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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) The glory . . .—Better, The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former. The new sanctuary is regarded as identical with that reared by Solomon. It shall have a claim to celebrity unrivalled even in the palmiest days of olden time, when Jehovah shall turn the attention of all nations to His sacred place, as predicted in Haggai 2:6-7.

Between this third utterance and the fourth (Haggai 2:10-19) intervenes Zechariah’s exhortation to repentance (Zechariah 1:2-6) uttered in the eighth month.

2:1-9 Those who are hearty in the Lord's service shall receive encouragement to proceed. But they could not build such a temple then, as Solomon built. Though our gracious God is pleased if we do as well as we can in his service, yet our proud hearts will scarcely let us be pleased, unless we do as well as others, whose abilities are far beyond ours. Encouragement is given the Jews to go on in the work notwithstanding. They have God with them, his Spirit and his special presence. Though he chastens their transgressions, his faithfulness does not fail. The Spirit still remained among them. And they shall have the Messiah among them shortly; He that should come. Convulsions and changes would take place in the Jewish church and state, but first should come great revolutions and commotions among the nations. He shall come, as the Desire of all nations; desirable to all nations, for in him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; long expected and desired by all believers. The house they were building should be filled with glory, very far beyond Solomon's temple. This house shall be filled with glory of another nature. If we have silver and gold, we must serve and honour God with it, for the property is his. If we have not silver and gold, we must honour him with such as we have, and he will accept us. Let them be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what would be beyond all the glories of the first house, the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in human nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in human form and nature, could fulfil this. Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. This prophecy alone is enough to silence the Jews, and condemn their obstinate rejection of Him, concerning whom all their prophets spake. If God be with us, peace is with us. But the Jews under the latter temple had much trouble; but this promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by his blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desired and valued by all nations. And the Jews shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have hitherto rejected.The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former - or, perhaps, more probably, "the later glory of this house shall be greater than the former;" for he had already spoken of the present temple, as identical with that before the captivity . "Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory, anti how do you see it now?" He had spoken of its "first glory." Now he says, in contrast, its later glory should be greater than that of its most glorious times. In this case the question, whether the temple of tiered was a different material building from that of Zerubbabel, falls away.

In either case, the contrast is between two things, either the temple in that its former estate, and this its latter estate after the captivity, or the two temples of Solomon and Zerubbabel. There is no room for a third temple. God holds out no vain hopes. To comfort those distressed by the poverty of the house of God which they were building, God promises a glory to this house greater than before. A temple, erected, after this had lain waste above 1800 years, even if Antichrist were to come now and to erect a temple at Jerusalem, could be no fulfillment of this prophecy.

In material magnificence the temple of Solomon, built and adorned with all the treasures accumulated by David and enlarged by Solomon, far surpassed all which Herod, amid his attempts to give a material meaning to the prophecy, could do. His attempt shows how the eyes of the Jews were fixed on this prophecy, then when it was about to be fulfilled. While taking pains, through the gradualness of his rebuilding, to preserve the identity of the fabric, he lavished his wealth, to draw off their thoughts from the king, whom the Jews looked for, to himself. The friendship of the Romans who were lords of all, was to replace the "all nations," of whom Haggai spoke; he pointed also to the length of peace, the possession of wealth, the greatness of revenues, the surpassing expenditure beyond those before. A small section of Erastians admitted these claims of the murderer of his sons.

The Jews generally were not diverted from looking on to Him who should come. Those five things, the absence whereof they felt, were connected with their atoning worhip or God's presence among them; "the ark with the mercy-seat and the cherubim, the Urim and Tummin, the fire from heaven, the Shechinah, the Holy Spirit." Material magnificence could not replace spiritual glory. The explanations of the great Jewish authorities, that the second temple was superior to the first in structure (which was untrue) or in duration, were laid aside by Jews who had any other solution wherewith to satisfy themselves. "The Shechinah and the five precious things," says one, "which, according to our wise of blessed memory, were in it, and not in the second house, raised and exalted it beyond compare." Another says, "When Haggai saith, 'greater shall be the glory of this later house than the first,' how is it; that the house which Zerubbabel built through the income which the king of Persia gave them was more glorious than the house which Solomon built? And though it is said that the building which Herod made, was exceeding beautiful and rich, we should not think that it was in its beauty like to the house which Solomon built. For what the wise of blessed memory have said of the beauty of the house of Herod is in relation to the house which Zerubbabel built. How much more, since Scripture saith not, 'Great shall be the beauty or the wealth of this latter house above the first,' but the glory: and the glory is not the wealth or the beauty, or the largeness of the dimensions of the building, as they said in their interpretations, for the 'glory' is in truth spoken of the glory of God, which filled the tabernacle, after it was set up, and of the glory of God which filled the house of God, which Solomon built, when he brought the ark into the holy of holies, which is the Divine cloud and the Light supreme, which came down thither in the eyes of all the people, and it is said, 'And it was when the priests came out of the Italy place, the cloud filled the house of God, and the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of God filled the house of God.' And this glory was not in the second house.

And how shall it be said, if so, 'great shall be the glory of this later house above the first?'" The poor unconverted Jew did not know the answer to his question: "Through the presence of God, in the substance of our flesh; through the son given to us, Whose name should be Mighty God." The glory of this temple was in Him Who John 1:14. was made Flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." "There Christ, the Son of God, was, as a Child, offered to God: there He sat in the midst of the Doctors; there He taught and revealed things, hidden from the foundation of the world. The glory of the temple of Solomon was, that in it the majesty of God appeared, veiling itself in a cloud: in this, that same Majesty showed itself, in very deed united with the Flesh, visible to sight: so that Jesus Himself said, John 14:9. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." This it was which Malachi sang with joy Malachi 3:1, "The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in."

And in this place I will give peace - Temporal peace they had now, nor was there any prospect of its being disturbed. They were quiet subjects of the Persiam empire, which included also all their former enemies, greater or less. Alexander subdued all the bordering countries which did not yield, but spared themselves. Temporal peace then was nothing, to be then given them, for they had it. In later times they had it not. The temple itself was profaned by Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Macc. 1:39, 40). "Her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness. As had been her glory, so was her dishonor increased." Again by Pompey (Josephus, Ant. xiv. 4. 4. B. J. i. 7.) by Crassus (Josephus, Ant. xiv. 7. 1. B. J. i. 9. 8), the Parthians (Josephus, Ant. xiv. 13. 3. 4.) before it was destroyed by Titus and the Romans. Jews saw this and, knowing nothing of the peace in Jesus, argued from the absence of outward peace, that the prophecy was not fulfilled under the second temple. "What Scripture says, 'and in this place I will give peace,' is opposed to their interpretation. For all the days of the duration of the second house were "in strait of times and not in peace," as was written in Daniel, "and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again and the fosse, and in strait of time," and, as I said, in the time of Herod there was no peace whatever, for the sword did not depart from his house to the day of his death; and after his death the hatred among the Jews increased, and the Gentiles straitened them, until they were destroyed from the face of the earth."

But spiritual peace is, throughout prophecy, part of the promise of the Gospel. Christ Himself was to be Isaiah 9:6-7 "the Prince of peace: of the increase of His government and of His peace there was to be no end;" in His days Psalm 72:3, Psalm 72:7 "the mountains were to bring peace to the people; there should be abundance of peace, so long as the moon endureth; the work of righteousness was to be peace Isaiah 32:17, the chastisement of our peace (that which obtained it) was upon Him" Isaiah 53:5, "great should be the peace of her children" Isaiah 54:13, in the Gospel God would give peace, true peace, to the "far off and the near" Isaiah 57:19. He would extend Isaiah 66:12 "peace to her like a river:" the good things of the Gospel was "the publishing of peace" Isaiah 52:7. The Gospel is described as Ezra 34:25, "a covenant of peace:" the promised king Zechariah 9:10 "shall speak peace to the Pagan;" He himself should be "our peace" Micah 5:5. And when He was born, the angels proclaimed Luke 2:14 "on earth peace, goodwill toward men" Luke 1:79. "The Dayspring from on high visited us, to guide our feet into the way of peace." He Himself says John 14:27, "My peace I leave with you." He spake, that John 16:33 "in Me ye might have peace." Peter sums up "the word which God sent unto the children of Israel, as Acts 10:36 preaching peace by Jesus Christ Romans 14:17. The kingdom of God is joy and peace Ephesians 2:14-15, Ephesians 2:17; Christ is our peace; made peace; preaches peace. God calleth us to peace" 1 Corinthians 7:15 in the Gospel Romans 5:1, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit is love joy peace." Spiritual peace being thus prominent in the Gospel and in prophecy, as the gift of God, it were unnatural to explain the peace which God promised here to give, as other than He promised elsewhere; peace in Him who is "our peace, Jesus Christ."

"Peace and tranquility of mind is above all glory of the house; because peace passeth all understanding. This is peace above peace, which shall be given after the third shaking of heaven sea earth, dry land, when He shall destroy all powers anti principalities (in the day of judgment). - And so shall there be peace throughout, that, no bodily passions or hindrances of unbelieving mind resisting, Christ shall be all in all, exhibiting the hearts of all subdued to the Father."

9. The glory of this latter house … greater than of the former—namely, through the presence of Messiah, in (whose) face is given the light of the knowledge of the glory of God (2Co 4:6; compare Heb 1:2), and who said of Himself, "in this place is one greater than the temple" (Mt 12:6), and who "sat daily teaching in it" (Mt 26:55). Though Zerubbabel's temple was taken down to the foundations when Herod rebuilt the temple, the latter was considered, in a religious point of view, as not a third temple, but virtually the second temple.

in this place … peace—namely, at Jerusalem, the metropolis of the kingdom of God, whose seat was the temple: where Messiah "made peace through the blood of His cross" (Col 1:20). Thus the "glory" consists in this "peace." This peace begins by the removal of the difficulty in the way of the just God accepting the guilty (Ps 85:8, 10; Isa 9:6, 7; 53:5; Zec 6:13; 2Co 5:18, 19); then it creates peace in the sinner's own heart (Isa 57:19; Ac 10:36; Ro 5:1; 14:17; Eph 2:13-17; Php 4:7); then peace in the whole earth (Mic 5:5; Lu 2:14). First peace between God and man, then between man and God, then between man and man (Isa 2:4; Ho 2:18; Zec 9:10). As "Shiloh" (Ge 49:10) means peace, this verse confirms the view that Hag 2:7, "the desire of all nations," refers to Shiloh or Messiah, foretold in Ge 49:10.

The glory, which God intends to put upon this temple. Solomon. and a rich people, with incredible spoils taken from conquered nations, gave a glory to the first house, but God himself will give the glory of this house.

This latter house, which poor captives and feudatory governors do build, this second temple: the prophet speaks of it as if it were already a house, whereas it was now to be built. What God accounts a glory, must be somewhat better than silver and gold.

Greater than of the former; more truly glory, and in higher degrees; the least of Christ is greater glory than all the magnificence of Solomon. There were no more but two houses built by God’s appointment, into the latter of which the Messiah was personally to come, as Malachi 3:1: therefore he came before that latter temple was destroyed, that is, 1684 years ago, when at two months old he was presented in the temple, embraced and confessed by Simeon, some seventy years before the temple was burnt by the Romans.

In this place; in my house, type of Christ, and who is the glory of it.

Will I give peace; a spiritual, internal, and heavenly peace, in pardoning guilt and destroying sin, which displeaseth God, and disquieteth man himself. Christ made peace on his cross, preached or published it to the world, and gives it to them by the power of his Spirit.

Saith the Lord of hosts; solemnly avowed by the Lord of hosts, who cannot deceive, or be deceived.

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts,.... The "former", or first house, was the temple built by Solomon, which was a very glorious one, if we consider the vast treasure of riches laid up by David, and given to Solomon for the building of it; the great number of workmen employed in it; the stateliness of the fabric, the like to which was never seen, the model being drawn by the Lord himself; the decoration of it; the vessels in it; and, above all, the glory of the Lord that filled it, and continued in it; and yet this "latter" or second house exceeded it. It must be a glory very great indeed to exceed this! The Jews (m) themselves own there were several things wanting in the latter which were in the former, as the "ark", the "Urim" and "Thummim", the "fire" from heaven, the "Shechinah" (or, as in some books, the anointing oil, and, in others, the cherubim), and the "Holy Ghost": by one of their writers (n), they are reckoned in this order, the ark, the mercy seat, and cherubim, one; the Shechinah or divine Majesty, the second; the Holy Ghost, which is prophecy, the third; Urim and Thummim the fourth: and the fire from heaven the fifth: what could there be in it to compensate the want of these, and put it upon a level, and even to cause it to excel the temple of Solomon? the excelling glory did not lie in the fabric; when the foundation of it was laid, the old men wept, because it came so short of the other; and, as the building rose, it was in their eyes as nothing; who were better judges than later Jews, who magnify the building of the second temple; depending upon the authority of Josephus ben Gorion, who is not to be trusted: nor did it lie in the duration of it, it continuing ten years longer, they say (o), than the former; which, if true, could not answer to the deficiencies before mentioned; or be an encouragement to the builders to go on in their work: nor in the riches brought into it by the Gentiles in the times of the Maccabees, which was very inconsiderable; and could never make it equal to Solomon's temple, and much less preferable to it; nor by Alexander the great honouring it with his presence (p); for surely Solomon was greater than he. It remains, that what gave it the greater glory was the personal presence of the Messiah in it, his doctrines, and his miracles:

and, or "for",

in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts; not temporal peace, for there was little of that during the second temple; witness the times of the Maccabees, and the wars with the Romans; but spiritual peace, through the blood and righteousness of Christ; peace with God; reconciliation for sin, through the sacrifice of the Son of God, in whom he is well pleased; yea, Christ himself may be meant, the Prince of peace, the Man the peace, who is our peace, Isaiah 9:6 the author of peace between God and men, between Jew and Gentile; the giver of spiritual and eternal peace: him the Lord gave, "put", and set in this place, the temple, as before observed; and where the Gospel of peace was preached, and from whence it went forth into all the world. The Arabic version adds,

"peace of soul, I say, to be possessed by everyone that labours to raise up this temple.''

(m) T. Hieros. Taaniot, fol. 65. 1. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 21. 2. Jarchi & Kimchi in Hagg. i. 8. (n) Baal Aruch in rad. fol. 75. 3.((o) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 3. 1. (p) Azariah, Meor Enayim, c. 51. fol. 160. 1. Vid. Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 23. 2. & 24. 1.

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 {f} peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

(f) Meaning all spiritual blessings and felicity purchased by Christ; Php 4:7.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. The glory of this latter house, &c.] Rather, the latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former (as in R.V.); the Temple, whether as built by Solomon or now rebuilt, being regarded as one and the same house, the one only house of God. See ver. 3.

The glory here promised is first and most obviously material glory, the desirable things, the precious gifts of all nations. But it includes the spiritual glory, without which in the sight of God material splendour is worthless and unacceptable. Christ Himself, present bodily in the temple on Mount Sion during His life on earth, present spiritually in His Church now, present in the holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, of which He is the Temple (Revelation 21:22), calling forth the spiritual worship and devotion, and as the legitimate and necessary expression of that, the wealth and treasure of all nations, is the glory here predicted. But all this is rather implied, to be discerned by the Church in the growing light of its fulfilment, than expressed, to be understood by those to whom the prophecy was first delivered.

Verse 9. - The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former. Revised Version, following the Septuagint, "The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former." "This house" means the temple at Jerusalem, regard not being paid to the special building (ver. 3), whether of Solomon, or Zerubbabel, or Herod. As understood by the hearers, this promise referred to the material fiches, the precious things offered by the Gentiles. To us it speaks of the promise of Christ, God incarnate, in the holy city and in the temple itself, and of his presence in the Church, wherein he abides forever. Here is the complete answer to the complaint of ver. 3. In this place will I give peace. Primarily this means in Jerusalem, the place where the temple stood, God would grant peace from enemies, freedom from danger, and quiet enjoyment of promised blessings (comp. Isaiah 55:18; Joel 3:17; Micah 5:4, 5). But the promise is not fulfilled by this; the peace promised to the spiritual temple is that peace of heart and conscience which is given by him who is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and which includes all the graces of the Christian covenant (Ezekiel 34:25). The first temple was built by the king whose name is "Peaceful;" the second is glorified by the presence of the "Peace bringer" (Genesis 49:10). At the end of this verse the LXX. has an addition not found in the Hebrew, "even peace of soul for a possesion to every one who buildeth, to raise up this shrine." Haggai 2:9Jehovah can fill this house with glory, because the silver and gold which the heathen nations possess belong to Him. By shaking all kingdoms He can induce the nations to present their treasures to Him as gifts for the glorification of His house. Thus (the promise closes with this in Haggai 2:9), the later glory of this house will be greater than the former was. Hâachărōn might be regarded as belonging to habbayith hazzeh, in the sense of "the glory of this latter house;" and the majority of the commentators have taken it so, after the Itala, Vulgate, and Peschito. But it is quite as admissible to connect it with kâbhōd, in the sense of "the later glory of this house," inasmuch as when one substantive is determined by another which is connected with it in the construct state, the adjective belonging to the nomen regens follows with the article (cf. 2 Samuel 23:1; 1 Chronicles 23:27; and Ewald, 289, a). This is the rendering adopted by Michaelis, Maurer, Hitzig, and others, after the lxx. According to the first construction, the distinction would be drawn between a former and a later house; according to the second, simply between the earlier and later glory of the same house; and the passage would be based upon the idea, that through all ages there was only one house of Jehovah in Jerusalem existing under different forms. Haggai 2:3 is decisive in favour of the second view, for there an earlier glory is attributed to this house, and contrasted with its present miserable condition. The first or former glory is that of Solomon's temple, the later or last that of Zerubbabel's. The difference of opinion as to the true rendering of the words has no material influence upon the matter itself; except that, if the latter view be adopted, the question so often discussed by earlier writers - namely, whether by the second temple we are to understand the temple of Zerubbabel or the temple as altered by Herod, which many have erroneously taken to be the third - falls to the ground as perfectly unmeaning. The final glory of the temple will also be a lasting one. This is implied in the closing words of the promise: "And in this place will I give peace." "This place" is not the temple, but Jerusalem, as the place where the temple is built; and the "peace" is not spiritual peace, but external peace, which does indeed in its perfect form include spiritual peace as well. This is perfectly evident from the parallel passages, Micah 5:4, Joel 3:17, and Isaiah 60:18.

If we also take up the question as to the fulfilment of this prophecy, we must keep the two features quite distinct - (a) the shaking of heaven and earth and all nations; (b) the consequence of this shaking, the coming of the heathen with their possessions to the glorification of the temple - although they both stand in close connection. The earlier commentators were no doubt generally right, when they sought for the fulfilment in the establishment of the new covenant through Christ; they simply erred in referring the predicted shaking of the nations and the promised glorification of the temple in too one-sided and exclusive a manner to the coming of Christ in the flesh, to His teaching in the temple, and to the establishment of the kingdom of heaven through the preaching of the gospel. They were thereby compelled, on the one hand, to force upon the prophecy a meaning irreconcilable with the words themselves, and, on the other hand, to seek for its fulfilment in historical particulars to some extent of very subordinate importance. Even the predicted nearness of the time ("it is a little while") does not suit the exclusive reference to the establishment of the new covenant, or the founding of the Christian church. The period of 520 years, which elapsed before the birth of Christ, cannot be called a little or short time, as Calovius supposes, "in comparison with the time that had passed since either the promulgation of the law or the promulgation of the protevangelium," inasmuch as five hundred are not מעט in relation to fifteen hundred, and the proposal to go back to the protevangelium is evidently merely a loophole of perplexity. Nor can מעט היא be explained on the hypothesis that the measure of time here is not a human one, but the divine measure, according to which a thousand years are equal to one day. "For whoever speaks to men, must speak of things according to a human method of thinking; or if he do not, he must make it clear that this is the case. The prophet lays stress upon the brevity of the time, for the purpose of comforting. And only what is short in the eyes of men is fitted for this" (Hengstenberg). The shaking of the heathen world did not first begin with the birth of Christ, but commenced shortly after the time of Haggai. It is true that under Darius Hystaspes the Persian empire was still standing at the summit of its power; but its shaking began under his successor Xerxes, and came very plainly to light in his war against Greece. "Even then there were forebodings that the time of this empire would soon be accomplished, and the rapid conquests of Alexander gave fulfilment to this foreboding. And even his power, which seemed destined to last for ever, very speedily succumbed to the lot of all temporal things. Inde (says Livy) morte Alexandri distractum in multa regna, dum ad se quisque opes rapiunt lacerantes viribus, a summo culmine fortunae ad ultimum finem centum quinquaginta annos stetit. The two most powerful kingdoms that grew out of the monarchy of Alexander, viz., the Syrian and Egyptian, destroyed one another. The Romans now attained to the government of the world; but at the very time when they appeared to be at the summit of their greatness, their shaking had very considerably advanced" (Hengstenberg). The circumstance that the prophet mentions the shaking of heaven and earth before the shaking of all the heathen, cannot furnish any valid ground for objecting to these allusions; nor can it force us to the conclusion that the words are only to be understood as denoting "great political shakings, whereby the power of the heathen would be broken, their pride humbled, and so the susceptibility for salvation be evoked among them." For even if such events do shake the world, and are poetically represented as earthquakes, even if they were regarded by the nations as heralds of the approaching destruction of the world, because the impression they produced upon the mind was as if heaven and earth were falling to pieces; all this does not satisfy the words, which do not express the subjective emotion, but announce real facts. The shaking of heaven and earth, of the sea and of the dry land, is indeed partially effected by violent earthquakes and wonderful signs in the sky, and was typified by such judgments as the flood; but it is only fully accomplished at the breaking up of the present condition of the world in the destruction of this heaven and this earth.

The prophet mentions at the very outset the utmost and the last that God will do, to clear away all existing hindrances to the completion of His kingdom in glory, and then passes on to the shakings of the world of nations which prepare the way for and lead on to this result, just as Micah in Micah 4:1-13 comes back from the most remote future to the less remote, and then to the immediate future. For the shakings of the heathen, by which their power will be broken and the dissolution of heathenism and of the ungodly power of the world will be effected, do not reach their end with the coming of Christ and the establishment of the Christian church: but just as the kingdom of the world maintains its standing by the side of the kingdom of heaven established by Christ upon the earth, until the return of our Lord to judgment; so does the shaking of the heathen and of the kingdoms of the nations continue till every power which rises against the Almighty God and His Christ is broken, and the world which has been thrown into confusion by the sin of men, and is made subject to corruptibility on their account, shall perish, and the new heaven and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness, for which we are looking, shall be established (2 Peter 3:12-13).

(Note: Aug. Koehler also assumes that the ultimate fulfilment of our prophecy will not take place till the second coming of Christ, although he is of opinion that, generally speaking, it has not been fulfilled in the manner originally intended. Starting, for example, with the fact that the fulfilment of the events predicted by Haggai and the coming of the day of Jehovah are one and the same, and that according to Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5 the day of Jehovah was to be preceded by the coming of a messenger, to prepare the way for Jehovah to come to His temple, Koehler assumes that the fulfilment of these events ought to have taken place with the coming of Jesus of Nazareth, to establish the new covenant as the Messiah. But, inasmuch as Israel was still without such moral preparation as would allow of the coming of Jehovah being a blessing to it, and rejected its Messiah, there occurred an event in connection with this rejection of Jesus on the part of Israel, which not only put a stop to the fulfilment of the prophecies, the realization of which had commenced with the coming of Jesus, but introduced a partial modification. "The new covenant," he says, "which was established by the Lord in His incarnation, was not at first a blessing to Israel, but to the heathen world. Instead of setting up His kingdom over the earth, with Zion as the centre, the Lord returned to heaven, and there took possession of the throne above all thrones. But Israel was smitten with the ban, and scattered among the heathen nations. The sacred places which were to be glorified by the valuables of all the heathen, had become unclean through Israel's sin, and were given up to destruction in consequence." In his opinion there is a coming of Jehovah still in the future. Jesus will return from heaven again, but not till Israel shall have been converted to the Messiah it rejected. Then will the prophecies of Haggai that remained unfulfilled at the first coming of Jesus be accomplished, but in the only way that is still possible, since the former holy places of Israel have been destroyed, and the heathen world has already participated in the new covenant, and has at any rate in part already become the people of God. Consequently the events predicted by Haggai (Haggai 2:6-9) have not been fulfilled; for the valuable possessions of all the heathen have not been applied to the glorification of the sanctuary of Jehovah built by Zerubbabel, and there has not been a place of peace created there in the midst of the judgments that were to fall upon the heathen world. But the fault of this rests purely upon Israel. And so also it is in the impenitence of Israel that we have to look for the reason why the shaking of the heaven and the earth, and all the heathen, which Haggai announced as מעט היא, has been postponed for more than 500 years. This is Koehler's view. But if there had really been any foundation in the Scriptures for this view, and the predictions of our prophet had not been fulfilled in the manner intended, the fault would not rest entirely in the impenitence of Israel, but would fall in part upon God Himself, for having sent His Son, not at the proper time, or when the time was accomplished, but too early, namely, before Israel was in that moral condition which would allow of the coming of the Messiah to become a blessing to it, whether God was mistaken as to the proper time for sending His Son, or in His judgment as to the moral condition of Israel. If Koehler had put this clearly to his own mind, he would certainly have hesitated before he built up a view on the basis of an erroneous idea of the day of the Lord which necessarily leads to the denial not only of the divine prescience or the πρόγνωσιη τοῦ Θεοῦ, but also of the supernatural character of the old Testament prophecy.)

