This concluding part of our study in the book of Haggai was given on 3rd April 2022 by pastor Barry Forder.
The scene, as we move into chapter 2 of Haggai, is that the people had been moved by Haggai’s preaching; they had ‘considered their ways’ (Haggai 1:5) and the preparation for the rebuilding of the house of the Lord (the Temple) was well underway. But there was still fear. The Samaritan threat was still there; at any moment they could resort to violence and try to stop the work of rebuilding. Or, maybe as had already happened in the past, the king of Persia might, by royal decree, put and end to the plans to rebuild.
But it is to this fear that Haggai speaks, with a twofold message: Firstly he tells his people they do not need to fear! There is about to be a big shaking of the world’s nations which would cause Israel’s enemies to crumble. Secondly, the Temple they were now ready to start building would one-day exceed Solomon’s temple for the glory it will contain. From a purely architectural point of view, the 2nd temple may not have matched the ‘glory’ of the first – even with the additions made by Herod. But the glory spoken of has nothing to do with what man could do, it was not to be the work of man’s hands, but rather a work of God, infinitely greater.
It was to the 2nd Temple that Jesus was taken at 41 days old to be dedicated to the Lord (Simeon and Anna finally getting to witness this ‘glory’ they had so long awaited). It was to this 2nd Temple Jesus came as a 12 year old boy, with his family to celebrate the Passover, and for a number of days He was found teaching from the very building Haggai’s fearful Jews would now build. This was the Temple Jesus’ declared should have been a house of prayer, as He turned over the tables of the money-changers. It was to be in this Temple that the curtain would be split from top to bottom signifying the way to God through the shed blood of Jesus was now open to all who came by faith.
The shaking Haggai spoke of, did indeed apply to the Persian empire in Haggai’s day, but the writer to the Hebrews makes it clear that there is also a future prophetic fulfilment, where all the nations of this world will be shaken in God’s wrath at the time of the Second Coming.
In the same way, there is a (4th) Temple that will be built when the Messiah returns and establishes His kingdom and rule over the whole earth. The glory will eclipse all that had gone before as the Lord Himself will dwell there during the millennium.
In conclusion, Haggai tells the people that now they are walking in God’s way, seeking His kingdom, the blessings will flow in abundance. No longer will they put their money in a ‘bag with holes’ or see their harvest fail (Haggai Ch1: 6).
The day the foundation was finally laid was the exact same day the 70 years of desolation prophesied by Jeremiah came to an end! (Jer 25:11)
The twofold lesson is:
1) to not fear man as we serve and work for the Lord, knowing that the ‘nations’ are all too soon be shaken in the fire of God’s wrath;
2) recognise that 7 times in the New Testament the Holy Spirit calls you His Temple! The glory, literally in you, is greater than the glory in either the 1st or 2nd Temple. Don’t look back thinking of what was, look forward in expectation of all God will do and the glory that shall be revealed in you (Romans 8:18)!
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.