“Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.”
Passages from the Writings
- “Concerning thought with the intention of doing evil, that they also do it from the will.”
- “That by ‘hand’ is signified power, also authority (potestas), and the derivative self-confidence, is evident from many passages in the Word, as in…Micah 2:1…”
AC 4402 
- “…in Micah 2:1…‘A hand for God’ denotes that there may be power.”
- “That ‘a bed’ signifies doctrine is from correspondence, for as the body rests in its bed, so does the mind rest in its doctrine. But by ‘bed’ is signified the doctrine which every one acquires to himself either from the Word, or from his own intelligence, for therein the mind rests and, as it were, sleeps. The beds, in which they lie in the spiritual world, are from no other origin; for every one’s bed is according to the quality of his science and intelligence, magnificent for the wise, mean for the unwise and filthy for falsifiers…” Micah 2:1 is cited as an example.
“Woe to those who devise iniquity…”
- The word “woe” signifies grievous lamentations over calamity, danger, hardship, unhappiness, and destruction, either that such is present with the church or as a warning of what will occur. See AR 769, 416, 441 and AE 531 .
- AE 844 describes the state of mind of those who “devise.” According to this number, devising means “doing evil to the good.” Devisors believe themselves to “be wiser than all others.” To themselves, they feel brilliantly ingenious, but to the angels, they are mad.
- To “devise iniquity” represents planning and scheming about ways to bring falsities and evils into the church. It means to plan to confuse people and lead them into living wickedly. See AE 684  and AE 911 .
“…work out evil on their beds!”
- AR 137 indicated that a “bed” is either a place where the mind rests in the doctrine of the Lord or it is a form of self-intelligence drawn from the world. In this passage, we don’t have to wonder. We are told it is a “bed” of evil being supported by their self-intelligence.
“At morning light they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand.”
- “Morning,” in the positive sense, means a state of enlightenment. (AC 5221)
- “Morning,” in the positive sense, means, if the Lord is present, deliverance. (AC 6442)
- “Morning,” in the positive sense, means being raised to stronger proofs. (AC 703)
- It would appear that for the evil, “morning” represents just the opposite of the above. It would represent beds of ignorance, bondage, and weak proofs.
- So the evil, believing in the light of science and self, imagine they have a new state of light and that is what they practice because it is in the power of their hand. We have a clear distinction of powers. It is not the hand of the Lord at work. It is the work of evil’s hands to do that which appears powerful and right but which, in the presence of the Lord, is madness and wickedness.
“…they covet fields and take them by violence…”
- To “covet” means the presence of evil in the will and evil going out of the will. See AC 8910 .
- “Fields” mean the affections of the natural man. See AE 650 .
- “Fields” signify the church as to the implantation of the truth of doctrine. See AE 650 .
- “Fields” signify the affections for good in the natural man. See AE 1100 .
- “Fields” signify things voluntary which belong to the affections. See AE 513 .
- A “field” means the good of life that has its origin in matters of doctrine. See AC 3310.
- Pulling these teachings together, we get a picture of evil in the will going forth to possess and plunder the “field” of doctrinal implantation, the natural good, the voluntary, and the inclination to do good and to follow the Lord. The covetousness of evil urges them all to violence.
“…also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.”
- “Houses” mean man’s interiors, thus the things that are of his loves. Evil wants to destroy these things. See AE 315 .
- “…houses, signify the affection for good and the understanding of truth…” (AE 675)
- To “seize” has an interesting meaning. TCR 380 says, “It is an astonishing fact that the more anyone believes himself to excel others in learning and judgment, the more prone he is to seize on and make his own ideas about the Lord being a human being and not God, arguing that because He is a human being He cannot be God.” (Emphasis added.)
- Evil wants to rob all people of their spiritual inheritance. “‘…inheritance’ signifies heaven where is the good of charity.” (AC 8324)
- Evil wants to take from us our inheritance, which signifies the church wherein the Lord is the all of good (love) and the all of truth (wisdom). See AE 388 . In other words, evil wants to remove from us the marriage of love and wisdom; hence, it is willing the destruction of the conjugial principle.
Putting It All Together
Woe to those who devise, practice, and skillfully disguise their intention of doing evil to others. Why? P&P teaches that such intentions of doing evil destroy the understanding and will of the schemer. Hellish spirits want to destroy the neighbor. And who is the highest neighbor they plot against? They have a fiery passion to destroy the Lord and His church. In modern spatial terms, their plotting goes on 24/7. It is a morning, noon, and evening fixation. Their maniacal dream is to totally subjugate the Lord to their rule.
It is sad to think about anyone wanting to destroy the Lord. What kind of a heart would entertain such an idea? Where is this idea hatched? It is hatched in a bed of self-intelligence that holds fast to doctrines the Lord calls “unwise and filthy.” It is a bed created by self-intelligence that believes it is “wiser than all others.” Sadly, those who do this hatching feel brilliantly ingenious, but in the eyes of the Lord and angels, they are mad. Read again the quote from AE 844 where all of this is revealed.
The pitiful end of the hellish schemers is self-destruction. They lose the ability to grow and become wise in and from the Lord. The light and warmth of the conjugial principle flickers and goes out. They huddle in a dank spiritual coldness. They have their beds but no blankets. They have a night that is void of stars and moon. Can anything sooth the bleak existence of these hellish plotters? They only have fantasy and madness to give them comfort. The Lord speaks this one sobering word to all who intend to follow such a maniacal life—“WOE.”
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Micah 2:1-2.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- Did you find yourself taken with this section? Hearing about the plight of those who want to plunder, rob, and take away one’s inheritance is sad. The Lord calls out a warning. For those who join in with the plotters, schemers, and brilliantly ingenious, the end is not pretty. Did you feel the need to diligently amend the goals of each day?
- What kind of a mind loves to be in its “bed” plotting the demise of the Lord and His church? These plotters want the field and the houses. What does this represent?
“Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Behold against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks; nor shall you walk haughtily, for this is an evil time. In that day one shall take up a proverb against you, and lament with a bitter lamentation, saying: we are utterly destroyed! He has changed the heritage of my people; how He has removed it from me! To a turncoat He has divided our fields.’ Therefore you will have no one to determine boundaries by lot in the assembly of the Lord.”
Passages from the Writings
- “Hence the church has become perverted.”
