First Things First! (Haggai)

First Things First! (Haggai)

Scripture: Haggai 2:8
Date: 06/08/2013  Lesson: 10
"Haggai's message is simple: What are our priorities, and why is it so important to get them right?"

Daniel: A Reader's Guide by William H. Shea

Daniel: A Reader's Guide by William H. Shea
NOTE: If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate. Please be civil to one another.


Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. We are coming to you, like we do every week, live. If you're watching on our website at 'saccentral.org' or if you're listening on the radio or tuning in to the various television networks - however you are joining us - a very big welcome. And we're so excited to have you joining us around the planet and, of course, everyone that is ohere this morning, our visitors and our regulars. We look forward to singing together, opening up God's Word and studying together, and spending some time worshiping our Heavenly Father.

If you will notice behind me it's not the usual sight. We're going to do something different today and I am very excited to introduce to you - it's not for the first time because I think we've been having the orangevale adventist school girls' chorus for several years now. They were here last year and they're back again as you can see. We love having them. We love having young people involved in our services.

And so, today, they're going to be singing two songs for us and I will tell you a little about these girls. They are grades through 8 which means ages 10 to 14 and this group has been - how many years have you had this group brad? Twelve years so, of course, it's not the same ones because they graduate but they have been singing for 12 years and this year they started a boys' singing group so we haven't heard them on the air yet but, hopefully, next year we'll have the boys as well. They're going to be singing 'hope of the nations' and 'shine on us' and brad davis is their principal and he is also their pianist. And one more thing about the group - the little blond girl right in the middle - the cute one with glasses - she was a flower girl in my wedding so, of course, when I see elsa I feel really old. So they're going to sing for us at this time - 'hope of the nations' and 'shine on us'.

Thank you so much, orangevale adventist school girls' chorus. Wasn't that lovely? I love groups and harmony and they definitely have lovely harmony. Thank you so much. At this time in our program let's bow our heads for prayer before we have our lesson study. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for blessing us with the special music that we've been able to listen to.

I pray that you'll be with the orangevale adventist school as they finish out the school year. We have so many young people in this church, in Sacramento, around the world and I just pray that you would be with young people as they are asking questions and they are struggling and they're looking for who they are. And it's not just young people that are doing that, but I pray that you would make yourself real and that you would impress upon each of our hearts how we need to be so that we can be like you. Father, thank you so much for loving us, for dying for us, and for giving us the hope that one day soon you will come and take us home. Thank you so much for pastor doug and his ministry here at central and around the world and I pray that you will be with him as he brings us the lesson study and we just pray that our hearts will be ready for what you want to tell us.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you debbie and I'd like to also add my appreciation to the orangevale school and the girls' choir. That was beautiful. It sounds angelic when you get a bunch of young girls singing like that.

Welcome again, friends. It is good to see each of you here. Some may be visitors and we're very thankful that you're here. I want to welcome our regular class. We have a number of members - they're sort of the internet members of central church from around the world who are online members and I don't know - we must have 150 online members and there are some folks scattered around the planet that they are able to worship with us via the internet or satellite but there is no local church they can attend and so we provide a service to reach out to those people.

I want to thank pastor harold. He does a good job in staying connected with our online members. If you're in that category, friends, if you're out there and this is your church - I just talked to someone last night and they said they - their family can't go to church but they do it through satellite or television and if you'd like to know more about that just go to 'saccentral.org' and you'll find information on that. We are going to get into our lesson in a moment but, as always, we have a free offer for those who would like to request this and with the promise you're going to read it. And it's the book 'steps to Christ' - this little volume has probably done more for my Christian experience than any single book - aside from the Bible - and we recommend that you read it if you've not read it.

Call the number on the screen - 866-study more - that's 866-788-3966. Ask for offer #800 - that's all you've got to do and we'll send it to you. You can also read it online too if you like. And with that we are continuing in our lesson - 'major lessons from the minor prophets' and today we're going to be dealing with the book from the prophet Haggai and we have a memory verse. The memory verse is from Haggai chapter 2 and that's verse 8.

Haggai chapter 2, verse 8 and you'll find that either in your Bible or in your quarterly. In the quarterly it comes from the niv version and let's say that together. Are you ready? "'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the Lord almighty.'" Everything belongs to the Lord. Now you'll understand why that verse fits in there when you get into the book a little bit. Haggai is the second shortest book in the old testament next to Obadiah and it was probably written about 520 bc by the author Haggai - no one contests that he is the prophet that wrote the book - it's right there in the beginning and it's a very interesting - Haggai may have been among the captives who were alive in Jerusalem before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple - that were carried off to Babylon.

