Friday, August 26, 2011

Haggai: The Time is Now (Haggai 1:1)

To what governor did Haggai prophesy? Zerubabbel (Haggai 1:1)

Haggai prophesied from Jerusalem in 520 BCE. His work is canonized as one of the twelve Minor Prophets. The book appears third from last in the Old Testament as its material covers the last days of the era. The Bible includes no biographical details concerning Haggai and he is given no introduction other than designating him as a prophet (Ezra 5:1; 6:14; Haggai 1:1). The book of Haggai is very short, spanning only two chapters and containing just 38 verses. You can hear the entire book read (in a British accent no less) in just 7:16 in this YouTube clip. Haggai is addressed to the governor, Zerubabbel, and the high priest, Joshua (Haggai 1:1). One of Haggai’s primary functions was to motivate a politician. He might even be deemed a lobbyist by today’s standards. Zerubabbel is persuaded and at the book’s conclusion, God refers to Zerebbabel as “my servant” and confers upon him a “signet ring”, a symbol of divine favor (Haggai 2:20-23).

Are any modern lobbyists doing work that might be deemed prophetic? How does Haggai factor into the discussion of the relationship between church and state?

Contrary to popular belief about prophets, Haggai did not speak to the future (not that the book is not useful today). Haggai spoke directly to the present. In fact, Haggai is easy to date (as in place in history as opposed to engage in a romantic encounter) as he documented the dates of his prophecies. Haggai emerged during the second year of Darius I (Haggai 1:1). Based on the records in the book, Haggai’s messages were delivered within a fifteen week period from August 29 to December 18, 520 BCE.

Haggai’s mission was to convince the people and government to utilize new government allowances to rebuild the temple. The question was not if the temple should be rebuilt but when. In any building project, there are nay sayers who wish to delay (Haggai 1:2). Haggai exhorted that the right time was now. The message of Haggai is the message of The Chambers Brothers - “Time Has Come Today” (1968). (Ironically, their eleven minute song has a longer run time than Haggai’s entire book.)

What shelved project have you felt like God calling you to? Is the time now?

Haggai was one of the catalysts behind the rebuilding of the temple. His mission was successful and the temple was rebuilt (Haggai 1:12, 1:14-15). It is unknown what happened to Haggai after his final message but his work was continued by his contemporary, Zechariah. Haggai’s entire work took fifteen weeks. What will you be doing in the next four months?

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