Doctrine of the Lord 4
- “…I shall in this first chapter merely adduce passages from the Word which contain the expressions ‘that day,’ ‘in that day,’ and ‘in that time;’ in which, by ‘day,’ and ‘time,’ is meant the Lord’s advent.” Micah 2:4 is cited among many other passages.
Coronis 58 
- “In like manner as the Lord foretold concerning the consummation of the present Christian Church…” Micah 2:4 is cited.
- “…in the Word ‘cords’…signify portions of inheritance and of land, for the reason that measurements were made with cords…” Micah 2:4-5 is cited.
“Therefore thus says the Lord…”
- How many times have we read a statement like this in the Word? Familiarity with certain repetitive phrases has the potential to deaden our appreciation of what is really being said. “Thus says the Lord” needs to capture our thoughts so we remind ourselves that what is about to be revealed “is coming from the Infinite and Eternal.” The directive from the Lord is intended to carry us into the stream of Providence so that we might not be distracted by that which is finite and temporal. Eternal ends will be more satisfying than time/space ends. So, let’s concentrate now, with the intent that we will listen, hear, and obey what the Lord is about to say. Matthew 13:15 reminds us of what happens to people who harden their hearts against what the Lord says: “…the hearts of this people have grown dull, their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.”
“Behold against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks; nor shall you walk haughtily, for this is an evil time.”
- “Behold” calls us to enter into a state of “interior confession,” “humiliation,” and the “affection of good.” AC 2329 explains the need of these things in connection with Lot entertaining three visiting angels sent to him by the Lord. Lot greeted them with the word “Behold.” This passage in the Arcana elaborates the positive sense of “behold,” that we cannot feign humiliation, we cannot feign affection of good. When insincerity says “behold,” it represents a confession being made with the lips when there is a “denial in the heart.”
- AC 3154  explains what a “family” represents in the positive sense. A “family” “signifies truth which is from the Divine.” In the negative sense, a “family” would appear to be a discordant mixture of human affections that are not in agreement with the truths of the Lord.
- The Lord in His Advent will come to visit the “family” wherein profanation reigns. He does so with love and mercy. To those who are living in a spiritually evil “family,” His presence is unwanted, and it appears to them that He is devising a plan of disaster. This passage is written in the appearance of what the disorderly perceive. In reality, the Lord has no need to plot, devise, and plan revenge. These qualities are not in the Divine. Instead, the evil “family,” in the presence of the Lord, collapses and falls apart, all while trying to make it look like the Lord is out of control with rage and vengeance. In effect, even in their last moments of falling apart, the hells defiantly try to win converts to their cause by passing all blame on to the Lord.
- “…from which you cannot remove your necks…” AC 6033 explains the spiritual meaning of “neck.” “…the ‘neck’ joins together the head and the body…the ‘neck’ denotes the conjunction of the interiors with the exteriors…and thus the communication of the interiors with the exteriors, and also of celestial things with spiritual…” What does this mean? The Lord’s visitation of the corrupted “family” will be such that the shame of their external glossy veneer will be exposed, and it will be made clear that their external sensual “proofs” have no basis or connection with interior spiritual concepts. Evil’s head and body will not have a living connection. The miscommunication of “facts” will be around the “neck” of the evil, and it is not the Lord’s fault—because in hundreds of millions of ways, He sought to give them new beginnings, but they steadfastly refused His help.
- “…nor shall you walk haughtily, for this is an evil time.” AE 820  teaches “…‘…to walk’ signifies to live according to truths…and walk…signifies to consider freely, and to see truths, and do them…” The haughty, on the other hand, don’t want to walk, or see, the Lord’s truth. “…the Lord flows with power into those who are humble; but not into those who are puffed up, because the former receive influx, but the latter [the haughty] reject it.” (AC 9039)
“…for this is an evil time.” (Emphasis added.)
- There seems to be little need to research the spiritual meaning of this passage. If anyone is haughty in their walk of life, evil times will befall their heart and mind. The Lord wants to call our attention to this fact. He calls out, “Behold.” “Thus says the Lord.” Listen, My family, and have none of this kind of spiritual life.
- Let’s consider the words of Deuteronomy 30:19: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life that both you and your descendants [family] may live…”
“In that day one shall take up a proverb against you…”
- Habakkuk 2:6 has a similar prophecy. In Habakkuk, the wording is as follows: “…all these take up a proverb against him…” In this passage in Micah, “one shall take up a proverb against you...” Who is the one? The Lord is the only One who will judge His church.
- A proverb is a profound maxim. It is truth couched obscurely. But like a medicated time-release capsule, the truths within the epigrammatic saying release their spiritual antidotal remedies to overcome all the diseases of falsity that the proud and the haughty believe to be invincible or incurable. The Lord, as the One, will “take up a proverb against” them to expose their lies. He is announcing that truth will speak against the lies and that spiritual health will be restored to the Lord’s New Church. How thorough, or effective, will the Lord’s proverb be? Listen to the words of the evil family in this next verse:
They will “…lament with a bitter lamentation, saying: we are utterly destroyed!” (Emphasis added.)
- We need a picture to go along with this teaching from the Word. Imagine a person who thinks they are the sum total of their own authority. “This is my life, and I can do with it what I please.” From their own “cleverness,” this person thinks they can justify anything they want to achieve. But eventually, they will find themselves in the presence of the Lord and His Word. Can you picture the torment and lamentation they will experience? The bitterness they will feel will come from the discovery that the Lord’s Word will rule over them to eternity. Like it or not, they will have to be ruled by the Lord’s truths. To the evil, this will be a bitter reality to accept. They will howl and lament, crying out, “Oh no! Tell me it is not true. If I have to follow the Lord and His truth, it will utterly destroy me and all of my treasured (false) values.” Is this intended to be a scary picture, or is it given so we can see and prepare ourselves for spiritual reality? Check out these numbers to see more on what it means to “lament”: AE 435, AE 431, AR 411, AE 618, and AE 622.
“He has changed the heritage of my people; how He has removed it from me!”
- In the positive sense, we are taught, “heritage” signifies following the example of the Lord’s life to eternity. (AC 7190) If we follow His example, we will be on a walk of life that will lead us to heaven. The converse of this is to walk the life of falsity as drawn up by the loves of the natural man, which leads to falsity. See AE 730 . AE 650  speaks of “heritage” as signifying the church.
- Can we, with confident conviction, say that the Lord has positively changed our heritage? He took on our human form and totally ordered (subdued) it and defeated the power and falsity of hell. Can we not join in and say the Lord will remove falsity from us when we do the work of repentance and reformation?
