Unshakeable Faith: Seeking Christ Through Haggai’s Temple
The book of Haggai centers on God’s great promise to restore the temple during the days of Judah’s return from exile (520 BC). In this little book, there are four messages from the Lord. The second, third, and fourth messages in Haggai are all found in chapter 2, and respectively they speak about the temple (2:1–9), the priesthood (2:10–19), and the kingdom (2:20–23). These were the three focal points of this week’s sermon.
As we considered in this sermon, the Lord encouraged the people by telling how he was restoring his dwelling place to Jerusalem, his priesthood to Levi, and the kingdom to Zerubbabel. Yet, we also learn that this restoration is not immediate or ultimate. Rather, like so many things in life, his plans fit into his larger aims, bringing his Son to the world and leading his people to place faith in the Son.
In this week’s sermon, we place this book in the larger plan of God’s redemption and learn how Haggai helps us understand what God was doing and now has done in Christ. You can listen to the sermon online. Discussion questions and resources for further study are found below.
1 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: 2 “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, 3 ‘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? 4 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, 5according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. 6 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. 7 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. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9 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.’ ”
10 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, 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: 12 ‘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.” 13 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.” 14 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. 15 Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the Lord, 16 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. 17 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. 18 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: 19 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.”
20 The word of the Lord came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, 21 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22 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. 23 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 is a book about God’s restoration of Judah to Jerusalem. What are the components of that restoration? What do we learn about the Lord in his commitment in Haggai?
- How does the historical framework of the message inform our understanding? Is it best to understand Haggai as being related to 520 BC? The coming of Christ? Our future? How do we know?
- What is the good news of this restoration (circa 520 BC)? What is the disappointing news? What is still lacking in Jerusalem after Israel returned from exile?
- Temple: How does Hebrews 12 help us understand Haggai 2? How does it read and interpret Haggai 2:6? How does Haggai 2 apply to us today?
- Priesthood: What does Haggai 2:10–19 teach us about the priesthood? What would the builders learn about the purity of their hands? What do we learn about the Levitical priesthood? (Compare Hebrews 7)
- Kingdom: What is promised to Zerubbabel? When or how does God fulfill this promise? How did this promise impact Israel? See Matthew 1:13–17.
- What are the takeaways from this book? What questions remain?
- What have you learned from studying the Minor Prophets? What has been most encouraging? What has been most convicting? Anything else?
- “I Will Shake the Earth”: Reading Haggai in Canonical Context
- A Hole in Our Holy Temple? Toward a Whole Bible Vision of God’s Dwelling Place
- Reading the Minor Prophets Together: Ten Observations from Paul House’s ‘The Unity of the Twelve’
- Reading the Bible Better: Finding Unity in the Book of the Twelve
- Finding Theological Unity in The Twelve
For Bible students and teachers, these four resources would help your study of the Minor Prophets.
- The Faith of Israel by William Dumbrell
- The Christ of the Prophets by O. Palmer Robertson
- The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets by Richard Alan Fuhr and Gary E. Yates
- The Unity of the Twelve by Paul House
Soli Deo Gloria, ds