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)..


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