Haggai Chapter Two

 

Read Haggai 2:1-9 – The Second Temple

 

v.1-2In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying,  2Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying,”

 

            Again, as in this entire book, the Holy Spirit through Haggai gives us a very precise date for his prophecy.  We were told in chapter 1, verse 1 that this is the second year of the reign of Darius as king of Babylon.  Consequently through the records of secular history the date is the 20th day of the seventh month of the Jewish year in 520 BC.  Approximately six weeks before, Haggai brought a message from God to Zerubbabel and the people of Judah to repent of their negligence and rebuild God’s house.  Judah repented and began the work 24 days later as is recorded in Haggai 1:15.  But there are problems.

 

v.3Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?”

 

            There were those among these Judeans who had seen the temple that Solomon had built in all of it’s splendor.  The wealth of all Israel, the accumulation of God’s blessings had gone into the building of a house for God.  Just one reference tells us:

 

I Kings 6:21-22So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.  22And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.”

 

Even though Cyrus, king of Babylon at the time of their return, had been very generous with these returning Jews; when they compared what they were capable of building to the temple of Solomon it was wretched and poor.  We read in:

 

Ezra 3:12But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:”

 

So when they had started the foundation of this temple many shouted for joy but also many wept because they knew that they could not build the kind of temple for God that they remembered.  They were discouraged; possible even questioning whether they should continue.  So Haggai brings them another message from God to bolster their faith, to encourage them to continue.

 

v.4Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts:”

 

            Zerubbabel and the people of Judah are encouraged to “BE STRONG”, “WORK” for this is the Lord’s work and he is with them just as he has been throughout their entire history.  As poor as it may seem to those who remembered Solomon’s temple, their work has purpose, their work is according to the will of God.  A few months later the prophet Zechariah uses Haggai’s words to encourage them further:

 

Zechariah 8:9Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.”

 

v.5According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.”

 

            God wants to renew His relationship with his people.  God wants them to remember and honor the covenant that He made with them when he brought them out of Egypt.  As part of that covenant he needed a dwelling place:

 

Exodus 29:45-46 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.  46And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their

 

As Isaiah had written:

 

Isaiah 63:11Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?”

 

He wanted them to remember the law that they had been taught, He wanted them to obey the commandments concerning proper worship and proper living.  He wanted his house rebuilt.  Even though it might be poor and mean in the terms and opinions of men, God wasn’t concerned about that. 

We need to make that application to today’s world.  First to ourselves; God doesn’t care how poor in this worlds goods we might be, whether we are beautiful, handsome or not; whether we have a high IQ and men consider us brilliant; or whether we have five talents or one.  In the Christian age we are the dwelling place of God and He wants to live in our minds, hearts and souls.  He wants us to live to honor and obey Him.  Second we might apply this to the places in which we worship.  Do we build fancy, expensive church buildings for God or for men?  I submit to you that we build them for men.  I fear that many elderships who have erected expensive houses in which to assemble when good, honest, sound missionaries have gone begging will pay the price in judgment.

 

v.6For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;”

 

            The Lord only needs this house for a little while; about 550 years as men count time and then a tremendous event is going to happen.  An event will occur that will shake the very foundations of the earth.  The prophet Joel:

 

Joel 3:16The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”

 

“THE LORD WILL ROAR OUT OF ZION”; out of Jerusalem; God wants his house in Jerusalem so that when the time is right for his purpose all is ready.

And not only with the earth be shaken but the Holy Spirit through the Hebrew writer tells us that heaven will be shaken as well.  He’s talking about the voice of Jesus, the Son of God:

 

Hebrews 12:26Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.”

 

v.7And I will shake all nations, and the desire (precious things) of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.”

 

            What are the most precious things here on this earth?  Is it not the souls of men?  God has purified his people through their punishment and captivity.  He now wants the means present within their midst to preserve them for another 550 years as men count time for this purpose:

 

Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

 

All mankind will flow into that kingdom, beginning at Jerusalem, beginning at the temple that God wants Zerubbabel and the Jews to build.  (Oh, yes Herod the Great replaced it with one much more beautiful but he did that for political reasons, not because God required it.)  From there he will shake the nations and fill the kingdom of Christ with those who would flow to Him:

 

Isaiah 60:4-5Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.  5Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.”

 

v.8-9The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.  9The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.”

 

            The Lord said that all the gold and silver on earth is his, this gold and silver represents that which is precious.  Just a few verses back we established that the souls of men are the most precious things on earth and that is what gold and silver represents in this verse.  Consequently “THIS LATTER HOUSE” the house that God will build, will be much more precious, much greater that the former one built in Jerusalem.  This house will be greater than them all, in it men will find peace for their souls; peace that can only come from God.  The Psalmist writes

Psalms 85:8-9I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.  9Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.”

