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July 11, 2024
Message of the Book of Haggai
The biblical Book of Haggai is one of the twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament, consisting of only two chapters. It contains the messages of the prophet Haggai, who was active during the time of the rebuilding of the second temple in Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. The main messages of the Book of Haggai are clear and compelling and can be divided into several central themes:
Key Messages of the Book of Haggai:
  1. Call to Rebuild the Temple: The main theme of the Book of Haggai is the call to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Haggai admonishes the people to resume the work on the temple, which had been neglected due to indifference and self-interest. He urges the people to reconsider their priorities and place God’s house first.
  2. God’s Presence and Blessing: Haggai emphasizes that God’s presence and blessing are associated with the rebuilding of the temple. He assures the people that God is with them and will support them if they resume the work on the temple. This is clearly stated in Haggai 1:13: “I am with you, declares the Lord.”
  3. Encouragement to Act: The book contains messages of encouragement for Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and Joshua, the high priest, as well as for all the people. Haggai reminds them that their work on the temple is meaningful and that they should continue despite the difficulties and the seeming insignificance of their efforts.
  4. Promise of Future Glory: Haggai prophesies that the glory of the new temple will be greater than that of the first temple. This promise is meant to encourage the people and give them hope that their efforts will be blessed and rewarded by God. Haggai 2:9 states: “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, says the Lord Almighty.”
  5. Reminder of God’s Covenant: Haggai reminds the people of God’s covenant with their ancestors and assures them that God’s Spirit remains among them. This reminder is intended to motivate the people to act in trust of God’s faithfulness and promises.
  6. Purity and Obedience: Haggai emphasizes the importance of purity and obedience to God’s commands. He warns the people that their sacrifices and works are unclean if they persist in sin. He calls them to examine their ways and act obediently to receive God’s blessing.
Summary
The Book of Haggai is a powerful call to action and prioritization. It urges the people to undertake the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and to overcome their complacency and indifference. Haggai emphasizes that God’s presence and blessing are tied to the rebuilding of the temple and that their efforts will ultimately be rewarded by God. The book encourages the people to act in trust of God’s faithfulness and promises and reminds them that purity and obedience are essential for receiving God’s blessings.

 

DAILY BIBLE READING – Haggai Chapter 1
1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet unto Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying,
Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord‘s house should be built.
Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet, saying,
Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.
Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways.
Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.
Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
10 Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.
11 And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the Lord.
13 Then spake Haggai the Lord‘s messenger in the Lord‘s message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the Lord.
14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the Lord of hosts, their God,
15 In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
King James VersionPublic Domain

Commentary
Call to Build the Temple (Verses 1-11)
Historical Context (Verse 1)
The chapter begins with a specific time reference: In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month. God speaks through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel, the prince of Judah, and to Joshua, the high priest. These two leaders play a central role in the rebuilding of the temple.
The People’s Excuse (Verse 2)
God quotes the words of the people, who claim that the time has not yet come to build the house of the Lord. This statement reveals the people’s hesitant attitude toward the temple’s reconstruction.
God’s Challenge (Verses 3-4)
Through Haggai, God poses a provocative question: While the people live in paneled houses, the house of the Lord lies desolate and neglected. This contrast is meant to prompt the people to self-reflection and reassessment of their priorities.
Exhortation and Call to Self-Examination (Verses 5-6)
God urges the people to consider their ways: They sow much but harvest little; they eat and drink but are not satisfied; they clothe themselves but are not warm. Even the money they earn vanishes as if placed in a bag with holes. This description highlights the fruitlessness of their efforts and indicates that their current suffering is due to their neglect of God.
Call to Action (Verses 7-8)
God repeats His call for the people to reflect on their situation and then commands them to gather wood and build the temple. This act is meant to please God and display His glory. Here, God emphasizes the necessity of temple construction as an expression of obedience and reverence.
Consequences of Neglect (Verses 9-11)
God explains why their efforts are futile: Because His house remains in ruins while everyone is concerned with their own houses. As a result, the heavens have withheld dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. The drought affects everything—the land, the mountains, the crops, the livestock, and the people themselves. This depiction clarifies that ignoring God has direct negative consequences.
The Success (Verses 12-15)
Obedience of the People (Verse 12)
After Haggai delivers God’s message, Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all the people obey the words of the prophet. The people show reverence for the Lord, marking a pivotal change in their attitude.
God’s Assurance (Verse 13)
Haggai conveys another message from God to the people: “I am with you, declares the Lord.” This assurance is meant to encourage and strengthen the people to undertake the temple construction with renewed zeal.
Awakening of the Spirit (Verse 14)
God stirs the spirit of Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the entire remnant of the people, leading them to begin the work on the house of the Lord. This indicates that the people’s obedience and dedication are guided and supported by God’s Spirit.
Commencement of the Construction (Verse 15)
On the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius, the construction of the temple begins. This marks the start of a new chapter in the people’s history, characterized by obedience and dedication to God.
Summary
Haggai chapter 1 calls the people to reorder their priorities and rebuild the temple of the Lord. It shows how their neglect of God leads to their present difficulties. Through Haggai’s prophetic message and the awakening by God’s Spirit, Zerubbabel, Joshua, and the people are motivated to start the temple construction. This story underscores the importance of obedience to God and the consequences of neglecting His work.

