Haggai 2:8
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.

I. THE DIVINE RIGHT TO EVERYTHING WE POSSESS. God is our Sovereign, and as such he exercises dominion over us, and disposes of us as it seemeth him good. This sovereignty is exercised by him in strict accordance with the principles of wisdom, rectitude, and goodness. This Divine right has reference, not only to ourselves, but extends also to all that we possess. "All things come of him;" we are but stewards of his bounty. The recognition of this fact contributes to a man's real welfare. If a man views his possessions as being his own, he is in danger of that love of money which is the root of all evil. Hence it is with a view to man's spiritual preservation, as well as with a due regard to the benefit of the race and the progress of his cause, that God insists upon his right, saying, "The silver is mine," etc. (ver. 8).

II. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RECOGNITION OF THIS DIVINE RIGHT ON THE PART OF MAN, AND THE CONSECRATION OF HIS SUBSTANCE TO THE SERVICE OF GOD.

1. Neglect of this involves loss. The young ruler an example (Matthew 19:16-22). "He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." He kept his wealth, but at a terrible sacrifice, for he forfeited intercourse with Christ, the joys of the Christly life, and the unfading treasures with which the Saviour was prepared to enrich him.

"For mark the change! Thus saith the Lord,
Come, part with earth for heaven today.'
The youth, astonished at the word,
In silent sadness went his way."

2. Regard to this ensures gain. Cornelius an example (Acts 10:1, 2). He viewed property as a trust. He rendered unto God his due. His prayers and his alms "came up for a memorial before God." And the result was that God blessed him, granting unto him the ministry of angels, guiding him into truth by his servant, imparting to him the consciousness of his love, and filling him with the graces of his Spirit. Let us readily render unto God his just claim in reference to the possessions of earth

(1) when help is required in order to the maintenance of his worship;

(2) when the cry of distress, occasioned not by improvidence, but by unavoidable adverse influences, rises into our ears;

(3) when fresh openings for doing the work of God both at home and abroad are found, and call for increased liberality that they may be embraced, let God's voice be heard in these, intimating that he has need of those resources which have come to us as his gifts, and let us cheerfully give to him of his own. For who has such right to what we possess of this world's goods as he whose free gifts these are, and who in the bestowment of them has blessed the work of our hands? - S.D.H.







The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former.
The prophet's declaration that the silver is the Lord's and the gold is the Lord's is full of comfort to those who are disquieted about their own work, if they will receive it rightly. You who are poor, who have no gold and no silver to give, is it not a comfort that God does not need silver and gold from you? Rich as some may be in the eyes of the world, and in their own eyes, in God's eyes they are miserably poor, and only the poorer the richer they deem themselves. If our riches be our own, it is poverty; if our knowledge is our own, it is ignorance; neither can be true unless it be God's already. As the prophet's words are meant to cheer those who are troubled by a false humility, so do they cast down our pride, which always lies at the bottom of such false humility. What, then, are we to give to God? Only the things which are especially our own, our own hearts and souls. How could the glory of the latter house be greater than that of the former? It is declared that the Lord of hosts would "fill His house with glory." The manner in which this should he done is set forth thus — "The Desire of all nations shall come." Through the coming of the Desire of all nations what had waned and decayed may be restored and renewed, until the glory of its latter state is greater than that of its former. The condition of man after the Fall was as nothing in comparison with his first glory. In Christ human nature, regenerated by the power of His Spirit, is raised to a far higher state of glory than that from which man fell. So too it is with each individual man. Under the dominion of natural impulses and passions, he may look with shame on his early years; but they who have been truly and effectually regenerated by the Spirit of Christ know how, here again, the glory of the latter house is greater than that of the former. Such is the glory which we see in St. Paul's life after his conversion.

(Julius C. Hare, M. A.)

From the earliest period of time particular places were set apart for the peculiar worship of God. The shady grove and the elevated mountain were at first chosen by most nations as places of devotion. David first formed the design of building the temple. Though in many respects inferior, there was to be in the second temple a brighter glory than was in the temple of Solomon. It is the presence of Christ in it which more than compensated for the want of other things. The great truth for us to consider is, that the presence of Christ constitutes the chief glory of any Church. How is His presence in a Church displayed, and the building rendered glorious by His presence?

1. By the faithful preaching and the cordial reception of His Gospel.

2. If the ordinances of religion are regularly administered and properly prized.

3. When the professors of religion are distinguished for holiness and spiritual joy, and where sinners are converted.

(H. Kollock, D. D.)