Meaning he spent 70 years there - meaning he was somewhere between 75 and 80 years of age when he was called, briefly, to the prophetic ministry. Now that's not unusual. How old was Moses when he was called? He was 80. And so it could be that he was among those who had seen the first temple in its glory, which explains why the people wept when they started to build the second temple and in scale it was - and in glory it was so much inferior to what Solomon had built. Solomon had just billions of dollars to work with and it was a pretty magnificent structure.

And he only prophecies for four months. There's only a record of it there. According to the septuagint, Haggai and Zechariah may also have been responsible for helping write some of the Psalms. Did you know that? According to that tradition, psalm 138, psalm 146, 147, 148 - they say - were authored and penned by Haggai and Zechariah. That's part of the reason it's there at the end of the book.

Now, let's go ahead and open it. I've got more I'll share with you about the book of Haggai, but first let's go right to the book and - we can probably just read it all because it's two chapters but I'm going to do some things in pieces and try to explain a little bit as we proceed. Haggai chapter 1 - it says, "in the second year of king darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to zerubbabel The Son of shealtiel, governor of judah," - now there were three waves of jews once Babylon fell - the persian Kings, they changed in quick succession - the medo-persian kingdoms - you had darius and you had cyrus and you had artexerxes and another darius and they changed very rapidly and - but they issued a series of decrees allowing the jews to go back to Jerusalem. The jews came from persia - or Babylon - back to Jerusalem in three waves. The first wave had somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 jews.

They made this almost like another Exodus and they crossed the desert and they came to the land of Israel or to Jerusalem, in particular Judea. Then a few years later, during the time of - and Ezra was in that first wave. And then you've got another group that comes - oh the first - Ezra was in the second wave and he came with about 5,000 more that came, then Nehemiah was in the third wave that came and there may have been 30,000 that came in that wave and so they kind of came in degrees like that. And with the idea that they would rebuild the city - rebuild the temple, but things didn't come together very quickly and when they first came back they cleared away the debris. The first thing they wanted to do was thank the Lord they made it back and they wanted to be able to sacrifice to the Lord so they repaired the altar of the Lord with the plan that they'd ultimately rebuild the temple because the King of persia - the first one - gave them permission.

Cyrus gave them permission to rebuild the temple. But then they waited too long. About 16 years went by and they hadn't done much - I think they had a couple of rows that - bricks they put by the outside wall and then as they were going to commence to build again some opposition rose up and that opposition came from - and you can read in - go to the book of Ezra real quick. Ezra overlaps with the same time of Haggai. There were about three prophets - of the minor prophets three of those prophets came after they returned from the Babylonian captivity and - let's see here.

Go to chapter 4. "Now when the adversaries of judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the lord God of Israel, they came to zerubbabel and the heads of the fathers' houses, and said to them, 'let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do; and we have sacrificed to him since the days of esarhaddon king of assyria, who brought us here.'" Ahh, not exactly. Bear with me. You've got to know the story to know what's happening here. When the King of assyria carried off ten of the tribes of Israel - the first ten tribes of Israel were carried off before Nebuchadnezzar carried off the southern kingdom - judah, Benjamin and levi.

When they first carried off the northern kingdom - the northern part of Israel - the ten tribes, the land was filled with wild animals because, basically, all of a sudden all the people were gone. The animals began to multiply and the King of assyria, wanting to get the produce of this land, he said, 'look, you've got to send some people back there to take care of the land because there's a lot of food there. They can help feed the Kingdom. And so he sent some people and they were being attacked by lions and that could be a real problem and there've been times where just one or two lions have killed hundreds of workers. And I don't know if you've heard about the lions of tsavo in africa - when they were trying to build a bridge.

And they had a tiger in india - supposedly killed 400 people in surrounding villages. And so lions were keeping people from working in the fields and they said, 'why is this?' And the answer was, 'well, because the people here don't know about the God of the land. They had sent assyrians down into northern Israel and they said, 'send some of the priests from the Hebrews to teach us about the ways of the God of their land.' Now these are people living in and around samaria. So they sent some Jewish priests in to teach them and they taught them the five books of Moses, but they mingled the five books of Moses with some of their own religion and customs and instead of sacrificing in Jerusalem, they sacrificed in mount garizim. Do you remember when Jesus talked to the woman at the well? She said, 'which woman should - which mountain should we sacrifice on? Jerusalem or mount garizim?' And Jesus said, 'salvation is of the jews.