“How He has removed it [my heritage] from me!” (Emphasis added.)
- These are words of amazement, awe, bewilderment, gratitude, and thanksgiving. When we look back to see what Providence has done for our redemption, it is truly wonderful. Those tendencies toward evil and our tendencies toward good are modified and uplifted by Him for our spiritual betterment. How great and wonderful are the ways of the Lord!
- Speaking of a changed heritage being “removed,” will this prophecy also help Israel face its errant belief in its “favored nation” status? For years, even to the present day, Israel has staunchly lived with a confidence in their “favored nation” entitlements. Subtly, this belief has dulled their sense of accountability and spiritual reformation. Hidden below the surface of this “doctrine” is the notion that no matter what they have done, God will, in the end, forgive them because they are His favored people.
“To a turncoat He has divided our fields.”
- Who are the “turncoats”? The traitors? The renegades? The evildoers? In Micah 2:1-2, we read about those who devised iniquity, worked out evil in their beds, and, in the morning light, practiced what they had schemed. They coveted fields and took them by force and violence. They did so without concern for a man or his family. Is this kind of person the “turncoat” being referred to? Hell seems to fit the role of a “turncoat” because a “turncoat,” a traitor, a renegade, an evildoer, wants to purposely plunder and misuse our spiritual fields to leave them barren and void of any crop of usefulness.
- A “field” represents the affections of the natural man. See AE 650 . “Fields” signify the church as to the implantation of the truth of doctrine. See AE 659 . A “field” means the good of life that has its origin in matters of doctrine. See AC 3310.
- What, then, do we have at issue here? The “turncoat” seems to be that which wants to misuse and possess a “field” so that doctrinal unity might dissolve into chaos. The “turncoat” wants heretical distortions to enter the church and cause its people to blaspheme the Lord’s truth.
- Did the Lord really give the “fields” to the “turncoat” so they might be divided? Or did He permit the “turncoat” to do this so that there would be an upheaval or breaking up of the hard and lifeless traditional thinking that had taken over the church? AC 3316 seems to give some credence to this thought. We read that the Lord will allow states of “chaos” to enter into one’s life or church. A state of confusion is permitted to the end that things will be reduced to order. He wants good works working within chaotic states so that a new order may return to every misdirected church.
“Therefore you will have no one to determine boundaries by lot in the assembly of the Lord.”
- This verse is reminiscent of Judges 17:6: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
- The word “boundaries,” we are taught, signifies “truth scientifics.” See AE 654 . In AE 739 , we read that “boundaries,” in the negative sense, signify turning “to the world and thus receiving nothing of the Divine.” In AE 1156, we read that a “boundary”signifies “the scientifics of the natural man [that are] administered to serving the rational man for the purpose of thought…”
- From these AE sources, we get a picture of minds in a twirling and tumbling state, a free-for-all. Disciplined thinking was perilously jeopardized. Issues were not decided by turning to the Word or the Lord. Instead, civil and moral decisions were based on the cleverness of the speaker’s “truth scientifics.” Can you picture shouting, arguing, intimidation, and bullying tactics settling what is to be believed?
- Why should the Word make such an issue about having the boundaries of spiritual discipline? What is wrong with free (independent) thinking? Does the Lord want us to stay as close to Him as possible when studying the Word? Is this the way to love Him? In the book of Proverbs, there is a passage that succinctly captures the necessity of loving and following the ways of the Lord: “…he that sins against Me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate Me love death.” (Proverbs 8:36, emphasis added). Of the choices—love the Lord and hate death or hate the Lord and love death—is there really a question as to which one is best for our eternal life?
- There will be “no one to determine boundaries by lot…” To work toward the spiritual meaning of the word “lot,”let’s look at the positive and negative spiritual significations. In AC 3239 , we read that “…the Lord’s kingdom is represented by land, which is distributed by lots among those to whom it is given to be possessed as an inheritance…” (Emphasis added.) AE 727  speaks of the “lot of the righteous” as “truths from good, which the faithful have, and especially with those who are in love to the Lord…” (Emphasis added.) In the negative sense, “lots”and the “casting of lots”signify to “disperse the truths of the church by falsities…” (AE 863 ) See also AE 376  and AC 9942 for a similar meaning of “casting lots.”
- When anyone excludes the Lord in their heart, there will be no one to determine their spiritual (inheritance) “boundaries by lot.” Instead of Divine inclusiveness, instead of wholeness, there will be dissipation and destruction of good and truth. This is not of the Lord’s choosing. This is the choice of those who hate the Lord.
- “…in the assembly of the Lord.” AC 10727 helps us understand what the “assembly of the Lord” will involve. It is a gathering of all the truths and forms of good in their entirety. Such an assembly is for the purpose of enumerating them all. For the faithful, it is an assembly where there is a feast of plenty. For those who hate the Lord, it is an assembly at which they will be starving in the midst of plenty because they refuse to come and “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Luke 1:53 says, “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.” The proud and haughty will be made low, and the lowly will be exalted because of their faithfulness and love.
Putting It All Together
What “red alert” message does the Lord unfold for us in these verses? P&P cuts to the core: “…the church has become perverted.” This is not a new message. Every Minor Prophet announces this theme. Why do we need to hear about the perversion of the church again and again?
Is the bottom line that we are a stubborn and stiff-necked people? Why can’t we seem to learn from the plethora of examples given to us in the Word? Is it because our proprium thinks it knows better than the Lord what we need for our soul? Could the fact that we don’t read the Word often enough be a contributing factor that causes us to repeatedly wander away from the Lord’s “narrow way” to seek the world’s “broad way”? The Lord taught us that He would give us the truth and that His truth would make us free. If we ignore the truth, don’t we invite disorder and self-love to become the blind eyes of our faith?
