THE PROPHECY OF HAGGAI


The prophecy of Haggai is very short yet very important because its primary focus is on the end of the age right before the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. The message of Haggai is directly tied to Zechariah's prophecy concerning the events that will occur during this same time period.


JERUSALEM AND THE HOLY LAND


This study represents our best understanding of the sequence of events that will unfold surrounding Jerusalem and the Holy Land as prophesied by Haggai. The understanding presented here is based on many clear prophecies about the end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ. However, please understand that, by the time you read this, some of these events may have already occurred.


The events shown in Haggai's prophecy are very compressed, and many of these events will happen in an extremely short period of time. It is clear that the focal point of Haggai's prophecy is the contemporary nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem in particular. His prophecy also foretells events that will impact not only the Holy Land but also all other nations on earth.


THE TIME PERIOD


In order to clearly establish the time period in which the prophetic portions of Haggai's writings will

be fulfilled, it is necessary to review the following four topic areas contained in Haggai's writings:

 

  1. All Nations Will be Shaken
  2. The Heavens and Earth Will be Shaken
  3. The Past and Present Building of the Temple
  4. The Instruction to Build the Temple

1. All Nations Will Be Shaken


"For this says the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the Lord of hosts" (Hag.2:6-9 KJV).


It is clear from the scriptures that there has never been a time in history when God has shaken the heavens, the earth, and all the nations. But, this is what he says he will do just before Jesus returns as King of kings at the end of this age. See also Heb.12:26.


2. The Heavens and Earth Will Be Shaken


"Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, says the Lord of hosts, will I take you, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you as a signet: for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts" (Hag. 2:21-23 KJV).


Clearly, this is an end of the age prophecy. Here, we see that God shakes the heavens and the earth, overthrowing the kingdoms (nations) of the world. "In that day," is a reference to the end of the age (Isa.2:17-21; Zeph.1:7-10, 12-16; Joel 3:9-18; Zech.14:1-8,13,20). And as we will see, it is also very clear that God gives the prophetic end-time Zerubbabel great power and authority to represent him and proclaim his good news message to the world.


3. Past and Present Building of the Temple


"And now, I ask you to consider from this day and forward, from the time before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord" (Hag.2:15 Para.).


"Consider now from this day and forward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it" (Hag.2:18 Para.).


Both of these references about laying the foundation and construction of the temple refer to a past and a future fulfillment.


The Seed


"Is the seed yet in the barn? yes, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, has not brought forth: from this day will I bless you" (Hag.2:19 Para.).


Symbolically, the word seed normally refers to either the Messiah or the elect of God. Because the word barn is used in the context of a harvest, and the elect of God are the first of his harvest of humanity that will be collected prior to Christ's return, it is highly likely that this seed refers to the elect of God who are called to salvation, and the barn represents the Family and Kingdom of God. The various trees that are to bring forth fruit seem to symbolize those servants of God who preach the gospel in the end of the age. See Mic.4:2; Matt.3:10-12; 13:30-42.


4. The Instruction to Build the Temple


Haggai 1:1-2, 7-8 Paraphrased


"In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, This says the Lord of hosts, These people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built [i.e.,The rebuilding of the temple is being delayed]" (vs.1-2).


"This says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says the Lord" (vs.7-8).


This refers to a past and a future fulfillment. For many years, the Jews of today (the Israelis) have made plans to build a temple. They have procured the necessary items for the practice of the sacrificial system, prepared a priesthood for service in the temple, and even become aware of the ceremonial hand gestures that are necessary in order to give offerings and sacrifices. However, they have not gone forward because of political pressure and a persistent controversy that surrounds the location of the future temple (i.e., the City of David, the Temple Mount, or The Mount of Olives).


They have prepared for the building of the temple because they know that God requires a temple as part of his covenant agreement with his chosen people, yet they have procrastinated just as their ancient ancestors did.


HAGGAI'S PROPHECIES


When examining the first two chapters of Haggai, notice the authority that is behind these prophecies. The expressions "Then came the word of the Lord" and "This says the Lord" occur twenty-five times in just two chapters. This alone shows the enormous importance of these prophecies to the fulfillment of God's plan for the salvation of humanity.


Haggai recorded the following five messages about the events that will dramatically affect world events just before the first resurrection and Christ's return to establish his Father's kingdom on earth:

 

  1. The instruction to construct the temple is given (Hag.1:1-12).
  2. The construction of the temple is begun (Hag.1:13-15).
  3. The Jews are encouraged to build the temple (Hag.2:1-9).
  4. The Jews are a defiled people who need a temple (Hag.2:10-19).
  5. Zerubbabel will be a personal representative of God (Hag.2:20-23).

HISTORICAL AND FUTURE DATES


It is not very often that God mentions the specific dates of events in prophecy by the day, month, and year; however, in both chapters of Haggai, specific dates are mentioned. Most likely, these same dates are also prophetic and tied to significant events in the end of the age. See the last page of this study for a summary table which outlines these five messages and the sacred calendar dates that are associated with them.

