I. The Completion Of The Latter Temple (1:1-15)
A. The temple is not complete (1:1-6).
B. The temple must be completed (1:7-15).
II. The Glory Of The Latter Temple (2:1-9)
A. The latter temple is not as glorious as the first (2:1-3).
B. The latter temple will be more glorious than the first (2:4-9).
III. The Blessings Of Obedience (2:10-19)
A. The disobedience of the remnant (2:10-14).
B. The obedience of the remnant (2:15-19).
IV. The Future Blessings Through Promise (2:20-23)
A. The future destruction of the nations (2:20-22).
B. The future recognition of Zerubbabel (2:23).
- The temple is not complete (1:1-6).
- Haggai dates the four speeches he delivered, a synopsis of which he has preserved in the book bearing his name. Sixteen years after the return of the remnant in 536 B.C., God called forth Haggai and Zechariah to urge the people to complete the task for which they had returned.
- The first message is directed to Zerubbabel, the governor, and to Joshua, the high priest. They were the leaders of the people and should have considered themselves responsible for completing the temple and for the lack of enthusiasm that had been shown toward the task.
- The reply from the Lord is a rebuke and an appeal to the conscience of the hearers. “Cieled houses” indicates a degree of luxury and concern for themselves as they lived comfortably in expensive dwellings.
- The irony of the charge is that while they spent their energies and wealth, probably using the materials gathered for the house of the Lord, in their own dwellings, “this house lieth waste.”
- The temple must be completed (1:7-15).
- The two reasons the Lord gives for the people to obey and build the temple are that He may have pleasure and be honored in it. Proof of the people’s devotion will come as they actually put their faith to work and finish the Lord’s temple.
- After Haggai’s rebuke, the governor, the high priest and the remnant of the people obeyed God. The Lord never promised to redeem or bring back the whole people, only those that would return to Him with all their heart (Deuteronomy 30:1-10; Jeremiah 24:7).
- Haggai referred to himself as “the Lord’s messenger” in vs. 13. This is the only occasion that a prophet spoke of himself as a messenger; Haggai would emphasize the fact that he was sent by God with His work.
- It took some time to make preparation for the work, but on the twenty-fourth day of the month, just three and a half weeks later, they began the long neglected task of restoring that which for nearly seventy years had laid in ruins.
- The latter temple is not as glorious as the first (2:1-3).
- The second message was received and announced on a major festival day, the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, following the Day of Atonement (cf. Leviticus 23:39).
- The ones who had seen the house in its former glory, as they had inherited it from the wealth of David’s accumulation and Solomon’s genius, now saw it as nothing.
- Resources were scarce and times were hard, which added to their discouragement. They must realize that the glory of the former had vanished with the glory of the nation, and now they must build anew from the ground up.
- The latter temple will be more glorious than the first (2:4-9).
- Their strength would be in the Lord. While God provides the strength, the believer must do his part; he must work. The urgent admonition referred directly to the building of the house; this was the immediate task before the people.
- God encouraged them by giving assurance of what He purposes to do and of what will be the future glory of the house. The shaking within the natural world and of the nations seems to point to the divinely decreed rise and fall of nations from that time to the coming of the Messiah.
- God declares that all of the silver and gold are His. If God promises that the Gentiles will bring their wealth into His more glorious house of these latter days, He is able to do it. The promise of the future glory is fulfilled in the temple built by Christ, the church, now filled with the glory of the divine presence.
- The disobedience of the remnant (2:10-14).
- Exactly three months after work on the house had begun, Haggai received his third message from God. Blessings from God in response to their zeal and labor had not been as the people had hoped.
- Questions were directed to the priests because they were to distinguish between the clean and the unclean and were to teach the law to the people (Leviticus 10:8-10; Deuteronomy 17:8-13).
- The prophet makes a practical application to the remnant, “So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the Lord.” Although Israel represented both, one who would carry holy flesh in his garment, and yet was unclean by having touched the unclean, the prophet drops the first question to make an application of the answer to his second. They must first cleanse themselves of their defilement, and then they could expect His presence among them.
- The obedience of the remnant (2:15-19).
- The prophet bids them to look back to the time before a stone was laid upon the foundation and then to the present. Throughout those years, when they should have found one amount, they found only half.
- Haggai makes a second appeal and asks them to give serious consideration to what had happened to them during that time. All production and fruitfulness depends on God. However, everything will now will different.
- The future destruction of the nations (2:20-22).
- On the same day that Haggai received and delivered his third message, a message of hope and assurance, God spoke a second time through him. This time the promise looks beyond the material blessings to the fulfillment of the spiritual hope in Zerubbabel, the head of the nation and a descendant of David.
- God declared a complete overthrow of the heathen kingdoms, their thrones and all the implements of war upon which they depended. These will be destroyed as everyone is brought down by the sword. As is repeatedly brought out in the prophets, God uses one heathen nation to destroy another, and then raises a third to destroy the former.
- The future recognition of Zerubbabel (2:23).
- Zerubbabel is a faithful and true servant of God, on whom God is pleased to bestow honor. The signet, or seal, was a ring or cylinder engraved with the owner’s name or some design. It was used to make an impression of ownership or authorship on clay tablets or wax. The signet was considered precious because it was the authentic designation of the owner.
- The honor bestowed on Zerubbabel was not realized in him as a person, but in his office and lineage. Matthew confirms the fulfillment of this promise as he points out that Jesus is the heir to the throne of David through Coniah and Zerubbabel (1:12, 16).