The prophecy begins with: “Therefore the Lord says…” These words clearly announce and establish what is Infinite and Eternal. The Lord wants everyone in His church to follow His ways and laws. We are not looking for a democratic system where it is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In the long run, we do not get to vote and make policies that are binding on the Lord. Those who love the Lord will follow His leadership. He already has a doctrinal formula that will lead us to spiritual freedom and security. “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) The Lord said that if we love Him, we will follow His commandments. So how will we answer the Lord? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could commit to Joshua’s statement? “…as for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Those who want to have their own way feel that the Lord has devised disaster for them. In a sense, the people who turn their backs on the Lord will “put their neck” in a noose that cannot be removed. Why? Their walking haughtily brings about evil times. It is not the Lord who devises and delights in their demise. Those who walk alone say bitter things against the Lord. They make the choices that separate them from the Lord. Their choices cause lamentation. The separated ones allow the “turncoat” to divide the fields of their mind, and when they separate from the Lord, there will be no protective spiritual boundaries. Every person will do that which is right in their own eyes. Their separation will keep them from enjoying the “feast of plenty.” Instead of being filled with good things, they will be sent away empty. In a few words, the evil will be like those who starve in the midst of plenty. How sad and how foolish is the choice of this starving emptiness as an eternal path.
Have we answered our opening question: Why do we need so many lessons on the corruption of the church? Is the repetition of this topic not only necessary but essential for every church, age, and state?
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Micah 2:3-5.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- Will we (the human race) ever find a way to keep perversions from harming the life of the church? The Book of Revelation and the Writings hold out the possibility that it will happen. The New Church will be the crown of all churches, whose kingdom will be forever and ever. My heart longs for that to happen. How about you?
- The literal sense gives the impression that the Lord devises disaster. Our doctrines teach otherwise. Why not put this openly in the literal sense so that no one will ever say such things about the Lord? Why allow others to draw on the negative aspects of the Word? I’d much rather have the literal sense of the Word tell it like it really is—hellish spirits devise disaster for those who will listen to them. Hell tries to put everyone’s neck in a noose that cannot be removed. The Lord wishes only the best for everyone.
- Those who want to walk in a haughty way don’t want the Lord to expose their sham. Of course, they will be bitter and will lament when their dark side is revealed. They want and need the adulation of others to bolster their as-of-self proprial love. They want to supplant the Lord. They want to be the ultimate god. Can we see their plot? Can we arm ourselves so as to escape hell’s chaotic delusion? No boundaries, no accountability, no spiritual plan to carry into eternity.
- They were told about the turncoats in their midst. How do you picture the turncoats after reading about them in our lesson? They want to divide our fields. Doesn’t this sound like a plan to “divide and conquer”?
- No boundaries—isn’t this easily seen in the events of our world? The plan of laissez-faire is alive and well in our current events. In many contexts, we are encouraged to let everyone do their thing with judgment put aside. Can we freely speak to troublesome issues without someone putting a label on us to neutralize our point? Isn’t it spiritually healthy to call out sin or disorder to keep our inner church from becoming perverted? That seems to be what this lesson is all about: we need to find ways to effectively protect the boundaries of our minds and hearts. The Lord has a plan that will work. How well do we know that plan? The Three-fold Word stands invitingly before us. If we enter the Word with patience, consistency, and effort, we can and will be given protective boundaries by the Lord.
“‘Do not prattle,’ you say to those who prophesy. So they shall not prophesy to you; they shall not return insult for insult. You who are named the house of Jacob: ‘Is the Spirit of the Lord restricted? Are these His doings? Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?’”
Passages from the Writings
- “There is no longer any use to teach any except those who obey…”
“Do not prattle…”
- “Do not prattle” can also be understood to mean “do not chatter and talk nonsense.” That is what the prophets were accused of by those in the perverted church. When the prophets spoke the words of the Lord’s prophecy, they had a hostile audience.
- Conjugial Love (CL) 232 has an interesting insight into the meaning of “prattle” or “chatter.” Swedenborg met a group of men called the “reasoners.” These people prided themselves upon being most learned. He posed a question to them: “What must the religion be whereby a man is saved?” They set out to break the question down into four groupings (beside others). After a period of time, Swedenborg asked them if they might have an answer by evening time. They responded that it could not be done “within a hundred years.” Swedenborg remarked, “Meanwhile you are without religion.” He continued, “You are anything but learned, for you are only able to think whether a thing is, and to turn it this way or that…is it not like arguing about [the size of] a cap which is never put on? Or [the size of] a shoe that is never worn?” This number ends with the observation that prattlers or chatterers cannot bring anything from reason. “They chatter [prattle] and talk nonsense.” The perverted church perceived the prophets as prattlers. The perverted church determined that the prophecies of the Lord were nonsense. The perverted church did not want to listen anymore.
“So they shall not prophesy to you…”
- The perverted church got what it asked for. The Lord announced to them that He would cease giving them His prophesy. It reminds us of what He said to the disciples when they confronted hostile attitudes while preaching and teaching. He told them: “…cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matthew 7:6)
“…they shall not return insult for insult.”
- What do these words communicate to us? AC 1844 speaks of the church being with “those who love the Lord, and who love the neighbor as themselves, who have a conscience, and are averse to…hatreds…” But those in the church are insulted and “treated with the utmost possible abuse and persecution, or else are regarded as being simple, mean, and of no account.” Is the Lord commanding His church not to begin a life of trading insult for insult? Taking that route would be injurious to the very core of what we are taught the church is.
“You who are named the house of Jacob…”
- The spiritual significance of these words reveal why the church shall not return insult for insult. AC 3875  teaches that the “house of Jacob signifies to be in the good of charity.” (Emphasis added.) AE 448  reveals that the “house of Jacob means those who are in the good of life.” (Emphasis added.) Trading insults with hell is not an essential part of these attributes. AC 1950  teaches: “Rational good never fights, however it is assailed, because it is mild and gentle, patient and yielding; for its character is that of love and mercy. Yet although it does not fight, it conquers all, nor does it ever think about combat, or glory on account of victory…For no evil can attack good; it cannot even continue to exist in the sphere where good is, for when this merely approaches, evil withdraws and falls back on itself…” (Emphasis added.)
“Is the Spirit of the Lord restricted? Are these His doings? Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?”
- Note the three questions. Do they go to the heart of End, Cause, and Effect? The Lord’s Love (End) is not restricted. His love is limitless. His love wants to save all of His children. Is it His end that anyone should be lost or cast off? No! But sadly, there are those who refuse His love. Is that of His doing? Did the Lord cause hell to be filled with hatred and hurt? Does He want that hellish rebellion to be among any of His people? No! He causes not a single ripple of disorder. Together with the angels, He always rejoices over the one lost sheep being found. Those who listen, love, and follow His way will have the full effect of walking uprightly because they are doing the good of the Lord.
