Haggai Table of  Contents

Main Table of Contents


Minor Prophets: Major Messages

Chapter One of Haggai

Haggai 1:1-4

"In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,

‘Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: This people says, The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.’

Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?’"

Passages From the Writings


  • "They believe that the Messiah will come to exalt them to glory, and yet the church among them has been devastated…"

Coronis 56

  • "From all these passages it may be seen what ‘vastation’ and ‘desolation’ are; and that it is not a vastation and desolation of the peoples of a land, and of cities, but of the goods and truths of the church, whence there is nothing but evils and falsities." Of the many passages listed as examples from the Word, Haggai 1:4 and 9 are cited.

Derived Doctrine

"In the second year…"

  • Years signify the times and states of the church. Years do not refer to a person’s life-span. (AC 515)
  • Two or twain (second) signifies some kind of conjunction: conjunction of the will and understanding; conjunction of the external and internal person or church. (AC 5194) Two signifies things that correspond like a pair that complete one another. (AC 747)

"In the second year of King Darius…"

  • In the positive sense, a king represents divine truth and divine good, which are in and from the Lord. Good and truth are the principals that are to guide, protect, and save the Lord’s people. (AE 446 [16] and AE 721 [12])
  • Darius the Mede is likened to Nebuchadnezzar as representing one who required the people to worship him as a god. This worship of self means a ruling from all that is filthy and profane. (AC 1326 [2])

"In the sixth month, on the first day of the month…"

  • A month represents the state of truth in a person. [Apocalypse Revealed (AR) 22, 935]
  • A month signifies a full or plenary (entire or complete) state. (AR 489)
  • Six signifies "all" of truth and good because six is composed of three and two multiplied by each other; three signifies "all" with respect to truth, and two signifies "all" with respect to good. (AR 245)
  • Day signifies the successive states of a person’s regeneration. (AC 6) In the creation story, the Lord divided the light from the darkness on the first "day." In AC 16, we read "By the prophets…‘beginning’ involves the first period when man is being regenerated…"

"…the word of the Lord…"

  • AC 2 reminds us that the Word is from the Lord and "it must of necessity contain within it such things as belong to heaven, to the church, and to religious belief, and that unless it did so it could not be called the Lord’s Word, nor could it be said to have any life in it."
  • AC 129 explains that the "true order is for a person to be wise from the Lord, that is, from the Word…Thus [our] starting-point must be the Lord, and not [ourselves]; for the former is life, but the latter is death."

"…the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet…"

  • The name "Haggai" is derived from the word for "a festival." Roget’s Thesaurus offers the following synonyms for festivity: celebration, merrymaking, gayety, and jollity. In light of the news Haggai brought, celebration would seems to be the synonym worth considering. AE 321 tells us that "…celebration and glorification is a living acknowledgment that the Lord’s Human is Divine, and has omnipotence and omniscience…"

"…to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel…"

  • The Hebrew meaning of Zerubbabel’s name is "seed of Babylon" or "born in Babylon." His family tree in Chronicles 3:17-19 shows that he is descended from David (through Solomon or Nathan).
  • In AR 43, we read that "…by ‘Zerubbabel,’ who is to build the house, thus the church, the Lord is represented…that in that church there will also be truths from a celestial origin."
  • Shealtiel, a descendent of David and a son of King Jeconiah, was Zerubbabel’s father. The name "Shealtiel" means either "God is a shield" or "God is victor."
  • The words "son of…" denote truths that are derived from good, thus one origin. (AC 5515)
  • As the governor of "Judah," Zerubbabel in the supreme sense signifies the Lord as to celestial love; in the spiritual sense, the celestial kingdom of the Lord and the Word; and in the natural sense the doctrine of the celestial church from the Word. (AR 350)
  • Governors "signify generals…in which and under which are particulars…" (AC 5290) Before we lose this concept of "generals" and "particulars," let’s read a quote from AC 848 [3] that explains how important they are in "building or rebuilding" ideas. "It is with regeneration exactly as with man’s birth as an infant. His life is then very obscure; he knows almost nothing, and therefore at first receives only general impressions of things, which by degrees become more distinct as particular ideas are inserted in them, and in these again still more minute particulars. Thus are generals illustrated by particulars…so it is with every one who emerges out of spiritual temptation…."

