On December 18 a of the second year of King Darius's reign, the LORD sent this message to the prophet Haggai:
"This is what the LORD Almighty says! Ask the priests this question about the law:
If one of you is carrying a holy sacrifice in his robes and happens to brush against some bread or stew, wine or oil, or any other kind of food, will it also become holy? "The priests replied, "No."
Then Haggai asked, "But if someone becomes ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person and then brushes against any of the things mentioned, will it be defiled?" And the priests answered, "Yes."
Then Haggai said, "That is how it is with this people and this nation, says the LORD. Everything they do and everything they offer is defiled.
So think about this from now on -- consider how things were going for you before you began to lay the foundation of the LORD's Temple.
When you hoped for a twenty-bushel crop, you harvested only ten. When you expected to draw fifty gallons from the winepress, you found only twenty.
I sent blight and mildew and hail to destroy all the produce of your labor. Yet, even so, you refused to return to me, says the LORD."
"On this eighteenth day of December -- the day when the foundation of the LORD's Temple was laid -- carefully consider this:
I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn, before you have harvested your grain and before the grapevine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have produced their crops. From this day onward I will bless you."
The LORD sent this second message to Haggai on December 18b:
"Tell Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, that I am about to shake the heavens and the earth.
I will overthrow royal thrones, destroying the power of foreign kingdoms. I will overturn their chariots and charioteers. The horses will fall, and their riders will kill each other.
But when this happens, says the LORD Almighty, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will treat you like a signet ring on my finger, says the LORD, for I have specially chosen you. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken!"
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)