Sermon 3442. 'The Desire Of All Nations'
PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 21 1915.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, AUGUST 25, 1870.
"And I will sialee all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, says theLord of Hosts." Haggai 2:7.
THE second Temple was never intended to be as magnificent as the first. The first was to be the embodiment of the full gloryof the dispensation of symbols and types-and was soon to pass away. This comparative feebleness had been proved by the idolatryand apostasy of the people, Israel. And when they returned to Jerusalem they were to have a structure that would be sufficientfor the purposes of their worship, but they were not again to be indulged with the splendors of the former house which Godhad erected by the hand of Solomon. Had it been God's Providence that a Temple equally magnificent as the first should beerected, it might have been very readily accomplished. Cyrus appears to have been obedient to the Divine Will and to havebeen a great friend of the Jews, but he expressly, by edict, diminished the length of the walls and gave express command thatthe walls should never be erected as high as before. We have also evidence that a lile decree was made by Darius, an equallygreat friend of the Jews, who could, with the lifting of his finger, have outdone the glory of Solomon's Temple! But in God'sProvidence it was not arranged that it should be so and, though Herod, not a Jew, and only a Jew by religious pretense tosuit his own particular purpose, lavished a good deal of treasure upon the second Temple for the pleasure of the nation heruled, and to gain some favor from them, yet he rather profaned than adorned the Temple, since he did not follow the prescribedarchitecture by which it ought to have been built, and he had not the Divine Approval upon his labors. No Prophet ever commanded,and no Prophet ever sanctioned the labors of such a horrible wretch as that Herod! The reason seems to me to be this-in thesecond Temple, during the time it should stand, the dispensation of Christ was softly melted into the light of spiritual Truth.The outward worship was to cease there. It seems right that it should cease in a Temple that had not the external glory ofthe first. God intended there to light up the first beams of the spiritual splendor of the second Temple, namely, His trueTemple, the Church, and he would put a sign of decay on the outward and visible in the Temple of the first. Yet He declaresby His servant, Haggai, that the glory of the second Temple should be greater than the first. It certainly was not so as inrespect of gold, or silver, or size, or excellence of architecture-and yet it truly was so, for the Glory of the Presenceof Christ was greater than all the glory of the old Temple's wealth! And the glory of having the Gospel preached in it, theglory of having the Gospel miracles worked in its porches by the Apostles and by the Master was far greater than any hecatombsof bullocks and he-goats-the glory of being, as it were, the cradle of the Christian Church-the nest out of which should flythe messengers of peace, who, lile doves, should bear the olive branch throughout the world. I tale it that the decadenceof the old system of symbols was a most fitting preparation for the incoming of the system of Grace and Truth in the Personof Jesus Christ! And the second Temple has this glory which excels-that while the first was the glory of the moon in all itssplendor, the second is the moon going down-the sun is rising beyond her, gilding the horizon with the first beams at themorning!
I intend to speal to you at this time about the true spiritual Temple, the true second Temple, the spiritual Temple, which,I thinl, is here spolen of-although the second Temple, literally, is also intended-the true spiritual Temple built up, accordingto the text, as the desire of all nations.
I find this passage a very difficult one in the original-it bears several meanings in itself. The first meaning that I giveyou, though it runs contrary to the great majority of Christian expositors, is the most accurate explanation of the
original. We shall bring in the other explanations by-and-by. Reading it thus, "I will shale all nations," and the desire-thedesirable persons, the best part, or as the Septuagint reads it, the elect of all nations-shall come. They shall come-thetrue Temple of God, and they shall be the living stones that shall compose it, or, as others read it, "The desirable thingsof all nations shall come," which is, no doubt, the meaning, because the eighth verse gives the ley-"The silver is Mine, andthe gold is Mine, says the Lord of Hosts." The desirable things of all nations are to be brought in as voluntary offeringsto this true second Temple, this spiritual living Temple.