' Pretty clear because samaritans were sort of half Jewish religion and half assyrian religion and that's why there's so much animosity. Well, when the samaritans heard that the jews were going to rebuild the temple they said, 'oh, we believe the five books of Moses.' They didn't believe the rest of the Scriptures - 'we'll join you.' And the jews said, 'uh, thank you - no thank you.' Matter of fact, they weren't as nice as that. They said, 'you're not going to help us because you have kind of adulterated our religion and you will adulterate the rebuilding of the temple and our worship and we don't think that's a good idea.' Well, when someone's offer of help is spurned, that love turns to hate. And they said, 'well, if you want to be that way - if you think you're too holy for us.' Then they turned into their enemies and that lasted for hundreds of years. The samaritans and the jews - this is where it all got triggered.

And so, they came to him and they said, 'we believe like you do.' "But zerubbabel and jeshua and the rest of the fathers" - by the way, jeshua - Joshua - same name. This is Joshua the high priest - "and the rest of the heads of The Father's houses of Israel said to them, 'you may do nothing with us to build a house for our God; but we alone will build to the Lord God of Israel, as king cyrus the King of persia has commanded us.' Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of judah. They troubled them in building," - notice how quickly they went from 'let us help you' to 'we're going to try and stop it.' They were offended and they got angry - "and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of cyrus king of persia, even until the reign of darius king of persia." So this went on for 16 years. They tried to stop it so nothing was happening. Finally, in the days of "the reign of ahsuerus," - notice, we've mentioned three Kings already - "in the reign of ahsuerus," - I'm in verse 6 - Ezra 4, verse 6 - "in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of judah and Jerusalem.

" And you can read the letter. We don't have time to read it all but, basically, the essence of the letter is saying, 'you better not let these jews rebuild the temple and rebuild the city. You've not read their history. They've rebelled against every king along the way and that's why Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it and they've had mighty Kings that took control like David and Solomon and you let them rebuild they're going to rebel.' And they sent this very difficult letter and the King of persia wrote back and says, 'you know, we've checked it out and it's true. That was once a mighty kingdom and they have rebelled several times against several Kings.

' And he commanded, until further notice, that they should stop building. Well, eventually that king died - of persia. And even though now they were free to rebuild again because they had the original decree from cyrus, they weren't building. So this is where we are when Haggai comes along. They had gotten so discouraged about building the temple of the lord because they ran into obstacles.

They just gave up. And then they were having such a tough time with their own farms and a famine seemed to be setting in. Let me read something to you here from the book 'prophets and Kings' page 573, "for over a year the temple was neglected and well nigh forsaken. The people dwelt in their houses and they strove to attain temporal prosperity but their situation was deplorable. Work as they might, they did not prosper.

The very elements of nature seemed to conspire against them because they had let the temple lie waste. the Lord sent upon them and on their substance wasting and drought. God had bestowed upon them the fruits of the field, the garden, the corn, the wine, the oil as a token of his favor. But because they had used these bountiful gifts so selfishly the blessings were removed." They were seeking first their own kingdom now and not God's kingdom. And even though they had run into some opposition, they should have made their priority building up the house of God.

Now that's the central message. That's the central message of this whole lesson - this whole book - that if you want to prosper in your home, you must build up the house of God. And I'm not talking about church fundraisers - though that's important too. There's more to the house of God than just the church and I'll talk about that in just a moment. Tell you what - let me see here.

First I want you to notice - if you look in Ezra - in Ezra 3, verse 6 it says, "from the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, although the foundation of the temple of the lord had not been laid." So they started with an altar but they hadn't built the foundation yet. Finally, when they did begin to lay the foundation - this is a very strange verse - I'm back in Ezra again. Go to Ezra chapter 3 and if you look in verse 13. When they had the inauguration and began to lay the foundation of the temple it says, "all the people shouted" - I'm in Ezra 3, verse 11 - "they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: 'for he is good, for his mercy endures forever'" - this might be some of the reason they think that Haggai and Zechariah wrote some of the Psalms because this is a quote from one of the Psalms - "then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid." - Big inauguration celebration - "but many of the priests and levites and heads of the fathers' houses, old men" - there were old men and old women there - "who had seen the first temple," - who built the first temple? Solomon. It's actually the second temple if you count the one in the wilderness - the first permanent temple - "they wept with a loud voice when the foundation of the temple was laid before their eyes.

Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off." That was a pretty strange service. You've got a lot of people who grew up in Babylon who were so happy to be back in their homeland and finally building their own temple for their own God. They were so tired of all the Babylonian Gods. They're celebrating. They're blowing the trumpets.

They're shouting. They're singing. And then you've got all the old timers who had to be like, you know, 75 years old - you know, you have to be at least five years old to remember what something looked like when you were a kid. Some of them may have been 90 and they could have remembered when they were 20 years old, clearly, what the temple of Solomon looked like. It was one of the wonders of the world - if you read, he spent seven years building it, had whole rooms of gold, these enormous pillars of brass - they stopped counting how much was in it.

All the wealth that David amassed from conquering these other nations and taxing them he put into the temple - billions of dollars. And the size of the stones - they were massive. And so when the old elders saw them sliding into place these little bricks and everybody saying, 'oh, the foundation of the Lord' they said, 'boo hoo hoo hoo... This is nothing like what we used to have. How have we fallen.

What's happened to us?' And so they're crying. They are so disappointed. It's so small and the others are going 'yay!' And now this is important to understand because Haggai talks about how the glory of this inferior temple was really going to be greater than the glory of Solomon's temple. Do you know why? I'm not going to tell you yet. We've got to go on with our lesson here.

I haven't even given anyone a verse to read. Somebody - somebody read for me Zechariah 1:1. Who's got that? Okay, gene we'll get to you in just a second. Zechariah 1:1. I want to show you just how the dates overlap here and how you can depend on the Word of God for these things.

It says in Haggai - have you noticed in chapter 1, verses 1 and 2? "In the second year of darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came 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 Lord of hosts, saying, 'this people says 'the time has not come, the time that the Lord's house should be built.''" Now you go ahead and you read Zechariah 1:1 for us. Are we ready? Yep, we're ready. "In the eighth month of the second year of darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah The Son of berechiah, The Son of iddo the prophet, saying," alright, that's good. So you notice it said 'in the second year of darius, in the sixth month' - in Zechariah it says 'in the eighth month of the second year of darius' - so Haggai begins to prophecy a few months before Zechariah does, but both of these prophets are prophesying and if you read in the book of Ezra, it talks about how they appreciated the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah that was supporting the work. Matter of fact, if you look at Ezra chapter 5 - this is important.

This is one way - how do you know certain books of the Bible can be depended on? Are they corroborated by the other books of the Bible? Are they endorsed? What is Ezra the priest - by the way, Ezra was responsible for organizing much of - he was a scribe - he organized much of the old testament the way we have it today so he was a great man of God. It says in Ezra 5, 1 and 2, "then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah The Son of iddo, prophets, prophesied to the jews who were in judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So zerubbabel The Son of shealtiel and jeshua The Son of josadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them." What prophets? Haggai and Zechariah. And so the prophecy of Haggai was encouraging them, 'rise up and build.' Now let's look more closely at what exactly did he prophecy. Go back to the book of Haggai.

Just trying to give you the outline here. Verse 2 - Haggai chapter 1, verse 2, "thus speaks the Lord of 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 Lord came 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 Lord of hosts: 'consider your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.'" - How many of you have ever felt that way? You bring your check home, you deposit it in the bank and then when you get done paying the bills, you still seem to have no money left. It's like you put it in a pocket with holes - "thus says the Lord of hosts: 'consider your ways!" - Verse 7 - he's saying 'there's a reason that the Lord is not blessing you. It's because you are putting your house ahead of my house.' Now somebody look up for me Chronicles 17 - first book of Chronicles - old testament - I've seen people - 17, verse 1 - someone got that. Right here? Let's get you a microphone.

Who's got the mic on this? You've got it already - alright, let's just wait until they get the camera focused on you. I want you to notice specifically in Haggai 1:4 it says, 'is it time for you to dwell in your paneled' - or sealed - 'houses, and the house lie waste?' And when you read here the statement of king David you'll see why that's important. Go ahead, I think we're ready. 1 Chronicles 17:1, "now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to nathan the prophet, 'lo, I dwell in a house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord reMaineth under curtains.'" You notice some similar language there? Haggai says, 'is it time for you to dwell in your paneled houses and the house - the temple of the Lord is in ruins?' Who lived first, David or Haggai? King David. Did they read when David said, 'lord, it's just not fair.

