Gen. 3:6 π Gen. 3:22 π Ex. 16:20 π Hag. 1:4 π Hag. 1:14-15 π Hag. 2:3 π Hag. 2:4-5 π Hag. 2:6-9 π Mt. 13:43 π Mt. 20:25-26 π Mt. 21:12-14 π Mt. 23:10 π Mt. 23:13 π Mt. 24:9 π Mt. 24:10 π Mt. 24:13 π Mk. 13:12 π Lk. 5:37-39 π Jn. 3:8 π Jn. 3:19 π Jn. 14:12 π Rom. 2:6-10 π Rom. 14:17 π 1 Cor. 2:10 π 1 Cor. 2:14 π 1 Cor. 4:20 π 1 Cor. 11:5 π 2 Cor. 6:14 π Gal. 3:24-25 π Eph. 4:13 π Eph. 5:27 π Phlp. 4:7 π Phlp. 4:13 π 1 Tim. 2:5 π 1 Tim. 2:11-12 π Heb. 1:3 π Heb. 4:12 π Heb. 5:12 π Heb. 12:25-29 π Rev. 13:7
Seven weeks earlier, the Lord had rebuked the people (who had been in Jerusalem for sixteen years now) for living in their luxurious paneled houses while His temple lay in ruins. ( Hag. 1:4 ) Three weeks after that rebuke, the remnant who lived in Jerusalem obediently gathered together and began to construct the temple of God. ( Hag. 1:14-15 ) Now, a month into construction, the people are discouraged because, even if they should succeed in building the temple, it will be paltry and pathetic in comparison to the previous temple which Solomon had built ( Hag. 2:3 ) and the Lord is now encouraging them, instructing them to be strong by His Spirit which is among them and to not be afraid. ( Hag. 2:4-5; top )
The word of the Lord to the people on this day through the prophet Haggai continues:
"For thus says the
LORDof hosts: 'Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the LORDof hosts. 'The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,' says the LORDof hosts. 'The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,' says the LORDof hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the LORDof hosts." ( Hag. 2:6-9; top )
Here is where the dual nature of Haggai's prophecies come most clearly into view. That is, these prophecies apply to the rebuilding of the temple in Haggai's day and they apply to the rebuilding of God's spiritual temple in the days surrounding the return of the King, Christ Jesus. In this passage, He is referred to as "the Desire of All Nations" and this title is rich in meaning.
In effect, the Lord is pointing out that all men desire God in one degree or another. This is why all peoples have some form of religion - there is a desire within every human heart to know or to be like or to worship or to serve or (in its distorted version) to be one's own deity - it's one of our built-in features. When people do not have the factual information about Christ (who is the express image of God whom all peoples desire - Heb. 1:3 ), one still finds elements of the nature of God being exalted, emulated or pursued - and the individual's pursuit or rejection of those elements will be the factors that will be reviewed on their final day of judgment. (see Rom. 2:6-10; top )
All men desire good things - that is, they want good things to happen to themselves and their loved ones. Deception enters in because men, in their limited scope of understanding and their inability to see things as God sees them, still insist on pursuing and obtaining what they perceive to be "good things" (whether they actually are or not and whether they're of any eternal value or not). Eve saw that the fruit was desirable ( Gen. 3:6 ) and she and Adam plunged the world into the devil's chaos and rebellion against God. And it remains a truth that God will not permit man to eat from the tree of life while he remains in his fallen state. ( Gen. 3:22 ) Only in Christ is the way of reconciliation back to God fully available to man. ( 1 Tim. 2:5 , etc.) and lawlessness (doing what is right in one's own eyes) still has nothing in common with righteousness (doing what is right in God's eyes - 2 Cor. 6:14 ). Though all men desire God and the Light has come and even lived among men, most men love their own evil darkness more and this is the source of God's judgment against them. ( Jn. 3:19; top ) God has placed within each human heart a strong desire for goodness, truth, beauty, love and light - those who reject that built-in "mechanism" of the heart in favor of evil, deception, chaos, hatred and darkness are those who rightfully earn His wrath as God remains a just and true God no matter what men think, say or do.
When Jesus came the first time, He brought the glory of the Lord into Herod's temple. The resulting clash between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of men cost Jesus His life but gained for us eternal salvation and participation in the divine nature of Christ and God. Jesus' resurrection and the subsequent outpouring of His Spirit clearly demonstrated the superior wisdom and power of His kingdom in comparison with the kingdoms of men and even of the devil and his demonic and (fallen) angelic hordes.
