A guide to understanding the book of Haggai





To understand the timeline of the Book of Haggai, please look at the following historical timeline (approx.) of when important “prophetic” events took place in relation to the Book of Haggai…


·        606 BC – the Lord’s Word thru His prophets (ex: Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc.) come to pass as a judgment on the “continual sins” of the Kingdom of Judah thru the FIRST Babylonian Invasion by Emperor Nebuchadnezzar-II


·        599 BC – the Lord’s Word thru His prophets (ex: Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc.) come to pass as a judgment on the “continual sins” of Kingdom of Judah thru the SECOND Babylonian Invasion by Emperor Nebuchadnezzar-II


·        586 BC – the Lord’s Word thru His prophets (ex: Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc.) come to pass as a judgment on the “continual sins” of Kingdom of Judah thru the THIRD and FINAL Babylonian Invasion by Emperor Nebuchadnezzar-II which results in  the complete destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple


·        536 BC –Jewish exiles (approx. 50,000) return to Jerusalem under the edict of Cyrus the Great (Persian Emperor) to repopulate Jerusalem and re-build the Temple ( Jeremiah 29; Ezra 1-3)


·        534 BC –re-building of the Second Temple STOPS! ( Ezra 4)


·        520 BC –prophetic ministry of Haggai and Zechariah ( Ezra 5:1-6:12; Haggai 1-2) to move God’s people toward obeying the Word


·        516 BCthe Second Temple is built and completed! ( Ezra 6:13-22)


·        458 BC – Ezra sent to establish the teaching of the Word and proper worship of God ( Ezra 7-10)


·        445 BC – Nehemiah sent to build the walls of protection around Jerusalem


In Romans 15:4, the Apostle Paul tells us that the stories of Israel serve as a source of encouragement for us all when we face disappointments and discouragement…the Lord helps ordinary people to overcome disappointments and discouragement so that they can accomplish extraordinary tasks for Him!
Please read the following Scriptures in the order listed below to understand the historical background of what Haggai was facing and what he was addressing in his community…


1)      Book of Jeremiah (Chapter 29) – Prophecy and Promise regarding the “Return of the Jews” from the Babylonian Captivity


2)    Book of Isaiah (Chapters 44:21-45:7) – Prophecy regarding Cyrus the Great – Nearly 150 years before Cyrus was born, the prophet Isaiah foretold his birth, his name, and the tasks that the Creator God had predetermined for him to accomplish. The Bible records that certain people are foreordained to be born and carry out specific tasks for God during their lifetime and a few of these individuals are even named before their birth. Cyrus the Great was one of these individuals whom God had predestined to play a pivotal roll in his awesome plan for humanity. BTW, Cyrus actually reads this prophecy of Isaiah…he is amazed and moved to act on behalf of the Jews


3)     Book of Daniel (Chapters 9 and 10) – Daniel’s fasting, prayer and intercession in response to the promise and prophecy in Jeremiah 29 leads to the release of the Jews from the brutal Babylonian captivity. 536BC


4)    Book of Ezra (Chapters 1, 2 and 3) – Cyrus the Great releases the Jews to go back to Jerusalem and re-build the Temple! (BTW, Psalm 126 is a song of praise that was a direct result of Daniel’s fasting, prayer and intercession ( Dan.9-10) J breaking the power of the spiritual enemy’s chokehold on God’s people thru God’s grace) 536BC


5)     Book of Ezra (Chapter 4) – Enemies of Judah oppose the rebuilding of the Temple and the plan of God…The people of God STOP working on God’s plan due to discouragement and disappointment! 534BC


6)    Haggai (Chapter 1 and 2) – Sixteen years had passed since the Jewish people had laid the foundation of God’s house ( Ezra 3:7–13). In the meantime, the foundation had overgrown with weeds, and the vision the people had slowly faded away. Haggai’s prophetic task when called of God was to rekindle that vision in the minds and hearts of the people and their leaders, and move them towards OBEDIENCE to God’s Word. 520BC


7)     Ezra (Chapters 5 and 6) – The Lord brings about a GREAT victory (520BC-516BC) by His Spirit ( Hag.1:13-14; Zech.4:6) when the people of God UNITE and work together by:

a)     FEAR of the Lord-Awesome REVERENCE for His WORD ( Hag.1:12)

b)    OBEYING the Lord on His WORD ( Hag.1:12)

Pastoral Word 4 us @ TSH


Our January 2013 TSH Sunday Sermons have focused on the Book of Haggai surrounding the theme, “Overcoming Discouragement.” The wave of discouragement comes to all of us in various ways and at various times. In counseling people I have found that the pathway to personal defeat is often paved with discouragement…and most times it appears to take the following steps…


1)    Disappointment (when expectations are NOT met) leads to…


2)  Discouragement… which leads to…


                        3)  Disinterest… which leads to…


                                                4) DEFEAT…


The more a person reads and studies the Bible, the clearer it becomes that in the history of His kingdom God chooses special people for special tasks. Or, to put it another way, the Lord always has the right person in the right place at the right time. The Prophet Haggai was a strategic figure in the history of God’s people - Israel.  Scholars tell us that the prophet Haggai was approximately ninety years old when he prophesied and helped Israel in 520 BC, and it was to be a turning point in the unfolding of God’s purpose for all Israel after the Babylonian exile. The Prophet Haggai shows us that the commitment that the Lord is looking from His people is NOT to escape this life but to know His power and presence in the here and now, which can transform both our lives and our society.  This ONLY happens when we HEAR & OBEY His Word and His Will ( Matt.6:33)!


The Book of Haggai ( Hag.1:1-11) gives a classic example of a community living in discouragement and defeat…However, the people of God overcome ONLY when they make a decision to dedicate themselves to reverencing the Lord and following the Lord regardless of the cost ( Hag.1:12-2:23)! This is a valuable lesson to us now!!!


Oppositions, disappointments and discouragement will certainly come to ALL of us! However, the Prophet Haggai tells us that the BLESSINGS and GRACE of God can NEVER be realized in our lives when we decide to follow our own personal-individualistic way of thinking, coping and living that is in direct OPPOSITION to what the Lord is saying by His Word and Spirit ( Haggai 1:1-11)