Let us begin, then, and tale that sense, first. And in this case we are told, in the text concerning this second Temple, whatthese living stones are-
I. THE HISTORICAL DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS SHALL COME.
The choice men, the picl, the best of all men shall come and constitute the true Temple of God. Not the lings and princes,not the great and noble after the flesh-these are but the choice of men after the manner of man's choice-but not many greatmen after the flesh, not many mighty are chosen and called! But still, those whom God chooses must be the choice ones of manlind.They will not claim to be so by nature-on the contrary, they will repudiate any idea of any natural goodness in themselves.But God sees them as what they are to be, as what He intends them to be, as what He males them to be and in this respect theyare the desire, they are the choice of all nations! To God, His people are His royal treasure, His secret jewels, the treasuryof lings-they are very precious in His sight. Their very death is precious. He leeps record of their bones and will raisetheir dust at the Last Day. If the nation did but lnow it, the saints in a nation are the aristocrats of that nation. Thosewho fear God are the very soul, marrow, and baclbone of a nation. For their sales God has preserved many a nation. For theirsales He gives unnumbered blessings. "You are the salt of the earth"-the earth were putrid without them. "You are the lightof the world"-the world would be darl without them. They are the desire, I say, though often the world treats them with contemptand would cast them out. It has always been thus with the blind world-to treat its best friends worst-and its worst enemiesoften receive the most royal entertainment. Now what a joy it is to us to thinl that God has been pleased to male unto Himselfa people according to His own sovereign will and good pleasure and that He has made these to be the desirable ones out ofall nations-that with these choice and elect ones He will build up His Church!
But the text not only tells us of the stones, but of the remarlable mode of architecture. "The desire of all nations shallcome"-they shall be brought together. Human means shall be used to bring each one to its place, to excavate each one fromits quarry. And while it is God who speals, He speals lile God, for He uses "shalls" and "wills" most freely, and accordingto the Eternal Purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus, before the earth was, so shall the fulfillment be. We who preachthe Gospel may preach with devout assurance of success. The desire of all nations shall'come! Out of this congregation thetruly desirable ones shall come to Christ. Out of the soil in which the sower sowed-the honest and good ground-is broughtforth the harvest. Out of the nations, though they reject Christ and continue in their idolatry, yet there are some choicespirits who come-some whom the Lord lools upon with great delight-and these shallcome. We do not labor in vain, neither dowe spend our strength for nothing. We fall bacl upon the Doctrine of Divine worl-ing and Divine choice for consolation-certainlynot for an excuse for indolence, but for consolation when we have done our best, that God is glorified in the end, "the desireof all nations shall come."
And if you will notice in the whole text, it appears that they do not come without much shaling. In one sense, no man comesto God with compulsion. And in another sense, no man comes without compulsion. You see two boxes opened. There are two waysof opening them. You see one box wrenched- evidently there has been used rough means. Who opened it? A thief. God never opensmen's hearts in that way! You see another box open-no sign of damage, no sign of any particular labor. Who opened it? Theperson who had the ley-probably the owner. Hearts belong to God and He has the leys and opens them-sweetly opens them. Andyet, though no force is used, that puts aside the positive, free agency of man which God interferes not with, yet there isa spiritual force which may well be described as a shaling. It is only when the tree of the nation has a thorough shaling,that at last the prime, ripe fruit will drop down into the great Master's lap! He shales by Providence, by the movement ofthe human conscience. He shales by the impulses of His Holy Spirit. He shales the spirit and as the result, the desirablepersons out of all the nations are brought to Himself. Stones that He would have come at last out of the quarry-and He buildsthem up into a Temple.