 

"In the second year of Darius the king [a date historically established as 520 B.C.] in the sixth month, in the first day of the month [this is a New Moon] came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, This says the Lord of hosts, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house [the temple] should be built" (vs.1-2).


Historically, the temple had actually been started in 538 B.C., instead of 520 B.C., because a decree was issued that stopped its construction for almost eighteen years due to political pressure. Therefore, God sent a prophet to stir the Jews into action. It is very likely that a similar sequence of events will soon occur concerning building a temple in modern Jerusalem.


"Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O you, to dwell in your finished houses, and this house lie waste?" (vs.3-4).


These were Jews who had come out of captivity and were trying to fulfill their own desires. Today, a similar situation exists. The Israelis have been building their own nation, their own homes, and their own economy without regard for building a temple in which to worship God.


"Now therefore this says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways [take stock of what you are doing.] You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but you have not enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but there is none warm; and he that earns wages earns wages to put it into a bag with holes" (vs.5-6).


This scripture was true then and it is true today. Look at the way money is wasted in Israel. Modern Israel still has problems with their economy and consistently needs to be supported by the western powers, especially the United States. Yet, Israel is a prosperous nation by world standards.


"This says the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways [think about what you are doing]. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house [the temple]; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, says the Lord. You looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? says the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that is waste, and you run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you holds back its dew, and the earth is prevented from bearing fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the grain, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground brings forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labor of the hands" (vs.7-11).


After this stern reprimand from God through his emissary Haggai the prophet, the governor, the high priest, and the people were moved to rebuild the temple.


"Then Zerubbabel [the governor of Judah at the time this was written.] the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord" (v12).


The Construction of the Temple Begins


The 24th Day of The 6th Month (Sacred Calendar)


"Then the Lord's messenger Haggai, spoke the Lord's message to the people, saying, I am with you, says the Lord [If you do this, God says he will be with you in doing it]. And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God. In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king" (Hag.1:13-15 Para.).


The date given for the beginning of construction is the 24th day of the 6th month of the 2nd year of King Darius' reign (520 B.C.). Could it be that this same day and month are important in the end of the age and are a reference to when key preparations will be made that lead to the construction of a temple in Jerusalem?


The 21st day of the 7th Month (Sacred Calendar)


Haggai 2:1-23 Paraphrased


"In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month [this was also the 7th day of the Feast of Shelters/Ingathering, which is the last day of the Festival prior to the Festival of the Eighth Day], came the word of the Lord by the prophet Haggai, saying, Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and to the residue of the people, saying, Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? And how do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?" (vs.1-3).


Some of these Jews had seen the magnificent splendor of the temple that Solomon had built for God's presence to dwell in. Here, God reminds them that he requires a proper temple for his presence to dwell in instead of the ruins that the temple had become.


"Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, says the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land, says the Lord, and work: for I am with you, says the Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so my spirit remains among you: fear you not" (vs.4-5).


This same message is also meant for the Jews who live in this age, because God made a covenant with all of Israel, including the Jews, from the time that he brought them out of Egypt to participate in his plan for the salvation of humanity to this present day and far into the future—even after Christ's return. Notice that verses six and seven clearly place the time frame of verses four and five in the end of the age:


"For this says the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts" (vs.6-7).


Of what house is Haggai speaking? He is referring to the temple of God at Jerusalem in the end of the age and he may also be referring to the new temple that will be constructed in Jerusalem after Christ's return.


"The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the Lord of hosts" (vs.8-9).


Again, this likely has two applications; one is right in the end of the age and the other can be after the return of Christ. God will grant relative peace during the time the temple is being built in the end of the age and for a short time thereafter.


The Jews are a Defiled People Who Need a Temple


The 24th Day of the 9th Month (Sacred Calendar)


"In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying, This says the Lord of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then Haggai said , If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, says the Lord; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer is unclean" (vs.10-14).


Here, God says that these Jews are physically and spiritually unclean before him. But why are they unclean? They are unclean because they do not have a temple in which to atone for their physical and spiritual sins. They cannot perform the sacrifices that are required under the Mount Sinai Covenant through which their physical and spiritual defilement can be set aside. Therefore, they are impure, and God cannot dwell with them to nurture, protect, and bless them as he desires until they again establish the temple worship system.


Jerusalem


"And now, I ask you, consider from this day forward, from before a stone was laid upon a stone in the temple of the Lord [before the construction of the temple begins]: Since those days were, when one came to an heap of twenty measures, there were but ten: when one came to the pressfat for to draw out fifty vessels out of the press, there were but twenty. I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you turned not to me, says the Lord. Consider now from this day forward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was established. Set your heart" (vs.15-19).


Here, we see that those who are to participate in the building of the temple and the establishment of the sacrificial worship system must carefully consider the enormity of the events that they are about to set in motion. Notice that they are to give themselves to this task without reservation of any kind.

Zerubbabel Will be a Personal Representative of God on Earth


"And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor [high position in the Israeli government] of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, says the Lord of hosts, will I take you, O Zerubbabel [high ranking government official], my servant, the son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you as a signet [a symbol of royal authority]: for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts" (vs.20-23).


