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Temple Glory

Haggai  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:24
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Haggai 2:1–9 NIV
1 on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: 2 “Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, 3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? 4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ 6 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
The Backstory
When we come to these Old Testament passages, we are always searching for what the original author was intending to convey when it was written. In other words what did Haggai intend to convey to his original audience, the people living right after the exile.
God by the power of Spirit inspired the human authors of the Bible to write what He intended. Ho convey His message to the world. In order for us to understand what God’s ultimate message is for the world we have to understand what was going on when the Holy Spirit inspired Haggai to write this book.
We can have a tendency to read these passages with our 21st century eyes, and experiences and as a result these stories and words of God, fall flat. They do not seem relevant, or they may not seem like it has anything to do with us. However, if we try and find out what was going on in the lives of the people involved in this experience, we can then learn more about God, who He is and His character. Then knowing who God is, what He is pleased with or displeased with, then it should directly impact what we do, hear and now.
In chapter 1, God gave them the first message, here in chapter 2 is the second message from God to the people.
Timing of the Second Message
30 days after the first message, construction restarted.
During the Harvest (poor harvest?).
Last day of the feast of Tabernacles.
Remember the people responded positively to the first message in Chapter 1 and they put their focus back on God. With God as the main priority in their life, they went back to work on the foundation of the Lord’s temple. Then this second message from God arrives 30 days later.
They have been working on the foundation during the harvest season. Now, in chapter one we learned that this harvest probably was not very good-slim pickin’s as they say. God said this was due to a drought that He caused since they did not have Him as their priority, and source of satisfaction.
This most likely caused frustration in the people and so on the last day of the feast God sends them this message through Haggai.
The Second Message
Starts with a question. Again.
Be Strong-Do Not fear-I am with you.
The message starts with a question, as did the first message. This time God asks Which one of you is left and saw this house in it’s former glory?
Haggai 2:3 NIV
3 ‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?
This is where we have understand something. The people are frustrated. It is hard word moving great stones, and harvesting fields by hand. The crop is poor, and there is so much work ahead of them to finish the temple it would seem like an impossible task. But in this question that God asks-Which one of you is left who saw this house in its former glory is a trigger to them.
That phrase, and the date means something much more to the people. It reminds them of when the temple was first dedicated, on this date back in the time of Solomon.
The first temple WAS beautiful-no doubt about it. It was huge. There was gold on the walls, and ceilings, there were all these wonderful cloths and furnishings. We read about it last week. In 1 Chronicles.-The people are looking at the pile of rubble and are rightly discouraged, how can this be made great again? Man wasn’t that old place something!
But what God is getting at here is that that wasn’t the real glory. The real glory was not in the building or in the the fixtures or the furnishings. The real glory was that the Lord was there.
Look at 1 Kings for minute.
1 Kings 8:6–11 NIV
6 The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. 7 The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. 8 These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt. 10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.
The glory of the Lord filled the temple and the priests could not even go in. For the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
God is saying to then-you think this building was so great, but the REAL glory is when I am in it.
When the Lord is present in the the Temple-THAT is the glory.
Without the Lord it is just stones, and useless metal-The Glory of the Temple is the Lord’s presence. That is why one the saddest passages in the whole Bible is found in Ezekiel 10, when Ezekiel sees the glory of the Lord depart the temple.
But now, the people are back, they have repented and God is reminding them that the real glory of the temple was not in the stones or furnishings but in the fact that he dwelt with them in the temple.
Haggai 2:4–5 NIV
4 But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 5 ‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’
So on this day the first time in Solomon’s day when the temple was first built, God came and His glory filled the temple. Now, in 520, God reminds of that, saying it is not the Temple that is the glory it is me dwelling with you that is the glorious part.
You would think that that message was enough, That people would have gotten it, but things fade. As people walk in sin and don’t remain focused on God it is hard for us remember that God is with us, that the Lord hasn’t forgotten us. Sin creeps in over time. We walk more in the world then with God, we lose touch and we get focused again on the externals, rather than the relationship.
After 550 years goes by the nation of Israel is desperate for God’s glory to enter the temple again. They had a great building. King Herod had did a great job renovating and sprucing up the temple it was at another peak. It was really magnificent. The Pharisees were in charge of the temple at that time. They were an ultra religious people and they meticulously and zealously guarding the law. To say they kept the law, was actually and understatement. In order to make sure they kept the law they added additional laws. The thought was that if they kept these extra laws, then they would be sure to not violate God’s law.
