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In Haggai, He restores a lost heritage
The book of Haggai was written by the prophet Haggai, one of three post-exilic prophets of the Babylonian captivity. He prophesied to the nation of Israel; specifically, the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem. He was quite prominent in the Jerusalem vicinity when Ezra and Nehemiah were rebuilding the city walls and the Temple. Haggai wanted the people to know that this temple being rebuilt should be a Temple of praise and worship unto God, their Sovereign. The Temple stands as a parallel for the every believer to build, or advance, the Kingdom of God.
The book of Haggai provides for four (4) specific messages from God, spoken through the prophet Haggai. These spiritual messages, or truths, that Haggai speaks to the people include:
- The Lord's work takes priority over all.
- The Lord's work demands clean instruments.
- Good is not contagious; but, evil is.
- The Lord's work is linked to God's plan for all nations.
As we learn to apply these spiritual messages, or truths, in our own personal lives, we become more and more aware that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20--"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?"
Message one is a summons to rebuild the Temple. This message was given on the 1st day of the sixth month of the second year of the reign of King Darius, king of Persia. The people, however, procrastinated in their work for the Lord and a consequential threat was given. God declared that he would send a drought upon the people for their lack of will to do what God had commanded them to do. This put fear into the hearts of the Israelites, and they poured all they had to the rebuilding of the Temple, the House of the Lord; the work started on the 24th day of the sixth month of the second year of the reign of King Darius, king of Persia, and there was encouragement in their work because the Lord had declared He would be with them.
The second of Haggai's four messages was a prophecy concerning the Millennial Temple, which would be greater than the Temple that Solomon built and greater still than the Temple built with Ezra, Nehemiah and Haggai. This message was given on the 21st day of the seventh month of the second year of the reign of King Darius, king of Persia. The Lord instructed Haggai to ask the citizens of Jerusalem how their new Temple compared to the Temple that had been destroyed at their captivity. The people could see that their new Temple was no where near to what the glory of Solomon's Temple had been; Haggai, therefore, instructed the people that that did not matter, it was not the building that they were now building that would hold the eternal glory of King Jesus...when Jesus comes to rule on Earth as King, that Temple would be the most glorious of all.
This third message was a promise of the blessing that was currently on the rebuilding of the Temple. This message came from God, through Haggai, on 24th day of the ninth month of the second year of the reign of King Darius, king of Persia. There is a definition given of unholy and holy, of unclean and clean, of wrong and right, of sin and righteousness. The priests, for this Temple, are put though a period of questioning so they would know what is holy, clean, right and righteous, and then God promised His blessing.
The last message was a prophecy of the destruction of the future Gentile world powers and was given on the 24th day of the ninth month of the second year of the reign of King Darius, king of Persia; not coincidentally, the same day as the giving of Message Three. God declared that He would shake all of Heaven and Earth to destroy the ruling principalities of every kingdom of Earth, to include their reigning kings and rulers. God then declares His Sovereignty to the nation of Israel, and to all people of all nations in all times.
In Zechariah, which is often called the "Apocalypse of the Old Testament," we find the prophet Zechariah (a contemporary of Haggai). Zechariah uses symbolism to talk of the "last things" and the "end times." There are many Messianic references and a foretaste of the Day of the Lord when Israel will be restored, the nations judged and a triumphant Kingdom of God.