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The Gospel in

Haggai the pursuit of holiness in the hope of God’s eternal presence

Contributors Carlos Astorga, Th.M. Rhome van Dyck, Th.M. S. Jonathan Murphy, Ph.D. Vanessa van Dyck, M.Ed., M.A.[BS]

Field Notes a journal of exploration and discovery


The Gospel in Haggai: the pursuit of holiness in the hope of God’s eternal presence Field Notes Copyright Š 2011, 2012 Sacra Script Ministries Published by: Sacra Script Ministries 2001 West Plano Parkway, Suite 1010, Plano, TX 75075 www.SacraScript.org Printed in the United States of America All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of Sacra Script Ministries. 0612.2

For comments, corrections or suggestions, email us at comments@SacraScript.org Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SacraScriptMinistries or Twitter at www.twitter.com/sacrascript


The Purpose of Sacra Script __________________________________________

In the book of Acts chapter 8, Philip was prompted by the Holy Spirit to catch up with an Ethiopian eunuch reading from Isaiah 53 in his chariot. Philip asked the eunuch if he understood what he was reading. The eunuch replied, “How could I unless someone explains it to me?” The experience of the eunuch is common to most people. Just like Philip, Sacra Script’s goal is to explain Scripture in light of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Sacra Script creative team includes gifted pastor-teachers and biblical educators. We seek to explain the Bible within the context in which it was written and help you learn the necessary skills for application. We have also designed exercises and study questions to help you remember and respond to what you have learned so that your Bible study does not end at information but transformation. We have carefully included many different tools to help you understand God’s Word. These Field Notes include detailed written explanations, outlines, word studies, pictures, notes, illustrations, maps, and timelines in order to capture the meaning of the text in its ancient context. As a result, this book is part guide, part atlas, part Bible dictionary, part history, and part student workbook. Whether you have never opened the Bible or are seasoned in the faith, these Field Notes provide integrated learning of the Bible. Our resources also include an Expedition Guide for pastors, teachers, and facilitators which utilize additional notes, references, and teaching aids. Video and audio versions designed to better engage visual and auditory learners are also available. Lastly, a digital version guides the student through the biblical text online or through a variety of media technologies. At Sacra Script our prayer is that through the study of God’s Word and the aid of the Holy Spirit you would come to comprehend and apply the Bible. God gave us his word so that we can understand his will. He wants us to be informed about, and involved in, his plan for the ages. This plan for the ages is a gospel plan; it is good news. The gospel is that eternal life with God is made available by God. It is offered only through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection alone satisfies God’s wrath toward sin. You can receive God’s forgiveness and be assured of eternal life by trusting in Jesus Christ. This is good news. This is the gospel, and all of Scripture points to it.

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This book is a testimony to God’s faithfulness working through his people. Without our team of supporters giving to the work of the Lord, this book would not have been written. May God use these words to build and edify his Church for the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Table of Contents

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I. How does this book work? Keys to your Field Notes Survey the Land Excavate the Site Analyze the Find

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Understanding the design The art of active learning Old and New Testament scrolls

x xi xii

II. Survey the Land Field study 1: God longs to dwell with his people

Haggai background Discoveries

1 11

III. Excavate the Site Field study 2: God desires our fellowship and obedience

Haggai 1:1–15 Discoveries

19 29

Field study 3: Press on, God is with us

Haggai 2:1–9 Discoveries

39 49

Field study 4: The kingdom of God demands our holiness

Haggai 2:10–23 Discoveries

59 69

IV. Analyze the Find Field study 5: Believers must be holy to enjoy God’s eternal presence

Haggai in Scripture Discoveries

79 89

V. Toolbox Glossary 95 Tables and charts 100 The proper use of Old Testament narratives Major texts on the day of the Lord The principle of multiple fulfillments Guidelines for prophecy Calvin’s Institutes, Book 1, chapter 17, section 10–11 Scripture index 105

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How does this book work? Field Notes

Introduction

Keys to your Field Notes

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Welcome to your Field Notes on Haggai. You are about to embark on a journey of discovery. Your destination is the ancient world of the prophet Haggai. In order to be ready for your exploration of this inspired book, we highly recommend you spend a few minutes understanding the way your Field Notes work. This book serves as a guide to the ancient biblical text as well as a journal for your discoveries along the way. Let’s get started.

Studying the Bible Studying the Bible is much like heading off into an unknown land to dig around the ruins of an ancient civilization. You need to know where to dig, what you are discovering, and what is important about what you find. This book will guide you on a journey of ancient discovery: the discovery of the meaning of the biblical text.

A Field Study Your Field Notes are divided into individual field studies. Each Field Study is designed to take a minimum of 30 minutes. The content of the Field Study takes at least 15 minutes, and the remainder is for Discoveries including discussion questions, exercises, and activities. Every Field Study contains over an hour’s worth of questions and activities. They are designed for you to pick and choose the ones that are most helpful for you or your group.

This Bible study follows the metaphor of an expedition, or a quest for biblical and theological discovery. Your Field Notes contain three specific parts which correspond to the three steps used in an ancient dig. Each step will help you in the process of understanding and applying God’s Word to your soul. Each Field Study begins with learning the content and meaning of the text, followed by a section called Discoveries, which includes discussion questions, exercises, and activities to apply the text to your life. Let’s begin by understanding the three steps.

Step one: Survey the land The first step to making a discovery is a comprehensive survey of the land, notating everything that is around. In your Field Notes, the site is the biblical book we will study. This inspection helps us to better understand the characteristics of the terrain. With regard to the Bible, our survey helps us see the function of a book as part of the grand

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H How does this book work? Introduction

Field Notes

story of Scripture. We see all the general aspects that provide us the information we need to appreciate the significance of the text once we start our excavation. Our survey requires the right tools: a compass to know in what direction we are going and a map to understand the lay of the land. Our biblical survey will explore issues related to the historical background of the book, date of composition, author, and intended audience. We will also learn the significance of the book in the Bible, its literary style, and the necessary information for a detailed understanding. Essentially, we will learn all we can to understand what the original audience already knew when they received the writing. This way, as we read the biblical text, we will be closer to thinking the same thoughts as the original audience, and therefore have the same understanding they did. This guides us in correct interpretation.

Step two: Excavate the site Once we have surveyed the general details of our site, that is, of the book of the Bible we are studying, we proceed with a series of excavations of the land. This will mean hard work with the pick and shovel and sometimes delicate work with a brush or cloth. We will divide the book into units of thought generally composed of a few verses and in some cases, a few paragraphs that make up a single Field Study. We will dig into the details of the biblical text in order to unearth its treasures.

Discoveries Each Field Study ends with several pages of Discoveries. These are questions and exercises to help you remember and apply what you have learned from the biblical text. Discoveries have been designed to meet all learning styles. We learn by seeing, by hearing, and by doing. There are questions to discuss, exercises to write down, correlation between various biblical texts to make, and activities to do. They are provided to create the most effective learning experience for you.

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We will use specific tools to discover the truth and significance of each passage. In most cases, the following elements will be the tools of our trade: •

A structural analysis chart of the text. This tool will help us ask and answer the question, how is the text arranged? We will focus on how the author structured the biblical text under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The arrangement of the unit we are studying is fundamental to discover the author’s thought and purpose. It will help us to discern patterns, contrasts, emphases, progressions, conflicts, and arguments.

An explanation of what the passage says. Here we will ask several different questions pertaining to our particular text. We will begin by asking, what are the key terms? We will examine key terms and phrases, identifying those elements in the passage which contribute most significantly to its meaning and message. We will then consider the question, what is the explanation?


Field Notes

How does this book work? Introduction

Within this section, we may ask a question like, what about the culture? where we will consider cultural issues that enlighten us on the original audience of the text. If necessary we will ask, what about the geography? or what about the history? The Christian faith is a historical faith and therefore bound to time and space. Images, ideas, and cultural practices are all bound to a geo-location which reveal to us the richness of the treasure that lies beneath the dirt. •

A historical contextual summary of the significance of the text. After using all of these tools, we are finally ready to take the treasures we discovered and summarize them. In this section, we answer the question, what is God saying? Our response will present a brief summary of our findings and conclusions. Many times, this section will also provide us with other biblical examples that further help our understanding and reinforce the lessons we have learned.

A summary of the practical implications of the discoveries of our excavation. We finish every excavation answering the question, what does God want? The purpose of these Field Notes is to encourage explorers to grow in their faith and live by it. Such faith is not alive unless the treasures we excavate become realities in our daily lives. We will provide for you some of the major principles discovered, along with particular suggestions for practical application. These suggestions are aids which will help you explore additional implications that may apply more significantly to your particular life story.

Step three: Analyze the find Once you have completed digging through the biblical text, it is time to put down your tools and analyze what you have found. The Bible is God’s revelation to humanity and is one grand story of his love for us. It is important that we analyze each book of the Bible in light of the rest of Scripture. Here is what you need to consider: •

The place of this book within the biblical story. Here we answer the question, what does this book of the Bible contribute to the entire story of Scripture? God wants us to learn about his nature and his character, and each book of the Bible contributes to this understanding. This is why all of God’s Word is valuable. It teaches us how he passionately pursues us.

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H How does this book work? Introduction

SAMPLE PAGES This is the sidebar containing optional information to compliment and explain content from the main section.

This is the title bar showing the title, key theme, and the Field Study number.

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Survey the Land

Obadiah

Field study 1

A family conflict became a long war of nations

What is the background to our story? Nabateans The Nabateans were an ancient Semitic people who took over the land of the Edomites. They settled and built the city of Petra beginning in the 4th century B.C. and resided there during the four hundred years between the times of the Old and New Testaments.

The prophecy of Obadiah begins in the geographical area known today as Petra, meaning rock, within modern day Jordan. The Nabateans carved their rock buildings at Petra over 100 years before Christ. This was the land of ancient Edom before the ruin announced by Obadiah came upon them. God’s curse fell upon the Edomites because of the way they treated Israel. Yes, those were times of constant war among the nations, but Edom and Israel were not merely neighbors. They descended from the same family; in fact, from brothers—twin brothers! God’s anger came upon Edom because Edom did not help his brother in the day Israel was attacked by a foreign power. On the contrary, as Obadiah will reveal, Edom sarcastically celebrated the enslavement of Israel. Would you like to have a brother like that?

Todd Bolen, www.BiblePlaces.com

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Genesis 25:19–34 1600

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The biblical text is always shown on an ancient scroll.

This is the main section of the page and contains all of the essential information.

