Hag. 1:1-11 π Hag. 1:2 π Hag. 1:8 π Mt. 7:21-23 π Mt. 13:41 π Mt. 16:18 π Lk. 19:13 π Acts 5:11-13 π 1 Cor. 3:9 π 1 Cor. 3:10 π 1 Cor. 3:12-13 π 1 Cor. 12:27 π 2 Cor. 11:4 π Gal. 1:8-9 π Eph. 2:18 π Eph. 2:18-22 π Eph. 2:19 π Eph. 2:20 π Eph. 2:21 π Eph. 2:22 π Eph. 4:16 π 1 Tim. 3:4-5 π 1 Tim. 3:12 π Heb. 5:9 π 1 Pet. 4:1 π 2 Pet. 2:3; 2nd π 1 Jn. 3:8 π Rev. 20:10
In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the
LORDcame by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, "Thus speaks the LORDof hosts, saying: 'This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built."'"
Then the word of the
LORDcame by Haggai the prophet, saying, "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?"
Now therefore, thus says the
LORDof hosts: "Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD. "You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORDof hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands." ( Hag. 1:1-11; top )
As we begin to look at the secondary meanings contained in this passage - the first or primary application being to the people who rebuilt the physical temple under Zerubbabel between 536 and 516 B.C., a people long dead and gone - let us realize that the passage also speaks of our co-laboring with the Spirit of Christ to build His temple, the body of Christ in the end time. As such, some things that Haggai says will take on a spiritual connotation directly applicable to our time. We can do this with this passage because the prophecies contain elements that can only be applied to end time events. What applied to the people of 500 B.C. in a physical sense will also apply - in ways the Spirit of truth will reveal to us - to those alive at the end of the age.
But what does it mean to build the temple of the New Covenant? Paul wrote, "For through [Christ] we both [Jew and Gentile] 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 joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit." ( Eph. 2:18-22; top )
The people of Christ are ending what can only be called a "Babylonian captivity." The "church," like its predecessor the synagogue (which was a product of Israel's Babylonian captivity and not something ordered or organized by the Lord), has assimilated so many unspiritual and even pagan elements that those who desire Jesus and the will of God for their lives have found it necessary to make their exodus from the "church," that institutionalized counterfeit of assembly and corporate life in Christ. During this "Babylonian captivity," any man (with the backing of some well-funded, like-minded promoters and sycophants, yes-men) could go anywhere he wanted to, preach the "gospel" however he liked to and create a "church" as large as the crowd he could draw in with his own personal charisma and oratorical skills. But this is not building the real house of the Lord.
Let us note the complexity of Paul's description:
- First, we must have access to the Father by the one Spirit. (v. 18 - a preacher coming in, with or by another spirit is a scheme of the devil to deceive the people of Christ. See 2 Cor. 11:4 )
- Second, we are now fellow citizens in Christ's kingdom, saints (people set apart for the will and purpose of God) and members of God's household or family. (v. 19 )
- Third, we were built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ as the chief cornerstone. (v. 20 - any other hierarchical structure is a counterfeit.)
- Fourth, the whole building, being joined together ( "...by what every joint supplies..." - Eph. 4:16 ), grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (v. 21 )
- And fifth, we are also being built together for a habitation, a dwelling place, for God. (v. 22; top )
Jesus said, "...I will build My ekklesia..." ( Mt. 16:18; top ) And a good thing too! Building something as complex as this requires that He build it! There just is no way any man could build simultaneously the kingdom, the household, the body, the temple and the house of God and Christ! It does not matter how good of an organizer, promoter or speaker he is! This is a work only Christ can do!
So then why does Paul say, "...as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation [Christ], and another builds on it."? ( 1 Cor. 3:10 ) The answer is found in the preceding verse: "For we are God's fellow workers...you are God's building." ( 1 Cor. 3:9 ) Only as we co-labor with God - and it may very well be that we will not know the real nature of our building techniques and materials until judgment day ( 1 Cor. 3:12-13 , Mt. 7:21-23; top ) - that we can truly simultaneously build the kingdom, household, body, temple and house of God and Christ.
Paul also told us, "Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually." ( 1 Cor. 12:27; top ) As we begin to apply the secondary meanings of the word of the Lord to the prophet Haggai, we must ask the Lord to what extent we should receive the rebuke as unto our own life.
One of the more persistent "failures" (actually it is a huge success when seen from the devil's point of view) of the "church" has been to segregate the people into various categories. The aged are divided off into the "silver saints," the singles to the "singles group," the divorced to the "rebuilders," the alcoholics and addicts (when not entirely snubbed and avoided) to the "twelve steppers," and the children hustled off to "Sunday school" and "youth group" - succeeding only in creating, promoting and perpetuating an impersonal "ministry" method that cannot be found (without inserting one's own preconceived paradigm into a text and then wrenching and twisting the text to "fit") anywhere in the Scriptures.
Those who, in pursuit of Jesus and His will for their lives, have exited the "church," have rightly placed a renewed emphasis on family life. The man is first to be a husband and then a father. If he does not do these well, he is not fit for any leadership roles in the context of the people of Christ ( 1 Tim. 3:4-5 , 12; top ) - no matter what religious titles he has appended to his name ("apostle," "prophet," "pastor," "elder," "deacon," etc.) This re-emphasis on the husband and father being the prophet and priest to his own family first is indeed a good thing - but, like the Israelites who returned to Jerusalem and began to build paneled houses for themselves while God's temple lay in ruins, it has become a thing of misplaced priority and, in some cases, outright idolatry.
