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The Prophets: Haggai
Haggai, from the Hebrew name pronounced kawg-gaw-hee, meaning festive, was one of three prophets (Zechariah and Malachi are the other two) whose ministries were focused on the time of Judah's return from their seventy-years exile in Babylon.
The Northern Kingdom of "Israel" had fallen to the Assyrian Empire in 721 BC; those northern "lost ten tribes" never returned (see also The Galilee Captivity). The Assyrians were later conquered by the Babylonian Empire (the territorial extent of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires were practically the same, centered in what is today Iraq; see Ancient Empires - Assyria and Ancient Empires - Babylon for maps of both empires). It was the Babylonian Empire that conquered the The Southern Kingdom of "Judah" by 586 BC. The Babylonian Empire was later conquered by the Persian Empire (Persia is known today as Iran; see Ancient Empires - Persia). It was under the Persian Empire, under their kings Cyrus and Darius, that the people of Judah were permitted to return home from Babylon.
The LORD's prophecies through Haggai began with instructions to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
"1:1 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 unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying, 1:2 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built. 1:3 Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 1:4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?" (Haggai 1:1-4 KJV)
"Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?"
The restoration of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple progressed under Ezra and Nehemiah, although with numerous delays due to the people looking too much to their own interests. Through Haggai, the LORD commanded the people of Judah to get on with it, for "1:4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?"
"1:4 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?
So the people began to finish the work, in order to restore their purpose for being there to begin with - to set the stage for the coming of the Messiah to "Zion" (see the Fact Finder question below).
"1:12 Then Zerubbabel 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.
Fact Finder: What does "Zionism" actually mean?