The Message of Haggai: Rebuilding the Temple

Text: Haggai 1:3-8

In this series, we are going to do an overview of the Minor Prophets. The goal is to (1) understand the overall theme of each book and (2) see what lessons there are for us. In this lesson, we are going to see what we can learn from the book of Haggai.

Historical Context

  • In the second year of Darius the king” (1:1) – ruled from 521-486 BC
  • Jerusalem and the temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians – the people were taken captive
  • Babylon had fallen and the Medo-Persian empire was ruling (cf. Daniel 5:25-31) – the Jews were allowed to return from captivity (Ezra 1:1-3)
  • This book was written after the return from captivity – over a period of four months (1:1; 2:10); addressed to Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua the high priest (1:1)

Overall Theme: Rebuilding the Temple

  • The people said it was not time to rebuild the house of the Lord (1:2)
  • However, it was not that the work couldn’t have been done – they rebuilt their own houses (1:4)
  • This was about the temple being neglected, desolate (1:4) – the foundation had been laid (Ezra 3:10); but it was left incomplete for 16 years
  • God instructed them to finish rebuilding the temple (1:8) – this was to please God and glorify Him; the governor, high priest, and the people determined to obey the Lord (1:12-15)

Main Points

  • They built their own houses, but they neglected God’s house (1:4) – again, the foundation had been laid (Ezra 3:10), but nothing more had been done
  • God’s blessings were tied to their devotion to Him (1:5-7, 9-11) – since they would repent and rebuild the temple, God would bless them (1:12-13; 2:19)
  • The rebuilt temple could not compare with the original temple (2:3; cf. 1 Kings 6:7, 15, 21-22) – however, they were not to be discouraged by this (2:4-5)
  • Something greater was coming (2:6-9) – this was a prophecy of Christ and His coming kingdom (Hebrews 12:26-28); He would overthrow kingdoms in establishing His own kingdom (2:22; cf. Daniel 2:44)

Lessons for Us

  • Don’t neglect spiritual work for physical work (Luke 12:16-21) – physical work is important (2 Thessalonians 3:10), but we need to have the right priorities (Matthew 6:33)
  • Don’t be discouraged if things are not as we wish they were (cf. Acts 2:41; 26:29) – instead, we need to simply focus on doing what we ought to be doing (1 Corinthians 3:6)
  • Recognize the glory of the church (Ephesians 3:21; 5:27) – not about a glorious building; it is because the church is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23)

Conclusion

  • Haggai teaches us of the importance of spiritual things – not to neglect them for physical things
  • How much greater of a privilege it is to be part of Christ’s kingdom and serve Him in His church today

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