"1In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lordcame by the hand of Haggai the prophet: 2 “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, 3 ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? 4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, 5 according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. 6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’”
Over against the discouragement that the exiles were now experiencing, Haggai said several things. First of all there was the assurance of the Divine Presence with them: 'I am with you', and 'My Spirit remaineth among you', saith the Lord. If this is true, there is never any ground for discouragement, for His presence presupposes His sovereignty at work; and therefore it is really beside the point whether or not what is now being done matches up to the past. It is what God wants to do that is important; we cannot be more useful to Him than He chooses to make us. We should be content with His plans for us, whatever they are, and however modest they may seem, in comparison with other times. Then, in the second place, God gave them the assurance through the prophet that the glory of the latter house would be greater than that of the former. In view of the more modest building in which they were now engaged, the implication of this statement must surely be that a different kind of glory was now in view. In the past, it was the material glory of the Temple that gave it its magnificence. But God had said that He would do a new thing. What He was out to do was to build not so much a Temple as a people, out of whom was to come the promise of the ages and the desire of all nations. The real fulfilment of this word in 9 is seen in the Acts of the Apostles. It is there that we see 'the glory that excelleth', and realise that the glory of God's latter house is not only greater, but incomparably greater, than of the former.