Readers' Forum

Who Is/Are "Desired"?

Thank you for your fine editorial entitled "The Desire of All Nations" in the December 2004 issue. You write that the passage under study (Haggai 2:7) is "obviously messianic" and also that "the 'desire of all nations' in this context can be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ."

I suggest a different interpretation given by the late Dr. James Montgomery Boice (speaker on the Bible Study Hour radio program and pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for over 30 years. In his commentary from Bible Studies Magazine, he says that while "the desired of all nations" is popularly assumed to be Jesus, this is not the correct interpretation. One reason is that the nations are not desiring Christ; they are actually resisting Him. "But the chief reason is that the verb that follows the Hebrew word translated "desired" is plural in number, meaning the subject of the verb must also be plural." Boice believed the passage referred to "the elect out of all nations, those Gentiles whom God has from eternity foreknown and predestinatedwho will increase the glory of the true temple, which is the church."

James R. Crupi, pastor of
Christian Faith Fellowship,
Elmira, New York

Ted Kyle's response: Although the plural verb would seem to be a grave defect of my understanding of the text, some grand old commentators have the same understanding—among them Darby, Matthew Henry, and Jamieson, Faussett, Brown. A. R. Fausset explains that "when two nouns stand together, of which one is governed by the other, the verb agrees sometimes in number with the latter, though it really has the former as its nominative, that is, the Hebrew 'come' is made in number to agree with 'nations,' though really agreeing with 'the desire.' Besides, Messiah may be described as realizing in Himself at His coming 'the desires (the noun expressing collectively the plural) of all nations'; whence the verb is plural." He cites Song 5:16: "He is altogether lovely," which is the same Hebrew word, also in the plural.

Works for me. You make of it what you wish, and I'll make of it what I wish—and someday we will know which (if either) of us was right.

Remembering Stephen Olford

Sorry to hear of the passing of Stephen Olford! He sure was a pastor's pastor. He could find so many truths within one verse.

During his pastorate at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City, I ministered in Elizabeth, New Jersey (just 15 miles from NYC), and listened to his preaching on radio. His column was short, scriptural, and simple. He said so much in so few words.

Thank you for carrying my outlines. I receive many comments about them in the area where I live.

Keep up your good work with Pulpit Helps. I only wish it were available in my early years of ministry.

Croft M. Pentz
Waynesboro, Penn.

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