Putting It All Together
P&P summarizes this section with these words regarding the perverted church: “There is no longer any use to teach any except those who obey…” (Emphasis added.) Do these words inspire us, as a church, to be among those who are committed to obey the Lord?
The perverted church doesn’t want to hear from the Lord anymore. They count His Word as prattle. From their polluted secular temple, they utter hurtful insults. They count the Word of the Lord as babbling foolishness. The polluted church perceives the followers of the Lord as simple, naïve, and of no account. What do we do about their charges? Do we enter into a debate with them, meeting insult with insult? The Lord urges us not to enter into this fray. The believer will not gain from such exchanges. Instead, we need to hold on to the teaching that rational good never has to fight. The Lord’s rational good wins, and the perverted loses. Evil cannot attack good—good conquers evil. Evil rushes away from good and falls back on its own faulty and hateful thoughts.
We need to reflect deeply on the three questions posed at the end of this section.
1. Is the Spirit of the Lord restricted?
2. Are these (disorders) His doing?
3. Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Micah 2:6-7.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- Have we heard, or said, the words “Do not prattle…” respecting the Word and doctrine? Have you ever tired of hearing the prophetical message of the Lord being preached at us? Being straightforward, I can recall some lectures and doctrinal classes that just wore my concentration out. I saw and felt no application of the presentation to my state. What I heard seemed every bit the part of prattle. Am I to be concerned about those times? Fortunately, I have heard some powerful and stimulating sermons and doctrinal classes as well. On the other hand, have you ever tired of the prattle the world lays on us?
- When someone berates you for being a Christian, or a New Churchman, are you tempted to return insult for insult? How about domestic insults? Do we turn back an insult with a soft answer? Remaining charitable in the face of insults is a hard thing to manage. How about the phrase “justifiable anger”? What is that all about?
- AC 1950  has been, for many, a favorite quote. “Rational good never fights…it is mild and gentle, patient and yielding…Yet although it does not fight, it conquers all…” Is this passage a call for “pacifism”?” Rational” refers to our reasoning level. “Good” refers to our level of and capacity for loving. Together, “rational” and “good” refer to worldly issues being tempered and ordered by the Lord so that our internal spiritual delights will rule over our natural worldly delights. Rational good, if operational, helps us to choose that which leads to eternal ends and not proprial ends. Do any personal examples come to mind that might illustrate the term “rational good”?
- What insights have you gathered from the Lord’s three questions: “Is the Spirit of the Lord restricted?” “Are these His doings?” “Do not My words do good to him who walks uprightly?” The Lord’s Love leads to Infinite ends. His causes are not in disorderliness, and His providence will provide us with the effects of orderliness and uprightness.
- What other insights did you gather from these verses of Micah’s prophecy?
“Lately My people have risen up as an enemy—you pull off the robe with the garment from those who trust you, as they pass by, like men returned from war. The women of My people you cast out from their pleasant houses; from their children you have taken away My glory forever.”
Passages from the Writings
- “…therefore they do evils of every kind.”
AC 9942 
- In Micah 2:8 “…‘tunic’ is expressed in the original tongue by another word, which, however, signifies spiritual truth and good; ‘stripping the tunic from off them that pass by securely’ denotes to deprive of their spiritual truths those who live in simple good; ‘to hold any one as an enemy by reason of a garment’ denotes to do evil to them on account of the truth which they think, when yet no one is to be injured on account of what he believes to be true, provided he is in good…”
- “‘Robes,’ ‘mantles,’ and ‘cloaks’ signify truths in general, because they are general coverings.” Micah 2:8 is cited as an example.
AE 395 
- “In Micah…2:8…These words do not mean that ‘the sons of Israel have set up the enemy for the sake of a garment, and have stripped off the mantle from those that pass by securely;’ but they mean that they held as enemies those who spoke truths, and deprived of all truth those who had lived well and had shaken off falsities, ‘garment’ meaning truth, ‘mantle’ all truth because it means truth in general; ‘to pass by securely’ means to live well; ‘men returning from war’ mean those who have shaken off falsities, ‘war’ meaning the combat of truth against falsity. Who cannot see that this is the spiritual meaning of the Word; and not that the people of Israel held some one as an enemy for the sake of a garment, or stripped off the mantle from those who passed by?”
AE 555 
- “In Micah…2:8, 9…‘To draw off the robe from them that pass by securely, returning from war,’ signifies to deprive of truths all who are in truths, and who have fought against falsities; ‘returning from war’ those who have been in temptations, and who have fought against falsities. ‘To drive out the women of my people from the house of their delights’ signifies to destroy the affections of truth, and thus the pleasantnesses and felicities of heaven, ‘the women of my people’ meaning the affections of truth, and ‘house of delights’ the pleasantnesses and felicities of heaven, for these are the affections of good and truth.”
AC 5608 
- “In the following passages also by ‘infants’ is meant innocence, but in these it was destroyed.” Micah 2:9 is cited.
- “By ‘women’ are signified the affections of truth, from which the church is a church, in many passages, as in the following…” Micah 2:9 is cited.
“Lately My people have risen up as an enemy…”
- The word “lately” means not long ago or recently. Can we determine how recently the people had become the Lord’s enemy? No, we can’t really determine this because we are not given a useable timeline. Perhaps the best advice we can follow is that given in Psalm 90:4. “For a thousand years in [the Lord’s] sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.” The turning against the Lord was a slow, steady, and unnoticed process. The people of the church “fell asleep on the watch tower.” Hell as the enemy sowed its seeds of discord while the people were asleep. The wheat and the tares looked alike. Spiritual discrimination was impaired. All of this provided fertile ground for hell to work with.
- To have “risen up as an enemy” signifies living the life of evil from falsity. See AE 601 . In other words, the church moved away from the ways of the Lord into errant doctrines that were unbecoming and opposed to the Lord.
“You have taken away My glory forever.”
- At first glance, it sounds as if the literal sense conveys a tone of gloom and doom. The words “taken away My glory forever” can mislead us if we are not attentively careful. The Writings are consistent in forty-six explanatory references to the signification of the word “glory.” Let’s pick one of these references. AE 365  teaches that “glory” signifies Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. If someone pushes the Lord away and chooses hell, what have they done to themselves if they die and enter hell? They have taken away from themselves what the Lord wanted to freely give them. He wants everyone to enter heaven. If people reject the Lord’s truth and choose hell’s falsity, they have lost the Lord’s glory forever. But hell cannot take the Divine truth proceeding away. The Lord is forever. In Him, there is no beginning or end. He is beyond time and space. He is our Alpha and our Omega. Hell can in no way threaten the Lord’s Love, Wisdom, and Use. In His presence, hell shrinks, flees, and knows that it is nothing.
