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Now in the seventh month, in the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, to Joshua, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how does it look to you now? is it not in your eyes in comparison as of nothing ( Haggai 2:1-3 )?
The temple of Solomon, of course, was an extremely glorious building. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar's troops.
Now in the book of Ezra we're told that as they began to lay the foundation for the new temple at this time, the young people, those who had been born in Babylonian captivity, those who had never seen the glory of Jerusalem during the days prior to the captivity, those that had never seen the glorious temple that Solomon had built. Those young people were all rejoicing. They were dancing. They were happy. "We're laying the foundations of the Lord's temple!" But the older people who remembered the glory of Solomon's temple, when they saw how paltry was this new thing that they're building, they said, "stood there and wept."
So upon this occasion of the older people who could still remember the glorious Solomon's temple, on the occasion of their weeping, the word of the Lord came through Haggai, "And who of you is left among those that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it just really as nothing compared to the first?"
Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, and be strong, ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts ( Haggai 2:4 ):
So for those who were prone to be discouraged because it seemed to be nothing in comparison with the past, the Lord encourages them to be strong to continue, and again the promise, "For I am with you."
And according to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remains among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts ( Haggai 2:5-7 ).
Now this, no doubt, is going out now in prophecy to the Great Tribulation period when God is gonna shake the world once again. Actually, in the book of Hebrews, twelfth chapter, we read, "For the Lord said, 'And once again I am going to shake the world like it has never been shaken before. So that everything that can be shaken will be brought down, and only that which cannot be shaken shall remain.'" Tell you what; I don't want to be in downtown L.A. when that takes place. Once again God said, "I'm gonna shake the world until everything that can be shaken will be destroyed."
What folly it is for us to put all of our energies and efforts and all into the material things, because they can all be shaken.
How we need to be putting our time, our energies, our efforts into spiritual things, for they can't be shaken. When everything else is shaken and destroyed, that will still last. You have only one life; it will soon be passed. And only what you do for Jesus Christ is going to last. Everything else that you've built for yourself, your whole estate or whatever, is wood, hay and stubble; it's all gonna burn. Only what you have laid up in spiritual store is gonna be lasting. That ought to speak to every one of us tonight, to again consider. God is saying, "Consider, consider, consider your priorities." What is first in your life? What is taking the prime place in your mind and in your life?
After the shaking of the world, after the destruction of this present material world as it is, then the Desire of nations will come. The glorious coming again of Jesus Christ, and then the glory of God once again filling the temple.
The temple, of course, is described in the book of Ezekiel.
The silver is mine, the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts ( Haggai 2:8-9 ).
So this marvelous prophecy of Haggai when the Lord returns, the Desire of nations and the glory of God fills the temple. It is in that place that the Lord will give peace.
Now in the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, [so now we are two months after the first prophecy] in the second year of Darius, [same second year of Darius] came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one is bearing holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt he does touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No ( Haggai 2:10-12 ).
Now, there were all kinds of laws that God gave in Leviticus concerning holy and unholy things. So there were many ways by which you could defile yourself. Then anything you touched would become defiled. If you would touch a dead body, then you would be considered unholy. And, if you touched anything else, then that would also be considered unholy. So he's asking, "The priest is bearing this holy flesh, and with his skirt he touches something that is common, is the holy flesh then still considered holy?" The answer then is no.
It is interesting how that the priest and the scribes and Pharisees in the days of Jesus, when they would go down the street, would wrap their coats tightly around them. Because they didn't want their coats flaring out and touching some unclean person. So they were very careful not to let their robes flare around. They might accidentally hit one of you unclean persons and they would be defiled. This is that kind of holiness that Jesus, of course, spoke so much against, this hypocritical kind of a thing. "I'm holier than thou. Don't touch me because I'm too holy to be touched, or be in touch with people." They, of course, found fault with Jesus because He ate with the common people. He ate with the sinners and the publicans. He would partake of the same soup with them, or the same bread. They found fault with Him for that.
Now the second question:
If one that is unclean by a dead body, [that is, if he has touched a dead body, and is thus ceremonially unclean] and if he touches any of these things, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, Yes, it would be unclean, if he would touch anything being in an unclean state. Then answered Haggai, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean ( Haggai 2:13-14 ).
So this law of that which is unclean by touching unclean things, there was this mixture. Trying to mix the spiritual with the material, and the Lord said, "Hey, it's all unclean."
And now I pray you, consider [and again, the calling for the consideration] from this day onward, from before the stone was laid upon the stone in the temple of the LORD: Since those days were, when one came to a heap of twenty measures, and there were but ten: one came to the pressvat to draw fifty vessels out of the press, but there were only twenty ( Haggai 2:15-16 ).
In other words, "From these days that you had your shortages, these days when there wasn't enough to go around, the days before you started this building again of the temple. Now mark this, and consider this."
When I smote you with the blasting and the mildew and the hail of all of the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to me, saith the LORD. But consider now from this day onward, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider now this. Is the seed yet in the barn? yes, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day [the Lord said] I will bless you ( Haggai 2:17-19 ).
So He's saying now, "Look, you've been going through some rough times financially. You haven't had enough to go around. You've been going through hard times, but it's because your priorities were wrong. You were putting your needs and yourself first. Put Me first, and I'll take care of your needs."