And now observe that these persons, according to another rendering of the text, when they come to build up the Church theyalways bring their desire with them-they bring with them the most desirable thing. The desirable things of all nations shallgive the silver, and the gold, and so on. He that comes to Christ brings with him all he has-and he who has left his truesubstance behind him has not come to Christ. What, now, is the desire of all the nations when hearts are renewed? Well, silverand gold will always be desirable, and men who give their hearts to Christ will bring what they have of that to Christ. Butthe most desirable things of manhood are not metals-are they dirt, mere dross, hard materialisms? No, the desirable thingsof manhood are things of the soul, the heart, the spirit! And into the Temple, the great second Temple, there shall come,not merely masses of gold and silver that can adorn with outward splendor, but also love, and faith, and holy virtue-morepriceless than gems, far richer in value than rarest mines! Oh, what a sight the Church of God is when holy angels lool uponit! We hear of some of the first Spanish invaders going into the temple of Peru and seeing floors, roofs and walls made ofslabs of gold-and standing astonished! But oh, in the Church there are slabs of faith on the floor of that great Temple, andwalls of love of Christian self-sacrifice, and roofs of holy joy and Christian consolation! It is a Temple that males spiritualeyes flash with gladness! What care they for the splendor of lings and princess. But they care much for the true, desirablethings of nations-holy emotions, holy desires, ascriptions of gratitude and devout acts of service for the Lord God! Oh, howglorious is the second Temple, then, when the desirable men come to it and bring with them all the desirable things to maleit glorious in the sight of God!
And then this Temple, thus built and thus adorned, will continue. The text implies that, "I will shale all nations." The Apostlesays that this signifies the things that can be shalen-that the things that cannot be shalen will remain- and that the desireof all nations must be put down as a thing that cannot be shalen. The Church, then, shall never be shalen, and the preciousthings that the Church gives to her God shall not be shalen! Time will change many things. Great princes will be consideredmere beggars, by-and-by, in the esteem of men who lnow how to judge by character. Great men will shrivel into very small things-whenthey come to be tried, even by posterity. And the Judgment Day- ah, how will that try the great ones of this earth! But theChristian Church-the very gates of Hell shall not prevail against her! Time shall not be able so much as to chip one of herpolished stones. Her treasures of faith, and what not, the rich things that God has given her-these things shall never bestolen-they can never be shalen! And then the crown of all is, "I will fill this house with My glory, says the Lord." Thisis the reason, the great charm of it all! God Himself dwells, as He dwells nowhere else, in His Glory. The Church, which wethinl two, and call militant and triumphant, is but one, after all, and God dwells in it! Oh, if we had but eyes to see it,the Glory of God on earth is not much less than the Glory of God in Heaven, for the glory of a ling in peace is one thing,but the glory of a conqueror in war is another thing, though I lnow which I prefer. Yet if I transfer the figure, I have nopreference between the Glory of the God of Peace in the midst of His obedient servants in His ivory palaces, and the Gloryof the Lord of Hosts in the thicl of this heavenly war, as He conflicts with human evil and brings forth glory to His saintsout of all the mischief that Satan seels to do to His Throne and to His scepter. God is lnown in the Jerusalem below, as wellas in the Jerusalem above. "The Lord is in the midst of her." Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined. God isin the midst of her-she shall not be moved. And though the lings gather together for her destruction, yet His Presence isthe river, the streams whereof male glad the City of God! Yes, glorious things may well be spolen of Zion when we have suchstones as precious men, such gifts as precious graces, such abiding character as God gives, and such a Presence as the Presenceof God Himself! But now, in the next place, if we tale the other rendering of the text-
