Haggai: Chapter 1 and 2

Haggai: Chapter 1 and 2

Haggai: Chapter 1 and 2                                   November 16, 2019

Haggai was one of the Post-exile, early post-captivity prophets.

His name means:  Hag = festival or my festival, Festive

Haggai ministry was to rebuke the returned exiles for their delay in rebuilding the Temple and to encourage them to set to work.

Expressions such as “the Word of the LORD came ” and “speaks the LORD of hosts” occurs 25 times in the two chapters of the prophecy.

The year 508 B.C. was significant enough for God to send a prophet to deal with a problem and to record what happened in the Word of God.

Difference between Ezra and Haggai message:

  • Ezra’s account focused on external pressures from the surrounding peoples, and did not dwell on the sinful condition of the people as they lived in the land.
  • Haggai focused on the internal attitudes of the people who valued material possessions above spiritual things (Hag 1:4-6).

Sixteen years earlier, the Persian emperor, Cyrus, had issued a decree permitting the Jewish exiles in Babylon to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (cf. Ezra 1:2-4).  About 50,000 returned under the newly appointed governor of Judah, Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest.

They cleared the temple court of rubble and replaced the altar of burnt offerings on its base, thus allowing the daily sacrifices to begin.  In the spring of the next year the foundations of the temple had been laid, then the troubles began.  Neighboring tribes—especially the Samaritans—were hostile.  Cyrus died in battle, and his successor Cambyses [also called Ahasuerus (Ezra 4:6)] was pressured to stop the work.

When the work ceased, the people returned to their private affairs, and gradually became accustomed to worshiping among the ruins of the once-great temple.  The desire to rebuild died out and they became reconciled to remaining the secular occupants in an impoverished land.

The sending of the prophet Haggai to challenge the people to rebuild led to a significant turning point in their history.

Haggai’s  audience was the remnant.  (They were not unbelievers.) They were the right people, living in the right place, wanting to do the right work, and for the right reasons. But their priorities were not right.  They were caught up in their own pursuits.  They were living for themselves rather than for God’s glory.  They started to tie themselves to the people of the land.

Haggai is divided into 2 chapters, focuses on the need for the people to:

  1. who have returned to Jerusalem to complete the rebuilding of the temple of God.
  2. to be reform their worship of God in the new Holy Temple

The Word of the Lord by Haggai, The First Message of Rebuke 

The Command to Rebuild the Temple, Introduction

Haggai 1:1 In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the Word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,

  • Darius began his reign in 521 B.C.
  • First message of God through Haggai, prophet to Zerubbabel, is August 29, 520 B.C. The prophecies of Haggai are among the most precisely dated in the OT
  • Message of Zechariah began in Oct or Nov of same year (Zec 1:1)
  • Lord delivered his word; the word was not the prophet’s, but the Lord’s; and this is observed, to give weight and authority to it:
  • Sixth Month: Called Elul, last month civil year, August / September.
  • About 43 years later, 478 B.C. Queen Esther became queen of Persia.

Haggai 1:2 “Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “The time has not come, the time that the LORD’s house should be built.” ‘ “

  • Lord of Hosts: requires implicit obedience
  • Opposition of Samaritans was intense. They stopped work and rationalized it as God’s will.
  • Rebuilding the Temple among the people was not important.
  • This people: the Lord is displeased. Notice, He does not say, My People. Since they had neglected the Service of God.

The condition of the Exiles:

God’s discipline because of disobedience 

Haggai 1:3-4 Then the Word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, (4) “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this Temple to lie in ruins?”  {a 2nd prophecy, distinct from the 1st}

The principal building material in Jerusalem was stone. Those who wanted to make their houses elaborate, installed wood panels on the walls.

They worked on their own homes before repairing God’s House, Temple.

Haggai 1:5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! 

Consider Your sinful ways and repent of them, building fancy houses for yourselves and forget a place for worshiping God and Sacrificing. Prayer. 

The people were asked to consider both what they have done, their habits, activities or gained for themselves by their attitude seeking self-satisfaction at the sacrifice of God, not repairing the Temple, neglecting the place for the worship of that God who has restored you from captivity.