Now as they began to build the temple again, and began to give themselves in the labor in the temple, the prophet came and said, "Now look, mark this day. Things are gonna change. From here on out you're going to have plenty. Now you've got your priorities straight. Now you've put God in the place where He should be, first in your life. Having put God first, God will now take care of you, and God will now provide for you."
Such is a universal truth and a universal law that knows no time, that knows no dispensation. Put God first in your life, and God will take care of the rest of the things of your life. Put the things of your life first, and you're always gonna be running short. You'll never have enough. It is a fallacy of spiritual logic to say, "We will start tithing when we have enough money to do so." It's like the fellow says, "I'm gonna get married just as soon as I have enough money to do so." He's still a bachelor; he'll never have enough. You've got to step out in faith.
Now once again the word of the Lord came to Haggai, the fifth time, the final time.
In the twenty fourth day of the month the same day ( Haggai 2:20 ),
So in two months all of Haggai's prophecies. I find that very fascinating. I've been at it for years and years and years.
Speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the eaRuth ( Haggai 2:21 );
This, again, is a reference to the Great Tribulation period.
I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, I will destroy the strength of kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, I will take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and I will make thee as a sign: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts ( Haggai 2:22-23 ).
Now in the book of Revelation, chapter 11, John speaks of the two witnesses that God is going to send. One of the two witnesses we know to be Elijah from the last word of the Old Testament, the book of Malachi, where the Lord said, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." So Elijah preceding the Lord; one of the two witnesses.
There has been an awful lot of speculation as to the identity of the second witness. Some have said Enoch. Because he did not die but was translated into heaven, and Elijah did not die, so these two men come to meet their appointment with death. Others say Moses, because Moses represented the law, and Elijah represented the prophets. Those spokesmen for God to the people, or to the Jewish nation, always the law and the prophets speak to the Jews.
I've never shared with anybody my beliefs on this. I've always given the options that have been spoken of by the various Bible teachers. But I personally feel that Zerubbabel will be the other witness. Because the Lord here declares that when He comes to overthrow the throne and the kingdoms, to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen, that, "I will take thee, O Zerubbabel, My servant, and I will make thee as a sign. For I have chosen thee saith the Lord of hosts."
Now, not to just dump that on you without anything else. In chapter 4 of the book of Zechariah ( Zechariah 4:0 ), which we will be getting next week. Let me give you just a little insight into next week's.
And the angel that talked with me came again, and he waked me as a man that is awakened out of his sleep. And he said unto me, "What do you see?" And I said, "I've looked, and behold, there's a candlestick of all gold, with a bowl up on the top of it, and seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes are leading to the seven lamps which are on the top of it. And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl, and the other on the left side." So I answered, and I spake to the angel that talked with me saying, "What are these my lord?" And the angel that talked with me answered, and said unto me, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord." Then he answered and said unto me, "This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord of hosts.'" Who are thou, O great mountain before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain, and shall bring forth a headstone thereof with shoutings crying, "Grace, grace unto it" ( Zechariah 4:1-7 ).
So here is Zerubbabel, the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel signified in these two olive trees with the pipes that lead into the candlesticks.
Now in the book of Revelation, chapter 11, where we read of these two witnesses, beginning with verse Haggai 2:3 ( Revelation 11:3 ), "And I will give power unto My two witnesses and they shall prophesy 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth." We are told that the candlestick was actually the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, "Not by might, nor by power," and so here that prophecy, or that of Zerubbabel is referred to in Revelation in context with the two witnesses. Something to think about. Doesn't really make any difference, but it's interesting with all of the speculation. Throw that into the hopper too.
Shall we pray.
Father, how our hearts yearn for the return of Jesus Christ. How the world so desperately needs the touch of His love, the experiencing of His grace, and His saving power. Lord, we see the earth being shaken now, the kingdoms being shaken. We see the turmoil, the distress, the perplexities. O Lord, how we need for Your kingdom to come and Your will to be done here on this earth. Lord, man in exercising his own will, following his own passions and greed has almost destroyed this beautiful planet that You have created. We've raped its resources. We've polluted its atmosphere and waters. O God, how we plundered and ravaged Thy beautiful world. Oh God, how desperately we need Your help. How desperately the world needs Your help tonight. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, establish Your kingdom. Bring peace and righteousness, lest man destroy himself. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Shall we stand.
May the Lord bless and keep you through the week. May He increase your understanding of His love and of His purpose for your life. May He help you as you consider your own priorities.
They talk about the triangle with a broad base, and that every time you cut off from the bottom of the base you are decreasing the size of the triangle, to where if you continue to cut off, ultimately you'll be left with just the apex. Now, if all of the things were cut off, the extraneous under your life, until there was only the apex left, what would be the apex of your life? What is the top priority? What is that which you hold most dear? If it is anything other than Jesus Christ, you're not a Christian. He should be the last to go. He should be top, the apex of your whole existence, the Lord of your life. "Consider," the Lord says, "now consider this, now consider this." And go ahead and consider your own life this week, how much time you're giving to television, and how much time you're giving to your fellowship with Him. How much time you're giving to your hobbies; how much time you're giving to Him. Consider yourself, your life. Maybe there's a reason behind some of the problems you're experiencing, because your priorities are wrong. You get your priorities right, and I guarantee, mark this date the fourth month and the eighteenth day. Things will change if you get your priorities right. God bless you as you examine your own heart and your life, and examine your priorities, and as you seek to make things right with God. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Haggai 2". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29