Haggai, pronounced either HAG-eye or hag-gi-eye was one of the final prophets in the post-exile world of the Old Testament. the first time we hear his name mentioned is in the Book of Ezra, chapter 5. Here, we find him prophesying alongside Zechariah to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem. not much is known about the man himself. “Four of Haggai’s oracles are preserved, all dated to a brief four-month period in the second year of King Darius” (Handbook on the Prophets, Johnson and Runuck, WAP Academic, 2017).
we begin the Book attributed to Haggai with a prophetic word for the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, and the high priest, Joshua the son of Josedech (Jehozadak), to rebuild the Temple. the Israelites had been permitted to return to Judah under a Persian governor and had intended to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem approximately 17 years earlier. as in most Spiritual matters, the longer you put off a directive from the Lord, the easier it is for the flesh to talk you out of it! returning to the “land flowing with milk and honey,” they began to prosper and soon were consumed on rebuilding their lives in their native homeland. those blessings and material gains had started to diminish, and it was the Word of the Lord that shed light on their situation. in Haggai 1:2, the Lord communicates to the people that they had been putting the rebuilding project off while living in a home that they had built for themselves. twice, God instructs the Judeans to “Consider your ways.” the Temple was laid to waste, and the Lord sent forth His Word to rebuild it, or the resources of the land would dry up.
the people obeyed the Lord and came to work in the house of the Lord. God stirred up their spirit and let them know that He was with them. Haggai is considered a successful prophet because of the fast response to his prophecy. the record of accomplishment of Isaiah and Jeremiah, for comparison, had mainly included the destruction of a people that would not turn back to God.
nearly one month later, Haggai returns with another Word from God. he once again assures the workers that God is with them and, in Haggai 2:7 and 9, adds, “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The 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” (KJV, Tyndale 1987). God begins a dialogue with the priests through Haggai to teach them that ritually clean objects cannot make other things clean, but ritually unclean objects defile everything they touch. two months later, possibly at the dedication of the Temple, another prophecy is given. “I will shake the heavens and the earth; And 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. In 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” (Haggai 2:21-23).
there are several thoughts that i have gleaned from the pages of Haggai. first, the House of the Lord must be a priority in your life. when we neglect the assembling of ourselves together, or to make it more personal, when every other thing in our lives outweigh the maintenance of THIS Temple, we lay waste to God’s will, His provision, and the blessings of God. if we were obedient to the Word of the Lord, our spirit would be encouraged, and together, we could accomplish a great work for the Lord. also, they delayed the rebuilding of the Temple but know that what was seemingly destroyed can be rebuilt at any time. never delay repairing your relationship with the Creator through repentance. it can be rebuilt!
second, i have read an excerpt from Dr. David Norris on the duality of prophecy. for example, a warning could go forth as a call toward repentance at that moment in time. it was meant for a response for the people hearing the Word to obey. we read this prophecy today, and it is full of Messianic overtones of details fulfilled later in history or things yet to come. when i read, “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former,” my spirit cries out within me that this Temple needs to be rebuilt and it will do you good to come and worship, but one day, I’m going to have a church! that church will shake all nations to the point that it’s going to turn the world upside-down. all nations will desire to come and be a part of what I am doing in the latter day!
next, i take from the meaning of the ritually clean and unclean the fact that if you bring your lousy attitude into this glorious church, it will defile everyone you meet. God, through Haggai, was teaching this lesson to the priesthood. those in leadership and positions of influence are not exempt and can thoroughly spread that type of poison. we must take extra care to cleanse our minds and enter in His gates with thanksgiving; His courts with praise.
the final prophecy of Haggai speaks of God overthrowing the kingdoms of this world and honoring the diligent work of His chosen servant. to me, this passage calls into remembrance another prophecy, Revelation 11:15, “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” the ultimate victory of our Lord over evil. verse 18 continues, “and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great.”
in conclusion, the treasures of Haggai far outweigh the length of the writing. this prophet was a necessary oracle for a people that could have easily slipped back into the mold of the pre-exile Jewish majority. the motivation and encouragement immediately impacted those who had not so long ago experienced life in a foreign land. today, we should follow the many examples discussed and always look and pray for further insight. keep your priorities right and consider your ways!