 

That peace that the souls of men will know because they will know that they enjoy salvation from their sins; that peace that only one can bring:

 

Isaiah 9:6-7For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

 

Thus God needs this house that Zerubbabel and the Jews are building; it is part of a much greater plan that will change the entire world.

 

Read Haggai 2:10-17 – Love and Obedience is Their Priority

 

v.10-11In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,  11Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying,”

 

            It is now exactly two months from Haggai’s last prophecy.  Now God has a message for the priests, the keepers of the law and those responsible for teaching the people, conducting the sacrifices God required and maintaining His house.  When God gave them the Law he also gave them this instruction:

 

Deuteronomy 17:10-11And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee:  11According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.”

 

v.12If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No.”

 

            Haggai begins by testing their knowledge of the law.  He asks if one bears “HOLY FLESH”, flesh consecrated to God for sacrifice “IN THE SKIRT OF HIS GARMENT” then when that skirt touches something else is that something also made holy.  The priests answer no, but their answer is incorrect.  Regarding the flesh used in the sin offering we read:

 

Leviticus 6:27Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place.”

 

We also find in Ezekiel:

 

Ezekiel 44:19And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.”

 

The priests were to change garments before they entered the outer court where the people were gathered in order not to “SANCTIFY” or make someone holy because they had just touched the garment that may have touched the sacrifice made to God.  So Haggai asks another question:

 

v.13Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.”

 

            This time the priests knew the correct answer to the prophet’s question.

 

Numbers 19:11  He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.”

 

v.14Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.”

 

            Haggai declares that the Jews that had returned from Babylon were unclean.  They were not fit for the service of God.

 

Proverbs 15:8The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.”

 

v.15And now, I pray you, consider from this day and upward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the LORD:”

 

            Now he encourages them to look back to the days before they had started to rebuild the temple of God.  We look back into the first chapter and find:

 

Haggai 1:6-7Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.  7Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.”

 

Because of their neglect, God was not blessing them.

 

v.16-17Since those days were, [Through all that time] when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty.  17I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD.”

 

            Haggai tells them to remember the troubles of these days.  We’re told in chapter one:


Haggai 1:10-11Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.  11And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.”

 

v.18-19Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid, consider it.  19Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.”

 

            In the final sermon of Moses he reminds Israel of all the calamities that God has promised to bring upon those who are disobedient to him.  The latter part of chapter 28 lists these curses that God will bring upon them.  Then in chapter 32 we find Moses saying:

 

Deuteronomy 32:29O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!”

 

            Haggai wants the Jews to consider the consequents of disobeying God; the consequents of living as the heathen around them rather than as the children of God.  It has only been a few months since Haggai began his prophecy, there has not been enough time pass for God to have brought him blessings upon his people for their natural sources.  The seed isn’t in the barn yet, the fruit of their vines, their fig trees, their pomegranate and olive trees had not been brought forth yet but from this day, the day that Haggai is speaking to them God will shower them with blessings.  These blessings and both their physical and spiritual well-being was conditional, conditional upon their obedience.  While God, through his providence, blesses all mankind; the richest of his blessings are also conditional today.

 

Read Haggai 2:20-23 – God’s Promise to Zerubbabel

 

v.20-21And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying,  21Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;”

 

            Haggai now repeats some of what he has said earlier in this chapter.  The heavens and the earth will be shaken as we saw in Joel 3:16 and Hebrews 12:26.

 

v.22And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.”

 

            The promise and purpose of building the temple of God and the preservation of the Jewish people is repeated as well.  If you are using a reference Bible you probably also have a reference back to:

 

Daniel 2:44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever”

 

Because Haggai is referring back to that prophecy but with a different purpose;  God is going to make Zerubbabel a promise.

 

v.23In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.”

 

            God has chosen Zerubbabel and will make him a signet.  What is a signet and what is the significance of this promise?  First of all a signet is a sign of authority.  In Genesis 38 Judah’s signet saved the life of his daughter-in-law, Tamar, in Jeremiah 32 we read of the signet of the king of Judah and later in Daniel 6 the king used his signet or seal to close the door of the lions den.  In God’s plans, Zerubbabel will hold the authority reflected by a signet, he is the ruler, at present, of God’s people but it goes further.

            When we look at the genealogy of Jesus, both in Matthew and in Luke we find Zerubbabel.  The name is spelled a little differently but nevertheless it is the same man.

 

Matthew 1:12And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;”

 

Luke 3:27Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,”

 

            So God’s promise is that just as Christ will be the son of, or descendant, of David, he will also be a descendant, or son, of Zerubbabel.