Articles   

A Lesson in Priorities
A Sermon on the book of Haggai

A text transcript of the message preached at Elijah Ministries 21 Oct 2007

This morning we continue our study of the Minor prophets. Today I want to focus on the Book of Haggai, specifically Chapter 1 of the book of Haggai. Now most of the books of the Minor Prophets have a fair deal of Biblical History included in them, which you might remember from the studies we did on Obadiah, Nahum and Habbakuk, in particular. Haggai is no different, in that it deals with some important historical events in the history of Israel, and although it deals with a lot of historical fact, it still has some important messages that we can learn from and take to heart today.

 The most important lesson for us today is a lesson in Priorities and that’s the title of today’s sermon – a lesson in priorities.

 The Israelites had returned from Babylon and had been called by God to rebuild the Temple. They answered the call and started to build, but very quickly, their priorities changed and they became negligent in their duty. They were too busy with other things, the things of the world.

 And isn’t this so true of us today… we’re always too busy with other things… the Pressures of life, the stresses, demands, deadlines, expectations, targets, performance ratings, efficiency tests and then still more performance, always too busy, never enough time...

 It seems as though there is always so much that needs to be done, so much,  that we quickly run out of time and energy, only ever ending up attending to those matters that are marked urgent.

 Unfortunately, this is not so much a time problem, but rather a value problem. Our problem is not the lack of time, but rather the lack of values, the lack of proper priorities.

 And so I ask you this morning….

What’s really important to you?

What are your priorities in your day to day life?

Matthew 7 says by their fruit you will know them
by their deeds you will know that they are Christians – not by their thoughts, nor by what they say, but by the way they live. And that applies to every one of us here today.

In your workplace, in your school, in your college, in your home, is your fruit that of a Christian, a disciple of Jesus Christ? Do people even know that you’re a Christian?

Has God become part of your to-do list? Is your relationship with Jesus Christ right on top of your list of priorities… where it should be?

  

Lets examine this further.

To fully understand the book of Haggai… we need to recap on a little history….

At one time, the nation of Israel had been a great and powerful nation in the Middle East. When her leaders walked with God, the Bible says the nation was blessed. Under King David and his son Solomon, the nation was both powerful and prosperous. Prosperous enough to build a magnificent temple.

 

In 1 Kings, chapter 6, we have a detailed description of the temple. On the inside of the temple, the walls and ceilings were panelled with cedar, pine planks were laid on the floor, and there were carvings of angels and palm trees and flowers all around the temple. And the entire inside of the temple from the ceiling to the walls and floors of every room, had inlays of pure gold. It must have been truly magnificent to behold.

 But over time, Israel fell to ruin. Each time they turned away from God, Israel's prosperity and blessings vanished. Through drought, famine and war, Jerusalem was destroyed several times.

 Remember in about 975BC King Solomon, the King of Israel died, and the fight for his throne resulted in the twelve tribes of Israel splitting up and dividing. This became known as the Great Schism (Skism), where the 2 southern tribes of Benjamin and Judah maintained Jerusalem as their capital and so became the Kingdom of Judah. The other 10 tribes of Israel revolted and became the Northern kingdom of Israel, with Samaria as its capital.

 

In 728BC the Assyrian Empire under Shalmanesser, conquered Israel, where the 10 northern tribes of Israel were taken captive and scattered across the earth, and they never returned.

 

Then we see the rise of the Babylonian Empire and they defeat Assyria.

 

Turn with me to Jeremiah 25

 

Jeremiah 25:1  The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon),  (2)  which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying,  (3)  "From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.

Jeremiah wrote this in 605BC, and later that same year, Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon. For 23 years already, Jeremiah had preached the same message to Israel, pleading with them to turn from worshipping other Gods.

Verse 7:  7 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the LORD, “and you have provoked me with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.” 8 Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words,  9 I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting desolation.  10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp.  11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

 

Lo and behold, roughly 18 years later, in about 587 BC, history records that Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king invaded Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and destroyed Solomon’s Temple, making the land completely desolate, without joy and gladness, without God.

The Judaeans were taken captive and forced to serve Babylon for the next 70 years.

 

I find the fulfilment of prophecies like these absolutely fascinating and there are so many of them in the Bible…

 

For those of you who are still not sure whether the Bible is true, it is the fulfilment of prophecies like these, over and over and over again throughout the Bible, that prove that the Bible is true. The God of Israel said He would make the future known to His prophets, so that when those prophecies came to pass, the people could not ascribe them to other gods; the people would know that there is NO other God.

