"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Haggai - Build The Temple! (1:1-2:23) INTRODUCTION 1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets", we now jump ahead about 100 years... a. Prophets like Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habakkuk prophesied shortly before the seventy years of Babylonian captivity (i.e. before 606-536 B.C.) b. Following the return under the leadership of Zerubbabel (536 B.C.), it was not long before two more prophets were sent to the people of Israel 2. These prophets were Haggai and Zechariah, the first of which we shall consider in this lesson... a. Concerning the MAN 1) His name means "Festival" or "Festive" 2) What we know of Haggai is limited to his book and references in Ezra (see below) 3) Together with Zechariah he motivated the Jews in rebuilding the temple b. Concerning the MESSAGE 1) It is commonly dated around 520 B.C. (the second year of King Darius - Hag 1:1) a) For the foundation of the temple had been laid shortly after the arrival under the leadership of Zerubbabel (i.e., 536 B.C.) - cf. Ezra 3:8-13 b) Yet opposition to rebuilding the temple stopped it for 16 years - Ezra 4:1-24 c) God then raised up Haggai and Zechariah - Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14 2) The theme of Haggai's preaching: Build The Temple! a) His message contains four separate proclamations b) All within four months - cf. Hag 1:1; 2:1,10,20 [As we outline and briefly consider the message of Haggai, we begin by noticing...] I. A WORD OF REPROOF A. BUILDING THE TEMPLE IS LONG OVERDUE... 1. Haggai takes the Lord's message to Israel's leaders - Hag 1:1 a. Zerubbabel the governor (who lead the first group of exiles back home) b. Joshua the high priest (also known as Jeshua, Ezra 2:1-2, 36,40; 3:2-8) 2. The Lord takes issue with what the people have been saying - Hag 1:2-4 a. They have been saying the time is not right to build the temple b. The Lord challenged them as to whether they should live in paneled houses while the temple lies in ruins B. THE PEOPLE SHOULD CONSIDER THEIR WAYS... 1. The Lord challenged them to consider what was happening- Hag 1:5-6 a. Their efforts were much b. But they received little in return 2. To motivate them in building the temple, their trouble is explained - Hag 1:7-11 a. They needed to build the temple and thereby glorify God b. For their efforts to obtain much for themselves was frustrated by God 1) They looked for much, but God blew it away 2) While His house lay in ruins, they were busy building their own 3) Therefore God had called for a drought on the land and its fruit C. THE TESTIMONY OF THE PROPHET IS HEEDED... 1. With the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua the people obeyed - Hag 1:12 2. The Lord promises to be with them - Hag 1:13 3. Stirred up by the Lord, Zerubbabel and Joshua lead the remnant to resume work on the temple - Hag 1:14-15 [From Hag 1:1,15, we can determine that it took 24 days for the people to begin rebuilding the temple. About a month later (cf. Hag 2:1), another message from the Lord comes by way of Haggai. This message is...] II. A WORD OF SUPPORT A. ARE THE PEOPLE DISCOURAGED? 1. Haggai is sent again to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the faithful remnant - Hag 2:1-2 2. Those who had seen the former temple in its glory are asked if the present temple appears as nothing in comparison - Hag 2:3 -- The new temple evidently did not compare with the temple built by Solomon B. THE LORD PROVIDES A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT... 1. The Lord encourages them to be strong, for He is with them - Hag 2:4-5 2. The Lord promises to make the glory of this temple greater - Hag 2:6-9 a. By shaking the nations and having them come to "the Desire of All Nations" 1) This can be translated "the desired of all nations will come", perhaps speaking of the nations bringing their wealth to the temple - cf. Hag 2:8; Isa 60:5 2) Many see a Messianic reference in this phrase, though no reference is so made in the New Testament (He 12:26-27 does make an allusion to verse 6) b. By giving peace "in this place" 1) Some see another Messianic reference in this phrase 2) Certainly Jesus as the Prince of Peace, came to the temple [With such a word of encouragement, the people would continue with their task of rebuilding the temple. But all was not well in the eyes of the Lord; He needed Haggai once again to prophesy to the people, so two months later (cf. 2:1,10) comes...] III. A WORD OF EXPLANATION A. THE PEOPLE ARE OFFERING A WORK THAT IS UNCLEAN... 