What Will Eventually Become of Israel? What Does the Throne Room of God Look Like? #352
Hello friends and happy Lord’s Day! Our church gathering today is all online due to a 90 percent chance of rain for our area, and the fact that we in Cali are not allowed to assemble inside yet, only outside. So – join with us live and online at VBC Salinas at 11AM Pacific – Fear Not, for Behold – A SAVER!
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Great comment came in today from WWH on our Youtube page: The phrase, “Fight against them with the Sword of My Mouth” jumped out at me. Since Jesus is rebuking a church with poor doctrine, it seems to me that this is a reference to apologetics, that is, fighting against them with the sword (cf. Hebrews 4:12) of the Word of God (cf. Eph. 6:17). The sword is seen in Rev. chapters 1 and 2 in Jesus’ mouth to represent that the Word of God comes from what He says. His words are the heart-penetrating truth and the soul-cleaving gospel. If we are to imitate the works of Jesus and to do His will in His Name on this earth, then it seems that we must be willing to rationally wrestle with those who hold false doctrines or poor logic.
As I told my wife earlier tonight when I read this to her, it is an insight into the text that I hadn’t thought of before, and I think it is spot on. Well done!
Our focus tonight is on the future of Israel, but first a quickish look at God’s throne room. As I’ve mentioned before, over 350+ episodes of this show, I believe the episode where we talked about what the Bible says God looks like is my favorite, or very close. Tonight we won’t focus so much on the appearance of God, but on the appearance of His throne room. Let’s read Revelation 4 and get the scene in our mind.
5 Flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder came from the throne. Seven fiery torches were burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. 6 Something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal, was also before the throne. Four living creatures covered with eyes in front and in back were around the throne on each side. 7 The first living creature was like a lion; the second living creature was like an ox; the third living creature had a face like a man; and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.
My first impression – the throne room of God would be absolutely overwhelming! First and foremost, you’d be in the presence of God, and I suspect we would respond to that in the same way that Isaiah did in Isaiah 6 – “Woe is me, I am undone!” That said, I think it would be very, very LOUD: Crashes of lightning and thunder, plus non stop singing of praises to the Lord! Not only that, but one would also likely be overwhelmed by the flashing light, the emerald rainbow, and the shining sea of crystal glass. Further, if we were there, we would see the Living Creatures close to the throne, and serving God. Based on John’s description, they sound…strange – perhaps overwhelmingly so. And then there are the twenty four elders that are casting their crowns down before the throne. What a scene that John must have seen!! It sounds so….busy…full of life…dynamic! Constant sound, movement, light and motion around the Living God.
Let’s move on to our focus passage, which is in the minor prophet Haggai, chapter 2. Over the past few weeks in our Chronicles passages, and before that in the books of 1st and 2nd Kings, we have read of the construction of the Lord’s Temple by Solomon. If you paid careful attention to the numbers there, you will know that the temple was amazing – that literally tons of gold and silver and other jewels and precious metals were used in its construction, and it was one of the most impressive buildings ever constructed by human beings. As you recall from our readings in 2nd Chronicles just a few days ago, that temple was looted very soon after the death of Solomon, because Solomon’s children were not faithful to the Lord. By the time of the book of Haggai, roughly 400 years after the reign of Solomon, the people have gone through exile, and the temple is basically in ruins. God calls His people to rebuild, and as they are doing so – the realization hits those of them who had seen the glory of the previous temple (none of them would have seen the glory of Solomon’s temple!) that this version of the temple was not nearly as great as the one that was destroyed and in ruins. Even God says that this temple is as “nothing” compared to the prior temple. And then, so the Judahites aren’t discouraged, God encourages them and tells them that He is with them in this rebuilding mission, even though the temple won’t end up as impressive as the one prior. And then God makes an incredible promise about the future of His people in Judah, and I believe Israel too:
6 For the Lord of Armies says this: “Once more, in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all the nations so that the treasures of all the nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord of Armies. 8 “The silver and gold belong to me”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies. 9 “The final glory of this house will be greater than the first,” says the Lord of Armies. “I will provide peace in this place”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.
I do NOT believe that this promise has been fulfilled yet, but I am confident, even though it is a 2500ish year old promise, that it WILL be fulfilled in the future. You might think that is a crazy long time, but do remember God’s timing system and ours are quite different. Also remember that the promises of God about the coming of Jesus – He would be wonderful counselor, Mighty God, and “behold a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son.” These prophecies about the coming of Jesus were over 700 years earlier than His arrival! When you consider that the founding of the United States of America wasn’t even 250 years ago, then you realize exactly how long 700 years really is! God will fulfill His promises, we just might have to be very, very patient.
But do see the fullness of this promise: Even though Israel is small now, and has been the sight of many, many conflicts, God promises that great wealth will come to His people one day to remake the temple of God in great glory – AND there will be peace in the land. We see these kind of prophecies about the future return of God’s people to Himself and His blessing all throughout the Old Testament, and even in the New Testament. To understand this more, read Isaiah 60 for an expansion of the prophecies concerning the future glory of Zion, and compare it to Revelation 21-22, and then compare both to what is written here in Haggai.