Survey the Land

Obadiah

Field study 1

Numbers 20:14–21

A family conflict became a long war of nations

Timeline of Isaac’s Family

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37:12–36

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35:28–29; 25:26

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Jacob, 130

46–47; 47:9–28

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Jacob, 147

47:28

If we fast-forward our story, the book of Exodus tells us that 450 years after Jacob and Esau, the Israelites are living as slaves in Egypt. God sent Moses to deliver Israel from slavery and lead them on an exodus, a journey out of slavery, into the Promised Land. The fastest roadway between Egypt and the Promised Land was called the King’s Way. It crossed right through Seir, the land of Edom. Even Moses pleads with Israel

Abel-shittim Mount Zion

Mediterranean Sea

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The solid line is the route traveled. The dotted line is the route they wanted to travel if the Edomites would have let them through.

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Moses leads the people toward the Promised Land The solid line from Kadesh-barnea to Punon represents the route that the Israelites may have been traveling. When the Edomites refused access to the King’s Highway, Israel was forced south to get around Edom.

B.C. 2000

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Timeline showing key events.

Note the use of pictures, maps, illustrations, and tables.

Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “This is what your brother Israel says: You know all the hardships that have experienced. How our ancestors went down into Egypt, and we lived there a long time. The Egyptians treated us and our fathers harshly, but when we cried out to the LORD, he heard our voice, and sent a messenger and brought us out of Egypt. Now we are here at Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through any field or vineyard, or even drink water from a well. We will travel along the king’s highway and not go to the right or the left until we have passed through your territory.” But Edom said to him, “You will not pass through here, or we will come out and attack you with the sword.” The Israelites said to him, “We will go along the main highway, and if we or our cattle drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to pass through on foot, nothing more.” But he said, “You may not pass through.” Then Edom came out against them with a large and powerful army. So Edom refused to allow them to pass through their territory, so Israel turned away from them.

1000 1193 Greeks destroy Troy

Time of the judges

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Moses instructs the nation of Israel as he leads them towards the Promised Land.

several centuries later, the bitterness of Esau against Jacob was still present in their descendants. The book of Numbers1 describes how Moses requested permission from the king of Edom to pass through his land. Moses assured the king that the Israelites would not depart from the main road and even offered to pay for the water they might use. The Edomites refused; they still remembered how Jacob stole the blessing of 1400

1526–1406 Life of Moses 1446–1406 The exodus

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Footnotes are always used for biblical references.

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The relationship of this book to Christ. The pinnacle of God’s Word is the coming of his Son Jesus, who saves people from their sin. This is the gospel, the good news of Scripture. Our question here is, how does this book point to the coming of Christ?

When using these Field Notes, please keep in mind the following principles:

Providence Lithograph Company, 1907

Genesis 25:27–34 B.C. 2000

hen the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he had a taste for wild game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the fields and he was famished. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am starving!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) But Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; what good is a birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear to me first”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew; Esau ate and drank, then got up and went on his way. So Esau despised his birthright.

2

The culmination of the story. Finally, we answer the question, how does the story end? This helps us to understand each book of the Bible in light of the grand narrative.

Our Field Notes have been purposefully designed to enable you the explorer, to learn and apply more effectively the lessons of each passage you excavate. We strongly encourage you to invest some time in understanding the functionality of the design. This will greatly help your study and will make it more rewarding and enjoyable.

God told Rebekah before the twins were born that the oldest son, Esau, would serve Jacob, the youngest. This was contrary to tradition. The fulfillment of this prophecy began when, as young adults, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a cup of red soup. Take a look:

The Treasury at Petra

Understanding the design

The quarrelsome story of these twins begins in Genesis chapter 25.1 Here the Bible explains that Jacob and Esau were born to Rebekah after a period of almost 20 years during which she could not have children. After Isaac prayed for his wife, Rebekah was finally able to conceive. She was pregnant with twins. Their father Isaac was 60 years old!

This treasury at Petra was created by the Nabataeans in the land that once belonged to the Edomites. Notice how red the rock is.

Field Notes

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• The notes are designed to provide as much relevant information as possible in an efficient way. You may not be able to study everything in one sitting, but you can know there is a wealth of information available for you in a single place. Come back to the study as often as you like and learn something new. • Feel free to focus your attention in any of the different sections of the page and/or the sections of Field Notes as a whole. Everyone learns differently. Learn and apply that which best suits your learning style and your particular needs and interests, but challenge yourself to try something new. • The main column of each page provides you with the essential content of the lesson. If you have limited time, we encourage you to focus your attention there. The items in the side margins are complementary to the main text and can be skipped if the material is already known. • Blank spaces are provided in the margins. Use them to record your thoughts, observations, and questions. Make your own notes from the field.


Field Notes

How does this book work?

The art of active learning There are several things that you can do to help yourself learn new material. This is especially true with the Bible, so we have outlined five basic steps to help you engage in the learning process. 1. Come prepared. Begin by asking God for wisdom, humility, and dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. Pray, “Open my eyes that I might see the wonderful things in your law” from Psalm 119:18. Read with a pen or pencil in hand for marking the text or taking notes. Read aloud at times. This will help you engage your eyes, ears, and voice in the reading process. 2. Preview the text. Regardless of what you are going to read, quickly previewing the text will prepare your mind for what you are going to encounter. Look for a basic outline of the thought, the structure, and the key terms and concepts. 3. Mark the text. Use intentional, deliberate markings that fit your learning style. This will help you engage your mind in what you are reading and activate your memory. Here are some suggestions: • Identify lists of related ideas or topics. Itemize the list in the margin. Galatians 5:16–17 is a good example of a listing text. • Mark key words and phrases. The questions you ask from the text will guide you to key words or phrases. Repetition and contrast also point out key elements of the text. • Identify relationships. Mark logical relationships like therefore, so that, or in order to. Mark temporal relationships such as before, after, the next day, or immediately. Notate contrasts like but or however, and correlations like if-then or either-or. Also highlight conjunctions such as and or or as well as purpose statements like for this reason. 4. Make notes. Constantly summarize your ideas, write questions, repeat key words, use colors and symbols, and note references. Use your pen or pencil as a pointer so you will not lose your place. Find as many answers as possible to the six basic questions that unlock the content and meaning of a text: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Describe your thoughts completely, but be brief. 5. Summarize, paraphrase, or outline the text. Write a paragraph, sentence, or phrase to summarize what you have read in your own words. Reread the passage, paying attention to your markings and notes in the text so you will remember what you have read.

Introduction

Colors and Symbols Use a consistent color and/or symbol code that works for you. • Color parts of speech—Use colors for nouns, pronouns, verbs and prepositions. • Color themes—Use colors for key themes like God, faith, love or sin. • Color relationships—Use colors for temporal or logical words like before, therefore, so that, or if-then. • Use Symbols—Mark important concepts or characters with icons: God – triangle Love – heart Jesus – cross Repentance – U-turn Law – tablets • Use arrows—indicate logical or temporal relationships. Mix colors and symbols as needed but keep it simple and consistent.

Asking Questions Who—is talking, is being spoken to, is acting, is obeying, is disobeying, is thinking, and is feeling? What—is happening, is the lesson, must you avoid or imitate, is being said, is not said, did the person do, does the subject feel or think? When—did this happen, will this happen? Where—did it happen, is it happening, will it happen? Why—did things happen, was something said or not said, was an action taken or avoided? How—did things happen, will they happen, is the teaching illustrated, are conflicts caused or resolved?

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Law

Old Testament Scrolls

History

Poetry

Major

Prophets

Minor

Prophets

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New Testament Scrolls

Gospels

History

Paul’s

Letters

General Letters

Prophecy

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H How does this book work?

Field Notes

Introduction

Aral Sea Black Sea

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LY D I A Euphrates River

MEDIA

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Samaria

Babylon Susa

Jerusalem

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Indian Ocean

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The Persian empire reached its peak during the time of Ezra, around 458 B.C. It became the first empire in the history of the Middle East to encompass all three major rivers: the Euphrates, the Tigris, and the Indus.

Joppa

Plain of Ono Neballat Hadid Bethel Ai

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Gibeon Kephirah

Ramah

Michmash Geba

Jordan River

Judea under Persian Rule

Jericho

Beth-azmaveth

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After the return from the exile beginning in 538 B.C., the Promised Land was no longer known as Israel and Judah. Under Persian rule, all this region belonged to a satrapy called Beyond the River. The northern region formerly known as Israel was now known as Samaria; and the southern region previously know as Judah was now named Judea. The Edomites had moved further northwest, taking part of the land that used to belong to Judah. This portion came to be know as Idumea.

Mizpah

Gittaim


Survey the Land Haggai

God longs to dwell with his people Field study 1

Introduction

Ancient Discovery

Field study 1

Be sure to read the introductory section, “How does this book work?” before proceeding with this study.

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Why should we study Haggai? It’s hard not to think about ourselves first. Even Christians fall into the trap of thinking about their desires before God’s. The message in the book of Haggai deals with this timeless sin. Haggai is a mustread for us today because, even though Christ’s name is not explicitly mentioned, it contains a truly Christian message. The advancement of God’s will and purpose must be the top priority of everyone who professes to be a faithful follower of Christ. Such a message and mission is absolutely critical to Christians living in an age that promotes two secular priorities that are utterly contrasting to godliness: a self-centered attitude and a self-serving agenda. We live in a world that focuses on meeting our own desires and offers God the leftovers. The book of Haggai seeks to encourage us and protect us from this mindset which has so often plagued the people of God. In the book of Haggai, God withdrew his blessingg from his ppeople, p , and they could not attain the comfortable life they desired because of inverted Matthew 16:25 priorities. Jesus would teach this exact For whoever wants to same message half a millennium later. save his life will lose it , but whoever loses his life The book of Haggai shows the error of for my sake will find it. this self-serving tendency and exhorts Judah to put God first. God desires that his people rest confidently in his provision and care so that they can be free to focus their efforts and attention on advancing God’s kingdom, knowing that he will take care of all their needs. Haggai shows us that we are to live our lives the same way our Savior Jesus 750

700 722 Northern kingdom falls to Assyrians

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500 B.C.

586 Southern kingdom goes into Babylonian exile First exiles return from Babylon 538 Haggai prophecies 520

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S

Survey the Land

Haggai

God longs to dwell with his people

Field study 1

Lancastermerrin88, 2010

The land of Canaan is the land that was promised to Abraham. In different time periods, different boundaries are given, but it essentially refers to the land that makes up modern Israel, Lebanon, southern Syria, and may extend as far south as Egypt.

The Ark of the Covenant This wooden chest overlaid with gold was God’s very presence among his people. It contained the Ten Commandment tablets, a golden urn full of manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded. The wooden poles allowed the ark to be carried for no human could touch it and live. The atonement cover, or mercy seat, was a solid gold slab with two cherubim whose wings outstretched over the mercy seat.

