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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Outline for Haggai

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I. A challenge to the people, Chapter 1:1-11

September 1, 520 B.C.

A. A charge of conflict of interest, vv. 1-4

B. A call to consider their ways, vv. 5-7

C. A command to construct the temple, vv. 8-11

II. The response to the challenge, Chapter 1:12-15

September 24, 520 B.C.

A. Construction of the temple; people obeyed, v. 12

B. Confirmation from God, vv. 13-15

III. The discouragement of the people; the encouragement of the Lord, Chapter 2:1-9

October 21, 520 B.C

(The inferiority of the second temple to the first temple became a cause of discouragement, but God responded.)

IV. An appeal to the Law; the explanation of the principle, Chapter 2:10-19

December 24, 520 B.C.

V. A revelation of God’s program; an expectation for the future, Chapter 2:20-23

December 24, 520 B.C.


I. A challenge to the people, Chapter 1:1-11

A. A charge of conflict of interest, vv. 1-4

v. 1 — For “the second year of Darius” see TIME.
“The sixth month” is September.
“Haggai” means my feast.
“Zerubbabel” means sown in Babylon.
“Shealtiel” means asking of God in prayer.
“Joshua” — see Zechariah 3:1-5.
“Word of the LORD” — Haggai is the spokesman for God, and he speaks with authority (v. 3).

v. 2 — When the people first returned to the land after the Babylonian captivity, enthusiasm ran high. They met gigantic obstacles which required Herculean effort and hardships. They became discouraged when they began to build the temple. The difficulties seemed insurmountable. They rationalized that it was just not the time to build. This was their pseudo-consolation. They decided to maintain the status quo. The foundation of the temple was laid, but the opposition of the Samaritans was so intense that they simply stopped the building.

v. 3 — Again Haggai makes it clear that he is giving God’s Word. His is a “Thus saith the LORD” — thirteen times this phrase, or one that is similar, occurs that makes it clear Haggai is speaking God’s words. This is the authority that must be in an effective ministry today.

v. 4 — The difficulties did not prevent the people from building their own houses. It was high time for them to build houses — so they rationalized. Lovely homes and an unlovely, poor church building are as bad as poverty hovels and an ornate, rich church building.

B. A call to consider their ways, vv. 5-7

v. 5 — “Consider your ways” is set your heart upon it.

v. 6 — God had judged them in material things. There had been crop failure, famine, no money to buy clothes, and no savings account.

v. 7 — They were asked to seek for the logical and true explanation. It was obvious that God was withholding blessing because of their lack of obedience.

C. A command to construct the temple, vv. 8-11

v. 8 — The solution was very simple:

1. “Go up to the mountain” (cut down trees);
2. “Bring wood” (make lumber);
3. “Build the house” (temple).

The results would be great:

1. God would be pleased;
2. God would be glorified.

v. 9 — He reviews their condition and clearly states the reason for it — they failed to build the temple.

vv. 10, 11 — Material blessings had been withheld.

II. The response to the challenge, Chapter 1:12-15

A. Construction of the temple; people obeyed, v. 12

They “obeyed the voice of the LORD, their God.”

B. Confirmation from God, vv. 13-15

v. 13 — “I am with you, saith the LORD.”

v. 14 — Leaders enter enthusiastically into the work:

1. Zerubbabel (governor),
2. Joshua (high priest),
3. Remnant of people.

III. The discouragement of the people; the encouragement of the Lord, Chapter 2:1-9

v. 1 — October 21, 520 B.C. is the date of the third message.

v. 2 — This message is directed to the same leaders and people as in Hag 1:14.

v. 3 — This is the second hurdle that Haggai had to clear. Many of those who had returned from the Babylonian captivity remembered (even though they had been very young when taken captive) the beauty and richness of Solomon’s temple. In comparison, this temple looked like a tenant farmer’s barn in Georgia.

But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, who were old men, who had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people; for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off. (Ezra 3:12, 13)

This internal criticism was like a wet blanket on the celebration of the construction of the new temple. It dulled the edge of the zeal to rebuild the temple. It poured cold water on the enthusiasm generated by the prodding of Haggai.

v. 4 — God’s challenge was twofold: (a) be strong; (b) “I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts,” which was better than outward adornment. The Shekinah glory had departed from Solomon’s temple; the presence of God far outshone the glory of Solomon’s temple.

v. 5 — God gives a further challenge, “Fear not.”

v. 6 — This looks forward to the final days — the millennial kingdom. They were to see the present temple with the perspective of the ultimate purpose of God.

v. 7 — “Desire of all nations” is not Christ. The proper word is treasures of all nations. There will be the outward adornment of the future temple, also the Shekinah glory will be present in the person of Christ.

v. 8 — “Silver…gold” makes it clear that he is speaking of material treasures.

v. 9 — “The glory of this latter house” should read, The latter glory of this house. God looks upon the series of temples as one house.
“Peace” is the final aim.

IV. An appeal to the Law; the explanation of the principle, Chapter 2:10-19

v. 10 — The date is December 24, 520 B.c.

v. 11 — “The” law should be a law. The Mosaic Law did not cover all the details of the life in Israel. When a matter arose that was not covered, they were to appeal to the priests (see Deuteronomy 17:8-11).

v. 12 — Is holiness communicated by contact? No. The holy cannot make the unholy holy by contact. Holiness is non-communicable.

v. 13 — Is unholiness communicated by contact? Yes. Uncleanness is communicated to the clean by contact. When holy and unholy come in contact, both are unholy. In therapeutics, measles is communicated by contact. In the physical realm, dirty water will discolor clean water — not the opposite. In the moral realm, the evil heart of man cannot perform good deeds. In the religious realm, a ceremony cannot cleanse a sinner.

v. 14 — Haggai makes the application to Israel. Although they had returned to the land, performed the ritual and rebuilt the temple, their hearts were far from God.

vv. 15-17 — They wondered why God had not blessed them. He had judged them because their hearts were not changed.

vv. 18, 19 — “Consider” — God would bless them now because they had obeyed. He would bless because of His grace.

V. A revelation of God’s program; an expectation for the future, Chapter 2:20-23

v. 20 — The date is December 24, 520 B.C., the same date as the former message.

v. 21 — The message is directed to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah.

v. 22 — This is the far-off and final purpose of God. Gentile power will come to an end, and all instruments of warfare will be destroyed.

v. 23 — “In that day” is the day of the LORD. God’s purpose will prevail. Zerubbabel is of the posterity of David, according to the historian Josephus. This was a promise that God’s purpose in the line of David would not be defeated.
Zerubbabel will be a “signet” — but the line of Jeconiah would be a signet plucked from the hand of God (see Jeremiah 22:24-30; Matthew 1:11).
This last message reveals the persistent purpose of God in bringing the Lord Jesus Christ to the throne of David.

Notes for Haggai ← Prior Section
Notes for Zechariah Next Section →
Notes for Zephaniah ← Prior Book
Notes for Zechariah Next Book →
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