In order to understand this prophecy, it is important to keep in mind that all of this prophecy is in the context of a prophet being sent to command a governmental official in the Jewish nation to initiate the process of building the temple just before Jesus Christ's powerful intervention into world affairs. Zerubbabel is called to be a signet (i.e., an authorized seal) for God , because he is given the authority to use the awesome power of God to carry out his responsibilities during the end of the age.


SPECIFIC DATES FOR EVENTS BEFORE CHRIST'S RETURN


Below are a number of things that should be considered when trying to understand the specific dates that are noted in Haggai's prophecy:


Because Haggai's prophecy has prophetic duality (a past and future fulfillment) and because there are a number of specific days and months mentioned, these dates probably have prophetic importance.


It is clear from the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah that, in the end of the age, God will again be using a Zerubbabel (an Israeli government official) and a Joshua (the high priest of the temple worship system) to be in charge of the building of the temple.

In relation to building the temple in Jerusalem, the prophetic time line that is shown in the passages of the Great Pyramid  of Gaza reveals that the same basic sequence of events that occurred in 520 B.C. will occur again before Christ's return.


With the above information and the background material that we have reviewed, we can review the specific prophetic dates, events, and people mentioned in Haggai that surround the future construction of the temple in Jerusalem.


The 1st Day of the 6th Month (Sacred Calendar)


The Instruction to Build the Temple


Haggai 1:1


The message given on the 1st day of the 6th sacred month, concerns God's prophet being sent to contact Zerubbabel and Joshua regarding the need to rebuild the temple. Therefore, it is highly likely that God will send a prophet to the modern equivalent of Zerubbabel (an Israeli government official) and Joshua (the one who will become the high priest) on the first day (a new moon) of the 6th sacred month t o instruct them to move the temple building project forward.


The 24th Day of The 6th Month (Sacred Calendar)


Temple Construction Begins


Haggai 1:15


The 24th day of the 6th sacred month is just a short time before the Festival of Trumpets. This seems to be the time when the Lord inspires Zerubbabel and Joshua to do work on the temple along with a remnant of the House of Judah. If this applies to the end of the age, it may mean that construction of the temple begins on this date.


It seems likely that, shortly before this, there will be some kind of agreement involving the Islamic nations and the Israelis which will allow a temple to be built.


The 21st Day Of The 7th Month (Sacred Calendar)


God's Presence in the Temple


Haggai 2:1


The 21st day of the 7th sacred month is the 7th day of the Festival of Shelters/Ingathering. This event in Haggai 2 shows God's prophet encouraging Zerubbabel (Israeli government official) and Joshua (the High Priest) to remain strong and telling them about the events that will shake up the world in the near future. The prophet tells them to be strong, because God will be with them in building the temple and establishing the sacrificial system of worship, which will lead to God shaking the nations, the earth, and the heavens.


It seems unlikely that, at this point in time, these two men will be aware of the tremendous task that lies ahead of them as personal representatives of Jesus Christ. They probably will be unaware of their part in bringing massive destruction upon the earth, including the destruction of the pagan religious and governmental systems of this world.


The 24th Day Of The 9th Month (Sacred Calendar)


Israel Is A Defiled Nation


Haggai 2:10-14


The last date that is specifically mentioned is the 24th day of the 9th month on the sacred calendar.

Notice that the prophet addresses the priesthood as a whole regarding the understanding of defilement. This prophetically shows that the people in the modern nation of Israel are living in a defiled condition before God and need to repent of their evil ways and receive national purification through God's sacrificial system of worship.


The Signet for God


Haggai 2:20-23 Paraphrased


The 24th day of the 9th month is also mentioned as the time when the prophet is given the charge to tell Zerubbabel that he will be God's signet on earth during the time when God pours out his wrath on a wicked and perverse generation:


"And again the word of the Lord came to Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth. And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the (nations); and I will overthrow the chariots, and those who ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother" (vs.20-22).


Here, we see the prophet describing what is surely going to come to pass after the temple is built in Jerusalem. The peace that comes to the Israelis during the construction of the temple will be short lived, because Jesus Christ will intervene in world events and begin to pour out the wrath of God and overthrow the nations of earth through his signet.


"In that day, says the Lord of hosts, will I take you, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you as a signet: For I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts" (v23).


SUMMARY


There is a lot of information packed into Haggai's short prophecy, which seems to show that, in the latter days, God will likely send a prophet to urge an Israeli governmental official (the prophetic Zerubbabel) and the one who will become the High Priest (the prophetic Joshua) to initiate an action that will lead to the building of a temple in Jerusalem.


It is very clear from the Book of Zechariah and the Book of Revelation that the prophetic Zerubbabel (an Israeli governmental official) and the prophetic Joshua (the high priest) who officiates over the temple system are going to have a major role in the construction of the temple after which they will be led to conversion as sons of the Father's new creation and assume their respective roles in preaching the gospel and doing God's will to bring about the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings.


 

By B.L Cocherell and Charles E. Barrett

File b2w8 7/07