Sunday December 2nd: 24 Kislev
Sunday December 2nd: 24 Kislev
It was on this day in the year 520 B. C. that the foundation of the Second Temple was laid (Haggai 2:18). It was on that very same day that the Prophet Haggai declared the downfall of gentile nations and consequently, the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. This is recorded in Haggai 2:20-22:
And again, the word of the Lord came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: ‘I will shake heaven and earth. I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots and those who ride in them; the horses and their riders shall come down, everyone by the sword of his brother.’”
It’s fascinating enough that these two events occurred on this same day but also on this same day, in 1917, the British captured Jerusalem from the Turks. This set the stage for the eventual establishment of the nation of Israel, which eventually will lead to the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel as prophesied by the Word of God and spoken of by the Messiah. When Jesus last referred to this, He made it very clear that the kingdom would not be restored until the set time the Father had determined for it. He made this comment in response to a question posed to Him by His disciples. He said:
“It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
He was telling them and us that, before the kingdom could be restored, certain preparations had to be made and certain conditions in place. Specifically, the Gospel had to spread into the nations, starting from Jerusalem and Judea. Much like the Temple being rebuilt in the days of Haggai, the foundation had to be laid first. For the Kingdom to be restored, the disciples first had to go into the world and be witnesses of the resurrected Messiah.
Something else that Haggai mentions has bearing on this issue. Through the prophet, God said before the kingdom would be restored, heaven and earth had to be shaken. In other words, that the foundation of God’s kingdom might be laid, and the kingdom of Israel be restored, other kingdoms had to come down. This is validatedd by what the writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 12:26-29:
“Now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’ Now this, ‘Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.’”
It is indeed interesting that on this eve of Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, the stage is already set for the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. Presently, dramatic events are swirling all around us. Political upheaval, wars, financial concerns and other troubling news suggests that the Creator is beginning to shake heaven and earth. He does this so that the Kingdom which cannot be shaken may arise and stand as a beacon of light and peace to all the world.
As the shaking intensifies, let us remember that as followers of Christ we are, indeed, citizens of another Kingdom – the unshakeable Kingdom that has no beginning and has no end. Therefore, let us not hold fast to those things that are not worthy to stand. Let’s not hold onto those kingdoms that will come and will go. But let’s embrace those things that are eternal. Let’s embrace those things that will endure that we may be able to stand before the Son of Man.