But we don’t have the time to go into that now… Isaiah 48 is the reference for further reading.

Ok so we see Judah go into captivity. Then the Persian Empire rose to prominence and Cyrus, the Persian King, conquered Babylon and the entire Babylonian Empire. In the year 538 B.C., Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple at Jerusalem.

 

And all of this happened because of the sovereign hand of God fulfilling the prophecies of Jeremiah, which were also documented in Ezra 1

 turn with me to Ezra 1, just after Kings and Chronicles…

 Ezra 1:1  Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:  (2)  "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia:

'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 

(3)  'Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem.

 

Verse 5:  Then the heads of fathers' households of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites arose, even everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up and rebuild the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. 

 

These events happened in 538BC as is recorded in many of the history books of the time. But 150 years earlier, we find an amazing prophecy…

 

Keep your place in Ezra and turn forward with me to Isaiah 44….

In Isaiah 44, Isaiah prophecies in the year 688BC, almost a century before a certain Persian by the name of Cyrus was born…

Isa 44:26  Confirming the word of His servant And performing the purpose of His messengers. It is I who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited!' And of the cities of Judah, 'They shall be built.' And I will raise up her ruins again.  (27)  "It is I who says to the depth of the sea, 'Be dried up!' And I will make your rivers dry. 

(28)  "It is I who says of ….Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.' And he declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' And of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid.'"

 

And then he goes on to describe the details. But isn’t that absolutely amazing… Jeremiah wrote this prophecy 150 years before they happened in the book of Ezra. Again, it’s another example of how God proves the Bible to be true and how He proves Himself to be the only God. There is no other book that documents prophecy like the Bible does.

So here we see the King of Persia, the heathen king Cyrus, allowing the Israeli people to leave Babylon, to go to Judah and start rebuilding the Temple.

Then in Ezra chapter 2, 43000 Israelites follow their leader Zerubabbel back to Judah, where they settle, and in Ch 3, they began to build the altar and the Temple foundations.

Then we see in Chapter 4 of Ezra… turn there…

Ezra 4:1  Now when the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people of the exile were building a temple to the LORD God of Israel, verse (4)  Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building,  (5)  and hired counselors against them to frustrate their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

 

So in 536BC, the Israelites returned from Babylon and once they had settled, they began building the Temple, but they only got as far as the foundations and the altar. Their attempts were frustrated by their enemies. Eventually the Israelites lost faith and stopped building altogether.

 Amongst the returning exiles, were the prophets Haggai and Zechariah and they were called by God to assist in the rebuilding of the temple. According to Haggai, after he started preaching, work only began on the temple again in 520 B.C., - about 18 years went by without a stone being turned. This delay is what brings forth the message of Haggai.

 

Attending to their own needs, beautifying their own homes and in fear of other nations around them, the Jews decided that it just wasn't a good time to build the temple.

 

So, lets see what Haggai says… If you will turn with me to the first chapter of Haggai – between Zephaniah and Zechariah… it’s the 3rd last book in the Old Testament… The book is divided into four messages, each of which is precisely dated over a period of about 5 months. But we will focus mainly on Chapter 1.

 

Haggai 1:1  In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Sheal-ti-el, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,  (2)  "Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'This people says, "The time has not come for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt."  (3)  Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying,  (4)  "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?"  (5)  Now therefore, thus says the LORD, "Consider your ways! 

 

The major issue here is the problem of misplaced priorities. Instead of following the will and commandments of the Lord, their own lives and luxuries were much more important…

 

Remember how the original temple of Solomon was described, how it had ornate wood panelled ceilings and walls? Well verse 4 says that that’s what they were doing to their own houses, while the Temple remained unbuilt.

 

Many of us take the same approach in life, right? There are certain things that we hold as priorities, usually for very logical, well thought-out reasons.

 

A simple illustration of this comes in marriage…

How many husbands of you out there have a honey-please-do list? Now, those of us who are wise and experienced know that the proper answer to the honey-please-do list is a "yes, dear, right away."

Those few words are one of the keys to a happy marriage.

 

But those of us who are still learning, often reply, "I'll get there…. Just as soon as I’ve got 5 minutes, I’ll get there".

And that’s when the trouble begins.

 

 

This is how many of us handle a clash in priorities. "I’ll get there, I'll get around to it... just as soon as I’ve got 5 minutes."

