From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 13- Tabernacles – The Feast of Restoration, continued
The implication is clear, and the indictment against sectarianism is with no uncertain voice. If the Body of Christ is betrayed for the sake of base gain, or for one’s own Personal interest in this sect or that, then all our vaunted claims to revival and great mass conversions are empty. Is it not true, that the people assemble together to co-operate in some great mass effort for revival, and after it is all over they run “every man unto his own house…”? Back they go to their little sect and attempt to build it up with the new converts brought to birth by the revival effort. And God blows upon their work by His sifting, testing, trying Spirit; and “Lo, it came to little.” Hence the drought, the lack of spiritual power and blessing; the absence of any real fellowship with the saints or unity of the Spirit; and the reason there is no latter rain. God has called the drought, and therefore at His word the Heavens have withholden their dew.
ZERUBBABEL FACES THE CHALLENGE
Zerubbabel (who was in charge of the building of the second temple), and Joshua (who was the high priest), and the remnant of people, obeyed the voice of God as spoken by the prophet, and “they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts.” (Hag. 1:14). We have already considered in some detail the story of their labours and their problems. But God was with them.
Zerubbabel means “Sown in Babylon,” and Joshua is the Hebrew for “Jesus.” Is it not true that we have all been planted in Babylon, that great city, the city of all manner of abominations, religious and otherwise? But some have heard the call, “Come out of her, my people” and have been transplanted into another land, the land of their true calling. “Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.” (Heb. 12:22, 23).
HAGGAI PROPHESIES ON THE LAST DAY OF THE FEAST
It has been assumed that Haggai was probably born on a Feast day, because his name signifies “Feast of Jehovah.” However, an amazing passage of scripture in his prophecy reveals that Haggai gave utterance to one of the Church’s choice promises on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Therefore he was truly named “Haggai,” which signifies “Feast of the Lord.” One might wonder why the Scriptures go into such detail at times, in giving us dates and seasons which seem to be meaningless to us. God no doubt has a great plan in it all, and as our eyes become enlightened to the riches of His Word, many delightful surprises are there to greet us. And so we read, “In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying…” (Hag. 2:1). The seventh month, and the twenty-first day of the month! In other words, in the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles!
Just imagine what concern and heartache must have gripped the holy prophet of the Lord as he looked down upon this second temple, slowly rising from the dust–but so very, very incomplete, and far from being a glorious temple. And now on this great day, the last day of the Feast, when the memory of every true Israelite would naturally revert back to the days of Israel’s glory and power in the days of Solomon’s magnificent kingdom–Haggai would likewise be thinking of the great and tremendous heritage which they had lost because of the captivity. The magnificence of Solomon’s temple was utterly unsurpassable. There is nothing in the annals of history to compare with it, past or present. How could this feeble remnant begin to erect a structure even comparable to that wonderful temple? How discouraging their work must have been as they contemplated the glory they had lost! But at that very moment, on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the word of prophecy came upon him and he cried to Zerubbabel and the remnant:
“Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing! Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord: and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Hag. 2:3-9).
Notice the repetition of the phrase, “Saith the Lord of hosts.” God wants us to make no mistake about this: God hath spoken and not man. True, our feeble attempts at restoration are nothing compared to the glory of the early Church, the Temple of the living God erected in apostolic days. But God hath promised: “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former…” Neither Zerubbabel’s Temple nor the Temple of Herod could begin to compare with Solomon’s Temple. But God was not speaking of the earthly house; He was speaking of the Temple not made with hands, composed of living stones. And the “Desire of all nations” would be the Glory of that Temple. And so Malachi prophesies: “And the Lord, whom ye seek. shall suddenly come to his temple…” (Mal. 3:1). All nations–yea the creation itself, are waiting eagerly for His appearing, even for the “manifestation of the Sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19). Nor shall their hopes and expectations be disappointed. GHW
There is need in the body of Christ to root deeper and grow taller as the people of God. Living beneath our potential as the children of God has become the “norm” for many Christians. The seeds of vision the Lord sowed in our spirits at our conversion have for the most part had a hard time growing in the hard, stony, thorny soil of our souls.
Three prophets spoke to Israel after their return from a 70-year captivity in Babylon. The prophets employed rebuke, exhortation, comfort, and direction as God worked through them to help a cast down generation of His people rise to the prophetic occasion of the hour.
The key scripture is Haggai 2:9: “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.” We have a glorious future before us. Not after we leave this earth and these human bodies, but upon this earth in these vessels made of clay. The key to seeing this greater glory of the latter house is to believe it can happen and will happen in us and through us, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zec 4:6).