What Things Do You Desire Most?
WHEN you think of things that you would most desire, do you think first of money? of riches? of power? Or do you think first of good, loyal friends, of peace and security for yourself and your family?
As you reflect on these questions, money may seem very attractive because it can buy many desirable things. But very likely you consider peace, security and happiness as the really more important things. Of these, money can buy very little. And are not these good things much more likely to be gained by association with loyal friends who honestly love you and do what they can for your good?
Just as you doubtless put good, upright people above material things, so God counts such people of far greater value. They actually make his own heart happy, and they bring happiness to others. (Prov. 23:15; 27:11; Hos. 6:6) God once had his own magnificent material temple in Jerusalem, but because the people gave him only lip service and did not worship him from the heart he let that temple be destroyed. (Isa. 29:13, 14) Later, when he restored the Jews to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon, God could have had an even more elaborate temple built. To impress them with this fact, he said to the builders: “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine.” (Hag. 2:8) But an imposing temple would not necessarily exalt his name in the earth. What would?
It would be something coming from the nations that was much more valuable to him than gold and silver. He declared: “I will rock all the nations, and the desirable things of all the nations must come in; and I will fill this house with glory.”—Hag. 2:7.
INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY ‘ROCKING’ OF THE NATIONS
The rocking of the nations by the notification that Jehovah God the Almighty took over his universal sovereignty in the war-marked year of 1914 brought wrath against the Kingdom announcers. The hostility of the political nations of earth will be shown to its fullest in a final expression, and, accordingly, Jehovah will literally rock all those nations until they crumble in ruin and are removed forever. Hence, any religious tolerance of the nations toward the Kingdom ambassadors at the present is merely temporary. Let no one be deceived by it.
How, then, before the final outburst of wrath on the part of all the nations and then their violent removal, do ‘the desirable things of all the nations come in’? Well, what do the historic facts show regarding the fulfillment of this prophecy up until now? They do not show that all the political nations as whole nations, as political establishments, have come into Jehovah’s true temple of worship and have brought with them as voluntary gifts the desirable things of their nations.
Yet, what about individual citizens in all the nations? Well, down till now there have been tens of thousands of individuals who have reacted to the Kingdom-preaching in a way different from that of their political governments and from that of religious organizations mixed up in politics. They have come to see that there is no happy, peaceful, prosperous future for themselves under such man-made political governments. They have come to see that the only hope of being saved from destruction with the political nations of this system of things is the Messianic kingdom of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. They keenly feel that Satan the Devil is the “god of this system of things,” and they do not want to worship that false god by worshiping the political nations. (2 Cor. 4:4) They recognize that all sovereignty rightfully belongs to the Most High God. Hence, they have dedicated themselves wholly to the Sovereign Lord Jehovah to worship him at his true house of worship. They have associated themselves with his ambassadors.
GOD’S GREAT SPIRITUAL TEMPLE
In beholding such modern-day advocates of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty and worship, we are beholding a thrilling fulfillment of that often-quoted prophecy of Isaiah 2:2-4: “It must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it all the nations must stream. And many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ . . . And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.”
In ancient Jerusalem the temple of Jehovah was located on Mount Zion. It was the center of worship. That temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E., and the second temple, built after the restoration of the Jews to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile and rebuilt and enlarged by Herod, was destroyed by the Roman armies in 70 C.E. Therefore, this temple spoken of by Isaiah as existing in the final part of the days, and to which people gather, is not a material temple made by human hands, but is the one about which the writer of the Bible book called “To the Hebrews” said: “For Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.”—Heb. 9:24.
This is what Haggai’s prophecy really pointed to—the great spiritual temple, in the Most Holy of which, in heaven itself, Jehovah God sits as Judge. (Heb. 12:22, 23) Christ as High Priest and King is God’s chief agent for ‘rocking’ the nations. (Psalm 110) He is gathering out those who are “sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done,” especially in the realm of Christendom, which claims to serve God and Christ. (Ezek. 9:4) The main reason for the “sighing” of these people is, not that world conditions affect them adversely, but the corruption they see practiced among so-called Christians—the reproach these practices bring on the good name of Jehovah God the universal Sovereign, and upon his Son, his king and high priest. They prove themselves to be truly lovers of righteousness.
In this final part of the last days there is no question about the identity of these people who are in the earthly courtyards of Jehovah’s spiritual temple. They have come from every situation—all races, nations and backgrounds. They have cleaned up their lives and are changing their personalities according to the pattern set forth in the Scriptures. (Eph. 4:22-24) The Bible hope to which they hold is the prospect of everlasting life on earth. They are well described in the prophetic book of Revelation. With regard to the time when God’s ‘rocking’ of the nations is coming near to a conclusion, the Revelation vision first depicts the final gathering of those who will be resurrected to be heavenly kings and priests with Jesus Christ, then, as recorded by the apostle John:
“After these things I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues . . . And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”
John then asked who these people were, and the elder inquired of answered:
“These are the ones that come out of the great tribulation [when this system of things is shaken completely to pieces], and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. That is why they are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple . . . They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, . . . because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”—Rev. 7:9-17.
GREATER GLORY BROUGHT TO GOD’S HOUSE
These persons, then, are truly desirable to God. And do you not appreciate persons who clean themselves up, physically and morally? Do not those who are not belligerent, ‘not learning war anymore,’ but who work for peace and the best interests of their neighbors, seem more desirable to you than those who exercise no control over their desires or their personalities? And, in fact, are these persons not much more valuable than gold and silver? If all people would become like this, selfishness, the basic cause of crime, fraud, extortion, stealing and war, would be removed. There would not even be fear of starvation and pollution, because each one would have an interest in his neighbor as in himself.—Luke 10:27.
So God, as he foretold by his prophet Haggai, has ‘brought peace in this place,’ that is, in the earthly courtyards of his great spiritual temple, where the “great crowd,” the “desirable things of all the nations,” have gathered. (Hag. 2:9) These people who come willingly to him, the Creator, and who conform their lives to his principles, and glorify him, are the “desirable things” of the nations in his eyes. By them, Jehovah has, indeed, brought greater glory to his own name and to this spiritual temple than to the earthly one, as he said he would.
Also, those who have come together in unity to serve at Jehovah’s great spiritual temple, and who have begun to make over their lives, experience the fulfillment of Jesus’ words: “No one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news who will not get a hundredfold now in this period of time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, with persecutions, and in the coming system of things everlasting life.” (Mark 10:29, 30) By following Jehovah’s commands, they have made themselves “desirable things,” and they find their own heart’s desires satisfied.—Ps. 145:16.