by Ralph Bouma
"And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts." - Haggai 2:7
The birth of Jesus was the wonder of all wonders. The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was prophesied throughout the Old Testament, and our text is one of those prophecies. It is a prophecy of the coming of the desire of all nations. I want you to see and learn to understand the significance of why the nations longed and desired the coming of the Messiah.
In His sovereign good pleasure, the God of heaven sent His angel to gather with a heavenly host to proclaim in Luke 2:14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Why was this such a proclamation of joy? It is because the peace between God and fallen man had been broken. The desire of the nations is that that peace be restored, that there might again be reconciliation between a holy God and sinful man.
Never before was such a joyful message proclaimed. I want you to turn with me to
Psalm 85:9-11: “Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may
dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.”
Therein lay the good tidings. Therein is the good news, and that longing of the nations, waiting for the time when there could again be reconciliation between God and man. The righteous demands of God under the law have been met, and peace can again be proclaimed on earth. The goodwill of God toward man may now again be revealed.
Never was such overwhelming soul-ravishing tidings brought to fallen man than that Christ the Saviour is born. The Son of God had been brought into the world to again open the way for reconciliation between God and man. The eternal wonder was God manifest in the flesh.
FOR OUR FIRST POINT, let us consider the shaking of the nations.
FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let us consider the desire of all nations.
FOR OUR THIRD POINT, let us consider how the longer the promise was delayed the more impossible its fulfillment seemed.
FOR OUR FOURTH POINT, let us consider how the more impossible the fulfilling of that desire of all nations became, the more joy it brought to the whole earth when that house was filled with Christ’s glory.
This afternoon we hope to cover the last two points. May the Lord be with us and give us the unfolding of His Word.
First, let us consider the shaking of the nations, “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.” In today’s religious circles, there are misconceptions of wherein the joy lay in the coming of the Messiah. So many are filled with joy. I hear people talk about what a joy it is going to be when they can walk on streets of gold. They have such vain imaginations of what constitutes the joy of the Saviour. The joy of being reconciled with God is what they do not understand.
In the previous verse, we read how the introduction of Christ’s kingdom shall be preceded by a shaking. In Haggai 2:6 we read: “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land.” When God delivered His church out of Egypt, He shook the heavens and the earth as He declared His revealed will from Mount Sinai. I want you to understand that there is a shaking, a removing of those things that are shaken. The realm of Satan, the power of hell and the power of sin are removed.
When God delivered His church out of Egypt, He shook the heavens and the earth as He declared His revealed will at Mount Sinai. We read in Exodus 19:18: “And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”
When the Lord Jesus Christ came in the flesh, there was a shaking of all nations because it was the introducing of the kingdom of Christ.
The earth shook and trembled when Mount Sinai’s law, which could not be touched, that is, it could not be altered, it knew no mercy, was satisfied with perfection. That law was satisfied on Mount Calvary as we read in Matthew 27:50-53: “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
There was a shaking. The Lord is shaking the earth because the kingdom of His Son has been introduced. Now it is a matter of being able to come and serve the Lord acceptably under that kingdom of Christ.
This shaking was for the removing of those things that could be removed before that desire of the nations should come. “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come.” The Lord came to remove those things that shall be moved.
I want you to see what we read in Hebrews 12:26-28: “Whose voice [that is, the Word of God from Mount Sinai] then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
Mount Sinai was shaken. It trembled and shook. Those things that could be shaken must be removed. The lightning and thundering of the law, wherein there is no mercy, had to be removed. Therein we see that those things that are shaken were removed by the Lord Jesus Christ. That place where there is no mercy, that lightning and thundering of Mount Sinai, had to be removed.
That kingdom of Christ set up in the heart cannot be removed. Do you understand what is happening by the coming of Christ? It is the removing of the lightning and thundering of Mount Sinai. We now serve God acceptably by Christ formed in us, the hope of glory. With the Spirit of Christ formed in us, that unmerciful law has been satisfied on Mount Calvary.
This kingdom that cannot be moved was ushered in by Christ’s birth as we see from Matthew 2:1-2: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”
Now we have that unspeakable joy because we can come into a kingdom where we can serve God acceptably. Under the law, you and I cannot serve God acceptably because the law has no mercy. We are fallen creatures, and we are unable to keep the law. You and I in our best righteousness are but filthy rags in the sight of God. Now God can look upon us in our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His finished work. He looks upon us in the perfect satisfaction of the law.