As we enter into what is commonly called "the last days" (a term not entirely accurate as they are truly only the last days before Christ's return - there will be many days after Christ returns as it will be some time before all things are drawn up into the eternal and time ceases to be), we must recognize what God intends - a great shaking.
Hear again how the writer of Hebrews quotes and applies this word of the Lord through the prophet Haggai:
"See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth [to Moses and the people of Israel at Mount Sinai], much more shall we not escape if we turn away from him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, 'Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.' Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." ( Heb. 12:25-29; top )
This is the same message Haggai delivered to the remnant in Jerusalem - but it is applied by the writer of Hebrews to a future time and to a shaking that has not yet happened in the scope portrayed. It is happening now in the individual lives of Christ's true followers as all hidden reliances on something other than Christ and God are being exposed and shaken away.
We need to note carefully what will be shaken - things which are made - and what will remain - the kingdom of Christ and God. We are told by Paul that the kingdom is not mere talk but power ( 1 Cor. 4:20 ) and that the kingdom is not a matter of food and drink but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ( Rom. 14:17; top ) The kingdoms of men are all about mere talk (sermons, seminars, conferences, speeches, teachings and lectures - the methods by which men draw followers after themselves) and about food and drink (the physical provision by which we all live). But the kingdom of God is something other, something transcendent, something far and above the ways of mere (carnal) men.
It is precisely here that men have consistently failed to grasp the kingdom. "The wind blows where it wishes," Jesus said, "and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." ( Jn. 3:8; top ) But this was too much for Nicodemus, a premier teacher of Israel of that day, to grasp. Why? Because Nicodemus thought that the power structure constructed by the Pharisees and Sadducees that surrounded and "protected" the Mosaic law was the way of God.
Likewise, the "pastor" (or any other man who imitates the "pastor" role but assumes another title) who sermonizes his congregation to sleep (or who enables them to practice "Christian" passivity and laziness by virtue of his teachings and lectures by which he supposedly "feeds the flock") has also presupposed that the "church" (as it is most commonly now practiced) is the way of God.
And the "apostle" who travels around and brings "revelation" to those who happen to prefer his particular methodology has mistakenly believed his "apostolic authority" to be the way God administers the kingdom.
Even the man who believes women are to always be silent in the assembly of believers has failed to grasp the whole counsel of God and has most often instituted his own form of government over the women of that assembly. A simple comparison of 1 Tim. 2:11-12 and 1 Cor. 11:5 (top) shows that completely silencing women in the assembly is an oversimplification. Yet this is often taught as being the way of God.
Men have routinely failed to recognize the difference between spiritual authority (that which issues directly from God, Christ or the Spirit through any believer) and natural authority (that which issues forth from some man or men who believe, whether rightly or wrongly, that they have the inherent, delegated authority to issue their commands and edicts). Men have most often tried to wield natural authority over the people of God and have only created yet another tradition of man that tries to restrict and control the wind (the Holy Spirit) as it blows through and among the people of Christ. Jesus said that wielding natural authority was not the way of His kingdom. ( Mt. 20:25-26 , etc.; top) Wherever natural authority was utilized in the Scriptures, it is always a temporary solution (like a cast on a broken arm) until the spiritual man rises up in maturity and power.
The law is meant to be merely a tutor to bring us to Christ and was never meant to be a way of enslaving men in bondage to other men's interpretations of the law. ( Gal. 3:24-25 ) To use the law as a means of wielding power over others is simply the way of standing in front of the door to the kingdom, neither going in one's self nor allowing others to enter. ( Mt. 23:13; top )
The shepherd (the real word behind the modern, distorted usage of "pastor") is one who cares for the sheep, sharing his life with them and even laying down his own life to rescue even one of the flock. The modern "pastor" more resembles a university professor and lecturer, the very kind of person Jesus said not to be! ( Mt. 23:10 ) Any teaching service to the people of Christ must quickly produce mature saints and leaders (see Heb. 5:12 , etc.; top) capable of hearing, following and obeying the Spirit of Christ for themselves or there is something very wrong and misguided about that "ministry."
The apostle - along with the other four leadership giftings (the prophet, the evangelist, the shepherd and the teacher) is also a temporary gifting until the whole of the assembly comes to unity in the one faith and the knowledge of the Son of God (or of being a son of God), to a perfect (or mature) man, to the measure of the stature (height) of the fullness of Christ. ( Eph. 4:13; top ) Any other result from any man claiming apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral or teaching authority indicates that either the man is a fraud or else his methodology is tainted and contaminated with false ideas and practices.
