On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the Lord spoke his word through Haggai the prophet, saying,
"Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the rest of the people who are left alive. Say,
'Do any of you remember how great the Temple was before it was destroyed? What does it look like now? Doesn't it seem like nothing to you?'
But the Lord says, 'Zerubbabel, be brave. Also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, be brave. And all you people who live in the land, be brave,' says the Lord. 'Work, because I am with you,' says the Lord All-Powerful.
'I made a promise to you when you came out of Egypt, and my Spirit is still with you. So don't be afraid.'
"This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: 'In a short time I will once again shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.
I will shake all the nations, and they will bring their wealth. Then I will fill this Temple with glory,' says the Lord All-Powerful.
'The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,' says the Lord All-Powerful.
'The new Temple will be greater than the one before,' says the Lord All-Powerful. 'And in this place I will give peace,' says the Lord All-Powerful."
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month in the second year Darius was king, the Lord spoke his word to Haggai the prophet, saying,
"This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: 'Ask the priests for a teaching.
Suppose a person carries in the fold of his clothes some meat made holy for the Lord. If that fold touches bread, cooked food, wine, olive oil, or some other food, will that be made holy?'" The priests answered, "No."
Then Haggai said, "A person who touches a dead body will become unclean. If he touches any of these foods, will it become unclean, too?" The priests answered, "Yes, it would become unclean."
Then Haggai answered, "The Lord says, 'This is also true for the people of this nation. They are unclean, and everything they do with their hands is unclean to me. Whatever they offer at the altar is also unclean.
"'Think about this from now on! Think about how it was before you started laying stones on top of stones to build the Temple of the Lord.
A person used to come to a pile of grain expecting to find twenty basketfuls, but there were only ten. And a person used to come to the wine vat to take out fifty jarfuls, but only twenty were there.
I destroyed your work with diseases, mildew, and hail, but you still did not come back to me,' says the Lord.
'It is the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, the day in which the people finished working on the foundation of the Temple of the Lord. From now on, think about these things:
Do you have seeds for crops still in the barn? Your vines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not given fruit yet. But from now on I will bless you!'"
Then the Lord spoke his word a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month. He said,
"Tell Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, 'I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.
I will destroy the foreign kingdoms and take away the power of the kingdoms of the nations. I will destroy the chariots and their riders. The horses will fall with their riders, as people kill each other with swords.'
The Lord All-Powerful says, 'On that day I will take you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant,' says the Lord, 'and I will make you important like my signet ring, because I have chosen you!' says the Lord All-Powerful."
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.