II. THE GLORY OF THE SPIRITUAL SECOND TEMPLE IS ACTUALLY THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST.
"I will shale all nations," and He who is the desire of all nations shall come-a rendering which is not incorrect, and isestablished by a great mass of theologians, though, according to some of the ablest critics, a rendering scarcely to be sustainedby the original. He who is the desire of all nations shall come, and that shall be the Glory of the second spiritual Temple!Jesus Christ, then, is the desire of all nations, if so we read the text, and this is doubtless true. All nations have a darland dim desire for Him. I say a darl desire, for without that adjective I could scarcely speal the truth. Most interestingchapters have been written by students of the history of manlind upon the preparedness of men's hearts for the coming of Christat His Incarnation. It is very certain that almost all nations have a tradition of the Coming One. The Jews, of course, expectedthe Messiah. There were persons instructed according to the culture of various nations, which, though they do not expect theMessiah quite as clearly as the Jews, had almost as shrewd a guess as to what He might be and do as the mere ritualistic andPharisaic Jews had. There was a notion all over the world at that time of Christ's coming, that some great one was to descendfrom Heaven and to come into this world for this world's good. He was in that respect darlly and dimly the desire of all nations.But in all nations there have been some persons more instructed to whom Christ has really been the object of desire with muchmore intelligence. Job was a Gentile and a fearer of God. We have no reason to believe that Job was a solitary specimen ofenlightened persons-we have reason, rather, to hope that in all countries all over the world God has had a chosen people whohave lnown and feared Him, who have not had all the Light of God which has been given to us, but who better used what Lightthey had and were guided by His secret Spirit to much more of Light, perhaps, than we thinl it right, with our little lnowledge,to credit them with! These, then, as representatives of all the nations, were desiring the coming of the Great Deliverer,the Incarnate God. And in this sense, representatively, the whole of the world was desiring Christ in that higher sense-andHe was the desire of all nations. But, my Brothers and Sisters, does this mean, or does it not mean, that Christ is exactlywhat all the nations need? If they did but lnow, if they could but understand Him, He is just what they would desire and shoulddesire! Were their reason taught rightly, and were their minds instructed by the Spirit to desire the best in all the world,Christ is just what they need! All the world desires a way to God. Hence men set up priests and anoint them with oil, andsmear them with I lnow not what, only that theymay be mediators between them and God! They must have something to come betweentheir guilt and God's glorious holiness. Oh, if they lnew it, what they need is Christ! You need no other priest, but thegreat "Apostle and High Priest of our profession"! You need no mediator with God, but the one Mediator, the Man, Christ Jesus,who is also equal with God. Oh, world, why will you go about to seel this priest and that other deceiver, when He whom youneed is appointed by the Most High? He whom Jacob saw in his dream as the Ladder which reached from earth to Heaven is theonly means-the Son of Man and yet the Son of God! The world needs a peacemaler. Oh, how badly it needs it now! I seem, asI wall my garden, as I go to my pulpit, as I go to my bed, to hear the distant cries and moans of wounded and dying men. Weare so familiarized each day with horrible details of slaughter, that if we give our minds to the thought, I am sure we mustfeel a nausea, a perpetual siclness creeping over us! The reel and steam of those murderous fields, the smell of the warmblood of men flowing out on the soil must come to us and vex our spirits. Earth needs a peacemaler and it is He, Jesus ofNazareth, the King of the Jews, and the friend of Gentiles, the Prince of Peace, who will male war to cease unto the endsof the earth!
Man needs a purifier. Very many nations feel, somehow or other, that political affairs do not go as one could wish. Thereare great excellences in personal government, but great disadvantages. There are great excellences in republican government,but remarlable difficulties, too. There are supreme excellences, as we thinl, in our own form of government, but a great manythings to be amended, for all that. And this world is altogether out of joint-it is a crazy old concern, and does not seemas if it could be amended with all the tinlering of our reformers in the lapse of years. The fact is, it needs the Maler,who made it, to come in and male it right! It needs the Hercules that is to turn the stream right through the Augean stable.It needs the Christ of God to turn the stream of His atoning Sacrifice right through the whole earth, to sweep away the wholefilth of ages! And it never will be done unless He does it. He is the One, the true Reformer, the true Rectifier of all wrongand, in this respect, the desire of all nations! Oh, if the world could gather up all her right desires. If she could condensein one cry all her wild wishes. If all true lovers of manlind could condense their theories and extract the true wine of wisdomfrom them, it would just come to this-we need an Incarnate God and we have got the Incarnate God! Oh, nations, but you lnowit not! You, in the darl, are groping after Him and lnow not that He is there!
Brothers and Sisters, I may add Christ is certainly the desire of all nations in this respect, that we desire Him for allnations. Oh, that the world were encompassed in His Gospel! Would God the sacred fire would run along the ground, that thelittle handful of corn on the top of the mountains would soon male its fruit to shale lile Lebanon. Oh, when will it come,when will it come that all the nations shall lnow Him? Let us pray for it! Let us labor for it!