' See, when David's kingdom was blossoming, the King of tyre - tyre had the mountains of lebanon. Tyre was very important because they had logs, they had trees, they had lumber. If you've been to Jerusalem or if you've been to the land of Judea, they've got a lot of scrub brush and olive trees but they don't have lumber. If you wanted lumber you needed to be friends with the people near the mountains of lebanon and that was tyre. So David had a relationship with hiram the King of tyre, and he said, 'look David, you're a good king.

Let me send you some lumber. I'm going to help you build a house.' And next thing he knew, David had this beautiful palace. A far cry from the fields of Bethlehem where he grew up. And so he's sitting in this beautiful paneled house he says, 'boy, this isn't right. I look out my window and what is the ark of the Lord in?' I mean what had happened to the tabernacle they took through the wilderness? It was all weather beaten and tattered and they'd moved it into a tent and he sees the ark of God - the God of Israel - it's in a tent and he's living in a paneled house - cedar-lined house.

So Haggai refers back to the attitude of David. He said, 'your king David, he felt guilty that his house was doing so well and the house of God was not doing well and the passion of David was to build the temple of the Lord.' Isn't that what his passion was? Last part of his life he was just amassing money, he drew out plans for Solomon. He wanted to build it but God said to him through nathan the prophet, 'David, I can't have you build it. Your son's going to build my house.' By the way, that's a prophecy about Jesus - The Son of David who built the house of the Lord. Jesus was a carpenter.

He came to build a house called the church. You are that house that he built. And he said, 'David, you can't build it because you're a bloody man.' Now two reasons there - 1) because he was a soldier and he had shed much blood and 2) he killed an innocent man when he killed uriah. He said, 'I can't have a murderer building my house.' And he said, 'but your son, Solomon' - that means 'peace' 'shalom' - 'he will build my house.' And so The Son of David built this beautiful house. Well now, the people don't have the same attitude as David.

They're more interested in paneling their houses than God's house. So you see what Haggai is doing? He's pointing back to the attitude of David when he makes this statement and David had the perspective of Matthew 6:33. Who knows what that says? Song about it. (Hums) - you all know that? Seek ye first the Kingdom of God. Seek ye first the house of God and his righteousness and all these other things - your house - will be added to you.

So if we put the house of God - the Kingdom of God first, then God says he'll take care of all the other things you need - your house, your farms - 'I'll bless you if you don't make me second place.' You know, God had foretold that this would happen. If you look in Leviticus - matter of fact, I think I've got a verse for someone else to look up. Who has - I'll get to it in a minute - who has John 2:19? We've got someone right over here. Let's get you a microphone. It's not far away.

Okay, we'll get to you in a just a minute mike. Leviticus 26:16, 'this also I will do to you' - he said, 'if you disobey me and if you turn from me I will appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever that will consume your eyes and cause sorrow of heart. You will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will eat it.' He says 'I will not bless your crops if you turn from obeying me.' Deuteronomy 28 - same thing - this is in the chapter of blessing and cursing - it says, 'if you do follow me, blessed will be the fruit of your body' - your children - 'the produce of your ground' - he says, 'I'll bless the produce of your ground' - 'the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and your offspring of your flocks. You'll be blessed in your basket and your kneading bowl.' By putting God as our first work, it invites his blessing. There's things you can do to turn away his blessing, there's things you can do to invite his blessing.

Now some of you might be thinking, 'Pastor Doug, you orchestrated this Sabbath school study so that you could talk about a building project.' Yes, central and Granite Bay have been involved in a building project for years and we're praying the Lord will continue to open the windows of heaven and make it possible for us to ultimately build. Our problem has not been that we're running to our houses, our problem has been California codes and red tape is just amazing. It's legendary. But really when we talk about building up the house, that's not what I'm thinking of. This is a good sermon for a church-building program but what is the church - what is the real church on earth today? Matthew 24, verses 1 and 2.

The disciples took Jesus and they showed him the temple - this was the temple that Haggai and Zechariah prophesied about. It had been greatly embellished by king herod. "Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and his disciples came up to show him the buildings of the temple." - It had massive stones. You know, they have found stones in herod's temple - not Solomon's temple, herod's temple - that one stone was 50 tons. Just enormous stones, you know, 20-feet long.

Big, massive stones. "And Jesus said to them, 'do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.'" Is God's primary interest the physical church and temple? The tabernacle that Moses built - where is it today? We don't know where a thread of it is today. The temple that Solomon built - as great as it was, where is it today? Well, there's a little sliver of it left over there called the wailing wall. A few of the lower stones may have come from Solomon's temple and later stacked up by herod. Not much left.

