Following a decree issued by Cyrus, king of Persia, 50,000 Jews returned to Jerusalem and began to rebuild the temple.
After the foundations had been laid, fierce opposition from the Samaritans halted the work. For four months, during 520
B.C., Haggai encouraged the Jews to continue the rebuilding work with four messages to them. Each of the four messages
can be precisely dated.
A call to resume the building of the temple
Haggai’s first message from God is given to Zerubbabel, their leader, and Joshua the high priest on 29th August 520 B.C.
The people are reproved for their failure to continue rebuilding the temple. Their neglect had provoked God to judge them
with famine and scarcity of essentials. The people respond with obedience and a promise is given that God will be with
The glory of the second temple shall be greater than that of the first
Haggai’s second message is given on 17th October 520 B.C. The stories handed down of the first temple’s splendour make
this one look plain in comparison. The people are encouraged with the assurance that the glory of this temple will be
greater than that of the first, alluding to the coming of Christ.
Blessings for a sinful people
The third message is given on 18th December 520 B.C.
Two questions are asked of the priests as a lesson that sin is contagious, and a reminder that as long as the temple
remains unbuilt, they will be lacking. Now that they have set about rebuilding in earnest, God will bless them.
Zerubbabel, God’s signet ring
Haggai’s fourth message is a short one given to Zerubbabel, also on 18th December 520 B.C.
This message is prophetic, announcing the judgement to come on the nations at the second coming of the Messiah, and
that the Davidic line is preserved through Zerubbabel, revoking the curse placed on his grandfather Jehoiachin in Jer