Haggai 2:9 states that God will fill the Second Temple with glory, such that the glory of the Second Temple would surpass that of the First.

Given that the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, and what we historically know of the Second Temple (that it was not more spiritually, architecturally or adornment-wise more "glorious" or spectacular than the first, especially given it was a rushed reconstruction under pressure and threat), and the Messianic nature of the prophecies of this, what is the modern day Jewish understanding of the meaning (and fulfillment) of this prophecy, since the notion that the Messiah entered the Second Temple is rejected?

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    Can you source these "historical" claims? I was under the impression that after Herod's renovations the Temple was indeed quite "glorious". – Double AA May 24 '16 at 13:16
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    The talmud refers to the height of the walls of the second as being greater (in terms of physical features). – rosends May 24 '16 at 13:26
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    Re my edit: I did not know Christians read the verse that way. If that was your reason for asking, by all mans edit it back in. But I really think the question makes more sense without it. "The verse says 'it'll be greater'. How?" is a reasonable question. But "The verse says 'it'll be greater'. Christianity says it'll be greater thusly.... Judaism doesn't. How, then will it be greater?" makes no sense unless you can substantiate that Judaism doesn't; and even then the extra comparison to Christianity doesn't add anything to the question. – msh210 May 24 '16 at 17:22
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    "the Messianic nature of the prophecies of this" What? Can you provide support for this claim? There is no obvious reason it should be a given that there prophecies are Messianic. Please edit in support. cc @msh210 – Double AA May 24 '16 at 17:49
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    @RaphaelRosch I don't want to continue discussion. I want you to edit in support for your claims. That's a valid reason for the above comment. Please do so. It would make the post better and make it smell less of missionising. (It doesn't really matter if you are doing that or not; including extra messianic references and references to Jesus on a site about Judaism without explanation smells of missionising. Please add context and support for those claims.) – Double AA May 24 '16 at 17:51

Rashi quotes the machlokes between Rav and Shmuel whether it was the physical plant or the number of years that the second temple existed. While some people say that Chagai means to hint about the temple to be built by the mashiach, most say that this refers to the second temple which was about to be built (since Chagai, Zechariah, and Malachi were part of the Anshe Knesses Hagedolah) and that before it would be destroyed, this is what it would become.

Note that Rashi comments on the phrase "will be greater". That is Rashi says that Rav holds that the actual temple itself (after Herod rebuilt it) was "more magnificent" than the first temple. Shmuel holds that the "greater glory" was that it lasted longer. Both speak of it even though it did not have the same spiritual glory as the first temple.

The fame of the temple spread throughout the Roman Empire which could also mean that the glory "was greater" in that it was a major attraction over much of the known world.

Chagai 2:9

ט גָּדוֹל יִהְיֶה כְּבוֹד הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה הָאַחֲרוֹן מִן הָרִאשׁוֹן אָמַר יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת וּבַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה אֶתֵּן שָׁלוֹם נְאֻם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת:

9 The glory of this last House shall be greater than the first one, said the Lord of Hosts. And in this place I will grant peace, says the Lord of Hosts.

Rashi: shall be greater: There was a controversy between Rav and Samuel. One said: In the building; and one said: In the years, that the years of the First Temple were four hundred and ten, and those of the Second Temple were four hundred and twenty.

The Jewish Virtual Library says that not only was it a magnificent building, but that multitudes came to see it. I have seen references that not only Jews, but nonJews from all over the Roman Empire came to see the temple.

The Second Temple

The Second Temple was not only awe inspiring because of its religious significance, but also for its physical dimensions, its grandeur and its beauty. Thus, as the Roman generals sat surveying Jerusalem and considering the Temple’s future they hesitated before ordering its destruction. Jews, from that day to this, have yearned and prayed for its rebuilding, and tourists and religious people alike have come to behold the site on which it once stood.

Normally a city of 100 to 200 thousand people, three times a year on the pilgrim festivals of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles, Jerusalem’s population swelled to 1 million souls (the exact number depending on the source of population estimates). On these occasions this small ancient city had to cope not only with the throng of people but also their sacrificial animals and offerings, necessitating temporary increases in food supplies, accommodation, ritual bathing facilities, and all aspects of commerce. It was Herod, installed by the Romans as governor of Jerusalem, who faced these logistical problems, and who consequently set about renovating the city and the Temple to accommodate this massive periodic influx.

Before work began on the Temple, Herod spent eight years stockpiling materials for its construction. Then, a workforce of over 10,000 men began its construction including a contingent of 1,500 specially trained priests who were the only ones permitted to work on the innermost and holiest parts of the Temple. Building continued for a further twenty years, though the Temple was in a sufficiently ready state within three and a half years of its commencement to be dedicated.

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