[CF Devotionals] 2004-06-06 - Haggai

Part 1

  1. Background

    To consider the work of Haggai, we need to step back in time and talk about the temple. The focus of this short piece is tied to the temple and the command for its restoration. Alden, in his introduction to the prophecy, notes: "The setting of this command reflects much of the history of Israel—the days of the tabernacle, the be-ginning of the monarchy under Samuel, David’s desire to build a dwelling for God, Solomon’s building of the temple, its destruction by the forces of Nebuchadnezzar, and the returning exiles who began to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem in 538 B.C. More immediately, the setting of Haggai 1:8 begins with the rise of Cyrus." It was back in 538 B.C. when … " Cyrus’ decree permitted the Jews to return home and rebuild their Temple at Jerusalem (Ezr 1:1-4).

    The monuments give clear evidence of this noble spirit of Cyrus. The remnant laid the foundation (Ezr 3:1-3, 8-10), but from c. 535 B.C. to 520 B.C., failed to go on the complete the edifice. Through Haggai’s and Zechariah’s combined ministry (520 B.C.), the Temple was completed (520-515 B.C.). The circumstances of the construction of the Temple gave rise to panoramic messianic predictions by the two prophets, especially Zechariah."

    Ezra 1:1-4 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing: "This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And the people of any place, where survivors may now be living, are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’

    Ezra 3:1-3 When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled as one man in Jerusalem. Then Jeshua, son of Jozadak, and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel, to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices."

    Ezra 3:8-10 In the second month of the second year, after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jozadak and the rest of their brothers (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work, appointing Levites twenty years of age and older to supervise the building of the house of the LORD. Jeshua and his sons and brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah), and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites— joined together in supervising those working on the house of God. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel.

To be continued.

Comments or Questions?

[email geoff] gkragen@aol.com