Putting It All Together
Our lesson in Micah pictures for us the intention of a perverted church: it corrupts its mission of caring for the salvation of souls. Instead, it looks for every opportunity to rob and embarrass those who are in simple good (the external but innocent-minded worshippers). Those who are in a perverted church work to do evil to the truth that the “simple” want to think and speak. If the “simple” have worked at combating some falsity, the perverted church laughs and scoffs at their silly hope for reformation and regeneration. The cloak, the tunic, the robe are all representative of the efforts the “simple” use to protect their minds from destructive falsities. The perverted church, looking like a friend, snatches away their protection when the “simple” return from their spiritual battle. Instead of giving them congratulatory encouragement for their efforts, they rebuff, minimize, and snatch away their elementary care for fidelity.
To drive the women from their houses and to take glory away from the children conveys the evil intention of the perverted church to rid the “simple” of their affection and innocence. A perverted church wants to drive the thoughts, dreams, and aspirations of the “simple” from their houses of delights and from the pleasantness and felicities of heaven. In the end, who loses? The evil do! The evil take away—from themselves—the Lord’s glory. How long will the perverted church keep the (glory) Divine truth proceeding away from themselves? The Lord’s Love speaks these words of truth to hell: “You have taken away My glory forever.”
All of the above exposes the efforts of a perverted church. Instead of caring for and feeding the “simple,” it offers that which is heartless, uncharitable, and unnecessary. This message seems unbelievable. And yet, isn’t that what P&P summed up for us? “…therefore they [the perverted church] do evils of every kind.” Are our hearts troubled with the theme being shared here? Being forewarned about what a perverted church does can be useful. It reminds us about the shallowness of hell. Hell is self-love out of control. Hell thinks constantly about obliterating the Lord and His church. What will it get for its efforts? Nothing! Hell brings about its own end. Hell deprives itself of eternal life and the power it could have had from the Lord. The potential to receive life, beauty, and reality is lost, and in its place are dust, dinginess, hovels, selfishness, and fantasy—forever!
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Micah 2:8-9.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- Can you visualize how sin and evil surreptitiously slip into people’s hearts and minds? Some small deviation from good and truth, like the tremor that starts an avalanche, leads to one deviation after another. At first, it seemed like a harmless change. Maybe it was viewed as creative and innovative. The Writings talk about the harm “innovators” can cause. The story of Elisha, the sons of the prophets, and the pot of stew comes to mind. The sons of the prophets were experiencing a famine. Elisha told them to put a pot on the fire to make stew. One of the sons of the prophets went out into a field to gather wild gourds. He cut them and added them to the pot of stew. What was his intent? Was it to add flavor? Was it to add “body” to build a stew? We are not told what his motivation was. But we do know the end results. Those who tasted the stew cried out that there was death in the pot. Elisha solved the problem to represent the way the Lord is our spiritual “purifier.” He is the one who corrects what “innovators” do. Apparently, our lesson from Micah tells of a time when no one recognized that there was death in the pot. So, in time, they “ate the stew of the innovators” and became an enemy of the Lord. What can we do to check our “innovations” so we don’t became an enemy of the Lord?
- How do you understand the stealing of the cloaks? What present-day examples can you envision that represent the women and children being chased from their houses? Do you see examples of the “simple” being abused by a perverted church?
- Did you have to correct your thinking about “You have taken away My glory forever.”?
- If hell is self-love “out of order,” can a good and orderly self-love be of positive assistance in leading us to heaven?
- What do you understand to be represented by the meal that Elisha put in the pot to restore its benefits so the sons of the prophets could eat it in the days of the famine?
“Arise and depart, for this is not your rest; because it is defiled, it shall destroy, yes, with utter destruction. If a man should walk in a false spirit and speak a lie, saying, I will prophesy to you of wine and drink, even he would be the prattler of this people.”
Passages from the Writings
- “They shall perish, because they cannot be taught.”
AC 6377 [9-10]
- “As ‘wine’ signifies the good of love and of faith…in the Word…As most expressions in the Word have also a contrary sense, so also has ‘wine’ in which sense ‘wine’ signifies falsity from evil, as in…Micah 2:11…”
- “In the concrete, man’s spirit means simply his mind; for this it is that lives after death, and it is then called a spirit—if good, an angelic spirit and afterwards an angel, if evil, a satanic spirit and afterwards a satan…That ‘the spirit’ signifies also such things as pertain to a perverse and wicked mind is evident from the following…” Micah 2:11 is cited.
“Arise and depart, for this is not your rest.”
- The call to “arise” “signifies the elevation of the mind.” (AC 2695)
- The call to “depart” denotes that “they shall not trust any longer in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom from the Lord…” (AC 8185) AE 538 teaches that “depart” signifies “the power that is added to reasoning by knowledges that are applied for confirmation…”
- The words “…this is not your rest” may best be understood when we reflect on a passage from AC 8510. We read “…he who acts from the truth…is not yet in the order of heaven…he who acts from the good…is in this order. For the order in which man is led by the Lord is by man’s willing, consequently by means of good, for this is of the will, and then his understanding ministers, consequently truth…When this state is attained, then is ‘the Sabbath;’ for then the Lord has rest…” (Emphasis added.) “Rest” is a sign of overcoming some disorder in the process of regeneration. “Rest” is a sign that the conjugial principle resides in the heart and mind of the one being regenerated.
- The Lord knew the hearts and minds of those in the perverted church. They definitely needed to “arise” and “depart” from their ways. The perverted church was nowhere near the point of relaxing and resting in their regeneration. Too much work needed to be completed. This was a time to spiritually fight for that which embodied the elements of good and truth. This was not a time for resting in the status quo! “Arise and depart…”
“…because it is defiled, it shall destroy, yes, with utter destruction.”
- This verse highlights what we were taught in the passage above. The church, in the eyes of the Lord, had become defiled. There were serious errors eating away at the heart of its doctrines. The hidden falsities were not in a state of remission. Instead, they were growing and multiplying. The Lord was sounding an alarm. The presence of deep-seated falsities would bring about destructive results. Is a hidden disorder a minor thing? The words “utter destruction” clearly spell out what was ahead if change didn’t come within the heart and mind of the church.
