Haggai is the first Postexilic Prophet in our consideration, the book bearing his name being the second shortest in the Old Testament. Haggai is most interesting, as along with Zechariah, he saw a prompt response to the message that he delivered from God. Haggai! Pithy, Pointed, Personal… A book for the hands… Labouring for God!
Returning from Babylon. The Chronology!
First Return under Zerubbabel & Joshua!
538 BC. Cyrus king of Persia issues a decree for the Jews to return and for the house of God at Jerusalem to be built (Ezra 1:1-4). Around 50,000 exiles returned from Babylon under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua. 536 BC. Having arrived in Jerusalem, they began by laying the foundation of the Temple (Ezra 3:8-13). 535 BC. Discouraged by their adversaries (Ezra 4:1-5) the work ceases until the second year of the Reign of Darius king of Persia (Ezra 4:24). This period of inactivity is addressed by Haggai and Zechariah. 520 BC. The second year of Darius king of Persia (Ezra 4:24) is also the date for the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 5:1, Haggai 1:1 & Zechariah 1:1). Haggai and Zechariah minister and the work recommences (Ezra 5:1-2). Further adversaries try to hinder the work, but a new Decree issued by Darius advances the building of the house of God at Jerusalem (Ezra 5 & 6). 516 BC. The people prosper through the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah and the work of building the house of God is finished in the sixth year of Darius (Ezra 6:14-15).
Second return under Ezra!
458 BC. Ezra the priest and scribe goes up to Jerusalem with Levites, Singers and Priests etc (Ezra 7:6-7, 13).
Third return under Nehemiah!
445 BC. Nehemiah goes up to Jerusalem to build the walls of the city (Neh 2:1, 11).
Returning from Babylon. The people Involved!
The Gentile Monarchs!
Cyrus. King of Persia who issued the decree to return and build the house of God at Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-4). Darius. King of Persia who issued a new Decree to advance the building of the house of God (Ezra 5 & 6). Artaxerxes. King of Persia. Assisted Nehemiah in returning to build the walls of Jerusalem (Neh 2:1,6).
The Faithful Jews!
Zerubbabel. The Governor, grandson of Jehoiachin... See Matthew 1:12. Royal line preserved in captivity. Joshua. Son of the high priest Jehozadak at the captivity (1st Chron 6:15). Priestly line preserved in captivity. Ezra. The priest and a scribe (Ezra 7:1). Went up to Jerusalem in the reign of Artaxerxes. Nehemiah. The king’s cupbearer (Neh 1:11). Went up to Jerusalem in the reign of Artaxerxes.
Returning from Babylon. The ministry that was needed!
Outline: The four messages and their recipients!
The First Message (1:1-11)!
V 1. Date: Second year of Darius; sixth month, first day of the month. Recipients of the Message:Zerubbabel, Joshua (1:1-2) and the people (1:3-11). The Message: V 2. “This people say (not: my people), the time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built”. Vs 3-5. The Rebuke for their Delay. Their cieled (panelled houses) the house of the Lord lies waste. "Consider your ways"! This is the first of seven mentions of this word: Consider 1:5, Consider 1:7, Consider 2:15, Laid 2:15, Consider 2:18 (twice), [And] will make 2:23. V 6.The Resulting Disappointments. So much… so little! Vs 7-8. Their ways to be considered. What the Lord required, to bring Him pleasure and glorify Him. Vs 9-11.The Reason for the Dearth. My house is waste… every man runs to his own house. Divine intervention, “I did blow… I called for a drought”.
The Response to the Message (1:12-15)!
V 12. Obeyed the voice of the Lord, and the words of Haggai. "The people did fear, (shewed reverence, NASB) before the LORD". V 13. The encouragement, “I am with you”. V 14. The work commenced again. V 15. The date at the end of this chapter shows the prompt response to the prophet’s ministry.
The Second Message (2:1-9)!
V 1. Date: Second year of Darius; seventh month, twenty first day of the month. V 2. Recipients of the Message: Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the Remnant of the People. The Message: V 3. The glory of the house of God! First glory! The comparison to what it is now! Vs 4-5. The encouragements; "Be strong… I am with you… Fear ye not"! Vs 6-9. The shaking. As God has intervened in the past, He will do it again in the future beyond Zerubbabel and Joshua’s day. What is "the desire of all nations"? Is this what they bring for the Temple, or, is this their desire realised in the coming Messiah? The house to be filled with glory. The glory of “this latter house” or is it “the latter glory of this house”? Temples! Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. The Temple built by Zerubbabel and later beautified by Herod, referred to as Herod’s Temple, was destroyed by the Romans. Temple in the Tribulation for the Man of Sin (Matt 24:15, 2 Thess 2:3-4)? Ezekiel’s Temple will be a Millennial Temple! Is the comparison here between Solomon’s Temple and the one that they were now building, or is it to Ezekiel’s Temple in the Millennium? Some homework here in these few verses! P.S. The only reason for linking men’s names to the various temples, is to distinguish them, by those who wrote about them or were instrumental in their building.
The Third Message (2:10-19)!
V 10. Date: Second year of Darius; ninth month, twenty fourth day of the month. V 11. Recipients of the Message: The Priests. The Message: Vs 12-13. Question on holiness? Holiness is not contagious. Question on uncleanness? Uncleanness is contagious. V 14. Application of the message! So, this people! Vs 15-17. "Consider"! What they experienced in the past. Reason? See end verse 17. Vs 18-19. "Consider"! What they are going to experience from now on. See end verse 19.
The Fourth Message (2:20-23)!
V 20. Date: Second year of Darius; ninth month, twenty fourth day of the month. V 21. Recipient of the Message: Personally, for Zerubbabel. The Message: Vs 21-22. A shaking. An overthrowing. A destroying. Notice the four “I will” expressions. V 23. "In that Day"! Day of the Lord. Millennial scene. "Zerubbabel, My servant". Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, of the Royal Line. "Will make thee as a signet"! Are these all references to the coming Messiah of whom Zerubbabel is a representative. See Jer 22:24-30 (ref to signet) for the failure of those who went before in the Royal Line!