(A Teaching)



Feb. 8, 2002

HAG 1:2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, `The time has not yet come for the LORD's house to be built.'"

HAG 1:3 Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: [4] "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"

HAG 1:5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. [6] You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."

HAG 2:6 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: `In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. [7] I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. [8] `The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty. [9] `The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. `And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."

This portion of scripture was written when the post-exilic temple was completed. Many people of the time were frustrated and discouraged because the present temple was nothing compared to the splendor of the first temple built by Solomon. God was with them though, as they worked together to build the temple. He also promised them that His Spirit would remain with them. Finally, the latter glory of God's house would be greater than the former one because of the great demonstration of his power there and the minstry of Jesus and the apostles as they are noted in the Gospels and the book of Acts.

Do we find that the house of God remains a ruin? Do we find that we are living in paneled houses while what is truly important, is falling apart? These are questions I've had while pondering this portion of scripture above. And truly, what have we harvested from what we have planted into the kingdom of God? Have we planted seeds of service unto God that will yield a healthy harvest?

Or on an another note, are our churches filled with beautiful paneling and exquisite trappings while we ignore the things of the Spirit? There is nothing wrong with filling our churches and even our homes with beautiful things, if our priorities are in the right place. If we are still reaching out to the poor and living our lives as a living sacrifice unto God, then we will be blessed. Then we will be given riches that far exceed any of the riches of this world.

COL 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

So, what would make this present house greater than the former one? Are there things of the Spirit that we are experiencing that are greater than what we did even ten years ago? I believe so. I believe that we have experienced greater revelations and spiritual truths than ever before in the history of the church. In looking back, the Reformation period brought with it some great revolutionary truths to the church. Much of this came to us through Martin Luther and his trestise on "the just shall live by faith." During our past century we have expereinced several different "seasons" if you will. During the 1950's we saw the gospel preached to thousands upon thousands, as the time of the evangelists spread the word throughout the world. In the 1960's the pastoral came to the forefront and enriched the church. The 1970's brought with it the time of the teachers as many gifted men and women expounded upon the word of God and helped ground many in spiritual truths and doctrine. As the 1980's came upon us, we saw the emergence of the prophetic upon the church. The prophet brought with him a much needed and neglected piece to the puzzle, and also gave us some foundational spiritual truth back to the church. Finally in the 1990's, the apostle came upon the scene. While much of what he brought to the church is still on-going, this time period was last to have its fullfillment within our present history and time.

We all have seen many different shifts and directions come to the church. With every new move of God, there are always new things to learn it seems. With the call of the prophetic we have seen a fresh wind come into the church, but we have also seen abuses as well. We have seen this with the apostolic as well as with other ministries. So again, the question remains...Is our present house greater than the former one? I do believe that in many ways we are greater because of the present revelation that has been given to us through our Lord Jesus Christ. But I also know that with our added revelation comes an added responsibility.

LK 16:10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. [11] So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? [12] And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?

I have also seen, as I'm sure many of you have, that with the "greater gifted-ness" comes an even greater need to be "more Christ-like." There is much giftedness in the body of Christ, but oftentimes, there is little fruit. So, again then, is our present house any greater than the former one?

To end this article then, our real goal and our real end should be to become more "Christ-like." Until we take on the character and the person of Jesus in our lives and in our homes, and in our ministries, we will not be a "greater house." The previous temples were built of stone and wood. Some had very elaborate and definite blueprints that were given to beautify and to illustrate God's Spirit at work there. As each temple came and went, with each succeding period within the history of the church, we see a plan develop in its framework and design. Now at the last, we have a "temple not built with human hands." We now have the temple within us, where His Spirit resides. This is the final temple and this is the one where His glory will reside. May it be filled with the beautiful things of His Spirit, and may His glory rest there.


Stephen Hanson