TODAY’S READING: HAGGAI
“‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.’ Then the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?'” – Haggai 1:2-4
The book of Haggai is most known for the call to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the remnant to build rebuild the temple of the Lord. Although, instead of the Hebrew word for temple, Haggai actually uses the Hebrew word for house. In fact, of all the books in the Old Testament, Haggai is the book of the house as it has the highest frequency of the word house given the length of the book.
While the Jews at the time understood the word from Haggai to be a call to rebuild Solomon’s temple, is that how we are to understand it today?
In other words, was Haggai’s word only about rebuilding the physical temple of Solomon?
Certainly not. Because, the physical temple had been rebuilt at least twice before Jesus was born.
If not, then are we to be looking for a third physical temple to be built as a dwelling place for God?
John 2:16-21 says, “And he told those who sold pigeons, ‘Take these things away, do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ So the Jews said to him, ‘What sign do you show us for doing these things?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will your raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking about the temple of his body.”
According to Jesus, the temple, the house of the Lord, was his body. Therefore, when we read Haggai through the lens of Jesus, we are to understand the word of the Lord that came to Haggai as a word about Jesus’ body, the spiritual house of the Lord, not as a word about a physical temple.
Jesus’ body as the house of the Lord is confirmed throughout the New Testament. This is the house we are to be about building.
Acts 2:47-49 says, “But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?'”
God doesn’t dwell in houses or temples that we make. Those are made with hands. However, Jesus’ body was not made by hands. It was prepared by God. Speaking of Jesus, Colossians 2:9 says, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” The Greek word for dwells has as its root the Greek word that means house.
2 Corinthians 5:1-4 says, “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”
God is making us a building, a house not made with hands. This house is eternal. Ultimately, this house is not our mortal body but the body that is life itself.
Hebrews 3:6 says, “But Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”
Very plainly, the author of Hebrews says that we are God’s house. We are the house God spoke to Haggai about. Why are we God’s house? Because we are now Jesus’ body. And, God dwells in the body of Christ fully.
1 Peter 2:5 says, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house.” Again, we are the house that God is building. We are not building, normis anyone else building, a physical dwelling place for God.
We are the dwelling place for God.
Jesus spoke of exactly this the night before he was crucified.
In John 14:3, Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.”
In John 14:23, Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
In John 15:4, Jesus said, “Abide in my, and I in you.”
In John 17:20-23, Jesus said, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and love them even as you loved me.”
The night before Jesus died he spoke repeatedly about he and God dwelling in us, making their home with us. We would be one with God and Jesus. As the house of God, we would share in the glory that the Father gave to Jesus.
Haggai spoke of this in Haggai 2:7-8, which says, “And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts.”
How would we become the house of the Lord?
Jesus told us how in the midst of his speech the night before he was crucified. He told us the Holy Spirit would come to us and dwell in us and teach us everything we needed to know about being one with the Father, being the Father’s house.
Ephesians 2:19-22 says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
Haggai spoke of the Spirit’s role in building the house too. For, when did Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the remnant set about building the house of the Lord?
Haggai 1:13-14 says, “Then Haggai, the messenger of the Lord, spoke to the people with the Lord’s message, ‘I am with you, declares the Lord.’ And the lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.”
Just like Paul said, Haggai spoke that is the Spirit of God that causes the house to be built.
Without Jesus, we would be waiting for another physical temple to be built in the land of Israel. Sadly, many Christians are waiting for just this. The wait for a new physical temple because they haven’t heard and seen what Jesus revealed.
Jesus is the house of the Lord. Jesus is the temple of God. He is God’s dwelling place. And, because we are now members of his body, we are God’s house. We are the house, the dwelling place of God, that Spirit is building, the house that is not made with hands.
God dwells in us.