Friday, March 10, 2017

Haggai, part 1, first 2 prophecies

Haggai’s name means “festive” or “festival” and it is awesome to learn that his second message (2:1–9) was delivered on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, an important Jewish festival. He was a prophet who most likely was born before the first Temple was destroyed in 586 BC. Perhaps he remembers the glory of the amazing Temple. He is an old man when he prophesies and we know precisely when he made each of his prophecies, right down to the exact date.
To begin, there are 4 prophecies and according to chapter 1, verse 1, the first one is made on the first day of the sixth month of the second year of King Darius, which was August 29, 520 BC. The Lord is angry with the people for stopping their work on the Temple and focusing on their own homes instead of His.
Read Haggai 1: 7 – 11:

 7 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the LORD. 9 “You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the LORD Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. 10 Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops. 11 I called for a drought on the fields and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the olive oil and everything else the ground produces, on people and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”

 They have obviously mixed-up their priorities, but when we study the history and look back at the book of Ezra we see that they got right with the Lord and became obedient. (They finished the Temple on the 3rd day of the month of Adar in the 6th year of the reign of King Darius or 515 BC.) Remember, this book fits hand in glove with the book of Ezra.
In chapter 2 we have the second prophecy given almost two months later on October 17, 520 BC. Read verses 6 – 9:
6 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty. 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.”
When the Lord said He would “shake all nations” we can interpret this to mean world-wide judgment. If you remember, the old people had wept when they saw the new foundations (Ezra 3:12) probably because they remembered the glory of Solomon’s Temple and this new one was not measuring up. Yet God says through Haggai that the glory of His new house will be greater than the glory of the former one and that in this place He will grant peace. How can the glory be greater? Some scholars believe He’s referring to the fact that Jesus will teach in that Temple. His glory is greater than all of King Solomon’s silver and gold. But since He will “shake all nations” first, I think that perhaps the house being referred to is the final Heavenly Tabernacle. “‘In this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

Next week we’ll look at the 3rd prophecy.

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