Haggai 1:6  “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”

Notice this verse has five proverbs in one verse.

  1. You have sown much, and bring in little;
  2. You eat, but do not have enough;
  3. You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
  4. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
  5. And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
  • God was judging them concerning material things.
  • Nothing what you have done has prospered with you while you neglected your duty to God.
  • The punishment corresponds to the sin.
  • Due to high cost of necessaries, wages went as if they were in a bag with holes.

Is “bad luck” God’s way of getting our attention? Difficulties can only come to a child of God for a purpose.  All our difficulties—circumstances—are “Father filtered.”

What is the solution?  It isn’t political activism, etc.  It is obedience. It is getting on with what God has given us to do.

*Chronicles tells us: if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Haggai 1:7-8 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways! (8) Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD.

The people were instructed to do three things:

1)     Go up to the mountain {Lebanon and get timber – cedar trees}

2)     Bring the wood

3)     Build the house.

Why, build the Temple, so the Lord take pleasure and will be glorified.

Haggai 1:9  “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the LORD of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.

They had concern for personal comfort, their own interests and buildings, not God’s House.

Haggai 1:10-11 Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. (11) For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

Blessing and cursing promises {Deut 28}  Many diseases afflicted them.

God told Israel He was responsible for the drought; and their lack of success.  They had neglected Him.  No rain. No crops. 

We covered before how Famine in the Scriptures is often an instrument of God’s wrath (2 Kgs 8:1; Ps 105:16). 

The 1st Message of Encouragement, the work starts now

The Response to the Challenge, the People Obey the Lord 

Haggai 1:12  Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD.

Account of the success of Haggai’s prophecy;

The results of Haggai’s message: They 1)  obeyed God (1 Sam 15:22 – to obey is better than sacrifice) and  2)  feared God (Prov 9:10 – fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom).

Haggai 1:13 Then Haggai, the LORD’s messenger, spoke the LORD’s message to the people, saying, “I am with you, says the LORD.”

The Lord gives comfort and high encouragement to the people.

Haggai 1:14-15 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, (15) on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.

The Lord stirred up the human spirit of His Leaders / people to finish the task.  In History, the Lord always has a remnant that exists.

It is now 23 days after the first message of Haggai from God, This chapter focus on the people and to prepare for the true worship of the Living God.

The 2nd Message of Encouragement:  The Future Glory of the Temple 


Haggai 2:1-2 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying: (2) “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying:

They had been working about a month. Note: It was the 7th day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Day before the Last Great Day.  This is the Lord’s Word.

This prophecy was intended to prevent discouragement and to work on the Temple, this was very shortly before that of Zechariah prophecy.

Haggai 2:3  ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?   {Nothing compared to Solomon’s Temple}

Many could remember the splendor of Solomon’s Temple, and this one was poor or not the same quality by comparison. They probably rushed, and improvised to have it ready for the Feast of Tabernacles.  Almost 70 years.

Haggai 2:4 Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the LORD; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the LORD of hosts.

Notice how often God’s messenger admonishes us to “be strong”: Don’t be discouraged. “I am with you.” And work on the Temple.

The greatest strength is to have The Lord with us as our strength. Not in man’s “might,” but in that of God’s Spirit.  

*Zechariah 4:6 So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,‘ Says the LORD of hosts.

Haggai 2:5  ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’

The covenant with Israel

*Exodus 19:5-6 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. (6) And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Then, Jesus Spirit was “among” them.  Now, Jesus Spirit is “in” us today.

Haggai 2:6-7  “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; (7) 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.

Prophecy: Shake all nations, heaven, earth, sea, dry land: This is another way of speaking of the day of the Lord. The purpose of the day of the Lord is to prepare the earth for the glorious reign of Jesus Christ on earth

Desire of All Nations, is Jesus, the Messiah, savor of all mankind.

*Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

The future physical Temple will be filled with His glory and or fill us.

Haggai 2:8  ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,‘ says the LORD of hosts.

The Lord owns all the wealth of all nations.

Haggai 2:9  ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.”

