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The New Covenant Temple of God: Haggai's Message to the Builders

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The New Covenant Temple of God

Haggai's Message to the Builders

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The New Covenant Temple of God: Haggai's Message to the Builders

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There is still a temple of God in the new covenant. The message of Haggai speaks to the current temple of God as much as the old Jerusalem Temple. What does Haggai have to say to you.?

Transcript

Restoring the Temple of God

Under the new covenant established after Christ's death and resurrection there remains a temple in which God will be present through the power of His holy spirit. That temple is not built of stones, timbers, and metals... it is made up of the people of God. 1 Peter 2:4-5 1 Peter 2:4-5 [4] To whom coming, as to a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×
 tells us the keystone/capstone/cornerstone of the building is Christ... and the members of the church are like living stones used to build a spiritual house and temple (refer to 1 Corinthians 6:19 1 Corinthians 6:19What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?
American King James Version×
etc).

Therefore teaching and scriptures related to the temple of God in Jerusalem have the potential to provide insight and instruction for those of us He considers part of His new covenant temple.

Today we are going to review the preaching and exhortations of Haggai... a man God sent to stir up the people who had returned from exile in Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem... and consider how the word of God meant to stir up the people (and get them back on track) might be helpful to us.

Living stones are still being added to God’s new covenant temple. God still calls, chooses, and transforms people. We still have work to do in preparing a people for the day Christ returns.

The Prophet Haggai

Haggai's prophetic teaching begins 520 B.C. He was commissioned by God to speak to the Jewish people returning to Jerusalem after after many year of exile in Babylon. He speaks to Zerrubabbel & Joshua (the leaders), to the priests (the teachers), and to everyone involved in the rebuilding of the temple.

Haggai is notable among the prophets as being very successful... the people listened to God’s messenger and responded positively. Haggai’s name means "my festivals"... a clue that the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple was important to the re-establishment of the annual holy days by providing a central place of worship which would bind the nation together and keep the annual holy days pure and undefiled with error.

Especially important is the feast of tabernacles: the second of Haggai's four prophecies is a message delivered on the last day, the 7th and final day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Haggai's 1st Prophecy [1:1-11]

Verse 1 - this message is delivered 45 days before the Feast of Tabernacles in the year 520 B.C.  

Verses 2-5 God's word to the people is a warning against apathy about the rebuilding of the temple and He calls them out on making their own personal comfort their top priority. We also know from the book of Ezra that they were afraid of the Samaritans all around them, bullied, threatened, and harassed with troops anyone who set about working on the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra4:4).

By saying saying "now is not the time"… perhaps they were waiting for God to first eliminate the threat posed by the Samaritans before they were willing to get back to work...... let God act first and then we’ll take action? To which God says "consider your ways" ... think soberly and clearly about what is motivating you to action or inaction. Examine yourself.

Verses 6-8 you are investing your time and energy into getting food and drink, clothing, wages... but you are not being blessed materially or spiritually. Again He says "consider your ways"... it is time to put your energy toward the work of God, the restoration of the temple of God. Read verse 9.

Is this not equally applicable to the new covenant temple of God?

Verses 10-11 I have told you to get back to work. I will not reward you for inactivity.

Work On The Temple Resumed

Verses 12-15 unusual among the prophets in that the people actually listened, repented and obeyed the word of God Haggai delivered.

God made His presence known to them: 1) through a drought which cause hardship and suffering,and 2)through the preaching of Haggai. In this way He demanded their attention and they were willing to listen to Him in reverent fear.

Previously, the people were afraid of the threats of Samaritans but now they realize they should fear God first... and He wanted them to get back to work on the rebuilding of the temple.

God says "I am with you". I made my presence known to you through the drought. But I am also here with you to protect, encourage, and stir you to action through My spirit and through my word (delivered to you by Haggai and Zechariah).

We know from the parallel account in Ezra that they got back to the rebuilding of the temple. They moved into action even while the Samaritans were still threatening and harassing them. God wanted them to act in faith first... then He would deal with getting the Samaritans off their backs.

Haggai's 2nd Prophecy [2:1-9]

Verse 1-5 - the 21st day of the 7th month is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles 502 B.C.. Haggai's message is:

  1. a message of encouragement to the builders
  2. a warning to not despise the day of small things [Zechariah 4:9-10]

Are we letting the smallness of God's 21st century Church deceive us into thinking it is insignificant, unworthy of our zeal, our time, attention, or sacrifice? Where are the masses of people from all nations, races, and tribes coming to be taught? Where are the beautiful buildings of precious gems and gold? Where are the rich and powerful who's money could support the work of the church... they are not here. But Christ says “fear not little flock it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom

Will our feast of Tabernacles be smaller this year, will it lack the festivities, the activities, the travel, the dances, the dinners... will we weep for all we are missing? Will we consider it unworthy of our attention?

We should rejoice because this feast will be our annual reminder that through people like us [the little flock]... through our calling to repentance and transformation of our minds... God is laying the foundation for the greatest restoration project of all time. The restoration of the righteous rule of God on earth.

