“Desirable Things” Are Filling Jehovah’s House
“I [Jehovah] will rock all the nations, and the desirable things of all the nations must come in; and I will fill this house with glory.”—HAGGAI 2:7.
1. In a time of emergency, why do we think first of our loved ones?
WHAT desirable things fill your house? Do you have plush furniture, a state-of-the-art computer, a new car in your garage? Even if you have all these things, would you not agree that the most precious things in your home are the people—the members of your family? Imagine that one night you awake to the smell of smoke. Your house is on fire, and you have just minutes to escape! What is your first concern? Your furniture? Your computer? Your car? Would you not, rather, think of your loved ones? Of course you would, for people are more valuable than things.
2. What is the extent of Jehovah’s creation, and what aspect of it was Jesus most fond of?
2 Now think about Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus Christ. Jehovah is “the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them.” (Acts 4:24) His Son, the “master worker,” was the agent through whom Jehovah made all other things. (Proverbs 8:30, 31; John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17) Surely both Jehovah and Jesus value all that was created. (Compare Genesis 1:31.) But which aspect of creation do you think means the most to them—things or people? In the role of wisdom personified, Jesus states: “The things I was fond of were with the sons of men,” or as William F. Beck’s translation renders it, Jesus was “delighted with human beings.”
3. What prophecy did Jehovah utter through Haggai?
3 Jehovah unquestionably places high value on people. One indication of this is found in the prophetic words that he spoke in the year 520 B.C.E. through his prophet Haggai. Jehovah 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. . . . Greater will the glory of this later house become than that of the former.”—Haggai 2:7, 9.
4, 5. (a) Why would it not be reasonable to conclude that the expression “desirable things” refers to material splendor? (b) How would you define “desirable things,” and why?
4 What “desirable things” would fill Jehovah’s house and bring it unprecedented glory? Lavish furnishings and ornate decorations? Gold, silver, and precious stones? This would hardly seem reasonable. Remember, the former temple, inaugurated some five centuries earlier, was a multibillion-dollar edifice!a Surely, Jehovah would not expect the temple built by this relatively small band of repatriated Jews to surpass Solomon’s temple in material splendor!
5 What, then, are the “desirable things” that would fill Jehovah’s house? Clearly, they must be people. After all, what makes Jehovah’s heart rejoice is not silver and gold but people who serve him out of love. (Proverbs 27:11; 1 Corinthians 10:26) Yes, Jehovah treasures all the men, women, and children who worship him acceptably. (John 4:23, 24) These are “desirable things,” and they are far more precious to Jehovah than all the finery that adorned Solomon’s temple.
6. What purpose did God’s ancient temple serve?
6 Despite relentless opposition, the temple was completed in 515 B.C.E. Until the time of Jesus’ sacrifice, the temple in Jerusalem remained the center of pure worship for many “desirable things,” consisting of natural Jews and Gentile proselytes. But the temple represented something far grander, as we shall see.
A First-Century Fulfillment
7. (a) What did God’s ancient temple in Jerusalem foreshadow? (b) Describe the actions of the high priest on Atonement Day.
7 The temple in Jerusalem foreshadowed a greater arrangement for worship. It is God’s spiritual temple, which Jehovah established in 29 C.E. with Jesus as High Priest. (Hebrews 5:4-10; 9:11, 12) Consider a parallel between the duties of Israel’s high priest and the actions of Jesus. Each year on Atonement Day, the high priest approached the altar in the temple courtyard and offered up a bull to atone for the sins of the priests. Later, he entered the temple with the blood of the bull, passed through the doors that separated the courtyard from the Holy and then through the curtain separating the Holy from the Most Holy. Once inside the Most Holy, the high priest spattered the blood before the ark of the covenant. Then, following the same procedure, he offered up a goat to atone for Israel’s 12 nonpriestly tribes. (Leviticus 16:5-15) How does this observance relate to God’s spiritual temple?
8. (a) In what sense was Jesus offered up beginning in 29 C.E.? (b) What special relationship did Jesus enjoy with Jehovah throughout the course of his ministry on earth?
8 In effect, Jesus was offered up on the altar of God’s will when he was baptized and anointed by God’s holy spirit in 29 C.E. (Luke 3:21, 22) Indeed, this event marked the beginning of a sacrificial life course for Jesus that lasted for three and a half years. (Hebrews 10:5-10) During that period, Jesus enjoyed a spirit-begotten relationship with God. This unique standing that Jesus had with his heavenly Father could not be fully comprehended by other humans. It was as if a screen blocked their eyes of discernment, just as a screen shielded the Holy from the view of those in the tabernacle courtyard.—Exodus 40:28.