"…and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest…"

  • This Joshua is not to be confused with the Joshua who succeeded Moses and led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. The Joshua of our study, like his father and grandfather, was a high priest. His priestly role is mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah. (In these two Minor Prophets, he is called "Jeshua.")
  • In the original Hebrew form, the name "Joshua" means "Yahweh is salvation," "Yahweh saves," or "Yahweh will save." The name "Jesus" grew out of the name Joshua.
  • Priests represent the Lord as to His divine good. (AR 854) Priests are to teach truth and lead people to the good of life and so to the Lord. (AC 10794) The priesthood represents the Lord as to the work of salvation. (AC 9809)
  • Only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies. Refer to the following numbers to read more about priestly duties and the representations of their grooming and clerical garb: AC 6148 [7], 9477, 9807, and 9809.

"[The word of the Lord, through the prophet Haggai came to]…the high priest, saying ‘Thus speaks the Lord of hosts’…"

  • The "Lord of hosts" signifies the Lord as to all good and truths fighting against falsities and evils. (AE 453 [6])
  • "Jehovah of hosts" signifies the church in its whole complex, by which the Lord removes the hells in general and with each person individually. (AE 734 [8])
  • When we read that "Jehovah said," it signifies that the Lord from the Divine Celestial through the Divine Spiritual perceives (thinks) and acts because "saying" involves both. (AC 2619)
  • Thus we can see that the Lord’s (saying) announcement is full and complete. All of His Goods and Truths will be brought to Use to remove the influence of Hell, and His perception and acts will be for the birth of the New Church and the salvation of His people.

"This people says…"

  • Is the word "say" repeated so that we might see a contrast? The Lord’s saying will be different than the people’s saying. The Lord’s "saying" comes from an Infinite and Eternal perspective, and the people’s "saying" comes from the finite and temporal perspective. Keeping this in mind will be important for what comes next in Haggai’s prophecy.

"[The people say] the time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built."

  • "You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." (Matthew 16:3)
  • "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15)
  • "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is." (Mark 13:33)
  • The Lord told His disciples to beware of those who predict when and where He was to be found. (Matthew 24:23 and Mark 13:21)
  • The point: The Lord, and not the people, knows the time for the building or rebuilding of His house.
  • AC 710 tells us that "the house of the Lord" signifies the church in which love is primary within the celestial and spiritual church.
  • The house of God in the internal sense signifies the church. In the more universal sense, it represents heaven. In the most universal sense, it represents the whole kingdom of the Lord. But in the supreme sense, it signifies the Lord Himself as to the Divine Human. (AC 3720)

"Then the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying…"

  • Reading this phrase is almost like hitting the "refresh" button on the computer. This phrase is repeated to remind us who is revealing these truths. This phrase, the "refresh" button, brings on line the latest, freshest, news from the Lord. These are not the words of some human named Haggai. These are the deeper thoughts of the Lord as He thinks and acts from the great resources of His Love and Wisdom. But coming through Haggai, the festival one, these words tell all in heaven and on earth the happy and necessary news of the power and salvation that is to come through the Lord’s Divine Human.

"Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?"

  • In the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible and the New English Bible (NEB), the word "ceiling" is used place of "paneled." The Writings tell us the meaning of "ceiling" but not "paneled." AC 3391 [3] says "…ceiling with cedar…denotes falsifying intellectual and spiritual truths."
  • The use of "you" and "yourselves" emphasizes the fallacy of human prudence caring first for itself while ignoring spiritual issues.
  • "Is it time" is the wonderful way the Lord gets us to reflect on our spiritual state. He knows the answer to that question. We lack perception and need to reflect so an answer can come to us "as-of-self."
  • AC 3720 gives us many meanings of the word "temple": the Lord’s spiritual church, the spiritual kingdom, and (in the highest sense) His Divine Truth.
  • The word "ruin" has many synonyms: stricken, stumble, crash, fallen, wasted, desolate, failure, dilapidated, wreck, impoverished, relic, and impure. Which of these words fit the internal sense? P&P introduces yet another word: devastated. "…the church among them has been devastated." How did that happen? The people of the church believed the "Messiah" would "exalt them to glory."

Putting It All Together

1. We must begin our summary with the statement found in P&P: "the church among them was devastated." How did that happen? After the many years of captivity, the minds of the people were longing for a "Messiah" who would restore their "world-power" status among the nations. In their minds, it was "pay-back" time, and they "believed the Messiah would come to exalt them to glory."

2. Such thinking made them lose their sense of "timing." The Lord wanted to move them from generals to particulars. He wanted them to return to the things of the Word. Patience, based on truth, needed to come among the people. As Isaiah 28:10 put it: "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little."

3. The people were not with the Lord at this time. It amounted to "the Lord says" versus "the people say." The call to the governor and the high priest is of spiritual significance. The Lord’s deepest caring for the salvation of His people is represented by these offices. From His Celestial Love and Wisdom, the way is opened for everyone to emerge from the bondage of spiritual temptations.

