Exposit The Word Haggai Biblical Teaching Expository Teaching Verse by Verse Michael Staton

Haggai Overview

The prophecy bears the name of its author. Because his name means “festal one,” it is suggested that Haggai was born on a feast day. Haggai is the second shortest book in the OT (Obadiah is shorter) and is quoted by the NT once (cf. Heb. 12:26).

In 538 B.C., as a result of the proclamation of Cyrus the Persian (cf. Ezra 1:1–4), Israel was allowed to return from Babylon to her homeland under the civil leadership of Zerubbabel and the spiritual guidance of Joshua the High-Priest (cf. Ezra 3:2). About 50,000 Jews returned. In 536 B.C., they began to rebuild the temple (cf. Ezra 3:1–4:5) but opposition from neighbors and indifference by the Jews caused the work to be abandoned (cf. Ezra 4:1–24). Sixteen years later Haggai and Zechariah were commissioned by the Lord to stir up the people to 1) not only rebuild the temple, but also to 2) reorder their spiritual priorities (cf. Ezra 5:1–6:22). As a result, the temple was completed 4 years later (ca. 516 B.C.; cf. Ezra 6:15).

The primary theme is the rebuilding of God’s temple, which had been lying in ruins since its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. By means of 5 messages from the Lord, Haggai exhorted the people to renew their efforts to build the house of the Lord. He motivated them by noting that the drought and crop failures were caused by misplaced spiritual priorities (1:9–11). But to Haggai, the rebuilding of the temple was not an end in itself. The temple represented God’s dwelling place, His manifest presence with His chosen people. The destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar followed the departure of God’s dwelling glory (cf. Ezek. 8–11); to the prophet, the rebuilding of the temple invited the return of God’s presence to their midst. Using the historical situation as a springboard, Haggai reveled in the supreme glory of the ultimate messianic temple yet to come (2:7), encouraging them with the promise of even greater peace (2:9), prosperity (2:19), divine rulership (2:21,22), and national blessing (2:23) during the Millennium.

Text used with permission from GTY.org

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”  2 Timothy 3:16

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