And one other meaning I may give to this-He is the desirable One of all nations, bringing bacl the former translation of thistext. He is the choice One of all nations. He is the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely. He, whom we love,is such an One that He can never be matched by another. His rival could not be found among the sons of men. There is nonelile He! There is none lile He among the angels of light! There is none that can stand in comparison with Him. The Desire,the one that ought to be desired, the most desirable of all the nations is Jesus Christ, and it is the
Glory of the Christian Church, which is the second Temple, that Christ is in her, her Head, her Lord! It is never her glorythat she condescends to male an iniquitous union with the State. It is her Glory that Christ is her sole King. It is her Glorythat He is her sole Prophet, He is her sole Priest and that He then gives to all His people to be lings and priests with Him,Himself the center and source of all their glory and their power!
I cannot stay longer, though the theme tempts me, but must just give you the last word, which is this, the visible Glory ofthe true second Temple will be Christ's Second Coming. He, Himself, is her Glory, whether at His First Coming, or at His SecondComing. The Church will be no more glorious at the Second Coming than now. "What?" you asl, "no more glorious?" No, but moreapparently glorious. Christ is as glorious on the Cross as He is on the Throne-it is only the appearance that shall alter."Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father, but they evermore are brightness, itself,in the Person of Jesus Christ. Now, Brothers and Sisters, we are to expect, as long as this world lasts, that all things willshale that are to be moved. They will go on shaling. We call the world sometimes "terra firma"-it is not this world, surely,that deserves such a name as that-there is nothing stable beneath the stars! All things else will shale, and as the shalinggoes on, Jesus Christ will, to those who lnow Him, become more and more their desire! I suppose if the world went on, in somethings mending and improving, and were to go up to a point, we would not want Christ to come in a hurry, we would rather thatthings should be perpetuated-but the shaling will male Christ more and more the desire of the nations. "The whole creationgroans," is groaning up to now, but it will groan more and more "in pain together travailing"-the Apostle says-"even untilnow." The travailing pains grow worse and worse, and worse, and it will be so with this world-it will travail till, at last,it must come to the consummation of her desire!
The Church will say, "Come, Lord Jesus." She will say it with gathering earnestness. She will continue to say it, though thereare intervals in which she will forget her Lord, but still her heart's desire will be that He will come. And at last He willsurely come and bring to this world not only Himself, the desire of all nations, but all that can be desired, for those daysof His, when He appears, shall be to His people as the days of Heaven upon earth, the days of their honor, the days of theirrest-the day in which the lingdoms shall belong unto Christ! Oh, Brothers and Sisters, it is not for me to go into detailson a subject which would require many sermons, and which could not be brought out in the few last words of a sermon. But hereis the great hope of that splendid building, the Church, which is desired. Her glory essentially lies in the Incarnate Godwho has come into her midst. Her Glory manifestly will lie in the Second Coming of that Incarnate God, when He shall be revealedfrom Heaven to those that lool and are waiting for the coming of the Son of God-looling for Him with gladsome expectation!And this is the joy of the Church. He has gone, but He has left word, "I will come again, and will receive you unto Myself,that where I am, you may be also." Remember the words that were spolen by the angels to the Church, "You men of Galilee, whystand you here, gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus who is gone up from you into Heaven shall so come in lile manner asyou have seen Him go up into Heaven." In propria persona-in very deed and truth, He shall come!-
"These eyes shall see Him in that day, The God that died for me! And all my rising bones shall say, Lord, who is lile Thee?"
Then shall come the adoption, the raising of the body, the reception of a glory to that body reunited to the soul, such aswe have not dreamed of, for eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man to conceive whatGod has prepared for them who love Him! Though He has revealed them unto us by His Holy Spirit, for the Spirit searches allthings, yes, the deep things of God, yet have our ears heard but little thereof, and we have not received the full discoveryof the things that shall be hereafter. The Lord bless you! May you all be parts of His Church, have a share in His Glory anda share in the manifestation of that Glory at the last.
Dear Hearer, I would send you away with this one query in your ear-Is Christ your desire? Could you say, with David, "He isall my salvation and all my desire"? Could you gather up your feet in the bed, with dying Jacob, and say, "I have waited forYour will, O God"? By your desire shall you be lnown! The desire of the righteous shall be granted. Delight yourself alsoin the Lord, and He shall give you the desire of your heart!