9. Why could Jesus not enter heaven as a human, and how was this situation resolved?
9 Despite his being a spirit-anointed Son of God, the man Jesus could not attain to life in heaven. Why not? Because flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s heavenly Kingdom. (1 Corinthians 15:44, 50) Since Jesus’ human flesh was a barrier, it was well symbolized by the curtain that separated the Holy from the Most Holy in God’s ancient temple. (Hebrews 10:20) But three days after his death, Jesus was resurrected by God as a spirit. (1 Peter 3:18) Then he could enter the Most Holy compartment of God’s spiritual temple—heaven itself. And this is precisely what happened. Paul writes: “Christ entered, not into a holy place [evidently referring to the Most Holy] made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us.”—Hebrews 9:24.
10. What did Jesus do upon returning to heaven?
10 In heaven, Jesus ‘spattered the blood’ of his sacrifice by presenting the ransoming value of his lifeblood to Jehovah. Yet, Jesus did more. Shortly before his death, he had told his followers: “I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also, if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be.” (John 14:2, 3) So by gaining entrance into the Most Holy, or heaven, Jesus opened the way for others to follow. (Hebrews 6:19, 20) These individuals, who would number 144,000, would serve as underpriests in God’s spiritual temple arrangement. (Revelation 7:4; 14:1; 20:6) Just as the high priest of Israel first took the blood of the bull into the Most Holy to atone for the sins of the priests, the value of Jesus’ shed blood was first applied to these 144,000 underpriests.b
Modern-Day “Desirable Things”
11. In whose behalf did Israel’s high priest offer up a goat, and what did this foreshadow?
11 It seems that by the year 1935, the general ingathering of the anointed was complete.c But Jehovah was not finished glorifying his house. No, “desirable things” would yet come into it. Remember that the high priest in Israel offered two animals—a bull for the sins of the priests and a goat for the sins of the nonpriestly tribes. Since the priests pictured the anointed ones who would be with Jesus in the heavenly Kingdom, whom did the nonpriestly tribes represent? The answer is found in Jesus’ words recorded at John 10:16: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” Hence, Jesus’ shed blood benefits two groups of people—first, those Christians whose hope is to rule with Jesus in heaven and second, those who look forward to everlasting life on a paradise earth. Evidently, it is this second group that is pictured by the “desirable things” of Haggai’s prophecy.—Micah 4:1, 2; 1 John 2:1, 2.
12. How are many “desirable things” being drawn to God’s house today?
12 These “desirable things” are still filling Jehovah’s house. In recent years, restrictions have been lifted in Eastern Europe, parts of Africa, and other lands, allowing the good news of God’s established Kingdom to flourish in hitherto untouched territories. As desirable ones come into God’s temple arrangement, they in turn strive to make further disciples, in obedience to Jesus’ command. (Matthew 28:19, 20) As they do so, they encounter many individuals, both young and old, who have the potential for becoming “desirable things” that will glorify Jehovah’s house. Consider just a few examples of how this is taking place.
13. How has a little girl in Bolivia demonstrated her zeal for spreading the Kingdom message?
13 In Bolivia, a five-year-old girl being raised by Witness parents asked her teacher for permission to be excused from school during the week of the circuit overseer’s visit. Why? She wanted to share in the ministry during this entire special week of activity. This surprised her parents, but they were happy that she had such a fine attitude. The little girl now conducts five home Bible studies, and some of these students attend Christian meetings. She has even brought her schoolteacher to the Kingdom Hall. Perhaps in time, some of her Bible students will show themselves to be “desirable things” that will glorify Jehovah’s house.
14. In Korea, how was a sister’s perseverance with a seemingly uninterested individual rewarded?
14 While waiting at a train station, a Christian woman in Korea approached a student who was listening to music on his headphones. “Do you have a religion?” she asked. “I am not interested in any religion,” the student replied. The sister was not deterred. “With the passing of time,” she continued, “a person may want to choose a religion. But if he has no knowledge about religion, he might choose the wrong one.” The student’s expression changed, and he began to listen to our sister with interest. She offered him the book Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? and said that this publication would be a great help when the time came for him to choose a religion. He readily accepted the book. The next week, he began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and now he attends all congregation meetings.
15. How does one young girl in Japan start Bible studies, and how have her efforts been rewarded?
15 In Japan, 12-year-old Megumi views her school as a rich field for preaching and teaching. She has even been able to start many Bible studies. How does Megumi do it? Since she reads the Bible or prepares for meetings during the lunch break, her classmates often ask her what she is doing. Some ask Megumi why she does not participate in certain school activities. Megumi answers their questions and tells them that God has a name. This often stimulates the interest of her listeners. She then offers them a Bible study. Megumi now conducts 20 studies—18 of them with her classmates.