The great and overpowering honour of the building which Solomon raised was this, that it was the only building on earth erected to the true God. By what peculiarity, then, was the second temple distinguished? The second temple was built by the children of the Captivity when they returned poor, dispirited, and feeble from the oppression of Babylon. It never approached m outward magnificence and real grandeur the original temple. And the emphatic glory of the first temple was awanting in the second. There was no visible symbol of the Divine presence; no awful cloud of brightness. There the Son of God was made manifest in the likeness of human flesh. We are to seek, in the appearance of the Son of God in our flesh, for the circumstances that were to constitute the superior honour of the latter temple. Give the occasions when our Lord visited the temple. And also, the glory of the latter house was greater than the glory of the former, inasmuch as the manifestation of God in the flesh has brought down the character of God to the level of the understanding and the sympathies of men. The cloud of glory in the former temple did not immediately address itself either to the understandings or to the hearts of the people. But the nature of the Godhead has now been embodied in human flesh. We are now privileged to look upon God as He was seen in the person of Jesus of Nazareth." We see the doings of the Eternal One when we see the actions of Christ Jesus. And the glory of the latter house is greater inasmuch as there the Son of God was manifested as the messenger of mercy and reconciliation to sinners. "In this house will I give peace."

(J. Bannerman, D. D.)

Comparing the two structures, the prophet saw, in the vision of the future, what was far more glorious than the splendour of the former house. It is in allusion to the advent of Christ that God says, "I will fill this house with glory." This was the one transcendent event which made the second temple more glorious than the first. The tabernacle and the temple, as the dwelling place of God on earth, continue still to be the central symbols of all the higher forms of human organisation. The sanctuary stands to-day — the visible throne of the Deity among men, the house of Divine authority and Divine worship, the fountain of light and life, of health and blessing, to all generations.

1. How and in what respects does Christ become the glory of the sanctuary?(1) In due time Christ withdrew His bodily presence, that His spiritual presence might abound.(2) Christ, in the sanctuary, survives every change and outlives every foe.(3) Christ, in the sanctuary, draws after Him the whole range of human intelligence and culture.(4) He propagates Himself and His Spirit in the souls of all believers; and(5) He adds new dignity and grandeur to human souls in themselves, both for the present and the future life.

2. What is the demonstration of this manifested glory of Christ in the sanctuary?(1) Every house of Christian worship is a testimony that God exists, and that His promises continue.(2) Every Christian temple is a visible protest against all forms of infidelity, and opposition to the Gospel scheme of redemption.(3) It is a sign of that everlasting covenant of peace which God has made with His people.(4) It is a dwelling-place of a spiritual Christ on earth.(5) It is a witness of the faithfulness and constancy of God's providence over His people.

(B. Sunderland, D. D.)

The temple of Zerubbabel was inferior to the temple of Solomon in architectural beauty. Wherein, then, was its greater glory? The Kingdom of Christ rose out of the ruins of the old dispensation, and is become the eternal order of worship (see Hebrews 12:27, 28).

I. THE GREATER GLORY OF THE GOSPEL APPEARS IN THE WIDER AREA IT COVERS. The tabernacle and temple were objects of national interest. Palestine was the only bright spot among all the countries of the world, and so great was the exclusiveness that the light did not travel beyond its boundaries, as if a wall had been built round it as high as heaven. It was the partition wall which Jesus came to break down. There was a breadth in the teachings of Jesus diametrically opposed to the prejudices of His countrymen. We, whose lives have fallen in the nineteenth century, can now survey the area of the latter temple better than they could.

II. THE GREATER GLORY OF THE GOSPEL APPEARS IN THE GREATER STABILITY OF THE CHURCH. The temple of Solomon seemed a permanent building, but it was razed to the ground. The temple of Zerubbabel gave way to that of Herod. Three stages are visible in the development of the spiritual. God in creation was power and wisdom at some distance from us. God in the temple was nearer, and[assumed the personal living form which communed with the people from the Mercy-seat. The Spirit of God in us is the last stage, when all manifestations have given way to the real presence.

III. THE GREATER GLORY OF THE GOSPEL WILL APPEAR IN THE GREATER RESULTS. Our lot is fallen in the "last days." We see the march of intellect and civilisation. We see kingdoms bowing to the authority of the Messiah. A succession of revolutions has brought us forward to the Gospel dispensation. We see another temple looming in the promise, the temple of God and the Lamb.

(T. Davies, M. A.)

1. The absolute dominion of the riches and splendour of the world belongs unto the Lord, who hath all these things in His power to dispose of as He pleases, and who is to be eyed, acknowledged, and submitted unto by every man in his portion or lot according as He dispenseth it.

2. It may satisfy the people of God in their wants to consider that God hath all they want at His command, and would not with hold it unless He saw such a dispensation tending to their good.

3. When the Lord withholds any glory or splendour from His people and work, it is for their advantage and flows from a purpose to give what is better, if they had eyes to see it; for when He withholds silver and gold, which they so much desired, He purposeth that "the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former."

4. The spiritual things of Christ's kingdom do far surpass all the legal administrations in glory, and do put more real splendour on any place where they are administered, than all the pomp of the world beside can do.

5. As peace and reconciliation with God is the allowance of Christ's subjects, which outshines all the splendour and glory of the world, so it is the great glory of the Gospel administrations that by them peace may be had through Jesus Christ, which was attainable by none of the works or ceremonies of the Law being rested on; therefore instead of their wonted splendour, and in opposition to former administrations, it is promised, that by Christ's coming, His death and doctrine, "in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts."

(George Hutcheson.)

Fifteen years after the commencement of the second temple Haggai uttered this prediction. Progress had been hindered by the indifference or the despair of those who were building it. Their hands became slack, and their hearts waxed faint in the work of the Lord. To furnish a stimulus and encouragement to them, Haggai was commissioned to utter this prediction. By the "former house" is to be understood the temple erected by Solomon. The great and overpowering honour of the building which the king of Israel raised was this, that it was the only building on earth erected to the true God. And God there vouchsafed to make visible to the very eyes of flesh a display of His uncreated majesty and glory. The prophet says that the "glory of the latter house" of the second temple was to be greater than the glory of the former. By what peculiar glory, then, was the second temple distinguished? In architecture or material there could be no comparison between the two. And the visible symbol of the Divine presence was never to be seen in the "latter house."

1. The glory was greater inasmuch as there the Son of God was made manifest in the likeness of human flesh. He was brought to this latter house as an infant for presentation. He visited it as a youth of twelve. He taught in its courts. He made public entry into Jerusalem, and exerted authority in purifying the temple. The simple fact of the Son of God assuming human nature is calculated to awaken a feeling of more profound admiration and awe than any such visible display of the Divine Majesty as that which dwelt of old above the mercy-seat.

2. As the manifestation of God in the flesh has brought down the character of God to the level of the understanding and the sympathies of men.

3. As there the Son of God was manifested as the messenger of mercy and reconciliation to sinners.

(J. Bannerman, D. D.)

The second temple was to be more glorious than the first. The temple spiritually is the Church. There being two temples among the Jews prefigured the fact that there would be two spiritual temples, two great churches among the Christians, the first and the second Christian Church. The first was given to the apostles, but has degenerated into mystery and superstition; the second is the Church meant by the New Jerusalem. The first would be destroyed by the spiritual Babylonians; the second would have greater glory than the former, but chiefly in this, that the Lord Himself would be more intimately present therein; there He would be Immanuel (God with us). Explain in what this greater glory consists. The glory of a Church is its wisdom. The glory of the New Church now forming by the Lord under the name of the New Jerusalem surpasses the glory of the former Church in the grand and beautiful character of its disclosures on all subjects, but chiefly on the following — the Lord; His Word; the life which leads to heaven; death; the life after death. The chief glory, or the chief misfortune of man in the religion of thought, is his idea of God. He is infinite love and infinite wisdom in a Divine human form. The whole Divine trinity is in Him, as a human trinity is in a man. He is our Father. There is in all forms of nature a resemblance to humanity. All nature is human, and must have come from a Divine human Creator, a Divine Man in His infinite essence of love, wisdom, and power, from eternity, whom, therefore, it is not incredible to behold descending as a Divine Man in last principles as the Blessed Jesus. The Word of the Lord is glorious as seen in the light of the New Jerusalem. It is Divine wisdom clothed in human language. In all its sacred pages, whether they are history, prophecy, parable, or vision, there is a spiritual sense. The outside of the Scriptures is their least valuable part, the lowest step of the ladder. The Lord, the Church, the soul are everywhere the subjects. For want of a knowledge of the spiritual sense a large portion of the Bible is, to many readers, a dead record, and another large portion quite unintelligible. Then look at the life which leads to heaven. In many professors of religion the conduct of life has a very minute place. Much has been made of creeds, and but little of life. The great redeeming powers of religion have been held off by the prevalence of the dogma that good works do not contribute to salvation, but rather tend the other way. Religion, having been severed from the world, has made a sour, narrow religion, and a bad world. The spirit of love and the spirit of truth, like two guardian angels, should preside over every act of life, and sanctify the whole. Justice, in its widest sense, and religion, are the same (Micah 6:8). Never will the world's work be rightly done until its labourers derive their motives from love to God and love to man. Now we come to death. What has the old dispensation to say about death? It speaks hesitatingly about the soul, as to whether it is in any shape or not. What becomes of it after death it cannot tell. The New Church teaches that the spirit is the man in perfect human form. It formed the body to itself, and whatever life the body had, it had from the spirit. Free from the body, the spirit will live more perfectly than before, because it will be no longer clogged by a body unequal to its wants. What about the life after death? The spiritual world is an inner sphere of being, filling the natural world as the soul does the body; visible to spiritual sight, and perceptible to all the spiritual senses, as the natural is to bodily sense. Into the realities of that world we come when we awake after death.

