The Coming Glory of the Temple
2 In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the hand of Haggai the prophet: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in your eyes? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts. The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the LORD of hosts.’”
Blessings for a Defiled People
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’” The priests answered and said, “No.” Then Haggai said, “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The priests answered and said, “It does become unclean.” Then Haggai answered and said, “So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the LORD, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean. Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the LORD, how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the LORD. Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider: Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.”
Zerubbabel Chosen as a Signet
The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother. On that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the LORD of hosts.”
Haggai 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Yet from this day on I will bless you.”Haggai 2:19
It was a dramatic moment; A dramatic change for God’s people. The sin from the people’s past had hindered them but now He would bless these people.
The sins of our lives run like a movie many times in our thoughts. Sometimes they come randomly where we’re suddenly reliving something from the past, something we’re ashamed of. Sadly these sins have almost become ingrained upon our minds and thoughts and seem inescapable. Where is the hope? How can we escape? For believers we have these events play over and over again, a tool the enemy of our soul often uses to cripple us. We’ve all been there with these thoughts.
Yet the forgiveness of God is far-reaching. It doesn’t matter how much our minds replay some event or sinful behavior we’ve wrestled through, when His forgiveness is given – it is complete.
Despite all the past sins of Judah and their stumbling; regardless of the fact they had been led into captivity due to their waywardness – God never stopped loving and when they returned to Him He gave complete forgiveness. Just as He had chosen them, He put His signet ring on them. He does the same for us. A statement in the ancient world, the signet ring of a king represented His authority and power. Through our turning back toward the true King, he places His blessing upon us; gives us His authority and provides protection.
We too live in such a dramatic moment. His words to the people resound to us. “Be strong…and work. For I am with you” declares the Lord Almighty. My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear. I will bless you.” (Haggai 2:4-5,19)
Live in purpose, not the past. Live in strength, not in the weakness that overwhelms you. Live in the absolute power of the Holy Spirit, knowing you’ve been forgiven. He’s leading you. Whatever may have come before this moment now is completely cleansed through the blood of Jesus. Live the dramatic grace of Jesus.
Haggai 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The main event of Haggai is the rebuilding of the temple, however, there are other several other storylines that run alongside this narrative. One such example is verse 13 where Haggai offers two opposing questions to the priests to create an object lesson for his illustration.
Question 1 – “If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?” The answer to this question is no. In other words, ceremonial cleanness cannot be transferred.
Question 2 – “If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?” The answer to this question is yes. In other words, ceremonial uncleanness does transfer.
So why is this important?
“Even though the people had been bringing their offerings while neglecting the rebuilding of the temple, their offerings had not been acceptable. Their sin had caused their sacrifices to be contaminated and ineffectual. And their good works, their offerings, could not transmit cleanness. In other words, sin is contagious, righteousness is not.”John MacArthur
Since the exile, the people of Israel had placed their primary focus on getting back to their land. After that, they possibly just assumed that everything would fall into place. Their presence in the land and even their sacrifices meant nothing if they were not done with the right heart. The people had shattered their connection to God by refusing to do the work and rebuild the temple, so naturally, the fruit of their lives produced nothing but contamination. Ultimately, that attitude becomes contagious.
The same is true for us. We cannot expect to sever our daily relationship with Christ and produce anything of value in this life. Furthermore, we cannot expect to bring “good works” to Him when we have failed to walk through the foundational steps He requires of us. Let’s get even more specific.
As professing believers, if we are not seeking God in His Word and meeting Him in prayer daily, how can we expect our lives to impact this world? But also consider, God was not just concerned with external behaviors. Even when the temple was rebuilt, and worship resumed, His desire for Israel was that their hearts would change to love Him with everything. That is something that can only happen as we cooperate with His Spirit and with faith and humility give Him total control over every aspect of our being.