“If a man should walk in a false spirit and speak a lie…”
- TCR 156 identifies what a “false spirit” is. The “false spirit” signifies “such things as pertain to a perverse and wicked mind…” A “false spirit” unashamedly and willingly speaks the lies of hell.
“…‘saying, I will prophesy to you of wine and drink, even he would be the prattler of this people.’”
- AC 6377 [9-10] explains that the “wine” in this verse signifies “…falsity from evil.”
- AC 3087 gives us two ideas to work with regarding the word “drink.” “…drink signifies what is successive…Drink signifies initiation…” AE 386  identifies “drink” as “…communication and appropriation…” (Emphasis added.)
- AE 376  adds a dimension to our study with these words: “…‘the priest and the prophet go astray through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are gone astray through strong drink,’ signifies that such are those who ought to be in the doctrine of good and truth…‘they go astray among the seeing, they waver in judgment,’ signifies that they do not see the truths of intelligence.” (Emphasis added.)
- “…even he would be the prattler of this people.” We need to recall several things to grasp what is being revealed. The perverted church called Micah’s words “prattle.” They accused him of speaking words of nonsense. In disgust, they asked him to cease talking to them. They didn’t want to listen anymore. Now, we hear the Lord evaluating the teachings of the perverted priests. Their lies, their strong drink have misled the people. They are judged as “prattlers” among the people. It is their wavering in matters of judgment that has blinded them to the truths of intelligence. Consequently, the record is set straight: it is the perverted church that speaks nonsense.
Putting It All Together
P&P summarized these verses by saying: “They shall perish, because they cannot be taught.” What? Why is this so? Isn’t this a sad summation of the end of a church? Were they so stubborn and set in their ways that there was no hope for them? Couldn’t they have had some chance, slight as it may have been, to come to their senses? What about the possibility of a remnant coming out of this mess?
Maybe the clue to understanding why spiritual education could not work is found by focusing on the words “strong drink,” “going astray,” and “wavering.” Did the people become spiritually intoxicated with their falsity? Speaking of intoxication, strong drink affects people differently. There are those who, when drunk, will laugh at everything and act the part of a clown. Some drunks act as if everyone in the room is a friend. Others become pugnacious and want to fight anyone and everyone at the drop of a hat. Other drunks slip into a morose state wherein they feel sorry for themselves and feel badly done by, picked on unfairly, and they weep and wallow in self-pity. Some drink themselves into a stupor and have no idea who or where they are, or what they are doing. Intoxication causes some to fall into total denial. “I am not drunk.” “I’m able to drive myself home.” “My judgment has not become impaired.” I have heard of some who, when they drink too much, imagine that the alcohol has given them a more relaxed and comfortable range of flexibility and preparation to handle anything and everything.
The loss of balance and equilibrium is present in all forms of drunkenness. Teaching or showing a spiritual drunk the way of the Lord apparently is hopeless. They will laugh, fight, deny, feel self-pity, and black-out when steadiness, stability, firmness, and clear sight are called for. False priests and prophets will, in their drunken state, talk prattle among the people.
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Micah 2:10-11.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- Maintaining spiritual sobriety is essential. How do we do this? Our lesson indicates that we need to welcome and want education by the Lord. We need to avoid “strong drink,” checking regularly to make sure we are not following along with the “strong drink” of popular opinions. The one way to sobriety seems to be remaining in close touch with the Word. Study, reflection, and application of the Word to life are essential. Also, it appears that we need to make decisions but stand ready to change and admit errors when we are shown them. How good are we at maintaining this openness to the Lord’s corrective ways?
- Did any of the patterns of intoxication strike home? Are we giddy, pugnacious, and prone to self-pity? Do we think that the Lord favors others more than us? Are we into self-denial? Are we wavering in our faith system? Have we listened to false priests and prophets and been blindly led by their persuasive prattle?
- My guess is that if you are willing to read and study the Word using a study guide, you will fare well with some of these questions. Is that your sense, too?
- One last point: Let’s turn our attention to the Lord preserving the “simple” within the church. Does “the simple” mean people who have a low IQ? Does “the simple” mean someone who trusts and follows the Lord with little proprium involved? The Lord, when dealing with the end of one church, introduces a new church from a remnant. What do you anticipate will happen when that remnant starts following the Lord’s directions?
“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with the Lord at their head.”
Passages from the Writings
- “Such things do not invade those who will be of the Lord’s new church.”
AC 2851 
- “…when a man is of such a character as to admit goods and truths, and thus angels, the infernal spirits are then driven away by the Lord from the seat; and on being driven away, the gate of heaven or heaven itself is opened. This gate is also mentioned in the Word in various places; as in…Micah 2:13.”
- “By ‘the gates’ are signified the knowledges of truth and good from the Word…Knowledges of truth and good are…signified by ‘gates’ in these passages…Micah 2:13…”
“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob…”
- The Lord will in a sure manner, the Lord will indeed, the Lord will infallibly assemble all of Jacob. What does “assemble” signify? AC 6334 and 6338 explain that to “‘assemble’ means that they should arrange themselves into order.” In our verse, we need to note that the Lord does the assembling. The Lord is promising to return order to the abused and perverted church.
- “O Jacob” is mentioned for the following reason: “In general…‘Jacob’ in the Word…signifies what is external of the church.” (AC 4286, emphasis added.)
- Why does the Lord announce that the assembling will begin with Jacob? AC 1083 and AC 7795 teach that “before a man becomes a church, that is before he is regenerated, man is in externals; and when he is being regenerated he is led from externals to internals…” (Emphasis added.)
“I will surely gather the remnant of Israel…”
- The “I” in this verse is the Lord. He is our action. We are the reaction. Read Divine Love and Wisdom (DLW) 68 for additional insights into this concept of the Lord as action and people as reaction.
- AC 5897  helps us with the words “the remnant of Israel.” “…in the Word, especially the prophetic Word, by ‘Israel’ was not meant Israel, nor by ‘Jacob’ Jacob, but by both the church and what is of the church, and this being the case, by the ‘remains’ [remnant] are not meant the remains [remnant] of Israel and Jacob, but the truths and goods which belong to the church.” Later on in this same number, we are taught that when the external man is separated from the internal “…unless the Lord were to gather up the goods and truths…into a man during the process of life, the man could not possibly be saved, for without remains there is salvation for none.” (AC 5897 , emphasis added.)