1. Through two questions, the Lord challenges the priests to think - Hag 2:10-13 a. Can holiness be transferred through casual contact? - No b. Can defilement be transferred through casual contact? - Yes 2. Well, the people are unclean, and what they therefore offer is unclean! - Hag 2:14 a. Unclean people can't build a holy temple b. Therefore, their offering is unclean! B. ONCE AGAIN THE PEOPLE ARE ASKED TO CONSIDER... 1. First, begin considering what God has done in the past- Hag 2:15-17 a. Before the stone was laid in the temple, things were scarce b. The Lord even brought blight, mildew and hail to frustrate their labors, but they did not heed Him 2. Now, begin considering what God is promising to do - Hag 2: 18-19 a. Begin considering that very day (24th day of the ninth month) 1) Consider what has occurred from the day the temple's foundation was laid 2) Is there seed in the barn? (no) Nor has the produce yielded its fruit d. But beginning that very day (24th day of the ninth month), God was going to bless them! [With such a promise, they would likely repent and build the temple as they should. To encourage them further, Haggai has one last message...] IV. A WORD OF PROMISE A. GOD WILL OVERTHROW THE KINGDOMS OF THE NATIONS... 1. This message came at the same time as the third message- Hag 2:20 a. On the 24th day of the ninth month, of the second year of Darius b. Nearly four months after the first message - cf. Hag 1:1 2. Directed to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah - Hag 2:21-22 a. God proclaims He will shake heaven and earth b. He will overthrow the kingdoms of the Gentiles c. This He will do, "everyone by the sword of his brother" -- Note: Just as He did before, using Assyria to punish Israel, Babylon to punish Assyria, Medo-Persia to punish Babylon, etc. B. GOD'S SPECIAL PROMISE TO ZERUBBABEL... 1. In the same day that God will overthrow the nations - Hag 2: 23a 2. God will make Zerubbabel as a signet ring, for God has chosen him - Hag 2:23b a. Many see a Messianic reference in this promise 1) For God calls Zerubbabel "My servant", an expression often used in Isaiah in reference to the Messiah - cf. Isa 52:13; 53:11 2) And God says "for I have chosen you" (Messiah means anointed, chosen) b. That as governor of Judah and descendant of David, Zerubbabel represents the Messianic hope that has been renewed and would be ultimately fulfilled with the coming of Jesus! -- Note: With His exaltation to the right hand of God, Jesus began to rule the nations "with a rod of iron", as Revelation vividly depicts - Re 1:5; 2:26-27; 3:21; 17:14 CONCLUSION 1. Haggai's message was primarily designed to encourage Zerubbabel and the faithful remnant of Israel who had returned from Babylonian captivity... a. To finish rebuilding the temple b. To do so in a manner that would honor and glorify God c. To look to the future with hope and promise 2. Like other books of the Old Testament... a. Haggai was "written for our learning" - Ro 15:4 b. There are lessons that can easily be gleaned from this book, such as: 1) The importance of putting God first - Hag 1:2-4 2) The need for every one to work, not just the leaders - Hag 1: 12-15 3) The danger of letting evil contaminate our efforts to serve God - Hag 2:11-14 3. As Christians, we are blessed to be "a holy temple in the Lord"
- Ep 2:19-22; cf. 1Pe 2:5 a. The foundation of this temple has been laid b. But the need for building upon the foundation continues! Living in a highly materialistic society, it may easy for us to neglect the ongoing construction of the Lord's house. Perhaps we need to remember the words of the Lord through Haggai: "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?" (Hag 1:4) If we are indeed guilty of neglecting the Lord's house, then heed also these words of Haggai: "Consider your ways!"