And herod's temple - all that's left of that is, again, a few stones that may be in the wailing wall. So what is the temple that really still exists today? Alright go ahead. Are you ready mike? Read John for us, chapter 2:19 and 21. John 2:19 and 21, "Jesus answered and said to them, 'destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' Then the jews said, 'it has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking of the temple of his body." Alright, very good. Who has Matthew 26:61? We gave out some verses.

Someone - look around, you might have the - over here? Alright, we'll get you in just a minute John. That'll be Matthew 26:61 but before we get to that. When Jesus made that cryptic statement, 'destroy this temple and in three days I'll raise it up.' And they said, 'are you mad? It took 46 years to build this temple?' Now why did it take 46 years to build the temple? The temple of Haggai's time that Ezra talks about, it was five years being built. The 46 years they're talking about is a temple restoration program. You know, from the time of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah - when they finally rebuilt what they called the third temple, the temple Jesus came to was that same third temple.

It went through a major renovation that was started even before the time of herod the great. It was started, actually, during the time of herod the great and completed - they were still working on it even after he was dead but they greatly embellished it and fixed it up, but it was still considered the third temple. And so they spent - talk about a -year building program. Oh yeah, you were going to read John, over here. Read Matthew 26:61.

Matthew 26:61, "and said, 'this fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.''" Now did Jesus say that? Something close to that but what was he talking about? It says he spoke of his body. Isn't that what John said? His body. Well, what is the church called? The body of Christ. His body rose up in three days but he also rose the church up in three days because the church was really born during the resurrection, right? Same evening of the resurrection he kind of inaugurated the new church and, more officially, at pentecost but he's also talking more about that. Mark - you know, during the trial of Christ they tried to get two witnesses to agree.

The only two witnesses they could get to somewhat agree you find in Mark 14:57. "Then some rose up and bore false witness against him, saying, 'we heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.'' But not even then did their testimony agree." Two witnesses said something similar. Matter of fact, one is in Mark and one is in Matthew. You find that their wording is a little different. But Jesus did say something like that: 'destroy this temple made with hands and in three days I'll make one without hands.

' What is that temple? When he was on the cross they threw that back at him, didn't they? 'You who destroy the temple and build it up in three days - if you're so great, come down from the cross.' What is the temple? Ephesians chapter 2, verse 19, "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 fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." Is that pretty clear that God still has a temple on earth? Christ is the cornerstone, you and I are living stones. We're bricks in this temple that is being - coming together. the Lord wants to dwell in us. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, but not just our bodies. You know, another time he said, 'what, do you not know that ye collectively' - Corinthians - 'are the temple of God?' Not just your body, you and - collectively as a group are the temple.

Let me give you another one. Peter 2, verses 4 and 5, "coming to him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." And so, does God still have a temple today? We're to be that living temple. Does he still have a priesthood? Yeah, he's got this spiritual priesthood. Matter of fact, even in the old testament he called them a nation of priests. They were to be priests to the world and help make atonement to the world and bring the gentile nations to God.

Now, with that in mind, how do we apply Haggai's message today? What does God say about tithing? And, by the way, that's Malachi who's another minor prophet during the same time period. He says, if you're faithful in tithe, what will he do to the pestilence? 'I'll rebuke the devourer.' The things that devour our increase will be rebuked. 'I'll bless the other 90 percent you have left if you're faithful in paying your tithe and your offering. So that would be even less than percent, but he'll bless the remainder if we're faithful. If we do not put God in his temple first - now, what is the temple? It's the people.

It's the church. It's the work of God. If we are thinking about our house and we're not thinking about his house, our priorities are messed up. Notice the difference between Solomon and hezekiah. First of all, was hezekiah a good king or a bad king? Good king.

Solomon - at least at the beginning - good king or bad king? Good king. You notice when Solomon - you look in 1 Kings chapter 3, 'Solomon loved the Lord walking in all the commandments of the lord.' And then God appears to Solomon and he says, 'ask what I'll do for you.' And he was so humble he said, 'lord, your kingdom. It's your kingdom. Your kingdom - what can I - I need wisdom.' God gave him wisdom. What's the first thing Solomon did? Built the temple of the Lord.

God works a miracle for hezekiah, makes the sun go backwards - even ambassadors from Babylon come to find out about God. 'Tell us about your God. Show us your temple.' And instead of showing the temple, where does hezekiah take him? To his house. He said, 'do you want to see my house? Look at my veranda. Look at my balcony.