 

 

WEEKLY SPIRIT OF PROPHECY READING – Ellen White | The Desire of Ages Chapter 45: The Foreshadowing of the Cross
This chapter is based on Matthew 16:13-28; Mark 8:27-38; Luke 9:18-27.
Read online here

 

Commentary
Introduction:
This chapter deals with the profound preparation and awareness of Jesus regarding his impending suffering and death. Based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it highlights Jesus’ foreknowledge of his path to the cross and his dedication to fulfilling God’s will.
Jesus’ Awareness of His Suffering:
Jesus was fully aware of the pain and agony that awaited him. Even before his incarnation, he had foreseen the entire path of suffering. Despite knowing the impending torments, insults, and deprivations, he chose to walk this path out of love for humanity. His willingness to fulfill God’s will demonstrates his deep dedication and obedience to the Father.
The Significance of the Cross:
The cross is a central symbol in this chapter. Jesus saw it not only as an instrument of his suffering but also as a means of redeeming humanity. Despite the impending pain, he was encouraged by the prospect of human salvation. His suffering and death were meant to bring people back to faithfulness to God.
Preparation of the Disciples:
Jesus prepared his disciples for the upcoming events. He knew they would witness his crucifixion and death and wanted to strengthen them. In a city near Caesarea Philippi, far from the influence of the Jews, he spoke with them about their faith and reaffirmed their conviction that he was the Messiah.
Peter’s Confession:
Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus praised him for this and explained that this revelation did not come from human wisdom but through divine inspiration. This recognition formed the foundation of the disciples’ faith and the future Church.
The Announcement of Jesus’ Suffering:
For the first time, Jesus spoke openly about his impending suffering and death. This announcement deeply shocked the disciples, as they were still hoping for an earthly kingdom. Peter’s attempt to dissuade Jesus was sharply rebuked by Jesus, as he misunderstood the divine mission.
The Concept of Self-Denial:
Jesus explained to his disciples the necessity of self-denial and taking up the cross. This meant denying one’s own self and being willing to endure suffering for the sake of Christ. This message was and still is a central teaching of the Christian faith.
Encouragement through the Promise:
Jesus encouraged his disciples with the promise of his coming kingdom in glory. Although they did not fully grasp the depth of his words, he gave them hope that they would ultimately see his glory.
Conclusion:
Chapter 45 shows the profound preparation and awareness of Jesus regarding his suffering and his dedication to fulfilling God’s will. It emphasizes the necessity of self-denial and taking up the cross for every follower of Christ. The disciples were prepared for the coming trials while Jesus simultaneously encouraged them with the hope of his ultimate glory. These teachings remain relevant today and inspire believers to remain steadfast in their faith and follow Jesus.

 

 

WEEKLY SPIRIT OF PROPHECY READING – Ellen White | The Desire of Ages Chapter 46: He Was Transfigured
This chapter is based on Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36.
Read online here

 

Commentary
Introduction:
Chapter 46 describes the Transfiguration of Jesus, based on accounts from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This episode reveals a significant disclosure of Jesus’ divine nature and provides the disciples with a brief glimpse of heavenly glory.
The Ascent on the Mountain:
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him to a secluded mountain. Although they are exhausted, the disciples follow their Master into the evening hours. The darkness enveloping the mountain symbolizes the sorrow and trials that Jesus and his disciples will soon face.
Jesus’ Prayer:
Jesus moves a short distance from the disciples to bring his concerns and needs before the heavenly Father in prayer. He asks for strength to endure the forthcoming suffering and for a revelation of his glory to strengthen the disciples’ faith. Despite their efforts to stay awake, the disciples are overcome with fatigue and fall asleep.
The Transfiguration:
While Jesus prays, the heavens open, and a holy radiance envelops him. The divine within him shines through his human form, and his appearance becomes as bright as the sun. Moses and Elijah appear and converse with Jesus about his impending death in Jerusalem.
Significance of Moses and Elijah:
Moses represents those who will be resurrected at Christ’s return, while Elijah represents those who will be transformed without experiencing death at Christ’s return. Their presence confirms Jesus’ divinity and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.
The Disciples’ Reaction:
The disciples awaken and are overwhelmed by the heavenly glory. In his enthusiasm, Peter suggests building three shelters to preserve this moment. However, the significance of the Transfiguration lies not in earthly reign but in the confirmation of Jesus’ divine mission, which must pass through the cross.
God’s Voice:
A bright cloud overshadows them, and God’s voice declares, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The disciples fall to the ground in fear until Jesus calms them and helps them up. This experience strengthens their faith and gives them a deeper understanding of Jesus’ identity and mission.
Conclusion:
The Transfiguration is a significant revelation of Jesus’ divine nature and serves to strengthen the disciples’ faith and prepare them for the upcoming sufferings. It shows that Jesus is indeed the Messiah foretold by the prophets and that his suffering and death are part of the divine plan of redemption. The Transfiguration gives the disciples a foretaste of future glory and confirms that Jesus is the Son of God, whom they are to follow.
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