Haggai and the Temple
Even though Haggai is a very short book of prophecy, it has an important message. Haggai shows how important the physical temple is to God and therefore is of great importance to His people. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard it said that there are many levels of meaning to scripture and this small book illustrates a second level of meaning into which we Christians need to be tuned in order for us to live a life that follows the way of the Lord.
Let’s start by looking at just the first verse.
1In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of Jehovah by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,
A Little Background
The ancients didn’t have the convenience of a calendar as we know it. The ancient Hebrews had a lunar calendar that helped them keep track of the change of months, and therefore religious festival timing as well as for agricultural needs. For time periods that encompassed a year or more, they looked to what they thought was the most stable or notable happening around which they could record an event. This first verse tells us much about the time, place and people involved.
Darius is a generic title which more or less means “king”. It turns out there were four kings named Darius and this is not the first Darius who over-threw the Babylonians as described in Daniel. This Darius is the fourth one named Hystaspes and the events described occurred in the sixth month of the second year of the reign of Hystaspes.
Haggai is a prophet living in Judah and we know this event occurs in Judah because Zerubbabel is indicated as the governor of Judah and Joshua is the high priest (not the Joshua from the book of Exodus) . We also read that God is revealing His word to the Israelites through Haggai to Zerubbabel and Joshua.
The Command to Build the Temple
Now we have a little background of the book of Haggai; the setting, the people involved, and by the title of the post, you know that it is in regard to re-building the temple in Jerusalem. The Jews – at least some of them – have returned from exile in Babylon and were adamant about rebuilding the Temple, but their enthusiasm waned and the reconstruction stopped. This book is about God’s word to His people about returning to the re-building of the Temple and what He did to bring about a change in the people.
I do hope you don’t pass this off as unimportant, because it is important for us, today. Please come by tomorrow and I’ll bring you a few verses further.