But if the shaking of the heathen commenced before the coming of Christ in the flesh, and will continue till His second coming in glory, we must not restrict the fulfilment of the predicted moral consequences of this shaking - namely, that the heathen come and consecrate their possessions to the Lord for the glorification of His house, to the conversion of the heathen to Christ, and their entrance into the Christian church - but must also regard the desire for the living God, awakened by the decay of heathendom and its religions, which was manifested in the adoption of Judaism by the more pious heathen, as a prelude to the fulfilment which commenced with the spread of the gospel among the Gentiles, and must include not only the presentation of dedicatory offerings τῶν ἀλλυφύλων and of gifts ἔξωθεν ἐθνῶν, with which the temple was adorned according to Josephus, de Bell. Jud. ii. 17, 3, but also the presents of king Artaxerxes and his counsellors, which Ezra received on his return to Jerusalem to carry with him for the temple (Ezra 7:15.).

(Note: We must not, however, include the additions to Zerubbabel's temple undertaken by Herod the Great for the sake of beautifying it, because, although Herod was a Gentile by descent, the work was not undertaken from any love to the Lord, but (as Calvin; and Hengstenberg, Christol. iii. pp. 289-90, have already observed) with the intention of securing the fulfilment of Haggai's prophecy, in order to prevent the coming of the kingdom of God, his fear of which was that it would put an end to his earthly sway. His intention is obvious enough from the address communicated by Josephus (Ant. xv. 11, 1), through which Herod endeavoured to win over the people to his plan. After telling them that the temple built after the return of the fathers from exile was still sixty cubits lower than that of Solomon, which he proposed to add, he proceeded thus: "But since I am now by God's will your governor, and I have had peace a long time, and have gained great riches and large revenues, and, what is the principal thing of all, I am at amity with and well regarded by the Romans, who, if I may so say, are the rulers of the whole world," etc. The allusion to our prophecy, as Hengstenberg says, is unmistakeable here. He tries to prove that all the conditions which it lays down for the glorifying of the temple have now been realized. "All nations," by whom the building of the temple is to be promoted, are equivalent in his esteem to "the Romans, who are the rulers of the whole world." He whom God has called to the government has gold and silver enough. And the words "in this place will I give peace" are now fulfilled. The manner in which he strained every nerve to fulfil the words "the glory will be greater," is evident from 3, where it is stated that "he laid out larger sums of money upon them than had been done before him, till it seemed that no one else had so greatly adorned the temple as he had done.")

Yea, even the command of king Darius Hystaspes to his vicegerent, which no doubt reached Jerusalem after our prophecy had been uttered, not only to allow the work at this house of God to continue, but also to deliver to the elders of Judah what was required for the building as well as for the requirements of the daily sacrificial worship out of the moneys raised by taxation on this side the river (Ezra 6:6-10), may at any rate be regarded as a pledge of the certain fulfilment of the divine promise uttered by Haggai.

