Book of the Week 37: Haggai

Hebrew Name: Chagi

Human Author: Haggai                                                       

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 2

Basic Facts

  1. Haggai is the thirty-seventh book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, Haggai is classified as a book of prophecy.
  3. The Hebrew name for the book of Haggai is Chagi which means “My Feast.”
  4. Haggai was a prophet to the exiles of Judah who had returned from Babylon/Persia.
  5. Haggai was called to encourage the returned exiles to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

Story of the Book

The story of Haggai is one of both warning and of hope. The book opens as God warns the returned exiles of Judah through the prophet Haggai that they must be careful to do what God commands them to do and to quickly rebuild the Temple of the LORD or else face continual hardship. God specifically warns that if the people to not diligently turn and rebuild the Temple that He will withhold the blessings of a bountiful harvest from them. God then encourages the exiles and their leaders to be strong and to diligently complete the work of rebuilding the Temple. God promises that in the place of the Temple God will gather the nations and bring greater glory to this second Temple than there ever was in the first Temple. God also promised peace to the people from the place of the Temple. God promises blessing and the bounty of the harvest to the exiles if they are obedient in their work to complete the Temple. The book of Haggai concludes as God promises to overthrow the nations and to make Zerubbabel His signet ring, His chosen instrument in fulfilling His promises.

Jesus Foreshadowed in Haggai

In large part, the message of Haggai is a message of hope for the returned exiles of Judah. God promises to bless His people and to give them a rich harvest if they carefully consider God’s ways and rebuild God’s Temple. After God reassures the exiles that His Spirit is among them, He tells the people not to be afraid. God tells Haggai that He will “once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Haggai 2:6-7). What is vaguely foreshadowed here in Haggai is later revealed to be the work of Jesus Christ. The author of Hebrews quotes Haggai 2:6 to describe how the work of Jesus to shake the heavens and the earth was for the purpose of establishing an eternal kingdom through the new covenant established in the blood of Christ (Hebrews 12:22-29). After God has shaken the heavens and the earth, and established His eternal kingdom through a new covenant in Christ, Christ Himself tells his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). The language employed in the Greek translation of Haggai 2:6-7 in the Septuagint and Matthew 28:18-20 in the Greek New Testament is exact. Jesus Christ is the one through whom God shook all nations, and it is in Christ that God is bringing everlasting glory to Himself.