THE GLORY OF THE LATTER HOUSE
Looking backward to chapter one of the book of Haggai we see the people of Judah all busy with their own affairs of building project while the house of God remained in ruin (1:3).For this reason they were plagued with insufficiency despite their hard work (vs. 5&6). Are we not victims of such behaviour? Do we concentrate on God’s work as much as we do to our own assignments and programs today? To what extent can you say that the zeal of your house has consumed me (Psalm69:9)?
The people of Judah’s subsequent response to the rebuke and call of prophet Haggai led to re- building of the temple. The call of Haggai was a call for commitment and a call to hard work and selflessness on the part of the people in the building project. However, people started comparing this temple with Solomon’s temple and more or less becoming discouraged. Consequent to this attitude, the prophecy was sent by God through Haggai the prophet.
The Message (the Prophecy)
The NLT of Haggai 2:9 says “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!” This message can be sub-divided into two sessions. First session is the future glory of the Temple under re-construction (v.9a), second is, God’s plan concerning the Temple (v.9b).
The Future Glory of the Temple
Glory means Magnificence, Splendour, Beauty, and Wonder, the fame; this is to say that the future magnificence, fame, beauty of this temple you are building is not limited to what you see now or to what you may have seen before. The glory of this present house (the restoration Temple) will surpass that built by Solomon (the former, 1 Kings 6:37-38). This is because the presence of the Messiah will beautify it during Herodian times (John 2:13-22). In addition, the ultimate fulfilment of this greater glory will be in the millennial temple.
God’s Plan Concerning the Present Temple
God promised to bring peace. Peace means harmony, concord, goodwill, reconciliation, calm, stillness, serenity (Thesaurus). Old Testament word for peace, salom
means ‘soundness’, ’completeness’, and ‘well-being’. It is used when one is in harmony or concord with another, when one seeks the good of a city (NBD).Peace is one word that sums up the blessings of the Messianic age. Therefore the Bible soft commentary states that ‘the peace in this place’ is most likely referring to Jerusalem not necessarily the temple. Which way, the fact is God assured the people of future peace.
Why was this message sent?
The purpose of the message was that Judah may no longer entertain discouragement which will weaken them from progressing in the building project. It is the words of assurance for those who may be fearful today, to become confident. It came also to ensure they succeed in their present assignment. It came to give them hope for a better tomorrow. The message is meant for anyone who may have doubts of a better tomorrow to take heart and trust in the Lord. The basis for their confidence was that it was God who said it through His prophet. If man says it, he may fail, but God’s words will surely stand.
What does this Message mean?
Though the people of Judah talked of the physical temple, the prophecy is about the spiritual future millennium. To us today, we build lives for God’s glory from one generation to another. When you look back and you see what your predecessors have put in place, you may wonder ‘would I be able to match them.’ The prophecy are words of encouragement from the Lord to people who are ready to work but being discouraged or wonder whether or not the work will meet standard of the fore fathers-Solomon’s temple. Are you ready to work? But you are discouraged somehow? Take heart, the glory of the latter shall be greater than the former.
When and to whom was this Message Sent?
The message was sent to the people of Judah on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, when the builders of the Temple had been about a month at work (since the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month) when they had made some progress. To those that is hearty in the service of God who needs fresh encouragements to proceed in it (vs.1-3). Today, the First day of the twelfth month in the year 2013, I declare to all who trust the Lord, that your performance henceforth shall be greater than the former in the name of Jesus. I pray that you receive the grace to proceed (Ch. 1:12, 14).
Secondly, have you been reprimanded over God’s work and your performances? The encouragement here is sent to the same persons to whom the reproofs in the foregoing chapter were directed(v.2). Are you wounded by the convictions of the word? Be healed and bound up by its consolations in the name of Jesus.
But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord…Be strong, all you people of the land declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty…And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ Hag 2:4-5. Let each one of us personally apply this to our lives. The following is a chorus of encouragement and a challenge to examine how you are building in your service for God.
We are building day by day as the moment pass away
A temple that the world cannot see, every victory won by grace would be sure to find a place in the building for eternity. Build on the rock and not upon the sand, oh build on the rock and not upon the sand. You need not fear the storm or the earthquake shock. You are safe for ever more if you build on the rock.
(Bible soft: Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
(NBD) New Bible Dictionary
(NLT) New Living Translation Bible version.