It is fairly easy to see the false teachings and errors of the health and wealth, prosperity "gospel." What is not so easy to see is when our labors to care for our family become too self-centered and too me-and-mine oriented. It is God's order that a man care and provide for his own family. But (especially in America and other materialistically affluent countries) the line between adequate provision and striving for luxury, wealth and affluence has become hazed over with demonic deception on a grand scale. Not only must the traveling pilgrims cross through Vanity Fair to gain the Celestial City (see John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress), now most of "Christianity" is but another shop or booth in the Fair! Those who forsake all the material goods of this world so as to attain to Christ's truth are and always will be anathema, cursed, to the resident merchandisers of Vanity Fair. (also see 2 Pet. 2:3; top ) The materialistic, affluent culture is designed to cause a man to "provide for" his family to such an extent that he never recognizes that he lives in a paneled house while the temple of God - the people of Christ, the orphans, widows and least of Christ's brothers - lays in ruins and shambles. Those who have made their exodus from the "church" must also forsake this disobedience learned in and approved of at many "churches" if they wish to be among those who will reside in the new Jerusalem. Otherwise, these will be those who remain and die in the wilderness, content with their own version of "Christianity" according to what is right in their own eyes - not much different from the "church" after all.
Once one has ironed out with the Lord to what extent this rebuke applies to one's individual life, we must then seek the Lord as to how we can better co-labor with Him. It is a paradox that we cannot build what Christ is building but we are required to and judged, in part, by how well we've built! Again, this is because we are to co-labor with Him.
It is here that any leftovers of the "church" paradigm will resurface and make opportunity for the devil and the demonic to stir up individuals to practice further carnality in the name of Christ. To be the spotless, blameless bride of Christ means that we must walk in concert and coordinated step only with the Spirit of Christ. We must reject law as a means of attaining to righteousness (what is right in God's eyes) even as we live out, by His Spirit, the righteousness of Christ and so fulfill the law of God. We must reject human-originated intellectualisms, philosophies and methodologies even as we think the thoughts of the mind of Christ. We must certainly reject any demonic-originated teachings we have mistakenly believed to be truth and follow only the Spirit of truth. Anything less will prove to be just another version of "church," a counterfeit of true assembly and corporate life in Christ.
The Lord said of the people around Haggai, "They say it is not yet time for the Lord's house to be built." ( Hag. 1:2 ) Today, there is little or no expectation that the people who claim to follow Christ could ever attain to such a high standard. In part this is true because much of what is perceived as and what claims to be the body of Christ simply is not His body but is instead some counterfeit version of "church" or, if there is something of the life of Christ within, it is fascinatedly captivated in or by some false doctrine or practice. Some vainly expect a "pre-trib rapture" to be the means by which the Lord will purify His bride - even though this defies all logic (brides do not go to their wedding in putrid filth) and the Scriptures (which tell us that purification comes through suffering - 1 Pet. 4:1 , etc.; top)
That the bride will be blameless and spotless is a Scriptural reality. The real question is: What do we really believe? And whom do we really obey? The answers, if genuinely gained by the Spirit of Christ, will most likely change our lives.
We have to find the Spirit of truth's answer to the question, "Is it time for the people of Christ to be building the temple of Christ?" If we believe the answer to be "yes," then we must forsake all of our "church" structure notions and simply allow the Spirit of Christ to build His unified structure of kingdom, household, body, temple and house. This is not to say that every man should build as is right in his own eyes. We've tried that - it's how we got all those denominations and cults! Nor should we sit back and do nothing - doing nothing will never enable us to attend to His business until He returns. (see Lk. 19:13; top )
The key factor in building the real building of God will be unity of thought among those who truly desire Christ and the will of God above all else - unity with the mind of Christ. The book of Acts called this being "of one accord." This unity among the relatively small remnant (in comparison to the large masses of people falling away from the faith by attending "church") will be in agreement with the Scriptures and will do nothing apart from a rightly divided word of truth. Submitting to one another and to God (though troubled by our human condition of seeing dimly and hearing poorly) will be virtually the same thing and will be the standard of reality to which we all seek and even strive for according to the Spirit who works mightily in us. Those who desire something other than the will of God and who traffic in something other than the truth will become readily apparent and, if we are walking as we ought, these others will soon fear to join themselves to us. (see Acts 5:11-13; top )
We are to build His temple for His pleasure and His glory. ( Hag. 1:8 ) For far too long, the "gospel" has been preached as an eternal, spiritual "benefits package" that one can opt into in whole or in part as one sees fit. The Lord, the King, commands all men everywhere to repent of all sin and selfishness so that they can avoid the eternal hell for which they are bound and which they so rightly deserve! That His plan of salvation brings forth many benefits to men is secondary - those benefits being completely unavailable to those who do not obey the King. ( Heb. 5:9 ) Any "gospel" or "theology" that teaches otherwise is a false gospel or a deceptive theology and its perpetrators are cursed. ( Gal. 1:8-9 , 2 Pet. 2:3 ) For too long, "church" has brought glory and pleasure to men while God, in His forbearance, has waited for the wheat to mature so that the tares may be safely and eternally removed from His kingdom. ( Mt. 13:41 ) The devil's scheme has been to keep the tares in positions of "Christian" leadership so that the wheat does not mature and his time (before experiencing the complete destruction of all his works - 1 Jn. 3:8 - and his eternal judgment - Rev. 20:10; top ) is extended. The time has now come to forsake all such foolishness and get serious about the business of seeking first God's kingdom and His righteousness. If we will but truly do this, all the rest will fall into its rightful place.
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