It is quite common for folks to reminisce about the “good old days”. Cars were easier to work on, life was simpler, the merchandise that was purchased was built to last, etc. Yet realistically there has never been a time in the history of the world when as many people in general have access to comforts, accommodations, and conveniences which were never even thought of seventy-five years ago. I remember my Aunt Callie saying to me, “folks talk about the “good old days”, but I lived through some of those days and they weren’t all that good, compared to now.” She said it wasn’t so good when you had to go to the outhouse in freezing weather, or heat water on the stove to take a bath, not to mention being unable to easily call for help in time of need.
Man’s innate corruption causes him to be unthankful, especially when he is faced with some trial or trouble. He will, according to his nature, always express his dissatisfaction more readily than he will fall in praise and thanksgiving for the present mercies of GOD. In this fashion the children of Israel longed for the “good old days” of their captivity in Egypt when they were in the wilderness on the way to the promised land and unthankfully murmured against the goodness of the LORD’s provision for them. “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.” (Num 11:5-6)
The LORD always makes the future brighter than the past for those whom HE loves, yet men, in their unbelief of HIS goodness, will cling to those things of the past, which they think make them happiest. This unfolding of GOD’s blessing is described in what the Puritan, Thomas Watson, called “The DIVINE Cordial.” “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
The troubles which came upon the nation of Israel served to illustrate the fact that the LORD ordained a greater future blessing for HIS children. These trials were visited upon them so that they might look with anticipation for that SALVATION which the LORD had promised to visit upon those whom HE loves. From the very beginning the LORD declared that the SEED of the woman would bruise the head of Satan. HE promised to put David’s SON on an everlasting throne. Isaiah prophesied of HIM “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isa 9:6-7)
The Jews assumed that this reign began with Solomon, whom the LORD abundantly blessed with great wisdom and the privilege of building the first Temple at Jerusalem. When fire rained down at the dedication of this temple, the people stood in awe and many, no doubt, were convinced that this was the manifestation of that everlasting kingdom. Yet just a few short years later when the hordes of Nebuchadnezzar’s army descended upon Jerusalem, all of these hopes and expectations were dashed. Then, when Nehemiah, was enabled to rebuild this temple their hopes were once again raised, that a place of permanence had been achieved. Yet the Romans were raised up to bring Jerusalem into captivity and ultimately destroy this temple, in 70 AD.
Many Jews and Gentiles alike believe that a third temple shall yet be built. However the LORD has made it plain that HE does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor can HE be worshipped where or when man might propose. The LORD did give Haggai a vision of a “latter house” whose glory would exceed that of both of those former edifices. Yet this “latter house” is not built of wood and stone, or any materials provided or fashioned by men. This “latter house” is one and the same with that “everlasting kingdom” promised to the SON of David.
HE told Haggai that HE would “shake the nations” and fill this “house with glory”.(see v.7) Daniel saw this same “HOUSE”; saying “the God of heaven (shall) set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” (Dan 2:44) Just as the LORD ordained Solomon (i.e.; a man of peace) to build the first Temple, so too has HE ordained ONE, greater than Solomon, to build this Kingdom which shall never pass away. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Psa 2:6)
Haggai mentions that “Zerubbabel” will preside over this House. (see v.) and can there be any doubt that this “Zerubbabel” is none other than the LORD JESUS CHRIST, the GREAT HIGH PRIEST over the house of GOD. “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.” (Zec 4:6-9) The LORD JESUS is the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our faith and that ONE who has brought SALVATION to the house of Israel.
We are not yet waiting for this revelation to occur in some future time, but we have seen it manifested as CHRIST has come bringing redemption and triumphing over HIS enemies. Today is the day of SALVATION, long anticipated and awaited by those have confessed in all ages that they were looking for a city which hath foundations whose BUILDER and MAKER is GOD. “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” (1Pet 1:10-12)
This is a Kingdom of “peace”, which the LORD has established and applied to those whom HE is pleased to call. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27) While we rejoice in the glory of this “latter house”, we are yet beset with one enemy from which the LORD has removed its sting and power, yet leaves with us, that we might have anticipation of that which is yet to come. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1Cor 15:24-26) We wait not for the unveiling of the KING, for we have seen HIM and gladly worship at HIS footstool, but we yet groan and travail until the day that HE shall come to claim that bride which HE has purchased with HIS own blood. Even so come LORD JESUS.mam