4. But the Divine question has to reach and touch hearts. "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?" It may appear that other things in life have to be addressed first. The time is right! The time is now! Look within and see where you falsified the intellectual and spiritual things of the church. Worship of the Lord is not a "me" thing. It is giving the Lord the best we have within us. Rebuilding and making the house of the Lord the center and power of our lives must be the first priority within the hearts and minds of the Lord’s children.

5. Isn’t it interesting to note that the prophet comes to the governor and high priest first? The governor represents the Lord as to celestial love and the spiritual sense of the Word. The high priest is meant to do the work of salvation by leading people to the good of life and the Lord. Joshua’s name means "Yahweh saves" or "Yahweh is salvation."

6. Best of all, Haggai, whose name is "festive," gets to carry the celebratory news to the disillusioned and lethargic ex-captives. Haggai shares the news that the Messiah is coming. He is coming to restore order. His Divine Human will fight and overcome the hells, and He will help rebuild the "house of the Lord."

Read and Review

Read the selection from P&P.

Read Haggai 1:1-4

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1. The first verse gives us a historical date to fix on: the second year of Darius, in the sixth month, the first day…. The Writings open up our thinking by telling us these dates do not refer to any man’s life span. Instead, all dates and times refer to spiritual states and needs. When angels read names and dates, they do not "see" names or dates. They are aware of the spiritual significance of each thing. Look back and see what states the angels might see when they read these dates. What states did you see?

2. Falling out of "timing" with the Lord seems to be a human problem. We say. The Lord says. We feel the Lord’s way is slow. We feel the Lord is a hard taskmaster. The Lord says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Do we generally feel that is the case? Can we identify with the wish to delay taking on certain spiritual responsibilities? What makes us feel this way? How do we get out of step with the Lord?

3. What thoughts crossed your mind on the "paneled house" observation? From your perspective, is the house of the Lord inside you in a state of ruin? Is your earthly house more comfortable than your spiritual house? Why?

4. "The Lord says…." What kind of things do you hear the Lord saying? Are other voices (concerns) overriding His voice? What helps you to hear Him?

5. Generals to particulars: what a wonderful way to remind ourselves that the Lord wants steady progress. He isn’t interested in quantum leaps. Precept by precept, line upon line, here a little there a little. Think about the process of regeneration. What precepts or lines do you take on one at a time? How do we keep the (particular) larger goal in view as we take each small (general) step?

Haggai 1:5-6

"Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes."

Passages from the Writings


  • "They could no longer be taught by the Word."

Derived Doctrine

"Now therefore…"

  • This phrase seems to say, "In spite of what you have been thinking, here are the facts as the Lord sees them."

"…thus says the Lord of hosts…"

  • Please review the teachings about "saying" and "the Lord of Hosts" given in the previous section. (AE 453 [6] and AE 734 [8])

"Consider your ways…"

  • The word "consider" commands the Jews to rethink, or reflect on, their ways. What were they to rethink? In AC 10566, there is a long list of the mistakes Israel made over the years:
    • They thought they were the only people with whom the Divine was present, that they were the "nation of Jehovah."
    • They thought nothing of the church.
    • They thought only of possessions and eminence over others.
    • They believed in God because they saw great miracles wrought by Him.
    • They turned aside to worship many gods.

"You have sown much, and bring in little…"

  • To understand this verse, we need to consider the word "appearances." It appeared that they sowed "the good of charity and the truth of faith." (AC 6154) The results indicate that few real seeds must have been planted. Little is brought in. That is contrary to the Lord’s teachings that good ground would yield some hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:8)

"You eat, but do not have enough…"

  • AC 2343 teaches that eating signifies to communicate, be conjoined, and to appropriate. From this teaching, we get the picture that Israel went through the motions of "eating" without really taking much in. The words "do not have enough" seem to say they "ate crumbs" instead of the meal; another image is "standing in the midst of plenty starving." The lack of genuine communication with the Lord limited their spiritual sustenance and nourishment balance.

"You drink, but you are not filled with drink…"

  • To drink wine signifies having a desire "to investigate the things which are of faith…" (AC 1071)
  • AC 3089 describes drinking water as a desire to make "inquiry whether anything of truth …could be conjoined" or appropriated into one’s life.
  • It appears from the literal sense that desire, investigation, and appropriation were missing from their spiritual lives. The people felt this lack, a sense of thirst not being quenched from the "living waters." The Lord said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give …will never thirst…. [My water] will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)

"You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm…"

  • AC 9003 teaches us that clothing signifies "memory-knowledges" that support our external life.
  • AE 240 [12] contrasts "clothed" with "naked." To be "naked" signifies "those…who are not in truths and thence not in good, being ignorant of truths and yet longing for them. This is the case with those within the church when those who teach are in falsities…and with those outside the church who do not have the Word and consequently do not know truths and thence know nothing about the Lord."
  • Our text seems to represent people somewhat between the clothed and the naked state. Such people know little things of faith but do not find them warm or comforting. They appear to be cold and useless facts with no extension or application.

