But let us conclude our discussion of the saying of Haggai. We have convincing proof that the Messiah, the Gentiles' *chemdath,* appeared at the time when this temple was standing. Thus the ancients understood it, and the inane flimsy glosses of the present-day Jews also testify to this, since they do not know how to deny it except by speaking of their own shame. For he who gives a hollow, meaningless, and irrelevant answer shows that he is defeated and condemns himself. It would have been better and less shameful if he had kept quiet, rather than giving a pointless answerthat disgraces him. Thus Haggai 2:6 says, "Once again, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all the Gentiles shall come." This is how I, in the simplicity of my mind, understand these words: Since the beginning of the world there has been enmity between the seed of the serpent and that of the woman, and there has always been conflict between them, sometimes more, sometimes less.
For wherever the Seed of the woman is or appears, he causes strife and discord. This he says in the Gospel: "I have not come to bring peace onearth, but a sword and disunity" [cf. Matt. 10:34]. He takes the armor from the strong man fully armed who had peace in his palace [Luke 11:22]. The latter cannot tolerate this, and the strife is on; angels contend against the devils in the air, and man against man on earth -- all on account ofthe woman's Seed. To be sure, there is plenty of strife, war, and unrest in the world otherwise too; but since it is not undertaken on account of this Seed, it is an insignificant thing in God's eyes, for in this conflict all the angels are involved.
Since the advent of this Seed, or of the Messiah, was close at hand, Haggai says "in a little." This means that until now the strife has been confined solely to my people Israel, that is, restricted to a small area. The devil was ever intent upon devouring them and he set all the surrounding kings upon them. For he was well aware that the promised Seed was in the people of Israel, the Seed that was to despoil him. Therefore he was always eager to harass them. And he instigated one disturbance, dissatisfaction, war, and strife after another. Well and good, now it will be but "a little while," and I shall give him strife aplenty. I will initiate a struggle, and a good one at that, not only in a narrow nook and corner among the people of Israel, but as far as heaven and earth extend, on the sea and on dry land, that is, where it is wet and where it is dry, whether on the mainland or on the islands, at the sea or on the waters, wherever human beings dwell. Or as he says, "I will shake all the Gentiles," so that all the angels will contend with all the devils in heaven or in the air, and all men on earth will quarrel over the Seed.
For I shall send the chemdath to all Gentiles. They will love him and adhere to him, as Genesis 49 says, "The Gentiles will gather about him," and, on the other hand, they will grow hostile to the devil, the old serpent, and defect from him. Then all will take its due course when the god and the prince of the world grows wrathful, raves and rages because heis obliged to yield his kingdom, his house, his equipment, his worship, his power, to the chemdath and Shiloh, the woman's Seed. Anyone can read thehistories that date back to the time of Christ and learn how first the Jewsand Gentiles, then the heretics, finally Muhammad, and at present the pope,have raged and still are raging "against the Lord and his Messiah" (Psalm 2[:2]), and he will understand the words of Haggai that speak of shaking all the nations, etc. There is not a corner in the world nor a spot in the sea where the gospel has not resounded and brought the chemdath, as Psalm1819:3-4 declares: "There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their wordsto the end of the world." The devil too appeared promptly on the scene with murder by the hands of tyrants, with lies spoken by heretics, with all his devilish wiles and powers, which he still employs to impede and obstruct the course of the gospel. This is the strife in question.
I shall begin the story of this struggle with that great villain, Antiochus the Noble. Approximately three hundred years elapsed between the time ofHaggai and that of Antiochus. This is the short span of time in which peace prevailed. For the kings in Persia were very kind to them, nor did Alexander harm them, and they fared well also under his successors, up to the time of this filthy Antiochus, who ushered in the unrest and the misfortune. Through him the devil sought to exterminate the woman's Seed. He pillaged the city of Jerusalem, the temple, the country and its inhabitants, he desecrated the temple and raged as his god, the devil,impelled him. Practically all the good fortune of the Jews terminated righthere. Down to the present, they have never recovered their former position, and they never will.
This will serve to supply a proper understanding of the Jews' glosses which say that the "chemdath of all the Gentiles," that is, gold and silver, flowed into this temple. If the earlier kings had put anything into it, then this one took it all away again. This turns their glosses upside downto read: Antiochus distributes the chemdath of all Jews among the Gentiles. Thus this verse of Haggai cannot be understood of the Gentiles' shirt or coat. For following these three hundred years, or this "little while," and from then on, they did not get much from the Gentiles, but rather were compelled to give them much. Soon after this, the Romans came and made a clean sweep of it, and placed Herod over them as king. What Herod gave them, they soon learned. Therefore, from the time of Antiochus on they enjoyed but a small measure of peace. Daniers report also stops with Antiochus, as if to say: Now the end is at hand and all is over, now the Messiah is standing at the door, who will stir up ever more contention.
The detestable Antiochus not only despoiled and desecrated the temple but he also suppressed the shebet or sultan, the prince in the house of David, namely, the last prince, John Hyrcanus. None of his descendants again ascended the throne of David or became ruler. Only the saphra or mehoquq remained till Herod. From that point on David's house looked as if its light had been extinguished, and as if there were no shultan or scepter inJudah. It had in fact come to an end, although there were about one hundredand fifty years left until the coming of the Messiah. Such an occurrence is not unusual; anything that is going to break will first crack or burst apart a little. Whatever is going to sink will first submerge or sway a little. The scepter of Judah went through the same process toward the end:it became weak, it groaned and moaned for one hundred and fifty years until it fell apart entirely at the hands of the Romans and of Herod. During these one hundred and fifty years the princes of Judah did not rule but lived as common citizens, perhaps quite impoverished. For Mary, Christ's mother in Nazareth, states that she is a handmaid of poor and low estate [Luke 1:48].
It is also true, however, that the Maccabees fought victoriously against Antiochus. Daniel 11:34 refers to this as "a little help." Those who in this way ascended the throne of David and assumed the rule were priests from the tribe of Levi and Aaron. Now one could say with good reason thatthe royal and the priestly tribes were mixed. For in II Chronicles 22:11 weread that Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram and the sister of King Ahaziah, was the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest. Thus, coming from the royal house of Solomon, she was grafted into the priestly tribe and became one trunk and tree with it. Therefore she was the ancestress of all the descendants of Jehoiada the priest, a true Sarah of the priestly family.Therefore the Maccabees may indeed be called David's blood and children, as viewed from the maternal lineage. For descent from a mother is just as valid as that from a father. This is recognized also in other countries.For instance, our Emperor Charles is king in Spain by virtue of his descent from his mother and not from his father; and his father Philip was duke of Burgundy not because of his father, Maximilian, but because of his mother, Mary.
Thus David calls all the children of Jehoiada and of Jehoshabeath his natural children, his sons and daughters, because Jehoshabeath was descended from his son Solomon. So through the Maccabees, Solomon's familyregained rule and scepter through the maternal side, after it had been lost through Ahaziah on the paternal side. It remained in David's family until Herod, who did away with it and abolished both shultan and saphra or the Sanhedrin. Now finally, there lies the scepter of Judah and the mehoqeq, there the house of David is darkened on both the paternal and the maternal sides. Therefore the Messiah must now be at hand, the true Light of David, the true Son, who had sustained his house until that time and who would sustain it and enlighten it from that point on to all eternity. This conforms to God's promise that the scepter of Judah will remain until the Messiah appears and that the house of David will be preserved forever and will never die out. But, as we said, despite all of this God must be the Jews' liar, who has not yet sent the Messiah as he promised and vowed.