Peace includes good health, well-being, and an abundant life.

Blessings for a Defiled People who are obedient

Cover issues concerning the clean and the unclean, Holy vs unholy.

The 2nd Message of Rebuke: The Third Prophecy 

God’s Message of cleansing and blessings, Issues concerning the clean and the unclean

Haggai 2:10-11 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the Word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, (11) “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying,  {December 520 B.C.}

The priests were to understand the law, teach, instructing and to answer questions about God’s Law for the people.  Haggai impresses upon the people and priest the truth.  Haggai ask 2 questions.

*Matthew 23:2-3 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Mosesseat. (3) Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.

Haggai 2:12  “If one carries holy {or consecrated} meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?” ‘ ” Then the priests answered and said, “No.”

Haggai 2:13  And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?” So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.”

Important principle: Holiness cannot be transferred by contact.

Now, Unholiness can be transferred by contact (Num 19:11).

A legally “unclean” person imparts or contaminate his uncleanness to anything he touches, whereas a legally holy thing cannot transfer its Holiness on an “unclean” person

Dirty water will discolor clean water; but many drops of water will not purity dirty water.

So what is Haggai saying, the bottom line:

We cannot run with the wrong crowd and stay clean. It is the same how the lifestyle of the people related to their worship of God.

Haggai 2:14 Then Haggai answered and said, ” ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the LORD, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.

The existence of the temple itself guaranteed nothing. The hearts of the people had to be in harmony with the sacrifices being made

Their unclean hearts made their service for God unclean.  This is the reason that an unsaved person can do nothing that is acceptable to God.

Issues concerning cursing and blessings

Haggai 2:15-16 ‘And now, carefully consider from this day forward: from before stone was laid upon stone in the temple of the LORD (16) since those days, when one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten; when one came to the wine vat to draw out fifty measures, there were but twenty.

Gives a heads up. Consider how God plagued you with famine before you began to build the temple

Haggai 2:17 I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,’ says the LORD.

Despite God’s acts of withholding His blessing, the people still had not turned fully back to Him.

Haggai 2:18  ‘Consider now from this day forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid–consider it:

Haggai 2:19 Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’ “

Seed is in the ground.  God will bless them now for now building Temple.

God tells them, you shall be blest in them all, and have a large produce.

The 3rd Message of Encouragement:  The Final Overthrow of the Gentile World Power. 

Fourth Prophecy, same date as Prophecy 3, 2 messages the same day

Zerubbabel Chosen as a signet, {I have chosen you as Representative of the Jewish Nation}, with a gracious promise of safety and distinction

Haggai 2:20-21 And again the Word of the LORD came to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying, (21) “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: ‘I will shake heaven and earth.

Haggai 2:22 I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. I will overthrow the chariots And those who ride in them; The horses and their riders shall come down, Every one by the sword of his brother.

The Lord’s final judgment to replace the wicked nations at the time He returns to set up the Kingdom of God at the start of the Millennium, as King of kings

All other world kingdoms are to be overthrown to make way for Christ’s Kingdom of God starting in the Millennium. War chariots are to give place to His reign of peace

Haggai 2:23 ‘In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel,’ says the LORD, ‘and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,‘ says the LORD of hosts.

A signet ring was an item of great value to be used by the Lord, royalty and carefully kept.  The owner used it much like we use our personal signature on checks or other important documents. The signet is a symbol of Royal Authority.

God used this imagery to indicate that Zerubbabel was in His hand, that he was highly valued, and that he represented God’s authority in his leadership of the people.

Even though the people had been told they were still unclean in God’s eyes,  their leader Zerubbabel was encouraged to guide them through those spiritually trying times.

Zerubbabel, son of a Shealtiel, appears in each of the genealogies of Jesus, both Matthew (1:12) and Luke (3:27).  Meaning, the Messianic line came through Zerubbabel as a descendant of David.

If you have time, read book of Zechariah was the other prophet and he covers how all will observe the Feast of Tabernacles during the Millennium.  This book goes hand in hand with Haggai.

Temple completed 4 years later (Ezra 5:1).

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