Rebuilding in troublesome times.

REBUILDING IN TROUBLESOME TIMES

[prophecy]

“Shall you not warn my people, says the Lord?

For a sword [is coming] on the land. Yes, and a terrible scourge is on its way. Even now it comes while the people are uncon­cerned about my ways and seek to walk in the stubbornness of their own heart.

Yes, I say, is it not time for the Lord to judge the earth and not pass it by any more? (Amos 7:8).

I say, the time has come and judgment comes swiftly; it is com­ing!

Oh my people, prepare, for it is even now at the doors. Your time is short. Oh that you would redeem the time and make your preparation! (Ephes. 5:14-18).

For the Lord God of the whole earth arises to bring judgment, and to purge and cleanse the earth.

“Is it time, says God, to build your own houses and to consume yourself on your own pleasures, and yet consider not that my house lies [in ruins]?

Where are those who will abandon their own pursuits and turn from their folly and give themselves to me?

For my house shall be built. My people shall come forth and return to Zion with everlasting joy and singing; for that which has lain [in ruins] shall be built. It shall be built in a time of trouble and in a time of great lamentation for the inhabitants of the world.

But my people shall be joyful even in the midst of tribulation. For the power of their God shall be on them. And the joy of their God shall uphold them. Yes, even in a time of great tribulation shall my house be built.

For I will have a glorious house in these last days, says the Lord. And the glory of this latter house shall outshine the glory of the former, says the Lord. For in a time of grief will my people arise to build that which has been torn down—that which has been destroyed by the hand of the enemy—because my people have turned from me to their own ways, and have not sought me after my due order. [Do you think] that I have not revealed in my word that which I desire for my house?

Am I not the master builder, and have I not laid down the plans for that which I will build?

Why then do youseek to build with yourown plans and your own ideas, when my plan is given to you?

Have I not said that you shall search and seek out that which I have given in my Word?

Why will you then not seek that you might find, and ask that youmight receive, and truly I will give you instruc­tions on how to build my house. I say, that which you build must be built according to my plan and purpose or it shall surely fall, says the Lord.” (end of prophecy).

[commentary]

The Lord is not speaking about some house or building of wood and stone, but rather of the spiritual “house” (temple) of God. Even as Peter says: “Youalso, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 2:5). In Hebrews 3:6 we read: “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house we are, if we hold fast the confi­dence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

Paul says in Ephes. 2:20-22, that we are “built on the founda­tion of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: In whom all the building [being joined] together growsinto a holy temple in the Lord: In whom you also are built together for [a dwelling place] of God through the Spirit.”

But men have neglected the true house (temple) of God and have sought to build their own “houses” (denominations, organizations, groups, etc.). A picture of this is seen in the writings of Haggai the prophet. Haggai was one of the pro­phets God used tostir up the people to finish rebuilding the house (temple) of God after the return from the Babylonian captivity.

The people had begun to build, but because of opposition from without and difficulties within, the work had ceased. The house of God was then neglected for about six­teen years, during which time the people turned to their own pursuits, became interested in building their own houses, and letting the house of God remain in an unfinished state of [“ruin.”] At this time God raised up Haggai to admonish the people to once again build the house of God.

[prophecy]

“Oh my people, will younot build my house? Can I alone do that which I have decreed shall be done by my cho­sen servants, even those whom I have ordained to build it in this day? Where are those who will come forth to declare the Word of the Lord in this hour? For my house must be built. The scripture must be fulfilled. Think not that one jot or tittle shall pass away which I have spoken to be fulfilled in this age.

For did I not say that my church would be built? (Matt. 16:18). And can I return to my temple when that tem­ple lies in ruins? I say to you, you must be built together according to my will and purpose, even for a holy dwelling place for my spirit, and for an instrument of my glory in this day. Why, oh why, will not my people build according to my plan and my way, says the Lord?” (end of prophecy).

[lesson from Haggai]

Let’s listen to the admonition of Haggai the prophet, for truly his words are appropriate and relevant to the condi­tions which we find today. “Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying. Is it time for you [yourselves] to dwell in your paneled houses, and this house (temple) Iie [in ruins]? Now therefore thus says the Lord of Hosts; Consider your ways.

You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but youhave not enough; youdrink, but you are not fllled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but there is [no one is] warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways … You looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when youbrought home, I [blew] onit. Why? says the Lord of hosts., Because of my house that is [in ruins],and [every one of youruns] to his own house.Therefore the heaven over you [withholds the] dew, and the earth [withholds] her fruit.” (Haggai 1:1-10).

Yes people, we need to consider our ways, and realize that our ways are not His ways, and that our ways are an abomination to Him. Our failure to build the true spiritual house (temple) of God has resulted in consequences similar to those described by Haggai, except to us they are primarily spiritual rather than physical. And what are these conse­quences? We have “sown much” with all of our multiplied efforts, campaigns, drives, programs, publicity, spending of time and money with all the modern media at our disposal, yet we have “brought in little.”

