This past Sunday we reached Week 9 in my class on the Gospel according to the Minor Prophets. We looked at Haggai, who in addition to his own prophetic book is mentioned several times in Ezra (Ezra 5:1; Ezra 6:14). Those references confirm what we learn in Haggai itself.
The prophecies recorded in Haggai span a four month period stretching from August 29, 520 BC, to December 18, 520 BC. When the remnant returned from exile in 539/538, they had begun work on rebuilding the temple (Ezra 3). But in the face of opposition they had abandoned the project in 536. So by the time that Haggai prophesied, the project had been dormant for about 16 years. Haggai (along with Zechariah) called God’s people to turn from their own selfish pursuits and resume rebuilding the temple.
From this short prophetic book of Haggai, I would summarize the theological big idea as this: Yahweh will renew His presence among His people and re-establish His reign over His people by sending Jesus Christ as His Messianic King. God reassures Haggai that the latter glory of the temple will surpass its former glory (Haggai 2:9). That promise finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who is the true temple (John 2:18-22). Because we as believers are united to Christ by faith, we are God’s temple, both corporately (Ephesians 2:11-22; 1 Peter 2:4-9) and individually (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). In the New Heavens and Earth there will be no temple, because the entirety of creation at that point will be God’s dwelling place (Revelation 21:22). Haggai ends with a word of reassurance to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah. God refers to him as signet ring on his finger. As a descendant of David it is through him that the Messiah will ultimately come (Matthew 1:12).
Want to hear more? You can check out the audio and the handout below:
Week 9 – Haggai (Part 1) (AUDIO: N.B. Because of problems with the recording, only the first 40 minutes or so are available; sorry!)