Also available as MP3: God’s Plan to Glorify the Temple — Haggai 2:6-9
The Jews in Haggai’s day were discouraged that the new temple wasn’t as big as Solomon’s temple, so God planned to glorify it by shaking the nations down for their money to finance it, the way a bully shakes down a classmate (2:6-8) When the mountain of the Lord’s kingdom is established (Isa. 2:2) the nations “shall flow unto it” (v.6). Isaiah mentions their “silver and gold” because God plans to shake them into bringing it to Israel (Isa. 2:21). But an earthquake alone usually doesn’t separate men from their money, so God will shake heaven and earth (Hag. 2:6 cf. Joel 3:16,17).
But how would it encourage the Jews in Haggai’s day to know that God didn’t plan to glorify their temple until after they died? Well, doesn’t it encourage you to know that God is going to glorify the temple of your body until after you die if the Rapture doesn’t come first (Phil. 3:21,22)? If that doesn’t encourage you, you need to grow up (Eph. 4:15) and stop looking for instant gratification in this life.
But if all that’s true, why’d Haggai say the Lord would glorify the temple in “yet a little while”? Well, that phrase can mean a few moments (Lu. 22:56-59) or weeks or months (John 7:33) or thousands of years (Heb. 10:37), as it does here in Haggai 2 (cf. II Pe. 3:8).
God will only have to shake the nations “once” because that shaking will remove the world’s kingdoms (Heb. 12:26-28). After that their kingdoms will become the Lord’s kingdoms (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 11:15) and there will no further need to shake the nations.
“The desire of nations” (Hag. 2:7) is not Christ, it is money, and all the things money can buy (Eccl. 6:2). A stream of it will come to Jerusalem so steadily they’ll never be able to close the gates (Isa. 60:7-11). This will go on for eternity in New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22-25).
It is wrong when a bully shakes down a classmate for his lunch money, but it isn’t wrong for God to shake down the nations, for their money is His (Hag. 2:8). By virtue of the fact that God is the Creator of all things, He owns all things (Ps. 50:10-12). Men don’t know that now, but they will when it comes time to glorify the temple, just as the Jews knew when it came time to build Solomon’s temple (I Chron. 29:14-16). In the same way, the money you give to the Lord is His! Just like the body you give Him (Rom. 12:1 cf. I Cor 6:19,20). If you don’t give Him the body He owns, you’re not rendering to God what is God’s (Mark 12:17).
Solomon was the richest man who ever lived, how could the new temple be grander? It’ll be glorified with the combined wealth of everyone on earth (Isa. 2:7).
But how could God call the millennial temple “this latter house” when “this house” in the context is temple in Haggai’s day that was destroyed in 70 ad? Well, if the house of your body is destroyed, you have a resurrection body (II Cor. 5:1). It’s so sure that you’ll have it that God says you “have” it now, since He promised it to you (cf. Rom. 4:17). But your resurrection body will be your body (cf. Job 19:26,27), just far more glorious (I Cor. 15:37,38). Well, if God can call your resurrection house “your” house, even after it is destroyed, He can call the millennial temple “this house”, even though that house was destroyed in 70 ad.
All of this is symbolic of the difference between the Old and New Covenants. Just as the glory of the new temple will exceed the glory of the old temple, the glory of the New Covenant will exceed the glory of the Old (II Cor. 3:7-10). The Law was glorious, it upheld the high, perfect standards of God. But it condemned everyone, for no one could keep it. But the New Covenant of grace exceeds the Old Covenant in glory because it upholds the high standards of God, but gives believers perfect righteousness because of the blood of the New Covenant! The Law has no glory at all by comparison with that, just as Solomon’s temple will have no glory at all compared to the glory of the millennial temple.
Finally, God says “in this place will I give peace” (Hag. 2:9). That land that has known less peace than any other spot on the planet throughout history will not only have peace, it will be the source of peace for the rest of the world.