And much that has been brought in has been put into a bag with holes in it. In other words, it has not lasted. God has “blown” on it with His testings and provings and it has been scattered.

We have looked for much and it came to little. WHY, yes WHY?”

Because of myhouse that is [in ruins], and [every one of you runs] to his own house.” Yes, every man is interested in building up his own denomination, organization or group, and the true spiritual temple of God is not built.

How divisive and sectarian have been our ways!

How selfish have been our motives! How much we have sought to build for ourselves that we might boast in that which we have done! How we have “paneled” our own organizations while the house that the Lord wants to build lies neglec­ted.

When will we awaken and come to repentance?

When will we quit trying to do something for God, and just be obe­dient vessels to be built together in that true spiritual house which He is erecting.Yes, we need to consider our ways!

We see a further consequence in the words of Haggai: “Therefore the heaven over you [withholds the] dew (the “lat­ter rain” is withheld), and the earth [withholds] her fruit” (the “harvest” of this age is delayed). (Haggai 1:10).

We need to understand that the present move of the Spirit of God in all denominations is NOT the “latter rain” promised in God’s Word. The “latter rain” will far exceed anything we see now.

The present move of the Spirit is a preliminary move of God to STIR UP the people of God and cause them to SEE that which God wants concerning His true temple, and to call out a “remnant” in preparationfor the “latter rain.” For we read that “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel …. and the spirit of Joshua . . . and the spirit of all theremnant of the people; and they came (out of their own houses) and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.” (Haggai 1:14).

We have been “stirred up” by God’s moving in our midst. NOW is the time to have our eyes opened to SEE God’s plan for His house (church) and begin to BUILD accord­ing to His pattern.

When we see what seems to be such an insignificantly small group today who understand this vision of an end-time church filled with the glory and power of God, we may feel much like those to whom Haggai spoke these words: “Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do you see it now? Is it now in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? (Haggai 2:3).

The temple which they saw being rebuilt didn’t seem like much compared to the glory of Solo­mon’s temple which had been destroyed, and which some of them remembered. Even so that which we see today doesn’t seem like very much in comparison with what we read about in the book of Acts concerning the glory and power of the early church. But hear the words of Haggai: “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua . . . and be strong, all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work: for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts . . . my spirit remains among you: fear [ ] not . . . and I will fillthis house with glory, says the Lord of hosts . . . The glory of this latterhouse shall be greaterthan of the former, saysthe Lord of hosts.” (Hag. 2:3-9).

[Solomon’s temple vs. Zerubbabel’s temple: type of the early vs. latter day church]

In TYPE, Solomon’s temple represents the “former house” or church of the first century, which was “filled with glory” on the day of Pentecost. Just as there were 120 disciples gathered in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, so in the type there were “a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpet,” at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (II Chron. 5:12).

As they were in one place and in one accord on the day of Pentecost, so in the TYPE we read, “It came to pass, as the trumpeter and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord . . . that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.” (II Chron. 5:13-14).

Even so, on the day of Pente­cost, the “glory of God” (the Holy Spirit) “filled” the house (people) of the Lord gathered in the upper room.

If Solomon’s temple, as the “former house,” is a type of the early church, then certainly Zerubbabel’s temple, the “latter house” of which Haggai spoke, is a TYPE of the church of theselast days, which will be filled with greater glorythan the “former” or early church. Yes, we can expect more of the “glory” and “power” of God in these last days than has ever been manifest before.

According to Haggai, this “glory” is to be manifest at a time when the Lord will be “shaking” all things. “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai 2:7).

This “shaking” process is now going on and will grow in intensity until we see the fulfillment of Heb­rews 12:26-28, “Yet once more I shake not the earth only but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that may be shaken, as of things that are made, that thosethings which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God accep­tably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consum­ing fire.”

God is “shaking” the religious “heavens,” the political “heavens,” the financial “heavens.” He is shaking all the earth (organizations and systems of man); and all of these “rumblings” are the prelude to the great “earthquake” (Rev. 6:12, 11:13) which shall see the complete collapse of all that “can be shaken.” Even so our God is now arising to “shake terribly the earth.” (Isa. 1:19-21).

NOW is the time to heed the voice of the “Haggals” that the Lord is raising up to trumpet this call for a “remnant” to REBUILD the house of the Lord in these troublesome times.

In the prophecy at the beginning of this article, the Lord said that His house (church) would be RE-built during a time of difficulty and tribulation. A pattern of this is seen in the difficulties encountered by the “remnant” which returned out of Babylonto rebuild the house of the Lord.

There were many internal obstacles to overcome, as well as tremendous opposi­tion from surrounding peoples. Read the books of Ezra and Nehemiah for the details. Even so, according to this pattern, the latter-day house (church) is going to be REBUILT during times of extreme difficulty. We are now in the very incep­tion of this rebuilding.

Written by J Leland Earls

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