Haggai was sent by God to the Jews who had returned from
captivity in Babylon. The Jews had been led back from Babylon
by Zerubbabel, who was of royal descent, and Joshua the High
Priest. The foundations of a new Temple had been laid in Jerusalem
but, about 15 years later, very little progress had been made
in the building of the Temple.
Haggai's message was intended to stir the people into action
so that God might bless them. The people had built their own
houses - but what about God's House? If they put Him
first in their lives, He would bless them.
The returned people had been distracted by adversaries hindering
their work, but they had also become too comfortable.
"Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people
say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house
should be built ... Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in
your ceiled houses, and this house lies waste?" (1:2,4)
They did respond: the Temple was finished in 516BC.
When the Jews responded to God's Word through Haggai they
were blessed (Ezra 5:1-2, 7:27-28). They were asked to count
their blessings and to put their faith in God's further promises.
God strengthened Zerubbabel and Joshua for the work, and helped
His people. He told them to look ahead to the great King/Priest
who would build an even greater 'house' for God (2:6-9). This
was a prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ, as High Priest
for God's people and the future King of all nations. Jesus
Christ is a descendant of Zerubbabel (Luke 3:27) and is the
one spoken of as God's chosen representative, having God's
royal authority, appointed to rule as King of Israel and of
the world (Matt. 28:18)..