"And he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes."

  • AC 8002 [4 & 5] tells us "…those who labored for hire, by them in the internal sense are meant those who do what is good for the sake of their own advantage in the world; and in a sense…for the sake of reward in the other life; thus who desire to merit by works…. Such cannot possibly be consociated with angels….The end is what determines the actions, and gives them their quality."
  • Bags signify the exterior natural. (AC 5649) If that definition doesn’t help, check this one out: AC 5657 says bags represent truths given "gratuitously." The recipient feels doubtful of the worth of those truths, even though they are intended to provide confirmation.
  • My question is this: Could these doubts about gratuitous truths given to the exterior natural be the holes in the bag that loses the wages?

Putting It All Together

1. P&P teaches: "They could no longer be taught by the Word." How sad is that?

2. The Lord tells them to consider their ways and fix the problem. The "many seeds" of their tradition were in reality a pretense that served little use. The repetitions of traditional chants, songs, and prayers were not the kind of "food" that brought genuine communication and conjunction with the Lord. They were not drinking deeply from the living waters of truth within the Word. The truths that should have clothed their minds and protected their externals were meager and inadequate: "No one is warm." The merit or recognition they sought was fleeting, a lost cause. "Consider your ways" is a call for Israel to begin anew. The Lord must be first in all things. Israel must receive the truths that are freely given every day and use them to confirm truth in the exterior natural. The Lord asks them to allow their lives and daily commitments to the Lord to become the end that determines "the actions, and gives them their quality." (AC 8002 [5])

Read and Review

Read the selection from P&P.

Read Haggai 1:5-6.

Questions To Stimulate Reflection

1. When the Lord advises us to "consider your ways," do we do so with a sense of agreement or a sense of resistance? Hell certainly has a field day with the Lord’s request. It tries to get us to put off any form of reflection. The hells tell us, "Why open this or that problem? Why dwell on negative things? If you want to open unpleasant things and dwell on the negative, try looking into a sewer system. Let bygones be bygones. Live for the moment!" "Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero." Seize the moment; Enjoy today, trust little to tomorrow. What do you think about this philosophy of life? What makes it hellish?

2. The correspondential Derived Doctrine section seems fairly straight-forward: sowing seed; drinking; clothing; and wages. What applications to life can you see for these correspondences?

3. AC 8002 has that wonderful line: "The end is what determines the actions, and gives them their qualities." How is this different from the statement of the world that says "the end justifies the means"?

4. Why would the hells want to prevent us from considering our ways? Could it be that if we consider our ways, the hells might have to go away? Certainly if we shun evils as sins, their "comfortableness in secret places" is jeopardized. Anything we take on from the Lord, such as love, stirs (agitates) them up greatly. Do you remember one of the definitions of temptation? "All temptation is an assault upon the love in which the man [person] is, and the temptation is in the same degree as is the love. If the love is not assaulted, there is no temptation." (AC 1690 [3]) In conclusion, we are taught the greater and purer our love is for the Lord, the greater is the assault against those loves from hell. Are we ready and willing to face such assaults? How can we face and conquer them?

5. Looking ahead, we will be faced with Haggai’s push to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. Are you thinking ahead as to what this represents for us today and for those coming after us? What do you think the temple represents?

Haggai 1:7-9

Thus says the Lord of hosts: "Consider your ways! "Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the Lord. "You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the Lord of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

Passages From the Writings


  • "The church cannot be instituted among them, because every one looks to himself and not to the Lord…"

AC 1488 [2]

  • "In Haggai…‘houses’ denote memory-knowledges by which, through reasonings, come falsities." Haggai 1:8-10 is cited.

AC 3579[2]

  • Haggai 1:9-10 are mentioned in AC 3579 [2], but the number explains the correspondential meaning of verse 10, so we will come back to this number in the next section.

AE 573 [7]

  • "From this it can be seen that the truths and goods of heaven and the church are meant in the Word by ‘hosts;’ which makes clear why it is that Jehovah is called in the Word ‘Jehovah Zebaoth.’ And ‘Jehovah God Zebaoth,’ that is, ‘of hosts’ as in …." Haggai 1:9 and 14 are cited.

Derived Doctrine

"Thus says the Lord of hosts: consider your ways!"