The Tabernacle The word tabernacle means “to dwell among.”The tabernacle was a tent with a wooden frame overlaid in gold. It was divided into two rooms: the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The Holy Place contained several items for worship while the Most Holy Place contained the ark of the covenant. 1850 B.C. 2000

perfectly exemplified when he came to earth: a life of self-giving love for the sake of God’s kingdom. The message of Haggai therefore points to the gospel message which Christ proclaimed in Matthew 6:33.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

What is the background to our story? Chronologically, the story of Haggai takes place towards the very end of the Old Testament. It focuses particularly on the kingdom of Judah, now called Judea, and the city of Jerusalem after the Israelites returned from 70 years of exile in Babylon. But how and why did God’s people end up in such a distant place from the Promised Land? God’s covenant with Abraham promised that a future nation would come from his descendants.1 Abraham’s grandson Jacob, who would be renamed Israel, eventually moved his family to Egypt because of famine in the land. According to God’s sovereign plan, Israel would eventually be enslaved by the Egyptians. God raised up Moses to deliver his people from slavery, form them into a nation, and take them into the Promised Land.2 God’s desire was to dwell among his people, guiding and protecting them, so that all nations would see and be drawn to him. God led his people with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night so that they had a visual representation of his presence.3 However, early in Israel’s journey to Canaan, the people fell into corruption and made gods according to their own image, bringing about God’s discipline.4 It was clear that for God to dwell among his people, a holy place had to be provided.5 God had his people build a special tent for him called the tabernacle. Within the tabernacle there was a specific wooden box covered in gold called the ark of the covenant. This was the place of God’s holy presence in the midst of Israel. It was where they would be able to approach him in worship, through the system of sacrifices God had given them. Centuries later, 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Genesis 12:1–3 Exodus 3:8 Exodus 13:21–22 Exodus 32 Exodus 33:1–11 1700

2091 God’s covenant with Abraham?

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Matthew 6:33

1925 God’s covenant with Abraham?

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1400 1446 Exodus from Egypt? Exodus from Egypt? 1260

Todd Bolen, www.BiblePlaces.com

Canaan

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Survey the Land

Haggai

God longs to dwell with his people

Field study 1

Israel’s monarchy began with Saul followed by David. Starting around 1050 B.C., David’s son Solomon built the temple of Jerusalem around 960 B.C. and this became the new dwelling place of God. This glorious edifice of ancient Israel was the center of their religious life and worship. In 930 B.C. after the death of Solomon, the nation divided into the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah. In 722 B.C. the northern Divided Kingdom kingdom, disconnected from the temple After King Solomon, Israel divided into the in Jerusalem, fell to Assyria and the northern kingdom, with Samaria as their northern tribes were dispersed. 136 capital and the southern kingdom keeping Jerusalem as their capital. years later, in 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon destroyed the temple, and the southern kingdom of Judah was conquered and taken captive. God orchestrated these events as discipline for his unfaithful people. Israel

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Solomon’s Temple Solomon built “the house of the LORD” over a seven year period. It was completed in the fall of 960 or 959 B.C. and was God’s permanent dwelling place among his people. It was considered the most spectacular building in the ancient world.

Iby the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the L

n the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD ORD stirred the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his kingdom and to put it in writing: “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a house for him at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.’”

Aeaige, 2010

2 Chronicles 36:22–23

According to God’s promised judgment proclaimed by the prophet Jeremiah, the Jews spent the next 70 years in exile.6 While in exile, Babylon fell to the newly established Persian empire. The book of 2 Chronicles narrates for us briefly the circumstances immediately before the story of Haggai:

Cyrus the Great Cyrus II who was better known as Cyrus the Great, lived from 559–530 B.C. He founded the Achaemenid empire and was used by God to allow the exiled people of Judah to return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem.

In 538 B.C., Cyrus king of Persia fulfilled the announcement of the prophet Isaiah and issued an edict permitting the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple.7 Cyrus’ son, Cambyses, ruled after him but was not greatly influential in the affairs or advancement of the empire. In 522 B.C. Darius ascended to the throne. During the second year of his reign, Haggai proclaimed his prophecy. Eighteen years had passed since the exiles had returned to Jerusalem. Within 6. 2 Chronicles 36:15–21; Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10 7. Isaiah 45:1 1250 1100

950

1050 Saul becomes king

800 930 The kingdom divides

1010 David becomes king 971 Solomon becomes king

The Jews Beginning in the period after the exile, the tribe of Judah comprised most of the families of Israel. As a result, the people became known as Jews. See Esther 2:5; 3:5–6. 650

500 B.C.

722 Northern kingdom falls to Assyria Babylon destroys the temple 586 Cyrus’ decree allowing the Jews to return 538

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two years they had laid the foundation for the temple, but in the face of local opposition, they quit.1 Someone had to awaken the remnant of God’s people to finish the temple and avoid further discipline from the Lord. God raised up the prophets Haggai and Zechariah for that purpose. The following table summarizes the major events which led to the composition of the book of Haggai:

Major events in Israel’s history

Date B.C.

Event

Reference

2091? 1925?

God makes a covenant with Abram to make him the father of a new nation

Genesis 12:1–25:18

1898? 1732?

Joseph goes down to Egypt as a slave

Genesis 37

1446? 1260?

The Exodus—Israel leaves Egypt. God instructs Moses to build the tabernacle

Exodus 32–40

1050–1010 Saul reigns over Israel beginning the period of the kings

70 Year Exile In Jeremiah 25:11, God announced his judgment upon Judah. They would be exiled into Babylon for a period of 70 years. There are two possible ways to count these years: Exile years or temple years. If counted based on the exile years, they would begin with the first deportation of Jews in 605 B.C. and would end with the first return of exiles in 538–535 B.C. If counted based on the temple years, they would begin in 586 B.C. with the destruction of the temple, and they would end with the completion of the Second Temple in 516 B.C. B.C. 2000

1850

1010–970

King David rules over Israel

2 Samuel 2

970

King Solomon starts his reign

1 Kings 2–3

960

Solomon finishes and consecrates the temple

1 Kings 3–9

930

Israel divides into the northern kingdom 1 Kings 12 of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah

722

The northern kingdom falls to Assyria

2 Kings 17

605

Babylon first lays siege to Jerusalem

2 Kings 25

597

First wave of exiles is taken into Babylon from Jerusalem

Jeremiah 52:28–30 2 Chronicles 36:5–8

586

Nebuchadnezzar destroys the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Second wave of exiles taken to Babylon

2 Chronicles 36:17–19

539

Cyrus king of Persia captures Babylon

2 Chronicles 36:20–21

538

First year of Cyrus—issues an edict allowing Jews to return to Jerusalem

2 Chronicles 36:22–23

538–535

First exiles return to Jerusalem

Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10

536

Temple rebuilding begins

Ezra 3:8

536–520

Opposition against Jews. Temple rebuilding ceases

Ezra 4

520

Prophecy of Haggai. Rebuilding of the temple resumed

Haggai 1:14; Ezra 5:2

1. Ezra 4:24 1700

2091 God’s covenant with Abraham?

4

1 Samuel 12

1925 God’s covenant with Abraham?

1550

1400 1446 Exodus from Egypt? Exodus from Egypt? 1260

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Who wrote this prophecy?

The lack of certainty about Haggai’s name does not prevent us in any way from correctly interpreting the message of his writing. The way the prophet is introduced without any connection to his forefathers could have three possible explanations. First, he was well-known in the community and needed no introduction other than being identified as the prophet. Second, the population of Jerusalem was quite small after the exile. Third, the scarcity of prophets during this time made it unnecessary to explain who he was since everyone would have known the prophet.

When did this happen?

Saul becomes king 1050 David becomes king 1010 Solomon becomes king 971

The Prophet Haggai This Russian icon of the prophet Haggai illustrates an Eastern tradition of creating a pictorial image for each of the prophets of God.

The Inscription of Darius the Great The Behistun Inscription is Darius’ history of his reign over the Persian empire chiseled into a rock face in three different languages. Attributed to Darius himself, it is located on Mount Behistun in the Kermanshah province of western Iran and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It gives witness to the historicity of Darius’ reign and the events of the book of Haggai.

Aryobarzan, 2005

Interestingly, Haggai’s content and date can be determined with great precision. The prophecies narrated in the book were proclaimed for the first time “in the second year of Darius the king.”3The book also provides a precise day for the proclamation of each message.4 All dates correspond to the second year of Darius king of Persia, 520 B.C. This is supported with evidence from kings’ lists, multiple Babylonian texts, as well as new moon tables from astronomical charts. The following table presents the information for each of the dates mentioned in the book. The first section corresponds to chapter 1 and includes both a primary message and the peoples’ response given a few weeks later. 2. Haggai 1:1, 13; 2:1,10, 20; Ezra 5:1; 6:14 3. Haggai 1:1 4. Haggai 1:1, 15; 2:1, 10, 20 1250 1100

Iconostasis of Kizhi monastery, Russia, 18th Century

The book of Haggai contains four brief prophetic messages. In each case the author is identified as Haggai the prophet or simply Haggai.2 There are no clues as to his family, age, or tribe of origin. The name Haggai literally means festal or pertaining to the feast. This might mean that Haggai was born on a day that corresponded to one of the national festivals of Israel commanded by God. Haggai’s name may also anticipate his message of restoring the great feasts of Israel within the rebuilt temple.

950

800 930 The kingdom divides

650

500 B.C.

722 Northern kingdom falls to Assyria Babylon destroys the temple 586 Cyrus’ decree allowing the Jews to return 538

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Dates in Haggai

The Book of Haggai Some have proposed that the book of Haggai was composed by a disciple of the prophet after he proclaimed his messages. The main argument supporting this idea is that the book speaks of Haggai and his prophecy in the third person. His message and its effect are described more than proclaimed. They are viewed as past events more than present ongoing situations.

Message

Reference

Date 520

Date

B.C.

First Message

1:1–11

Sixth month, first day

August 29

Response

1:12–15

Sixth month, twenty-fourth day

September 21

Second Message

2:1–9

Seventh month, twenty-first day

October 17

Third Message

2:10–19

Ninth month, twenty-fourth day

December 18

Fourth Message

2:20–23

Ninth month, twenty-fourth day

December 18

The book of Haggai gives us just four messages of this man of God. Yet God used these few words to awaken and encourage the hearts of his people during times of great nostalgia and disillusion. They still encourage us and point us toward Christ.

What was going on at the time? The immediate background to our story is recorded in the historical book of Ezra.1 According to Ezra 1 and in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies, God stirred the heart of Cyrus, King of Persia, to proclaim the following message in 539 B.C.2 This was the first year of his reign.

Thas given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has instructed

his is what Cyrus king of Persia says: The LORD, the God of heaven,

Marco Prins and Jona Lendering, 2007

B.C. 600

590

605 Babylon first lays siege to Jerusalem

6

597 Babylon exiles first wave of people

Ezra 1:2–4

The Cyrus Cylinder This ancient Persian clay cylinder dated from the 530’s B.C. tells of Cyrus the Great’s conquest of Babylon. It affirms that Cyrus allowed Babylonian captives to return home as recorded in the Book of Ezra. Today this cylinder is housed in the British Museum.

me to build a house for him at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem. And let each survivor, in whatever place he may now be living, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.

In response to this edict, more than 40,000 people returned in several waves over the next hundred years, to the decimated land of Israel guided by Zerubbabel, Joshua, and others.3 This however, was less than half of those who had gone into exile 70 years earlier. The second 1. Ezra 1:1–4:5; 6:3–5 2. Jeremiah 25:11–14, 32:36–38 3. Ezra 2:1–2, 64–66 580 586

570

Babylon destroys Jerusalem Second wave exiled 582 Babylon exiles third wave of people

560 70 year exile in Babylon 605–535 B.C.

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year after their return, 537 B.C., the people of Judah started to rebuild the temple.4

W

“For he is good; his loving kindness to Israel endures forever.”

You can see from the diagram on pages xii and xiii, the books of the Old Testament are arranged by genre. Ezra is a historical book which covers the time period when Haggai and Zechariah prophesied. Therefore, much can be learned about the context of Haggai by reading the book of Ezra.

And all the people gave a great shout as they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and heads of family households, who had seen the former house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. People could not distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of the people’s weeping, because the people made so much noise, and the sound was heard far away. The picture was promising and yet, not all were joyful. The foundation of the temple had been set, but it was nothing like Solomon’s temple. Israel was just a fraction of what it once was, Jerusalem lay in ruins, and the Second Temple would never compare to the first. To make matters worse, opposition came and the returnees were not ready for it. The land of Judah was not abandoned. It was inhabited by people brought into the land by the Assyrians.5 They offered to help in the building project, claiming to be worshipers of God, but Zerubbabel and Joshua forbade them because they were not a part of the believing covenant community, and had not received a decree from Cyrus. As a result, the people of the land turned against them. Their goal was now to prevent the construction of the temple and frustrate any efforts to the contrary.6

Tomb of Cyrus the Great This is the tomb of Cyrus the Great in the capital city that he built but never completed, Pasargadae. It is located in modern day Iran.

So from the days of Cyrus until the days of Darius, the people of Judah decided to avoid any confrontation and ceased the construction of the temple altogether. The rebuilding of the city 4. Ezra 3:8–9 5. Ezra 4:2; 2 Kings 17:24–41 6. Ezra 4:4–5 550 540

Mahmoud3010, 2010

Ezra 3:10–13

hen the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, according to the directions of King David of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD:

The Book of Ezra

530 538 Cyrus’ decree allowing Jews to return 536 Temple rebuilding begins then stops 538–535 First exiles return to Jerusalem

520

510

500 B.C.

520 Prophecies of Haggai 516 Temple is completed

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Rebuilding the Land Many of the Jews who had been living in exile did not return to the land. Those who did, were discouraged because of the desolation of their cities, foreigners were living in the land and the nation was so much smaller than it once was. It was from the group of Jews that did not return to the land that Mordecai and Esther originated. They ended up in the Persian capital of Susa where Esther became queen in 485–464 B.C.

and the temple was the reason for their return, but they had quit. The book of Haggai describes the condition of their hearts during this time and the message that Haggai had for that generation. Eighteen years had passed, and the temple still looked just like it did when they had set the foundation! Nothing more had been built. This study will guide us through the events that led to the reconstruction of the temple and the renewal of joy and hope in the hearts of God’s people.

Who was the audience? Governor Zerubbabel was from the line of David and should have been the king when they returned to the Promised Land. However, since the land remained under Persian control, Zerubbabel was only able to serve as governor. There would not be any more kings from David’s line in Israel’s history, until Jesus.

Sodacan, 2009

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Standard of Cyrus the Great This a depiction of the standard or symbol of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid empire. It is called the Golden Falcon. This standard for Persian kings is described by Xenophon in Cyropaedia in Book VII, C.1, “the standard was a golden eagle, with outspread wings, borne aloft on a long spear-shaft, and to this day such is the standard of the Persian king.”

Haggai addressed his prophetic messages to the people of Judah residing in Jerusalem in the fall of 520 B.C. These are the ones who returned from Babylon after the edict was issued by Cyrus king of Persia in 538 B.C. More specifically, Haggai spoke to the leaders of the nation, who had led them out of Babylon and back into the Promised Land.1 He spoke both to their civil and religious leaders: Zerubbabel their governor and Joshua their high priest. He exhorted them to lead God’s people and turn their hearts back to their Lord, encouraging them to live their lives according to God’s will and desire so they could experience long lasting joy and blessing.

How should we read this type of book?

Narrative To supplement your understanding of the storyline of Haggai, we have included a guide to Old Testament narratives in the Toolbox section at the back of this book. B.C. 600

590

605 Babylon first lays siege to Jerusalem

8

597 Babylon exiles first wave of people

If we are to properly understand the meaning and message of any book of the Bible, we must know the literary genre to which the book belongs as well as the rules that guide the interpretation of the particular type of literature. Haggai consists of four prophetic speeches that function much like modern sermons. Haggai speaks within a narrative framework, while most prophets use a more poetic prose. In the following table you will find a summary of the characteristics of prophetic speeches which will guide the interpretation of the text.

1. Ezra 2:1–2 580 586

570

Babylon destroys Jerusalem Second wave exiled 582 Babylon exiles third wave of people

560 70 year exile in Babylon 605–535 B.C.

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Topic What is prophecy?

Field study 1

The Proper Use of Old Testament Prophecies Description

The word prophecy literally means speak forth, announce, proclaim. In prophecy, the primary medium is not the written word but the spoken word of the prophet.

The role of the A prophet is a person who speaks for God. While they sometimes predict future events, their ministry prophet was essentially to act as God’s emissaries and communicate his words to their generation. The ministry of a prophet had two important characteristics: 1. They spoke for God. This is the essential characteristic of prophetic speeches. The prophet always made sure the audience knew that his words were of divine origin by saying, “this is what the LORD says.” In many cases, the message was delivered in first person, using “I” or “me” as if God himself was speaking. 2. They sought to enforce the covenant. Israel’s law constituted a covenant between God and his people. The covenant contained regulations, promises and sanctions. Blessings and curses were included in the stipulations of the covenant. For this reason, the prophets function as enforcers of the covenant. The blessings and curses they proclaim were not new. They spoke reminders of the regulations of the covenant originally given during the receiving of the law. Characteristics Hebrew prophecy features several distinctive characteristics: of Hebrew 1. Covenant Language. The prophets often use language that points back to the covenant of the law prophecy with its blessings and curses. For this reason, their proclamation is usually spoken in the following terms: a. The blessings they proclaim fall in one of six categories: life, health, prosperity, agricultural abundance, respect, and safety. b. The curses they proclaim correspond to one of the following ten “d’s”: death, disease, drought, dearth, danger, destruction, defeat, deportation, destitution, and disgrace. 2. Historical Context. The prophets spoke at times when the nation was experiencing extreme conditions of social upheaval, religious unfaithfulness, and international power struggles. It is absolutely necessary to have a working knowledge of the particular events that lead to the proclamation of the prophecy, in order to grasp its relevance and significance in the context of the covenant described in Deuteronomy 4:25–31. 3. Oracles. The basic form of the prophetic speech was the oracle. Most prophetic books consist of a series of messages or oracles compiled into a book in an uninterrupted series without breaks or introductions. For this reason, it is important to recognize the different types of oracles so that their boundaries can be identified. Some oracles are dated or encased inside a historical framework. 4. The Particular Forms of Prophetic Speech. The most common forms of prophetic speech are: a. The Lawsuit. In this form, the message is proclaimed in a legal form with a summons, charge, evidence, and verdict. b. The woe. These are messages of impending doom with three major parts: the word woe, the reasons for distress, and the announcement of doom. c. The promise or salvation oracle. This is the opposite of the woe oracle. It announces the coming of new blessings with three elements: a reference to the future, mention of radical change, and a promise of blessing. d. The enactment prophecy. On many occasions, the words of the prophecy are “fleshed out” in the life of the prophet. He performs a series of symbolic actions that vividly present and reinforce the message. e. The messenger speech. This is the most common form of prophecy. In it, the prophet is a herald to the nation, proclaiming the words of God in the form of a speech or sermon. It usually begins with the phrase, “this is what the LORD says.” 5. Poetry. Hebrew poetry was employed as an aid to memorization. The prophets often proclaim their messages in some form of poetic prose to help seal the message in the hearts of their hearers. Adapted from How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, chapter 10, The Prophets: Enforcing the Covenant in Israel by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stewart. Zondervan, 2003

550

540

530 538 Cyrus’ decree allowing Jews to return 536 Temple rebuilding begins then stops 538–535 First exiles return to Jerusalem

520

510

500 B.C.

520 Prophecies of Haggai 516 Temple is completed

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Haggai

God longs to dwell with his people

Why did God give us this message? Throughout the ages, God has emphasized over and over again that his presence among his people is the blessing. From the time of the exodus to the construction of the tabernacle, we see God’s desire: “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.”1 It is the presence of God in the midst of his people that signals for us the reality of his blessing. God gave us the book of Haggai so that we can realize, through the story of the exiles of Judah, how easy it is for us to lose sight of what is most important in our lives. If we pursue all the desires of our hearts, but do not have God’s presence and blessing, we have nothing. In the times of Haggai, God’s people thought that as long as their houses looked great and they enjoyed peace, they had all that was needed. The temple was unimportant. God’s presence was not needed! Haggai needed to remind the nation of Judah that God’s people are to be identified as the people of God’s presence. The temple was for them the visible sign and the temporal reality of the glorious presence of God in their midst. It was imperative for them to finish its construction. The book of Haggai also points us to the consummation of God’s desire. The most perfect and most beautiful expression of God’s presence in the midst of His people would surely arrive. God’s people would see His glory, the very image of the living God, in the person of his incarnate Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Discover how God wants us to discover the message of Haggai, and in it, contemplate the glory of the gospel of Christ.

1. Exodus 29:46

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Discoveries

Field study 1 Notes, Observations & Questions

__________________________________________

Now that you have completed the survey of the background to the book of Haggai, it’s time to put down your tools and see what you have discovered. This section is designed to help you wrestle with the implications of the text and embed the newly learned information in your mind. Find the questions that suit your group best.

