The Desire of All Nations

As usual, I wasn’t able to highlight everything in the text in the sermon yesterday.  That is one of the amazing aspects of God’s Word, you never run out of glorious truths to mine from it.  One that I wanted to hit a little more than I did yesterday was the phrase, “and the desire of all nations shall come” in Haggai 2:7.  As with several other phrases and verses, this particular phrase has been at times difficult to rightly interpret.  There are two specific ways that this phrase has been interpreted.  Lord willing, we will understand it and rightly interpret that phrase here.  Before we discuss the two views, it is worth noting that a phrase or a verse cannot properly be understood apart from its context.  Each phrase or each verse is part of a larger context in that particular chapter and that particular book of the Bible.  It is also part of a larger narrative of Scripture, namely God’s plan to save those who trust Him.  Therefore, we want to look at this phrase within the larger Gospel story as well as the larger context of the book of Haggai.

The first way some interpret this phrase is that it is speaking of actual treasure being brought into the Temple.  In direct support of this is the following verse where God says, “The silver is mind, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.”  While this may be possible, I believe there are a few reasons to argue against this interpretation.  While God is specifically talking to Israel in the book of Haggai, God is also revealing His future plans for the rest of the world.  The other reason that I would argue against this interpretation is the larger theme of verse 2 and the Gospel story of the whole Bible seem to point to a person, not possessions.  Which leads to the second possible interpretation.

The second way the phrase “the desire of all nations shall come” can be understood is that it is referencing Jesus.  The first argument in support of this is the fact that the word “desire” is singular.  Second would be the fact that the end of the verse says “shall come.”  Inanimate objects to do come to people, rather people go and get them.  Looking at the larger narrative of the Gospel story we can use two other verses to support a Messianic interpretation of this phrase.  First is Malachi 3:1 which says, “Behold, I will send My messenger, and He shall prepared 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.”  This verse is speaking of two specific, separate people.  The first part of the verse that talks about a messenger being sent to prepare the way, is the forerunner of the Messiah.  The New Testament reveals this to be John the Baptist.  We see this in Matthew 3:1-3 which says, “In those days came John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  For this he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias (Isaiah), saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.'”  The second person that Malachi 3:1 is talking about is identified in the text.  It is speaking of the Lord who is Jesus.  It says that He will suddenly come to His Temple.  That is important because Haggai chapter 2 is speaking of the Temple.  Another verse that supports a Messianic interpretation is Genesis 49:10 which says, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.”  This verse shows us that the ultimate ruler will come to Israel and rule from Israel.  Specifically this will happen in the Temple.  It says that this ruler will be known as “Shiloh” which means peace.  If we look at Haggai 2:9 it says that God will “in this place (the Temple) give peace.”  Therefore, the one who comes to the Temple to rule and reign will be the One that God uses to bring peace to the world.  This can only speak of the Messiah, because money surely doesn’t bring peace to this world.

Therefore, it is my understanding that the “desire of all nations” is a Messianic title.  That is, it is referring to Jesus.  Applying this interpretation we see that Jesus has already partially fulfilled this promise when as a little boy, and even during His ministry He went into the Temple.  Literally, at those moments the glory of the Lord was in that place, because as John the Baptist said in John 1:14, “And the Word (John the apostle’s title for Jesus) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  So while it was partially fulfilled in Jesus’s ministry, the ultimate fulfillment will be when Jesus comes in power and glory at the end of the age to set up His messianic kingdom on earth as given in Revelation 20.  The Temple during Jesus’ earthly ministry was the site of many showdowns between Jesus and the religious leaders.  However, when He returns to the earth the Temple will be the source of peace, because the Prince of Peace will have returned.  This is why God says that “glory of the latter will be greater than of the former.” What an amazing promise for us that while this life is full of turmoil, trials, and troubles; there is  coming a day when Jesus will bring peace to earth.  And the even better news is that you can experience some of that peace now.  We can experience that peace by surrendering to God’s grace in faith that Jesus died on the cross and on the third day rose from dead.  He did this to pay for our sins, and He is the only was that we can be saved.  When we come into a relationship with Jesus based on these facts, Jesus gives us His peace to know that whatever happens to us in this life, our eternal life is secured by His blood.  There is nothing that can take that peace away from us!

Do you have that peace?  The peace with God that only comes from God?  If not, would you like to have it?  If so, reach out to us at westlakebc@gmail.com.  We would love to tell you how you can experience God’s peace and presence today, tomorrow, and forever.

Pastor Justin

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