KJV: "Who is among you that saw this house in her former glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?," Haggai 2:3. Verses 4-9: "Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts:
"According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so my spirit remained among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.
"The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. 'The glory of this latter house,' shall be greater than the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts."
Israel's exodus from Egypt suffered many prolonged twists and turns as Almighty Jehovah God tested and tried his chosen people, the seed of Isaac. They were most disobedient throughout that trek in the wilderness.
The 40-year journey culminated after Moses was succeeded by Joshua, the son of Nun, who crossed into the promised land with a much younger group than that which began the exodus from Pharaoh. Many battles with nomadic heathen adversaries ensued throughout their history. At present, they are constantly harassed by descendents of these Semitic/anti-Semitic peoples. Ancient Israel experienced many types of leaders, namely, judges prophets, and kings.
David wanted to build a holy sanctuary to rest the ark of the covenant where, in that dispensation, the presence of Almighty Jehovah God resided between the two cherubim. Nathan prophesied The Lord's words, that that task would fall heir to David's son, Solomon. Solomon's temple was the edifice that represented the zenith of earthly glory of God's chosen people. Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian king destroyed Jerusalem and the glorious temple, while capturing Zedekiah, the last king of David's succession, until Christ's glorious future millennium.
The exiled Hebrews lost their will to sing Psalms! Psalm 137:1-6; "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea we wept when we remembered Zion (their former glory). We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?
"If I forget thee; O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
Years later, Cyrus, the Persian king, allowed captive Judah's return to Jerusalem, and to erect a smaller version of the former glorious temple. God's favor rested on Zerubbabel, governor of Judah. The third version of the temple was built by Herod the Great and existed in the time of Christ.
In A.D. 70, as prophesied by Jesus, Jerusalem fell once again with the destruction of the temple and "Not one stone was left upon another." Because of continuous sin, idolatry and rebellion, Jerusalem has been conquered at least 40 times and destroyed 18 times. Galatians 4:25-26: "For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is (presently with multiple religions attempting control), is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above (New Jerusalem) is free, which is the mother of us all."
Christ, The Word of God, and only begotten Son, became flesh and dwelt among us. He was rejected by his own and through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on high, became the cornerstone of salvation for all men. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God," John 1:11-14.
Circa, A.D. 28, on the Horns of Mount Hattin, Christ established his glorious church, Zion, the Israel of God, that would include Jew and Gentile alike. All synoptic gospels mention this narrative which we find in Matthew 16:13-19: "When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some Elias (Elijah the Tishbite); and others Jeremias (Jeremiah), or one of the prophets.
"He saith unto them, but whom say ye that 'I am?' And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
The claim that Peter has exclusive rights to the keys of the kingdom is misinterpreted. This leads to false teachings and uplifts man instead of Christ. We as blood-bought, sanctified, Holy Ghost-filled followers of Christ through faith have access to those same Kingdom keys.
"Upon this Rock," refers to a mutual understanding that we know Christ and he knows us as His elect. On this basis alone, the small group of followers who became apostles were organized to be the visible entity of the Kingdom here on Earth. Organizationally, Judas held the bag (of money). The Acts 1:15b gathering in the upper room to conduct business demonstrates previous organization. Christ now ascended, they select a successor for Judas Iscariot. Business minutes reveal "The number of the names together were about an hundred and twenty."
The Day of Pentecost didn't birth the church , but only empowered those apostles and followers of Christ to evangelize the world with the Everlasting Gospel. Mark 13 mentions a church (house of God) already established before Pentecost, by Christ: "For the Son of man, (Jesus Christ) is as a man taking a far journey (The Ascension), who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter (or gatekeeper, doorkeeper, caretaker), to watch." "And what I say unto you I say unto all; 'Watch.'"
In A.D. 325, Constantine the Great brings about the union of church and state, making Christianity the official national religion. Progressively, the wells of salvation dried, with only the Bible in Latin print. Religious offices were bought and sold. Babylonian and mythological pagan doctrines of devils were incorporated into worship. The burning of incense to graven objects, images and artifacts is forbidden Biblically.
The brazen serpent "itself" became an object of worship as incense was burned, and King Hezekiah destroyed the object that Moses had once lifted up to heal those bitten by the fiery serpents. 2nd Kings 18:4: "He removed the high places and brake the images, and cut down the groves, 'and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made': for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: And he called it Nehushtan." Direct prayer with God through Christ is holy, genuine incense.
Throughout the Protestant Reformation, the dusk to dawn light of God's providence began to shine through those Dark Ages of apostate religion. Sallie and I recently took the Seneca Caverns tour. The tour guide turned out the light to pitch black. He referenced this as the ultimate earthly darkness. Jesus refers to eternal punishment as "outer darkness," Isaiah prophecies of the resurrection of Christ's true church: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
"For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, (Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Wesley, through A.J. Tomlinson, and others, until the dusk to dawn light became the brightest), and his glory shall be upon thee," Isaiah 60:1-2 (see chapter).