Connecting with the community These are discussion questions to help you understand the meaning of the text. Do not merely think of them as questions for you as an individual but rather think each of them, when applicable, in terms of you, your family, your community, your nation, and your church. 1. Why is it important to understand all of the background to Haggai before reading the actual text? 2. Why did God’s people have to go into exile? Read Jeremiah 25:6–14. Do you feel God’s punishment was just? Support your answer. 3. The remnant of exiles gave up rebuilding the temple when faced with opposition. Can you identify with their actions? How would you feel if you were opposed in a God-sized task such as this? 4. God used Cyrus the Persian king to free his people from captivity. How does this give you hope in God’s governance of worldly affairs? 5. Why would God want his people to build a tabernacle and then a temple? What is the significance of these places and what do they show us about God? 6. Explain the relationship between the books of Ezra and Haggai. 7. Review the timeline for this lesson. How long was the period between Jeremiah’s prophecy of exile and the actual exile? What comments or questions arise in your mind when you consider this length of time?

For more information about how to use our Discoveries section go to www.SacraScript.org

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Field study 1 Notes, Observations & Questions

8. Why do you think God allowed the opposition to the temple building if he wanted it done? What can you discern about the character of God and his actions in this situation? 9. Prayerfully meditate on the words of Psalm 79, a lament on the destruction of Jerusalem. What attitudes and emotions do you perceive in the psalmist’s prayer? How does this psalm help you understand the attitude of the exiles and the remnant in Haggai? 10. Prayerfully meditate on the words of Psalm 84. How important is the possibility of dwelling in God’s presence to the Psalmist? How does his longing for God compare to the attitude of Judah in the times of Haggai? Do you long for God? Can you identify with the psalmist desire? Is your attitude towards God more reminiscent of Judah’s? 11. In Old Testament times, the names of places and people often were important to their message. Do you believe that the meaning of the name Haggai relates in any way to his prophecy? If so, how? 12. To whom did Haggai originally write his message? Why is this important? What is Haggai’s purpose in proclaiming his prophecy? 13. Why is the historical reliability of the Bible important to our story? Does the historical background impact the validity of Haggai’s prophecy? 14. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 representing a little and 10 representing a lot, rate your own knowledge of the book of Haggai. At the end of Field Study 5 you will have another opportunity to evaluate your knowledge in light of what you have learned.

1 2 a little

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10 a lot

Probing deeper These exercises are for your continued study of the issues of Haggai by

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tracing its themes throughout the rest of Scripture.

Field study 1 Notes, Observations & Questions

1. Read Exodus 33. How important was the presence of God to the future of Israel as they went into the Promised Land? 2. Read Joshua 2. How quickly did the nation of Israel forsake the Lord? What was the result? In what terms is their disobedience described? 3. Read 1 Kings 6:1–13. What promise did God give to Solomon with respect to his dwelling in the temple? What was the condition? 4. Meditate on 1 Kings 8:1–61. List the many blessings the presence of God in the temple provided to his people. According to verses 56–61, what was God’s desire with respect to the nation of Israel? 5. Now read 2 Kings 24. What does this chapter describe? What is the theological reason for the events of this chapter according to verse 20? 6. Write a paragraph describing your perception of the purpose of Haggai’s prophecy in the context of the passages mentioned above. Come back to this section at the end of the study of this book and see if your understanding of the book has changed.

Bringing the story to life Learning the biblical geography helps us to understand the context of the Bible. Locate each of the following features on the map and label them. See the map on page xiv at the beginning of your Field Notes for help. • Countries and Regions: Persian empire, Israel (Samaria), Judah ( Judea), Media, Persia, Egypt. • Capitals: Samaria, Jerusalem, Babylon, Susa. • Water: Jordan River, Euphrates River, Tigris River, Indus River, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea.

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Field study 1

Observation journaling This section will prepare you for Field Study 2. You will read through the first section of the book of Haggai. We have included three types of exercises: some for before you read, some for while you are reading and some for after you have completed the reading. Before you read Discuss and fill in the chart below with what you already know about the prophet Haggai and his message to the people. This exercise will help you learn and remember as you encounter new information. You will fill in the new information after you have read the text.

What I already know

Reading knowledge chart

New information

Haggai the prophet

God’s view of the temple

Prophets and Prophecy

God’s Kingdom

While you are reading On the following page we have laid out the biblical text with wide margins so you can mark the text with questions, key terms, notes and structures. We have removed all of the verse markings so you can read it without distractions. We have indented some of the lines of text to help you see how the lines are related. Review the guidelines on The art of active learning section, page xi at the beginning of your Field Notes for some suggestions on reading, learning, and marking the text effectively.

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Haggai gg

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Haggai 1:1–11 In the second year of Darius the King, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: These people say that the time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD’s house. Then the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai: Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Consider your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough. You drink, but you never have your fill. You put on clothing, but no one is warm. You earn wages, only to put them in money bags with holes. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Consider your ways. Go up to the mountains and bring down wood and build the house, so that I may be pleased with it and be glorified, says the LORD. You expected much, but instead, it came to little. And what you brought home, I blew away. Why? declares the Sovereign LORD. Because of my house, which lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth has withheld its produce. I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and everything the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on all of their labors. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all the remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD.

Notes, O Observations & Questions

Summarize the text here

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Field d study 1

Haggai gg

God longs g to dwell with his people p p

Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people the LORD’s message: I am with you, declares the LORD. So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. They came and worked on the house of the Sovereign LORD, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the King.

Haggai 1:12–15 Summarize the text here

After you have read 1. In the page margin, write a few questions that you have about the text. 2. Go back to your reading knowledge chart on page 14 and fill in anything that you have learned while reading through this first section of Haggai. Compare it with what you already knew to see what the text has revealed so far. 3. What will happen? Like any good story, the events of the plot will twist and turn into a dramatic conclusion at the end. Fill in the chart below with your predictions about the people of Judah. Only fill out the predictions column. We’ll leave the results column for after we have completed Field Study 5.

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Predictions

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Prediction Chart Results

How will God relate to his people?

What will happen to the temple?

How will the nation respond?

4. Journaling is another way to help us learn. Your mind will remember more if you read something and then do something with it such as writing it down. Therefore, write out Haggai 1:1– 15 from the previous page or from your own Bible into a journal word for word. This practice will help you to remember and understand what you have just read. Another option is to create a daily journal to record your thoughts or your prayers. This week, journal your thoughts as you consider any situations or relations that are preventing you from pursuing God. Write down how God would want you to respond and then respond accordingly. 5. Now read Haggai 1:1–15 in your own Bible. Continue to reread it each day until you get to Field Study 2. This will reinforce the learning of Scripture and help you in retention.

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Field study 1 Notes, Observations & Questions

Haggai

God longs to dwell with his people

Memorizing the key Commit to memory the key phrase for this Field Study. Part of learning the Bible is remembering what the Bible is about and where to find things. Memorizing the key phrases will help you to better understand and apply the key points of each book. The key phrase for the introduction to Haggai is: God longs to dwell with his people

Pray As we learn the word of God, it is essential that we communicate with him through prayer. First, consider writing out a prayer, psalm, or poem to God. Writing it out will help you reflect on God’s disputation with his people due to their neglect of his presence and fellowship. Do you see a similar struggle in your own life, community, nation or church? Respond to him through a carefully thought through prayer that you will write out and pray each day this week. Consider the prayer on the following page as a sample of what you might write and pray to God. Consider doing this with a family member or small group to make it a corporate prayer. Consider this sample prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you Lord today for the message of Haggai. Thank you for helping me understand how important your presence is in my life and how much you desire my fellowship and my obedience. Thank you for your words of encouragement in this book that guide me to make my relationship with you the first priority in my life. Lord, please search my heart and convict me of sin and teach me how to be a devoted Christian. Lord, I lift up to you my family, my community, my church, and my nation today. I pray that in all things we would make you our priority in life. You are the only one worth treasuring in our hearts. May all the glory be yours in our lives. In the name of your Son Jesus I ask this, Amen. Commit to praying each day about these issues with at least one other person. It could be a family member, friend or pastor. Even better would be to pray in a group or as a church. Corporate prayer binds our hearts together before the Lord. Pray.

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Excavate the Site Haggai

The kingdom of God demands our holiness Field study 4

Haggai 2:10–23 Field study 4

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How is the text arranged? We arrive now at the final excavation site in the prophecy of Haggai. This last exploration will lead us into an in-depth study of Haggai’s final two sermons. Before we get into the particulars of our study, let us first see its structure and its logical argument. It can be outlined as follows:

Haggai 2:10–23

Section

Bible Text

Third Message – The Promise of Divine Blessing (2:10–19) The date

10

First case study: consecration

11

Second case study: defilement

13

Then Haggai said, If a person who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become unclean? Yes, the priests replied, it becomes unclean.

The divine assessment of the nation

14

Then Haggai said, So it is with this people and this nation before me, declares the LORD. Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is unclean.

On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Haggai the prophet:

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This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Ask the priests about the law: 12 If a person carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become holy? The priests answered, No.

Priestly Garments Priests wore the clothes specifically designated by God in Exodus 28:39–43. These garments were considered holy and consisted of a tunic or robe, a turban or head wrap, and a sash.

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Haggai

The kingdom of God demands our holiness

Todd Bolen, www.Bibleplaces.com

Field study 4

Haggai 2:10–23

Section

Bible Text

The divine exhortation: first consideration

15

The divine exhortation: second consideration

18

A Vine of Grapes The vine represented the best produce the land had to offer. Each year’s harvest determined how much wine the people of Judah would have available for the rest of the year.

Now then, from this day on: Consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. 16 When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blasting wind, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the LORD. Consider from this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, since the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Consider: 19 Is there still any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not yielded anything. But from this day on I will bless you.

Fourth Message – The Promise of Divine Servant/King (2:20–23)

A Fig Tree

The date

20

The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month:

The recipient

21

Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that

The announcement of future doom of the nations

I am about to shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overthrow royal thrones and shatter the strength of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, everyone by the sword of his brother.

The messianic role of Zerubbabel’s offspring.

23

Figs were a common fruit native to the Mediterranean region and an important part of the people’s diet. Most fig trees will yield a harvest twice each year.

On that day, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will take you, Zerubbabel my servant, son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Sovereign LORD.

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Haggai’s third sermon is a didactic speech that instructs the nation in purity of worship. It is similar to his first sermon in addressing the sins of the nation but goes on to promise God’s blessing. Observe how in this speech, God teaches his people by reminding them about the law and its relationship to the nation’s past. Just as a defiled person brings defilement to all things sacred, so the people of Judah had been B.C. 600

590

605 Babylon first lays siege to Jerusalem

60

597 Babylon exiles first wave of people

580 586

570

Babylon destroys Jerusalem Second wave exiled 582 Babylon exiles third wave of people

560 70 year exile in Babylon 605–535 B.C.