Furthermore, God says through Haggai: "I will fill this house with splendor. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine. The splendor of this latter house shall be greater than the former," etc. [Hag. 2:7 f.]. It is true that this temple displayed great splendor during the three hundred years prior to Antiochus, since the Persians and the successors of Alexander, the kings in Syria and King Philadelphus in Egypt, contributedmuch toward it. But despite all of this, it did not compare in magnificence with the first temple, the temple of Solomon. The text must refer to a different splendor here, or else Solomon's temple will far surpass it. For in the first temple there was also an abundance of gold and silver, and in addition the ark of the covenant, the mercy-seat, the cherubim, Moses' tablets, Aaron's rod, the bread of heaven in the golden vessel, Aaron's robes, also the Urim and Thummin and the sacred oil with which the kings and priests were anointed (Burgensis on Daniel 9) . When Solomon dedicated this temple, fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, and the temple was filled with what he called a cloud of divine Majesty [II Chron.5:13, 7:1]. God himself was present in this cloud, as Solomon himself says: "The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness" [II Chron. 6:1]. He had done the same thing in the wilderness as he hovered over Moses' tabernacle.
There was none of this splendor, surpassing gold and silver, in the temple of Haggai. Yet God says that it will show forth greater splendor than the first one. Let the Jews pipe up and say what constituted this greater splendor. They cannot pass over this in silence, for the text and the confession of the ancient Jews, their forefathers, both state that the *chemdath* of the Gentiles, the Messiah, came at the time when the same temple stood and glorified it highly with his presence. We Christians know that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true chemdath, was presented in the temple by his mother, and that he himself often taught and did miracles there. This is the true cloud -- his tender humanity, in which God manifested hispresence and let himself be seen and heard. The blind Jews may deride this, but our faith is strengthened by it, until they can adduce a splendor of the temple excelling this chemdath of all the Gentiles. That they will do when they erect the third temple, that is to say, when God is a liar, when the devil is the truth, and when they themselves again take possession of Jerusalem -- not before.
Josephus writes that Herod razed the temple of Haggai because it was not sufficiently splendid, and rebuilt it so that it was equal or superior to the temple of Solomon in splendor. I would be glad to believe the history books; however, even if this temple had been constructed of diamonds and rubies, it would still have lacked the items mentioned from that sublime, old holy place -- namely, the ark, the mercy-seat, the cherubim, etc. Furthermore, since Herod had not been commissioned by God to build it, but did so as an impious enemy of God and of his people, motivated by vanity and pride, in his own honor, his whole structure and work was not as good a, the most puny little stone that Zerubbabel placed into the temple by command of God. Herod certainly did not merit much grace for tearing downand desecrating the temple which had been commanded, built, and consecrated by the word of God, and then presuming to erect a much more glorious onewithout God's word and command. God permitted this out of consideration forthe place which he had selected for the temple, and so that the destruction of the temple might have the negative significance that the people of Israel should henceforth be without temple, word of God, and all, that itinstead would be given wholly to the splendor of the world, under the guise of the service to God.
This temple was not only less splendid than Solomon's, but it was also violated in many ways more terribly than Solomon's temple, and was often completely desecrated. This happened first, against the will of the Jews, when Antiochus robbed it of all its contents, placed an idol on the altar,sacrificed pork, and made a regular pig-sty and an idolatrous desolation ofthe temple, instituting a horrible slaughter in Jerusalem as though he were the devil himself, as we read in I Maccabees 1 and as Daniel11 hadpredicted. No lesser outrage was committed by the Romans, and especially by that filthy Emperor Caligula, who also placed his mark of abomination in the temple. Daniel 9 and 12 speak of this. Such ignominy and disgrace were not experienced by Solomon's temple at the hands of Gentiles and foreigners. This makes it difficult to see how Haggai's words were fulfilled, "I will fill this temple with glory which will exceed the glory of that temple." One might rather say that it was filled with dishonor exceeding the dishonor of that temple, that is, if one thinks of external and outward honor. Consequently, if Haggai's words are to be accounted true, he must be referring to a different kind of splendor.