Why the intensity. They were hoping that strict adherence to the law would bring God’s kingdom hereon earth. They believed that strict adherence would bring the Messiah, His throne would be established on earth, the Romans would be kicked out, and once again the glory of the Lord would fill the temple.
SO, it is on this special date once again the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, that God does something remarkable. It again was the last day of the feast of Tabernacles. Remember what we learned last week? That day that the priests would march around the altar 7 times and pour out the basin of water at the base of the altar, and pray to the creator God to provide water-life giving water for the crops and for the people of the upcoming year.
John 7:37–38 NIV
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
This is huge. They priests are praying to the creator God, the one who separated the waters above from the waters below Genesis 1:6, the one gathered the water under the sky and made dry ground appear. The one brought rain on the whole earth for 40 days and 40 nights, they are praying to that and Jesus stands up and says.
Come to me and drink- Whoever believes in me as scripture as said---streams of living water will flow from within them.
This is huge—Jesus is saying He is the one-He is the creator God, He ids the one that supplies this water, come to Him. Now either he is crazy, or blaspheming, or God Himself.
Here Jesus is saying come to me- I’m God, come to me-I will give you all you need. I will supply the water you thirst for. I’m here I’m in the temple the glory is here.
Then what does Jesus say? Rivers of LIVING water will flow from within them? What does that mean.
In the book of Ezekiel, in chapter 47 Ezekiel gets a vision of the temple of God in heaven. Flowing from the temple of God is a river. it is called the river of life.
Ezekiel 47:1 NIV
1 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar.
This is the same river that is pictured in revelation 22
Revelation 22:1 NIV
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
Jesus is calling to mind this picture for the jews. Jesus is saying come to me- I am God, I will fulfill your thirst I will supply your needs. and not only that but when you believe in me
John 7:38 NIV
38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Then it will be as if we are bringing this life giving news of the kingdom to the world. DO you see that? Are you following me?
John explains what Jesus meant .
John 7:39 NIV
39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
By this he meant the Spirit- That is the Holy Spirit whom those who believe will receive. The Holy Spirit will be as living water, flowing from those who believe in Jesus. That is life giving to those around, that is flowing out of us, bringing the kingdom, bringing God’s glory to the world.
I have been laying out a lot of difficult ideas, let pause and recap and summarize for you.
God doesn’t dwell in temples made by man. God dwells with us in Jesus. His presence is God with us. He is the glory of God. When we believe in Him, God now dwells in us. The Holy Spirit dwells in us. He does this to serve a purpose. To bring others life.
He does this so that we can have the gifts and the power to be the Temple of God-living stones as it says in 1 peter. To bring God’s kingdom to our church, ur neighborhood, our world
The real longing of the people in these Bible passages, is the same real longing of you and me, it is this deep down need to return to God. To have God dwell with us, for us to be in fellowship with him to have Hm dwell with us,
The problem is that the nation of Israel and us are always looking for the glory of Gods outside and in the externals. We are focused on the buildings or the rituals and religion. We focus on the circumstances and what is in front of us and we miss that the real benefit, the real mystery, the real prize is that God is with us. By our faith in Christ The Holy Spirit dwells in us. Not in the building.
We think we need to focus on the stones and the furnishings and God is saying-I’ve got all those things taken care of they are in the palm of my hand the real benefit is that I am with you.
Then instead of the furnishing of the temple God furnishes His people with the gifts of the Holy Spirit to enable us to carry on this work of bringing the river of life to the world to glorify God, and give people life-eternal life.
That sounds great Pastor -
How do I start?
Faith and repentence-give careful thought
Holy Spirit gifts all believers-seek after Him
Flow into the world-your world What Can you do?
First it has to start with a real relationship with Jesus Christ- Give careful thought, have you followed Christ up to this point? Turn from your sins by praying to Jesus that you want His forgiveness, and His his help to lead you away from sin, and toward Him.
If you believe then at that moment the Holy Spirit comes to you, and He dwells in you. You are no gifted to perform work for the Lord. You are not all gifted in the same way, and there are many different gifts. Begin serving God in your natural ability, and pray and ask God to help you find your gifts. Get with me or Rev Elliott we will be happy to help you find where God can use you.
Number three --flow into your world. You have family, friends, fellow church members, acquaintances and neighbors. If you have the Holy Spirit, then God has gifted you. You have been given gifts for a purpose and that is to bring the living water of the message of the gospel into the world. So start with those you know and flow into their lives pointing to God, giving Him glory, by telling your story of what God has done in your life, so that He can flow into theirs.
Together we the church are called to bring God’s kingdom into the world, so Be strong, Do not fear God is with you.
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