And if this is the way we respond to the calling of God, then we need to be very, very careful.

 

It’s so easy to get swept up in the world’s way of doing things… and when we lose our focus, we lose the blessings…

 

How often have you experienced times where everything just seems like a leaky bucket?

 

·        The harder you work, the less you seem to have; you work really hard, but your rewards are tiny in comparison;

·        Your salary is good, but you never seem to cover your debt… it’s just never enough;

·         It seems as if you put your money into a purse that has big holes in it….

·        And Just when you think you’ve got a problem covered, something else pops up that puts you back to square one. There is never any progress.

·        Whatever you do, there just seems a lack of satisfaction, of fulfilment… everything you do seems to be a waste of time.

 

Has this ever happened to you?

Perhaps your priorities were wrong…

 

The Lord says: consider your ways… and that means to give careful thought to what you are doing with your life… to how you’re living. Actions always speak louder than words and the Lord warns us several times in this passage to consider our ways carefully….

 

Verse 6  "You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to fill you; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes."  (7)  Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Consider your ways! 

 

Is there a hole in your bucket? Consider your ways, says the Lord!

 

Who gives us our food to eat? Our water to drink? Our clothes to wear? Who blesses the work of our hands? Yahweh does. The Lord God Almighty. Him and only Him.

So what’s the point of being a Christian? What should a Christian’s priority be?

It’s to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. By doing that you will see eternal life – that’s the point!

 

 

And by doing that, it will bring glory to the Lord. He is a jealous God. The Lord wants your life to glorify Him. He says consider your ways, consider your priorities, rectify them so that they please Him and glorify Him.

 

If you neglect your priorities in serving the Lord, it will affect your entire life. The blessings of God will become less and less until every action you make is futlile, until your little world is crumbling around you, desolate and facing ruin. If you neglect to consider Him and build His temple, He might neglect to consider you.

 

Verse 8  "Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be …..pleased with it and….. be glorified," says the LORD.  (9)  "You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?" declares the LORD, "Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.  (10)  "Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce.  (11)  "I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands."

 

Glorify Him with your actions, because that is the object of a Christian’s life – to serve Him and to bring Him glory. Don’t neglect to give glory to God, because surely He says that the labour of your hands will be drought-stricken, you’ll be doing it all for nothing.

 

This is the way the people of Israel had been responding to God. Not for a month, not a year, but for seventeen years, the people of Israel had been telling God:

“ ….we'll get there, ….we’ll get around to it….. We'll build your temple; - but,… just not right now, it’s not really the best time for us.”

 

 

And so, seventeen years later, the entire community has re-built their homes, re-established their careers, started their families, and God was still on the to-do list.

 

And it all started with a bit of harassment form Israel’s enemies. Eventually though, through lack of faith, it became just an excuse, and rebuilding the Temple became just that little thought of …. "I'll get around to it."

 

And it’s the same in our lives - a life of misplaced priorities may only show at first in small ways, but it eventually leads to a hardened heart , a life that is totally apart from God, a life of ruin. 

The truth is, for many of us, the results of living a self-seeking life are right before our eyes: stress-filled jobs, unhappy families, few if any, real relationships and friendships, and the nagging sense that none of what we do is making a difference. And there are times when we can actually sense it, but most often, we are so wrapped up in our own self-importance and self-pity that we completely miss the fact that we are on the path to destruction.

 And what does God say: "Consider your ways. Give careful thought to our ways."

 

When was the last time that you took stock of your life?

When did you last stop and take a close look, and really examine your priorities, in the light of what God might be calling you to do?

Maybe you need to take a serious appraisal of your efforts and motivations:

Consider your ways says the Lord … 

And we need to do this today. We need to Consider our ways… today, because the danger is that we might harden our hearts. Lets quickly look at this…

 Keep your place in Haggai, and turn with me to Hebrews 3:

 You see, we have only one day to follow God and it's not yesterday because it’s gone; and it's not tomorrow, because we can't be certain that it will come. All we have is today, now.

 Hebrews  3:7  Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today… if… you will hear His voice,  (8)  do not harden your hearts, as in the day of temptation in the wilderness,  (9)  when your fathers tempted Me, proved Me, and saw My works forty years.  (10)  Therefore I was grieved with that generation and said, They always err in their heart, and they have not known My ways.  (11)  So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest."  (12)  Take heed, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  (13)  But encourage one another daily, while it is called today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

 My question for you is, what is keeping you from putting God first TODAY?

