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An Argument of the Book of Haggai

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MESSAGE STATEMENT:1

Exhortations to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the remnant of the people to rebuild the temple in light of the present suffering and future glory spur them to obedience so that the lord of hosts promises to bring about blessing, future glory when the nations are destroyed, and honor to Zerubbabel as a future leader

I. Message One--A Call to Build the House of God (August 520 B.C.): When Yahweh urged the people through Haggai the prophet to stop procrastinating and to gather the materials to rebuild the temple because they are now experiencing physical suffering for their delay, they all responded with obedience 1:1-12

A. Setting: On 29 August 520 B.C. the word of the Lord came to Haggai for the governor, Zerubbabel, and the high priest, Joshua 1:1

1. Time: The first day of the sixth month of the second year of Darius (29 August 520 B.C.) 1:1a

2. Recipients: The word of the Lord came to Haggai for the governor, Zerubbabel, and for the high priest, Joshua

B. Message--The People’s Procrastination: Yahweh urges the people through Haggai to make excuses for not rebuilding the temple, but to gather materials to rebuild it because their physical suffering is a consequence to their procrastination 1:2-11

1. Exposure of Wrong Attitude and Consequences: Yahweh exposes his people’s inappropriate reason for not building the temple as being a concern about the right time affirming that they are not experiencing blessing as a consequence for this disobedience 1:2-6

a. Excuse--Not the Right Time: Haggai/Yahweh accuses the people of giving the excuse that the time has not come for them to build the temple yet 1:2

b. Exposure--Their Own Houses: Haggai/Yahweh accuses the people of living in their own luxurious (paneled) houses while the temple lies desolate 1:3-4

c. No Wealth Due to No Temple: Yahweh exhorts the people to consider their life in that they work hard but do not reap enough to live on 1:5-6

1) Exhortation to Consider Their Life: 1:5

2) Putting In More than You Get Out of Life: 1:6

a) Little Harvest: 1:6a

b) Little to Eat: 1:6b

c) Little to Drink: 1:6c

d) Not Enough Clothing: 1:6d

e) Not Enough Money: 1:6e

2. Alleviate Physical Suffering--Build the Temple: Yahweh urges the people to consider the suffering in their life as being because they have not rebuilt the temple even though they have built their own houses, and thus exhorts them to gather materials and build the temple so that Yahweh can be pleased with it and glorified 1:7-11

a. Exhortation to Consider Their Life: 1:7

b. Gather Materials and Build the Temple: Yahweh urges the people to gather materials and to build the temple so that He can be please with it and be glorified 1:8

c. Physical Difficulties Are For Not Building the Temple: The reason the people are not finding enough for life is because Yahweh is working against them for not building the temple while they go to their own homes 1:9-11

C. Response of the People: Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all the people responded to the Lord and His prophet, Haggai, by obeying their words 2:12

II. Message Two--People’s Obedience to the Call (August/September 520 B.C.): When Yahweh spoke through Haggai to the people to encourage them of His presence with them, and when Yahweh stirred their spirits, all of the people came on 21 September 520 B.C. and worked on the temple of their God, the Lord of Hosts 1:13-15

A. Message--Yahweh’s Presence: Yahweh spoke through Haggai to people to encourage them by affirming that He is with them (in this building project of the temple) 1:13

B. Response of the People: On the 21 September 520 B.C. the Lord stirred up the spirit of the leaders and the people so that they came and worked on the temple of their God, the Lord of Hosts 2:14-15

1. People Worked: The Lord stirred up the spirit of the governor, Zerubbabel, the high priest, Joshua, and all the remnant of the people so that they came and worked on the temple of the Lord of hosts--their God 2:14

2. Setting: The time when the people responded to the message of Yahweh was on the 21st day of the 6th month of the 2nd year of Darius (21 September 520 B.C.)

III. Message Three--Encouragement to Build In View of Future Glory (October 520 B.C.): On 17 October 520 the Lord of Hosts spoke through Haggai to encourage the people and their leaders in their building of the new temple even through it appears slight compared to the former temple because He is with them in accordance with His promises and because this temple will be even more glorious than the former temple when He shakes the nations, they bring their possessions to Him, His glory fills the House, and He brings peace 2:1-9

A. Setting: On 17 October 520 B.C. (the twenty-first day of the seventh month) the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet 2:1

B. Encouragement to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the People: Yahweh exhorts Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people of Judah to be encouraged as they do the work of rebuilding the temple even though it seems slight compared to the former temple, because He is with them as the Ruler of armies and in accordance with His promises 2:2-5

1. Audience: Haggai was commanded to speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, Joshua, the high priests, and to the remnant of the people 2:2

2. Take Courage: Yahweh urged Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all of the people to be encouraged as they do the work of rebuilding the temple even though this temple seems slight compared to the former,2 because He, as the ruler of armies, is with them as He promised 2:3-4

a. Sympathy with Those Remember the Former Temple: 2:3

b. Exhortation to Take Courage: 2:4-5

C. The Glorious New House in the Future: The Lord of Hosts explains to the people that a time is coming when He will shake the nations so that they will bring their wealth to Him, when He will fill this temple with a greater glory than was in the former temple, and that He will bring peace at that future time 2:6-9

1. Shake the Nations: A Time is coming when Yahweh is going to shake all of the nations of the earth and they will bring their wealth to Him3 2:6-7a