This coming of the Messiah was for the removing of those things that could be shaken. That is the significance of the coming of the Messiah. Hebrews 12:18 tells us: “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest.” This word touched comes from the Greek word pselaphao (psay-laf-ah'-o), which means “to manipulate.” That Mount Sinai law could not be altered. It could not be manipulated. It says what it says, and it must be satisfied to the letter. There was no provision for mercy!
Even the very Son of God found no mercy before Sinai. I want you to know how unalterable the law was in Mount Sinai. We read in Luke 22:41-43: “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
The holy Son of God lay on His face before His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleading with Him that He might find mercy in that law. The law of Mount Sinai was coming down on Him, and there was no mercy. This was the Holy Son of God who had no sin, except yours and mine.
What a wonder of wonders that the desire of the nations has come that there might be a way whereby we may obtain mercy. In Hebrews 12:21-22 we read: “(And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.”
The sight of the Mount Sinai law, where there is no mercy, is so fearful. In Mount Sion though there is mercy because Christ has satisfied the law, and Mount Sinai has been removed. The lightnings and thunderings of the law have been removed. They have been satisfied.
Now we come and see that the law was not removed, but Mount Sinai has been removed. That same Ten Commandments, that same law of love, has become the law of the gospel, which is preached in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is in that blessed Son of God that we can come under the proclamation of the law of the gospel.
Through the coming of Christ, a way was opened up whereby we can now serve God acceptably, but how? Now the Lord looks upon us in Christ. We read in Hebrews 12:27: “And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”
What cannot be shaken? It is that law of love. I want to show you something in 1 Corinthians 13:1-2: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”
Verses 12 and 13 tell us: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
Hope and faith will be dissolved by sight, but charity will abide forever. It is eternal. That law of love remains. The first four commandments are the first table of the law – loving God with our hearts, souls and minds. The last six commandments are the second table of the law – loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Mount Sinai was removed, and the law of love has been satisfied with perfection. Now for those who truly believe in Christ He can be served acceptably. We read in Hebrews 12:28: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
How do we do this? We read in John 15:12-14: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” It all centers in the law of love, and this will never be moved.
As this kingdom of Christ was ushered in, the kingdom of Satan was shaken. The kingdom of Christ is to be set on the throne of our hearts, and the kingdom of Satan will be removed. The wise men were seeking the new born King as we see in Matthew 2:3-4: “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.”
Satan’s kingdom began to shake when they heard that the King of the Jews had been born, that the kingdom of Christ was being established.
This kingdom of Satan was not only to be shaken, but to be removed. We see this in John 12:31-32: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
The kingdom of Satan was shaken and removed by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now the kingdom of Satan is no longer to be set upon the throne of your heart. He is no longer to be enthroned there. The Lord Jesus is lifted up. His kingdom is established in our hearts, and we will draw near Him to serve Him instead of the things of flesh and of this life.
FOR OUR SECOND POINT, let us consider the desire of all nations.
We have to understand the beginning of history to understand where that desire came from. In the fall of Adam, man had come under the power of sin and had become the enemy of God. The mind of God was reconciled to His dear children while they were still enemies. When Satan tempted man, and man fell, man’s heart was filled with enmity against God. They turned their backs on God. We read in Romans 5:10: “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” God looked upon His fallen race in Christ, and the sacrifice of Christ was ever before God from the foundation of the world. In His mind, He was reconciled by the death of His Son.
Adam and Eve were arrested while they were attempting to hide from God. As a result of the fall, natural man had no desire for God. I read an illustration this morning about a man from India drinking water out of a polluted river. Some people tried to convince him to stop drinking the water, but he refused to hear. In desperation to convince the man they used a microscope to show him a sample of the water with its pollution. He was horrified and destroyed the microscope so he could go back to drinking the water. This is man by nature. When you and I are brought to see the perfect law of God, and to see what God required for us under the law, our first reaction is to put away the law so we can continue living in sin. This is what we do by nature.
