Commentary by Dr. Mark G. Cambron
Prophesied to Jerusalem to those who returned from the Babylonian Captivity--16 years after the captivity.
In Ezra the altar and the temple were started, but something stopped them. Drought came. God sent Haggai to tell them the trouble, and said to begin again to work. Did so in 24 days.
I. The First Message (1)
A. Contrasted Houses (1:1-4)
Between the houses which they lived in, and the House of the Lord.
B. Considered Way (1:5-11)
Remedy is to complete the House of the Lord.
C. Continued Progress (1:12-15)
II. The Second Message (2:1-9)
A. The Two Temples (2:1-3)
B. The New Temple (2:4-9)
III. The Third Message (2:10-19)
A. Disobedience and its Consequences (2:10-14)
B. Obedience and its Consequences (2:15-19)
IV. The Fourth Message (2:20-23)
A. The Divine Activity (2:20-22)
B. The Divine Choice (2:23)
In the second year of their coming to the House of God, they appointed Levites from 20 years old and upward to set forward the work on the House of Jehovah.
Then they built the foundation of the Temple and set the priests in their apparel with trumpets -- hallelujah -- and the Levites the sons of Asaph (look at the Psalms and see how many Asaph composed by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost: Psalms 73-83) with cymbals to praise Jehovah, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
"And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto Jehovah; because He is good, for his mercy endureth forever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Jehovah because the foundation of the house of Jehovah was laid.
Many of the priests were very old, and they wept. And many of the Jews had not seen the temple of Solomon. They shouted; so between the weeping of the ancient people and the shouting of younger Jews -- a great shout it was -- no one could tell the difference between the weeping of the old people and the shouting of the news "the noise was heard afar off."
After the second temple was completed, it stood for nearly 500 years. Then at the time of the Messiah Jesus, a descendant of Esau, Herod the Great (an Edomite by birth, and a Jew by religion) built the new Temple.
As we know, Judah was attacked and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar around 606 B.C. And with the tearing down of the Temple, Israel's captivity lasted 70 years, which was prophesied by Jeremiah the prophet.
When the 70 years were over, we find Daniel, the prophet, still in Babylon. He had lived the entire 70 years of the captivity, and he began to read the prophecy of Jeremiah
"In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." (Daniel 9:2)
learning that the 70 year captivity was over, and he desired to go back home with those who contemplated going back also and encouraged by the edict of Cyrus, king of Persia for all the Jews who wanted to return, they could.
"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up." (2 Chronicles 36:22,23)
But Jehovah (the LORD) said to Daniel "But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Daniel 12:13). Yes, Jehovah said in other words "you cannot go back at this time, but you shall die (rest) and stand in your inheritance (lot) at the end of the days (the tribulation).
Of all the many of Israel of the Ten Tribe Kingdom of Israel taken to Assyria in 740 B.C. ff., and of the many of the Kingdom of Judah taken to Babylon in 588 B.C. (about 152 years later), only about 50,000 Israelites (of all 12 tribes) banded together to return to the Promised Land.
Under the leadership of Zerubbabel, they began to build the new temple. They built a new Brazen (Bronze) Altar and set it upon its base and offered unto Jehovah their burnt offering. And afterwards offered the continual burnt offering (a lamb in the morning and another lamb in the evening) everyday. "But the foundation of the Temple proper was not laid" (Ezra 3:6).
This is good to remember, that when Zerubbabel was completing his temple, they became aware that they did not have the Ark of the Covenant which always stood in the Holy of Holies. It had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian, and did away with it -- its covering was the Mercy Seat out of which the two cherubim were a part (two two-winged statues).
They did not dare make a new Ark of the Covenant, so they took a large slab of granite, and upon the slab the High Priest poured the blood of the bull and the blood of the he goat for the Day of Atonement. Herod's temple was destroyed 40 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Titus, the Roman, was guilty of destroying Herod's temple.
The gripe of the people in not finishing the temple they started to build is that, "The time is not come that Jehovah's should be built."
Then Jehovah spoke to Haggai in His Own way, by emphatic words, "It is time to build the House of Jehovah. You are so selfish, everything that is done has to have your approval."
Verses 3 - 4
Right now, the slowing process of steady workmanship, you caused that work to stop, while you have been building, could be, your own houses on the foundation your grandparents inheritance and have eased your mind to ignore Jehovah's house and have completed your own ceiled houses on your inheritance.
Verses 5 - 6
This is what's wrong, right now, you'll have to admit, you eat but have not enough; you drink, but it is not enough to slake your thirst; you clothe yourself, but your aren't warm; and he that earned wages, earneth wages to be put in a bag, but lose it through the bag's holes.
I am speaking to you, saith Jehovah! Consider why this has happened. There is a great void in your hearts, so "Go up to the mountains, fall your tress; saw them according to the architect drawings and build my house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I shall be glorified, saith Jehovah.
"You looked for so much (you can raise anything in the Holy Land), and lo it produced little, if nothing. And when you brought it to your home, I blew on it! Why? saith Jehovah Sabaoth (Host). Because My house lies dormant, and ye run to every man unto his own house. Aren't you ashamed?