2. Future Glory: A Time is coming when the Lord of Hosts shakes the nations that He will fill the temple with His glory 2:7b

3. All Belongs to Him: All of the wealth (silver & gold) belong to the Lord of Hosts 2:8

4. A Temple with Greater Glory than Solomon’s Temple: The glory that is going to come to his house will be greater than the glory that was in the former temple, and the Lord of Hosts will bring peace 2:9

IV. Message Four--Future Blessings for a Defiled People (December 520 B.C.): Yahweh explained to the people that their physical need came as a necessary consequence to their sinfulness in not completing the temple, but He promised that from the time that they began to build the temple, He began to bless them--they just have not been able to see it yet 2:10-19

A. Setting:4 On 18 December 520 B.C. (the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month) the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet 2:10

B. The People Are Unclean and Make Unclean: Through an illustration of the pervasive nature of evil that only pollutes that which it touches, Yahweh affirms through Haggai that the people were unholy only bringing uncleanness upon all that they touch 2:11-14

1. Audience--Priests: Yahweh asks Haggai to asks the priests for a ruling 2:11

2. A Principle: Through Yahweh, Haggai asks the priests and they affirm that evil only contaminates 2:12-13

a. Holy and Non-Holy: Haggai affirms and the priests agree that when a holy thing touches something that is not holy, it will not make that non-holy thing holy 2:12

b. Non-Holy and Holy: Haggai affirms and the priests agree that when a non-holy thing touches something that is holy, it will make that holy thing become unclean 2:13

3. Principle Applied:5 Yahweh applies the principle of evil to the people in that they were unholy so everything they touched became unholy 2:14

C. The Future Blessing: Although the need of the people was a consequence for their sin in not rebuilding the temple, Yahweh promised that He had started to bless them since the day that they began to rebuild--it will just take time for them to see it 2:15-19

1. Consequences for Not Building the Temple: Yahweh urged the people to consider that their need was a consequence of Yahweh’s hand upon them for not rebuilding the temple 2:15-17

2. Blessing Is Coming from the Day of Obedience:6 Yahweh urged the people to consider that from the day that they began to build the temple (the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month; 18 December 520) Yahweh began to bless them (even though now their seed is in the ground so that cannot see His work) 2:18-19

V. Message Five--Zerubbabel’s Place in a Future World Order (18 December 520 B.C.):7 The Lord proclaimed to Zerubbabel through Haggai on 18 December 520 that He is going to overthrow the nations of the earth, and will on that day, make Zerubbabel a ruler under Him 2:20-23

A. Setting: On 18 December 520 B.C. (the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month) the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet a second time 2:20

B. A New World Order: Yahweh proclaimed through Haggai to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, that He is going to overthrow the nations of the earth, and will on that day, make Zerubbabel a ruler under Him 2:21-23

1. Audience: The Lord exhorted Haggai to speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah: 2:21a

2. Overthrow of the Nations: Yahweh proclaims to Zerubbabel that He is going to overthrow the nations of the earth: 2:21b-22

3. Exaltation of Zerubbabel:8 The Lord of Hosts proclaimed that on the day that he overthrows the nations of the earth He will make Zerubbabel a “servant”/ruler (like a signet ring/seal) under Him 2:23


1 This outline is adapted through my own study from the analyses of Robert L. Alden,Haggai, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, VII:578; Joyce G. Baldwin, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: An Introduction & Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, 35; Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., Interpreting the Minor Prophets, 220-227; F. Duanne Lindsey, Haggai, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: Old Testament, 1538; John A Martin, An Outline of Haggai, unpublished class notes in 305 postexilic prophets and the gospels, (Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1984), 1-4.

2 The fall of Jerusalem and the temple was in 586 B.C., and this is 520 B.C. so Haggai would be describing people who would be at least 66 years old!

3 Zechariah 14.

4 Concerning the setting Martin writes, apparently the people could not understanding why they were not being blessed materially even through it had now been three months since they had begun to work on the temple (John A Martin, An Outline of Haggai, unpublished class notes in 305 postexilic prophets and the gospels, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1984, 3).

5 Perhaps that point that is being made here is that there are consequences to sin before there can be overruling blessing from the Lord. They are experiencing the consequences to their evil.

6 It takes time for sin to work its way out in the world. You can be forgiven immediately, but it takes time to work out past sins and their consequences.

7 Yahweh is affirming that one should not think that they cannot be used by Him because of their past!

8 See Jeremiah 22:24-30 for background to this statement. Coniah (Jehoiachin), the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, was Zerubbabel's grandfather. He too was described a signet ring on Yahweh's right hand. He was Yahweh's vice regent. Jeremiah announces Coniah childless and proclaims that no man of his descendants will prosper Sitting on the throne of David or ruling in Judah (Jer 22:30). Therefore, Zerubbabel was probably certain that he would not prosper! Nevertheless, in Haggai 2:23 Yahweh proclaims that He will put the ring (of Zerubbabel) back on His hand (e.g., He will use Zerubbabel). Haggai is speaking of a literal position of ruling with Christ. Therefore, Zerubbabel should get busy and work because God will work through him.

The prophecy of Jeremiah was still true because Zerubbabel never became king. Sheshbazar came as the King's envoy to look over Zerubbabel.

Rulers in the kingdom will included: Christ, David, Zerubbabel, The Apostles (over the twelve tribes), and Believers (1 Cor 6; Lk 19:11-27).

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines