Just like a sequel doesn’t quite match up to the original, so too the Temple that Zerubbabel rebuilt in Jerusalem was nothing to that of King Solomon. Without the exorbitant amounts of gold and silver to cover it, the outside literally paled in comparison. The glory seemed to be gone, as it was a weakened version of what some of the returning exiles still remembered.
Yet, God, in speaking through the prophet Haggai, said the glory of Temple-number-two would be greater. How could this be? Read for yourselves:
“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. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘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.”Haggai 2:6-9 (NIV)
There would be a greater glory in this Temple, because the Desired of the Nations would come and fill the place with his glory.
What is desired by all nations? The salvation of the Lord, which we know as Jesus the Christ. Unlike the temporal presence of God upon the Temple, Jesus, God Incarnate, would move within its walls. What does John say?
Can you imagine what it was like to have seen Jesus standing in the midst of the Temple walls, teaching and healing? When Christ was in the Temple, no one looked at the building anymore; no, their eyes were on the greater glory—Emmanuel, God with us.
The Temple in which he stood no longer remains, though men are still drawn to its ruins in vain. What they refuse is that with the coming of Christ, with his death, burial, and resurrection, God has now made his dwelling in those who believe in the Desired of the Nations.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”1 Corinthians 6:19-20a
Our glory is not found in our outward appearance any more than that second temple, but in the inner peace that comes with the filling of the Holy Spirit. When we reflect Christ’s glory, people don’t see us, but him. We are just dwelling places he purchased by the cost of his shed blood.
May others see Jesus in us today as we live to his glory.
Grace and Peace