  • Remember that when we read "Thus says the Lord", it means that the Lord is speaking from His totality. His Divine Love and Divine Wisdom have looked, assessed, and determined that this is the quality of the issue and this is the way goods and truths will fight against falsity and evil. (AE 453) This is the whole complex by which the Lord removes the hells. (AE 734 [8])
  • To "consider your ways" is the work of spiritual reflection and repentance.

"Go up into the mountains and bring wood and build the temple…"

  • To ascend or go up signifies to make advancements from memory-knowledges to celestial light. (AC 1541)
  • When said of human beings, ascending or going up signifies to go from a lower to a higher internal state. (AC 811 [21] and AE 1057 [5])

"…bring wood…"

  • Simply stated to bring wood represents the good that is in works of charity, and in justice. (AC 2784)

"…build the temple…"

  • To build signifies to raise up or vivify (enliven, quicken, give life) what has fallen. (AC 151)
  • To build signifies to form doctrinal things. (AC 1187, 1304)
  • To build signifies that those who had receded from the truths and goods of the church will now return and help raise them up again. (AE 355 [9])
  • To build signifies to restore the church by leading into the good of love and teaching the truths of doctrine. (AE 391 [17])
  • A temple may signify to be or to become intelligent from divine truth and to realize a heavenly joy from such intelligence. (AE 630 [11])
  • A temple signifies that in the New Jerusalem, external worship will not be separate from internal worship. (AE 918)
  • A temple signifies that the Divine Human of the Lord, or truth itself, cannot be destroyed, for when it seems to be so, it rises again, glorified. (AC 7847 [4], AC 10406 [4], and AE 220)

"…that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified…"

  • Let’s read this lesson from AC 997 regarding pleasure, delight, and uses: "…a life of charity is a life of uses. Such is the life of the whole heaven; for the kingdom of the Lord, because it is a kingdom of mutual love, is a kingdom of uses. Every pleasure therefore which is from charity, has its delight from use. The more noble the use, the greater the delight… and so it is with every pleasure – the more noble its use, the greater its delight."
  • Regarding the Lord, His Noble Uses are the source of the greatest pleasure and the greatest delight. They surely glorify His Holy Name. And how can we glorify Him? With the surrender of our hearts to His Noble uses.

"You looked for much, but it indeed came to little…"

  • The loftiness of a person signifies having a desire to pursue or develop one’s "own" intelligence. (AE 445) Is the Lord sharing with us that "looking for much" represents wanting to have a lofty self-intelligence? If so, the answer seems clear. It will "come to little."

"And when you brought it home…"

  • AC 3809 describes "bring to his house" as signifying conjunction. If a person seeks a lofty self-intelligence, he seeks to welcome it into his home and looks for ways to conjoin it to his "home."

"I blew it away…"

  • Let’s consider what the "it" is in this prophecy. Can we assume that the "it" refers to self-intelligence, the artificialities and hatching of ideas from the unenlightened mind?
  • Couple this idea with this quote from AE 419 [22]: "…in the spiritual world, as in the natural world, strong winds and tempests spring up.… It has at different times been granted me to perceive these tempests and also the east wind by which the evil were dispersed and cast into the hells, when the Last Judgment was in progress." In other words, "winds" signify the dispersion of falsities and evils.


  • The Writings have a wonderful series of passages about why the Lord asks, inquires, or interrogates people on certain issues when He already knows the answer. See AC 226, 1931, 5800, and 6132 for illustrations. Here is a short answer drawn from AC 226: "…the reason for asking is that man may acknowledge and confess." The Lord seeks to lead us to the end, cause, and effect of things. His questions show us internal disorders that lie hidden in secret places. The questions are intended to help us discover things when our state is ready to acknowledge and confess our mistakes.

"Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house."

  • The Lord’s house is in ruins. What does this represent in the spiritual sense?
  • A house signifies accumulated memory-knowledges. (AC 1488)
  • A house signifies scientifics (facts, data, memory-knowledges) that are collected together. To collect scientifics is to raise and build up the external person. (AC 1488)
  • The house of the Lord signifies the church, heaven, and more universally the Lord Himself as to the Divine Human. (AC 3720)

  • Contrast the above with what would be in a human being’s "house."
  • Running to our own house illustrates that we are comfortable with our ways and not as familiar with the Lord’s ways. How quickly do we use human prudence without considering the ways of the Lord? Is it a surprise to hear that the Lord’s house is in ruins while our "house" is cared for more often?

Putting It All Together

1. P&P announces that a church cannot be instituted among people who look to themselves and not to the Lord. For those who rely on memory-knowledges, or scientifics, there is but one end: reasoning that gives rise to falsities. The human mind void of the Lord’s good and truth becomes inventive. It hatches ideas that are inconsistent with eternal truths. These artificial ideas tear away at the base of the Lord’s house (within the individual) and leave it in a state of ruin.

