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Getting to Know the Bible: Haggai Overview



Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.


Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on Haggai. But before we get to Haggai 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of Haggai. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.


And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of Haggai, as we prepare to behold and discern Haggai, beginning with Haggai 1 in our next installment of this series.



Book Type: The tenth book of the Minor Prophets; the thirty-seventh book of the Old Testament


Author: Haggai


Date of Writing: ~520 B.C.


Audience: The postexilic Jews living in Judah


Setting:

The temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed in 586 B.C. Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple in 538 B.C. They began the work but were unable to complete it. Through the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah, the temple was completed. (520-516 B.C.).


Original Language: Hebrew


Genre: Prophecy


Timeline:




Background:

Twenty-five centuries ago, a voice was heard, calling men and women to the right priorities. Haggai knew what was important and had to be done, and he challenged God's people to respond.


In 586 B.C., the armies of Babylon had destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, which was the symbol of God's presence with them. In 538 B.C. King Cyrus decreed the Jews could return to their beloved city and rebuild the temple. So they traveled to Jerusalem and began the work. But they eventually forgot their purpose and abandon their task, due to apathy and opposition. It was then that Haggai spoke and called them back to the task at hand, completing God's work.


Blueprint:

When the exiles first returned from Babylon, they set about rebuilding the temple immediately. Although they began the right attitude, they eventually slipped back into wrong behavior, and the work came to a halt.


Theme:


Right Priorities- God had given the Jews the assignment to finish the temple in Jerusalem when they returned from captivity. After 15 years they still had not completed it. Instead, they were more concerned about building their own homes than finishing the LORD's work. Haggai instructed them to get their priorities straight.


It is easy to place other things in priority over doing God's work. However, this is a dangerous mentality to have. God requires our obedience in building His kingdom, and we owe everything that we are to Him. Let us willingly and joyfully obey our LORD & Savior.


God's Encouragement- Haggai encouraged the people as they worked. He assured them of the divine presence of the Holy Spirit and of eternal victory, and instilled in them the hope that the Messiah would reign.


Let us be confident in whatever task we've been called to complete, knowing that our God will never leave or forsake us, but rather will equip us for every good work, and be right by our side every step of the way.


Purpose of Writing:

Haggai sought to challenge the people of God concerning their priorities. He called them to reverence and glorify God by building the Temple despite local and official opposition. Haggai called them not to be discouraged because this Temple would not be quite as richly decorated as Solomon's. He exhorted them to turn from the uncleanness of their ways and to trust in God's sovereign power. The Book of Haggai is a reminder of the problems the people of God faced at this time, how the people courageously trusted in God, and how God provided for their needs.


Summary:

God sought to warn the people to heed His words. Not only did God warn them, but He also offered promises through His servant Haggai to motivate them to follow Him. Because the people of God reversed their priorities and failed to put God in first place in their lives, Judah was sent into Babylonian exile. In response to Daniel's prayer and in fulfillment of God's promises, God directed Cyrus the Persian king to allow the Jews in exile to go back to Jerusalem. A group of Jews returned to their land with great joy, put God first in their lives, worshiped Him, and began to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem without the aid of the local people who lived in Palestine. Their courageous faith was met with opposition from the local people as well as the Persian government for approximately 15 years.


Overview:

Haggai's two chapters include four dated prophecies, serving as the main sections of this brief book.


Chapter 1 takes place "In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month" (Haggai 1:1). Haggai challenges the people: the reason they were not being blessed was because they had not rebuilt the Lord's temple. Instead, they had focused on rebuilding their own homes and fields (Haggai 1:2–11).


Haggai's hearers obey the Lord in verses 12 through 15, with Haggai encouraging them: "I am with you, declares the Lord" (Haggai 1:13). The remnant began rebuilding "on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king" (Haggai 1:15).


Haggai's second prophecy (Haggai 2:1–9) comes "In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month." He encourages the people not to worry that the temple was not as extravagant as the previous temple. The Lord would one day come to fill the house with glory and, "The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former" (Haggai 2:9).


Haggai's third prophecy (Haggai 2:10–19) brings blessings for the people and is given "on the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius" (Haggai 2:10). From that day forward, the Lord determined to bless His people living in Jerusalem.


Haggai's final prophecy (Haggai 2:20–23) came on the same day as the third prophecy, predicting the Lord's future reign.


Foreshadowing:

As with most of the books of the minor prophets, Haggai ends with promises of restoration and blessing. In the last verse, Haggai 2:23, God uses a distinctly messianic title in reference to Zerubbabel, My Servant (Compare 2 Samuel 3:18; 1 Kings 11:34; Isaiah 42:1–9; Ezekiel 37:24,25). Through Haggai, God promises to make him like a signet ring, which was a symbol of honor, authority, and power, somewhat like a king’s scepter used to seal letters and decrees. Zerubbabel, as God’s signet ring, represents the house of David and the resumption of the messianic line interrupted by the Exile. Zerubbabel reestablished the Davidic line of kings which would culminate in the millennial reign of Christ. Zerubbabel appears in the line of Christ on both Joseph’s side (Matt. 1:12) and Mary’s side (Luke 3:27).


Application:

The Book of Haggai draws attention to common problems most people face even today. Haggai asks us:

  • to examine our priorities to see if we are more interested in our own pleasures than doing the work of God

  • to reject a defeatist attitude when we run into opposition or discouraging circumstances

  • to confess our failures and seek to live pure lives before God

  • to act courageously for God because we have the assurance that He is with us always and is in full control of our circumstances.

  • to rest secure in God's hands knowing that He will abundantly bless us as we faithfully serve Him.


Key Verses (ESV):


Haggai 1:4, "Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?"


Haggai 1:5-6, "Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.'"


Haggai 2:9, "'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."


*Note: Unlike many Old Testament books, each of Haggai's four prophecies is noted by specific dates (Haggai 1:1; 2:1, 10, 20) over a four-month period in approximately 520 BC.


Next to Obadiah, Haggai is the shortest book in the Old Testament, containing only two chapters comprised of a total of 38 verses. Delivered in simple prose, Haggai’s prophecy consists of messages from God delivered to the nation after the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple had ceased for about 10 years.


Haggai’s message to rebuild the temple was passionate, simple, and straightforward (Haggai 1:8).


I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.


May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.


Love you much.


Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!


-Humble Servant


P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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