But whilst the honour paid to the temple of Zerubbabel on the part of the heathen and heathen princes by the presentation of sacrifices and dedicatory offerings must not be overlooked, as preludes to the promised filling of this house with the riches of the Gentiles, we must not look to this outward glorification of the temple at Jerusalem for the true fulfilment of our prophecy, even if it had exceeded Solomon's temple in glory. This first took place with the coming of Christ, and that not in the fact that Jesus visited the temple and taught in it, and as the incarnate Logos, in whom the "glory of Jehovah" that filled the temple of Solomon dwelt in its truest essence as δόξα ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός, glorified the temple of stone with His presence, but by the fact that Christ raised up the true temple of God not built with human hand (John 2:19), i.e., that He exalted the kingdom of God shadowed forth in the temple at Jerusalem to its true essence. We must draw a distinction between the substance and form, the kernel and the shell, of the prophecy. The temple, as the place where the Lord dwelt in the midst of Israel in a visible symbol of His gracious presence, was the seat and concentration of the kingdom of God, which had its visible embodiment in the temple so long as the old covenant lasted. In this respect the rebuilding of the temple that had been destroyed was a sign and pledge of the restoration of the kingdom of God, which had been broken up through the banishment of Israel among the heathen, and the attitude of those who returned from exile towards the building of the temple was a sign of their internal attitude towards the Lord and His kingdom. If, then, the old men who had seen the temple in its former glory wept aloud at the laying of the foundation of the new building, because in comparison with the former it was as nothing in their eyes, this mourning was occasioned not so much by the fact that the new temple would not be so beautiful and majestic a building as that of Solomon had been, as by the fact that the poverty of the new building set before their eyes the wretched condition of the kingdom of God. This true or deeper ground for their mourning, which might very well give rise to the question whether the Lord would restore His former gracious relation to Israel, or at any rate would restore it now, is met by the divine promise published by Haggai to the people, which attaches itself in form to the existing circumstances, and accordingly promises for the future a glorification of the temple which will outshine the glory of the former one. If we look at the thought itself which is expressed in this form, it is the following: The Lord will one day exalt His kingdom, which is so deeply degraded and despised, to a glory which will far surpass the glory of the kingdom of God at the time of Solomon, and that by the fact that all the heathen nations will dedicate their possessions to it. This glorification of the house of God commenced with the introduction of the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus Christ preached, and of which He laid the foundation in His church. And whilst the stone-temple at Jerusalem built by Zerubbabel and splendidly finished by Herod fell into ruins, because the Jews had rejected their Saviour, and crucified Him, this has been carried on through the spread of the kingdom of God among the nations of the earth, and will be completed at the end of the course of this world; not, however, by the erection of a new and much more glorious temple in Jerusalem, but in the founding of the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God upon the new earth, after the overthrow of all the powers of the world that are hostile to God. This holy city will have the glory of God (ἡ δόξα τοῦ Θεοῦ equals כּבוד יהוה), but no temple; because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. Into this holy city of God will the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour, and the heathen who are saved will walk therein (Revelation 21:10-11, Revelation 21:22-24). Thus the promise covers the entire development of the kingdom of God to the end of days.

This was the sense in which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 12:26-27) understood our prophecy. In order, namely, to give emphasis to his admonition, not to expose themselves to still severer punishment than fell upon those who hardened themselves under the Old Testament against the incomplete revelation of God, by rejecting the far more perfect revelation of God in Christ, he quotes our prophecy, and shows from it (Hebrews 12:26), that at the founding of the old covenant only a comparatively small shaking of the earth took place; whereas for the times of the new covenant there had been predicted a shaking not only of the earth, but also of the heaven, which indicated that what was moveable was to be altered, as made for that purpose, that the immoveable might remain. The author of this epistle consequently brings out the fundamental thought of our prophecy, in which its fulfilment culminates, viz., that everything earthly must be shaken and altered, that the immoveable, i.e., the βασιλεία ἀσάλευτος, may remain, or in other words, that the whole of the earthly creation must perish, in order that the kingdom of God may be shown to be immoveably permanent. He does not, however, thereby represent the predicted shaking of heaven and earth "as still in the future," as Koehler supposes; but, as his words in Hebrews 12:28 (cf. Hebrews 12:22), "Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace," clearly show, he takes it as having already commenced, and looks upon the whole period, from the coming of Christ in the flesh till His coming again in glory, as one continuum.

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