I want you to see what happened with Adam and Eve. We read in Genesis 3:8: “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”
Fallen man, by nature, will hide from God. One would think Adam would have gone about the garden crying out: “Lord, where are you? I have sinned. I have sinned,” but Adam fled from the Lord until the Lord called to Adam, “Where are you?” The Lord sought him out.
As it is with every quickened sinner, the Lord came first to arrest Adam and Eve with the indictment of their sin. When the Lord comes to work grace in the heart, the first thing that takes place is that you and I come under an indictment. The Lord arrests us, and an indictment of our sins is charged to our conscience. Now we have need for a Messiah.
When the Lord had arrested Adam and Eve, the Messiah was promised in the garden of Eden as God was pronouncing the curse upon Satan. When you or I start talking about Jesus to someone who has never known the indictment of sin. Jesus has no spiritual significance to them because they have never been arrested, and they do not know their need for a Saviour.
The gospel was first preached in Genesis 3:15, when Adam and Eve stood guilty and naked before God: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God pronounced the curse upon Satan.
The fulfilling of this promise of the Messiah coming to bruise the head of that old serpent was “the desire of all nations” throughout the ages for 4,000 years. They desired to see that day when the power of sin would be broken and man would again stand reconciled with God. We can have such a mystic, humanistic thinking about Santa Claus, lights and all the money we are going to make, but what does that have to do with the coming of the Messiah? The coming of the Messiah was to see the time when that indictment would be satisfied by the Lord Jesus Christ. When the indictment of sin comes in the heart they stand condemned under the law before a holy and a righteous God. The desire of the nations was to see that head of the old serpent crushed and the power of sin broken. That was the desire of those who waited and longed for the coming of Christ.
The church of Christ was longing and yearning to see that day when the holy Son of God would come into the world to bruise the head of Satan and to deliver them from the power of sin.
The psalmist so beautifully described the desire spoken of in our text in Psalm 85:8: “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.”
There was such a desire to see the day when righteousness and peace should kiss each other, when the righteous demands of the law would be met, and that there could again be peace between God and fallen man.
We get a glimpse to see and understand what it took to take away those lightnings and thunderings of Mount Sinai, and that the wrath of God was appeased by bringing His wrath upon His own Son. When we see our blessed Redeemer with that crown of thorns on His head and realize that those were our sins, then sin becomes exceedingly sinful. Then it becomes such a longing desire to see that power of Satan broken, to see the serpent’s head crushed. Sin then becomes our greatest enemy.
I have said before, and I will say it again, many people talk about trembling at the thought of hell, but the thought of hell has never been a concern of mine. The thought that I would sin, the thought that I would do something that would offend the Lord, has caused me to tremble like a leaf in the wind. I tremble at the thought that the Lord would withdraw Himself from me, remove His restraining grace and allow me to turn to folly because I see how sinful sin is. I see how displeasing it is to God, and how He would rather bring wrath upon His own Son than to let one sin go unpunished.
Continuing in verse 9 we read: “Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.” These are those who hold His law in reverent respect.
Verses 10 and 11 tell us: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.” The psalmist is seeing in a prophetic way what was to be fulfilled in the coming of Christ. That was the desire of the nations. That was the desire of all those who feared God. They were looking for the coming of that day when mercy and truth would come together. The Father’s righteousness could now be embraced with peace, with the embraces of love and mercy, because Mount Sinai had been removed. It was removed by the precious, full satisfaction made by His Son.
Noah’s father Lamech was 56 years old when Adam died. Adam lived 930 years. Lamech’s heart was grieved over the power of sin in the earth. The nations longed to see Satan’s kingdom overthrown. We see in Genesis 6:5: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Is it any different today? The Lord Jesus Christ said that in the end times it will be as in the days of Noah. The earth will be filled with violence.
Lamech was one of those who loved the Lord and were looking for deliverance. The longing and desire of the nations was to see that coming Messiah promised in the Garden of Eden. Lamech saw Noah as a source of some deliverance. We read in Genesis 5:29: “And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.” Lamech in a prophetic way saw that there would be some deliverance in Noah, but he did not realize what it was. He did not realize it would be the destruction of the old world by a flood.
Adam lived to within a few years of the birth of Noah. Can you imagine the longing desires of Adam’s heart to see the coming of the Messiah? Adam could remember the time he spent in paradise, when he lived with God without sin. Adam saw sin accumulating on the earth as the result of his sin.