Because of your forsaking to build My house, the heavens over you has is stayed from dew, and the earth fails to produce her fruit.
It is I who called for the drought upon the land (and really the land is not yours, but Mine), and the mountains, upon the grain (until there is not enough for your meat (grain) offering) and upon the new wine, and upon the olive oil, and upon your vegetables, etc. And the drought had effect upon men and cattle, and it seems that everything your hands find to do is cursed.
Then the governor Zerubbabel (He was not restored Israel's king, though He was of royal blood, and was in line for it, for we read beginning in Jeremiah 22:29-30 concerning Coniah -- known also as Jekoniah and Jehoiahim)
"O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah." (Jeremiah 22:29,30)
With him God stops David's line of succession. No one has been crowned King from this man on. And though the curse is pronounced upon this lineage of David, yet the Messiah must come through that line.
How can God curse that line and yet provide one from that line.
We find the answer in the two genealogies of Christ when He was born. There was Joseph his foster father, no kin to him at all. But Joseph fell into line to be king, and the king must come from this line, but there is a curse upon it. Now Joseph has his genealogy which traces him back to Solomon then to David -- the true line with the curse. We find his genealogy in Matthew.
So we go to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary's line of descendants is called the blood line of Jesus, so we trace her line in the Gospel of Luke and find that it goes back not to Solomon but to his brother, Nathan, and then to David.
As Joseph made Jesus his son by marriage to Mary. So when we trace Messiah Jesus genealogy back we come to Joseph and skip over him for he was not the true father of Christ but by adoption (for a better word) then to David, and to Jesus He's the only full man that can claim to the throne of David.
But we trace the blood line back to Nathan another son of David, then to David.
By adoption through Joseph Jesus can claim the throne of David and by blood, through Mary, Christ can make His claim stand to David and heir to the throne.
Zerubbabel, Joshua (son of the High Priest) and the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of Jehovah, and the words of Haggai the prophet. They all feared Jehovah.
Verses 13 - 15
Jehovah accepted their stand of faith as they did work in the temple.
Verses 1 - 3
Only about a month passes from the first day Jehovah's wrath was stirred. Jehovah directed Haggai to speak to Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the rest of the people.
Who is left of you saw the temple of Solomon in all its first glory? And now you this temple as it stands. Is it nothing in your sight.
Now be strong, for I am with you saith Jehovah Sabaoth (LORD of Hosts).
According to the word I spoke as I brought you out of Egypt, so my Spirit remaineth among you: fear not.
Thus saith Jehovah Sabaoth, "Yet in the near future I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land.
I will shake all nations and the desire of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory.
All silver is mine, and the gold is mine saith Jehovah of Hosts.
The glory of the latter house shall be greater than that of the former. And in this place will I give peace, saith Jehovah Sabaoth.
From other scriptures we learn that Messiah who is the Glory of Jehovah will set up David's kingdom; His own! "He that overcomes will I grant to sit with me on my throne as I overcame and have sat with my Father on His throne.
When Messiah Jesus reigns, He will also build His eternal temple. "The man whose name is the BRANCH, and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the Temple of Jehovah. And He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest (after the order of Melchizedek) upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both" (Zechariah 6:12,13).
Now as to the temple Messiah Jesus is going to build. "And he said unto me, Son of Man (the millennial title of messiah) the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they nor their kings, by their whoredom nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places (Ezekiel 43:7)
Verses 10 - 11
Twenty-four days pass before work on the temple begins.
Verses 12 - 13
God asks the priest "If one bears holy roasts in the skirt of his garment, and the skirt touches bread or soup, shall they be made holy? The priests answer "No." Then if one of you touches something unclean such as a dead body, and touch the food, will it be unclean? They replied, "Yes."
So this people , unclean as they are, every work they do is unclean unto Me!
Consider from this day on, from before a stone was laid upon another stone in the temple, whatever they touched was unclean.
In those days, when one came to the pile of grain, trusting it will be 20 measures, it came to 10; and when one went to the wine vat, expecting 50 vessels, it came to only 20 vessels full.
I smote you with all kinds of judgments: blasting winds and mildew, and with hail in all the labors of your hands. It turned to be cursed. Yet you did not turn to Me!
Now consider, beginning right now from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month -- this day when the foundation of Jehovah's temple was laid -- watch God work in and through you.
Is the seed in barn? Yes, and that groweth of itself: the vine; and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, has not brought forth yet -- FROM THIS DAY WILL I BLESS YOU.
So much was happening on the 24th day of the month: the Word of Jehovah came to Haggai.
Say to Zerubbabel "I will shake the heavens and the earth." He has already shaken the heavens and earth. He will shake again the first.
Verses 22 - 23
Jehovah is going to completely destroy the kingdoms of the Gentiles (Heathen).
We read in Hebrews 12:26-29:
"Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet one more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire."
Messiah Jesus' kingdom is forever! Amen.