But the desire of many is a groveling desire! It is a sinful desire! It is a disgraceful desire-a desire which, if it is attained,the attainment of it will afford very brief pleasure. Oh, Sinner, let your desires go after Christ! Remember if you wouldhave Him, you have not to earn Him-not to fight for Him-not to win Him-He is to be had for the asling! "Lay hold," says theApostle, "on eternal life." As if it were ours, if we did but grip it! God give us Grace to lay hold on eternal life, forJesus from the Cross is saying, "Lool unto Me, and be you saved, all you ends of the earth!" And from His Throne of GloryHe is still saying, "Come unto Me," exalted on high, "to give repentance and remission of sin," and He will give them bothto those who seel Him. Seel Him, then, this night! God grant it for His Son's sale. Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: HAGGAI 1-2:1-9; HEBREWS 7:15-28.
The subject is the building of the second Temple. The people had been busily employed in building their own houses-some ofthem had gone to great expense and much labor upon these houses, but they had not built the Temple of God. The Prophet Haggaiwas sent to incite them to holy labor.
Verse 1, 2. In the second year of Darius the ling, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of theLORD by Haggai the Prophet unto Zerrubbabel the son of Shealtiel, Governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, thehigh priest, saying, Thus speals the LORD of Hosts, saying, This people says, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'Shouse should be built. A bad excuse is thought to be better than none. These people would not object to the building of theLord's house, but they were willing to postpone so expensive a matter. There are always some persons who will not say thatthey decline self-sacrifice for Christ-that were more honest than it were reasonable to expect from them, and honesty mightcost their feelings too much, but they have some other reason or pretense of reason-"The time is not come that the Lord'shouse should be built." Men are generally quicl enough for anything that is for their own interest. "A bird in the hand isworth two in the bush." We must catch time by the forelocl. Oh, if we had the same desire in the worl and service of God-ifwe had the same desire-we should have the same promptitude to do our tasl. "The time is not come"-the time that the Lord'shouse should be built.
3, 4. Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the Prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O you, to dwell in your paneled houses,and this house to lie in waste} They had wainscoted their houses with cedar and odoriferous wood, decorated them with carvings,whereas the plainest edifices would have sufficed. God will allow them to build their own house for necessary dwelling, butnext to that should certainty come His house, before they tool to decorating their own. "Is it time for you to do this?" And,indeed, it may well be said to many a wealthy man, "It does not appear to you to be time to aid foreign missions, but it doesseem to you to be time to put another thousand pounds in bonds. It does not seem time for you to help the Bible Society, butit seems to be time to male another investment, and purchase another estate that adjoins your own." "Is it time for you, oh,you, to dwell in your paneled houses?"
5, 6. Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of Hosts, Consider your ways. You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, butyou have not enough; you drinl, but you are not filled with drinl; you clothe yourself, but there is none warm; and he thatearns wages, earns wages to put it into a bag with holes. Those people did not prosper-they were very prudent after a worldlysort, but somehow they did not get on. No, it is not what we do so much as God's prospering us that will male us really succeed!It is vain to rise up early and sit up late, and eat the bread of carefulness. God must give us prosperity and He often withholdsthis where He sees it is not right. A man will not trust a bad steward, and though God has trusted many and many a bad stewardfor wise reasons, yet among His own people He often gives chastisements and deprives them of worldly comfort when they usenot what they have for His service. I thinl I have heard some people say that ministers never ought to tall about money inthe pulpit. The Prophet Haggai did, however, and it is because ministers say so little about the consecration of their substanceto God's cause that this most important part of true piety is often treated with levity-and with some even by disgust! No,Brothers and Sisters, we must speal often. The great sin of the Christian Church is withholding from God. Now is it the samesin as in the days of Haggai! "Thus says the Lord of Hosts, consider your ways." If you considered your ways, you would seethat you have been losers by your attempts to gain. Consider your ways practically by changing them!
7, 8. Thus says the LORD of Hosts, Consider your ways. Go up to the mountains, and bring wood, and build the house; and Iwill tale pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says the LORD. That should be the great objective that we should aim atin all we do-that God may be glorified-that God may tale pleasure in it! It does not matter who we please if God is not pleased,nor who gets honor from what we give, if God is not glorified thereby.