2. "Consider your ways" is a call to reflection. It is an invitation to come aboard and participate in what is going to happen spiritually. The Lord is going to blow away the world of falsity and illusion. We need to gather "wood." The Temple of the Lord is going to be built with Love, Charity, and Justice. The house of the Lord (His Temple) will once again offer the kind of worship that will help His people see Him in the Divine Human.

3. Do you remember the history of the five Churches? The Most Ancient Church worshipped the Lord as the Divine Human. The Ancient Church worshipped Him as the Divine Human Representative. The Jewish Church worshipped Him as the Invisible One and feared to speak His Name. The Christian Church worshipped Him as the Son of Man and Son of God. But the announcement to the New Church carried the good news that we could once again worship the invisible as visible. The Divine Human would come among us—the Nunc Licet—so that we might enter into the mysteries of faith with understanding. This would be The New Jerusalem, the crown of all churches, whose kingdom shall be forever and ever.

But within this prophecy is a warning. If we care more for our houses than the Lord’s house, we will miss out on the rebirth and restoration of spiritual order. Human prudence will be blown away, "says the Lord of hosts."

Read and Review

Read the selection from P&P.

Read Haggai 1:7-9.

Questions To Stimulate Reflection

1. Compare the passages from the Writings and the Word with the doctrine we derived from them. Do you feel this section followed that direct teachings of the Writings? Can you think of other teachings that would contribute to our discussion here?

2. How difficult is it to keep the house of the Lord in better shape than our own? Why?

3. Have you ever "hatched" artificial ideas to fit into the things of the Word? What are some ways that such artificialities manifest themselves in the world and the church?

4. Think about the Lord blowing "it" away. Smog often results from pollutants hanging over a city. What chases that stagnation away? A "breath of fresh air." So it is with the Lord and truth. We need His help in clearing away the smog of the mind. How does He clear the air? How can we help?

5. The invisible becoming visible: that is a promise of revelation. It will come, but it will come as each individual opens his or her heart and mind to the Second Coming. Don’t we long for it to happen at a faster pace? Could it be that the Lord still has to get many more people to consider their ways and that He has to ask more questions among His people?

Haggai 1:10-11

"Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands."

Passages From the Writings


  • "…therefore no truth or good can be received by them."

AC 3579 [2]

  • "…that ‘dew’ signifies truth…and speaking of a new church, where the ‘vine giving its fruit’ denotes the spiritual of the church or the truth of faith, giving good; and the ‘earth giving its produce,’ the celestial of the church or the good of charity, giving truth; these are the ‘dew which the heavens shall give." "In Haggai 1:9, 10…where the ‘dew of the heavens and the produce of the earth,’ which were restrained, have a like signification."

AC 3580 [2]

  • "…‘wine’ is what is spiritual, thus truth from good…. That ‘corn and new wine’ have this signification, may be seen…In Haggai 1:10, 11… where ‘drought’ denotes a lack of dew and of rain, thus a lack of truth derived from any good; ‘a drought upon the corn’ is a lack of good; and ‘drought upon the new wine’ is a lack of truth."

Derived Doctrine

1. Remember, the doctrines tell us that the heavens withholding dew and the earth withholding fruit represent the loss of good and truth. It is not the Lord withholding these things. It is the heart and mind of the individual who "cuts" it off. The person is the one with a cold heart and a state barren of the produce the soul needs each moment.

"…‘year of drought’"

  • A drought "signifies a state of loss and deprivation of truth." (AE 481 [2])
  • Drought signifies the "absence of good and truth." (AC 1949)
  • Drought denotes truths wherein there is nothing of life. (AC 8869)
  • A drought signifies "sounding words without any spirit in them. (AC 10406 [7])
  • A drought signifies "deprivation of truth." (AE 355 [16])
  • A drought signifies a church "where there is no good." (AE 504 [27])
  • A drought represents a state without perception of good. (AE 537 [14])

  • A year in the internal sense does not refer to 365 days. To the angels, who are in the internal sense of the Word, a year signifies what is full in respect to the states of the church and what is eternal. (AC 2906)

"I called for a drought on the land and on the mountains…"

  • AC 2571 shares these representations of the word "land":
    • The internal man of the church.
    • The region where the church is.
    • The church itself.
    • In the universal sense, the Lord’s kingdom in heaven and on earth.
    • The doctrine of love and charity where the faith of the church resides.
  • "On the mountains" signifies where the good of celestial love prevails. (AC 10438)
  • A mountain signifies the church where love to the Lord and worship prevails. (AE 734 [2])
  • There are so many more references we could cite. A mountain provided the setting for the reception of the Decalogue. Therefore, it could represent the laws of the Lord setting life in order. A mountain provided the children of Israel with moments of respite when they traveled through the desert. Therefore, a mountain represented moments of peace and tranquility prior to a return to the valley to face the arduous task of regeneration.