At the coming of Christ all those who feared the Lord longed to see the day when the head of that old serpent the devil would be crushed. We read in Matthew 2:1-2: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”
The wise men came from a distant nation to see the fulfilling of that promise, to see the fulfilling of that longing desire. They came to witness it. They came to satisfy their own souls and have a firsthand view of that Messiah. See the longing desire there was in the hearts of the nations.
This same desire is expressed in Luke 2:25: “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.”
There is consolation and mercy in Christ. The indictment of the law is brought in the heart and soul, then we look for the consolation there is in Christ. The consolation is that He has come to satisfy and remove that Mount Sinai for His people.
Continuing in verses 26 to 32 we read: “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
Simeon waited in the temple, because as our text says, that is where they would see the Lord Jesus Christ. “I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:7). Now the Messiah had come. The desire of the nations from all these generations had now been fulfilled.
On the day of Pentecost, we see how there were devout men out of every nation waiting at Jerusalem for the consolation of Israel. Simeon was not the only one waiting for this consolation, the coming Messiah.
If you and I understand what it is to have that indictment of sin charged to our heart, then we will have no rest until we have found the Messiah for our own souls.
Here we see in Acts 2:4-5: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”
They had all come to Jerusalem to wait for the Messiah.
Continuing in verses 6 to 12 we read: “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?”
The Messiah had come, and the indictment of sin, the indictment of the lightnings and thunderings of Mount Sinai, was being removed. Beloved, what a consolation this is for us. Mount Sinai without mercy has been removed by the coming of our Blessed Saviour, and we can come unto Mount Sion. That is the significance of the day. That is the significance we find in the coming of the blessed Redeemer.
We read in John 16:8-11: “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
This was speaking of when Christ would send the Holy Spirit in the heart. That old serpent, the devil, has received judgment, and he has been dethroned. He has been removed from the throne of your heart. Now we serve God acceptably in a kingdom that cannot be moved. That kingdom of Christ established on the throne of your heart has brought you into serving Christ in that law of love. It cannot be moved. It is an eternal kingdom. That is the blessed joy we see in the coming of the Messiah.
As the prince of this world loses his power over us, we receive a better kingdom. Is this the joy we have in this season? Is that the joy that fills our heart, that the prince of this world has been judged, that he has been removed from his throne, and that now we receive a better kingdom?
Do we find joy in the ushering in of the kingdom of Christ, where we come into serving God acceptably as we read in Hebrews 12:28: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Is that the joy we have in this season? We can serve God with hearts tender for His will, where our hearts tremble at His Word, where we desire to know and do His will.
How often do you pray during the day or upon your bed at night, Gracious God, give me wisdom to know your will, and give me grace to do your will? Is this the longing desire of our hearts? Is that the kingdom under which we serve, that we might serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear? Has that kingdom of Christ been established on the throne of our hearts? It has been if the kingdom of Satan has been removed.
Yet once more, the heavens and the earth shall be shaken and removed, but those who have received “a kingdom which cannot be moved” shall not be shaken. We read of this in 2 Peter 3:10-11: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”
If we are going to be in that kingdom that cannot be removed, if in that day we are not going to be shaken, we must be people of holy conversation and godliness. Will this merit salvation for us? No. The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to purchase salvation. He came into this world to satisfy the broken law, where there was no mercy. He came to bring mercy, but I am going to tell you something, He came to save us from our sins. He did not come to save us in our sins. You and I will learn to understand what it is to be saved from our sins if we are going to be saved at all.
I want to read to you out of Matthew 1:20-21, where Joseph had found that Mary was pregnant: “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
This means that the Mount Sinai law would be satisfied, and that we would be able to come to Mount Sion to serve God under that new kingdom that cannot be moved. We have grace to serve God acceptably with reverence and holy fear. It does not mean that He came to save you in your sins, that we can continue in sin. He came to save us from sin. He came to redeem us from all iniquity. He came for the purpose of redeeming us from under the power of sin. Amen.
Christ, Our Peacemaker by Ralph Bouma
The blessed gospel proclaimed from heaven by the angel was a message of peace, peace on earth and good will to men. Outside of Christ there is no peace, but God sent His blessed message of peace. As the result of sin, man has become the enemy of God, separated from God, but He has sent His own Son to make peace.
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