16. How was a brother in Cameroon able to start Bible studies with some among a group of ridiculers?
16 In Cameroon, a group of eight men working at a job site called out to a brother who was offering Bible literature to passersby. Wanting to ridicule the brother, they asked him why he did not believe in the Trinity, hellfire, or the immortality of the soul. Using the Bible, our brother answered their questions. As a result, three of the men accepted Bible studies. One of them, Daniel, began attending the meetings and even destroyed all of his possessions relating to spiritism. (Revelation 21:8) In less than a year, he was baptized.
17. How did certain brothers in El Salvador use ingenuity to preach to a man who at first did not want to hear the Kingdom message?
17 In El Salvador, one man tied his vicious dog in front of the door whenever he saw Jehovah’s Witnesses nearby. The man would wait for the Witnesses to move on, and then he would bring the dog back into the house. The brothers were never able to speak to the man. So one day they decided to try a different approach. Knowing that the man could hear what they were saying, they decided to preach to the dog. They came to the house, greeted the dog, and said how glad they were for the opportunity to speak to it. They talked about the time when there would be a paradise on earth, when no one would be angry—yes, when even the animals would be peaceable. Then they said a polite good-bye to the dog and started down the path. Much to their surprise, the man came out of his house and apologized for never having given the Witnesses the opportunity to speak to him. He accepted the magazines, and a Bible study was started. This man is now our brother—one of the “desirable things”!
“Do Not Be Afraid”
18. What challenges do many Christians face, but how does Jehovah view his worshipers?
18 Are you having a share in the vital Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work? If so, you are truly privileged. Indeed, it is through this work that “desirable things” are being drawn by Jehovah into his house. (John 6:44) True, you may occasionally be a bit tired or discouraged. At times, some—even among faithful servants of Jehovah—struggle with feelings of worthlessness. But take heart! Jehovah views each one of his worshipers as desirable, and he has a keen interest in your salvation.—2 Peter 3:9.
19. What encouragement did Jehovah provide through Haggai, and how can these words be a source of strength to us?
19 When we feel discouraged, whether because of opposition or other unpleasant circumstances, Jehovah’s words to the repatriated Jews can be a source of strength. At Haggai 2:4-6, we read: “‘But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and be strong, O Joshua the son of Jehozadak the high priest. And be strong, all you people of the land,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and work. For I am with you people,’ is the utterance of Jehovah of armies. ‘Remember the thing that I concluded with you people when you came forth from Egypt, and when my spirit was standing in among you. Do not be afraid.’ For this is what Jehovah of armies has said, ‘Yet once—it is a little while—and I am rocking the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry ground.’” Observe that Jehovah not only exhorts us to be strong but also provides us with the means for gaining strength. How? Note the reassuring words: “I am with you people.” How faith-strengthening it is to realize that no matter what obstacles we face, Jehovah is with us!—Romans 8:31.
20. In what way is unprecedented glory now filling Jehovah’s house?
20 Jehovah has certainly proved that he is with his people. Indeed, it is just as he stated through the prophet Haggai: “Greater will the glory of this later house become than that of the former . . . And in this place I shall give peace.” (Haggai 2:9) Truly, the greatest glory today is to be found in Jehovah’s spiritual temple. Why, hundreds of thousands flock to true worship each year. These are being well fed spiritually, and even in this turbulent world, they enjoy a peace that will be surpassed only by that experienced in God’s new world.—Isaiah 9:6, 7; Luke 12:42.
21. What should be our determination?
21 Jehovah’s rocking of the nations at Armageddon is just ahead. (Revelation 16:14, 16) Let us therefore use the remaining time to help save more lives. May we be strong and have complete trust in Jehovah. Let it be our determination to continue worshiping at his great spiritual temple, filling it with still more “desirable things” until Jehovah says that our work has been completed.
a The amount contributed for the construction of Solomon’s temple would be the equivalent of nearly 40 billion dollars in current values. Whatever was not used for the building work was put into the temple treasury.—1 Kings 7:51.
b Unlike the high priest of Israel, Jesus had no sins for which atonement was needed. However, his associate priests did have sins because they were bought from among sinful mankind.—Revelation 5:9, 10.
Do You Recall?
• What is more precious to Jehovah than material things?
• Jesus’ shed blood benefits what two groups of people?
• Who are the “desirable things” that were to fill Jehovah’s house with glory?
• What evidence do we have that Haggai’s prophecy is being fulfilled today?
[Diagram on page 16]
(For fully formatted text, see publication)
Do you know the symbolic significance of Jehovah’s ancient temple?
[Picture on page 17]
The high priest offered a bull for the sins of the priests and a goat for the sins of Israel’s nonpriestly tribes
[Picture on page 18]
The worldwide Kingdom-preaching work is drawing multitudes to Jehovah’s house