I’m posting this sermon for those who would rather read my notes than scroll down to the sermon.net link on my blog. This is the second in a series from the classical composition, “Handel’s Messiah.” The Scripture is King James Version, the version in which “Messiah” was originally written.
Two categories of people will be judged at the end of things: 1) the world (that is, those who reject Jesus Christ) and 2) the Church
Why judgment? Can’t God just let everyone in, whether they obey or not? No.
–God is good and right in all His ways.
–He is love, and that is why He offered His Son to a sinning world.
–But He is also just. Those who disobey will be ultimately judged. God gave them free will to receive Christ or to reject Him, to remain with Him or to turn away from Him.
The Lord has asked me to interpret these Scriptures from Haggai and Malachi two ways:
–Naturally (that which was really about to happen at the time these prophets walked the earth)
–Spiritually (the deeper truth that applies beyond the time this was written, the truth we are to apply to our hearts).
The Judgment of the World —
Haggai 2:6 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;
NATURAL: The LORD of hosts, the covenant-making God, first speaks of the future judgment, when He will make all of the earth undulate and quake.
–Nothing on earth will escape this quaking and shaking.
SPIRITUAL: 2 Peter 3:10-11 “The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up.
–“Since all these things are to be destroyed, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness . . .”
–He then exhorts believers to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.
–“How do I do that?” You can’t, but if you ask Jesus Christ, He’ll say, “I’m glad you asked” and will make you spotless and blameless. Keep listening!
Haggai 2:7 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.
NATURAL: A small remnant of Israel came back to Jerusalem after being exiled in Babylon because of their sin. “The whole assembly together was 42,360” (Nehemiah 7:66).
–Some elected to stay in Babylon . . . a type of sin. There’s a message there for you . . . may the Lord make it clear to you.
–Those who came back had to rebuild the wall and gates, and the Temple. All were destroyed when Babylon invaded and slaughtered perhaps a million Jews.
–Natural wealth would be needed to restore Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
–It would come from the nations.
–Ezra 6:8 “The full cost is to be paid to these people from the royal treasury . . .” King Darius the Mede.
–These were “nations,” meaning they did not believe in the one true God!
Yet they would be turned upside down and wealth shaken from their pockets like coins, for the rebuilding of the Temple!
SPIRITUAL: He will shake everything that can be shaken so nothing remains but that which can’t be shaken — HIS kingdom, set up in believers’ hearts! (Hebrews 12:25-29).
–What will be considered good and precious and of the greatest value? Jesus Christ.
–He will become the wealth not only of the Jews but of nations (non-Jews who come to believe).
–They will believe and seek His gold refined in the fire (Rev 3:18), they will seek purity from Him.
–And the temple of the Lord will be built in their hearts.
–Just like with the Temple in Jerusalem, when a spiritual temple is built a human heart and it is completely dedicated to God as being His place to rule and reign, He will fill that temple with His glory!!!
–He has said it, and it will be done.
–Are you filled with His glory? If not, dedicate yourself as a place where He rules and reigns, a place where He is worshiped, and He will fill you up!
Haggai 2:8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.
NATURAL: The Lord of hosts assures the rebuilders that He controls everyone’s purse strings, believers and unbelievers.
–The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it (Psalm 24:1, 1 Corinthians 10:26).
–All wealth, of unbelievers and believers, belongs to Him.
–He gives it, and He can take it away whenever it is right to do so.
SPIRITUAL: Remember that what you have is His . . . He has given it to you.
–You did not earn it. Give it back to Him as He commands. Put it to use for His kingdom.
–Hold your possessions loosely in your hands.
— A time will come when those in the world who have rejected His Son will have to turn everything over to Him, and their knee will bow and their tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 3:9).
–Therefore, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
–Do you live for His pleasure or yours?
Haggai 2:9 The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
NATURAL: The new Temple was not nearly as large and ornate as Solomon’s. Many who had seen the first Temple wept when they saw the foundation of the second temple completed (Ezra 3:12).
–But God promised a glorious house, more glorious than Solomon’s temple.
–The second temple did not achieve this, nor did Herod’s renovations many years later.
–Peace did not reign in the second Temple era. The returning remnant was under the rule of the King of Persia. In Jesus’ time, they were under the reign of Rome.
SPIRITUAL: This verse speaks to the small remnant of Christians who see the need for restoration of the church to her former glory and who want to rebuild her.
–The church will be restored
–Her glory will be greater than when she was first established, in the Book of Acts.
–People will be restored, their hearts becoming temples of God, far more glorious than anything made with human hands, for we are God’s creation!
–And in that place, He will give peace:
–freedom from Satan’s dominion and from our sin nature
–freedom from fear of death, for we will have eternal life
–The peace of Christ Himself (John 14:27). Him in us and exuding His peace throughout our body, soul and spirit, and outward to the world (1 Peter 3:15).
–The peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7)
Haggai 2:21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
NATURAL: The Lord repeats His warning from verses 6 and 7.
–The Lord spoke these words through Haggai to Zerubabbel.
–He did not understand how this would happen. Christ had not yet come to reveal it.
SPIRITUAL: This is a warning to the world who rejects Christ.
