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Haggai 2:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Yet now be strong - Do not let this discourage you. The chief glory of the temple is not its splendid building, but my presence; and as I covenanted to be with you when ye came out of Egypt, so I will fulfill my covenant; for my Spirit remaineth among you, fear not; Haggai 2:5. What is the most splendid cathedral, if God be not in it, influencing all by his presence and Spirit? But he will not be in it unless there be a messenger of the Lord there, and unless he deliver the Lord's message.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Yet now be strong … and work - They are the words with which David exhorted Solomon his son to be earnest and to persevere in the building of the first temple 1 Chronicles 28:10. “Take heed now, for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong and do” 1 Chronicles 28:20. “Be strong and of good courage, and do.” This combination of words occurs once only elsewhere 2 Chronicles 19:11, in Jehoshaphat‘s exhortation to “the 2 Chronicles 19:8. Levites and priests and chiefs of the fathers of Israel,” whom he had set as judges in Jerusalem. Haggai seems then to have adopted the words, with the purpose of suggesting to the down-hearted people, that there was need of the like exhortation, in view of the building of the former temple, whose relative glory so depressed them. The word “be strong” (elsewhere rendered, “be of good courage”) occurs commonly in exhortations to persevere and hold fast, amid whatever obstacles..

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Those who are hearty in the Lord's service shall receive encouragement to proceed. But they could not build such a temple then, as Solomon built. Though our gracious God is pleased if we do as well as we can in his service, yet our proud hearts will scarcely let us be pleased, unless we do as well as others, whose abilities are far beyond ours. Encouragement is given the Jews to go on in the work notwithstanding. They have God with them, his Spirit and his special presence. Though he chastens their transgressions, his faithfulness does not fail. The Spirit still remained among them. And they shall have the Messiah among them shortly; "He that should come." Convulsions and changes would take place in the Jewish church and state, but first should come great revolutions and commotions among the nations. He shall come, as the Desire of all nations; desirable to all nations, for in him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; long expected and desired by all believers. The house they were building should be filled with glory, very far beyond Solomon's temple. This house shall be filled with glory of another nature. If we have silver and gold, we must serve and honour God with it, for the property is his. If we have not silver and gold, we must honour him with such as we have, and he will accept us. Let them be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what would be beyond all the glories of the first house, the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in human nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in human form and nature, could fulfil this. Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. This prophecy alone is enough to silence the Jews, and condemn their obstinate rejection of Him, concerning whom all their prophets spake. If God be with us, peace is with us. But the Jews under the latter temple had much trouble; but this promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by his blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desired and valued by all nations. And the Jews shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have hitherto rejected.
Ellen G. White
Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 204.2

We are now a strong people, if we will put our trust in the Lord; for we are handling the mighty truths of the word of God. We have everything to be thankful for. If we walk in the light as it shines upon us from the living oracles of God, we shall have large responsibilities, corresponding to the great light given us of God. We have many duties to perform, because we have been made the depositaries of sacred truth to be given to the world in all its beauty and glory. We are debtors to God to use every advantage He has entrusted to us to beautify the truth by holiness of character, and to send the messages of warning, and of comfort, of hope and love, to those who are in the darkness of error and sin. CET 204.2

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 577

With fields lying waste, with their scant store of provisions rapidly failing, and surrounded as they were by unfriendly peoples, the Israelites nevertheless moved forward by faith in response to the call of God's messengers, and labored diligently to restore the ruined temple. It was a work requiring firm reliance upon God. As the people endeavored to do their part, and sought for a renewal of God's grace in heart and life, message after message was given them through Haggai and Zechariah, with assurances that their faith would be richly rewarded and that the word of God concerning the future glory of the temple whose walls they were rearing would not fail. In this very building would appear, in the fullness of time, the Desire of all nations as the Teacher and Saviour of mankind. PK 577.1

Thus the builders were not left to struggle alone; “with them were the prophets of God helping them;” and the Lord of hosts Himself had declared, “Be strong, ... and work: for I am with you.” Ezra 5:2; Haggai 2:4. PK 577.2

With heartfelt repentance and a willingness to advance by faith, came the promise of temporal prosperity. “From this day,” the Lord declared, “will I bless you.” Verse 19. PK 577.3

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW), 1176-7

13. Reproof Changed to Encouragement—It was after Haggai's second message that the people felt that the Lord was in earnest with them. They dared not disregard the repeated warning that their prosperity and the blessing of God were dependent upon their entire obedience to the instructions given them. As soon as they decided that they would do the words of the Lord, His messages of reproof changed to words of encouragement. O how merciful a God we have! He says, “I am with you.” The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. He assured the people that if they were obedient, they would place themselves in a position where He could bless them for His own name's glory. If God's people will only rely upon Him, and believe in Him, He will bless them (Manuscript 116, 1897). 4BC 1176.1

1-9, 11, 12. Parables Showing What God Endorses—In speaking of the building of a house for God, the prophet Haggai shows in parables what God endorses and what He condemns. 4BC 1176.2

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