The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

The Glory of the Latter Temple

This paper will be looking at some key verses in the short prophesy of Haggai.

The prophet Haggai finds the returned exiles to Jerusalem too busy about their own business to be finishing God’s business. Through him, God reminds this remnant of His prior judgments on their blessings, and exhorts them to put Him first and get the house of worship completed. He meant a physical house, as the New Covenant had not yet come. However this physical building never did attain to the earthly glory of the first house built by Solomon. These were the days of “small things” (Zech. 4:10)–not to be despised, but also not to be thought of as the full manifestation of what God was accomplishing. The old men who had seen the former temple wept to see this new foundation laid (Ezra 3:12), perhaps remembering the former glory, which was even now passing away (2 Cor. 3:7). Soon the covenant which was centered around the earthly temple would be obsolete (Heb. 8:13), and Jesus indicated such to his disciples when they asked Him His opinion of the temple in their day–

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Matt. 24:1-2)

Keeping in mind Jesus’ future words about the destruction of the earthly temple, let us look at Haggai 2:5-9, wherein a wonderful promise of future glory–pertaining to the temple–was made:

‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

First, notice that the Spirit was promised to be with those who were now obeying Him, just as He was with those who previously came out of Egypt (before they backslid). The remnant had endured 70 years of exile. Many unbelieving branches had been cut off and thrown into the fire (judgment), but the remnant “people of God”–the called out ones–the congregation of the Lord–had survived (Jer. 5:10; 11:16-17; Ezek. 19:10-14; Jn. 15:1-8; Rom. 11:1-27). After the first generation of redeemed Israelites had perished in the wilderness, it was needful for the survivors of the following generation to know God would be with them. And now, after so many Israelites had been vomited out of the land never to return again, it was needful for this small remnant to know that God would again be with them. Regardless of how many are “cut off,” God will always be with the remnant who returns to Him in truth!

Second, God promises to shake ALL the nations, that the treasure of the nations (indicated by silver and gold owned by the Lord) would come to “the Desire of all Nations.” The Desire of all Nations is undoubtedly Christ Himself, the redeemer of all men. The gold and silver treasures are those from the nations who would hear His voice and come to Mt. Zion to be redeemed of the Lord and dwell peacefully with Him and His people (Isa. 2:2-4; Mic. 4:1-5). The writer of Hebrews tells us the international Church is the fulfillment of these promises (Heb. 12:22-23). These treasures would be refined and purified by the Lord Jesus, as gold and silver in a fire (Zech. 13:9; Mal. 3:2-3) to become vessels of honor (2 Tim. 2:20-21).

Third, the glory of the coming latter temple would be greater than the former, and peace would be given in this place. God cannot have meant the second temple built by the returned remnant, for even after Herod refurbished its buildings in Jesus’ day, Jesus gave no honor at all to these, but promised they would be destroyed (and they were.) He spoke mysteriously of His own body being a temple, which would be destroyed by men and raised again in three days by His own power (Jn. 2:19-21). The Lamb (Jesus) is the temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22). When Jesus rose from the grave, new construction began in the Spirit! The cornerstone was laid once and for all in Zion. Justice was the measuring line and righteousness the plummet. Hail swept away the refuge of lies (“I am a child of God because of my ancestry”), and waters overflowed the hiding place (“God won’t take my sin into account.”) (Isa. 28:16-17) Listen as Paul describes both the glory and the peace of the latter temple:

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:11-22)

Notice that converted Gentiles were (past tense) aliens from Israel, but in Christ Jesus, they have been brought near (to be grafted into the olive tree.) Jesus Himself is our peace, and we and other saints (both Jewish and Gentile) are being built together and growing into a holy temple! Jesus is the Cornerstone, and the apostles and prophets make up the rest of the foundation upon which we all must be built. This is the absolute fulfillment of Haggai 2:5-9. The nations are being shaken, and God’s treasure is coming to the Desire of All Nations. God’s temple is glorious in the earth–much more glorious than anything built by the hands of men could be, for God does not dwell in temples made with hands, but in His people (Acts 17:24; I Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16). Jesus has given peace to His disciples, a more lasting and true peace than the world gives (Jn. 14:27); He is their peace, and He has given Himself to them.

Peter also echoes this truth in I Pet. 2:4-9, reminding believers that only those who come to Jesus are God’s chosen people because they have come to the Chosen One–

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”
and “A stone of stumbling

And a rock of offense.”
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

In conclusion, the glory of the latter temple is already present in the world, and construction is ongoing. When we see the light shining in the faces of our brothers and sisters–and when we see them at peace while the world falls apart, we see a bit of that glory. It is treasure hidden in earthly vessels, to be sure, and carnal eyes will overlook it, but God chooses the weak things to confound the mighty. We need not look for a temple made with hands in the Middle East, as some are falsely teaching–such a temple would be blasphemous in light of the revelation of Jesus Christ and the temple He has been building (His Body, the Church). When the temple is completed and every living stone has been set in its walls, then shall be revealed to every eye the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2).

 
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