The Creator of the Universe is with us and He counsels us to not be afraid... He does not want us to act recklessly or foolishly... but to move forward in confidence. Exodus 20:18-20 Exodus 20:18-20 [18] And all the people saw the thunder, and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. [19] And they said to Moses, Speak you with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. [20] And Moses said to the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that you sin not.
American King James Version×
 trade the type of fear that is terror for the fear of respect and obedience. Fear God and keep His commandments.

Verse 6-9 - here is one of those sections where the message of the prophets vaults into a whole different level.

What is Shaken?

For the people of 520 B.C. it could have meant the temple items, the gold and silver were shaken loose from the Persians. What is said here clearly has implications for the last days when God will shake all nations and gathers His people to Himself.  However, the new covenant Church has yet another way to apply this verse.

Hebrews 12:25-29 Hebrews 12:25-29 [25] See that you refuse not him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaks from heaven: [26] Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. [27] And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. [28] Why we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: [29] For our God is a consuming fire.
American King James Version×
this interpretation of the prophecy is both a scary warning and an encouragement to endurance. If God were to shake the Church [which He does from time to time, removing that which can be shaken] would you be shaken off... or would you hang on with confidence in God's  promise which cannot be shaken. Will you continue to serve God acceptably in reverent fear... even in the day of small things... When terror and panic are all around you? When apathy and indifference rise up to your nostrils.

The Glory & Peace That Fills The Temple

Peace: the peace of God did come to the temple with the reestablishment of the old covenant sacrifices. For 70 years there had been no means to atone for sin and thus make peace with God. However, we also know that the sacrifices of the old covenant were really just a foreshadowing of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ's under the new. They would yet be replaced with a better sacrifice. 

Glory: there is no record of the shekinah glory of God ever returning to the rebuilt temple [1 Kings 8:6-13 1 Kings 8:6-13 [6] And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD to his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. [7] For the cherubim spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and the staves thereof above. [8] And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are to this day. [9] There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. [10] And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, [11] So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. [12] Then spoke Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. [13] I have surely built you an house to dwell in, a settled place for you to abide in for ever.
American King James Version×
]. So the prophecy must be looking for something else, something yet future.

John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
American King James Version×
 the presence and glory of God did return to the temple at a much later date when Christ came in the flesh to the courts of the temple. He came there as a child, later He came as Messiah, teaching and announcing the coming kingdom of God. But the managers, priests, and officials of the temple were by God’s will allowed to execute Jesus... and 39 years later the physical structure of the Herodian temple was demolished, burn to the ground, and to this day it has not been rebuilt.

So, where is the glory of God today ? Where is His presence among humanity? And where is the peace promised?

Colossians 1:27 Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
American King James Version×
, John 14:25-27 John 14:25-27 [25] These things have I spoken to you, being yet present with you. [26] But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you. [27] Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
American King James Version×
, Romans 8:18-24 Romans 8:18-24 [18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for?
American King James Version×

Glory: The glory of His presence is within the people He has called and chosen… the Church of God… the present household of God built of living stones.

Peace: 1) we have peace with God through our acceptance of Christ's death as the necessary atonement for our sins. 2) We have peace through our confidence in God's promise of redemption and glory when we are raised to everlasting spirit life.

The Project of Rebuilding and Restoration Is Active

The message of Haggai was first to a people building the Jerusalem temple out of stones, timbers, and metal. That message is also relevant for you and me today… because there is a greater restoration taking place today… and that is yet to come.

Individual men and women are being rebuilt and restored as we speak. The old man is torn down and the new man is built up... through the active work of the spirit, though perseverance and endurance, through courage is facing trials/adversaries, through reliance on the power of God to protect and provide.

God continues to provide exhortation, motivation, a call to action. Through His word and through the teaching you gather to hear each Sabbath and on His annual holy days.

God's present work among humanity is small, not impressive, not overwhelming. But through the preparation of small group of people (who will serve as leaders and teachers alongside Christ) God is laying the groundwork for the greatest rebuilding and restoring project of all time. The restoration of all things, the re-establishment of the rule of God on earth... when the promise of peace and the presence of glory will be granted to every living being... and every being who has ever lived.

But the present work of rebuilding is now YOU.

Haggai's 3rd Prophecy [2:10-19]

Most of us understand that we can become corrupt by being in the presence of what is corrupt, unclean or sin. However, the wine/oil/stew that does not become holy merely by touching something else that is holy is a reminder….  that WE do not become holy by merely being in the presence of holiness. We become holy by taking action.

God's word says again "consider your ways". He will not bless apathy, in-action, timidity. If you are wondering why your life is in a rut... perhaps you need to take action. Your Father says: take action and watch what happens. I am with you and I will bless you.

Haggai's 4th Prophecy [2:20-23]

A simple message: Zerrubabel is a type of Christ. Zerubbabel was of the house of David, God’s chosen line of leadership. Jesus is also a son of David and through Him the promise of righteous leadership of God’s choosing will be fulfilled.