EVALUATE PRESENT REALITIES NOT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PAST PERFORMANCE BUT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF FUTURE PROMISES OF MILLENNIAL GLORY AND BLESSING
We are always evaluating what God is doing in the present – in our personal situation . . . in the context of our ministry and our local church situation. The problem is that we lack God’s Big Picture Perspective that can put the present in its proper context. Remember the message of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 where he cautions us against a wrong type of judging. We can get easily discouraged when we make the wrong types of comparisons and come to the wrong conclusions. God’s program encompasses all of history . . . and we cannot possibly know the value of our service before the proper time for evaluation = when the Lord returns. We need to have a forward-looking mindset that counts on God’s faithfulness to His promises – in particular here = those involving future millennial glory and blessing. For the amillennial camp, this will be a struggle. That is why there is such a practical life-based component to what you believe about eschatology. It does matter and it does impact how you live in the present.
Our present circumstances or ministry might not seem all that significant. But God speaks to us as the Lord of hosts, the one commanding the army that will ultimately be victorious over all. We are not alone; God’s presence and favor and protection and blessing are with us. What we are doing is making a difference. We need to take courage and persevere in the Lord’s work. God makes the connection between what looks like our meager contribution of obedience and sacrificial service and His promise to bring in a reign of prosperity and peace and dominion where His glory will shine forth abundantly throughout the entire world.
(:1-2) CONTEXT: MESSAGE #2 FROM GOD TO HIS LOYAL WORKERS
A. Date Stamp
“On the twenty-first of the seventh month,”
MacArthur: This day in the month of Tishri corresponds to Oct. 17, 520 B.C. Leviticus 23:39-44 indicates that this was the final day of the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles, a feast to celebrate God’s provision for Israel during her 40 years of wilderness wanderings and give thanks for a bountiful harvest.
Hanko: This prophecy would have been delivered on the last day of the feast of tabernacles (Lev. 23:34-42). This is of more than passing interest in view of the fact that the feast celebrated Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, to which God himself makes reference in the verses that follow. That deliverance would have been on the minds of the people, therefore, and must have made them wonder whether God was really with them as he had been in the days when they came out of Egypt. Then they were a great host, now they were but a remnant. Then they had been on their way to a land flowing with milk and honey, now they were having difficulty even subsisting in the land.
Taylor: Less than two months had elapsed from the time of Haggai’s first message when work on the temple stalled due to discouragement on the part of the participants.
B. Prophetic Message #2
“the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet saying”
C. Same Audience
“speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying”
I. (:3-5) PAST FAILURES MUST NOT DISTRACT US FROM BOLDLY FULFILLING OUR PRESENT MINISTRY IN RELIANCE UPON THE ALL-SUFFICIENT RESOURCE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD
A. (:3) The Reminders of Blown Opportunities in the Past Can Discourage Us
3 Rhetorical Questions Exposing Potential for Discouragement
1. Longing for the Good Old Days
“Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory?”
The glory days of the reign of Solomon and the magnificence of the former temple were lost on account of the rebellion and idolatry of God’s people.
2. Looking at Every Flaw
“And how do you see it now?”
3. Letting Discouragement Overwhelm You
“Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?”
Danger: don’t ever belittle or minimize the value of obedience.
Hanko: The Jews traditionally listed five things lacking in the second temple: (1) the ark with its mercy seat; (2) the holy fire which burned perpetually in the candlesticks and on the altar (Lev. 6:8-13; 24:2); (3) the cloud of glory (I Kings 8:10, 11); (4) the spirit of prophecy; and (5) the Urim and Thummim (Ezra 2:63). Certainly we can agree that four of these five were indeed lacking (the spirit of prophecy did not depart until after Malachi’s work was finished). That this temple was lacking in glory in comparison to Solomon’s was evident already when the foundation were laid. Then the older people who had seen and remembered Solomon’s temple wept bitterly (Ezra 3:12, 13). . .
Why was it, though, that God was satisfied with a house that was only a poor shadow of the house Solomon had built? You would think that God would want the most beautiful temple possible, and that he would have supplied the Jews with gold, silver, precious stones and woods, so that his house be more beautiful that any kingly palace. Why did he remind the Jews of the poverty of this house and do nothing to change that?
The answer to these questions is that Christ was coming and the people had to start looking away from the earthly types and shadows to Christ himself. It would be only a little while before the Desire of all nations would come, and they had to be ready. Haggai 2:9 is a promise of the coming of Christ. He is the true temple of God because he is Immanuel, God with us, the fulfillment of all God’s promises to dwell with his people.
B. (:4-5) The Reassurance of the Presence of God Motivates Bold Ministry
2 Simple Responsibilities Coupled with 1 All Sufficient Divine Provision
Note the chiastic structure of these 2 verses:
1A. 2 Simple Responsibilities
1B. 1 All Sufficient Divine Provision = Promise of the Lord’s Presence Alongside
“’For I am with you.’ declares the Lord of hosts”
1B. 1 All Sufficient Divine Provision = Promise of the Spirit’s Presence Within
“As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst”
1A. 2 Simple Responsibilities
“Do not fear!”
Taylor: Haggai’s point is that just as the Lord covenanted to be with Israel as far back as the exodus event, and just as his presence had been evident throughout their prior history, so now the community should confidently face their difficulties in the enabling power of the Spirit and free from the paralysis of fear about the future. Haggai’s exhortation not to fear has its biblical roots in military language. Warriors were often admonished in this way prior to engaging in battle. Given the similarity in wording between the admonition in Hag 2:5 and the one in 1 Chr 28:20, Haggai may be drawing on the instructions David gave to his people prior to the building of the Solomonic temple.
II. (:6-9) FUTURE PROMISES OF MILLENNIAL BLESSING AND GLORY GIVE HOPE TO THE LORD’S LABORERS —
3 ASPECTS OF ESTABLISHING THE MILLENIAL REIGN OF THE MESSIAH
A. (:6-7a) Judgmental Preparation = Shaking the Universe with Cataclysmic Phenomena
“For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations’”
The Lord is not finished yet with working out His plan to introduce His kingdom of righteousness and peace on this earth. He has more left in his arsenal. He has not yet fired all of His bullets. We are already in the last days and His preparatory judgment is coming soon. The nations may seem arrogant and independent of His rule right now; but they will soon be shaken.
B. (:7b-8) Sovereign Glorification – Filling the Temple with Glory and Prosperity
“‘and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”
Ryrie: The well-known translation “the desire of all nations” (KJV) makes this a reference to Messiah and is in accord with Jewish tradition. However, many feel that the phrase is more properly translated, as here, the wealth (precious things) of all nations, referring to the offerings the nations will bring to the millennial Temple. The glory may refer to the splendor of the Temple or to the presence of the Lord in it.
All that is of value belongs to the Lord anyway. The nations boast in their wealth and prosperity . . . but they will end up laying everything at the feet of the Master of the Universe.
C. (:9) Supreme Dominion – Reigning in Glory and Administering Peace
1. Proper Perspective of Comparison = Supreme Glory
“‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts,”
Go ahead and make comparison now to Solomon’s temple. No comparison!
2. Peaceful Administration
“‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”
Trace all of the OT references to the peace that will be instituted in the reign of the Messiah in the millennial kingdom.