Look at my ointments. Look at my armory - my security system. Look at my stuff.' And Isaiah said, 'what did they see?' 'I showed them everything in my house.' My house. He said, 'you're going to lose everything. It's all going to get carried to Babylon because you didn't seek first God's kingdom.

' That two - those two principles, we all have in our hearts. Karen and I sometimes enjoy watching a program where they show people renovating their houses and then they've got this other program - I'm embarrassed to tell you this but I'm just baring my soul. They've got this program - they go around the world and look at these beautiful homes and these beautiful beaches and islands and stuff. And I've got to tell you, friends, I covet a little bit when I look at all of that. I think, 'well, I wouldn't mind living in that house.

That'd be pretty nice. And it's so easy for us to think about what kind of retirement house would I have and - we all want to be comfortable. Right now, I don't know about you but we've been doing a little spring cleaning and you want to take care of your house. But we can get so preoccupied with our houses we forget about God's house. And that's just - not just the building.

We had a work bee here not too long ago. It's good to do spring cleaning and take care of the church, but it's the work of God. God has a house not just in Sacramento or whatever town you're watching from, but it's all over the world. And we need to be thinking about his church and the mission of his church and building up the church. Was the old testament the only time the walls of God had been broken down? Could it be that even today there are breaches in the walls? What made Nehemiah so sad? He wept before the King because, he said, 'the city's broken down.

Still got a city, but there are breaches in the walls.' Will we - will we meet with opposition from the enemy when we try to build up the city and the temple of God? Did they meet with opposition? Even in the prophecy about Jesus it said, 'the street and the wall will be built again in troublous times.' Whenever you're building up the temple of God it's going to be troublous times because the devil's not going to stand back and say - applaud - 'here's some money, go ahead and build.' It's always with opposition you try to build up the church of God. It's always with opposition you try to build up the temple of God in your body. Whenever you try and have reform and you try and build things up and take care of your body physically and spiritually, you're going to find all kinds of temptation and opposition from the devil and circumstances and the devil just doesn't want to see the temple built up. And God then says - we're under this next section - 'do not fear' do not be afraid because he will support. I'm going to jump ahead.

'God's greatest promise'. Someone look up for me, please, Isaiah 41:10. Who has that? We've got a hand back here. I think, Virginia? Let's get her a microphone. Hold your hand up so they see it, okay? And while - yeah, while you're taking the mic back there, let's talk about God's greatest promise.

Genesis 28:15-18. Four words, 'I am with you.' That's the greatest promise. 'I am' - what happened to adam and eve after sin? They were separated from God. They ran from God, he didn't run from them. But they were separated.

Your sins have separated you from God. What is the purpose of the plan of salvation? Bring us back together again. Isn't that right? To be reconciled with God. So when God said in Genesis 28, to Jacob, 'I am with you. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.

'" I like what he said to gideon. Sometimes it doesn't feel like God's with us and that's how gideon responded. Judges 6:12, "and the angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, 'the Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!'" And gideon said, 'o, if the lord is with us then why are we having so much trouble?' Could the Lord still be with you and you having trouble? Matter of fact, sometimes that's what the children of Israel said, 'God went to pharaoh and said, 'let my people go' and things got worse. Then they wouldn't even give them straw to make brick and then they chased after them and they said, 'oh, it would have been better to die in Egypt.' And so, whenever you're trying to do God's will and follow God, you're going to say, 'if God's with us, why are we having all these problems?' Look at the children of Israel going through the wilderness. Did they have problems? Was God with them? Yeah.

He's still with his people. Alright, read for us please Isaiah 41:10. Isaiah 41:10, "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." That's the greatest promise of all, 'I am with you.' Matthew 28, Jesus said, 'lo I am with you always.' At the end of his life he says, 'I am with you.' And what's the promise about Christ when he first came? His name will be called immanuel, which means 'God with us'. Then you get to Revelation - what's the ultimate promise in Revelation? "I heard a voice from heaven saying" - 21:3 - Revelation 21:3 - "behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people.

God himself will be with them and be their God." Wow, isn't that the best thing about heaven? Except we won't have any opposition then. Now, I told you I was saving the best for last. Why was this temple, this second temple that Haggai prophesied about, going to be greater than the temple of Solomon? Do you realize when Moses dedicated the temple in the wilderness the glory came down from heaven? Fire came from heaven down on the sacrifice. Fire fell from heaven to show his approval of this temple. When Solomon built his temple the same thing happened.