But men love their authority structures and hierarchies for by them they can control their own lives and destinies - or so they suppose - and they can control other people as well. But the man who submits to the Spirit is unpredictable and therefore uncontrollable and dangerous to the natural man in his exalted "church" position who cannot even receive the things of God. ( 1 Cor. 2:14 ) The kingdom, body, house, temple and family that God and Christ are building is a thing of the Spirit - it is not a thing of the physical realms. Everything that men have built apart from their co-laboring with Christ will be shaken and will fall. Men, in the physical realms, can build earthquake resistant buildings - but that which is spirit is completely untouched and unmoved by all physical shakings because it is of a different nature and realm altogether. Men in their co-laboring with Christ and God can indeed utilize natural authority structures in order to attain to a higher way fro all during a temporary time and season in regards to certain particular situations. But that temporary structure is not the way of God any more than a cast is to remain permanently on a broken arm. In fact, a cast that is left in place too long brings disease, loss of limb and even life - just as an old wineskin destroys the new wine ( Lk. 5:37-39 ) and yesterday's manna (representative of the Bread from heaven and the Word of life) breeds worms and rots ( Ex. 16:20; top )
The spiritual structure that Christ is building is the bone, sinew and flesh beneath the cast - and men can do nothing (of themselves) to aid in or prevent the building of that limb. They can only include or exclude themselves in God's building process! When a cast or manmade structure (an old wineskin or old revelation, "yesterday's manna") becomes too constrictive, the Holy Spirit will break apart the box men have built to contain Him and restrain Him, leading those people who will obey Him into a deeper walk with God no matter how much the old authority structure protests and cries, "Heresy!"
That the Spirit is building a spiritual body is why "the word of God is living and powerful, and shaper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." ( Heb. 4:12 - emphasis added; top) The word that God speaks cuts through all manmade obstructions and separates soul from spirit and judges and discerns between body parts who are in conflict with one another. We do well if we can discern between the words that God speaks and those words which men (or even demons) speak!
God says that He will fill His temple with His glory. In fulfillment of Haggai's prophecies, Jesus literally fulfilled that promise when, directly after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He went into the temple and cleared out the swindling, cheating money changers and healed the blind and lame who came to Him there. ( Mt. 21:12-14 ) In the end times, God has promised that "the righteous [those right in God's eyes] will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." ( Mt. 13:43; top )
God's promise is that the glory (reputation, honor) of the latter temple will be greater than the glory of the former. To make this clear to the remnant in Jerusalem, God reminds them that the silver and gold are His - and even Solomon's great wealth by which he built the former temple first belonged to the Lord and was but a small portion of the Lord's resources! Likewise, Jesus promised that those who believe in Him would do "greater works" than He did. ( Jn. 14:12; top ) Whether this means that those who believe in Christ will do miracles more "spectacular" than those Christ did or that because there are multitudes of believers, the cumulative result will be greater than Christ's three-year ministry, the promise remains - and is yet to be fulfilled. This is what the builders of Christ's end-time building will accomplish - greater glory for the Father because they are co-laboring with Christ. What an opportunity and privilege - and one that is largely forfeited by routine, mundane "church" attendance!
In this place of co-laboring with Christ, God will give peace - the peace that goes beyond human understanding. ( Phlp. 4:7 ) Though the entire might of the enemy (the devil and his hordes) and the world is united in ridiculing, hating, persecuting and even executing the followers of Christ ( Mt. 24:9 , Rev. 13:7 ) - even though spouses, parents and children will either be taken from us or will themselves turn on us and betray us to those in authority ( Mt. 24:10 , Mk. 13:12 ) - we will be able to do all things through Christ who gives us strength ( Phlp. 4:13 ) and we will endure to the end so as to be saved. ( Mt. 24:13; top ) What a promise!
But this promise is only accessible to the spiritual man who, by the Spirit of God, partakes of the deep things of God. ( 1 Cor. 2:10 ) The man who partakes of the deep truths of God but still clings to some manmade tradition or "theology" stands in a precarious position - his unrepentant grasp on the unclean thing that can and will be shaken may well be the very thing that propels him out of the kingdom which cannot be shaken. The bride for which the King returns will be without spot or wrinkle or blemish or any such thing. ( Eph. 5:27; top )
Let he who has ears hear.
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