The Temple was restored with great rejoicing. But in the midst of the rejoicing was the sound of weeping from those who remembered the First Temple, which had been filled with the glory of God. Today in the midst of the rejoicing in Christianity there is a cry because we do not have His presence as we did in the past. It is time to be honest about what we do not have and seek God for the outpourings of His Spirit and the return of His glory to the Church.
As the foundation of the Temple was laid after their return from Babylon, we read in Ezra that the people of Judah made a great shout, but people could not distinguish the shouts of joy from the sounds of weeping. They rejoiced that the foundation was laid, but many of the older ones who had seen the First Temple wept. Haggai expressed that for those who saw the Temple in its former glory, what they saw now seemed like nothing in comparison.
There is a similar mixture of reactions in the Church today. Many are rejoicing over the new styles of worship and new styles of ministry taking place. But there are also those who have a cry in their hearts because they remember another time when people experienced outpourings of God’s Spirit and witnessed the presence of the Lord like we do not see today. To put it in the simplest of terms, there is a big difference between having the presence of God and not having the presence of God.
I feel like we have lost the presence of the Lord in a dramatic way, and we should be able to clearly look at church services and say, “In comparison to having God’s presence in our midst and His glory with us, what we have now is as nothing.” But the promise in God’s Word is that the glory of the latter house will be greater than the former. Let us cry out to God as one people to see His presence come and fill the house of God, fill the Body of Christ, fill this country, fill our society, and fill the whole world.
- Ezra 3:11–13. “The people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping.”
- Haggai 2:1–9. “The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:9. “EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD … ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED.”
- Joel 2:28–30. “I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.”
- 2 Chronicles 7:1–3. “All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire … gave praise to the LORD, saying, ‘Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.’”
- Ezra 3:11. “They sang, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, saying, ‘For He
is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever.’”
- “We are to be contending in this day and age for the presence of the Lord in a way that many that are younger have not seen it. They don’t even know what they’re asking for or crying out for, and that’s where they can be satisfied with what seems to be good.”
- “What was seen at the Temple when Solomon dedicated it is greater than anything that has ever been seen on the earth relative to the presence of the Lord dwelling in the earth with mankind. That is what we should be believing for, but it’s very difficult to believe for that if we feel like, ‘Well, everything’s fine.’”
- “The world needs the prophecies of the outpouring of His Spirit that we find throughout the Scriptures to be fulfilled in this day and age. And we say, ‘Fill your Temple, Lord. Pour out Your Spirit upon all flesh in this day.’”
- Can we just be honest with ourselves about the difference between having the presence of God with us—as happens in times of His glory and outpouring—and not having that. To me the difference is absolutely distinguishable. It is a world of difference and we need to be honest with the fact that we do not have it right now.
- At the same time we need to recognize that we have prophecies that the glory that will come to the latter house, to Israel in the last days, and to the Church, will be even greater than what it was in the days of Solomon when God’s presence was so thick and glorious that they could not enter the Temple.
- The priests in Solomon’s Temple could not stand to minister. In fact the priests were not needed at all because the fire came down and consumed the offerings on the altar. What is needed today is not a position thinking, but the pure presence and glory of God that rules in the services and rules in the Church.