 So many people, when confronted by the Truth that is Jesus Christ, say to him, I'd like to follow you, but….just not right now, just not today. I've got a few important things to do first…. I want to have a little fun first... I want to find out what life is really all about… I will follow you… but just not right now… Read verse 11 again:

 (11)  So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest."

 Don’t even think of taking the chance people. Do it while you still can, because you cannot be certain that tomorrow will come. If the Lord required your soul tonight, do you know where you’re going? Today is the day of salvation.

 In the Gospels we can see some of the reasons that people gave Jesus, for not following Him, and these confirm the reasons we read of in Haggai. And one of the most important misplaced priorities that keeps people from following Jesus is the love of money - and today I think we probably experience that a little more closely as the love for an affluent or rich lifestyle.

 

In Mark 10:21, we see this when a passionate young man comes to Jesus and asks “What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich man to enter the kingdom of God!

 Jesus said it’s hard for a rich man to enter heaven? Do you still want to be rich? Doesn’t make sense…

 

What we need to be careful of, is just like the people in Haggai's day, it doesn't take long for us to slip from necessity into the lust for luxury. Ordinary houses weren’t enough for the Israelites. They had to keep up, not with the Jones’, but with the Cohen’s next door. They had to have luxurious wood panelled walls in their houses. They were working towards having a beautiful home, which on it’s own is not a bad thing, but when it comes at the expense of following God, then it becomes a serious problem; when wealth and luxury obscures your priorities, then it’s a serious problem.

 The bible is full of warnings of how wealth has the potential of drawing us away from God, of causing us to have wrong priorities. And so we must constantly beware, particularly the youth amongst us, of the great danger that goes with having dreams and ambitions of wealth.

 

I think that all of us pray, from time to time, for the Lord to bless our finances, but our overriding prayer should be Lord, if that money is going make me stumble, if that money is going to draw me away from you, then please Lord, don’t give it to me.

And Many of us wonder why the Lord doesn’t bless our finances, even though we work so hard… but if you don’t know how to spend your money wisely now, how do you expect God to bless you with more money? Become a good steward, spend your money appropriately and have a healthy respect for the trappings of money, because wealth can very easily suck you into serving a lifestyle, rather than God.

 

Don't ever let the love of a lifestyle be your reason for saying " I'll get there" to God.

 

Go Back to Haggai Ch 1

Verse 12  Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealti-el, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, 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 people showed reverence for the LORD.  (13)  Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people saying, " 'I am with you,' declares the LORD."  (14)  So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel, and the spirit of Joshua, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD their God,  (15) on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king.

 

Here we can see what happens when God's people obey and put Him first. Immediately, they are blessed with the knowledge that God is with them.

 

When we put Him first….God comes among us! And as we submit ourselves to His leading, God stirs His spirit in us, which then empowers us to walk in the Spirit, enabling us to accomplish work that is truly of God, and not of us.

 

In these verses, Haggai reports that all the people obey and begin to work on the temple. After 18 years of neglect and frustration, the people begin to learn their lesson.

 

Keep your place in Haggai and Turn with me to Matthew 6.

 

Matthew 6:31  Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'  (32)  "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  (33)  "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (34)  "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough evil of its own.

 

The Lord knows exactly what you need even before you ask it. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God. Its all about priorities….

 

Onto Chapter 2 of Haggai

 

Haggai 2:1  On the twenty-first of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet saying,  (2)  "Speak now to Zerubbabel, and to Joshua, and to the people saying,  (3)  'Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?  (4)  'But now take courage, Zerubbabel,' declares the LORD, 'take courage also, Joshua, and all you people of the land take courage,' declares the LORD, 'and work; for I am with you,' declares the LORD of hosts.  (5)  'As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!' 

  

According to verse 1, the message comes on the 21st day of the seventh month. Just 21 days after the people had begun to build, the work has come to a stop again,  because Haggai tells them in verse 4 to get on with the work. Obviously, the people have become weak and discouraged because someone had reminded them of how glorious the original temple used to be.

 

 

Less than 70 years ago it stood in this very spot, the apple of God's eye, the magnificent achievement of Solomon, for centuries the centre of holy worship. But this memory made the people look at what they were building and feel utterly hopeless.

 

 

How many times have you reached that point in your life – where you become so discouraged, where you feel that no matter what you do, it just doesn’t make a difference, Where you wonder, what’s the point?

