6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
In Haggai, the people of Israel have returned from exile to Jerusalem. The temple lay in ruins; that ruined temple had become a metaphor for a ruined people. They were to rebuild the temple but were disheartened and overwhelmed at the task before them. By October 17th 520BC re-construction had only been going on for a month. This was the last day of the Festival of Tabernacles, which was also called the Festival of Ingathering. People from all over would gather in this final harvest festival. While the people had a lot to be thankful for, perhaps they did not have a very bountiful harvest. In the first chapter of Haggai, the profit explains to the people that they lay in waste because they have let the temple lay in ruin.
You have sown much, and bring in little;No doubt the people were gathered in one place discussing their woes and the great task ahead of them. Perhaps the task of rebuilding the temple as grand as Solomon’s was too daunting for them to bear; In verses 2:1-5 Haggai receives a word from the Lord to give the people encouragement.
You eat, but do not have enough;
You drink, but you are not filled with drink;
You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm;
And he who earns wages,
Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.
Who has seen the temple in its former glory, and what does it look like now? Yeah, It looks bad, but take heart for I’m with you. This is not a task in futility because I have appointed you to fulfill it.
In verses 6-9 Haggai changes directions to speak of the future. This is where Handle picks up. I like the transition from Isaiah 40:5, “for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it,” to this verse, “For thus saith the LORD of hosts.” At some point the future I will shake the political landscape. All nations will be drawn to Jerusalem where they will behold a temple of unparalleled glory. Which coming of Jesus is this referring to I wonder. Both will shake things up, and both bring people to, not just Jerusalem literally, but to His Kingdom figuratively.
Handle now makes another transition to Malachi 3. Prior to verse 1 in 2:17, the people have lost faith in the Lord. They have come to believe that there is no Justice and that God's power over evil is exhausted. God in turn is exasperated with the people’s attitude. In verse 1 he speaks of a messenger. Again the language is reminiscent of Isaiah 40, this time verse 3, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD.” Some scholars believe that this messenger is Elijah, especially since in 4:5 he actually references Elijah. I tend to think that this messenger is his John the Baptist. Some even go so far as to say that 4:5 is also talking about John the Baptist and that Malachi is not promising that Elijah will return, but rather a profit like Elijah. There are many other theories of who exactly this messenger is. However the important point that should not be lost is the fact that the Lord is coming. He is coming to save the people in 2:17, coming to bring them to his Temple, to restore their faith and their souls.
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