“I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture.”
- Note that the Infinite “I will” is a promise of Divine action. What is He promising to do? He will draw (put) the sheep together. AC 4719 gives us a hint of the meaning of “to put” or “to place.” These words relate to “state.” The Lord will give His new church a new state. The Lord is promising a “state” of togetherness or unity. When the church ignored Him, the flock became scattered. The Lord is promising that He will correct that disorder.
- Why did the Lord use the word “sheep”? Why not “lambs”? “Sheep signify the goods of charity.” (AE 1154) “…‘sheep’ signify those who are in love towards the neighbor…” (AE 314 ) “Lambs” signify “…those who are in the good of innocence and the love of the Lord. Sheep signify those who are in the good of charity towards the neighbor.” (AE 9 )
- When the Lord said He would gather or put them together like sheep of the fold, was He drawing our attention to this distinction? “Man is His creation and the church is His sheep-fold.” (TCR 538)
- By “…like a flock…” is meant “all those who are in good [love], thus those who belong to the Lord’s church…by ‘flock’ are also signified doctrinal things.” (AC 3767) In AC 3795, we read that by “flock” is “signified those who are led and taught, consequently churches…”
- In “the midst of their pasture” carries a sense of “Ah, this is the right place for the sheep.” The pasture is a place where nourishing grazing can happen. The Lord is our shepherd. We will not “want” for anything. AE 482  teaches that a “pasture” signifies instruction and a shepherd an instructor. AE 632  says a “good pasture signifies all that which spiritually nourishes, especially the Word…” (Emphasis added.)
“…they shall make a loud noise because of so many people.”
- Why is there a “loud noise” being made? AC 8815 teaches that “loud” “means celestial state.” AR 258 illustrates what it means when a “strong angel” proclaims the Word. The Word is full of power which will flow “deeply into the thought.” The perverted church closed, or stopped up, the Word. That blockage is going to be removed. PICTURE how that which had been covered was now going to blast away the layers of falsity. In heaven, His Word is soft and peaceful, but when it comes to rescue the church, it will do so with a “loud noise” representing a tremendous increase of revelation in the minds of His “sheep.” AC 10457 says that “noise” means the essential nature of the interiors. Yes, the restructuring of our interiors and the increase of internal revelation is going to be “noisily” awesome. Such a message adds to our understanding of the command to be joyful and to make noise in Psalm 98:4-6 and Psalm 33:1-3.
- The words “a loud noise because of so many people” require some thoughtful reflection. AE 331  reminds us that there are numerous passages teaching us that “people signify those who belong to the spiritual church…” AC 5113  notes that “the remains of people denote truths stored up by the Lord in the interior man…” AC 10227  says that “…rich people denote those who abound in truths and goods.” (Emphasis added to all three quotations.) Here’s what comes to mind, based on the teachings above: When the Lord opens and releases the Word from ages of man-made restrictions, there will be a loud noise of rejoicing and the “remains” within many people will acknowledge and praise the Lord for His loving faithfulness from the beginning of time. Many people will participate in this rejoicing.
“The one who breaks open will come up before them…”
- Do we need to search the Writings to see and understand the meaning of these wonderful words? The Lord is the one who will break open the blockage of hell. Just as the stone was rolled away from His tomb, so too will the wall of falsity be rolled away and broken open. The Lord comes “up” before us when we see His truth and love united in spiritual uses.
“…they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it…”
- The sacraments of Baptism and Holy Supper are described as two “gates.” The first gate, the gate of baptism, is called the gate of instruction. The second gate, the gate of Holy Supper, is called the gate of conjunction. When the Lord breaks down the blockage of good and truth, He will lead us to the gates of instruction and conjunction. Each gate serves as a means of empowerment, and both gates open to us the ability to “go out” and discover the freedom of the Lord’s truth. How wonderful will that be? Listen to the closing portion of this section.
“…their king will pass before them, with the Lord at their head.”
- A “king” signifies the Lord in respect to Divine Truth. See AE 195 . A “king” signifies truth from good. See AE 654 . A “king” signifies the truth of the church. See AC 2906.
- When the Lord calls His people to the New Church, they will pass through the gates with their banners held high. Each banner will have on it a truth, Divine Truth that will help them in their fight against the disorder of hell. And who will they meet on the way? The Lord strong in battle. The Lord strong in mercy. The Lord strong in peace and justice. Where will He be in the procession? At its head!
Putting It All Together
P&P offers a message of hope to those who care about and love the Lord’s New Church. The perverted church, the church influenced by the “strong drink” of falsity, will not “invade those who will be of the Lord’s new church.” The words that should catch our attention in the quote from P&P are “those who will be…” These words draw us to the “intention” to be the Lord’s. If we will to be one of those, consider what this verse says will happen in the process of being ordered by the Lord:
- The Lord will lead us from externals to internals.
- The Lord will be our action. His action will cause a positive reaction within us.
- There will be a gathering of our remains (remnant) to prepare us for the battle.
- The Lord’s purpose is to give us a new state.
- He will get His sheep, the goods of charity, into His sheep-fold.
- The flock will be nourished, taught, and prepared by His vivified church.
- When the Lord breaks open the barriers of falsity, there will be a loud noise. Love and Wisdom will flow deeply into our thought. There will be an increase of revelation that will joyfully pierce the walls of falsity.
- New gates will be seen. As they stand—wide open—we will be able to walk through and find new exciting ways. Openness, wide expanses, and boundless freedom await those who pass through the portals.
- We will be armed with fighting truths that are emblazoned on our banners.
- As we march forward, our king, Divine Truth, will pass by, and at the head of everything will be the Lord.
Read and Review
Read the selection from P&P.
Read Micah 2:12-13.
Questions to Stimulate Reflection
- How powerful was this section for you? Did it inspire you to strive to be of the Lord’s New Church?
- The order of what the Lord promises He will do is impressive. How can we get ourselves into a state of preparation for these things?
- The order of regeneration is from externals to internals. Do we have to know the mechanism of this process, or do we allow the Lord to lead us through it, step by step?
- Was the “loud noise” teaching new to you? Can you “visualize” it? Hell has tried to block, insulate, and hold down the truths of the Lord. In the process, we have been unsure of what is true or false. Boom! The cap is blown off! How great is that?
- Were you clear on the many correspondences in this section? Which of them needs further study? Can you go to New Search for help?