Summary: Looking ahead to a new temple, a new kind of existence, and the promise of a new home in heaven.
Haggai 1:15-2:9 First, a Remembered Prominence….
In our Old Testament reading from Haggai we see that the Jewish believers in that day began to think all was lost, especially when they compared the beautiful temple of Solomon with the ruins around them now. But the prophet tells them that Jerusalem will again be the center of worship when world events conclude and there is peace on earth.
Haggai knows that those who remember seeing Solomon’s temple will feel discouraged that the temple they are building now doesn’t compare to it in splendor. They are poor and have had a bad harvest and they really don’t have silver and gold to put into it.
All they have is their desire to build it and their faith.
That turns out to be enough.
“How do you see it?” Haggai asks.
Don’t worry about it not being good enough for God.
“Work, for I am with you….My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. I will fill this house with glory,” the Lord assures them.
How you see things may depend upon your faith in God and in his ability to stick with you and sustain you.
God wanted them to look ahead with eyes of faith and know that whatever structure they built in which to worship would be Holy and acceptable because His Spirit would inhabit that place.
I remember hearing about a missionary who went to China and found out that the local Christians were meeting in a duck shed. She was sure she couldn’t worship properly there until she visited and heard them singing, “We have come into this place and gathered in His name to worship Him.”
God wants to inhabit not only our buildings but our bodies, which are the true places where He dwells and can be glorified.
Even in this Old Testament book, God was hinting of heaven and our new bodies which will perfectly worship him.
LUKE 20:27-38 Second: A Ridiculous Preconception
Here we have an example of a mocking question, intended to ridicule the teaching of Jesus. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. (That’s how I remember them, that is sad, you see! The Pharisees did believe because they are fair, you see!)
According to Jewish law, when a man died his brother was required to marry his widow to keep her from being homeless, helpless and without an heir. They think they will trip Jesus up by using an example from Levitical law.
The Sadducees attempted to ridicule belief in the resurrection by using a far-fetched example to make nonsense of it. They ask, “In the resurrection what is the situation of a woman who had seven earthly husbands? Which, if any, would be her real husband?”
They really were just trying to embarrass the Pharisees and show how ridiculous and complicated resurrection life could be if a man had married many times.
Jesus says there is a sharp difference between life as we know it here on earth and life in eternity. In the “age to come” people will not die, nor will children be born. Hence, there is no need for marriage and procreation. Life will be different, not a mere continuation of this life in, imaginary, ideal terms.
Jesus is not saying earthly husbands and wives will not know each other or continue to love each other or be close, but only that “marriage,” as such will not be in heaven.
Their mistake was in assuming that the next life would be exactly like this one.
I always thought about it like this: I would want to be with Bill and my parents and he would want to be with me and his parents and our parents would want to be with their parents etc. until we all discover we are after all just one big family…children of God living in the Father’s house together.
When we become “like the angels in heaven” it does not mean we have wings etc. but rather that we have complete fellowship with God and one another without “belonging” to anyone but God.
Fellowship with God is eternal. He is the God of the living.
Jesus argues with the Sadducees on their own terms. He uses the Passage from Exodus 3:6 and the scene of the burning bush to point out to them that there is, indeed, scriptural basis for belief in the resurrection from the dead. It is significant that he quotes from the first five books of the Old Testament because these were the only ones the Sadducees recognized as divine scripture.
Jesus points to the proof of the resurrection in the words God spoke to Moses saying, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. This could only be possible if Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still alive, because these words were spoken several hundred years after they had died.