The Book of Haggai
Introduction to the Book of Haggai in the Bible
Haggai 1:1-4 - In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built. Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, [Is it] time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house [lie] waste?
Haggai 2:5-9 - [According to] the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. 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]; 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. The silver [is] mine, and the gold [is] mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Bible Survey - Haggai
Quick Overview of Haggai. – – 1:1-6 – – Haggai calls Israel to stop neglecting the Temple – – 1:7-11 – – he declares the Lord's judgment – – 1:12-15 – – the people respond – – 2:1-9 – – the prophecy of the Temple – – 2:10-19 – – their own obedience would bring future blessing – –2:20-22– – God will shake the nations – – 2:23 – – the future glories of Zerubbabel.
Haggai prophesied to the Jews who had returned from captivity. The time was 520 BC, 18 years after the king of Persia allow them to return to rebuild the Temple. Samaritans from the north had caused all the work in the Temple to come to a halt. 16 years had gone by and people were more interested in working on their houses than rebuilding the Temple. The prophet Haggai encouraged God's people to finish rebuilding the Temple that Zerubbabel had started. Haggai also said that the recent problems they were experiencing is because of their laziness in the things of God. The prophet Zechariah encouraged them as well and within four years the Temple was completed. Haggai also told them to "be strong" and promised them that because of their obedience the blessings of God would come to them from that day forward, and "the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former." Haggai made the glorious promise that the people of the world will come to the "Desire of All Nations", referring to the Messiah, and God will fill the Temple with glory.
The prophet Haggai was the first of the three prophets during the Persian period who prophesied to the Jews who had returned from captivity, the other two prophets were Zechariah and Malachi. Haggai was also mentioned by Ezra as a co-worker with Zechariah in prophesying to the people and they prospered in completing the construction of the Second Temple.
"And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished [it], according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia." Ezra 6:14
The prophecies in the book of Haggai were delivered in a four month period in 520 BC, "the second year of Darius the King" (Haggai 1:1).
In 536 BC, 70 years after the Babylonian captivity began, the Persian ruler Cyrus gave permission for the Jews to return to Judah and rebuild their temple. Zerubbabel was the governor, and Jeshua what was the high priest. Soon after their return they began to rebuild the Temple of Solomon which had been demolished. The foundation stone was laid in the second month of the second year after the return (Ezra 3:8-10). Those who opposed the construction of the Temple were the Samaritans, they were the descendants of the foreigners from around the Assyrian Empire who had been placed in Samaria after the Assyrian captivity in 722 BC (2 Kings 17:24-41). The Samaritans caused all the work on the Temple to stop, people have become lazy after this and focused more under houses. They allowed the Lords Temple to go unfinished for 16 years, and this is when Haggai began to prophesy. The focus of Haggai was to wake them from their sleep, and realize who they were and the great opportunity the Lord had given them to rebuild His Temple.
"For thus says the LORD of hosts: "Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 'and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:6-7
The contents of the book may be analyzed further as follows :
Outline of the Book of Haggai
The first of Haggai's four prophecies (Haggai 1:1-15) was delivered on the first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius - about August-September, 520 BC. This was addressed to the leaders, rebuking them for the spiritual lethargy which had allowed the temple to lie unfinished for such a long time. Haggai cites this lethargy as a chief cause for God's having withheld His blessings from the people (Haggai 1:6). Haggai's words were so effective that it was only twenty-four days later that the work of rebuilding the temple was begun.
Haggai' second message (Haggai 2:1-9), was delivered about a month later (October), which was designed to encourage those who were despondent over the disparity in glory between the former temple and the new one they were erecting. Haggai assured them that a greater glory than that of the past temple was to come to the house of Israel. In this connection, he speaks of the "desire of all nations" (Haggai 2:7), referring to the Messiah.
Two months after the second message, Haggai spoke to the people for a third time. In this section (Haggai 2:10-19), Haggai informs the people that their past indifference had kept them from accomplishing the things which they set out to do but that God would bless their future.
The last of the prophecies contained in the book was delivered the same day as the third and is found in Haggai 2:20-23. In this, the prophet speaks of the establishment of Zerubbabel, a symbol of the idea that God's people were to stand, just as the power of the heathen nations was completely broken.Read Haggai
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