"… [a drought] on the grain and the new wine and the oil…"

  • Let’s note the trine here: grain, wine, and oil.
    • The Writings translate the words "drought upon the grain" to "a drought upon corn," which represents a lack of good.
    • The drought upon the new wine represents a lack of truth.
    • A drought on the oil means a lack of the good of love to the Lord from the Lord. See AC 10261 or AE 375 [24 –26].

"… [a drought] on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and on livestock, and on all the labor of your hands."

  • In the positive sense, "To bring forth" signifies the restoration and reformation of the church. "‘…to bring forth’ signifies to make them fruitful and bring them forth in act, which is to live according to them, and thus be reformed…" (AE 721 [10, 18]) When the drought is introduced, it means the opposite happened.
  • Man, in the positive sense, represents or signifies the wisdom and intelligence necessary to fight against falsity. (AC 49)
  • Livestock (cattle) "…in the original tongue is from a word which also means ‘acquisition,’ and ‘acquisition’ in the spiritual sense is also truth from which is good, for the reason that good is acquired by means of truth." (AC 6049)
  • Livestock signifies the good of truth. (AC 6016)
  • Livestock signifies the forms of good and truth. (AC 6009)
  • The labor of one’s hands or the fruit of one’s hands represents pursuit of life according to the Lord’s commandments. (AE 340 [13])
  • Hands signify power, and what is in a person’s power is at his or her disposal. (AC 5296)
  • The works of a person’s hands signify the things proper to them, which are evil and false. The works of the Lord’s hands signify the things that are proper to Him, which are goods and truths. (AR 457)


Putting It All Together

1. When anyone looks to themselves and not the Lord, "no truth can be received by them." (P&P) When a person looks to him- or herself for good and truth, the heavens dry up. There is no morning dew to refresh the ground. When anyone looks to memory-knowledges or the natural lumen, the mind (earth) can bear no spiritual fruit. A spiritual drought touches the land, the mountains, the grain, the wine, and the oil. When a person looks to the strength of his or her hands, that person’s labor is for the moment and not eternity.

2. Sad to say, a life apart from the Lord takes away the livestock—acquisitions—for which we are to care. Livestock correspond to every essential of life that forms good and truth. Such things are essential for our souls. Our spiritual livestock must feed, cloth, and nurture the rational mind and spiritual life.

3. Into such conditions Haggai was called. He had to call on the governor and the high priest to lead the way. He had to repeat over and over, "Consider your ways." Haggai had to call attention to the inappropriate priorities. He spoke of true priorities, telling the people that the Lord had to be first and their comforts second.

Will the people listen? Will they quit making excuses and blaming others for their indifference and neglect of the Lord?


Read and Review

Read the selection from P&P.

Read Haggai 1:10-11.


Questions To Stimulate Reflection

1. What method do you use to keep spiritual priorities on top of your life’s "to do" list?

2. Dew has an interesting correspondence. It plays a part in the manna story. It plays a part in Gideon’s story. How can this "dew" reach your practical every day experiences?

3. The correspondences of draught remind us of all kinds of dryness. By itself, doctrine, or study of the Word, can seem dry to us. How can we "wet" these things so the Lord can use them to give us living water? How we let studying the Word bring rain back to the land and the mountains?

4. Livestock represent every essential of life. Thinking of animals as an essential of life is not my usual mode of thinking. How about you? On the other hand, can we still care for the essentials of life without thinking about the correspondence of livestock? How do we move from understanding a correspondence to understanding its application to life?

5. Does Haggai, as a prophet, sound and feel gentler in his prophecy than Amos or Nahum? Why or why not? What might account for the difference?


Haggai 1:12-15

"Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the Lord.

Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, spoke the Lord’s message to the people, saying, ‘I am with you, says the Lord.’

So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius."

Passages From The Writings


  • "The church will be instituted among those who are wise from the Word."

AC 573 [7-8]

  • "…the truths and goods of heaven and the church are meant in the Word by ‘hosts;’ which makes clear why it is that Jehovah is called in the Word ‘Jehovah Zebaoth,’ and ‘Jehovah God Zebaoth,’ that is, ‘of hosts’ (as in…Haggai 1:9, 14…). From this it is now evident that ‘hosts’ signify the truths and goods of heaven and the church in the whole complex; and as most things in the Word have also a contrary sense, so do ‘hosts’ and in that sense they signify falsities and evils in their whole complex…"

Doctrine of the Lord 47

  • "There are in man two fountains of life, one is the motion of the heart, and the other is the respiration of the lungs. The life from the respiration of the lungs is what is properly meant by ‘spirit’ and also by ‘soul.’ That this acts as one with the man’s thought from the understanding, and that the life from the heart’s motion acts as one with his will’s love, will be seen…."

