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Thursday, February 21 2013
Haggai: Consider Your Ways
Haggai, from the Hebrew name pronounced kawg-gaw-hee, meaning festive, was one of three prophets (Zechariah and Malachi are the other two - the reason that the three books are found together in present-day ordering of the Bible) whose ministries were focused on the time of Judah's national return from their seventy-years exile in Babylon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Return Of Judah). After seven decades, it was the children and grandchildren of the original exiles who returned - to a home that they had never before inhabited.
After the division of Israel into Israel and Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah), the kingdom of Israel had completely fallen to the Assyrian Empire by 721 BC; those northern "lost ten tribes" never returned (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes). 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). It was the Babylonian Empire that conquered the kingdom of Judah by 586 BC. The Babylonian Empire was later conquered by the Persian Empire (Persia is known today as Iran). It was during 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 [see also The New Moon Calendar], 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.
The restoration of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple progressed under Ezra and Nehemiah (see Ezra: The Return Of The Levites To Jerusalem and Nehemiah: The Return Of The Governor), although with numerous delays due opposition by the foreign inhabitants of the land, as well as by the people of Judah looking too much to their own interests. Through Haggai, the LORD commanded the people of Judah to "Consider your ways" and 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?"
"1:5 Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
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 Israel In History and Prophecy: Zion).
"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.
Haggai's prophecy included a complete history, past and future, of the Temple. He spoke of the original Temple, as built by Solomon, that was destroyed by the Babylonians ("Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory"; see Jeremiah: The Prophet's Conception and Lamentations: The Desolation Of The Rebel Kingdom), the reconstruction at that time under Ezra and Nehemiah ("How do ye see it now?"; see A History Of Jerusalem: Ezra And Nehemiah) which was greatly expanded by Herod the Great centuries later, before it was destroyed by the Romans themselves in 70 AD (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Herod, What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones? and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Zealots), as well as the future spiritual Temple that will exist in the Kingdom of God after the Messiah's return ("I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory"; see the study list below).
"2:1 In the seventh month, in the one and twentieth day of the month, came the word of the LORD by the prophet Haggai, saying, 2:2 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, 2:3 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? 2:4 Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: 2:5 According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not.
Studies For The Book Of Haggai
Fact Finder: How was King David involved in the building of the original Temple?
This Day In History, February 21
1173: Pope Alexander III canonized Thomas Becket. As Archbishop of Canterbury, Becket was executed 3 years before by King Henry II for his pro-papacy, anti-patriotic activities against his own country.
1437: After the king's efforts to break the influence of the Scottish nobility, King James I of Scotland was assassinated by conspirators led by Walter of Atholl.
1613: Michael Romanov became czar (the Russian form of "Caesar"; see also Caesar) of Russia, beginning the Romanov dynasty.
1715: Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore, died at age 78. He was commissioned governor of Maryland in 1661 and succeeded as proprietor of the colony in 1665. Like his grandfather, George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore, he was a staunch Roman Catholic and faced anti-Catholic feeling which was strong among Maryland's protestant majority.
1744: The British blockade of Toulon was broken by 27 French and Spanish warships attacking the 29 British ships.
1804: The world's first steam locomotive was completed, at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.
1848: Karl Marx (born of a wealthy Jewish and Rabbinical family in Germany) and Friedrich Engels (a wealthy German industrialist and atheist) published their infamous Communist Manifesto. Considering that both of them were very wealthy, and were never "workers," their Communist Manifesto is regarded by many historians to have been written by two hypocrites, not two social economists.
1849: In the Second British-Sikh War, the British defeated a force of 50,000 Sikhs at the Battle of Gujerat.
1915: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), German forces under Hindenberg heavily defeated the Russians under Baron Siever at the Winter Battle of Masuria which ended this day. Over 200,000 Russians were lost.
1916: During the First World War, German forces launched an attack on the French fortress at Verdun. The battle ended December 18, with 434,000 German and 543,000 French casualties.
1918: During the First World War, while British forces were advancing on Jerusalem (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate), Australian cavalry captured Jericho from the Ottomans (listen also to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The Balfour Declaration).
1940: The Nazis begin construction of the concentration camp at Auschwitz (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1941: Frederick Banting died at age 50. The Canadian physician (from Alliston, Ontario), with Charles Best of Toronto, discovered insulin in 1921 (which led to the effective treatment for diabetes). Banting was co-recipient (along with Scottish researcher John Macleod) of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Knighted in 1934, Banting was killed in a plane crash while on a war mission in the Second World War.
1944: Hideki Tojo became chief of staff of the Japanese army. "Tojo" thereafter became an epithet of Japan during the remainder of the Second World War.
1945: Eric Liddell died at age 43. The Scottish Olympic champion runner, later a missionary to China, was captured by the Japanese during the Second World War and died of a brain tumor while imprisoned. His college running days were portrayed in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire.
1965: U.S. African-American Muslim leader Malcolm X (actual name Malcolm Little) was assassinated in New York by members of the so-called "Nation of Islam."
1973: Israeli warplanes shot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 over the Sinai Desert, killing all 108 passengers and crew.
1975: United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell (the highest law-enforcement officer in the country) and White House officials H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman were sentenced to prison for their criminal involvement in the Watergate burglary.