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The fourth sermon is an oracle of salvation where Haggai directly addresses Zerubbabel and the future of Israel. Essential to their national identity was a king from the line of David who would rule and in whose time all the heathen nations would be shaken again. This shaking was not in order to seize their riches as was the case in the second sermon, but in order to punish their wickedness and unbelief. This small remnant had much to hope for. God was not finished with them. Their sins had been forgiven. They still had work to do.

What is this passage saying?

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unclean before God and defiled everything they touched. However, God wanted to make sure they understood that he would bless them because of his faithfulness to the covenant.

An Olive Tree While olives were a part of the Jewish diet, the olive tree was more critical for the oil produced from it. Olive oil served many purposes in the Ancient Near East including being used for cooking, medicine, and fuel for lamps.

What are the key terms? Let us observe in greater detail some of the key phrases and terms that carry the meaning and significance of this section of Haggai.

Key word or phrase

Meaning of Key Terms

Altar Sacrifices

Meaning and significance Third Message

Holy meat (2:11)

The holy meat came from some of the ritual sacrifices first described and instituted in the book of Leviticus. It was meat that had been given in sacrifice on the altar of the LORD but not consumed and therefore consecrated or holy.

Blasting wind, mildew, hail (2:17)

These words describe some of the natural events that the LORD had caused over the years to decimate the crops. These were covenant curses according to Deuteronomy 28:22. At times they had seen blasting wind, a strong and extremely hot wind normally from the west, which had the capacity of burning the crops. At other times mildew, a disease on the plants caused by excessive moisture, had destroyed the harvest. They had also seen hail destroy the efforts of many months of difficult labor.

The sanctity of meat offerings was so valuable that God commanded if anyone unclean ate it, that person should be “cut off from his people” (Leviticus 7:20). This probably meant that they should be isolated or even killed as a punishment. God’s holiness must not be taken lightly. Anything consecrated to him bears the marks of his holiness and must never come in contact with anything defiled or sinful.

Fourth Message On that day (2:23)

550

The events described in verses 21–22 are set to occur on that day. The Bible uses this language frequently in the books of prophecy to refer to the time when God will intervene in the affairs of history to bring justice and judgment upon the nations of the world. On that day he will act on behalf of his people and for the sake of his eternal plan and kingdom. In other places in the Scripture this event is usually called the day of the LORD. 540

530 538 Cyrus’ decree allowing Jews to return 536 Temple rebuilding begins then stops 538–535 First exiles return to Jerusalem

Day of the Lord For further study on the day of the LORD consult the chart in the Toolbox at the back of this book.

520

510

500 B.C.

520 Prophecies of Haggai 516 Temple is completed

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Key word or phrase

Zerubbabel This is a depiction of Zerubbabel from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum—a collection of short biographies of historical figures with fanciful portraits in the form of coins, published by Guillaume Rouillé in Lyon, France in 1553.

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Meaning of Key Terms Meaning and significance

My servant (2:23)

God calls Zerubbabel my servant. There is significance to this title at several levels. First, this title was used to describe a person who was always a close collaborator with the king—a person that enjoyed a special relationship and bond with his master. Patriarchs, prophets, and kings were all designated as servants of God. The LORD described both Abraham, in Genesis 26:24, and Moses, in Numbers 12:7, as my servant. But the most special, prominent, and repetitive usage of this title relates to King David (2 Samuel 7:5, 8; 1 Kings 11:34; Psalm 78:70; Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24). It was the designation used for David when God entered into a covenant with him. David was the chosen servant of God who had been set apart and chosen to rule over God’s people and establish God’s kingdom in righteousness and peace.

Declares the LORD of Hosts (2:23)

This phrase emphasizes the divine nature of this promise. These words, although proclaimed by Haggai were not given by his own authority. Three times the verse declares that it is the LORD who is making these prophetic affirmations and promises. The fate of the nations and the role of Zerubbabel were sovereignly determined by the LORD of Hosts, the one true God.

Signet ring (2:23)

A signet ring was the emblem of the authority of kings. The king would wear it on his finger or sometimes hang it from his neck. He would use it to sign or authenticate a document as legally valid, carrying the message and authority of the king himself.

What about the culture? The royal character of Zerubbabel was previously alluded to in his identification as the servant of the Lord. In the fourth message, we find another clue to the royal function of Zerubbabel in the imminent future of Israel. Zerubbabel was to become the royal sign or symbol of God’s authority and kingdom. Zerubbabel was the grandson of King Jehoiachin, the last king of Judah, before the people were taken captive by the Babylonians.1 During the times of the prophet Jeremiah, Zerubbabel’s grandfather, Jehoiachin, had also been described as a signet ring but in his case, he was like a signet ring that had been rejected, removed from the hand of the king and disposed of authority.2 Zerubbabel was now the symbol of the restoration of the Davidic monarchy. Zerubbabel, as God’s chosen, had the right to the throne of David and therefore, to

Guillaume Rouille, 1518–1589

520 B.C. January

Haggai

The kingdom of God demands our holiness

February

1. 2.

2 Kings 24:6–17 Jeremiah 22:24 March

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the blessings of the Davidic Covenant described in 2 Samuel 7. During the time of Haggai when the remnant was under Persian rule, such recognition was extremely important. It would restore hope to the nation. The future establishment of God’s kingdom through the house of David would still be fulfilled because God was faithful. It is through David and his descendants that God’s kingdom over his people and the world would be established and consummated. The Davidic line is therefore of paramount importance in God’s plan. If David’s line were to be destroyed or conquered, Israel’s future and God’s kingdom would be at stake. In the history of Israel, God’s mercies toward the entire nation were called the “faithful mercies shown to David.”3 God promised, “I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.”4 What is the explanation? Third Message – The Promise of Divine Blessing (2:10–19) (10–11)The date was December 18th, 520 B.C., precisely three months since the people started working on the temple and two months since the previous sermon. Most importantly, this was the date that the foundation of the temple had been completed.5 God began his message without the usual address to Zerubbabel or Joshua. Rather, he poses a couple of questions about holiness that the people are to ask the priests. The priests were responsible for teaching the law to the nation, interpreting what was clean and unclean.6

Exodus 29:21

(12) Holiness or consecration means to set something apart for cleanliness or purity. The first question Haggai asked was if holiness could be transferred. According to the Old Testament, there were occasions in which a sanctified person or object could transfer such status to another:

T

hen take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. Then he and his sons and their garments will be holy.

A holy meat would consecrate the garment in which it was carried, but 3. Isaiah 55:3 4. Psalm 89:4, 25–37 5. Haggai 2:18 6. Leviticus 10:8–11; Jeremiah 18:18; Ezekiel 22:26; Malachi 2:7–9 July August September 29th Haggai’s first message

October

Exodus 29:37 Seven days you are to make atonement for the altar and consecrate it. Then the altar will be most holy. Whatever touches it will be holy.

What can be Holy? In the Bible, many different things are referred to as holy. First, God himself is holy. Others could be holy including priests, a religious assembly or even the nation of Israel. Certain days and celebrations such as the Feast of Tabernacles were holy. Places like the temple, or objects like the ark of the covenant, or even certain foods, were all called holy. November

21st The people’s response 17th Haggai’s second message

December 520 B.C. Haggai’s third & 18th fourth message

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Haggai

The kingdom of God demands our holiness

Todd Bolen, www.Bibleplaces.com

Haggai’s question was, could that garment then transfer holiness to a third object? The answer of the priests was emphatic, clear, and simple: no. Holiness does not come easy.

A Pomegranate Tree This delicious fruit is very common in the Mediterranean basin and another key component in the Jewish diet. The fruit was used in a variety of ways for cooking, drinking, and even making spices.

Amos 4:9 I struck your many gardens and vineyards with scorching wind and mildew, the locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD.

Grain Seed

Public Domain

Farmers would hold back a portion of each harvest to use as seed for the next crop.

520 B.C. January

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February

Haggai’s first question builds a foundation for the second one. While (13–14) holiness could not be transferred through a consecrated object, defilement could.1 God’s point shocked Haggai’s audience. The corrupted nation still had not made things right before their God. In a sense, the unfinished temple was being compared with a dead body that was decaying. Work on the Lord’s temple did not make an impure people clean. Religious activity does not make a person righteous. God punctuated the distance between himself and his people by referring to them as this people rather than my people. As in Haggai’s first message, he would twice more challenge his (15–17) audience to consider. First, they were to remember their plight before returning to the temple construction. Two specific examples are brought to their attention to remind them of their past economic distress. In the necessities of life, they reaped half of the grain and less than half of the wine that they had expected because God had struck the work of their hands. God had used his sovereign control over the elements in the same way he had in the book of Amos, causing economic distress in order to awaken the nation from their spiritual slumber. However, the people’s hearts were hardened and they did not return to him. God’s unbuilt house showed that he was an unwanted resident. Just like today, these people had a secular mindset that explained away the calamities of their day merely as natural disasters rather than recognizing it as God’s hand of discipline. In ancient Judah, May through September was hot and dry. October (18–19) and November generally provided some rain to allow crop planting for the following year before the cold weather hit. Haggai wanted the remnant to remember this date. It was December 18, the foundation of the temple had been completed, and the essential winter crops had already been planted. The date gave this declaration the formality of a legal document. Harvest was still several months away, but God promised a reversal of their agricultural failures. God’s blessing was imminent. If they obeyed him and continued the work with courage, despite how things looked in the present, God would bring economic prosperity through agricultural blessing. 1.

Leviticus 11:28 March

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Fourth Message – The Promise of Divine Servant/King (2:20–23) (20–22) Haggai’s final message also occurred on December 18th, 520 B.C. Addressed only to Zerubbabel, it was an oracle of salvation that related directly to the future of Israel and the nations of the world. God again announced that he would shake the heavens and the earth. This time he would not gather the riches of the nations, but discipline in judgment. The language is strong, as the Lord would act on the grandest scale to shake, overthrow, and shatter. It would bring the kingdoms of the nations to an end. Thrones would be overturned and the armies of the nations would be destroyed. The strength or might of Judah and its army had nothing to do with the fate of the nations described here. The nations would fall as the result of the direct action of 2 Peter 3:10 the sovereign God. But the day of the LORD will come like a thief, and the (23) Life for those who returned heavens will disappear with a from the exile was difficult. roar; the heavenly bodies will Work on the temple was be destroyed by fire, and the challenging and they felt earth and everything in it will be burned up. small and insignificant. While Zerubbabel was the descendent of David’s kingly line, there was no throne for him to sit on, no crown to wear, and no kingdom to rule. However, a day was coming when God would reorder the kingdoms of the world. Again, God would act by taking Zerubbabel, which carries the idea of special election.2 Zerubbabel had a very special role as the servant and the chosen one of God. When the judgment of the nations came, the Lord would make Zerubbabel like a signet ring. This image is extremely important to the meaning of Haggai’s last message. The ring was now back on the hand of the Divine King of the universe to seal the fate of the nations.