Where you think, what's the use? ….

We can't match the glory of Solomon's temple. We're wasting our time.

And then our hands become slack in our work.

 

I think most Christians have, at some time, known that discouragement. The feeling that what we are doing for Christ is of so little significance, that there is just no point in continuing; that we may as well quit.

 

If that's you, this message from Haggai is for your heart today. God confronts the discouragement of the people with a heartening command in verse 4: "take courage, Zerubbabel, says the Lord; take courage, Joshua, take courage, all you people of the land, says the Lord; work …"

 

If you think your work for Christ is so insignificant that you can quit, you are very wrong – the Word says, "Take courage and… work!"

 

 

The reason the Lord gives as to why they should take courage, and work hard, is  crucial for us as well. The text continues verse 4: take courage,' declares the LORD, 'and work; for I am with you,' declares the LORD of hosts.  (5)  'As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!' 

  

We should "take courage, work, and fear not" because He is with us. And that’s something we should never forget. How could we ever belittle any work when God says He is with us in it? When God is working at your side, nothing is trivial. And God promised the Israelites that His Spirit would be in their midst when they came out of Egypt.

But in the New Covenant, we have an even greater promise than that – we who are born again in Jesus Christ have His Spirit abiding within us, within our hearts – working for us. And when Almighty God is for us, who can be against us!?

 

Therefore, take courage, work and fear not.

 

 Verse 9  'The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,' says the LORD of hosts, 'and in this place I will give peace,' declares the LORD of hosts."   

We should take courage, work and fear not, because we build more than we can see.  

 The point is this: God had a purpose for the Temple. The Jews of Haggai's day could not see it at all, and what they could see seemed so insignificant. So God came to them with a word of promise: Take courage. You build more than you see. The heavens, the earth, the sea, the land, all the silver and the gold and all treasures are mine. I have the power to take the fruit of your little hands and make it glorious beyond measure, no matter how trivial and insignificant it may seem to you now. We need to have faith that when we follow His Word, His calling upon our lives, He is capable of turning those obedient little deeds into something significant, for His name’s sake.

 

History shows that this temple, Zerubbabel's temple, was eventually finished in 516BC. It is written in the books of the Maccabees that in about 200BC, Antiochus Epiphanes marched against Jerusalem, which he destroyed; he cruelly slaughtered many thousands of people. He had soldiers enter the Jewish Temple and slaughter a pig on the altar of the Lord. They set the pig ablaze and then took the meat and tried to make some Jewish men eat it. The men refused and so he cut their tongues out,  scalped them, cut off their hands and feet, and burnt them on the altar of the Lord. This was the fulfilment of the abomination of desolation prophecy that was spoken of in Daniel 11. As we know, this prophecy has multiple fulfilments, culminating in the AntiChrist.

But, after this, the Jews united under their Maccabean leaders, and defeated the armies that Antiochus sent against them. Enraged at this, Antiochus is said to have marched against them in person, threatening to exterminate the nation; but, on the way, he died suddenly in 164 BC.

These Jewish accounts are all recorded in the Books of the Maccabees, and their successful revolt against Antiochus is commemorated by the holiday of Hanukkah – the festival of lights, where the Jews light the menorah candles and rededicate the temple.

Then, in 20 BC, King Herod began to remodel the temple, and for the next 46 years, he renovated it, making it much larger and more beautiful. So by the time Christ had begun his ministry, Herod had restored it so that it was truly magnificent, back to it’s original glory.

 

The Lord said to the Jews in Haggai’s day 'That the glory of their temple would be greater than Solomon’s. Little did they know, that the Messiah, the Saviour of all mankind, would one day walk in the Temple that they built. We build more than we can see…

 

 

Turn with me to John 2. 

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.  (20)  Then the Jews said, This temple was forty-six years building, and will you raise it up in three days?  (21)  But He spoke of the temple of His body.

 

Jesus made a direct connection between the Old Testament temple and himself:

 

Some interpreters believe a glorious temple will be built again in Jerusalem and stand through the millennium as Christ rules on earth (cf. Ezekiel 41ff; 2 Thess. 2:4). That may be, but the final state of eternity is described in Revelation 21, where John talks about the New Jerusalem that he saw descending out of heaven.

 

Revelation 21:22. "And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb."

 

Once upon a time…….. God met His people in the temple,

Now………….. God meets us in Jesus Christ.

And if your priorities are right, He will meet with you!

 

Amen.