Survey of the Bible - Haggai

Text: Haggai 2:3-9


I.         The last three books of the minor prophets jump to the period of time after the captivity

            A.        Haggai mentions himself by name nine times in this short book, so the authorship is certain.

            B.        The meaning of Haggai is not known. It is usually translated as “festive” and thought to indicate that he was born on one of the feast days. But some think it is a short form of “Haggiah” which would mean “festival of Yahweh.”

            C.        There are two other references to Haggai in Ezra 5:1 and 6:14. These references establish that Haggai and Zechariah were contemporaries.

            D.        Some take Haggai 2:3 as saying that Haggai had seen the temple before its destruction over 70 years earlier. If that is the case, the Haggai is an old man at this time. The evidence, however, is extremely weak..

            E.        He is a straight forward speaker, without the poetry and imagery of the other prophets.

                        1.         His book is the second shortest of the minor prophets.

                        2.         The authority of God is heavily emphasized “says the Lord,” or something similar appears 26 times in a book that has only 38 verses.

II.        Background

            A.        In 538 BC, Cyrus, king of Persia issued a decree allowing the Jews to return home - Ezra 1:1-3

            B.        Lead by Zerubbabel, the first wave returned and began work on the Temple.

                        1.         However, they met with local resistence to the project - Ezra 4:1-5

                        2.         Eventually those opposed to the rebuilding of Jerusalem got a government order to stop work on the Temple - Ezra 4:17-23

                        3.         In the stoppage, people began focusing on their own homes and farms. The initial enthusiasm has waned.

                        4.         So only about a year was spent on the Temple.

            C.        Unlike many of the prophecies we have seen, Haggai gives specific dates for his messages

                        1.         Haggai 1:1-11 - Dated as the second year of Darius, sixth month, first day (September 1, 520 BC)

                        2.         Haggai 1:12-15 - Dated as the second year of Darius, sixth month, 24th day (September 24, 520 BC)

                        3.         Haggai 2:1-9 - Dated as the second year of Darius, seventh month, 21st day (October 21, 520 BC)

                        4.         Haggai 2:10-19 - Dated as the second year of Darius, ninth month, 24th day (December 24, 520 BC)

                        5.         Haggai 2:20-23 - Dated as the second year of Darius, ninth month, 24th day (December 24, 520 BC)

            D.        Because of Haggai and Zechariah’s efforts, the work on the Temple was restarted after 14 years of neglect and completed four years later in 516 BC - Ezra 6:15

III.       Content

            A.        Haggai’s message is that if Israel is to have God’s blessing, they needed to put God first

            B.        First Message - Haggai 1:1-11

                        1.         The people are delaying building the Temple - Haggai 1:1-2

                        2.         God points out they have plenty of time for themselves - Haggai 1:3-4

                        3.         Think about why you aren’t prospering - Haggai 1:5-11

            C.        Second Message - Haggai 1:12-15

                        1.         Before the end of the month, the people did consider and changed.

                        2.         It was a simple, but powerful message.

            D.        Third Message - Haggai 2:1-9

                        1.         A month people were becoming discouraged. The Temple they could build would be nothing like what it used to be - Ezra 3:13

                        2.         They were poor. They didn’t have the funds and material to recreate Solomon’s Temple

                        3.         But God encourages them to go on because He is with them.

                        4.         This temple needs only to last a little while until God does something earth-shattering again, an allusion back to Mt Sinai in Exodus 19:18 - Hebrews 12:26-28

                        5.         The wealth of the Gentiles will flow in - see also Isaiah 60:5, 11; 61:6

                                    a.         Possibly referring to the funding given to Herod to rebuild the temple

                        6.         House filled with glory - John 1:14; Psalms 24:7-8

                        7.         So while it doesn’t look like much now, it will be greater than what is was.

                        8.         And God will give peace - Ephesians 2:14

            E.        Fourth Message - Haggai 2:10-19

                        1.         Two months later another problem is pointed out. Work is being done, but those doing it are not pure.

                        2.         Holiness is not transferred to the unholy - Haggai 2:11-12

                        3.         But uncleanness is transferred to make the holy unclean - Haggai 2:13-14

                        4.         The problem is the people working on the temple were unholy

                                    a.         A continuing problem - I Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:11-15

                                    b.         God is behind the lack of prosperity and it is because of this

                                    c.         God really means He wants all of us - Mark 12:30; I Peter 4:1-3

                        5.         But again the Lord encourages.

                                    a.         It is December. The seed has been planted. It has been committed even though they have been having bad harvests.

                                    b.         They don’t know what the results will be come harvest

                                    c.         But God knows and He is willing to bless them.

            F.        Fifth Message - Haggai 2:20-23

                        1.         A personal prophecy is given to Zerubbabel, the governor.

                                    a.         It is to be noted that none was given to Joshua, the religious leader.

                        2.         It is a message to say all this effort is worthwhile.

                        3.         God plans to overthrow the Gentile nations, but Zerubbabel (representing his descendant at that time) will be taken and made a signet ring.

                                    a.         A king’s signet ring is the sign of his authority. A person having it can issue orders on behalf of the king.

                                    b.         To be God’s signet ring is to have the authority of God

                        4.         Jesus was a descendent of Zerubbabel, physically on Mary’s side, and in rulership on Joseph’s side - Luke 3:27; Matthew 1:13

                        5.         Jesus was given all authority - Matthew 28:18

                        6.         He turned the world upside down - Acts 17:6

IV.      Where are your priorities?

            A.        Too busy in your own life to make God’s work important?

            B.        Thinking that whatever you do will not be good enough?

            C.        Trying to keep one foot in the world?

            D.        Not certain of the outcome?

            E.        What God wants is you - Romans 12:1-2

            F.        Then He will be with you and bless you

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