Today’s 3 am class continues on to read Haggai 2. What Does God say about the rebuilding of our temple? We continue to see the faithfulness and power of God being displayed in the words of God.
Background: the people had delayed for 17 years before this round of rebuilding!:
- God shows the urgency of the matter: He speaks regularly through the prophets: within the same year, within the same month, and even within one day!
- God has fulfilled His promise through the prophet Jeremiah’s prophecy that He will bring the remnant of His people back to Jerusalem after the seventy years of exile (read both Jeremiah and Daniel). He raised a foreign king (Cyrus) to send them back (to rebuild the Temple of God) just as He has prophesied through prophet Isaiah. This event came true as recorded in the book of Ezra. The subsequent foreign king’s allowing the rebuilding of the Jerusalem’s wall was recorded in the book of Nehemiah.
- Now is the time for the people of God to rise up and rebuild.
What does God say about Himself in the rebuilding?
- Look at the rebuilding through His heavenly perspective. He has a long term magnificent plan, not reflected in the much reduced, unimpressive physical second temple to be built by that group of men in the geographical Jerusalem.
- God says He will fill the place with glory, a greater glory than even the time of the first physical temple. He will bring the treasures of all the nations to His house. He will bring peace. History showed that it did not happen in the second or third physical temple.
- God wants holiness and undefiled worship and sacrifice according to His holy nature. Again, history showed that it did not happen in the time of the three physical temples despite the formal religious rituals being practiced.
- Yet, God speaks of His mercy and the undeserved favor He will give to the builders: “from this day onward I will bless you.” (from the day the foundation is laid).
- Lastly, God speaks of the prophecy about His Son, Jesus Christ who will come and has the power and authority to overthrow the spiritual wicked rulers of this world. (read Isaiah’s and Zechariah’s prophecy too) He is the pure and undefiled Temple. He has also laid the true foundation for the spiritual house (temple) in every believer, unrestricted by the time and space. He has given each builder under the New Covenant the power and authority to re-build. He promises the indwelling of the holy God the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit in each believer – the glory of God that cannot be hindered by a physical building and manmade defiled corporate religious practices. Each individual now enters into the presence of God through the blood and body of Jesus Christ, and gives account for his own personal relationship with the holy and righteous God.
Haggai 2 New Living Translation (NLT)
The New Temple’s Diminished Splendor
2 Then on October 17 of that same year,[a] the Lord sent another message through the prophet Haggai. 2 “Say this to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua[b] son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of God’s people there in the land: 3 ‘Does anyone remember this house—this Temple—in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! 4 But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’
6 “For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 9 The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
Blessings Promised for Obedience
10 On December 18[c] of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord sent this message to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says. Ask the priests this question about the law: 12 ‘If one of you is carrying some meat from a holy sacrifice in his robes and his robe happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or olive oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy?’”
The priests replied, “No.”
13 Then Haggai asked, “If someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then touches any of these foods, will the food be defiled?”
And the priests answered, “Yes.”
14 Then Haggai responded, “That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the Lord. Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled by their sin. 15 Look at what was happening to you before you began to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple. 16 When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty. 17 I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy everything you worked so hard to produce. Even so, you refused to return to me, says the Lord.
18 “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day[d] when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. 19 I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn.[e] You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.”
Promises for Zerubbabel
20 On that same day, December 18,[f] the Lord sent this second message to Haggai: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, that I am about to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow royal thrones and destroy the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overturn their chariots and riders. The horses will fall, and their riders will kill each other.
23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”’
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.
For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.