That was one of the greatest miracles of Solomon's life - a visual - like Elijah - fire came down, consumed the sacrifice, filled the temple with glory. The priests couldn't even go in to Solomon's temple because of the glory in the temple. And now they've built this comparatively small shed they're calling a temple. I mean, it was pretty majestic but compared to the others it wasn't anything. And God said, 'don't you fear.

' He says in Haggai 2, verse 3, "who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?" But then he says - go to verse 6 - Haggai 2:6 - "for thus says the Lord of 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,'" - you ever read that book 'Desire of Ages'? It's based on this verse - "'the desire of all nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the Lord of hosts." And then you go to verse 9, "the glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,' says the Lord of hosts. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the Lord of hosts." Why could he say that the glory of this temple would be greater? Luke 2, verse 46, "now so it was that after three days" - Jesus is 12 years old, he goes to Jerusalem with his parents for the feast, they lose track of him and they search everywhere and finally they backtrack. It says, "I was that after three days they found him in the temple." Who actually came to that temple? Jesus. God, the Messiah himself, would come to this third temple. That's why the glory of this temple would be greater.

Jesus said in Matthew 21, verse , he said, "'it is written, 'my house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'" When Jesus - if you could see a video of that day when Jesus was in the courtyard and they were selling all the goats and the doves and the sheep and he chased them out, divinity flashed through him that day in the temple and it sent them all scurrying out of there taking their flea Market apparatus with them. The glory - it says, 'the zeal of thine house has eaten me up.' The glory of God did appear in that temple. Jesus came. You remember when mary magdalene was caught in adultery in that temple and he spoke there and he sent all of her accusers out. He forgave her there in that temple and then all the children came into the temple and they were singing, 'hosanna to the son of David' in that temple.

And so, he spent a lot of time teaching in the temple. It says, 'daily he was in the temple'. And so the glory of the third temple is because the Messiah was in that temple. Finally, last - last part of Haggai - I've got just a moment or two - it says, 'the Lord's signet ring' - you can read in Haggai where it tells about zerubbabel would be like the lord's signet ring. Now what's interesting about zerubbabel is, for one thing, his name is fun to say, right? How many of you have that on your list of baby names for your children or grandchildren? Zerubbabel - they'd have a hard time at school, wouldn't they? You know what's interesting about that guy with the interesting name? You trace the genealogy of mary and then you trace the genealogy of David - of Jesus - through Joseph and they're a little parallel but they're separate.

You know where they cross over? A guy named zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was a descendent of David and both the genealogy of David tracks back to zerubbabel and the genealogy of Joseph - mary, rather, and Joseph both track back to him because he was a descendent of king David. Furthermore, during the time of zerubbabel, he was a governor who oversaw the building of the house. He is another type of Christ. He is a son of David.

He brought them from captivity of Babylon to the promised land. Doesn't Jesus bring us from captivity to the promised land? No - wait, wait - I know I'm out of time, but just listen. This is important. Why does he say 'signet ring'? It is a reversal of what he said about the signet ring before they went to Babylon. The Son of David, jeconiah, he was an evil king.

He was The Son of josiah who was good, but jeconiah was bad. And it said in Jeremiah 22:24, 'though he were this signet on my right hand, yet I would pluck him out; and give him into the hand of those that seek his life.' A signet was the closest thing you had - it was your seal, it was your authority, it was your pin number. And it said that, you know, even though if he was a signet on my hand, because you've turned from me I give him to the enemy. Now, the ancestor of David, after the captivity, comes back and God says, 'he will be my signet on my hand. I'm going to restore my support for him.

' And so he was a type of Christ and he helped build up the temple like Jesus. He brought them out of captivity like Jesus, and he defended them from their enemies, like Jesus. And so, there's a lot more there. Signet ring, what did God - what did the King give to Esther to save them from the plot to destroy them? He said, 'here's my ring. I'll let you make a law that will deliver you.

' What did The Father give the prodigal son when he came home as a sign that he was back as part of the family? It was the signet ring - family seal. It was the key to the safety deposit box so to speak. So anyway, we've run out of time. A lot you can learn from Haggai. You could read it in just 20 minutes.

It's pretty easy.

Name:

Email:

Prayer Request:


Share a Prayer Request
Name:

Email:

Bible Question:


Ask a Bible Question

Back To Top