What is God saying?

Horses and Riders Chariots and horses conjure up images of Pharaoh’s army as they chased the Israelites to the Red Sea; however, there is another reference here. The Persian army was the first major force to extensively use cavalry in battle and therefore were well known for their horses and riders.

Parallel Promises In the Davidic covenant, the son of David built God a house and the LORD in turn built a house to the family of David. In the same way here, Zerubbabel was to build the house of the LORD, and in turn God would establish Zerubbabel as the king to rule after all the other kingdoms of the earth had been subdued.

Ancient Chariot Many armies saw chariots as integral for their battle plans. The military force of a nation was frequently symbolized by the chariots and their drivers. The Persians may have been the first army to yoke four horses to a single chariot. They also used chariots in large numbers along with cavalry.

2. July

Genesis 24:7; Exodus 6:7; Deuteronomy 4:20; Amos 7:15 August September 29th Haggai’s first message

October

Public Domain

The message of Haggai’s Third Sermon Now that we have finished digging into the meaning of the text, we are ready to consider the implications of our findings. In Haggai’s third sermon, God wanted his people to understand that there is a relationship between holiness and blessing. Good works and busyness with respect to spiritual matters is not a guarantee to prosperity. The nation needed to understand that when they walked in ungodliness November

21st The people’s response 17th Haggai’s second message

December 520 B.C. Haggai’s third & 18th fourth message

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The kingdom of God demands our holiness

Gallica, public domain

and disobedience, they would be judged and disciplined by God. There is a correlation between divine blessing and holy, heartfelt obedience. For this reason, God wanted to encourage them and give them hope. The harvest had not yet come, but with their new attitude and their desire to obey and walk in holiness, God promised to bless them and their coming harvest while the seed was still in the ground.

Signet Ring This is an example of an ancient signet ring from King Childeric I of the Merovingians. It is from the 5th century A.D. and was found in Childeric’s tomb at Tournai. The inscription reads, of Childeric the king and would have functioned in the same way as a signet ring in the days of Haggai.

The message of Haggai’s Fourth Sermon In the fourth and last message, God spoke to Zerubbabel and gave him a promise of eternal implications. In the prophecy, God reminded Zerubbabel that he was the chosen sign of the Davidic kingdom. We must pause for a moment to reflect on the way this prophetic promise was fulfilled in history. The message of Haggai clearly addresses the specific man Zerubbabel. However, when we observe the history of Israel in the following years after the prophecy of Haggai and the governorship of Zerubbabel, it would seem evident that Zerubbabel disappears from the pages of history soon after Haggai’s prophecy was proclaimed. The consummation of these words ultimately points beyond the person of Zerubbabel to the Messiah. He was the Son of David who would finally bring about the completion of God’s promises in 2 Samuel 7. This way of speaking is frequently found in prophetic messages, particularly with respect to the promises of the Davidic covenant. Consider this example: will rescue my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will

one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will feed them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.

Signet Ring Esther 8:2 presents another example of the significance of a signet ring. The king’s right-hand man, Haman was executed after his evil plot against the Jews was exposed. The king took his signet ring from Haman and gave it to Mordecai. This signified the new place of influence and blessing that Mordecai now enjoyed within the Persian empire. B.C. 600

550 586 Temple is destroyed

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In this prophecy, Ezekiel proclaims another promise related to the Davidic covenant. The promise speaks of the person of David, and yet, David had been dead for several centuries. From this prophetic principle we can therefore affirm that, unbeknownst to Haggai, his message was ultimately not about Zerubbabel, but about his Davidic lineage.1 The promise belonged to the Messiah who would come from the house of David. Both the promised glory of the temple, and the demise of the nations under the eternal kingdom of God would find their ultimate fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ.2 He 1. 2.

Matthew 1:6–16; Luke 3:27 Luke 1:26–33, 67–75 500

520 Prophecies of Haggai 516 Temple is completed

450

400 445 Nehemiah rebuilds Jerusalem walls

350

Ezekiel 34:22–24

Ijudge between one sheep and another. I will set up over them


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is the supreme focus and fulfillment of Haggai’s prophecy.

Nicolas Poussin, 1638/1639

Where else does this happen in history? God’s promise of his presence and blessing was not based on the condition of the temple but rather on the condition of the people’s hearts. In the days of Jesus, the Jews were proud of their temple but did not care about holiness or obedience.3 The Jewish historian, Josephus, records the final destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans and the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The Destruction of the Temple Now although anyone would justly lament the destruction of such a work as this [temple] was, since it was the most admirable of all the works that we have seen or heard of, both for its curious structure and its magnitude, and also for the vast wealth bestowed upon it, as well as for the glorious reputation it had for its holiness; yet might such a one comfort himself with this thought, that it was fate that decreed it so to be, which is inevitable, both as to living creatures and as to works and places also. However, one cannot but wonder at the accuracy of this period thereto relating; for the same month and day were now observed, as I said before, wherein the holy house was burnt formerly by the Babylonians. Now the number of years that passed from its first foundation, which was laid by King Solomon, till this its destruction, which happened in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, are collected to be one thousand one hundred and thirty, besides seven months and fifteen days; and from the second building of it, which was done by Haggai, in the second year of Cyrus the king, till its destruction under Vespasian, there were six hundred and thirty-nine years and forty-five days.

Thousands of people were killed in A.D. 70 when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Josephus claims that over a million people died in the siege and that almost 100,000 were enslaved.

Roman Catapult The Romans used catapults like this one to destroy Jerusalem and the temple.

(Josephus, Wars on the Jews 6, 4–8)

3. Luke 19:41–44 150

100

50

1 Birth of Christ 5? 37 Herod begins his rule

Edward John Poynter, 1868

Since its destruction in A.D. 70 by the Romans, the temple has never been rebuilt. This reaffirms the point that Haggai was making: it was not about the temple but about the people’s hearts. God was looking for obedience rather than just a building. If he is to dwell and reign among his people, he demands holiness and obedience.

50

100 A.D.

Romans destroy the temple 70

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The kingdom of God demands our holiness

What does God want? This last portion of the prophecy of Haggai presents us with several important principles that should guide us to life changes as the result of our study. Consider the following as a starting point. Add other principles you may have drawn from this study: •

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Sin is more contagious than holiness. You must always be aware of the infectious potential of your sins in the lives of others around you. Do not be naive in your thinking about sin. Sin always has consequences. The most tragic consequence of sin is alienation from God. God may use the circumstances in your life to bring your attention to this principle. There is a correlation between holiness and obedience and the blessing and peace of God. This might not be in the form of economic prosperity or life stability, but it will always mean a deep and gratifying relationship with God that will enable you to rise above any and all circumstances of life. The loving grace of God always provides the opportunity for a fresh start in your walk with him. This is a universal principle in the Bible. After their many years of disobedience and excuses, God promised blessing to Judah once the people decided to trust and obey him. Repentance is the road to forgiveness and grace. Commit today to walk in holiness and obedience, and God will show you his loving grace, and you will enjoy the blessings of fellowship with him. During times of great distress and disillusionment, it is always good to remember God’s promises to David. Centuries after David’s death and during a time of great stress and hopelessness, God raised up from among his people a descendant of David named Zerubbabel. He would become a sign of the continued commitment of God to fulfill his promises made to David including an eternal kingdom full of joy and blessing in the presence of God. Jesus Christ is that Son of David who was to come and fulfill the promises to David. Our Lord Jesus Christ will one day consummate his kingdom upon earth, and we shall reign with him forever in glory. Life in the present is often full of misery and pain. Learn to live in the light of eternity. Base your decisions on the certain hope of the fulfillment of God’s promises and not in your present situation. Be hopeful and faithful.


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Discoveries

Field study 4 Notes, Observations & Questions

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Now you have completed your third and final excavation into the book of Haggai. It is again time to stop digging and carefully examine what we have learned and what difference it can make in our lives. Pick the questions that will be most helpful for you or your community.

Connecting with the community Here are some discussion questions to help you better understand the text. Do not merely reflect on them as an individual but rather think of each question, when applicable, in terms of your family, your community, your nation, and your church. 1. Why do you think defilement is easier to transfer than holiness? Is daily experience consistent with this affirmation? Why is this important? If holiness is so hard to attain, why should you pursue it? 2. Why were the people unclean even though they were working on the temple? What more did God require? 3. How could a loving God purposefully hinder the economy of the remnant? What was the reason behind God’s actions? 4. God sent blight and mildew according to the curses for disobedience in Deuteronomy 28. What does this show about the character of God and the character of the people? 5. Why would God still promise blessing to a defiled people? Consider Zechariah 8:9–13 and define the blessing. 6. How does the meaning of the word shake change from 2:6–7 to 2:21? How is each of the meanings relevant to the point of the text? How is each meaning important to us today? 7. When God says that he will overthrow the chariots and riders, what event from the Exodus is he alluding to? 8. Why did God put the signet ring back on after taking it off before

For more information about how to use our Discoveries section go to www.SacraScript.org

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Field study 4 Notes, Observations & Questions

Haggai

The kingdom of God demands our holiness

the exile as recorded in Jeremiah 22:24–27? What does this signify to the remnant? Have you ever had the feeling that it is over, as if nothing could be done to repair a difficult situation caused by your sin or unfaithfulness? How can this image of the new signet ring become a source of hope for you? Is there any situation in your life about which you feel hopeless? How can you apply this idea to that situation? 9. The Lord promised to shake all the nations of the earth. What does this mean for us today? How should we live in light of this declaration? 10. How is Jesus related to the promise made to Zerubbabel in 2:23?

Probing deeper These exercises take you deeper into the Bible to explore further the correlation between holiness and blessing and communion with God. They go beyond the text of Haggai into the rest of the Scriptures.

Holiness and Blessing in the Bible

Section

Passage

Old Testament law and history

Read the story of Abram in Genesis 12. Was Abram‘s obedience complete? What was the result of his actions? Why do you think Abram decided to bring along his father and his nephew? How did they affect his travels and his obedience in the future? What does this teach us about the blessings of obedience and holiness, and the calamities that often come as the result of our disobedience or independence from God? Meditate on Israel’s attitude in Numbers 13–14. What was their attitude with respect to God‘s promises and commandments? What was the result? Study Joshua chapters 6–8. Compare the stories found in Joshua 7 and 8. What were the effects of the disobedience of Acan? How does this compare to the results of obedience in Joshua 8? How important is personal obedience in the context of the community of faith? Study the life of Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33. Make a list of his actions before he was taken captive. What was the result of his disobedience? What was his attitude after he was taken captive? What was God‘s response to his repentance? Is discipline always necessary for us to understand that we are wrong? Is it true that no one learns from someone else’s experience?