Doctrine of the Lord 48, ii

  • "As man’s life varies according to his state, by ‘spirit’ is meant the varying affection of life in man. As…The excitation of life…" Haggai 1:14 is cited as one of the examples.

Derived Doctrine


  • AR 43 helps us focus on the derived doctrine we will need to use for the closing verses of chapter one. "…by ‘Zerubbabel’ who is to build the house, thus the church, the Lord is represented…"
  • In AR 350, we are taught that Zerubbabel as a governor represents the Lord as to His celestial love; the celestial kingdom of the Lord and the Word; and in the natural sense, the celestial church from the Word.


  • Joshua, the high priest, represents the Lord as to the work of salvation. (AC 9809)

"…with all the remnant of the people…"

  • A "remnant" signifies those within the church who are in good. (AC 3322 [4])
  • "The remnant of the people" signifies truths stored up by the Lord in the interior person. (AC 5113 [8])
  • "Remnants" signify the truths and goods stored up in a person by the Lord from infancy. (AE 724 [29])

"…obeyed the voice of the Lord their God…"

  • Listening, or harkening, denotes "obedience from affection." (AC 3684)
  • When the spiritual man disposes all things in the natural man, the natural man ought to obey as a servant of his Lord. (AC 3167)
  • "…the voice of the Lord" in the Word signifies the Word itself, the doctrine of faith, and also the conscience. (AC 219)
  • "Voice" signifies what is enunciated from the Word, thus the precepts of the Lord. (AC 8360)

"And the people feared the presence of the Lord."

  • Fear has many meanings. Let’s look first at what is called "holy fear." Holy fear has within it a longing (love) for the Divine. With that longing is a desire not to do anything that would offend the love for the Lord. (AC 3718)
  • Fearing; being not afraid "signifies resuscitation, and then adoration from the deepest humiliation". Holy fear sometimes is accompanied with a sacred tremor of the mind’s interiors as there is a sense of the Lord’s entrance to replace one’s (proprium) own life. (AR 56)

"I am with you, says the Lord."

  • Do we really need to cite doctrinal sources for this sentence? The Lord is Omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient: all present, all powerful, and all knowing. The Lord saying, "I am with you" is of great value when any rebuilding of the temple is undertaken.

"So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel … and the spirit of Joshua…and the spirit of the remnant of the people…"

  • Look again at the passage from Doctrine of the Lord 48. The "spirit of excitation" is involved in this portion of the text. A sense of newness, a sense of restoration entered into the hearts and minds of the people mentioned in the prophecy.

"…they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God."

  • We can rework this sentence with the help of AC 573 [8]. They came and worked on "the truths and goods of heaven and the church in the whole complex." The people came to understand the meaning of dedication, commitment, and endeavor.


Putting It All Together

1. "The church will be instituted among those who are wise from the Word." (P&P)

2. Obeying, harkening to the Word of the Lord, brings about powerful results. The spirit of excitation fills us. A sense of possibility replaces defeatism. How many times have we felt the voice of negativity dampen our spirit of enthusiasm? In this story, the Lord’s leadership of governors and priests brings action. Holy fear, a sense of humility and love, causes the soul to tremble with anticipation as the "old ways" are removed and replaced by the "new ways." The coming of the New Church whisks in with a breath of fresh air to clear away the smog of falsity.

"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams." (I Samuel 15:22)


Read and Review

Read the selection from P&P.

Read Haggai 1:12-15.


Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1. This section strikes a strongly positive note. Could you feel a sense of the building of "excitation of the spirit"? Look for examples in the passage.

2. By now, you have had plenty of practice at thinking from correspondences. Are you seeing what is behind the literal sense? Are you also applying what you see to current life issues?

3. Listening and obeying require a certain inner discipline. There’s a song that says, "you only hear as well as you listen." The rebellious part of us is quick to use "yes, but" arguments to avoid some responsibilities. Yes, the Lord will rebuild, but in light of (some example is given)…it probably will not happen. How many "yes, buts" have you heard or used? What is dangerous about them?

4. The Lord’s New Church is growing. Every day, we move closer to its fulfillment. What would you pick as your best contribution to this spiritual cause? How can you make that contribution each day?

5. In your marriage, in your relationship with family and friends, how do you see "holy fear" as an asset?

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