The name Haggai means festal. Therefore, Haggai was believed to have been born during the pilgrimage feasts [Unleavened Bread, Pentecost or Weeks, and Tabernacles.] Deuteronomy 16:16-17- Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17- Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.
It is believed that Haggai was in his early seventies during the destruction of Solomon’s temple and witnessed the horrific event.
A Call to Build the House of the Lord
Haggai 1:2- This is what the Lord Almighty says: “These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.”’3- Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: “Is it a time for yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin? 5- Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: Give careful thought to your ways. 6- You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on your clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.
vs 7- This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8- Go up to the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. 9- You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house which remains in ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house. 10- There, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11- I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grains, the new wines, the oils, and whatever the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on the labor of your hands.
In 538 B.C. the conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus king of Persia, allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild Solomon’s temple. Fifty thousand Jews made the journey to their homeland to begin the monumental task.
Then 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. They all began to work on the house of the Lord; September 21, 520 B.C.
As the group built God’s temple, the Lord was with them and blessed them. He also guided them with His divine plans as a covenant, because none of them was alive when the temple stood in its splendor during the life of King Solomon. [Haggai 2:3-5]
After two years, in 536 B.C., the foundation was completed. Their rejoicing could be heard for miles.
The Samaritans and other neighbors heard of the success and were weary of the political and religious implications of a completed temple. Therefore, they joined forces and opposed the project. Work was halted.
In 522B.C. Darius the Great became king of Persia; he had high interest in the religions in his empire. Haggai and Zechariah began to preach in his second year to rebuild the temple; 520B.C. Work began again.
God promised the people that he would shake the heavens and the earth, the seas and the dry land. He would shake the nations.[God’s judgement] He will send all nations to fill this house with glory.
God will send silver and gold to fill the house. It will be of greater glory than before, in Solomon’s day. In this place, God grants peace.
Before long, the people became lethargic toward the Mosaic Laws. In judgement, the Lord declared, “Whatever they do and whatever they offer, they are defiled.”
Four years later, the temple was completed and dedicated.
God reminds them that they have gone through a time of testing as they built His temple. Now he will bless them.
The Lord spoke to Haggai once again. “Tell Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, that I will shake the heavens and earth.” [God’s Judgement] The Lord will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of foreign kingdoms. He will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.
God is making a covenant with Zerubbabel; making him like a signet ring. This is a seal guaranteeing his future inheritance of a bloodline of God, in Christ Jesus.
The study of Haggai is a perfect example of just how important a house of worship is to God. Because the people were not respecting the House of the Lord and rebuilding it, God was sending His judgement upon them and the earth where they were concerned.
We can learn from this example that God likes splendor in His house of worship. Gold and silver may be a bit expensive for today’s budgets, but we should not be afraid to add beauty to sanctuaries in worship to God.
In addition, as believers in Christ, we are encouraged to attend a bible believing church on a regular basis. This is to commune with other Christians and grow in our faith; also to learn more about God.
It is my hope that every person, whether a Christian or someone exploring the topic, has an authentic church to attend. A church where the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught from God’s Word. Active bible teaching is taking place and children are being won for Christ Jesus, our Lord.
I pray that everyone has access to a church where Jesus Chris, and His Love, and forgiveness, is taught,