(J. Bailey, A. M.)

By the "glory" is here meant the Shechinah, or bright cloud, emblematic of God's presence and protection, which hovered over the Holy of Holies.

I. THE TWO PERMANENT BUILDINGS WHICH THE JEWS ERECTED. David was grieved because, while he was accommodated in a palace of cedar, the Divine presence dwelt within curtains. He made preparations for a magnificent and durable temple. By the building of this structure, in the time of Solomon, an important promise was faithfully performed. At the consecration of it the personal Jehovah descended His radiant cloud, which filled the house as an emblem of His taking possession of it. In a night vision He assured Solomon that He had chosen this house as the home where His honour, His glory should dwell. Solomon's temple subsisted upwards of four hundred years, when it was utterly demolished by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. When the captives, returned to Jerusalem they began to rebuild the temple, but were discouraged and delayed. To cheer them Haggai was sent, and he was to give this assurance, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former."

II. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH FULFILLED THIS PREDICTION. It is said to be clearly proved that Herod reared his temple on the yet standing foundations of the temple of Zerubbabel. The superior glory of the second temple could not have been any glory that Herod added to it; it must have rested on something spiritual. Haggai explains thus. — He who should be desired and expected by all nations, both Jews and Gentiles, — "shall come, and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts." Four years after the superstructure of Herod was fully built upon the foundations of the temple of Zerubbabel, the infant Jesus was introduced into that temple. The presence of Christ is the grand circumstance which verified the prediction of Haggai. Another point in which the glory of the latter house was greater than the glory of the former was the Court of the Gentiles. The temple of Solomon had only two courts — that of the priests and that of the Israelites. The Gentiles were considered as profane; and unless converted, and wholly adopting the Jewish religion, disregarded and despised. This outer court in the second temple admitted all men to a certain consideration among the chosen people. This was a step toward the further admission of the nations into the entire covenant of peace.

(J. Grant.)

There is an oriental proverb to the effect that the useful outlasts the beautiful, and I remember how an ingenious author illustrates this bit of practical philosophy by allusions to several famous works and names. The tomb of Moses, Israel's greatest chieftain, has never been known, but the traveller continues to quench his thirst at the Well of Jacob. Solomon's magnificent temple is gone, but the same king's reservoirs and conduits are still available. The ancient buildings of the Holy City are not to be found, but the Pool of Bethesda is clear and limpid and refreshing to-day. The columns of Persepolis, Persia's royal capital, are crumbling into decay, but its cisterns and aqueducts remain intact. The golden house of Nero at Rome is in ruins, but the Aqua Claudia pours into the city of the seven hills its bright and healthful stream, Many other triumphs of grandeur and beauty, that in their time commanded the admiration of the world, have disappeared, while humbler works of utility of the same period survive them. Certain it is that in the service of Christ usefulness alone is immortal. Many a brilliant discourse has been admired and forgotten, many a thrilling solo from a sacred oratorio has obtained a few days' enthusiastic praise, while a humble preacher's blunt appeal, or an uncultured singer's simple hymn, has had enduring results. The former were efforts of human genius, like the grand edifices adorning once famous cities; the latter were the lowly channels through which God's "living water" reached thirsty human souls.

(J. Grant.)

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