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Holiness and Blessing in the Bible

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Old Testament poetry

Meditate on Psalm 1. Make a list of the benefits and promises that God gives to those who walk in faithfulness. Do you appreciate the benefits here offered to the faithful? Are they attractive to you? Do the benefits motivate you to conquer sin and live in obedience and submission to God? Explain.

Field study 4 Notes, Observations & Questions

Study Psalm 119. Make a list of all the benefits that come from meditating and keeping the law of God and delighting in it. Pray to God asking him to grant you the blessings described here. Ask him also to work in your life and heart to have these affections toward his Word. Old Testament prophets

Read Jeremiah 16. How does the message of the prophet in this chapter relate to the message of Haggai 2:10–14? Meditate on the prophetic narrative of Ezekiel 20:1–44. How is Haggai 2:10–19 a fulfillment of the judgment and promise of God because of Israel‘s history of rebellion?

The Gospels and Church history

Read Acts 2 and focus your attention on Peter’s sermon in verses 22–36. Do you find any resemblance between the form and tone of Peter’s sermon and Haggai’s? Make a list comparing and contrasting the sermon of the apostle to that of the prophet. What was the reaction of the people according to Acts 2:37–41? How does this exemplify the principle we find in Haggai 2:10–19?

New Testament letters

Study Galatians 6:7–10. How does the principle stated in this passage relate to the teaching of Haggai 2:10–19? Be specific.

Prophecy

Read the letters to the churches in Revelation 2–3. Can you identify the correlation between obedience and blessing in these letters? What role does repentance play in the pursuit of holiness and obedience? Is God’s expectation of obedience in Revelation similar to what is expressed in Haggai? What does this teach you about God, his Word, and his promises?

Haggai’s fourth message teaches us about the glorious future of God‘s people under the rule of the promised Son of David. The concept of the future kingdom of God that will overturn all kingdoms and rule with eternal justice and peace through a descendant of David is recurrent across the Scripture. Here are some passages that will help you dwell further in the richness of this biblical treasure we just started to dig:

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Field study 4 Notes, Observations & Questions

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The kingdom of God demands our holiness

Future Kingdom in the Bible

Old Testament law and history

Passage

Study carefully the promises of the covenant with David found in 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Chronicles 17:7–14. Pay special attention to the promises given in 2 Samuel 7:9–16. Are you able to discern which of these promises found fulfillment in the life and times of David and which pertain to the Messianic king that would descend from him? Read the story of Solomon in 1 Kings 11. After reading the chapter, go back and meditate in verses 12, 13, 32 and 34. In what way do these verses relate to the promises of the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7? Now read 1 Kings 15:4; 2 Kings 8:19; 19:34; 20:6. What is the observed pattern of these verses? What can you learn about God from them? How important are the promises within God’s covenant with David to Israel both in the past and the future?

Old Testament poetry

The book of Psalms includes a series of psalms that have been categorized as Royal Psalms since they refer to the Davidic dynasty and they presuppose the promises of the Davidic Covenant. These include psalms 2, 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 89, 101, 110, 144. Choose one of these psalms and meditate on it. Try to identify the same motifs found in the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7 as well as any correlation to Haggai 2:20–23. Prayerfully meditate on Psalm 132. How does it relate to the message of Haggai 2:20–23? Meditate on verses 8–10 and then read 2 Chronicles 6. How is the Davidic Covenant a foundation for prayer and forgiveness?

Old Testament prophets

Read Isaiah 7:1–9:7. Pay close attention to every reference to David and his royal dynasty in this prophecy. How does this message relate to the prophecy of Haggai 2:10–23? How is the hope of the Messianic king a foundation for the message of the gospel of Christ and the fulfillment of God‘s promises of grace and salvation? Study Isaiah 55. How are the promises or mercies of the Davidic Covenant related to God‘s grace and forgiveness? Meditate on Jeremiah 23. How do you describe the attitude of God‘s people, including its leaders/shepherds and prophets? How does this compare to the promises of God in 23:3–8? How is this attitude of God related to the promises made to David? Study Ezekiel 37:15–28. In what way is this prophecy a more in– depth and detailed version of Haggai‘s promise to Zerubbabel in Haggai 2:20–23?

The Gospels and Church history

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Study the nativity story in Luke 1:26–2:21. How important is the relationship of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to David, in the story? In what way, is Jesus a fulfillment of the promises to David in 2 Samuel 7 and to Zerubbabel in Haggai 2:20–23?


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Future Kingdom in the Bible

Field study 4 Notes, Observations & Questions

Passage

Meditate on Paul‘s sermon in Antioch of Pisidia in Acts 13:13– 42. How is Jesus related to the promises given to David? In what way is Jesus the fulfillment of the promise given to Zerubbabel? How transcendent is the possibility of God‘s gracious mercy towards us, in the promises he first gave to David? New Testament letters

Read 2 Timothy 2:1–13. In the midst of this exhortation, Paul reminds Timothy that Jesus is the offspring of David. How is this relevant to the message of this text?

Prophecy

Prayerfully meditate on Revelation 5. How is this description of Jesus related to the Davidic Covenant and to the message given by Haggai to Zerubbabel? What do you learn from the worship song sung by the twenty four elders? Read Revelation 5:11–16 again and then read Revelation 22:6–21. Based on 22:16, what is the relationship between these two passages? How important is the promise given by Haggai to Zerubbabel in Haggai 2:20–23 when you consider its message in the light of these two passages of Revelation? Write a prayer of praise and worship based on the insights you have learned from your meditation on these texts.

Bringing the story to life Design a signet ring using the picture on page 66 as a guide. Create it with your own symbols to represent God’s message to Zerubbabel in verses 20–23. Use this as a tool to teach someone about this message. It could be a friend or family member or your church or small group.

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Field study 4 Notes, Observations & Questions

Haggai

The kingdom of God demands our holiness

Observation journaling This section will help you review and remember the entire book of Haggai. We have included three types of exercises: some for before you read, some for while you are reading and some for after you have completed the reading. Before you read Review the key terms from each Field Study to insure you remember all of them. This will help you to follow the message that God is communicating through his ancient prophet Haggai. The key terms: • From Field Study 2 on page 22 •

From Field Study 3 on page 41

From this Field Study on page 61–62

Which key terms and definitions have been particularly helpful in understanding the message of Haggai?

While you are reading On the following page we have laid out the biblical text with wide margins so you can mark the text with questions, key terms, notes and structures. We have removed all of the verse markings so you can read it without distractions. We have indented some of the lines of text to help you see how the lines are related. Review the guidelines on The art of active learning section, page xi at the beginning of your Field Notes for some suggestions on reading, learning and marking the text effectively.

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Haggai In the second year of Darius the King, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: These people say that the time has not yet come to rebuild the ’s house. Then the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai: Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Consider your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough. You drink, but you never have your fill. You put on clothing, but no one is warm. You earn wages, only to put them in money bags with holes. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Consider your ways. Go up to the mountains and bring down wood and build the house, so that I may be pleased with it and be glorified, says the LORD. You expected much, but instead, it came to little. And what you brought home, I blew away. Why? declares the Sovereign LORD. Because of my house, which lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house. Therefore, because of you the heavens have withheld their dew and the earth has withheld its produce. I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain, the new wine, the oil and everything the ground produces, on men and cattle, and on all of their labors. Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all the remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of the prophet Haggai, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD.

Notes, O Observations & Questions

Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people the LORD’s message: I am with you, declares the LORD.

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The kingdom off God demands our holiness

Haggai Notes, Observations & Questions

So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. They came and worked on the house of the Sovereign LORD, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the King. On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet: Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people. Ask them, Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Do not fear. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In a little while I will once again shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the treasures of all nations will come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Sovereign LORD. The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Sovereign LORD. The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, says the Sovereign LORD. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Sovereign LORD. On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius,

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the word of the LORD came to Haggai the prophet: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Ask the priests about the law: If a person carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become holy? The priests answered, No. Then Haggai said, If a person who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become unclean? Yes, the priests replied, it becomes unclean. Then Haggai said, So it is with this people and this nation before me, declares the LORD. Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is unclean. Now then, from this day on: Consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD’s temple. When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. I struck all the work of your hands with blasting wind, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the LORD. Consider from this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, since the day when the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid. Consider: Is there still any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not yielded anything. But from this day on I will bless you.

Field study 4 Notes, Observations & Questions

The word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month: Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am about to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow royal thrones and shatter the strength of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, everyone by the sword of his brother. On that day, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will take you, Zerubbabel my servant, son of Shealtiel, declares the LORD, and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Sovereign LORD.

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Field study 4 Notes, Observations & Questions

Haggai

The kingdom of God demands our holiness

After you have read 1. Journaling is another way that we encourage you to learn. By this point, you have written down the entire book of Haggai. What have you learned so far from this ancient prophet? This week, journal your thoughts as you consider God’s message to the people of Judah and what that has to do with us today. Write down how God would want you to respond to this book and then take action accordingly. 2. Now read all of Haggai in your own Bible. Continue to reread it each day until you get to the final Field Study. This will reinforce the learning of Scripture and help you retain it.

Memorizing the key Commit to memory the key phrase for this Field Study. The key phrase for Haggai 2:10–23 is: The kingdom of God demands our holiness

Pray As we learn the word of God, it is essential that we communicate with him through prayer. First, consider writing out a prayer, psalm, or poem to God. What would God have you pray in light of the importance holiness and obedience have in the fulfillment and culmination of God’s kingdom? Pray for your church, your nation, your community, your family and yourself. Consider this sample: Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for the book of Haggai and the message that still speaks today. Thank you for being faithful to the promises you have made to your people in Scripture. Thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ who cleanses me from all defilement with his righteous blood. Today I pray for a clean heart in which to praise you. I pray that you will help me by the power of your Spirit to put you first in all things in my life. I wait in eager expectation of that day when you will set all things right on the earth. Let my life and the work of my hands be a pleasing offering to you, Lord for you alone are worthy. I pray these things in the name of your Son and by the power of your Spirit, Amen.

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The Gospel in Haggai - Sample  

This Haggai Bible study addresses the importance of God’s presence among His people. It is easy to put ourselves first. We live in an age th...

The Gospel in Haggai - Sample  

This Haggai Bible study addresses the importance of God’s presence among His people. It is easy to put ourselves first. We live in an age th...