is Divine Truth, 'fire' is Divine Good, and 'water' is a representative of them; for 'water' signifies the Truth of the Word, which becomes good by a life in accordance with it (n. 50).