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BOOK : Haggai

Description : Warnings & encouragements to the returned exiles to keep on building the temple and complete it.

Author: Haggai, a prophet or someone close to him

Date written : Somewhere between 627 and 609BC

Chapters :   3



Brief Synopsis:

•  The first returning exiles are in the process of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem but are hindered and falter and the work comes to a stop.
•  The Lord uses Haggai to bring His word to these people to encourage them and get the work under way again until completion.
•  As we will see, these four ‘words' all come within the space of six months,

Outline :


1:1 Introduction

1:2-11 First Message : The Call to Rebuild the Temple
1:2-4 Excuse & Challenge
1:5,6 A clear absence of blessing in poverty

1:7-11 The Reason

1:12-15 The Response of Zerubbabel and the People
1:12 Obedience

1:13-15 The Lord Strengthens the Workers

2:1-9 Second Message : The Temple to Be Filled with Glory
2:1-5 Encouragement from the Lord

2:6-9 The Promise of Glory and Peace

2:10-19 Third Message : A Defiled People Purified and Blessed
2:10-14 The Rapid Spread of Sin
2:15-17 Poor Harvests because of Disobedience
2:18-19 Blessing to Come as the Temple Is Rebuilt
2:20-23 Fourth Message : The Promise to Zerubbabel

2:20-22 The Judgment of the Nations 

2:23 The Significance of Zerubbabel


Key Verses :


The timing of the words through Haggai

1:1 In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, (probably Aug. 520BC) the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest:
2:1 On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, (probably Oct. 520BC) the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:
2:10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, (probably Dec. 520BC) the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai:
2:20 The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month:


His ministry of ‘encouragement'

Ezra 5:1,2 Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem . And the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
Ezra 6:14 So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo.


Challenging the fact that the work had ground to a halt

1:2-4 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "These people say, `The time has not yet come for the LORD's house to be built.' " Then the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"


The word brings fruit

1:12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the message of the prophet Haggai, because the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD.


Encouragement & Response (the word is expanded a month later – 2:1-5)

1:13-15 Then Haggai, the LORD's messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: "I am with you," declares the LORD. So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah , and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the LORD Almighty, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius.


A glimpse of the future (see below)

2:6-9 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: `In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. `The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty. `The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. `And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."


The height of encouragement – you are special in my future prophetic purposes

2:19,23 "From this day on I will bless you.….. , I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the LORD, `and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD Almighty."



Concluding Comments


•  There is a difficulty in 2:9 with the reference to ‘ The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house' which was replaced when Herod built his temple several centuries later. Also there is no reference to the glory of the Lord filling this temple when it was completed. However Herod's temple was in fact an enlarging of this temple, and so although Herod's temple was much larger than this present one, it did in fact constitute the same temple as far as this prophetic word applies. When the Son of God walked in its precincts the glory of God was indeed present in a way not previously known. Previously it had been just the shining glory; now it was God Himself.
•  At the end Zerubbabel is encouraged: you are my signet ring that is used for creating a seal or guarantee. You are a type of one who will come at the end who will seal my purposes. Your activity here and now is a guarantee for establishing my purposes so that this people will still be here and this house will still be here when my Son comes.

•  Lessons within the ministry and work of Haggai are:

•  The prophetic work can be a great encouragement to move the work of 

    God on.

•  The prophetic can call for obedience and can bring the challenge that

    stirs faith for men and women to move on in the purposes of God.  

•  Without the prophetic it is doubtful if the rebuilding of the Temple would have been completed.
•  Haggai is thus a key player in re-establishing the temple after the Exile, paving the way for the activities in some four hundred years time, the Temple being an anchor for the people of Judah and Jerusalem .