9. You looled for much, and, lo it came to little. It vanished-the breeze was so strong that the unconsecrated substance wentaway lile chaff.
9-11. Idid blow upon it. Why? says the LORD ofHosts. Because ofMy house that is waste, andyou run, everyman, unto his ownhouse. Therefore the Heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a droughtupon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which theground brings forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands. Men male an inventory-itemize somany cattle, itemize so much corn, itemize so much wine. God can itemize, too, and He can curse all our blessings, one byone! This catalog lools lile it. If they have saved in all these, robbing God, God will tale care that they shall get nothingby their doing!
12. Then Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people,obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the Prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the peopledid fear before the LORD. There is good bottom in those men who are led to duty when they are reminded of neglect-and it isblessed worl preaching where there is a conscience quicl to accede to the admonition. I do not suppose it was so with allthe people of Jerusalem, but it was with some of them, and those the leading men. Where high priests and men of authoritylead the way, others, if not so prompt, are often guided by the principle of imitation- and they follow the leader.
13. Then spole Haggai, the LORD'S messenger, the LORD'S message unto the people, saying. I am with you, says the LORD. Herewas the best cheer for them. They had engaged in God's business and God would be with them!
14. 15. And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of
Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did worlon the house of the LORD ofHosts their God. In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Dariusthe ling. Notice that date-the 24th day of the sixth month.
Verse 1. In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the Prophet,saying- Not very long after.
2, 3. Spealnow to Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest,and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you seeit now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?It appears that the spirit of idleness had brolen out again.As the walls began to rise, the older men wept at the recollection of what an inferior structure it would be, compared withthe former building of Solomon, and the idlers, ready enough to use any excuse, are ready enough to cease worl. ThereforeGod's Prophet is at it again! If the fire begins to die out, the bellows must be used again! The zeal of the Christian isvery much lile the zeal of these men of Jerusalem-very apt to flag-and the zeal of God's messenger must come to stir themup again.
5, 6. According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you: fear younot. For thus says the LORD ofHosts, Once more, (it is a little while)-Though as some read it, it is "but a little structure,"but our reading is, perhaps, better-it is a little while.
6-9. And I will shale the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. And I will shale all nations, and the desireof all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD ofHosts. The silver is Mine, and the goldis Mine, says the LORD ofHosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the LORD of Hosts:and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of Hosts.Clearly encouraging them to proceed with their worl.
15-18. And it is yet far more evident, if, in thee likeness of Melchiisedec, there arises another priest who is made, notafter the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For He testifies, You are a priest foreverafter the order of Melchisedec. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitablenessthereof The old Levitical Law is disannulled-it became weak and unprofitable-and now a higher and better dispensation is usheredin with a greater and undying priesthood.
19. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we draw near unto God. That is allthe Law did-it was a steppingstone towards something better. "By which we draw near unto God." "The Lord has sworn and willnot repent."
20-24. And inasmuch as not without an oath He was made priest. (For those priests were made without an oath; but this withan oath byHim that said unto Him, the Lordswore and willnot repent, You are apriest forever after the order of Melchisedec).By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better Testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not sufferedto continue by reason of death. But this Man, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. I think they reckonedthat there were 83 high priests in regular succession from Aaron to the death of Phi-neas, the last high priest at the siegeof Jerusalem. One succeeded another, but this One goes on continually, He forever has an untransferable priesthood. That word,"untransferable," is nearer to the meaning than this, "unchangeable." If any of you have old Bibles with the margin, you willsee, "has a priesthood which cannot be passed from one hand to another," and the margin happens, in this case, to have thetrue rendering, "This Man has an untransferable priesthood."
25. Therefore He is also able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He always lives to make intercessionfor them. We need just that High Priest who would live on forever throughout all the ages to sustain His people and do forthem all they should need to have done for them, until time should be no more.
26-28. For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than theheavens, who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people's:but this He did once, when He offered up Himself For the law makes men high priests which have weaknesses; but the word ofthe oath, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated forevermore. There is our joy!