–He will cause everything on the earth to undulate and quake.
–This is a future event, as I spoke from 2 Peter 3.
–It is the final judgment of the world (those who have rejected Christ).
–To Christians, Jesus says, “Be ready!” (6x in the Gospels!). Be cleansed, purified, a bride full of His glory!
Haggai 2:22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
–God will overthrow all those who rule without Him, who do not serve, love and fear Him, who have rejected His Son.
–Kings, kingdoms, and their armies will indeed be utterly destroyed. They will perish. How? Did you see that in the Scripture? By each others’ swords! God won’t need to lift a finger.
–That is the judgment of the world, for they have rejected Jesus Christ whom God sent.
The Judgment of the Church (that is, all believers in Jesus Christ) —
Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
NATURAL: John the Baptist was the messenger. The Son of God is the speaker here: “he shall prepare the way before me.” The Father wasn’t coming, but the Son was. He is the Lord of hosts. His way was prepared.
–Most of the Jewish leaders were seeking (begging for) their Messiah for political freedom from Roman rule. The idea of political freedom delighted them!
–But some Jews could at least partially see the spiritual significance of the coming of God in the flesh (John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna . . .) and were delighted when He came, rejoicing in the Spirit!
–The Lord did suddenly come to the Temple in Jerusalem, but not like most Jews expected.
–He had a whip of cords in hand, cleansing the Temple,judging those who had turned a house of prayer into a place of business. It was not a pleasant cleansing!
–The Lord would come, the Lord has come. It was spoken by Him, so it happened. And He will yet come, for the final judgment.
SPIRITUAL: The Lord has sent a multitude of messengers before He returns, to prepare the way in human hearts. Who are they? Christians!
–Those who receive the message will seek the Lord.
–And the Lord whom believers seek (beg for) will suddenly come to His temple.
–He will come to cleanse and transform us into a house of prayer
–It will not be free of sadness, for we will see ourselves as we truly are
–All that is not of Him will be burned up. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit AND fire.
–But He will come, if we beseech Him
–What’s going on in your temple? Is it a house of prayer, or a place
where you conduct business as usual?
Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
NATURAL: The ruling Jews were out to kill Jesus Christ from the time His ministry began.
–He was not at all what they expected.
–They could not abide (bear) Him.
–They wanted to reign, not have Him reign (John 11:48).
–They could not stand against Him. Though they crucified Him, He rose
–When He ascended and poured out His Spirit, the church was unstoppable (Acts 5:38-39).
SPIRITUAL: Will you be able to bear it when He appears?
–He comes to judge and burn up all that is not of Him that is in you, purifying and cleansing.
–He baptizes in the Holy Spirit and FIRE
–Who can stand?
–We fall down and revere Him and are awestruck when He suddenly appears!
–And for those who drift away from Him?
–Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29)
–It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31)
–Have you let Him come in with the spirit of burning?
Malachi 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
NATURAL: He reestablished the Levitical priesthood (the Levites were the Jewish tribe chosen by God to worship and minister to Him and to minister to His people).
–They were purified according to the Law of Moses.
–Then they were right with God, able to minister to God clothed in the righteousness of that time
SPIRITUAL: Believers are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)! But before we can be that holy nation:
–Jesus Christ refines us, to purifing us, purging us, just as I spoke of a moment ago.
–He does it with the fire of the Holy Spirit baptism.
–All that is not of Him is judged and burned, and we are made pure
–We then minister to Him in purity, the righteousness of God in Christ!
–Have you been baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit?
Malachi 3:4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
NATURAL: The purified Levites burned incense to the Lord, a pleasing aroma to Him.
SPIRITUAL: When He has purified our temples, what we offer pleases the Lord, like sweet incense in His nostrils.
–Is your life a sweet incense to the Lord?
Malachi 3:5 And [Hebrew: THEN] I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
May it never be that I would go only to verse 4, and not tell the whole counsel of God!
–He will judge those who call themselves His but practice witchcraft in all of its forms (magic and all forms of divination, including horoscopes, fortune-telling, seances — you get the picture).
–He will judge those who call themselves His but commit natural adultery AND spiritual adultery.
–He will judge the self-interested, those who do not seek to save the lost of the world, who look out for #1 (making a God of themselves), who are not willing to let Him refine and purify.
–They commit spiritual adultery, placing their own wants above God
–He will judge those who call themselves His but lie.
–He will judge those who call themselves His but oppress the people around
them, abusing those who work for them or cheating the ones they work for, or keeping their possessions tightly pulled to their chests, refusing to help those in need.
–He will judge those who do not fear Him, who do not honor and revere and are not awestruck by Him, who do not regard Him as their Judge, but only as a blessing machine or a grandfatherly figure.
WHERE ARE YOU?
—Are you now in God’s kindgom, so you won’t be shaken?
—If not, come now — there’s still time! Christ is speaking to you through me.
—Confess your sins, turn from your way of life, receive what Christ has done!
—Are you a Christian who is still sinning? Do not be deceived. Listen to His words: “Return to Me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7)
—Do you not understand 1 Corinthians 6:9?
—Are you purified? Then this message has been a blessing to you.