Thursday, April 6, 2017, 11:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Do Not Seal My Lips.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Haggai 2 (Select vv. NASB).
How is it Now? (vv. 1-5)
On the twenty-first of the seventh month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet saying, “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying, ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’
How does the temple of God, the church, the body of Christ, look to you today? Your answer will probably depend upon where in the world you live. And, it will possibly depend on your concept of what “church” is, too. I live in America, so how I see the church is largely fashioned by what I have seen for myself with my own physical eyes, and what has been confirmed by what others have seen, as well. Also, I understand that the church is not a building. It is also not First Baptist or Second Presbyterian, etc. Those are organizations of human making. And, most likely, they are also 501c3 not-for-profit corporations under the headship of the US federal government. Human corporations are also NOT the church. We who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives ARE the church. We are God’s temple.
So, what was the church’s former glory? Well, for one I believe it was the believers in Jesus Christ joined together continuously in prayer while they waited for the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus had promised them. And, then it was the Day of Pentecost, when the believers (not all) were gathered together in one place, when all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and with power from on high, fulfilling the prophecy of Joel (2:28-32). And, then it was three thousand added to the number of believers in one day. After that, it was the believers in Jesus meeting together daily in the temple courts and from house to house, devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
So, how does it look today? Well, here in America it does not resemble its former glory, for sure. Now it looks like man-made businesses, theatre, and stage productions, complete with entertainers and clowns designed to draw in large crowds (the world) into the gatherings of “the church.” Largely, it looks worldly, fleshly, sensuous, weak, and spiritually impotent (powerless). It looks compromised, demoralized, impure, and seductive. It is largely driven by human thinking and reasoning, and by human marketing schemes on how to build your “church,” i.e. your human-based businesses, and in how to appeal to and appease your customer base (the world) so that they will want to come back to your gatherings, and so the world will feel at home in your meetings, and not threatened by the old-time gospel message. Yet, this certainly does not describe every church fellowship in America.
Yet, I am speaking here of the gatherings of the church, but how about us individually? We who believe in Jesus are God’s temple. He dwells within each and every one of us who are his true children. Are we a picture of our former glory? In other words, today do we look like we did (or better) than the day we first believed in Jesus and we were filled with his Holy Spirit and we were empowered by God to be his witnesses throughout the earth? Do we look now like we did (or better than) when we were first born again of the Spirit of God, crucified with Christ in death to sin, and resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”? Or, are we a mere shell of that former glory? Or, have we gone back to our old fleshly ways, and have we adopted the ways of the world?
If the picture of God’s church, the body of Christ, comprised of believers in Jesus Christ, is not a picture of its former glory, there is still hope! We can take courage, because God is not finished with us yet. Amen! If you are burdened of heart over the spiritual condition of today’s church, you are not alone, so take courage! Jesus is the one who began a good work in us, and he is the one who will carry it to completion. Although things may look pretty bleak right now, this is not the end of the story. The temple of God, his church, can be rebuilt (revived, renewed and restored). So, keep believing, and do not give up hope. Although revival is slow in coming, we must not think it will never come. We must keep preaching the gospel, and keep loving people with Jesus’ love, and do the work of the ministry.
Greater than Before (vv. 6-9)
For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, 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 will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts.”
There are many prophecies in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament concerning these last days before the return of Christ, and in particular concerning the times spoken of in the book of Revelation. And, many of them are being fulfilled in our day and time, though I certainly don’t know God’s timetable in all of this. What I do know, though, is that what was prophesied in Revelation 13 is happening today, and it has been happening for some time. The beast, although maybe not in its final form, has been rising, and has been conquering nations, peoples and Christians. An image of this beast, which could very well be television, has been set up, and people are bowing down and are worshiping it, for sure. And, God is using this beast (including the US government, which I believe is the whore), as his divine instruments of judgment on the people of this earth.
One of the main purposes, I believe, for these judgments is to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ and to revive Christ’s church before he comes back to take us home to be with him. I believe America is already under judgment, and that we are presently being taken down by our own leaders and their allies, and by this “beast” New World Order comprised of the Elite (wealthy and powerful), big banks, CEOs of corporations, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Bilderbergs, etc. Americans, for the large part, are being hypnotized by TV and the internet and social media and most have no idea that they are being duped by master manipulators, and that what they see on TV is mostly fake, and is for their distraction. But, there are many who do have their eyes opened, too, and who know what is going on, though many of them don’t know Christ, at all, but some do.
I know all this doesn’t sound hopeful, but it is, because through judgment (divine discipline and correction), and through persecution of the church, people are coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and the church is being revived or it will be revived, and God will restore, renew and will rebuild his church – his saints – and he will make us even better than before, I believe.
A Signet Ring (vv. 20-23)
Then the word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, “Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, ‘I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.’ ‘On that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’” declares the Lord of hosts.
What is a “signet ring” and what is its purpose? The kings of old utilized signet rings to indicate authority, ownership or honor. Zerubbabel was a prefiguring of Jesus Christ, who is the Promised seed of Abraham, and the promised Messiah of Israel, in the line of David.
In the final days before the return of Christ, God will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and nations, which is he is doing now, and eventually he will put an end to all evil and to all evil doers when he judges the beast and the false prophet, and when he condemns Satan to being bound for 1,000 years. When all this takes place, Jesus will return for his bride, his saints, and we will reign with him during his millennial kingdom during the 1,000 years.
Although I don’t completely comprehend what all this means, or how it works, or even if this is a literal 1,000 years, what I know is that one day Jesus is going to return for us, and we are going to be with him forever, and he will wipe all the tears from our eyes, and we will no longer be in these flesh bodies. What that means is we will no longer suffer, or be tempted to sin, or be subject to being ill-treated by those who are giving way to sin in their own lives. Evil will no longer reign, but Jesus will reign supreme. Death will be no more. Our labor on earth for God’s eternal kingdom will be completed, and we will forever be with our Lord in all his glory. Amen!
I Do Not Seal My Lips / An Original Work / January 13, 2014
Based off Psalms 37, 40
Do not fear when evil man
Has success in all their plans,
For like grass they’ll wither soon.
They’ll be cut off from the land.
Trust in the Lord and He’ll give you peace.
Find your delight in Him through all stress.
All of your ways commit unto Him.
All your desires from Him He’ll fulfill.
Wait for the Lord; keep His way.
Delight in His Word always.
He’ll be with you to the end;
Life eternal found in Him.
I waited patiently for my Lord.
He turned to me, and He heard my cry.
He set my feet on the Solid Rock.
He gave to me a firm place to stand.
Blessed are we, who trust the Lord,
Who do not turn to false gods.
Our desire’s to do God’s will.
His word is within our hearts.
I will proclaim salvation to man.
You put a new song now in my mouth.
I’ll not withhold your love and your grace.
I’ll speak forevermore of your truth.