This was the first Bible study of the school year! The entire lecture was from the book of Haggai – a book which encouraged the people to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem after they returned from captivity. It’s only 2 chapters long, but it contains this spectacular passage, which provided an opportunity to explain the singular focus and direction of this Bible study:
“My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid. For this is what the Lord Almighty says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth. I will shake the oceans and the dry land, too. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will come to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord Almighty. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord Almighty. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord Almighty. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken!” (Haggai 2:5-9 – GN)
Of course, the natural question to ask is that this temple never was filled with “the dazzling light of the Lord’s presence” as it was when Solomon’s temple was dedicated. And, when the foundation of this temple was laid, it was so inferior to Solomon’s temple that the people cried: “Many of the older priests, Levites, and heads of clans had seen the first Temple, and as they watched the foundation of this Temple being laid, they cried and wailed” (Ezra 3:12). And, we know that this temple was burned to the ground by the Romans in 70 AD.
But yet, the greatest “glory” that the universe has ever witnessed did fill the temple that was built during the time of Haggai! It all has to do with what we understand God’s “glory” to be. Brightness? Power? What is the ultimate glory of God?