|Minor Prophets: Major Messages
When the Lord makes His advent, what is His purpose for coming into the hearts and minds of people? Is it to exalt a race, a tribe, a church, or a religious denomination?
To turn His Advent into personal grandiosity is to make a serious spiritual mistake. The people within the church did this, and the results were devastating. They lost the Word. They lost sight of its meaning, and they could not be taught by the Word.
The literal sense describes their disorder, saying they were a church that sowed much but brought in little. It was a church that ate but didnít have enough to satisfy its needs. They drank but didnít have their thirst assuaged. They had clothing that gave no warmth. They earned wages but lost the wages because their money pouches had holes in them.
Instead of focusing on the mirror truths of the Lord, they focused on the distorted mirror of narcissism. In that mirror of self-love, they worshipped themselves and could not see love of the Lord and the neighbor. Love of self and love of the world became ruling principles. Disorder has its effects. Look at the history of the children of Israel. Israelís national security was always under some threat by the nations around her. They suffered through assault after assault.
The spiritual sense explains how the sacking and captivity of Israel related to their weak spiritual state. Such things happen in the external to reflect the condition of the internal. After they were released from Babylonian captivity, the Israelites put off seeking things that would help them achieve their spiritual freedom. They fixed up and paneled the walls of their house before caring for the Lordís house. They did not do "first things first." They delayed following the order of heaven. So the prophet Haggai called them to "consider" their ways. Ignoring the Lord while caring for self deprives the soul of its heavenly sustenance; this was the message the Lord spoke through His prophet Haggai.
The Lord reminded His people that the church, when first instituted, was full of truths. The present church was empty and devastated. In spite of its present condition, the Lord told them He would purify the church. He told the church that He would come into the world to establish an internal foundation. The Lord shared His message this way: "An external without an internal is of no useÖ"
To illustrate the potential within the Word, the Lord asked whether any seed remained in the barn, a great thought-provoking question. Then He announced to the Israelites that in spite of the blight (the blast), the mildew, and the hail, good would come from such spiritual tremors. The clinging falsities that had adhered to the church would be loosened and shaken off. The Lord promised to expose their falsification of the Word. The twisting and turning of the meaning of the Word would be thrown off. The former falsity of the horse and its rider would be thrown off, checked, and destroyed.
The Lordís New Church is for everyone. Those who love truth for truthís sake, those who love the Lord and the neighbor, and those who want the Lord to lead them will be like a signet ring. There will be a spontaneous consent from those in the church to be led. There will be a conjunction and healing within the heart. Externals and internals will wed, and the ring of commitment, or the conjugial principle, will be blessed and enriched.
A beautiful ring will be part of the covenant. The ringís beauty is special because the design, and the choice of materials, will reflect the truths of the Lord. He, and no one else, makes the ring.
The Lordís trees, the vine, the fig, the pomegranate, and the olive tree, would once again bear fruit. The blight, the mildew, the hail, and the drought ended. The blossoms and fruit on the trees reminded the exiles of the presence of the Lord and the potential of the reconstruction of the temple. Our study helps remind us that the spiritual fulfillment of the descent of the Holy City the New Jerusalem has happened and the effects of the Lordís Covenant are beginning to reach out throughout the world. A spiritual healing is underway. How can we be sure of this? Recall, the Lordís comforting words in the book of Revelation:
"In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was a tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Revelation 22:2