Second, the Jews themselves also desecrated this temple more viciously than the other one ever was desecrated: namely, with spiritual idolatries. Lyrawrites, and others too, in many passages, that the Jews, after their return from the Babylonian captivity, did not commit idolatry or sin by killingprophets as gravely as before. Thereby he wants to prove that their present exile must be due to a more heinous sin than idolatry, the murder of the prophets, etc. -- namely, the crucifixion of the Messiah. This argument is good, valid, and cogent. That they no longer killed the prophets is not to be attributed to a lack of evil intentions, but to the fact that they no longer had any prophets who reproved their idolatry, greed, and othervices. That is why they could no longer kill prophets. To be sure, the last prophet, Malachi, who began to rebuke the priests, barely escaped (if indeed he did escape).
But they did practice idolatry more outrageously at the time of this templethan at the time of the other_not the coarse, palpable, stupid variety, but the subtle, spiritual kind. Zechariah portrays this under the image of a flying scroll and of an ephah going forth (Zechariah 5:2,6). And Zechariah 11:12 and 12:10 foretell the infamy of their selling God for thirty piecesof silver and their piercing him through. More on that elsewhere; is it not shame enough that the priests at the same time perverted God's Ten Commandments so flagrantly? Tell me, what idolatry compares with the abomination of changing the word of God into lies? To do that is truly to set up idols, i.e., false gods, under the cloak of God's name; and that is forbidden in the second commandment, which reads: "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain."
Why, their Talmud and their rabbis record that it is no sin for a Jew to kill a Gentile, but it is only a sin for him to kill a brother Israelite. Nor is it a sin for a Jew to break his oath to a Gentile. Likewise, they say that it is rendering God a service to steal or rob from a Goy, as they in fact do through their usury. For since they believe that they are the noble blood and the circumcised saints and we the accursed Goyim, they cannot treat us too harshly or commit sin against us, for they are the lords of the world and we are their servants, yes, their cattle.
In brief, our evangelists also tell us what their rabbis taught. In Matthew 15:4 we read that they abrogated the fourth commandment, which enjoinshonor of father and mother; and in Matthew 23, that they were given to much shameful doctrine, not to mention what Christ says in Matthew 5 about how they preached and interpreted the Ten Commandments so deviously, how they installed money-changers, traders, and all sorts of usurers in the temple,prompting our Lord to say that they had made the house of God into a den ofrobbers [Matt. 21:13; Luke 19:46]. Now figure out for yourself what a great honor that is and how the temple is filled with such glory that God mustcall his own house a den of robbers because so many souls had been murderedthrough their greedy, false doctrine, that is, through double idolatry. The Jews still persist in such doctrine to the present day. They imitate their fathers and pervert God's word. They are steeped in greed, in usury, they steal and murder where they can and ever teach their children to do likewise.
Even this is not the greatest shame of this temple. The real abomination of all abominations, the shame of all shames, is this: that at the time of this temple there were several chief priests and an entire sect which were Sadducean, that is, Epicurean, who did not believe in the existence of any angel, devil, heaven, hell, or life after this life. And such fellows were expected to enter the temple, vested with the priestly office and in priestly garments, and sacrifice, pray, and offer burnt offerings for the people, preach to them, and rule them! Tell me? how much worse could Antiochus have been, with his idol and his sacrifice of pork, than were these Sadducean pigs and sows? In view of this, what remains of Haggai's statement that this temple's glory was greater than that of Solomon's temple? Before God and reason, a real pig-sty might be called a royal hall when compared with this temple, because of such great, horrible, and monstrous sows.
How much more honorably do the pagan philosophers, as well as the poets, write and teach not only about God's rule and about the life to come but also about temporal virtues. They teach that man by nature is obliged to serve his fellow man, to keep faith also with his enemies, and to be loyal and helpful especially in time of need. Thus Cicero and his kind teach. Indeed, I believe that three of Aesop's fables, half of Cato, and several comedies of Terence contain more wisdom and more instruction about good works than can be found in the books of all the Talmudists and rabbis and more than may ever occur to the hearts of all the Jews.